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Open Thread 71.25

This is the twice-weekly hidden open thread. Post about anything you want, ask random questions, whatever. You can also talk at the SSC subreddit or the SSC Discord server.

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377 Responses to Open Thread 71.25

  1. bean says:

    I volunteer as a tour guide at the USS Iowa, and I enjoy explaining battleships so much that I’ve been doing posts to explain them to people here too for the past couple of OTs. Today’s topic is going to be engineering. (Link to last time, which was battlecruisers.) I’ll give some idea of the basic concept behind marine steam propulsion (used by all battleships), an overview of the variants used during the dreadnought era, and some details of the system on Iowa.

    A marine steam plant has four main parts of the cycle, generation, expansion, condensation, and feed. We’ll start with generation.

    Generation is the process that takes place in the boilers. Feedwater goes in one end, and steam comes out the other at the same pressure it went in at, but at a higher temperature, and as a gas. Expansion is the engine, either reciprocating or turbine. The steam loses temperature and pressure as it goes through the engine, giving up energy which gets used to rotate the shaft. At the far end is the condenser, which uses seawater flowing through tubes to turn the steam back into liquid form, where it’s now called condensate. This process uses the condensation of the steam to form a partial vacuum, which allows the engine to work more efficiently. Lastly, the condensate is sent through processes intended to remove dissolved gases (which cause corrosion in the boiler), turning it back into feedwater, and then pumped back into the boiler.

    Boilers changed massively during the dreadnought era. Dreadnought herself had 18 boilers working at 250 psi and 400 F (saturated) and fired by coal, with oil sprayers for improved performance. The physical layout of the boilers didn’t change too much, but oil and improved steam conditions revolutionized their performance.

    The first battleship designed for all-oil firing was the USS Nevada, in 1911. The other major naval powers held partially off due to lack of oil reserves, while the opposite helped drive US adoption. There were significant supplies of oil on the west coast, but no coal. Another reason for the slow adoption of oil was a belief that coal was an important part of the underwater protection systems. In reality, coal bunkers had to be pierced to retrieve the coal, and these scuttles formed a path for flooding to spread. Oil fuel later became important in torpedo defense systems, when it was discovered to be less flammable than originally thought.

    Oil had many advantages over coal. It’s much easier to handle. Coaling was an all-hands exercise which could take a day or more. Oil is handled by pumps. Coal has to be shoveled into the boilers by hand, which limits the size of the boilers (the highest number I’m aware of is on the Renown-class battlecruisers, which had 42 old-style boilers to reduce build time, even though they burned oil) and requires large numbers of stokers. Hood, with 144,000 SHP of oil-fired plant required an engineering crew of only 300, as opposed to 600 for Tiger of 108,000 SHP with mixed coal-oil firing. It also limits the time that can be spent at full speed. As coal is used, the crew must move more into the ready-use bunkers near the boilers, and the ash produced must be cleaned out regularly. Oil also produces vastly less smoke, improving visibility and making the ship harder to see at range, and has 30-40% more energy per ton than the best coal, improving range.

    The other advance was in steam conditions, a result of improved metallurgy and the demands of the civilian electric power industry. Iowa’s plant produced superheated steam at 600 psi and 850 F, and required approximately a third the fuel (by weight) per hour that Dreadnought did. The advent of superheat also improved performance and reliability. Superheat is heat applied after the steam has been generated. Steam is taken from the primary boiler tubes and passed through another set of tubes which heat it more. This removes any droplets of water left, a prime cause of turbine erosion.

    Most dreadnoughts had turbine propulsion, although some American and German dreadnoughts had reciprocating engines instead. The biggest advantage of turbines was reliability and high power, although early direct-drive turbines were very inefficient. Turbines like to run at high speeds, while propellers work best at low speeds. Cruising turbines were added to try to help this, but The US actually went back to reciprocating engines for the New York class after switching to turbines, as the US demanded great fuel economy, and the advent of forced lubrication made reciprocating engines competitive in reliability.

    What ultimately solved the dilemma was the introduction of the geared turbine during WWI. This dramatically increased the efficiency of the turbine/propeller combination, at some cost in weight and complexity. The biggest downside of gearing is that it is a favorite target of crew sabotage, and as a result is usually kept locked. The carrier USS Ranger spent four months in the yard as a result of a paint scraper in the reduction gear in 1972.

    The US developed an alternative system, turboelectric drive. In this system, the turbines were used to turn electrical generators, which in turn drove electric motors directly coupled to the shafts. Besides improving efficiency significantly (by about 20% for New Mexico vs her sisters with direct-drive plants), it also allowed greatly improved internal subdivision, and reduced the length of the shafts, which have often formed paths for the spread of underwater damage. Turboelectric propulsion was used on the later Standard-type battleships and the Lexington-class battlecruisers (later carriers), but abandoned during the Treaty era due to its weight disadvantages relative to geared turbines. The Germans planned to use it on Bismarck and Tirpitz, but ultimately went with a geared plant instead.

    Turbines can only handle so much pressure drop without serious efficiency problems, so it was common to have a high-pressure turbine exhausting into a low-pressure turbine. Initially, these were placed on different shafts, but later the high and low pressure turbines were geared together.

    As an aside, battleships always had 2-4 shafts. 2 shafts gives some redundancy, while 4 is often necessary to provide enough power, but is heavier than 2. 3 is usually a poor compromise, as it loses efficiency and has serious structural penalties, although the Germans made extensive use of this arrangement.

    One important factor in battleship machinery is resistance to underwater damage. Improved subdivision makes the ship harder to sink, but also makes it bigger and more expensive. The typical battleship has somewhere between 4 and 12 engineering spaces, but layouts have differed dramatically. Dreadnought herself had one engine room and three boiler rooms (with obvious implications for a torpedo in the engine room) while Iowa has 4 of each, alternated and running the full width of the ship. The previous US treaty battleships each had 4 rooms with a boiler and turbine in each, but the size of the resulting compartments on Iowa had forced the abandonment of this layout. A controversial feature of some ships was the longitudinal bulkhead, which split the ship along the centerline. The disadvantage of this is that it creates significant moments if one side were to flood, potentially capsizing the ship.

    Condensers, deaerating feed tanks, and feed pumps are less exciting. Anyone who wants details should find a copy of this book. It’s short on history, but amazing on the actual details of USN plants, circa 1980. Also, it’s the best practical thermo book I’ve ever seen.
    The only alternative to steam ever considered during the dreadnought era was diesel power. The Germans planned to use diesel engines as early as 1910, on the center shafts of the Konig-class battleships, but none were installed. The Yamatos were planned for diesel power, but the engines proved so unreliable in their test installation that the Japanese reverted to a conventional steam plant. The last German battleship design, the H-class, was also planned to use diesel power, and the prototype engines apparently worked reasonably well. The advantage of diesel power was greatly improved fuel economy. The downside was a substantial increase in the size and weight of the propulsion plant for a given amount of power, which was not a tradeoff the designers were willing to make.
    Iowa has 53,000 SHP on each of four shafts, with high and low pressure turbines on each shaft driving through double-reduction gears. The boilers are Babcock & Wilcox and the turbines General Electric. There are videos from down there on our app.

    • Fossegrimen says:

      Trivia Note:
      The germans built quite a few ship diesels during WWII that they never got around to building ships for. I know of two that are still in use in coastal ferries, and one in a private yacht, so they do seem to be reliable enough. (probably intended for smaller ships though, unless the battleships had many)

      Edit: when I come to think of it, “still in use” means were in use in 2010 and I haven’t checked since. Turns out it’s been ages since I’ve been touring islands with small ferries…

      • bean says:

        The H-39 was planned to have 12, although I don’t think they got beyond the prototype. I’m pretty sure D&G would have mentioned that some of the engines were still in use if that was the case. Google isn’t turning up anything. I’d suspect they were the engines intended for either U-boats or E-boats, just based on the numbers of various engines produced.

    • Chalid says:

      Is crew sabotage a major issue generally? Is the idea that a crewman reasons that if he sabotages the ship, then he’ll get to stay in port as opposed to risking his life at sea?

      • bean says:

        Is crew sabotage a major issue generally?

        It’s normally not a huge issue, because there are relatively few places where the sabotage can be beneficial to the saboteur. Most failures can be fixed pretty quickly, regardless of cause. The number of times when you really need to wait a day or three before going to sea, have access to something that will cause said delay, and won’t get tapped to fix it (or don’t care if you do get tapped) is basically zero, so minor sabotage generally doesn’t happen.

        Is the idea that a crewman reasons that if he sabotages the ship, then he’ll get to stay in port as opposed to risking his life at sea?

        As our Tour Lead puts it, “you’re about to go on a 6-month deployment, and your first child is due in 2.” It was worst in Vietnam, when a lot of people just didn’t want to go, but it’s happened in other cases, too.

    • John Schilling says:

      The US developed an alternative system, turboelectric drive. In this system, the turbines were used to turn electrical generators, which in turn drove electric motors directly coupled to the shafts. Besides improving efficiency significantly (by about 20% for New Mexico vs her sisters with direct-drive plants), it also allowed greatly improved internal subdivision, and reduced the length of the shafts, which have often formed paths for the spread of underwater damage.

      My main reason for being generally disinterested in battleship propulsion is my sense that turboelectric drive (or maybe diesel-electric if you’ve got the diesels) is so obviously the way to go that why should I care which wrong solution the people who are doing it wrong go with?

      And yes, I get the reasons – battleship design is inherently a conservative profession, and some aspects of the “newfangled gimmick” can’t be proven reliable enough for something this important. Reliability and damage tolerance in particular. Even though logic says turboelectric drive should be more robust than direct or geared turbines, even though we would eventually learn that yes, the things really are that tough, in 1920 or 1930 you just don’t know.

      But it now occurs to me that we should have known. The specific concerns were always with the electric side of the drive, particularly the switches and motors, and their susceptibility to shock damage from non-penetrating hits. And there was a huge experience base in shock damage to marine electric drive systems from 1916-1918, in the form of every diesel-electric submarine that ever suffered a depth charge attack. Indeed, by virtue of the batteries and the additional switching necessary to integrate the batteries with the rest, that should have been a more vulnerable system than a turboelectric battleship drive.

      I’m guessing that the reason this experience was mostly ignored was because it was mostly German experience, and no self-respecting Anglo-American battleship designer was going to let a damn dirty Hun tell him how to do his job. But it seems to me the Germans themselves ought to have known better. Do you know if they ever looked into electric drive for e.g. the Panzerschiffen or the Scharnhorsts?

      • cassander says:

        Turbo-electric drive was also heavier. Prior to the treaty period, that didn’t matter so much, which is why the US went for it and just built slightly bigger ships. During the treaty period, though, adopting turbo electric drive came at a direct cost to other ship features. Remember, fuel oil didn’t count against you in treaty tonnage, all else being equal, a ship with a lighter weight plant that needed more fuel could have more guns/armor/etc. than a ship with a heavier but more efficient plant.

        As for the post-treaty period, most of the immediate post-treaty ships were either largely designed under the treaty or based on designs that were for which no one wanted to incur the time and expense needed to re-design them for turbo-electric drive. The only ships I’d expect to have turbo-electric drive would be the Montanas. I can’t remember if it was ever considered.

        • bean says:

          Friedman doesn’t mention it being considered for them. D&G suggests that it would have been necessary with much more power than the Iowas to limit shaft length.

      • bean says:

        There’s a couple of things involved. First, as cassander notes, during the Treaty era, your primary concern was always to get as much power on as little weight as possible. Second, you have design lock-in after the Treaty ended. All of your experience base on this scale has been with geared turbines for at least 20 years. In fact, compare the turboelectric DEs with the geared turbine ones. The turboelectric plant was a lot bigger for the same power, and compactness is as important as weight when armoring. In fact, Friedman suggest that it may have been decisive.
        I’m not familiar with the technical details of German U-boat plants, and I don’t have references to hand. I did find this on US turboelectric plants, though. I don’t know how applicable that experince would have been, or how much of that experience got to the allies.
        My sources are slim on the Panzerschiffe, but D&G make no mention of turboelectric drive as a candidate for Scharnhorst.

        • John Schilling says:

          That’s an interesting reference, and it gets me halfway to an answer on the question you at least implicitly raise: How much heavier is turboelectric drive than geared turbines? Per Chapter XI, the New Mexico’s turboelectric drive weighed 500 tons including the turbines. What is the weight of an equivalent set of turbines and reduction gears? I’m skeptical that the delta is going to be a major design driver on a 30,000 ton ship.

          Note that I can’t find any evidence of a performance decrease or displacement increase for the New Mexico compared to her more conventional siblings. And when the three ships were subsequently re-engined, they all got identical machinery, which suggests the turboelectric drive didn’t impact the design of the armor protection of the engineering spaces.

          So, really, we seem to be talking about a few hundred tons of machinery at most, for the sake of increased damage tolerance, increased fuel efficiency, and several sorts of operational flexibility. As I mentioned a few open threads ago, if you’re insisting on perfomance uber alles, you’re probably doing it wrong.

          • bean says:

            I’m not sure if the New Mexico is the best candidate for comparison here. She wasn’t designed to take advantage of all the benefits of TE (her overall layout was the same as her sisters, so she didn’t subdivide like the later TE ships), and it’s quite possible that a combination of improvements in machinery since Nevada/Pennsylvania and US rules requiring a certain fraction of the ship be armored meant that at that speed and size, machinery volume wasn’t a design driver. Friedman mentions that during studies in the late 20s, they found that the TE plant was 20 ft longer and somewhat wider than the geared plant. Longer is bad because it means more armor and more weight. Wider is bad for torpedo defense. There’s a table comparing designs of with the two different systems, and at a bare minimum, TE cost 0.5″ of deck armor with the same speed, side armor, and main battery.
            Is it possible that the split between surface and submarine installation experience might be AC vs DC?

          • John Schilling says:

            There’s a table comparing designs of with the two different systems, and at a bare minimum, TE cost 0.5″ of deck armor with the same speed, side armor, and main battery.

            I missed that, but it’s consistent with a 500 ton mass delta for the turboelectric drive.

            And, turboelectric drive vs. half an inch of deck armor? Sign me up for some of that action, please. TE drive may have saved USS Maryland three times over, maneuvering to evade collision with friendly battleships in peacetime, maneuvering to evade a torpedo at Leyte Gulf, and steaming across the Pacific backwards after another torpedo wrecked her bow. USS Saratoga got back underway five minutes after a submarine-launched torpedo knocked out the system, before the submarine could reload a second salvo. Shock-damaged reduction gears don’t get fixed in five minutes.

            I can’t think of any battleship anywhere that was plausibly saved by the last half-inch of deck armor. Again, operational robustness beats theoretical performance.

          • bean says:

            Playing devil’s advocate, that table was for 21 kt ships in the late 20s. 8 years later, and building a ship that’s 6 knots faster (for, what, double the power) I’m reluctant to throw too many stones. I point out again that the TE destroyer escorts had to be stretched 15 ft relative to the original ones planned with reduction gears. In that case, the extra length was quite helpful, but this is not true for a battleship.
            Likewise, are we sure that the shock damage Sara took would have damaged the reduction gears in a conventional ship?

            That said, I think that TE is very underrated, and I’d look very hard at it if I was designing a battleship. It has a lot of very good features. But I’m also reluctant to condemn those who chose geared turbines without better numbers than I have available.

  2. Sniffnoy says:

    Sorry to bug you, Scott, but I feel like I should point out that the Gene Expression link was never actually updated…

  3. Fossegrimen says:

    Can we petition to have bans lifted? I want EarthlyKnight back.

    I do realise that his rabid diatribes about Trump were rarely kind and sometimes only true for very unconventional values of true, but they were strangely entertaining and provided a perspective that I rarely come across.

    • Incurian says:

      Ohhhhh. Is that why the comment quality has gone up lately?

    • Acedia says:

      You rarely come across anti-Trump diatribes? I want to live in your world.

    • IrishDude says:

      I do realise that his rabid diatribes about Trump were rarely kind and sometimes only true for very unconventional values of true

      It was his rabid diatribes against people that supported Trump that got him banned, not diatribes about Trump himself.

    • Nornagest says:

      I think we can scrape up a better class of anti-Trump diatribe. Or you could just go on Facebook.

    • hlynkacg says:

      I agree with Nornagest, but have to admit that I do sort of miss him.

      In the mean time, IrishDude is correct.

      • IrishDude says:

        Seemed like a bright guy. If he could be less hostile I wouldn’t mind him posting again.

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      Argh. Is this another one of those indefinite-ban things? I oppose those in general.

      I don’t miss the guy, I admit, but unless he threatened to kill somebody, what’s the downside of letting him come back?

      (Also, in the meantime he’s a serious distraction to Philippe’s graduate studies.)

  4. Mark says:

    I’ve recently been reading about (world’s most intelligent man) Chris Langan’s CTMU.

    I think that with his theory he is saying that language is isomorphic to aspects of our thought and perception, and that since reality consists of our thoughts and perceptions, reality can be treated as a language.

    But the language that fully captured all of reality would have to be ‘self-processing’ (a language that defined itself?) and his theory relates to the conditions that would make this possible. From what I gather, he concludes that in order for a reality theory to work, there has to be a God.

    Lots of people seem to view his theories as some kind of advanced time cube. I’ve read a few of his online debates and I can’t tell if he is someone with more insight than anyone else, but not the best at explaining those insights, or a very intelligent person who hates to admit a lack of knowledge/oversight.

    Any thoughts?

    • John Nerst says:

      Disclaimer: I haven’t read the linked article, only your description here. I may be off base.

      language is isomorphic to aspects of our thought and perception, and that since reality consists of our thoughts and perceptions, reality can be treated as a language.

      This looks to me like a typical case of expecting too much exactness from ordinary words. They can’t be treated like logical symbols only defined by the rules they obey, because they have fuzzy, shifting meanings. And often this fuzziness is used to make bad arguments or beg the question. This sentence asks us to accept, arguendo, that “reality consists of our thoughts and perceptions”. For one kind of half-metaphorical, noncentral use of “reality” (the internal mental model we have of the world, which is all we have access to since everything is mediated by perceptions and social dissemination) this can be said to be true.

      The problem occurs when you treat it being true for one interpretation of “reality” as a license to treat it as true for other interpretations as well (equivocation, essentially*). That leads to ideas like our internal model of the world being the same thing as the actual world it is meant to represent, which would of course make physical reality dependent on human cognition.

      Then you an use a contentious idea with some truth to it but not the whole story, like “language mirrors our thoughts” (and treat it like it means “all of physical!reality fits into something recognizeable as a language”) to go: “and thoughts are internal!reality, so ambiguous!reality is a language… but language is a phenomenon implemented in physical!reality!… whoadude… the ourobouros is eating itself…”

      IMO, doing serious philosophizing while Very Smart and not having your ontology firmly grounded in physical matter is dangerous as fuck. It makes it possible and very likely that you’ll build long chains and complex structures of logical arguments that turn into mush because the perfect mathematical precision long and complex arguments require isn’t there when you use ordinary words whose meanings keep shifting around ever so slightly every time you use them.

      Forgive me if this is word salad. In a rush.

      * Standard Error 26-B, subsection 2: Thinking that two things sharing a signifier means they are somehow “essentially the same”.

      • Mark says:

        I think you may be right that this is philosophising gone mad, but I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “not having your ontology firmly grounded in physical matter is dangerous as fuck.”
        Do you mean something like the (Kantian?) argument that you can’t apply logic to that which exists beyond perception, and that comprehensive and coherent theories of reality are therefore likely to be impossible, or are you saying something about materialism?

        I have to be honest here and say I’ve never been able to really get my head around idealist criticisms of Kant, and I’m not sure if Langan is relying on similar arguments.

        I’ve never read a convincing (or comprehensible – the failing is mine) proof of idealism, but I think, as a matter of taste, one might prefer idealism on grounds of parsimony.

        • ThirteenthLetter says:

          I’d assume it’s a more basic objection: you can build a logically consistent system of unlimited complexity and perceived elegance if it’s not required to connect to physical reality at any point.

          • Mark says:

            I’m having trouble – I don’t think that is a more basic/fundamental objection.

            Is there anything to say that we don’t require a logical system that gives rise to unlimited complexity to actually understand the world?

            What if we can only create one logical system of unlimited complexity? Maybe that would tell us something.

            A logical system giving rise to unlimited complexity doesn’t jump out as a clear KO to me.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            It’s not the unlimited complexity part that’s the problem, it’s the bit where you don’t feel obligated to have a connection to anything physically verifiable.

  5. JulieK says:

    What books would you recommend for reading to older kids?
    We’ve done the Little House series, most of Roald Dahl, a couple Diana Wynne Jones.
    We recently started Anne of Green Gables, but I’m skipping a lot of the flowery description.
    We also read a few volumes of Encyclopedia Brown recently. This was my first time re-reading them as an adult (which was not the case with the other books mentioned). Wow, the mysteries are a lot easier to solve now! (And the adults in the stories are idiots, since they can’t do so without Encyclopedia’s help.)

    • RoseCMallow says:

      Un Lun Dun by China Mieville would be a pretty good choice. It is a lot lighter and more fun than most of Mieville’s other work, and it contains an excess of puns.

      The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud is also very good. It’s been a very long time since I read it, so I can’t really vouch for the appropriatness of the content, but horrible things happen constantly in Dahl’s books, so that probably isn’t the highest priority

    • HeelBearCub says:

      Depends on what they are interested in, and what they have seen, and how old they are.

      The Narnia books. The Hobbit. The Harry Potter books. Good chapter books to read, but may not survive having already been seen.

      The orginal Boxcar children books (not the newer ones) are good. I tried some Nancy Drew, but they don’t work very well being read.

      Many “YA” novels work well. I think I read the first of the Percy Jackson books out loud to them just before they got old enough to start voraciously consuming books on their own.

      The kids also greatly enjoyed audio books, and many of those titles aimed at children would work very well being read. Beverly Cleary is timeless. Any of the Ramona books, mouse and the motorcycle, etc. Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic for slightly older kids.

      • ThaadCastle says:

        I second the Boxcar Children books.

        If they are slightly older (10-13ish+) the Caroline B. Cooney books are good (sort of horror/thriller books) I firmly recommend the ‘Face on the Milk Carton’ series by her.

        A Series of Unfortunate Events is also a pretty good/funny book series.

    • rlms says:

      How old are they? I second the recommendations of Jonathan Stroud, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Rowling. Further recommendations in rough order of difficulty: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Lewis Carroll, Philip Ardagh, Enid Blyton, Eva Ibbotson, Cressida Cowell, Eoin Colfer, Caroline Lawrence, Frances Hardinge, Susan Cooper, Philip Reeve, Phillip Pullman, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Patrick Ness. Not sure which of those would work best when read aloud. You could also try myths/legends; I remember reading Roger Green’s Tales of the Greek Heroes, and Anthony Horowitz’s Myths and Legends (he should probably also be on my general list of authors).

      • rlms says:

        Oh, and The Princess Bride is an obvious book to read to your children (based on the framing story).

        • Mary says:

          The book and the movie are two completely different beasts. I recommend only the movie.

          • Evan Þ says:

            Me too. The movie is lighthearted and pokes fun at itself; that’s great. The book, however, manages to parody itself in a way that treats its own story as worthless. I don’t like that at all, and I don’t think a kid would either.

          • hlynkacg says:

            I enjoyed both, but this is one of those rare cases where the movie is genuinely superior to the book.

          • rlms says:

            Sounds like I should watch the film then! People who disliked the book, have you read Stardust by Neil Gaiman, and what did you think of that?

          • Evan Þ says:

            I watched the movie of Stardust and then read the book. I rather liked both, but that’s another of the very rare cases where the movie’s superior. Still, for all its faults (most primarily, a slow-paced ending and a distant tone which was appropriate for fairy tales but is just out of place in modern novels that get into characters’ heads), the book never got anywhere near self-parody.

          • JulieK says:

            I enjoyed both,

            As did I.

            but this is one of those rare cases where the movie is genuinely superior to the book.

            Great movies have been made from forgettable books. But it’s rare for a great book to result in an even greater movie.

          • John Schilling says:

            It may help when the book is written by a first-rate screenwriter, both in the initial cinematic approach to storytelling and in the specifics of converting between formats.

      • Mary says:

        You could also try myths/legends;

        I recommend fairy tales, too. Give your kids a chance at the tales other than Disney sees them, and the tales Disney doesn’t do.

        Andrew Lang’s series still has much to recommend it.

    • PedroS says:

      Lloyd Alexander’s “The Chronicles of Prydain”

    • Jaskologist says:

      I enjoyed Hardy Boys back in the day. Are those still a thing?

      • HeelBearCub says:

        The originals appear to still be in print (available at Amazon) and the series was rebooted in 2005 according to Wikipedia.

        I loved reading those and Nancy Drew when I was 7 to 12 or so. I tried reading Nancy Drew to the kids, though, and they just didn’t work very well.

        • keranih says:

          The Hardy Boys books were better books. If you want good gal characters, try Trixie Belden rather than Nancy Drew.

    • dodrian says:

      Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome is the series I remember most from what my father read to me. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, and a number of works by Rudyard Kipling featured heavily as well.
      Some of my favorite books/series when I was younger that would work well read aloud:
      Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
      The Chronicles of Narnia series, C.S. Lewis
      Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

      I also liked Judy Blume, Paula Danziger, Shel Silverstein, and Louis Sachar’s Wayside School series (he’s better known for Holes, also a great book!)

      Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) or Father Brown (G.K. Chesterton) series might work well too, though it’s been a while since I read either and they might be a bit older than what you’re reading at the moment.

      • houseboatonstyxb says:

        I was quite turned off by Holmes, because he kept doing dumb things that got his clients killed or something. Father Brown was never dumb at all, and those stories were neat and logical. I just regret bingeing through them. If I were reading them aloud to kids, I’d stop a few pages before the end of each story and give them a day or two to speculate before giving them the ending.

        I’m sure you know _The Wizard of Oz_ was a book before it was a movie, but there were dozens of sequels, most on Project Gutenberg.

        As preparation for Nesbit, you might try Edward Eager’s _Half Magic_ series. It was set in the mid-20th century but in the tradition of Nesbit’s magic stories, which happened in the time that Digory and Polly and Digory’s uncle the Magician were about to get into Narnia.

        • Aapje says:

          Sherlock applies scientific methods to crime, which tends to result in experiments that put people at risk. As far as I remember, he usually saves people’s lives by having the murderer walk into a trap or such. Clients that die seem to generally be due to them ignoring Holmes’ advice, I think.

          This never turned me off, because this setup is required for this type of story to work. Genre work generally involves artifice.

          What bothered me more was actually that Holmes’s deductions are treated as obvious when they aren’t. A lock that is heavily scratched may indeed indicate that the owner of the house is an alcoholic, but it may also be that the lighting is bad or that the owner has an illness, etc.

          • 1soru1 says:

            Sherlock is a classic example of High Modernity, in that he applies rationality way beyond the scope where it is rationally supportable that it would work.

          • Protagoras says:

            Yeah, Holmes’ “deductions” would mostly only work in a world considerably simpler than the actual world. I recently watched the documentary about the Amanda Knox case, and early on the prosecutor talked about how he tried to approach cases like Holmes did, finding clues and figuring out what they mean in the same fashion as the fictional detective. And while it didn’t help that the prosecutor was an idiot, I think at least part of the reason he went so wrong is that the method is quite prone to producing wrong results even if used by someone intelligent.

          • Aapje says:

            @Protagoras

            Basically, Sherlock (and poor detectives) use a decision tree, but that is a poor technique when each decision is not 100% certain. A single bad decision at the beginning can throw you off completely.

            A much better technique seems to be to use clustering (for the kind of cases where you have lots of information, like going after the Zodiac killer).

        • Evan Þ says:

          Correction – There were over forty sequels to Wizard of Oz. Thirteen were written by Baum himself (plus several other books of about the same quality which he tied in to the Oz series), plus many more by others after his death. Myself, I now think the Baum books are better than the others, with a clearly distinct tone. When I first read them around age 8, I don’t think I noticed the differences so much, but Baum’s books are the only ones I remember sticking in my memory and specifically wanting to come back to.

          All the Baum books, plus a handful of the others, are available on Gutenberg.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            Speaking of age 8, I remember liking the Tarzan series almost as well, when it settled down to being a series.

    • Randy M says:

      My absolute favorite author as a kid was Gordan Korman, such as “No Coins, Please” about an enterprising (and slightly money-grubbing) boy on a camping tour of the states who would, at each stop, disappear and set up an elaborate scheme, such as selling “Attack Jelly” as pets in NY, or running a gamboling ring–betting on the most elaborate hot wheels track ever described–in Washington DC, dressed in a Tux, while his camp counselors went crazy trying to find him.

      These books are hard to find, and I don’t find the authors newer ones quite as charming, but keep an eye out anyhow.

    • Incurian says:

      Heinlein, Pratchett.

      Is anyone archiving these various recommendation threads?

      • nimim.k.m. says:

        Regarding Pratchett, especially Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents and the Tiffany Aching series were more or less explicitly targeted at YA audience, so they might be more approachable to “older kids” (but still kids, and not, say, teenagers) than rest of his works.

    • Anaxagoras says:

      Garth Nix is very good, particularly his Abhorsen trilogy, which is quality heroic fantasy with good characterization, nifty magic, and excellent plotting. Its prequel, Clariel, is a really interesting subversion of heroic fantasy — the hero’s desire for independence and drive to do good are self-sabotaging and ultimately destructive.

      William Sleator is a fun YA science fiction writer. His Interstellar Pig is a really good iteration of the not-merely-a-game subgenre, with imaginative aliens (okay, they’re largely based on earth creatures, but lichen is not a common choice) and a brilliantly choreographed final showdown that takes up a third of the book.

    • WashedOut says:

      I would recommend collections of short stories:

      Roald Dahl (esp. “Someone Like You”), Kafka (“Metamorphosis and Other Stories”), J.L. Borges, and Azimov.

      Short stories are perfect IMO for young adult, as they are distillations/compactions of stimulating ideas into manageable, approachable packages.

      I read the above when I was about 15 and (in hindsight) they were each instrumental in my development.

    • Mary says:

      Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon
      The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
      The Cloak Society, Villains Rising, and Fall of Heroes by Jeramey Kraatz
      The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
      Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett
      The Court of Stone Children by Eleanor Cameron

    • nydwracu says:

      The Redwall series.

      • I don’t remember much being read aloud to as a child, or reading aloud to my children, although I expect both happened, so I am going on what I enjoyed reading when young. Someone else mentioned the Swallows and Amazons series. Part of what I like about it is the portrayal of what we would now call free range children–children allowed a lot of control over what they were doing, including some risks.

        There is a scene at the beginning, when mother and children are vacationing on a farm in the lake district, father being, I think, a commercial sailor off on voyage. The farm has a sailing dinghy which the children, who know how to sail, want to go off on the lake in. The mother has, presumably by telegraph, asked her husband his view, gets a reply:

        “If not duffers, won’t drown. Better drowned than duffers.”

        One of the younger kids asks what that means, the oldest translates:

        “Yes.”

        I also enjoyed Kipling’s Puck of Pook’s Hill and Rewards and Fairies. They are good stories written to entertain both adult and child and, as an extra bonus, teach some history.

      • All of the discussion has been of reading books aloud. Do others as parents, or did their parents, make up stories to tell the kids? My father did that for long car trips, and I did it putting my kids to bed.

        • Deiseach says:

          My father did that. We never had the “reading stories aloud” (except for “learning how to read” and that was different) but when putting us to bed at night, he’d come in and tell us stories.

        • Evan Þ says:

          My parents and I sometimes did that together. I’m told that Dad and I had a wonderful story of Santa’s flying reindeer saving Oz… but unfortunately, I don’t remember any of that. I do, however, remember how General Magellan McApple of the flying reindeer took all the money that was supposed to go to Y2K compliance and spent it on chocolate.

    • birdboy2000 says:

      Animorphs.

      • goddamnjohnjay says:

        Revisiting Animorphs as an adult is bizarre because:

        A) The series was a massive “drink your ovaltine” style cash-grab (Animorphs visit the time of the dinosaurs, Animorphs time travel, Animorphs visit Atlantis, What if the Animorphs never got their power, and two choose your own adventure novels were all published) along with the middle of the series being written by ghostwriters.

        B) A lot of the books were really compelling as science fiction. The elements and psychologies of the various aliens was incredibly deep and interesting. This was especially true of the spinoffs. If written on their own Visser and the The Hork-Bajir Chronicles would be seen as minor classics.

        • birdboy2000 says:

          Agreed completely on both counts. (Also, they come across as solid *war* books – which I knew as a kid, but seem to grasp more as an adult. Jake is an insurgent leader with all the morally ambiguous actions and dilemmas that implies.)

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      I’ve read parts of Unsong to my kids (8 and up), specifically the Sohu-Uriel dialogs. They seemed to appreciate it.

      The only downside is I can no longer employ fish metaphors in my own house without an immediate chorus of “NO FISH METAPHORS!” followed by giggling.

      Farmer Boy, kind of a Rogue-One-Sorta-Prequel to the Little House books, was interesting, both for the students who try to kill a teacher (!), and the economics of shoes (horrifying).

      The Hobbit is another good one, though I’d stop there: unless you can read aloud very quickly,* The Lord of the Rings doesn’t move fast enough. (* Or can do a good job editing for length, I guess.)

      Winnie the Pooh is good if you have a mix of ages: the 6-8-year-olds appreciate the basic plots, and the 8-12-year-olds appreciate some of the word play and absurdities. Bonus points if you can get the 8-12-year-olds to do the reading.

      Narnia gets another vote from us.

      The Wind in the Willows and its sequel worked very well: an adventure in every chapter.

      For younger kids, the Jenny Linsky books by Esther Averill are good. (And, like a Warner Bros. cartoon, there’s plenty there for adults to laugh at, like the Cat Club Motto: “Loyalty, Fidelity, Truth, Dues.”)

      I also read Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet series to my 8-year-old, who’s already read it on her own, because I’m apparently good at giving the characters different voices. It’s a little dark in places, but I think kids are a little easier to handle that in fiction than we give them credit for (cf. the fate of Bambi’s mother). I also read part of Jeff Smith’s Bone series, but I forget to which kids.

      And now some liveblogging/making-of-this-comment:
      Me: Hon, what books do we read to the kids?
      Mrs. Deus: Why don’t you just stand up and look down? They’re all over the floor. Also, while you’re up, dump the elbow macaroni into the [pot of boiling] water.

      Edit: under a minute after I hit “Post” on this, my 8-year-old came up to me and said, “Read the first paragraph or so of this out loud to me,” brandishing The Crocodile Tomb, by Michelle Paver. Looks like another Riordan-alike, so I don’t have high hopes.

    • nimim.k.m. says:

      Some authors that have not been already mentioned (I agree with many of the above, I don’t wish to repeat names):

      I have no idea about the quality of English translations available, but in general my go-to recommendations are Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson.

      Ursula K. LeGuin. Especially everything Earthsea related (the Island of Roke is the iconic wizarding school, Ged the iconic wizard). Also her SF is interesting.

      For teenagers and above, Neil Gaiman.

      On the science fiction front, in addition to Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke are remarkable and often well appreciated younger audiences too.

      If your kids get excited and struck by the reading virus, [to clarify, say age of 9 years and upwards] it’s also the prime age to read some of the more accessible classics, especially “popular fiction” novels instead of the literature with big L. I found Charles Dickens easier to appreciate as a kid than as an adult, because after reading too much fiction it’s easier to spot his flaws or be annoyed of the contrived plots or the unnecessary amount of words (he was paid by word).

      Also Alaxandre Dumas. The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo classics for a reason.

      Mark Twain wrote much other than Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, most of it is often tremendously funny.

      Jules Verne. 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea is still amazing read (and surprisingly relevant. Nemo is both fascinating and the archetypal terrorist). Also the pair of novels that describes a trip to the Moon. It also instills a certain historical perspective: he wrote about futuristic stuff, but today that stuff is more or less our everyday experience.

      If one appreciates genre fiction, the Zorro series might be interesting (I’m not sure which books I’ve read, but I’m probably thinking about the original pulp series by Johnston McCulley, or maybe some later books by other authors). It’s sort of predecessor for the Western masked costumed hero genre.

      However, if you have an access to decent public library, I’m in the favor of opinion of letting the older children (of the school-going age, say) also search for and select their reading by themselves.

      • Ursula K. LeGuin. Especially everything Earthsea related

        My memory is that the fourth volume, written considerably later, is much worse than the first three.

        • keranih says:

          FWIW – I found the last one – Tenanu far more interesting than the first three, which I never finished.

          I also felt that I was missing a great deal of the backstory, but I liked reading that book.

          (Le Guin is one of those authors who I will not read blindly, because I find too much of her politics very irritating and I find too much of her politics in her work. But I loved parts of Four Ways to Forgiveness and the Buffalo Gals collection and The Dispossessed is one of my top ten SFF books.)

  6. deluks917 says:

    I made an updated version of the tumblr masterist: https://goo.gl/QT6Sm0.

    The orignal is here http://rationalist-masterlist.tumblr.com/post/130139930539/rationalist-masterlist . This list was last updated feb20th 2017 so it probably contains a decent fraction of new rationalist tumblrs. However this list doesn’t seem to remove tumblrs which become inactive (or even close down). I personally went through the list and removed any tumblrs that weren’t active in March/February. I also added some extra people.

    The list I posted has 121 active tumblrs and it is not complete. Rationalist tumblr is a fairly large community!

  7. albertborrow says:

    I finally got back to school today after two days of local power outages, a weekend, and then another two days of state-wide blizzards. My parents, who were adults for both the ice storm of ’91 and the blizzard of 2003, have assured me that there was supposed to be some huge moral lesson about the fragility of technology, but the only thing I’ve learned is that the McDonalds on route 16 always has power, and that life was infinitely better before the existence of alarm clocks. Meanwhile, I also learned that the term “585er” was created in reference to people with that NPA area code, and is usually accompanied by some stupid stunt somebody nearby did in order to conserve heat or save money.

    For example, the time my parents were driving everyone home from a family camping trip in a twelve year old Dodge Ram. The poor truck was on its last legs, and happened to break down with a major coolant leak in the middle of the highway. Rather than calling AAA or detaching the camper, my father instead broke the handle off of an umbrella and plugged the leak with it, and then sealed it with duct tape. He pulled off something similarly stupid this last power outage – he didn’t want to risk suffocating by sleeping without his CPAP machine, so instead he stole the battery from my mom’s car, used alligator clips to power up a DC-AC converter, stepped down the battery voltage, and then plugged his CPAP into the contraption. None of these things are particularly insane, but they represent an unconventional application of materials that most people don’t even think about.

    I feel like this is related to Scott’s point about low-level wisdom. I wouldn’t call my father a redneck – he’s smarter than me, and works in IT. But there’s a kind of folksy wisdom about engineering he has that you can only get from growing up in the middle of fucking nowhere.

    • Well... says:

      It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who knows lots of people who seem like real-life characters from Neal Stephenson novels.

    • John Schilling says:

      But there’s a kind of folksy wisdom about engineering he has that you can only get from growing up in the middle of fucking nowhere.

      I grew up in the suburbs, and none of this is beyond my ken. I understand that most people don’t think this way, but I don’t think those of us who do are as rare or as isolated as you imagine.

      I’m also confused as to where the “stupid” comes in when you talk about improvising an alternate power source for a piece of life-support machinery when the grid is down.

    • houseboatonstyxb says:

      he didn’t want to risk suffocating by sleeping without his CPAP machine, so instead he stole the battery from my mom’s car, used alligator clips to power up a DC-AC converter, stepped down the battery voltage, and then plugged his CPAP into the contraption.

      That sounds like something I’d do, tho I’d have to ask someone about stepping down the battery voltage.

      But there’s a kind of folksy wisdom about engineering he has that you can only get from growing up in the middle of fucking nowhere.

      Yep. When the only hardware/convenience store is a half-day trip, anything at home is better. The only way “stupid” would fit the situation is, “You’d have to be stupid to try something like that, it might be dangerous.”

    • JayT says:

      I don’t think growing up in the middle of nowhere is a prerequisite. My father grew up in LA and he has always been a tinkerer and can jerry rig just about anything. I have lived my entire life in cities and suburbs, but I have some of my father’s skills for this kind of thing.

    • nydwracu says:

      My uncle is from a near suburb of DC and once fixed someone’s car with duct tape, a tennis ball, and a copy of Jimmy Carter’s memoirs.

  8. Tibor says:

    What stopped Christianity from spreading to Arabia (before Islam), Persia and further? The European native religions felt relatively fast, how come Hinduism resisted Christianity and to some degree even Islam? Why did Shinto survive Christianity and Buddhism?

    I guess that part of the success of Christianity in Europe is being backed by the Roman empire and snowballing from there (by sword when needed). Persia probably provided a strong enough cultural and military barrier to stop it? Contrary to the popular belief, Islam doesn’t seem to have been spread by force, at least not in the beginning. Having to many Muslims meant less tax revenue for the caliphs, so they weren’t particularly keen on spreading the religion. But it still proved very successful at spreading itself, even in some formerly Christian lands. Why did it not spread all over India and then China as well? Maybe Buddhism, as another universalistic religion, stopped it in China.

    Japan probably didn’t succumb to Christianity because of the opposition and persecution by the government, as well as Japanese isolationism (although the Portuguese still kirishitan priests still managed a decent amount of conversion in the West).

    Also, is it correct to view Hinduism and Shinto as the only indeginous religions which survived in large numbers until today?

    • Jaskologist says:

      Japan actually did have a significant Christian population. But the Christian peasants rebelled in the 1600s, after which Japan repressed the faith.

      • Tibor says:

        Btw, modern Japanese has quite a few words of Portuguese origin. For example pan means bread. Pan is actually the Spanish word for it, the Portuguese day pão, but it’s hard for the Japanese to pronounce ão (as it is for pretty much everyone who’s not Portuguese or Brazilian), so it mutated to pan. On the other hand arigato and obrigado have nothing in common, they’re false cognates.

    • Sandy says:

      Also, is it correct to view Hinduism and Shinto as the only indeginous religions which survived in large numbers until today?

      There’s Buddhism too, technically. It is an indigenous, non-Abrahamic religion that still has millions of followers in its birthplace, but which became vastly more popular in neighboring countries.

      • Tibor says:

        Maybe instead of indeginous I should have said nonproselytizing. I guess Judaism also meets the criteria. Also it should lack nonmythical founders.

      • Mary says:

        On the other hand, it’s clearly a religion that started at a definite place and time which differentiates it.

    • random832 says:

      Having to many Muslims meant less tax revenue for the caliphs, so they weren’t particularly keen on spreading the religion.

      Doesn’t this suggest they were in effect providing a tax break for conversion, which suggests a revealed preference for more Muslims? And if you subscribe to the libertarian belief that taxation is force…

      • Tibor says:

        I don’t think so. When the number of converts grew too high they actually tried to reform the tax system so that new converts would still have to pay the higher tax. This led to some uprisings, most notably in Persia and it might have contributed to the Shia and Sunni split. This suggests they did not expect too many people to actually convert to be Islam. And in the first century or so that was more or less the case. Islam hasn’t become a majority religion in Egypt for a couple of hundred years after the initial Arab conquests.

        • Do we have good data on tax collection for Muslims vs from Dhimmi? Both were taxed, in different ways, so it isn’t obvious which paid more.

          The advantage of taxing Dhimmi might be where the money went. The Koranic tax paid by Muslims was, in theory, dedicated to a specific list of purposes, and could be paid for those purposes directly by the taxpayer or through a private middleman–it didn’t have to go through the ruler, although it could. Think of it as religiously compulsory charity. I am not sure about the rules for the tax on permitted non-Muslims, but it might have given the ruler more discretion.

    • PedroS says:

      Christianity actually did spread into Central Asia in the first millennium, and was quite influential before dying out. It was the Nestorian branch (Church of the East), which is nowadays almost extinct. You may read a review of Philip Jenkins “The Lost History of Chrsitianity”, which chronicles this expansion, in Armarium Magnum

  9. Alex Zavoluk says:

    No publication bias in climate change (except for the part where number of papers and effect sizes correlate with the 2007 IPCC report and Climategate, and papers bury the least significant results).

    I first decided to share for the funnel plots, but also because the seemingly-important effects mentioned above (and in their abstract) doesn’t seem to provoke good discussion and is ignored entirely in the title.

    They even describe the smaller gap between abstract and body after 2009 as a “negative effect” which seems like an odd choice to me.

    Further down,

    > High impact factors were associated with significantly larger reported effect sizes (and lower sample sizes; see Fig. 4); these articles also had a significantly larger difference between effects reported in abstracts versus the main body of their reports (Fig. 3).

    Again, this is summarized as “no evidence of publication bias” (I guess technically true if by publication bias they mean only the lack of p-hacking), which seems like an odd choice.

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      these articles also had a significantly larger difference between effects reported in abstracts versus the main body of their reports

      I’m having trouble even understanding what that means: “Gotcha! I know in the abstract we said this was 0.8, but it’s really only 0.76!” How can you possibly say something different in your abstract than in your body? Is “blind peer review” understood in a more-literal sense than I thought?

      My best guess is that I’m misunderstanding their claim; but how, in particular?

      • Nornagest says:

        My guess is selective reporting. Your study may have found all sorts of shit, and if you’re being even a kinda-sorta good scientist you’ll report it in the body of your paper. But when you’re writing your abstract, you’re free to pick and choose, and you may choose (even unconsciously!) to spotlight stuff giving the impression of a stronger narrative than your data really supports.

        From what I’ve read, this happens all the time.

  10. dodrian says:

    A lot of the reporting on the Dutch election uses phrases like “Wilders defeated”, or “populism defeated.”

    Wilders’ party gained five seats – that doesn’t sound like a defeat to me. The ruling party lost eight seats and will have a harder time forming a coalition government.

    I realise with everything else going on at the moment European leaders are keen to spin this as an affirmation of the EU, but surely ignoring Wilders and his party’s concerns will just lead them to more seats in the next election?

    • Mark says:

      Nah – demographics should take care of those pesky nationalists.

    • Aapje says:

      Journalists tend to have a serious case of predictitus. As is: if someone gets less than predicted, that is a ‘loss’ to them.

      Anyway, from my perspective most Dutch parties have no solution to the problems and in fact, two of the most likely parties to form a coalition are strongly in favor of the policies that I believe have created a lot of the current discontent.

      On the other hand, Wilders seems limited by his rather discriminatory style, which works well for some, but strongly pushes away many too. So a real breakthrough probably needs another party to sweep in and get the votes of those who are unhappy with the current course but are too ‘respectable’ for Wilders. Forum for Democracy is a new party that got two seats during this election and they have the potential to get these votes.

    • ThirteenthLetter says:

      Is it not possible that the current ruling party managed to steal some of Wilders’s voters by acting tough towards Turkey during the recent diplomatic crisis?

      • AnonYEmous says:

        Yeah, as I understand it the conservative party stole a lot of his rhetoric. So it’s a win / win, more than likely: either the conservative party follows through on it, or they don’t (Which would probably really help Wilders, because that trick won’t work twice). Or maybe things change entirely in this span of time and he gets screwed, but so far looking pretty good for the ideology (if not the man)

        • Sandy says:

          This is essentially the UKIP model — never influential enough to take control, but influential enough to push the conversation further right.

          • Also the model of the U.S. Socialist party, possibly the most successful party in U.S. history despite never electing anyone to any office higher than, I think, Mayor.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            never electing anyone to any office higher than, I think, Mayor.

            Not to slight Ben Nichols, but doesn’t Sen. Bernie Sanders count?

          • Nornagest says:

            Sanders is a socialist, he identifies as such, but he’s not a member of the Socialist Party; he’s an independent.

  11. BBA says:

    The Brits don’t have all the fun: Puerto Rico has an independence/statehood referendum coming up in June.

    A bit unusual as these these things go, in that not only is the vote non-binding but neither option is remotely likely to happen regardless of how the vote turns out.

    • Gobbobobble says:

      “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how people vote in Puerto Rico,” Melendez said. “Congress needs to approve of it.”

      I have a hard time believing that Congress would make Puerto Rico a state it if the vote doesn’t pass…

    • Controls Freak says:

      Again? I can remember the last one. About a third of the voters simply left the statehood/independence/free association question blank, basically protesting the question itself. This wasn’t without precedent, because in the referendum prior to that one, a majority answered the question with, “None of the above.”

      The history of the relationship between PR/US is immensely f’ed up. I’ve described it as when two indecisive people are in a relationship. “What do you want for dinner?” “I don’t know, what do you want?” “I don’t know, what do you want?” Forget going out, and you might just go hungry after you realize that you haven’t even taken the initiative to stock the kitchen with food. Maybe the combo of Sanchez Valle and Franklin California (on top of the debt crisis) is enough of a rock bottom. Who knows. But I would be willing to bet that if they did come out overwhelmingly in favor of a particular option, it would be decently likely to happen.

      • cassander says:

        I don’t know if there’s a regular schedule or not, but the same vote is held every several years. That’s a good description of the relationship though.

      • BBA says:

        The thing is, each of the options requires congressional action to implement, and I don’t expect Congress to act at all. Partly because they’re exceedingly unlikely to act on any question, but also because all of the results are distinctly unpalatable to the Republican majority. So the status quo will continue, despite being the one option that isn’t on the ballot this time, and PR will vote again in a few years.

    • Nornagest says:

      I thought there was already one of those a couple years ago? One that resolved in favor of statehood, even.

      • cassander says:

        I don’t know if there’s a regular schedule or not, but the same vote is held every several years.

      • BBA says:

        The resolution was no to the status quo, but the pro-status-quo voters boycotted the other question (statehood or independence), meaning there was no clear mandate for statehood. So they’re rerunning the second half.

  12. Well... says:

    As a daydream, I want to design an experiment to find out if men or women are more likely to assume a male singer is gay if he sings with vibrato. I don’t expect to ever actually run this experiment, but if I could perform it in the ideal way, and if I got statistically significant results out of it, where should I publish: in a musicology journal or a psych journal? Or somewhere else? (Assuming my credentials were not an issue.)

    • Iain says:

      Seems like the sort of thing that is in psych’s wheelhouse. (Source: my girlfriend is doing her PhD in psychology, so I spend a fair amount of time hanging out with psych grad students at parties.)

      • Well... says:

        Hm. I was rooting for musicology. I think there’s definitely more applications in musicology and music history (e.g. possibly to explain part of how/why the Hollywood musical became the “gay” genre).

  13. Chevron says:

    Is there any way for me to either get a notification when someone responds to one of my comments on SSC, or at least see a “My Comments” page with my comment history?

    • Robert Liguori says:

      Write a Python script which runs every 5 minutes, scrapes the page, and looks for new comments?

      I don’t think there is a way without rolling your own software, however.

  14. haltingthoughts says:

    Does anyone know anything about the efficacy of Allergy Drops vs Allergy Shots. They aren’t FDA approved but appear to be used widely(?)in Europe. Alternatively where can one find reviews of health studies. Additionally, why allergy shots are generally discontinued if their effect wears off?

    Is there any polite way to request a doctor to send you papers about your condition before you visit them?

  15. Atlas says:

    Random grievance: is anyone else sick of hearing diatribes, from writers like Freddie deBoer, Glenn Greenwald and Michael Tracey, about how the Elitist Elites Are Elitist And That’s The Worst Thing Ever? I was just really irked by this tweetstorm by Chris Arnade, wherein he rakes Josh Barro over the coals for tweeting something—I presume in jest— about how “fat slobs” who eat at McDonalds are a “key demographic” for Trump.

    Before proceeding, I just want to note something that bothers me about Arnade’s tweetstorm as a whole here, and many other critiques of The Elites by people like the writers mentioned above: it’s long on “those who” arguments and short on specific criticisms of specific arguments made by identifiable people. (Not coincidentally, these arguments seem to get made a lot on Twitter, and cite comments made on Twitter as evidence.) When I read these arguments, I think that they’re referring primarily to center-left people who work in journalism, academia and/or government, like Paul Krugman or Ezra Klein. But because this tweetstorm is criticizing a vaguely defined class, there’s necessarily some ambiguity.

    Moving on, I agree with a fair bit of what Arnade says there, but I have a hard time seeing what exactly the material problem is. Okay, let’s grant uncritically for the sake of argument that Arnade is right that all of The Elites are snobbish snobs who look down at the icky lumpenproles for doing stuff like eating at McDonalds or whatever.

    Ok…so what?

    Or, to be more precise, so what as long as The Elites are still designing and advocating public policy attempting to achieve maximal justice, utility, equity, et cetera? If policy is bad, isn’t that just a problem in and of itself, which the elitism of elites who make it is irrelevant to? Take, for example, Josh Barro, who Arnade is criticizing explicitly: his day job seems to be at Business Insider, and his author page is full of wonky stuff about topics like health care reform. Call me crazy, but the fact that Barro regularly writes reasonably sophisticated articles about important issues of political economy is more relevant to my judgement of him than the fact that he occasionally says snarky and mean-spirited things on Twitter. And I think this is the reef that Arnade’s critique founders on. He says:

    [Elites] say, I am for the working class, look at these targeted policies I support. Here let me design a system for you. Just don’t touch me

    But his follow up tweets about why this is a problem aren’t very strong, it seems to me. Arnade continues:

    10. But that system they designed is really just about benefiting the front-row. About giving them the $s & status they feel they deserve…11. It is a system that has decimated many towns/communities, emptying them of jobs/factories, & filling them with strip malls and drugs…12. It is a system that when it fails, like Iraq war & financial crisis, the front-row suffers no consequences. Often even gets bailed out

    So Arnade is saying that the problem with Elites Being Elitist Elites is that they’ve designed The System such that it gives them money and “status” while the working class is left out in the cold. First of all, this seems largely wrong to me: “liberal elites”, at least, like, say, Matt Yglesias, support policies like the Affordable Care Act, increased infrastructure spending and regulation of the financial sector. It is unclear to me how e.g. expanding health insurance coverage for poor through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion is part of the secret plot to personally enrich The Elites, if the elites are people like Josh Barro who work in media. Again the vagueness of the subject of Arnade’s criticism here is irritating—maybe The Elites are rich conservative business people who support policies like lowering taxes on the wealthy, to be paid for by cutting the social safety net, that will make poor people materially worse off while personally enriching them? This narrative would make more sense to me than one about liberal journalists trying to personally enrich themselves through left-neoliberal public policy, but Arnade’s writing on Twitter and Medium criticizing “front row kids” seem to most often cite liberal journalists.

    (I have even less idea what “status” is, why it matters, how anyone gets it, or how e.g. writing columns about possible ways to mitigate climate change through public policy is part of the secret plot by elites to steal all the status for themselves.)

    Second of all, it seems kind of unfair to just dump the blame for all America’s problems (the opiate epidemic, the Iraq War, the financial crisis) on The Elites, as Arnade seemingly does. America is (for the most part) a democracy, after all, and there are presumably a lot more non-elites than elites who can take the time once every couple of years to vote for politicians who they think will implement preferable policies. Take, for example, the Iraq War. I think education (cited by Arnade specifically) is a reasonable proxy for “eliteness”; according to Gallup, the educational cohort with the highest support/oppose ratio was those without a high school degree (60%/32%), and the one with the lowest was those with those with post-graduate education (40%/56%.)

    To re-frame this, imagine if the decision about whether to invade Iraq was decided by referendum. If only people without high school degrees, who no doubt number among those Arnade rhapsodizes as the working class trampled underneath a stampede of free trade, the opiate epidemic and being sneered at on Twitter by liberal elites who don’t even eat at McDonalds, were allowed to vote, America would have launched the disastrous invasion. If only people with postgraduate education, whom Arnade no doubt sees as part of the despicable, self-enriching, disastrous, et cetera, “front row kids” elite, were allowed to vote, America would have stayed out of Iraq.

    My point isn’t at all to suggest that the working class is “to blame” for the Iraq War, but rather to cast doubt on Arnade’s simplistic narrative that posits that everything bad in America that happens to the working class is a result of irresponsible liberal elites dictatorially imposing bad policies. Indeed, when it comes to naming specific parts of The System that elites favor that are bad, Arnade seems to come up short: one of the few things he does cite is free trade.

    And maybe there is someone, somewhere, who is a liberal elite who just unthinkingly supports free trade and is completely indifferent to its costs; but if so, I have yet to read a column by them. For the past couple years, I’ve read and heard an immense amount of discussion of the costs of free trade, and suggestions about how to mitigate them, from “front row kid” favorite popular publications like Vox, NPR, the New Yorker and the New York Times, think tanks like Brookings and economics blogs like those of Brad Delong, Paul Krugman and Noah Smith. I think it would be fair to summarize the left-neoliberal consensus as “free trade is a net plus for Americans as a whole, and a big plus for people who are really, really poor who don’t live in America; but it has some concentrated costs that the government should address.”, and this seems like a fair and well reasoned position to me. If these “elites” had the power to just create whatever system of political economy they wanted, it definitely would not just be “cry havoc and let slip the dogs of free trade.”

    And finally, at the beginning I suggested that we can grant Arnade’s argument about elites being coldly personally hostile towards the working class for the sake of argument, because even if this was true it would be substantively irrelevant. In other writings, he (and other writers like Glenn Greenwald) have phrased this along the lines of “liberal elite pundits say that the white working class supports Trump because they’re racist and leave it at that, because they personally hate the white working class.” However, I want to emphasize that I don’t think this is true: over the past year and a half or so, I’ve seen publications like the New York Times and Vox run tons and tons of stories and opinion pieces that try to shed light on the beliefs and struggles of the white working class. Books like Hillbilly Elegy and Coming Apart about the white working class have become seemingly very popular among elites. Academic work like the Case-Deaton paper about deaths among middle aged whites and the Card-Hanson paper about the China trade shock has gotten a lot of coverage. Overall, I think that most “front row kids” want the white working class to have access to better jobs and suffer from drug addiction less and generally have good, fulfilling lives—-even if they’re racists who voted for Trump because they think Trump is also a racist. So I just feel that criticizing The Elites for being indifferent/hostile to the white working class in general or Trump supporters in particular, the way Arnade, as well as people like Michael Tracey and Freddie deBoer, do, is a really unproductive and misguided intellectual project.

    (Trivia: I actually like eating at McDonald’s! Nothing beats enjoying a tasty and unhealthy meal at McDonald’s while reading old SSC posts on mobile!)

    • suntzuanime says:

      I feel like broadly, if someone clearly despises you, that makes you less likely to feel that that person is going to act in your interests. The fat slob flyover fucks eating McDonalds don’t have the benefit of an Ivy League education, so how do you expect them to rationally evaluate the 800-page policy proposals of the people who do? They have to use heuristics, like which people will at least claim to love the poorly educated vs. which people cannot restrain themselves from heaping abuse on them.

      It’s also, like, unkind? And actually racist because I know a secret about which demographics McDonalds disproportionately serves. Intentionally unkind is more forgivable in that crowd than accidentally racist.

      • caethan says:

        It not only makes you less likely to believe that that person is going to act in your interests, it also very likely means they actually are less likely to act in your interest, from bare ignorance if nothing else.

    • Fossegrimen says:

      If the rulers have zero knowledge of and negative empathy for the ruled, this leads to letting the ruled eat cake which leads to revolution. You get the exact same chain of events if the ruled think this is the case even when it’s false.

      This may not be the worst thing ever, but it’s pretty bad. If the lumpenproles stop with Trump, I think the US should count itself lucky for having dodged one.

      Books like Hillbilly Elegy and Coming Apart about the white working class have become seemingly very popular among elites.

      I think this illustrates the point. I have a book that passed Nazi-Germany censorship at publication entitled (rough translation)”Among the wild savages” (about white farmers in Kenya) and it reads a LOT like Hillbilly Elegy. Being regarded as a target for anthropological study is not flattering.

    • Brad says:

      The self appointed avatars of the WWC are exquisitely sensitive. The demand love and respect — ostensibly for those for whom they claim to speak — while spewing nothing but venom for those they demand it from.

      And, yes, the obsession with status is shell game whereby people making relatively small salaries in journalism or academia, writing things that relatively few people read, are somehow transformed into masters of the universe.

      In reality, I think there are two completely separate backlashes. The phenomenon of the self appointed anti-elitist penning erudite diatribes in blue spaces has nothing at all to do with the WWC and has everything to do with their own resentments about how they personally do or don’t fit into blue culture.

      • dndnrsn says:

        I’ll cop to part of this, but it seems … incomplete. I’m not working class, and it’s been at least two generations since anyone in my family was. I went to school with people who are not elites yet (too young), but have the potential to be, and they increasingly piss me off, because of their hypocrisy. It’s not because I’m some tribune of the plebs. It’s because they’re personally very disagreeable.

        They have the utmost contempt for white working class people – and by “they” I mean the white ones. Oddly enough, the ones who make the least of a show about how inferior white people who didn’t go to university are, are the ones who aren’t white. It’s scapegoating. Young, smart, affluent, well-educated people offloading all the sins of a society that has given them huge benefits off onto some imagined racist sexist homophobic etc yokel.

        If they just admitted they thought they were better than the poor uneducated folks, that would be one thing. But it’s their constant insistence that they’re morally superior that bugs me. I also have a sneaking suspicion that they’re latching on to the most acceptable prejudice to voice openly in their circles.

        • Brad says:

          It’s fine and all to be annoyed with some group of college kids that seem shallow and hypocritical. But they aren’t elites, they don’t control anything, and the people they are annoying are people like you — not the WWC.

          • They aren’t elites and don’t control much, but a large fraction of the elites were once college kids at elite colleges.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            I don’t control anything either. Does that mean I can stop checking my privilege now?

          • Brad says:

            @DavidFriedman
            A large fraction of elites were also once kindergartners. What’s your point?

            @Cerebral Paul Z.
            Why don’t you ask whomever it is that’s telling you to check your privilege? Has anyone in the SSC comments section ever told you that? Do you enjoy preaching to the choir in general, or only on this subject?

          • dndnrsn says:

            So, here’s the thing – I’m several years out of university, and the people are the same age as me, give or take a couple years. They’re not drinking shitty beer in common rooms any more – a lot of them are working in finance, or think-tanky stuff, or academia, or law. I am willing to bet that at least one person I know will become an MP. They are elites, they just don’t control things yet – they’re junior elites.

            So, if several years into real grownup jobs, and outside of the context of university, they are still doing the whole “performative contempt for the white working class” thing – what reason is there to think that in 10 or 20 years, when some of them will have reached positions of actual power and prestige, they won’t still dump on the WWC to compensate for their all-white dinner parties the same way they dumped on the WWC to compensate for their all-white shitty beer parties?

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            I thought the people telling me to check my privilege were exactly the people we were talking about. But I’ll take Brad’s reply as a weirdly belligerent way of saying OK.

          • Brad says:

            @dndnrsn
            Maybe they will and maybe they won’t. Two decades is a long time. In any event if you want to ascribe something to the elite, you should have some evidence beyond “well some people I know that will probably be elite in twenty years have this characteristic.”

            Also, I still don’t see how any of what you are saying answers Atlas or my post that you responded to. Your post rather reminds me of the people that claim to constantly hear racists jokes whenever they are in an all white group (doesn’t match my experience BTW). Even assuming it is true, I don’t know what the upshot is supposed to be.

          • A large fraction of elites were also once kindergartners. What’s your point?

            Practically everyone was once a kindergartner. Most people did not go to Harvard. Or Oberlin. Or … .

            Back when my kids were choosing where to apply, we visited a lot of elite liberal arts colleges. Pretty nearly all were left ideological monocultures. The closest to an exception was Chicago, where most students were left but those who weren’t were not automatically assumed to be either stupid or evil.

            Spending four years in that environment is likely to have a substantial effect on many, although not all, students–in the direction of “these views are obviously true, this culture obviously good, those who don’t share them are in some way defective.”

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Brad:

            Maybe they will and maybe they won’t. Two decades is a long time. In any event if you want to ascribe something to the elite, you should have some evidence beyond “well some people I know that will probably be elite in twenty years have this characteristic.”

            I’m not making general statements about “the elite” based on “people I went to school with.” That would be moronic. I’m simply describing my personal experience on the issue, which informs my views on the matter, which I’m not going to pretend aren’t driven in part by emotion. I have what I imagine is an uncommonly strong negative reaction to hypocrisy.

            If we want to talk about “the elite” as a group, we would have to define who makes up that group. We’d have to find some way to measure their ideological stance, how they view the WWC, etc. That’s not what I’m doing and not what I’m trying to do.

            Also, I still don’t see how any of what you are saying answers Atlas or my post that you responded to. Your post rather reminds me of the people that claim to constantly hear racists jokes whenever they are in an all white group (doesn’t match my experience BTW). Even assuming it is true, I don’t know what the upshot is supposed to be.

            I took your original post as saying “the people who get offended on behalf of the WWC aren’t representatives of the WWC and are really getting offended at issues they have with their status in their immediate social sphere.” I’m agreeing with you on the first part, but not on the second.

          • Jiro says:

            A large fraction of elites were also once kindergartners. What’s your point?

            Elites aren’t disproportionally former kindergarteners compared to non-elites. They *are* disproportionately former college students.

          • Brad says:

            @dndnrsn

            I took your original post as saying “the people who get offended on behalf of the WWC aren’t representatives of the WWC and are really getting offended at issues they have with their status in their immediate social sphere.” I’m agreeing with you on the first part, but not on the second.

            Okay, but instead of “issues they have with their status” it’s “idiosyncratic hyper-sensitivity to hypocrisy”. Either way it isn’t really about the WWC.

            I think this is a mirror imagine of the meta-discussion around racism. On that topic I have people the social left saying “When you (white guy) are always the one talking about racism you are drowning out the voices of people of color that actually live this” and people on the anti-social left saying “Who are you (white guy) to lecture us? You don’t actually know or care anything about problems of race, you are just trying to assert status.” When two sides bitterly opposed to each other are in agreement it says something. My conclusion is that I, white guy extraordinaire, can play a support role but anti-racism isn’t my battle to take the lead on.

            I think there’s a similar lesson to be had on the right side of the fence vis-à-vis the WWC. Throwing my supposed elitism in my face isn’t going to be a terribly effective rhetorical tactic when it comes from people that are by any objective measure as or more elite than I am.

            Chris Arnade received his PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1992. He spent the next 20 years working as a trader on Wall Street. He left trading in 2012 to focus on photography.

            Even J.D. Vance — clearly he had a WWC background and still is in contact with people from that world. But the kind of alienation and resentment he felt at Yale Law School or in the Silicon Valley venture capital world, while real and legitimate feelings, aren’t representative of the kind of thing that working class people in the rust belt are going through. To the extent that those feelings are projected back onto the WWC they are distortionary to truth.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Brad:

            I think there’s a difference between “elitist” and “elite”. You’re always going to have an elite. But they don’t have to take the position that their superior resources, education, whatever make them morally superior.

            Especially when they aren’t – that’s where the hypocrisy that bothers me comes in; someone who went to a school that’s minority white and throws parties of old school chums and said parties are 95% white… Those who live in glass houses, etc.

    • The Nybbler says:

      Or, to be more precise, so what as long as The Elites are still designing and advocating public policy attempting to achieve maximal justice, utility, equity, et cetera?

      Head over and read Scott’s review of _Seeing Like A State_; I believe it largely answers that question.

      So Arnade is saying that the problem with Elites Being Elitist Elites is that they’ve designed The System such that it gives them money and “status” while the working class is left out in the cold. First of all, this seems largely wrong to me: “liberal elites”, at least, like, say, Matt Yglesias, support policies like the Affordable Care Act, increased infrastructure spending and regulation of the financial sector.

      I think you’re seeing the Trumpenproletariat as a different set than they are. Remember they’re wealthier than Hillary voters. They’re not, largely, the class who is helped by subsidized healthcare. Financial regulation is largely irrelevant to them. They’re in that gap between “people Democrats think need help” and “people who are doing well”. They see themselves working as hard as they can to pay for worse housing than is being given away for free to the poor. They’re the ones who had a mediocre health care plan which was banned by the ACA, and now have at best a choice between stretching to pay for an Obamacare plan or going on the “don’t get sick” plan and (to add insult to injury) paying the penalty.

      Second of all, it seems kind of unfair to just dump the blame for all America’s problems (the opiate epidemic, the Iraq War, the financial crisis) on The Elites, as Arnade seemingly does.

      Taking that responsibility is pretty much in the job definition of the Elite.

      • Jiro says:

        Remember they’re wealthier than Hillary voters.

        Isn’t this confounded by age?

      • hlynkacg says:

        Taking that responsibility is pretty much in the job definition of the Elite.

        It’s downright frightening how many so-called “educated” individuals don’t seem to understand this part.

    • caethan says:

      Second of all, it seems kind of unfair to just dump the blame for all America’s problems (the opiate epidemic, the Iraq War, the financial crisis) on The Elites

      Seriously? That seems unfair to you? You picked the financial crisis and the Iraq War as things where saying the Elites – i.e., the political class, the powerful folks – fucked up is unfair? At least in the opioid epidemic, it’s mostly poor, non-powerful folks who are actually taking the drugs, even if they’re not the ones who decided that handing out Oxycodone like candy to people with back pain was a brilliant idea. It was the powerful guys – the Bush Administration – who decided Iraq was the best idea ever. Sure, ordinary people thought Saddam was behind 9/11, but they get the causality wrong. It wasn’t that people thought that so therefore they pushed for war with Iraq. It was: Bush et al. were pushing for war with Iraq, therefore Saddam must have been behind 9/11. Of course the Elites were responsible for the Iraq war! Hillary fucking voted for it, and you’re trying to pawn off the blame on ordinary voters? As far as the financial crisis, explain to me how any of the blame for that can possibly be put on ordinary voters. Were they the ones pushing for massive financial deregulation? Were they calling up their congressmen insisting on CDO offerings?

      There is a valid point here, about the correct targets of wrath at the Elites. To wit, the Elites who deserve blame are those who have power – politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, lobbyists, corporate higher-ups, etc., etc. The Elites who get blame are those who are most visible with their contempt – mostly left-liberal journalists. My interpretation is basically that the rest of the Elite class – Chuck Schumer and Paul Ryan, for example – have developed a thick layer of protective slime that keeps their real contempt out of sight, so the dispossessed point their anger somewhere else. And really, that’s not fair, though it is understandable.

      • JayT says:

        I don’t think that Congress, with their 28% approval rating, can be considered “out of sight” of the public’s scorn.

    • cassander says:

      Or, to be more precise, so what as long as The Elites are still designing and advocating public policy attempting to achieve maximal justice, utility, equity, et cetera?

      Well, they aren’t doing that. They’re advocating policies that suit the tastes increase the dominance of their tribe over the rest of society, and then sneering at us for not appreciating them for doing it.

      But putting that aside, the more philosophical question of does the sneering matter, yes, it does. The country won’t function well if half the country loathes and ignores the other half as much as possible.

      >So Arnade is saying that the problem with Elites Being Elitist Elites is that they’ve designed The System such that it gives them money and “status” while the working class is left out in the cold. First of all, this seems largely wrong to me: “liberal elites”, at least, like, say, Matt Yglesias, support policies like the Affordable Care Act, increased infrastructure spending and regulation of the financial sector. It is unclear to me how e.g. expanding health insurance coverage for poor through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion is part of the secret plot to personally enrich The Elites, if the elites are people like Josh Barro who work in media.

      If you’re a white working class male, the ACA doesn’t benefit you. It, in fact, costs you a ton of money. You’re probably younger than average, so the ACA mandates you pay more for your healthcare so old people pay less. You’re male, so you’re charged more so women pay less. You pay relatively high taxes, and don’t get that many subsidies, because you’re moderately well off. Barro say “why don’t you hicks for for this, it’s good for you?” and they say no, his response is “then you’re idiots” rather than re-evaluating his priors. And similar things are true for almost the entirety of the democratic platform, which is why white men with no college degree are the single most republican demographic in the country.

      maybe The Elites are rich conservative business people who support policies like lowering taxes on the wealthy, to be paid for by cutting the social safety net, that will make poor people materially worse off while personally enriching them?

      So first, taxes haven’t been meaningfully lowered since the korean war, and the social safetynet has almost never been anything but expanded. More importantly, though, who do you think is paying for that net?

      (I have even less idea what “status” is, why it matters, how anyone gets it, or how e.g. writing columns about possible ways to mitigate climate change through public policy is part of the secret plot by elites to steal all the status for themselves.)

      Because status is often joined the hip with political power. And if those high status journalists get their way, it means unemployment for low status coal miners and rough necks.

      My point isn’t at all to suggest that the working class is “to blame” for the Iraq War, but rather to cast doubt on Arnade’s simplistic narrative that posits that everything bad in America that happens to the working class is a result of irresponsible liberal elites dictatorially imposing bad policies. Indeed, when it comes to naming specific parts of The System that elites favor that are bad, Arnade seems to come up short: one of the few things he does cite is free trade.

      I don’t think the point of Arnade’s mention of the Iraq war is to blame the elite, but more to point out how they suffer no consequences for failure. No one lost his job over Iraq, all the people involved now make tons of money on the lecture tour or as consultants. To be elite is supposed to imply a high level of competence. without that, you’re just an an oligarchy.

      but it has some concentrated costs that the government should address.”,

      Should address, of course, there’s nothing that shouldn’t be addressed. But they never actually do. The democrats put the white working class absolutely last in line for help, and have no problems imposing costs on them to pay for their other interests.

      And finally, at the beginning I suggested that we can grant Arnade’s argument about elites being coldly personally hostile towards the working class for the sake of argument, because even if this was true it would be substantively irrelevant.

      You don’t listen to people you condescend to. If the elite run things, you need to get their attention to get what you want.

      However, I want to emphasize that I don’t think this is true: over the past year and a half or so, I’ve seen publications like the New York Times and Vox run tons and tons of stories and opinion pieces that try to shed light on the beliefs and struggles of the white working class. Books like Hillbilly Elegy and Coming Apart about the white working class have become seemingly very popular among elites. Academic work like the Case-Deaton paper about deaths among middle aged whites and the Card-Hanson paper about the China trade shock has gotten a lot of coverage.

      A few academic papers or books that changed absolutely no one’s mind on policy are not evidence that blue tribe is trying to grapple with understanding red tribe, much less of reaching out to them.

      (Trivia: I actually like eating at McDonald’s! Nothing beats enjoying a tasty and unhealthy meal at McDonald’s while reading old SSC posts on mobile!)

      Who doesn’t?

      • caethan says:

        No one lost his job over Iraq

        My favorite example of this is David Frum. Big Iraq War enthusiast, to the point where he launched personal attacks on all the “unpatriotic conservatives” who opposed it. Now, of course, he’s a senior editor at The Atlantic.

      • Nornagest says:

        The Elites are still designing and advocating public policy attempting to achieve maximal justice, utility, equity, et cetera?

        Well, they aren’t doing that. They’re advocating policies that suit the tastes increase the dominance of their tribe over the rest of society

        They’re doing both. There may be people out there who don’t believe the tastes of their tribe align with maximal justice, utility, etc., but if you find one you should probably shoot them, stuff them, and put them in a museum as a unique specimen.

      • Yakimi says:

        Who doesn’t?

        Certainly not me. There’s no way that I can resist the great taste and value that only a modern and progressive burger company like McDonalds can deliver, thus demonstrating that I, too, am totally “down” with their lumpenproletarian patrons.

      • Or, to be more precise, so what as long as The Elites are still designing and advocating public policy attempting to achieve maximal justice, utility, equity, et cetera?

        For a convincing argument that this is not what they have been doing, read Tom Sowell’s The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy. I stopped part way through because it was convincing me of things I didn’t want to believe.

    • hlynkacg says:

      The answer is actually quite simple.

      Most people care about their own well being. Assuming you care about own well being you do not want someone who is, at best indifferent and in all likelihood actively hostile towards you, to be influencing your fate.

    • Yakimi says:

      –t. aspiring elite

      To re-frame this, imagine if the decision about whether to invade Iraq was decided by referendum.

      To reframe this, let’s pretend that there doesn’t exist an opinion-forming superstructure monopolized by elites that serves to instill a uniformity of opinion in the general population, and that the retarded commoners, for some inexplicable, commoner-related reason, spontaneously began forming strong opinions about invading Iraq in 2002.

      • Machina ex Deus says:

        Please don’t use “retarded” as an insult, even if you’re just putting it in the mouths of the (loathsome) elites.

    • Mary says:

      However, I want to emphasize that I don’t think this is true: over the past year and a half or so, I’ve seen publications like the New York Times and Vox run tons and tons of stories and opinion pieces that try to shed light on the beliefs and struggles of the white working class.

      Electing Trump means we will see even more.

      A means of getting their attention that we can all agree is nicer than stringing up a few on lampposts, or even tarring and feathering them. Let us hope that it actually sinks in.

    • I have been thinking, and plan to blog, about an issue that may be relevant to this.

      Most of what all of us believe on a wide variety of issues is based on second-hand information–people are sure Australia exists even though they have never been there. People who believe in evolution or global warming are confident that people who don’t believe in those things are stupid and ignorant, but most on either side of those arguments or many others could not actually justify their beliefs–as a striking example, I concluded after some discussions on a FB climate group that almost nobody in the argument understood how the greenhouse effect works. Almost everyone is holding a position based on what sources of information he trusts tells him, whether it’s a schoolteacher, the NYT, or his local preacher.

      By itself, that isn’t a problem–none of us have the time, energy, knowledge and ability to adequately justify all our beliefs for ourselves. The problem arises when your trusted sources of information can’t be trusted. A further problem arises when there are two or more sources of such information that disagree with each other, with large numbers of people trusting each.

      Part of the current problem, as I see it, is that the elite sources of information in our society (now I am getting back to elites) do not deserve to be trusted. I’ve blogged occasionally about specific examples, and I expect any long time reader of this blog can think of others, of widely accepted news stories that were mostly bogus. The problem is not just the elite media but the elite academy as well, large parts of which are an ideological monoculture. And non-elite sources of information, at least most of the large ones, are no better, just different.

      I have been thinking of doing a blog post titled “The Problem Trump is a Symptom of.” Obama could get away with saying things that were not true because the media were generally on his side. Trump can get away with saying things that are not true because a lot of people don’t trust the media, and Trump has gone to a good deal of trouble to encourage that attitude, taking advantage of a hostile media’s willingness to overstate even correct criticisms of him.

      Some stuff from my blog in support of pieces of this.

      A recent minor example of why the media cannot be trusted.

      An older one, where the scientific work reported on as well as the reporting is dishonest for political purposes.

      A recent blog post of mine, suggesting, among other things, that Trump is deliberately taking advantage of weaknesses of the media to destroy trust in it.

      And, getting back to the comment I’m responding to, despising people reduces their willingness to trust you.

      • The Nybbler says:

        I’m pretty sure your first example is a journalist who doesn’t actually know he’s lying (and doesn’t care). The Smart People are absolutely convinced that global warming is a near-term existential threat to humanity, and they love to hear stories confirming this. Therefore, tying an otherwise esoteric story about mammalian evolution into present-day global warming gets clicks. So the journalist is interviewing the researcher about the story, and asks a question about how it ties into present-day global warming. Then reports whatever bit of the answer fits the narrative. Then the editor gets involved, looks for a picture to illustrate the story, finds the one you object to… looks great, very dramatic, lotsa clicks, run with it.

        The plant story is pretty clearly dishonesty to push an agenda, though.

      • Montfort says:

        What exactly do you mean by “elite” media? Every professional news outlet? Is the drudge report elite? Is CNN?

        • I think I would count the Drudge report as non-elite media. National Review probably as elite.

          • Montfort says:

            Is there a guiding principle? Or is it a gut-feeling kind of category?

          • I’m largely going on gut feeling. I think of individuals as part of the elite if they have a conventional high status education and conventional professional success, or are the sorts of people respected by the first category. That includes some people on the right as well as on the left–Bill Buckley would clearly qualify.

            Elite media are then media that such people are likely to consume and respect. That would include National Review as well as the New York Times, but not the Drudge Report or Breitbart.

      • Paul Brinkley says:

        One of my long running concerns has been, given that trust in secondhand information is unavoidable, how people evaluate which sources they can trust. The usual problems come to mind – confirmation bias, selection bias, trust in celebrity, trust in consensus. Trust in consensus seems to be the most insidious; if 51% of sources believe something, and 90% of the public uses those sources, even a very slight tendency to trust in consensus will turn that 51% into 97%+ after several iterations.

        Provided these concerns are well-founded, my next concern ends up being a search for remedies. (Probably the primary reason I latched onto LW / SSC in the first place.) Methods one can use to avoid wrong answers aren’t enough by themselves; they need to be able to spread as readily as printing presses and rifles. I’ve yet to run across anything that discusses this point satisfyingly, even on LW (although I haven’t searched LW with this in mind yet).

        • At a personal level, I have two approaches to trying to evaluate sources of information, both imperfect:

          1. Look for an overlap between what that source says and something I actually know a good deal about and judge the source by the quality of that overlap.

          2. Judge the source by whether it mentions arguments against its position and qualifies its claims in ways that suggest that the author cares whether what he says is true.

    • HeelBearCub says:

      I love Drum. He is great.

      And he seems to be right on the substance of the Meals on Wheels funding.

      But this is an own goal on the part of Mulvaney. Mulvaney didn’t know what Drum knew or figured out, that most of Meals on Wheels isn’t funded through CDBGs.

      Mulvaney answers:

      We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. And great, Meals on Wheels sounds great. Again, that’s a state decision to fund that particular program.

      But to take federal money and give it to the states and say we want to give you money for programs that don’t work, I can’t defend that anymore.

      Drum is saying that Mulvaney isn’t actually talking about Meals on Wheels, but it’s pretty clear that Mulvaney is identifying Meals on Wheels as one of the programs that doesn’t work.

      It’s just a general pattern of sloppiness on the part of the administration, where they don’t actually even know what it is that they are or are not proposing.

      • Corey says:

        it’s pretty clear that Mulvaney is identifying Meals on Wheels as one of the programs that doesn’t work

        Which is what drove a lot of the outrage: “Dafuq? What would it even mean for MoW to not work?” Makes more sense if that’s not actually what he was trying to say.

  16. Nevin says:

    Sometime ago — about a year, I think — there was some hubbub about a recently published paper presenting some kind of new mathematical formalism for induction. Does anyone know what I’m talking about, and if so, can you link me to this paper? I thought I had saved it but can’t find it anywhere.

  17. Dr Dealgood says:

    This paper on how tardigrades survive desiccation by vitrifying their cytoplasm and turning into a sort of living glass just came out a few days ago. It seems very relevant to people’s interests here.

    Tardigrades, or water bears, are a species of microscopic extremophiles famous for their extraordinary durability. One example of which is their ability to survive in the vacuum of space for at least ten days. Back when I was still pushing the SSC Science Thread I had linked to this 2016 paper which simultaneously cleared up a weird misconception about tardigrade genetics and identified a family of radioprotective proteins called Dsup.

    (EDIT: I mixed up my tardigrade papers, the genome thing was a different article.)

    As in the Dsup paper this doesn’t seem to just be a curiosity but something with immediate practical application. The same way that transgenic Dsup increases the radiation tolerance of human cells in culture, expressing TDPs in yeast allowed them to vitrify to survive desiccation. Unfortunately the authors didn’t test it in human cell lines but that’s an obvious next step.

    I don’t want to overstate things, but if you care about transhumanism or cryonics that has a chance of actually working this sort of thing is a really big deal. This is exactly the sort of thing which got me into genetics in the first place and I’m ecstatic.

    • Well... says:

      I care about transhumanism in a negative or cautious sense: I don’t like seeing it smuggled in under the waving hands of progress, and where it makes advances in the open I would hope it’s always tempered with skepticism and with consideration for what could be lost, Schelling Fences, etc.

      I’m interested in applications of this kind of science, but as a way to achieve specific goals that have been carefully considered and whose benefits have been weighed against costs. I’d hate to see it promoted as a “being human kinda sucks, this will make life better/cooler” thing.

  18. HeelBearCub says:

    So, about the survey results.

    Donald Trump is viewed unfavorably by 80% of the readership, with a near supermajority viewing him maximally unfavorably.

    Feminism is viewed neutrally or favorably by 70% of the readership, with a plurality viewing it favorably.

    This does not match my impression of the comment section at all.

    What to make of that? Are commenters here actually maximally unfavorable of Trump, but will not criticize him? Would they rather rush to defend him against what they view as unfair criticisms?

    Conversely, are commenters actually favorably disposed towards feminism, but do not want to speak in defense of it? Would they rather go over examples of bad things done in the name of feminism?

    Given that my impression of the comments section is correct, what does that say about conclusions about the comment section that are based on the survey?

    • rahien.din says:

      85% of respondents identified as lurkers who never post, or who post at most once a month.

      {Edit: poorly worded.}

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Yes, but Scott’s conclusion was as follows:

        So there is a really interesting tendency for conservatives to comment more often than liberals (maybe because they have more to disagree with?). But numbers in the last three groups were very small: out of the 5335 people for whom I had data, only 54 commented once a week, and only 45 commented many times a week. So they may not be able to bring the average up very much. Since tiers 1 through 4 were liberal (REMEMBER THE MIDPOINT IS 5.5) and only tier 5 was conservative, there’s probably an extremely slight preponderance of liberal comments on the whole.

        • rahien.din says:

          Your impression of the people who comment is that as a group they lean conservative. Statistical testing of the survey data suggests that most readers are liberals who do not comment, and the ones who comment frequently lean conservative. Doesn’t seem all that mysterious.

    • Montfort says:

      Basically what rahien.din said, with the added caveat that the infrequent (1/month – 1/week) commenters probably read more of and comment more on the posts with content than open threads, and the posts with content are less likely to devolve into politics (except, obviously, when the content is about politics).

    • William Newman says:

      It is notoriously tricky to use survey techniques to get representative data. Not impossible, but many of the things you’d want to do to make it reliable cost a significant amount of time and/or money per respondent. Therefore trying to do them on the web where it is extremely cheap to handle casual respondents would be a huge step up in resources expended compared to the fundamental cost of running a website and/or doing a casual survey of readers.

      (So be careful about e.g. your leadoff point “Donald Trump is viewed unfavorably by 80% of the readership” and the similar factual declarations which follow. If you are basing them on the principle that casual web surveys are high quality data which can safely be interpreted in the most naive way, you might be confidently arriving at conclusions which do not logically follow from the data you refer to.)

      Commenters are also unlikely to be representative of readers. And for that matter, people who read comments may not be representative of people who read most of the articles, and may not be representative of people who read any articles at all.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        You seem to be disagreeing with me.

        But you are actually amplifying my point.

        • AnonYEmous says:

          are you arguing that the survey is incorrect, or that it correctly shows that commenters are a skewed sample? or what?

    • Douglas Knight says:

      Of the 42 people who comment many times a week, from negative to positive:
      15 13  8 6 0 for Trump
       9 11 10 9 3 for Ferminism.
      The correlation is -0.7

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Interesting.

        I would have thought that more of the frequent commenters would have answered the survey. Although I suppose some of the ones I am thinking might have put themselves in the “at least once a week” category.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          But, as Scott said, there is a positive correlation between commenting and right-wing. (I have a different data set, only the people with public responses. That’s why I have only 42 many-times-a-week people, out of Scott’s 45. But they have pretty much the same politics, 6.2, rather than 6.3, compared to 5.2 for at least once a week, etc.)

          But the weeklies do have a broader range of views of Trump and Feminism, even if none of them gives Trump a 5:
          23  9 9  9 Trump
          10 12 9 13 6 Feminism
          cor=-0.5
          (The weeklies have the highest variance of Trump and Feminism. The 65 people who didn’t answer this question had the same high variance of Feminism, but had very low variance of Trump.)

          And why would you expect anyone to give Trump a 5? Most of his supporters here are pretty explicitly choosing him as incompetence over evil. Or are single-issue voters and think that he has just stumbled on to the key issue without thinking all that well of him.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Most of his supporters here are pretty explicitly choosing him as incompetence over evil.

            I’m not sure if you mean his supporters in general, but if you do, I think that is incorrect.

            I think most of Trump’s supporters think Trump is competent, even a business genius, and will accomplish that which they wish to see accomplished.

          • Douglas Knight says:

            I mean his supporters here.

    • orangecat says:

      “Feminism” is overloaded. If you support the version that calls for equal rights and legal abortion, and oppose the version that blames men for everything and advocates censorship and Twitter mobs, that might come out to “neutral”.

      • houseboatonstyxb says:

        Yes. As a 1970s “Women’s Libber” aka “Second Wave” Feminist, I wish such surveys would not lump us with the current “Third Wave” Feminists.

        • Barely matters says:

          Amen to this. ‘Feminist’ is an unfortunately easily confused homonym here. I also identify with the former but strongly not with the latter.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            I suspect I’m one of the majority who still hasn’t grokked the difference between feminism waves, while at the same time being somewhat aware that such waves exist, causing them to elect not to identify with or against feminism either way, just in case. Which would further confound the sampling.

        • BBA says:

          The second wave had plenty of radical rhetoric, but rarely backed it up in their concrete actions. From an obituary for Andrea Dworkin: “Russians haven’t quite learned the Western art of sloganeering for radical philosophy without meaning a word of what they say. A Russian woman would assume that if you’re a feminist, you’d actually have to live out the philosophy. In that sense, Andrea Dworkin was, in her own way, the only ‘Russian’ feminist in America — and that is why she was so hated.”

          The current wave of Tumblr activism is very Dworkinesque and “Russian.”

    • Deiseach says:

      Some of the “not anti-Trump” (I am not going to say “pro-Trump” because I do think there is a difference) is in response to the hysteria during the election campaign and in the immediate wake of the result. No, he’s not a great person. No, he probably wouldn’t be the choice to be president in a reasonable election. But even acknowledging all the problematic stuff, no, he is not Actual Devil Out of Hell, Worse Than Hitler And Stalin Combined, or just waiting (in cahoots with Evil Christian Vice President Pence) to build those concentration camps to round up and start torturing gays, women, non-white people, non-Christians, atheists, and all those who un-ironically bought one of these T-shirts.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Yes, yes. Bang on about T-Shirts which exist.

        Like ones with this slogan.

        • goddamnjohnjay says:

          I am more partial to this T-shirt (moderately not work appropriate).

          https://ichlugebullets.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/hillary-clinton-country-music.jpg?w=595

        • Deiseach says:

          You think that T-shirt didn’t exist in reality? You didn’t see my Tumblr dash which, in the run up to the election, was brimming over with exactly those giddy sentiments, half-joking and half-serious, in the anticipation of President Hillary; the various versions of the T-shirt in question, buttons, hats, all kinds of slogans and banners and what you will.

          Yes, I’m going to point and mock because Zeus take it, if we haven’t learned the perils of hubris from the best efforts of Greek dramatists by now, what use is it at all? 🙂

          • Brad says:

            You are continue to point and mock in a place where none of the people you are mocking will actually see it. How admirable. How effective.

          • Deiseach says:

            Oh, Brad! Your stern manliness in disciplining my wayward female vagaries has set me all a-quiver with admiration of your alpha masculinity! Now I know my true place is listening admiringly in decorous silence as you inform me of the views that right-thinking persons should have and how I should and should not comport myself in a public forum!

            Yes, yes, give me more of that authoritative scolding for my own good, it feels so good to be put in my place by a big, strong, virile, progressive male!!!!!!!

            Note: if anyone thinks I am going to be abashed by finger-wagging, I’ve been on the receiving end of finger-wagging by the best and as you may see, it has not much reduced my contrariness.

        • Barely matters says:

          I was more nonplussed when several of my otherwise reasonable friends bought these.

          https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0133/8422/products/racistshat_01_large.jpg?v=1469286482

          So I ended up reading as pro-Trump by being anti-that, when in reality I’d consider myself pretty anti-Trump.

    • gbdub says:

      Should those results really be surprising, when they map pretty well to those of our host?

      If I had to guess, Scott would rate Trump pretty unfavorably. Yet he’s made a couple of very popular posts criticizing excessive/dishonest coverage of Trump.

      I’d also guess he’s mostly in favor of feminism (at least the trans-friendly parts of it), yet some of his most popular writing of all is criticisms of bad behavior by self-reported feminists.

      And that matches my sense of the comments – you’re more likely to see criticism of anti-Trumpers than of Trump supporters, but actual open throated praise of Trump is fairly rare. Likewise you’re more likely to see criticism of feminists and certain feminist positions, but actual critique of core feminist principles (legal equality, legal abortion, etc) or praise of outright patriarchy are uncommon.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Yes, but even fairly reasoned critiques of Trump seem to get pushback and little support.

        As noted above, I think the binding force of the site (or at least the commentariat) is anti-feminism. This means the anti-feminists make common cause with the right-wing, reluctant to criticize the right-wing, reluctant to praise the left-wing.

        The right-wing has no such compunctions about criticizing the left-wing or praising the right.

        I’ve become less and less interested in commenting, because anti-left posts get lots of further amplification posts, anti-right posts get the opposite. And forget about making a positive case for just about anything outside of anarcho-capitalism.

        My impression, obviously. But I have a feeling this survey is going to be brought up over and over to “prove” that the comment section is neutral, and Scott’s opinion that it is will be regarded as gospel.

        • dndnrsn says:

          Yeah. It’s getting tiring to explain that, no, there are a lot of people on the left who don’t want to sent all the white men to gulags or whatever. Equally tiring to point out that, no, “the leftists” haven’t had an unstoppable series of victories ever since the French Revolution, etc.

          I think part of the problem is also that nobody ever focuses on positives taken for granted. I think if you polled the frequent commenters, most of them would agree with a lot of what could be considered, say, “the feminist agenda”.

          • gbdub says:

            But it’s equally tiring to continually explain that, no, believing that it should not be a legal requirement to pay for women’s birth control pills does not mean that I think they ought to be chained barefoot to a stove, and this is one of the few non-deep-red places where that gets traction. Perhaps resulting in overcompensation.

          • The Nybbler says:

            I think if you polled the frequent commenters, most of them would agree with a lot of what could be considered, say, “the feminist agenda”

            As a frequent commenter: As far as I know, only the parts which have already been achieved, and not all of those.

            I certainly admit that there are a lot of people on the left who “don’t want to sent all the white men to gulags or whatever”. However, the group who does is significant… and largely able to promote its agenda as part of the mainstream left. There’s a lot of people who insist on claiming they’re an insignificant fringe, and they’re not.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @gbdub:
            But who here claims what you are objecting to?

          • dndnrsn says:

            @The Nybbler:

            Literally send people to gulags? Come on, that’s the most insignificant fringe.

          • gbdub says:

            I was responding to dndnrsn in a similar vein – who here actually believes / expresses the view that everyone in the left wants to send all white men to the gulags?

            You’re failing to demonstrate the care you expect from the people who disagree with you here – you pushed back on my comment but not dndnrsn’s, when we did exactly the same thing.

            EDIT (Of course as I say that I miss the Nybbler’s comment – no, I don’t believe the “literal gulag” contingent is significant. I do think the “violence against people who’s views I really don’t like” contingent is significant and growing in a disturbing way)

          • The Nybbler says:

            Literally send people to gulags? Come on, that’s the most insignificant fringe.

            The “or whatever” is doing a whole bunch of work there. Basically the people who think it’s OK to mistreat men because they’re men (with a variety of excuses which remind me of a line from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” — “They kick you and they beat you and they tell you it’s fair”).

          • gbdub says:

            Eh, I agree that “or whatever” does a lot of work there but it’s probably good to be more clear about the gulag part, since that’s what’s going to stand out on reading.

            E.g. “No, actual gulag pushers are rare, but people willing to engage in pretty awful behavior and justify it because their intentions are good, are not”

          • dndnrsn says:

            OK, yeah, I was the one who had the “or whatever” there in the first place. I think people who actually want and intend harm are very rare, a fringe.

            More common are people who simply haven’t thought through the implications of their beliefs. This is, of course, common across the political spectrum. On the left, it tends to be a be a belief that you can’t harm someone if you’re “punching up” without realizing that if you can actually punch someone, they’re probably not above you; if they were, they would have punched you (trying to fight someone better at fighting than you tends to work that way).

            The strongest example is probably people who want to reduce due process, etc, in sexual assault cases, without considering that it’s going to hurt poor black men the most (black men are already several times more likely to be wrongly convicted of sex crimes than white men). But you can critique this from the left! Freddie deBoer had a piece on this on his site (which is now defunct, right?) that was very good.

            I know people in real life who fit into the sort of “bad left winger” mold, but the fact is, they’re shitty people. There’s plenty of ideological systems they could be shitty within. They could probably be shitty within any system. So I don’t know if you can count it against the particular ideology they’re within that they’re shitty.

          • AnonYEmous says:

            There’s plenty of ideological systems they could be shitty within. They could probably be shitty within any system.

            but moderate systems repulse bad actors by appealing to the middle and their deviation from it

            whereas radical systems encourage bad actors by appealing to the purity of the ideology, and can only repulse bad actors which go against the ideology itself

            in fact, this is a function of moderatism and radicalism; if someone does something which most of society would consider wrong and which can be shown to be morally wrong, but it serves the cause, then what wins out?

            also I’d argue that a lot of social justice ideology specifically grants the holy mantle for shitty behaviors, such that people can believe they are doing good while getting the endorphin rush of doing bad. In fact it’s important to make sure to guard your own movement from that because it can happen to anyone.

          • dndnrsn says:

            And that’s why I argue for confident, full-voiced, self-aware liberalism. It’s a moderate ideology that has done a lot of good and relatively little ill – certainly, very little of the “pits full of emaciated corpses” sort of ill.

            It is true that you have shitty people on the left who leverage their ideology to do shitty things and get a warm fuzzy feeling while doing it, but that’s not unique at all. There are ideologies on both sides of the spectrum that tell adherents “you are the chosen one doing good work.”

            EDITED: To correct a misunderstanding on my part.

          • AnonYEmous says:

            that this is unique

            i sure hope i didn’t say this but if I did, I disavow

          • suntzuanime says:

            The thing is, the radical right faces hard censorship in a way that the radical left doesn’t. Calling for the extermination of the Jews can get you kicked off of social media and, in countries that are not as good as the USA, arrested. Calling for the extermination of the kulaks doesn’t meet with the same response. And softer versions of these things meet with softer filters, a more moderate right-winger maybe won’t get arrested, just attacked by a violent mob. By the time ideologies go through these biased filters, there’s more radical leftism to complain about than radical rightism, even if rightism isn’t inherently resistant to radicalism.

            EDIT: to clarify, this is all contingent and contextual to the current state of the modern West. In other situations, such as Nazi Germany, commies did face more repression than nazis.

          • dndnrsn says:

            You’re right, you didn’t.

            I think the lesson is then “try to fight against ideologies that tell you doing bad stuff is good, whether it’s bad stuff recognized as such but justified, or stuff not recognized as bad because it’s under the umbrella of the ideology.” And this is why I support liberalism, a moderate ideology – moderate ideologies are unlikely to lead to beating the shit out of someone and thinking it’s just amazing you’re doing this good work, unlikely to lead to rounding up whole villages and shooting them and regretting that you must do such awful work but it must be done, etc.

          • cassander says:

            @dndnrsn says:

            And this is why I support liberalism, a moderate ideology –

            Almost no one thinks of himself as an extremist. I dare say the people who beat up people at berkeley are telling themselves a story about how they’re the sane, calm moderates and and milo is the extremist who needs opposing.

            Now, there an ideology that rejects extremism, takes a cautious attitude towards new ideas, and believes in moderate progress not grand designs all as a matter of principle, but it’s called burkean conservatism, not liberalism. I don’t think you identify as such, but if you don’t, how are you sure that your perception of moderation is any better than the anti-fa crowd’s perception of moderation?

          • AnonYEmous says:

            probably by noting that his form of liberalism adheres to the center whereas antifa outright attacks the center

            i mean, antifa outright attacks moderates and is proud of doing it. You might be confusing “everyone thinks they’re the good guy” with “everyone thinks they’re the moderate”; the latter might be somewhat true, but many radicals are proud of being radical

          • dndnrsn says:

            @cassander:

            AnonYEmous said it. I don’t think that either those on the far left nor those on the far right think of themselves as the only moderates in a world gone mad. They may view the world as gone mad, but they tend to scorn moderates.

          • cassander says:

            @AnonYEmous says:

            You might be confusing “everyone thinks they’re the good guy” with “everyone thinks they’re the moderate”; the latter might be somewhat true, but many radicals are proud of being radical

            Not confusing them, the two are not unrelated. some radicals are proud of being radical, but by no means all.

            @dndnrsn says:

            AnonYEmous said it. I don’t think that either those on the far left nor those on the far right think of themselves as the only moderates in a world gone mad. They may view the world as gone mad, but they tend to scorn moderates.

            The center of what, though? mainstream politics today? That’s not just a fairly arbitrary point, it’s one constantly in motion. 5 years ago, civil unions for gays was a centrist position, today it’s pretty hard right. And that’s for a fairly uncomplicated issue. what’s the centrist position on, say health care reform, a subject on which public opinion is utterly schizophrenic?

            I’m not accusing you of this, but I hear people all the time say things like “i’m not an extremist, I just believe in basic human rights like free healthcare for all, women having full control over their own bodies, and the right of trans people to be themselves” as if those positions weren’t just mainstream, but utterly unarguable, probably because they never have to deal with anyone capable of cogently arguing against them.

            If you don’t have an objective star to set your course by, how can you expect to avoid becoming like that person? and I don’t mean this in a question begging way, I’m genuinely curious how you think you manage it?

          • dndnrsn says:

            @cassander:

            I said “moderate”, not “centrist”. “Moderate” is as much about means of making decisions and approaches as it is about the actual positions.

          • cassander says:

            @dndnrsn

            Fair enough, but then I don’t see how your position is distinguished from burkean conservatism.

          • dndnrsn says:

            The terms “liberal” and “conservative” have gotten very confused. If I say “I’m a liberal” though, it gets across my worldview and positions to most people. Plus in the Canadian context they’re the party I usually support (although probably not next election – though given that I live in a safe Liberal riding voting for anyone else would just be a protest vote). I’m also not much of a traditionalist.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @dndnrsn

            More common are people who simply haven’t thought through the implications of their beliefs.

            It would be nice to believe this is more often the case. But, it is not. Pointing out the implications of those beliefs gets you anything from an academic justification of just why it’s OK to mistreat the people being mistreated (e.g. ‘When You’re Accustomed to Privilege, Equality Feels Like Oppression’ — see Michael Jackson line) to “how dare you compare your situation to those of the marginalized group, white man?” to a vitriolic attack (and if you object to the vitriol, a further attack for “tone policing”).

            The strongest example is probably people who want to reduce due process, etc, in sexual assault cases, without considering that it’s going to hurt poor black men the most

            Even if it _didn’t_ hurt poor black men the most (or at all), even if it only hurt relatively wealthy white men, it would _still_ be terrible. But just try pointing out the injustice that would result from the desired policy. You’ll be called a rape apologist, but that’s just the entry fee. You’ll be told that women have been disbelieved for so long that injustice directed towards men is just evening the score, and that’s right and good. You’ll be told there is so much bias in the system against believing women that no amount of bias in the other direction could even balance it. You’ll be told that even if a man is wrongly accused and convicted, his privilege will keep the consequences from being too severe so it’s OK. These are not the arguments of those who have not thought through the implications of their beliefs; these are the arguments of those who know the implications of their beliefs are terrible and are OK with it.

            It’s SJ I’m describing, not leftism as a whole. But as I said, SJ is not small.

          • skef says:

            Now, there an ideology that rejects extremism, takes a cautious attitude towards new ideas, and believes in moderate progress not grand designs all as a matter of principle, but it’s called burkean conservatism, not liberalism.

            The center of what, though? mainstream politics today? That’s not just a fairly arbitrary point, it’s one constantly in motion.

            Fair enough, but then I don’t see how your position is distinguished from burkean conservatism.

            The combination of concepts you’re offering here don’t obviously sit comfortably together, and anyway you’ve got a motte/bailey problem. It doesn’t seem like anyone who self-describes as a Burkean conservative would actually be one by your standards. The typical position that falls under that heading proposes reversing X Y and Z in a world that has also seen changes A-W. Nothing makes such a policy automatically “moderate”.

            And more generally, suppose we accept that the center of mainstream politics today is an arbitrary point, and that proposing smaller changes from the present point therefore isn’t moderate. In that light, on what basis would any point escape being arbitrary? And if all points are arbitrary, and positions change a great deal over time, on what basis would any position be moderate?

          • And softer versions of these things meet with softer filters

            A friend recently described to me his son’s experience at an elite liberal arts college. The son had a column in the school newspaper arguing for conservative/libertarian views. The result was that any girl he dated was harassed for associating with him.

            Obviously I am getting that at third hand–son to friend to me. But I don’t find it implausible.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @The Nybller

            It would be nice to believe this is more often the case. But, it is not. Pointing out the implications of those beliefs gets you anything from an academic justification of just why it’s OK to mistreat the people being mistreated (e.g. ‘When You’re Accustomed to Privilege, Equality Feels Like Oppression’ — see Michael Jackson line) to “how dare you compare your situation to those of the marginalized group, white man?” to a vitriolic attack (and if you object to the vitriol, a further attack for “tone policing”).

            I have every reason to think most people haven’t thought through the implications of what they want, because I’ve seen a ton of examples of it. The example of changes to due process in sexual assault law hitting poor black men the hardest is a good example: I have never seen anyone address this, and it’s an obvious implication (any across-the-board change to make convictions easier will, in the US at least, hit poor black men the hardest, for a whole bunch of reasons).

            Even if it _didn’t_ hurt poor black men the most (or at all), even if it only hurt relatively wealthy white men, it would _still_ be terrible. But just try pointing out the injustice that would result from the desired policy. You’ll be called a rape apologist, but that’s just the entry fee. You’ll be told that women have been disbelieved for so long that injustice directed towards men is just evening the score, and that’s right and good. You’ll be told there is so much bias in the system against believing women that no amount of bias in the other direction could even balance it. You’ll be told that even if a man is wrongly accused and convicted, his privilege will keep the consequences from being too severe so it’s OK. These are not the arguments of those who have not thought through the implications of their beliefs; these are the arguments of those who know the implications of their beliefs are terrible and are OK with it.

            First, you’re immediately moving away from my example. I have had success pointing out contradictions in people’s stated positions. It’s one of the most effective ways to argue, I’ve found, because it allows you to appeal to the other person’s values, which is the best way to convince people. “You should accept my values; they are the best values!” fails. “You think the cops and the courts are racist and classist, but you want to make convictions easier for a class of crimes black men, disproportionately poor, are already disproportionately falsely convicted of? That’s a bit of a contradiction there” is rhetorically effective, in addition to being a good argument on rational grounds.

            Further, if what you were saying was correct, the New Yorker (which has, by any reasonable standard, a left-wing slant on the issues) wouldn’t have published an article on a black man wrongfully convicted based on victim testimony then exonerated by DNA. The New York Times, likewise, would not publish an article on a different black man, wrongfully convicted based on victim testimony, exonerated post-release by DNA evidence. These are just the top two Google hits. IF what you were saying was correct, the authors would have gotten excoriated, or the articles would have been quietly memory-holed, or the authors would never have thought to write them in the first place.

            Beyond this, to say that a group has thought through the implications of their positions and found them good, is to say that that group is significantly wiser and more intelligent than the average opinion-holder, as the vast majority of people who hold opinions haven’t thought through all the implications. This is unlikely – what reason is there to believe that the people who hold these views are more likely than the norm to have actually sat down and thought through the implications? History shows that most people don’t really do much thinking about the implications etc of their positions or their preferred policy.

            It’s SJ I’m describing, not leftism as a whole. But as I said, SJ is not small.

            First, liberalism/leftism/liberals-who-think-they-are-leftists distinction that’s my preferred hobby-horse here, blah blah blah. Second, how big is it? Outside of some industries and many educational institutions, how much influence do they have? They couldn’t keep Trump from being elected president. Their power to reach out and touch people largely exists within blue bubbles – the person in a left-wing bubble who puts a foot wrong will get hit harder than the person in a right-wing bubble who doesn’t care where they step.

          • The Nybbler says:

            The example of changes to due process in sexual assault law hitting poor black men the hardest is a good example: I have never seen anyone address this, and it’s an obvious implication (any across-the-board change to make convictions easier will, in the US at least, hit poor black men the hardest, for a whole bunch of reasons).

            By SJ rules, a white man is not allowed to point this out; he’ll be accused of using black men as an excuse to attack the policy (which, to be fair, wouldn’t actually be untrue).

            First, you’re immediately moving away from my example.

            Yes. Because your example doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. Even if the proposed SJ policies were self-consistent and only harmed the ‘privileged’, they would still be harmful.

          • dndnrsn says:

            By SJ rules, a white man is not allowed to point this out; he’ll be accused of using black men as an excuse to attack the policy (which, to be fair, wouldn’t actually be untrue).

            OK, so, I know people who are SJ, having gone to a left-wing university in a left-wing city in a left-wing province in a left-wing country. The ones I would consider “bad SJ” have, by and large, filtered out everyone not of sufficient ritual purity (and this is not limited to white people, straight people, men, cis people, etc, oh no no no – I have seen a person marginalized along multiple axes condemn as “problematic” someone marginalized along most/all of the same axes). The people who remain, even if they can be frankly rather thoughtless, would not jump on me for pointing out “hey this is gonna screw poor black guys even more than they get screwed already; I know you don’t wanna screw poor black guys, so maybe reconsider your support for this” if I did it competently.

            Yes. Because your example doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. Even if the proposed SJ policies were self-consistent and only harmed the ‘privileged’, they would still be harmful.

            Well, the problem is that you always hit the weakest among the privileged. Going after men will hit poor men, visible minority men, mentally ill men, etc.

            But regardless of whether or not they would still be harmful – this is partially about rhetoric. Even if your interlocutor is all hopped up on hate for Haven Monahan, they will acknowledge that making the conviction of poor black guys based on flimsy evidence easier is bad. If I was arguing with a traditionalist monarchist and I wanted to argue for society taking care of the weakest and least fortunate, I would not argue on the basis of the inherent equality of people – because they probably don’t believe that – I’d try to appeal to the concept of noblesse oblige. Etc. Further, past rhetoric, it is a way to show the contradictions in someone’s beliefs – which is very potent.

        • gbdub says:

          I mean, shouldn’t the survey results at least make you consider updating/re-examining your impression?

          If you believe the “binding force” of the site is anti-feminism, yet the actual reported views are neutral to positive, isn’t it at least possible that you’re misinterpreting the views of the commentariat?

          One other hypothesis I’d like you to consider. For me, this is my only place to semi-intelligently anti-feminist vent. Even mild criticism of feminism would get me ostracized from my Facebook/college friend social circle and most left-leaning forums. But my only other option is like Breitbart and RedPillers, and I find them equally ridiculous (and I’m not actually that opposed to a lot of feminist core principles anyway – I can’t remember precisely but I think I picked something in the neutral range on the survey). Likewise with my views on Trump – can’t stand the guy, but also bothered by how insane my friends have gotten about him. So to me SSC is a safe place to critique Scott’s Blue Tribe “from the inside”.

          The mismatch between self-reported views and your impression of the commentariat may reflect others feeling similarly.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Aren’t you proving my point (anecdotally) rather than arguing against it?

            As to how the survey results should make me update, I was trying to illustrate a failure of the map the survey draws to conform to reality.

            I can’t remember at the moment who scraped the comments for a 6 month period recently, but those results were interesting, and quite a bit different than the results of the survey.

            Just as a reductio ad absurdum, if 3 people each commented an average of 1000 times a day, it would make almost no difference that there were 40 other people who commented twice a week. The commentariat would be defined by those 3 people.

          • The Nybbler says:

            If you believe the “binding force” of the site is anti-feminism, yet the actual reported views are neutral to positive, isn’t it at least possible that you’re misinterpreting the views of the commentariat?

            I think “anti-feminism” is being used slightly euphemistically here. I don’t know if its the binding force of the site, but being “anti-SJW” is pretty common. There are relatively few (not zero!) posters who want to see women kept uneducated and pregnant all the time. There are a lot more who will tend to twitch if patriarchy and “privilege” get brought up.

          • gbdub says:

            If I’m proving your point, then I think I misunderstood your original point, and I’m certainly confused about what exactly you propose we do about it.

            Originally I thought you were arguing that the survey was straight up false. If you’re just arguing that, by pure weight of words, the commentariat spends more time complaining about bad parts of things they are positive or neutral about than things they are actually against, then maybe I agree.

            But I do still object that I think you’re generalizing too much from “critiques aspect of X” to “is against everything about X, and probably favors not-X”. Which is disappointing, because I think not doing that is one of the big “lessons” of Scott’s work. Because you make that generalization, I think that’s why you see a strong Right bias where the large majority of the readership evidently does not.

            And what do you propose we do about it, some sort of affirmative action for comments where I’m not allowed to criticize wage gap rhetoric until I write an equally long post about how women’s suffrage is the bee’s knees?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @gbdub:

            You appear to be irritated at me.

            See below for why it was brought up at all.

            I’m not proposing to do anything about it, aside from raise a global self-awareness.

            One of the things I thought was interesting is the idea that perhaps this holds some lessons for things like replication crises, survey error and the tendency of external reporters to draw erroneous conclusions from surface level data.

          • Brad says:

            There are a lot more who will tend to twitch if patriarchy and “privilege” get brought up.

            Except they are the very people that post about it here in the first place. So apparently they aren’t so allergic to these terms after all.

          • quanta413 says:

            @HeelBearCub

            As to how the survey results should make me update, I was trying to illustrate a failure of the map the survey draws to conform to reality.

            I can’t remember at the moment who scraped the comments for a 6 month period recently, but those results were interesting, and quite a bit different than the results of the survey.

            One of the things I thought was interesting is the idea that perhaps this holds some lessons for things like replication crises, survey error and the tendency of external reporters to draw erroneous conclusions from surface level data.

            Are you going to provide any deeper data? Or at least link to the last scraping? It looks to me like you’re just trying to increase the burden of proof after Scott offered more detailed evidence than you have. And I think that is what you are doing even though subjectively I agree with you that the net bias in the comments section here is “rightward” for lack of a better term. Where “rightward” includes someone who economically aligns with British labor but culturally really hates the upper-class left (hi Deiseach!) and multiplelibertarians who tend to have beliefs that would otherwise be considered very, very left (like more open borders or even completely open borders).

            You have provided a different map without yet providing evidence on par with Scott’s. You’re unlikely to convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with you that reality agrees better with your map without offering at least equal quality evidence.

          • Deiseach says:

            And hello to you too, quanta413, you are quite correct that “champagne socialists” (I think the not-quite-equivalent American term is “limousine liberals”) do annoy me vastly. People doing their best to appeal to the urban middle class by loosening up on social permissiveness while backpedaling hard on anything tackling class or economic change (apart from tax cuts and reining in public spending, which in practice means cutting services to the poor instead of getting rid of the sixty layers of committed, quangos and middle to upper management) and applying the bleach so that the People’s Flag is faintest pink and nobody can confuse them with those nasty Socialists and Communists of yore, while parading their righteousness about how they are the ones who care about the underprivileged (generally at dinner parties amongst their own kind) – well, you get the drift 🙂

            Like the Food and Health Editor being sniffy about Trump’s overdone steak and using as one of the criteria how you can judge who is One Of Us one of the nice people “How would they navigate a menu at a nice meal out?”, while the online magazine at the end of the article had the Editor’s note: “Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”

            Mmm-hmmm. And how would many of those 1.6 billion Muslims, or refugees, or non-white non-middle class persons that you are so striking a bold blow for, be able to “navigate the menu at a nice meal out” in one of the restaurants that are classier than burger joints? Or would you not go for a meal in such a place with such a person in the first place because, well, they’re terribly nice and all that and of course you do all you can to help them because they’re in such dreadful need and fleeing such dire circumstances but you know, they’re not quite the thing, not one of us after all, and it would only embarrass the poor dear to have them show off their ignorance (one does not eat with the help, after all…)

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @quanta413:
            I don’t want to misrepresent the data, so I did not loosely characterize it. It was in an open thread, but I haven’t found it again yet.

            At the time Deiseach and I were at the top for post count, I believe, with Deiseach dominating the word volume count. Then there were a number of other well known posters in descending order by post count and word volume count.

            I’ll see if I can find it, or maybe someone else will link it.

          • Douglas Knight says:
          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Douglas Knight:

            Thanks for linking that.

            I had forgotten that the combined comments of Friedman are actually the top result (after anonymous).

            @quanta:
            You can draw you own conclusions, of course. A cursory examination will show that the list of the top 25 commentors are dominated by anti-SJ voices, most of whom are also right-wing aligned.

            Of the 5 to 7 top commentors I would say are left-wing aligned (me, dndnrsn, Nancy Leibovitz, Jill (if you added Moon she would be higher on the list), Earthly Knight, + perhaps Nornagest and Aapje) two have since been banned permanently.

          • Brad says:

            I don’t see how someone can be considered a left-wing aligned poster, regardless of ideological self description, if 80+% of his output is anti-SJ culture war posts.

          • Barely matters says:

            I don’t see how someone can be considered a left-wing aligned poster, regardless of ideological self description, if 80+% of his output is anti-SJ culture war posts.

            And I think this cuts to the heart of the confusion here.
            We’ve established above that Left and SJ are not the same thing. One can easily be a strong proponent of the former and staunchly against the latter. I think this typifies the majority of posters here, including most who are being considered ‘right wing’.

            Using myself as an example, I would clearly fall into the ‘posts anti-sj culture war topics’ category if I were to post more, despite believing and voting leftward on virtually every axis (Gay marriage, abortion, equality, redistribution, etc).

            The fact that I think the wage gap is exaggerated and argued dishonestly, that misandry exists and often gets a pass in our circles, that post modernism and anything that uses its principles as a starting point is absolutely cracked, and that calling moderate righties white supremacists so we can more acceptably be brutal towards them… none of that overshadows my agreement with, identification with, and support for, the sane aspects of the left. And to tell you the truth, I often resent seeing people who think similarly to the way I do characterized as ‘right aligned posters’.

          • Brad says:

            In order to be a strong proponent of something you have to actually propound for it.

            For the purpose of what kind of poster you are it doesn’t matter one bit how you vote or what you believe in your heart of hearts. The only thing that matters is what you post.

            Ye shall know them by their fruits.

          • Barely matters says:

            To a degree, though you don’t have to propound for it everywhere, all the time.

            I mean, I’ve been a hardcore vegan for the last 6 hours at least in reality, (and longer around here, as I’ve never mentioned eating meat on this board) if it doesn’t matter what the rest of my actions elsewhere reflect.

            So this illuminates even more of the confusion among the people who think posters here are ‘right aligned’. If you define ‘right aligned’ as “posts against aspects considered left in this setting, even if strong leftward proponents otherwise”, then you’re probably right, for a value of right that I think has very little relevance.

            You’d be more accurate to phrase this as “The comment section has a slant towards left leaning posters talking about their grievances with the left wing culture they otherwise support”, which is completely different from a rounded off “Right aligned”.

          • Brad says:

            Salience matters. And the only evidence we for saliency is what posters choose to post about. If the comments themselves are indistinguishable from what they’d be if the vast majority of posters were right aligned then rounding that off to a comment section dominated by the right aligned posters is entirely appropriate.

            If Deiseach tells me she’s a hard core vegan, I suppose I have no choice but to conditionally accept that. But if she wants to be a a hard core vegan poster than she’s going to have to post at least sometimes about the evils of eating meat.

            If you define ‘right aligned’ as “posts against aspects considered left in this setting, even if strong leftward proponents otherwise”, then you’re probably right, for a value of right that I think has very little relevance.

            On the contrary it is all that matters. Posters are a black boxes, the only thing that we have to go on is their posts.

            Consider a congressman that had a 100% rating from the NRA, the national right to life foundation, the club for growth, and so on. If he told you that in his heart of hearts he was a really a communist, would it be unfair to nonetheless call him a right aligned congressman?

          • suntzuanime says:

            I think it’s fair to say that the comments section is anti-SJ aligned. I don’t think making support for SJ a requirement to support the left is a good strategy on your part. If the choice is between going right and condoning that shit, a lot of people are going to take a look at what the right has to offer.

          • Barely matters says:

            Except for survey data and self identification (We do respect self identification, don’t we?)

            I’m in agreement with Sun Tzu here, and I’d really appreciate observing the difference between SJ and Leftness (In the same way I’d prefer we recognize the difference between the right and white supremacy).

            Without putting too fine a point of it, please don’t force me into the rightwing box just because I disagree with the relatively fringe elements of the SJ left

          • Aapje says:

            @Brad

            I don’t see how someone can be considered a left-wing aligned poster, regardless of ideological self description, if 80+% of his output is anti-SJ culture war posts.

            There are progressives/left-wingers who consider SJ to be mostly regressive, like me.

            For example, I’ve met a lot of SJ people who favor treating people with the same qualities differently, by favoring those with a certain gender/race/etc.

            This strongly goes against my values where I think people should not be treated differently for their race/gender/etc and I believe those to be progressive values.

            Of course, you can disagree with me that affirmative action is discriminatory and not a progressive method (although the SJ people I talk to rarely deny this, they just see it as the lesser evil). You may even argue that my values are no longer left because the left has moved on.

            However, my criticism is often that SJ are not progressive enough. So you can also argue that I am too far ahead and thus left the Overton window (for example, by taking ‘intersectionality’ so far that I’m not scapegoating any identity group).

            If the comments themselves are indistinguishable from what they’d be if the vast majority of posters were right aligned then rounding that off to a comment section dominated by the right aligned posters is entirely appropriate.

            Have you ever read the blog by Judgy Bitch? That is right-wing anti-SJ.

          • suntzuanime says:

            In the same way I’d prefer we recognize the difference between the right and white supremacy

            Yeah, Brad is kind of doing the equivalent of “how can you call yourself right-wing when you spend so much of your time defending the Jews?” Which is a thing that does happen in some terrible places on the internet, and isn’t the sort of thinking we need to import here.

          • Brad says:

            I think it’s fair to say that the comments section is anti-SJ aligned. I don’t think making support for SJ a requirement to support the left is a good strategy on your part. If the choice is between going right and condoning that shit, a lot of people are going to take a look at what the right has to offer.

            That’s not what I’m saying.

            If we had some regular poster that split his time between posting anti-SJ rants, kabbalah puns, and posting vigorously in support of carbon taxes, progressive taxation, and looser immigration than I’d be fine with calling him a left-aligned poster. But I can’t think of anyone like that. Instead what we have are people that regularly post anti-SJ rants and try to bolster their credibility by claiming to otherwise be leftist, but never actually talk about, much less express any passion about, these supposed other left wing positions.

            I’m not saying they are kicked out of the left wing people group. I have no power to kick anyone out of that group, and as I said I above I think membership in that group is totally irrelevant for our purposes here anyway. What is relevant is the left wing posters group. If you want to be in that one you have to make some left wing posts. I don’t see what’s so unfair or exclusionary about that.

          • Barely matters says:

            Perhaps you should be more specific then that you’re concerned with a lack of left wing content, not left wing posters.

            *edit*

            Ignoring that content from left wing posters is by definition ‘left wing content’. So, a lack of orthodox left wing content.

          • And to tell you the truth, I often resent seeing people who think similarly to the way I do characterized as ‘right aligned posters’.

            Comments along these lines remind me of George Orwell, possibly the most prominent example of a left wing critic of the left wing.

          • @Brad:

            Would you describe George Orwell, c. 1945, as “right aligned”?

          • AnonYEmous says:

            “how can you call yourself right-wing when you spend so much of your time defending the Jews?”

            It seems to me like you’ve used a very emotionally-charged example here, and insufficiently dissociated from the emotional charge of the example to the type of the behavior; you say ‘we don’t want to do that sort of thing here do we’. If you don’t want to kick people out of their wing for not being active enough, please say that instead; Brad seems to have not taken offence, but I do so in his stead.

            Also this seems like an argument between Bayesianism and Technicalism; Brad is arguing that X is unlikely, and people are arguing that X is technically possible. However, some people are then engaging the unlikely argument entirely, so that’s fine. I guess ultimately all anyone can contribute is anecdata and that’s the fatal flaw of the argument.

          • suntzuanime says:

            The emotional charge was intended; the emotion was part of the analogy. Calling someone left-wing because they’re not anti-semitic is bad, and so is calling someone right-wing because they’re not anti-SCWM.

          • AnonYEmous says:

            The emotional charge was intended; the emotion was part of the analogy. Calling someone left-wing because they’re not anti-semitic is bad, and so is calling someone right-wing because they’re not anti-SCWM.

            I don’t really know what SCWM means, but let’s put it like this: being anti-semitic is actually bad. Is being anti-SCWM actually bad? You seem to be saying so; I don’t know precisely what you mean but I probably disagree.

          • suntzuanime says:

            SCWM is “straight cis white male”, the bugaboo of the SJ left.

            Pronounced like “scum”, obviously. Opinions differ as to whether being anti-SCWM is actually bad.

          • Brad says:

            @David Friedman
            The only Orwell writing I’ve read other than 1984 is “Politics and the English Language” and that was a while ago.

            @suntzuanime

            Pronounced like “scum”, obviously.

            When you make it hard to know what’s sarcasm, what exists only in your head, and what is legit reportage, after a while most people are going to quit trying.

          • Barely matters says:

            It’s definitely real, though I’d guess it’s about as common as actual NeoNazis are in the modern day.

            I think the sane answer should be pretty uncontroversially that the fringe that is genuinely anti cis, straight, white male should be esteemed about as highly as the fringe that is against any other race or ethnic group.

          • rlms says:

            On this subject, I used my comment scraper to try to determine the political makeup of the comments. Results in the survey thread comments here. At some point I’ll put the code on Github, as the classification part is subjective, so other people might want to try it.

          • gbdub says:

            @Brad

            In order to be a strong proponent of something you have to actually propound for it.

            I reject this position emphatically in this context.

            There’s no need to propound something if there’s no actual clash. There’s little need to go on about support for e.g. gay marriage when anti-gay marriage arguments here are fairly rare.

            There may not be a lot of pro-SJ posters here’s, but there are enough to provide some clash. Maybe not enough if this blog existed in a vacuum, but it doesn’t – it exists in the context of readers mostly coming from left-liberal culture where pro-SJ sentiments are more common.

          • rlms says:

            @gbdub
            Arguments about gay marriage aren’t exactly frequent (in comparison to e.g. arguments about Trump, Brendan Eich, crazy campus leftists, UBI), but they have occurred. I think they are comparable in frequency with arguments about global warming. I don’t recall any self-identifying SJ-critical left-wingers taking part on either side in them.

          • Brad says:

            @gbdub
            I can recall many more anti-gay-marriage posts than I can outright pro-SJ posts. Heck we’ve got at least a handful of regular posters that think the rule against marital rape ought to repealed.

            The most we get in terms of pro-SJ is something like what I’m doing here, pushing back on anti-SJ overreaching rather than any sort of robust defense on the object level of SJ ideas.

            I just don’t buy your clash explanation. If that were correct we’d see a ton more debate not only on gay marriage but on open borders — we have a good number of self declared libertarians and anarcho-capitalists as well as immigration restrictionists, but the former show very little enthusiasm for debating the latter.

            There are all these anti-SJ posts precisely because the audience is so friendly, the ranters aren’t looking for a good debate. If they were they wouldn’t be posting about the subject here.

            Edit: to dndnrsn below, forgot that, I read that one too.

          • dndnrsn says:

            Who are we even talking about, anyway? I can’t remember when whoever it was (Jill/Moon?) posted a roll call thread.

            @Brad: No Animal Farm? It’s good.

            EDIT: For your last point, David Friedman (can’t recall if he’s going with or without a space these days) shows up every time someone starts shittalking Muslim immigration; I recall at least a couple threads that were a weird mix of him talking about Muslim history and me, and, uh, I think Iain (neither an ancap but anyway) talking about the generally positive experience of Muslim immigration in Canada.

          • suntzuanime says:

            If you want to understand why Orwell is being brought up in this context, I recommend you read The Road to Wigan Pier.

          • quanta413 says:

            Heck we’ve got at least a handful of regular posters that think the rule against marital rape ought to repealed.

            I haven’t been around as long as a lot of people here. Proof? Off the top of my head, I can think of only one example who even might believe this and largely speaking, he’s so far out the overton window of having even similar values that most people are basically ignoring him. Unless I’m mistaken in memory, then he’s not even in the top 50 posters on the link of data thanks to rlms that HeelBearCub linked to

          • gbdub says:

            Hmm, my impression is that we have frequent immigration discussions, and that we rarely debate gay marriage (although we do frequently debate whether it’s okay to fire/boycott people for supporting anti-gay marriage, that’s different, and different in a way that illustrates the point I’m trying to make).

            Is it possible that we’re all internally filtering for the stuff that piques our interest? Mechanically scraping the comments is an interesting exercise, but might not reveal much about what results in a lot of commentary (or what results in memorable commentary). I’m apparently in the top 50 of commenters by volume, and even I don’t consistently read every comment (realistically I doubt I even read 50% thoroughly). Something I comment on today I might ignore or miss tomorrow.

            Anyway, I’m not disagreeing that anti-SJ posts do not result in a 50-50 split. Clearly the comments weigh to the anti- side. But again, when considering clash I think you have to consider the context outside the blog too, and I think the blog provides enough clash, and a safe enough space, to trigger the release of pent-up desire to make anti-SJ comments.

            And some of it is probably top level content too. I’d be interested in Scott putting together more posts on immigration, assimilation, and crime, with his typical thoroughness.

          • dndnrsn says:

            I too would like to see those topics covered by Scott. It’s a subject where I’m not sure who to trust. I think if Scott were to set out to answer the question “so what do Swedish crime statistics actually show” that would be valuable.

            As for different perceptions of what gets discussed here: I don’t really know enough about AI or global warming to contribute to discussions, I don’t know enough to get much from those discussions, and I’ve kind of filed them under “if this is gonna kill me I probably can’t do anything about it anyway” so I just ignore them. It seems like they’re kind of a big deal here?

          • Nornagest says:

            Pronounced like “scum”, obviously.

            Disappointing. I’d been pronouncing it in my head like “squam”, as in “squamous and rugose”.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            HeelBearCub, I think of myself as a liberal-flavored libertarian.

            SSC comments tend to be to the right of what I find ideally comfortable, so maybe I count as left in this venue.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Gdub – “There may not be a lot of pro-SJ posters here’s, but there are enough to provide some clash.”

            As an anti-SJ person, no there aren’t. The debate here is down to “SJ: horrible or literally the worst?”, and mostly consists of a loop of the same few talking points over and over again.

            @Brad – “There are all these anti-SJ posts precisely because the audience is so friendly, the ranters aren’t looking for a good debate. If they were they wouldn’t be posting about the subject here.”

            More or less. Possibly looking to discuss it with the non-SJ left. If we were looking to discuss it with actual SJ types, we’d be over at ToT, where the tenor of the discussions is notably different.

            Beyond that, I endorse pretty much everything you’ve written in this thread, and am mystified by some of the replies you are receiving.

          • Aapje says:

            @FacelessCraven & @Brad

            I consider the SJ discussions here to be mostly disappointing, because they tend to go meta very quickly. Generally, nobody really dares/wants to defend the SJ side, and the SJ-critical posts just get nitpicked, but without offering a critique on their substance, just that they are not charitable enough.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ Barely matters
            Using myself as an example, I would clearly fall into the ‘posts anti-sj culture war topics’ category if I were to post more, despite believing and voting leftward on virtually every axis (Gay marriage, abortion, equality, redistribution, etc).

            Me too.

            I often resent seeing people who think similarly to the way I do characterized as ‘right aligned posters’.

            But how would a reader here know how someone aligns in real life, if zie didn’t indicate it here? I do worry that I’m not indicating my leftism often enough here.

            / Cue chorus of “It’s okay, Tinkerbell, we do believe you!” /

          • Aapje says:

            Perhaps we should have virtue signal open threads, where we describe our beliefs about a certain topic.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @FacelessCraven
            The debate here is down to “SJ: horrible or literally the worst?”, and mostly consists of a loop of the same few talking points over and over again.

            There’s one anti-SJ/W point I’d like to hear more on. I think it was here that someone mentioned a factor that could be part cause of my horror of some of their rhetoric — that it damages Enlightenment Values.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @FacelessCraven: (and also @Brad and @Aapje I suppose)

            ToT stopped doing Open Threads. I post there occasionally, but if posts are all about a specific topic, going over there to twist everything around to be like “SJ PEOPLE COME OUT AND PLAY” would be rude for people do do. And it’s not exactly like that’s a hugely pro-SJ place, by the standards of the wider internet.

            I just realized 71.5 is the “no culture war” thread, so probably not the place for this, but we should have a pro-SJ thread where we discuss where we agree with it, on the object level only, to try to break up the monotony of the whole thing.

            Possible rules: opening statements can only be pro (eg, “I think SJ people tend to be right about…”), object level only, all anti-statements must be backed up with concrete examples and not reach beyond them, ?

          • Iain says:

            @Aapje:

            I consider the SJ discussions here to be mostly disappointing, because they tend to go meta very quickly. Generally, nobody really dares/wants to defend the SJ side, and the SJ-critical posts just get nitpicked, but without offering a critique on their substance, just that they are not charitable enough.

            Here is the entirety of a response from lower down the page:

            Except SJ really is that bad, at least as far as many people here are concerned. You are walking up to that table of Russian expats and telling them to stop blaming Stalin for everything bad that happened. Newsflash: it really was Stalin’s fault, and social justice really has destroyed communities and cultures we loved.

            There is no “substance” there to critique. This is just an unfounded gripe about an underspecified boogeyman. This is not out of the norm for the SSC comment section — indeed, as I have previously argued, it is precisely this kind of retreat to vague generalities that enables the anti-SJ zeitgeist to exist. When nobody is giving details about what parts of “SJ” they dislike, it is much easier to ignore that people mean very different things. (I will bring up, once again, the comment that called Keith Ellison’s DNC candidacy “social justice madness” because he is a Muslim.)

            The other common strain of anti-SJ comments are the “this is what the SJWs believe” straw men. Take, for example, the conversation between the Nybbler and dndnrsn lower down, in which the Nybbler posits: “By SJ rules, a white man is not allowed to point this out.” As dndnrsn correctly replies, that’s not true — speaking as a straight cis white man, I would feel pretty comfortable raising that point in SJ circles. Is that just a nitpick? What more substance is there that demands a response?

            A lot of people have described SSC as a safe space to vent about SJ-related topics. Consider that this might not be conducive to robust object-level discussion of SJ topics.

          • The Nybbler says:

            that it damages Enlightenment Values

            I think I’ve mentioned that in one or more rants both here and on the subreddit. But I don’t have more to say than I have already.

            On the horrible/the worst dichotomy, I guess I have to pick horrible, just due to the lack of crucifixions, mass graves, and skull pyramids; “the worst” is hard to achieve. But horrible they are.

          • Aapje says:

            @dndnrsn

            I just realized 71.5 is the “no culture war” thread, so probably not the place for this, but we should have a pro-SJ thread where we discuss where we agree with it, on the object level only, to try to break up the monotony of the whole thing.

            I’ve thought about it, but it seems pretty hopeless.

            My basic position is that the low hanging fruit that can be achieved by SJ has pretty much already been achieved. There are really no sexist laws against women anymore*, racist laws against black people, etc. Remaining issues that harm these groups are usually due to gender/race norms, stereotyping or other ‘soft’ forms of discrimination; or Moloch. From my perspective, SJ never had a good understanding of soft discrimination, because they usually portray it as one group forcing their norms on others, which is very false.

            Actual reality is that groups tend to form an identity to rally around. Many women have rallied around the identity of care giver. Many men have rallied around the identity of provider. Boys and black people regularly rally around an anti-intellectual identity, which harms them. Of course, these identities are highly influenced by what other people tell them is the right thing to be.

            Some SJ people have correctly argued that social norms should change to be more accepting of people who have different identities, but this clashes enormously with identity politics. Jeffrey Escofier argued: “Identity politics – very much like nationalism – requires the development of rigid definitions of the boundaries between those who have particular collective identities and those who do not.” Such rigid definitions are the opposite of accepting diversity.

            In general, a major complaint I have about SJ is that there are a gazillion such inconsistencies. So any “I think SJ people tend to be right about…” must invariably be followed by “but they are not actually consistently applying this” or such.

            I’ve got an interesting piece by Julia Serano at hand though, perhaps we can discuss that.

            * anti-abortion laws are a bit special in that it seems pretty obvious that the aim of the laws is to stop abortions, which just happens to be something that is only an option for women. I have no doubt that the laws would not exclude men if they had uteruses, so I don’t rate these laws as sexist, but this is of course a controversial belief.

          • Aapje says:

            @Iain

            Except SJ really is that bad, at least as far as many people here are concerned. You are walking up to that table of Russian expats and telling them to stop blaming Stalin for everything bad that happened. Newsflash: it really was Stalin’s fault, and social justice really has destroyed communities and cultures we loved.

            There is no “substance” there to critique.

            People were accused of treating SJ as the boogie man, and the person you quoted argued that there was actual substance behind the claims, although he indeed did not give examples. Then again, you responded with no substance of your own by calling this person out, rather than asking for examples. Don’t you see that you are contributing to this dynamic and then blaming ‘the other’ for it, rather than breaking the cycle yourself?

            BTW, I just realized that a very similar argument is often seen the other way around, where non-feminists argue that ‘the patriarchy’ is a boogie man and then you see responses like:

            Except the patriarchy really is that bad, at least as far as many people here are concerned. You are walking up to that table of feminists and telling them to stop blaming the patriarchy for everything bad that happened. Newsflash: it really was the patriarchy’s fault, and the patriarchy really has destroyed communities and cultures we loved.

            It’s often sad/amusing that you regularly see both sides use the same rhetoric, but in different situations; where they see it as a completely valid point when it’s in their favor and bad rhetoric when used against them.

            The other common strain of anti-SJ comments are the “this is what the SJWs believe” straw men. Take, for example, the conversation between the Nybbler and dndnrsn lower down, in which the Nybbler posits: “By SJ rules, a white man is not allowed to point this out.” As dndnrsn correctly replies, that’s not true — speaking as a straight cis white man, I would feel pretty comfortable raising that point in SJ circles. Is that just a nitpick? What more substance is there that demands a response?

            Do you agree that outgroups generally get less allowances to make criticism?

            Do you agree that white men are the outgroup to most of SJ?

            Now, I agree that Nybbler’s statement is a generalization and paints all SJ spaces with a broad brush. But your claim is just as much a broad brush, based on a hypothetical anecdote. You could have pointed out that you don’t think that SJ spaces police as much as he argues, then you’d given him an olive branch to grasp, where he could have weakened his claim.

            Or you could have agreed on an experiment in a SJ space to see whether the comment gets removed.

            Instead, you call him out, he calls you out, sigh, snore, move on.

          • The Nybbler says:

            People were accused of treating SJ as the boogie man, and the person you quoted argued that there was actual substance behind the claims, although he indeed did not give examples.

            Examples have been given ad nauseum in previous threads and posts (earlier posts in “things-i-regret-writing” are particularly rich in them). By now if you’re involved in culture war arguments you’re probably either aware of them and agree that SJ is indeed the boogieman, or you’ve decided to dismiss them as unimportant. (e.g., paraphrased, “just campuses and a few blue-state industries”). There’s not really much point in going over them again.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Aapje:

            It’s often sad/amusing that you regularly see both sides use the same rhetoric, but in different situations; where they see it as a completely valid point when it’s in their favor and bad rhetoric when used against them.

            This is supposed to be a place for fearless rational discussion without letting emotion take over, though. “It’s like STALIN” is, uh, not a very high standard for that. If the line is going to be “more rational than other places” perhaps being more rational would be a good place to start.

            @The Nybbler:

            Examples have been given ad nauseum in previous threads and posts (earlier posts in “things-i-regret-writing” are particularly rich in them). By now if you’re involved in culture war arguments you’re probably either aware of them and agree that SJ is indeed the boogieman, or you’ve decided to dismiss them as unimportant. (e.g., paraphrased, “just campuses and a few blue-state industries”). There’s not really much point in going over them again.

            Gave no examples to justify “like Stalin.” Let’s take every single example of people who have aligned themselves with SJ doing something shitty. If we add those all up… if Stalin had done no worse than that, he would have been the cuddliest dictator in all of history. Stalin deported entire ethnic groups, was responsible for eight-digit deaths, enslaved half of Europe, etc. If he got a few scores of people fired, was responsible for shitty rules changes on campuses, and was generally obnoxious, we would not talk about him in the same breath as Hitler.

            I don’t think SJ is unimportant. But I think the degree of fear exhibited among some people in relation to what there actually is to be afraid of is fairly low.

          • rlms says:

            Is “scores of people fired” actually accurate? I can think of exactly two examples off the top of my head. Perhaps if you include people who have lost their businesses (e.g. due to refusing to bake cakes for gay marriages) as part of the normal functioning of a free market you can get up to one score, but I doubt 1.5 score is reachable.

          • Brad says:

            @Aapje

            I consider the SJ discussions here to be mostly disappointing

            So maybe stop starting them? It’s a crazy idea, but it just might work!

            @The Nybbler

            There’s not really much point in going over them again.

            There’s no point in making histrionic sweeping statements with nothing to back them up either, but somehow that doesn’t stop you.

            @dndnrsn
            Re: pro SJ thread
            I think it is a bad idea and I pre-commit to not participating.

          • Iain says:

            @Aapje: Come on. dndnrsn points out that people tend to use SJ as an unspecified boogeyman, the Nybbler responds by doing exactly that, and you conclude that I am the one bringing down the quality of the discourse? Do I have to request examples from literally everybody making nebulous attacks against “SJ” before I am allowed to point out that they are doing so? I have been consistently requesting more specificity in this kind of comment for quite some time now — indeed, I suspect that my modal comment on SSC starts with “Would you care to provide an example of X?” If this were an object-level thread about SJ, I probably would have asked for an example. However, this is clearly not that sort of thread.

            If I posted your edited version of the quote, with “SJ” replaced with “patriarchy”, I would get dogpiled into oblivion, especially if I didn’t follow it up with several paragraphs of explanation. I can’t imagine anybody posting like that on SSC for more than a week or so without becoming a social pariah. I don’t care whether people post like that elsewhere on the internet. SSC is a place that claims to expect better. In many cases, it actually does do better. Anti-SJ content, for whatever reason, gets a free pass.

            Do you agree that outgroups generally get less allowances to make criticism? Do you agree that white men are the outgroup to most of SJ?

            The majority of SJ-ish people I know are straight, white, and cis. (I’d have to stop and think about whether there are more men than women.) The outgroup to most of SJ is “people who don’t agree with SJ principles”. Although being an anti-SJ white dude is probably worse than being an anti-SJ non-white non-dude, there are very few SJ-adjacent circles in which being a white dude is a meaningful social disadvantage on its own.

            The rest of your post is weird. Yes, if I had engaged with the comments I used as examples, instead of just using them as examples, there are ways in which I could have done so constructively. But I wasn’t participating in those threads — I was participating in this one. When I do participate in that kind of thread, I make an effort to be constructive. If you would like to provide an example where you feel that I did not do so, feel free. But I also think you might want to take some time to consider why it is that you feel compelled to complain about my tone and strategy, but never seem to apply the same principles to anti-SJ comments.

            Why is the entire burden of having a reasonable discussion about SJ laid on the shoulders of one side?

            At some point, if I find time and energy, I might write up a “feminism for rationalists” effort-post. Until then, I will engage with the posts that are actually made in this comment section. If you are disappointed with how that turns out, maybe you should reconsider your strategy of one-sided nagging.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @rlms:

            I put down “scores” (nb: which I do mean as “twenty”, not in its colloquial meaning as “lots”) as a hedge. Off the top of my head I can think of 2 or 3 people, and only one by name. However, I did not want to say “a few” or “half a dozen” or whatever and have someone show up with a list with 60 names on it, or whatever and . It is also nebulous what “fired” and “SJ” mean in this context – forced to step down count? Voluntarily stepped down? If something happened before “SJ” was a common term, would that count? Etc. “Scores” was the largest number that I figured seemed plausible so I used it to give myself wiggle room.

            @Brad:

            Well, what would you suggest? Just avoid the topic altogether? I agree entirely with you and Iain that the boogey status is tiresome.

            @Iain:

            That would be interesting. Please do.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Iain:

            At some point, if I find time and energy, I might write up a “feminism for rationalists” effort-post.

            I would find this interesting and I would participate in a hopefully constructive and supportive manner. I will say it can be exhausting. I did a couple of OT topics way back when on the concept of affirmative consent with very little in the way of supportive posts from others.

            The outgroup to most of SJ is “people who don’t agree with SJ principles”.

            I completely agree with this, but it’s not uncommon (especially in internet discussion) to see this shorthanded as “white men”. No shit, my best friend from 3rd grade on posted the day after the election something along the lines of “We all know the problem is white men. Can I give my race and gender back?”

            But, I also think this is unremarkable. Comments about the outgroup, any outgroup, are frequently incoherent when examined logically (and especially when evaluated vs. the ingroup). Example are innumerable. Comments about favorite sports teams are some of the best places to see this illustrated in a clear fashion.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @dndnrsn

            Yes, they’re not literally Stalin or literally as bad as Stalin. Even the fictional Michael Myers (the “boogieman” of the Halloween series) was a piker compared to Stalin.

            As for how many people they’ve gotten fired… you only hear about the high profile ones. Joe Nobody working in the trenches at Pied Piper and fired for quoting _Harrison Bergeron_… well, he’s probably not going to talk about it.

            Even with the high-profile ones there’s disagreement. Do we count Brandon Eich… he “resigned”, after all? How about Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder? Probably not; he’s pre-SJ. Amit Singhal? And if so, do we count him once or twice? Tim Hunt we definitely count, but do we count every position he lost or just count him once?

            And what of the long list of nobodies claimed to have been fired as a result of the “racistsgettingfired” tumblr? Can we count them all?

          • Brad says:

            dndnrsn

            Well, what would you suggest? Just avoid the topic altogether? I agree entirely with you and Iain that the boogey status is tiresome.

            From my point of view a permanent culture war topic ban would be preferable to the status quo. If it drove away some of the posters that post about nothing else, so be it.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @The Nybbler:

            Yes, they’re not literally Stalin or literally as bad as Stalin. Even the fictional Michael Myers (the “boogieman” of the Halloween series) was a piker compared to Stalin.

            So, then, my point that it is completely absurd to compare to Stalin is entirely sound?

            As for how many people they’ve gotten fired… you only hear about the high profile ones. Joe Nobody working in the trenches at Pied Piper and fired for quoting _Harrison Bergeron_… well, he’s probably not going to talk about it.

            Has anyone been fired for quoting “Harrison Bergeron”?

            Even with the high-profile ones there’s disagreement. Do we count Brandon Eich… he “resigned”, after all? How about Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder? Probably not; he’s pre-SJ. Amit Singhal? And if so, do we count him once or twice? Tim Hunt we definitely count, but do we count every position he lost or just count him once?

            I’ve addressed this – the definitions are nebulous. Jimmy the Greek sounds like a bit of a stretch – he was fired before most people identifying with SJ were even born.

            And what of the long list of nobodies claimed to have been fired as a result of the “racistsgettingfired” tumblr? Can we count them all?

            How long is the list? If you count them all, how many do you get?

            @Brad:

            What’s “culture war” though? Seems like an awfully broad topic to ban.

          • lvlln says:

            @The Nybbler

            As for how many people they’ve gotten fired… you only hear about the high profile ones. Joe Nobody working in the trenches at Pied Piper and fired for quoting _Harrison Bergeron_… well, he’s probably not going to talk about it.

            I don’t think this is helpful and sounds kinda like what would come from a paranoid conspiracy theorist. It’s unfortunate that so many incidences of SJW bullying doesn’t leave behind readily accessible evidence that we can point to. That lack of evidence means that we don’t get to pretend that it’s a lot or a little. We just don’t know either way and don’t get to darkly hint that it’s one.

            More important to me, personally, is that the harm exists even if the number of people actually fired turned out to be small. You only need the occasional head on a pike to reassert your dominance so that everyone else keeps in line.

          • A few tangents on a long and not very enlightening thread:

            I will bring up, once again, the comment that called Keith Ellison’s DNC candidacy “social justice madness” because he is a Muslim.

            A nice example of the ambiguity of such conversations. It could mean either:

            1: Muslims shouldn’t have important positions and SJ people want to give him one.

            Which I suspect is in the direction the quote above is suggesting, although I could easily be wrong.

            Or

            2: Having a Muslim, one with a past history of supporting Farrakhan and the NOI, in a prominent position will cost the Democrats votes, the only reason why people who want the Democrats to win elections favor him over an equally qualified alternative who won’t cost them votes is to prove how unprejudiced they are, and that is SJ madness.

            It’s often sad/amusing that you regularly see both sides use the same rhetoric, but in different situations

            My standard example of that pattern is the similarity between the controversy over Alger Hiss and the controversy over Clarence Thomas. Very much the same logic, with the sides reversed.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            If “Did a sufficiently large number of people actually get hurt” is to be our threshold for caring about something, it would follow that SJW-bashing on SSC is one of the things we shouldn’t care about.

          • dndnrsn says:

            This is a random site on the internet, so the currency is probably “annoyance” rather than “human lives” plus the monotony of it probably reduces intellectual diversity and thus makes discussion less interesting and insightful.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Iain – “There is no “substance” there to critique. This is just an unfounded gripe about an underspecified boogeyman.”

            That’s because it’s an opening position. You could disagree and say you think SJ is a force for good on net, and then sides would draw up and start presenting evidence, but a) ten times as many anti-SJ people would show up as pro-SJ and so b) the anti-SJ people would have a great time ranting, and the pro-SJ people would be further embittered at being dogpiled. We’ve done this, many, many times before, and as of a few months ago “dogpiling” was one of the main complaints from left SSC posters.

            “[…] Take, for example, the conversation between the Nybbler and dndnrsn lower down, in which the Nybbler posits: “By SJ rules, a white man is not allowed to point this out.””

            I would actually be happy to defend a position in that general area, but then we would be having another goddamn SJ debate. I can try to mention SJ as little as possible, but that doesn’t stop other anti-SJ people from bringing it up. When they do, people can either engage, in which case it’s likely to turn into a dogpile, or stay out, in which case it’s sniping.

            Wat do?

            For those in this thread wishing for greater depth on the topic, I might go back at some point and try to dig up some of the previous debate threads.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            This is a random site on the internet, so the currency is probably “annoyance” rather than “human lives” plus the monotony of it probably reduces intellectual diversity and thus makes discussion less interesting and insightful.

            All true as far as it goes– I for one would be happy to see a topic ban on meta-discussion of political tribes generally. But given that there isn’t one, and that this is one of those random sites where people like to rant about annoyances, we might as well get used to the fact that the people who are annoyed by SJWs are going to be among the ones taking advantage.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @dndnrsn

            The analogy to Stalin is a metaphor, not an equivalence. As a metaphor goes, it’s a reasonably good one at explaining what it was trying to explain.

            The Harrison Bergeron thing was a reference to this, from the show _Silicon Valley_. The company is fictitious but the sort of atmosphere it depicts is quite real. As for anyone being fired literally for quoting “Harrison Bergeron”, I don’t know of it.

          • Iain says:

            @FacelessCraven:

            That’s because it’s an opening position. You could disagree and say you think SJ is a force for good on net…

            The problem with this is not just the dogpile. It’s that it’s an incredibly poorly defined question. The meaning of “SJ” varies widely on SSC, depending on who is saying it. I’m willing to defend quite a few SJ-ish positions. I’m not willing to take on the burden of defending every single thing at once.

            Wat do?

            My suggestion all along has been: be more specific. If you want to have a productive discussion, bring examples and definitions, not just dark sweeping claims about how the SJWs are ruining everything. If you think you can defend a position about white men not being allowed to point things out in SJW circles, then make that case. (Maybe not now, though, since I have things I need to get done.)

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @Aapje
            * anti-abortion laws are a bit special in that it seems pretty obvious that the aim of the laws is to stop abortions, which just happens to be something that is only an option for women. I have no doubt that the laws would not exclude men if they had uteruses, so I don’t rate these laws as sexist, but this is of course a controversial belief.

            This sounds like the logic of forbidding both rich and poor from sleeping under bridges, or more recently, forbidding both gays and straights from having same-sex marriages.

          • suntzuanime says:

            Unfortunately not everyone is the same. This means we can either not make laws, or make laws that impact different people differently. Or kill all but at most one person?

          • Aapje says:

            @houseboatonstyxb

            This sounds like the logic of forbidding both rich and poor from sleeping under bridges

            That is rather hollow criticism, since almost any law has disparate impact, because people are not all the same. Laws against speeding target the rich, since they more often own cars. Laws against DUI harm those with genes that make them prone to alcoholism: ableist! Laws against murder harm black people disproportionately, at the moment. It’s very hard to come up with any law that doesn’t have disparate impact.

            I think it’s generally more relevant to look at the motivations of those making the law. Do you think that if men would wake up tomorrow with uterus’s, conservative Christians would rush to get a law passed to legalize abortion specifically for men? Because that be inconsistent with their arguments against abortion.

            forbidding both gays and straights from having same-sex marriages.

            That is also a poor comparison, because there is no right that is similar to abortion, but slightly different, that men are allowed to have due to a technicality.

            In fact, reproductive law grants the man far less rights to decide on the outcome of his baby than the mother. Of course, there are biological reasons for this, but women have more options than men, legally.

        • dndnrsn says:

          Also, if SSC is a right-wing space, it’s a weird right-wing space. Example: I would say that this space is less positive towards feminism than the North American norm. I think that’s a safe thing to say. “This space” being the comment section and the general line of the comments.

          However, compared to the North American standard, SSC is less hostile towards LGBT people, esp. trans people (I would guess that “trans women are women; trans women are men; it is wrong to misgender people intentionally” is a minority opinion in North America; I would guess that among the commentariat here, it is the majority opinion). Compared to the North American right wing standard, massively so.

          Relative to gbdub’s comment above – SSC is a space with a lot of people who live in left-wing environments, and who have problems with some parts of those, but don’t want to go to the places where everything from those environments is rejected.

          (I kinda-sorta fall into this category; I would put myself to the left of the SSC commentariat average, and I’m certainly more friendly to feminism than the norm here, but the real-life bubble I’m in features some really distasteful elitism of a certain left-wing variety. Put simply I’ve gotten really tired of hypocritical rich white kids prancing around shouting their superiority to poor whites to the skies)

          I would like not to be a dwindling remnant of lefties here.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            SSC is a weird space. I think that is pretty much confirmed.

            And sure, refugees from non-nuanced left-wing spaces may flock here.

            But there is a generally accepted non-nuanced treatment of let-wing spaces here. Which has always grated me.

          • gbdub says:

            I disagree that this space is less positive to feminism than the North American norm (especially since North America properly includes Mexico).

            It does spend more time critiquing “SJW” behaviors of modern feminists than is probably the norm, but at least some of that is because it’s made of of members more likely to be exposed to it (i.e. “Red Tribers” might hear and occasionally complain about campus PC freak outs, but they are less likely to be friends with multiple people who participated in / supported one).

          • gbdub says:

            @HeelBearCub – wouldn’t refugees from non-nuanced left-wing spaces be expected to have “non-nuanced” views of left wing spaces, since that’s their observed reality?

            And how nuanced is your view of this space? Some times it is difficult to distinguish your comments from “things I disagree with get less criticism than things I agree with, therefore this place is biased”.

            EDIT: I want to be clear I like having you around and hope you stay. But I do find this hobbyhorse a bit grating myself. Continue to push back at specific bad comments though.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @gbdub:

            Well, we all have our hills to die on. Sorry.

            But I wouldn’t have brought it up, except that Scott is reaching a conclusion (perhaps for unconscious self-serving reasons, perhaps genuinely) that I don’t believe is supported.

            Given that the reporting things which are actually false is one of Scott’s hobby-horses, well, I think I can hardly be faulted.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @HeelBearCub:

            Yeah, that’s what grates on me. The culture is supposed to be all about charity and precision, and then all of a sudden liberals are the same as the Cheka (sometimes, there’s a little more nuance, and the liberals are acknowledged to only be holding the coats of the Cheka).

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            The “refugees” term is pretty important.

            Imagine a bunch of Russian refugees who fled Stalin’s USSR in 1923, all sitting around a pub table in Berlin or New York or someplace. They are surely all patriotic Russians who love the motherland. Maybe they were loyal revolutionaries who hated the Tsar, or were Communists for a while, or are even still Communists now. But what’s going to unify them all in bitterness is that they had to flee their home because of Josef Stalin, and at any given moment he’s what they’re probably bitching about.

            An outside observer might mistake them all for Tsarists, the way they go on about how terrible things are in Russia now. But that view would be simplistic at best.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @ThirteenthLetter:
            Sure, that makes sense. People will bitch about being refugees. I get that.

            But it’s never really a fair analogy to include Stalin. I think he is implicitly included in the corollary to Godwin’s law that says who ever brings up Hitler first loses the argument.

            We could extend the argument, both to illustrate the problems of the analogy, and illustrate how it makes the conversation difficult.

            Some of the refugees are Jewish, but the leader of the group (also Jewish) thinks Hitler receives entirely too much criticism. Other people in the group agree, but many because they are anti-semites. The Jews in the group keep showing up because it’s the only gathering of Russian intellectuals around, but they constantly feel slightly unwelcome. Words like “kike” get thrown around frequently.

          • CatCube says:

            @HBC

            But it’s never really a fair analogy to include Stalin. I think he is implicitly included in the corollary to Godwin’s law that says who ever brings up Hitler first loses the argument.

            I’ll buy that one when the sight of a Hammer and Sickle on a college campus is treated the same way as a Swastika, or people get kicked out for wearing a Che Guevera T-shirt.

            Stalin occupies a different cultural space than Hitler, even though he shouldn’t.

          • gbdub says:

            @heelBearCub

            But I wouldn’t have brought it up, except that Scott is reaching a conclusion (perhaps for unconscious self-serving reasons, perhaps genuinely) that I don’t believe is supported.

            To the extent I’m irritated (and I’m really not), that’s why. You assert that Scott is incorrect, unsupported, and even self-serving, precisely when he has provided fresh new support for his position and you have not. And Scott’s new info explains your own gut feel (the farther left you are, the more likely you are to think the comments are right-biased, and vice versa, but the plurality believes the comments mostly neutral)! I think you have to examine the possible implications of that before you assert that Scott’s new data is flat wrong.

            And I guess I’m still scratching my head about the point of this exercise, if you propose no action (other than you personally giving up on the whole thing).

            What’s unfortunate to me is that we have this argument seemingly every other open thread, and it’s the one topic guaranteed to bring out all the commentariat’s left-of-SSC-center (LOSSCC) posters. Perhaps if similar effort was put into actual creating high quality LOSSCC content, the problem, such as it is, would self correct. Hopefully this explains why I find this thread a bit grating despite appreciating most of your efforts to point out specific poor comments (without resorting to poor quality comments yourself).

          • dndnrsn says:

            Well, what’s left of centre here?

          • quanta413 says:

            Well, what’s left of centre here?

            Good question! Things I would say don’t count as left of center here even though they would in most places.

            1) Universal Basic Income.
            2) Utilitarianism.
            3) Anti-imperialism.

            Here all of those things without being added to other left wing things just make you a libertarian that some people here might even interpret as having possible crypto-Trumpist sympathies.

            EDIT:

            What’s unfortunate to me is that we have this argument seemingly every other open thread, and it’s the one topic guaranteed to bring out all the commentariat’s left-of-SSC-center (LOSSCC) posters. Perhaps if similar effort was put into actual creating high quality LOSSCC content, the problem, such as it is, would self correct. Hopefully this explains why I find this thread a bit grating despite appreciating most of your efforts to point out specific poor comments

            Gonna be honest, kind of feeling this way too even though I’d be surprised if it was objectively true. And just to be clear what I would not include in high quality left of center content, I wouldn’t consider criticisms of trump high quality left of center content. It’s just beating a very, very dead horse. I agree that he is terrible, but that doesn’t make reading or responding worth my time. As far as I’m concerned, every ounce of attention paid to Trump in these comments is basically empowering the evil chaos gods. And now I must go repent for saying his name twice in one post.

          • dndnrsn says:

            Is the “centre” here against same-sex marriage, trans rights, ?

          • gbdub says:

            I think it’s a good question too! But both HeelBearCub and brad assert they occupy that space, and also a desire for the center of here to move farther left. So I’m curious how they would explicitly define it.

          • dndnrsn says:

            My preference would be for the sloppiness and lack of charity that pops up whenever the left comes up to stop. Examples:

            -the narrative of history whereby the everything that has happened since the French monarchy fell is read as the neverending victory of “the left”; anything that doesn’t fit into that gets discarded (“communism fell? Well, you see, it was replaced by a different kind of communism“)
            -“SJ” as boogeyperson
            -“left” and “liberal” used as synonyms

          • quanta413 says:

            Is the “centre” here against same-sex marriage, trans rights, ?

            Good question. I can only answer for myself. I am for same-sex marriage, but roughly being a crazy libertarian I also think that the government tax code being structured to reflect things like marriage etc. is non ideal. However, given a reasonably level of what is plausible, I think legislatures ratifying the supreme court decision into explicit law if they can so as to prevent decades of Roe v Wade type cultural combat would be ideal.

            As far as trans rights, that’s somewhat more complex, but leave aside for a moment the obvious part that murdering or ostracizing people from work for irrelevant reasons is wrong. When considering things such as bathroom laws, etc. trans people are so rare that I think it could go either way. Small amount of emotional harm to a lot of people vs larger amount of emotional harm to a much smaller group of people. I don’t care enough to seriously figure out where I stand since I view things such as bathroom laws as relatively unimportant even if I could decide what I thought was better compared to health policy, entitlements, education policy, military actions etc.

            the narrative of history whereby the everything that has happened since the French monarchy fell is read as the neverending victory of “the left”; anything that doesn’t fit into that gets discarded

            Agreed. Sometimes is brought up. Is very silly. Capitalism has largely been victorious over the old state control socialists of old. Now the usage of state control is back to the ancient arrangement of power struggles between elites. Although redistribution is still strong, it has rather different effects.

            “left” and “liberal” used as synonyms

            I don’t think we’re going to get that. U.S. politics have made them synonymous. Which is bizarre given the original meaning where I would be a liberal and so would Friedrich Hayek.

          • Evan Þ says:

            However, given a reasonably level of what is plausible, I think legislatures ratifying the supreme court decision into explicit law if they can so as to prevent decades of Roe v Wade type cultural combat would be ideal.

            I don’t think that would do it. Since the Supreme Court has already kept such laws from having any practical effect, it’s very possible that next to no one would care – until someone tries changing the law one way or another.

            Did you know that the North Carolina state constitution still bans atheists from holding public office? And a 1971 amendment to change that failed? Probably not – and that’s why I don’t think trying to explicitly change the marriage laws now would mean anything.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @quanta413

            I don’t think we’re going to get that. U.S. politics have made them synonymous. Which is bizarre given the original meaning where I would be a liberal and so would Friedrich Hayek.

            Even within that, though, there are people on the left who aren’t liberals, is my point.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @gbdub:

            What’s unfortunate to me is that we have this argument seemingly every other open thread

            OK, I didn’t actually start this, Scott did. He formulated the questionnaire and wrote the conclusion that specifically prompted me to post this. I am pushing back on what I view is a clearly erroneous conclusion.

            Go back upthread. Look at those commenting numbers by volume. Then tell me again how I am imagining a right-wing tilt to the comments.

            The reason why it gets brought up over and over is simply that people continue to insist that there isn’t a right wing tilt to the comments or that the comments (as Scott seems to conclude) have a left-wing tilt. People don’t want to accept that the comments actually tilt right-wing.

            Note we haven’t even ever touched my last question in the OP, because people are too busy fighting about the first two points. I think this actually raises some interesting questions about how attempting to base research on answers to questionnaires can lead to incorrect conclusions. It might even point to some potential reasons for lack of some replications.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            -“SJ” as boogeyperson

            Except SJ really is that bad, at least as far as many people here are concerned. You are walking up to that table of Russian expats and telling them to stop blaming Stalin for everything bad that happened. Newsflash: it really was Stalin’s fault, and social justice really has destroyed communities and cultures we loved.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @dndnrsn – Heyo. I wish I coulda finished our last conversation, but real life intervened.

            “I would like not to be a dwindling remnant of lefties here.”

            The ideological sort doesn’t happen because people are insufficiently virtuous. It’s Moloch.

            “What’s unfortunate to me is that we have this argument seemingly every other open thread, and it’s the one topic guaranteed to bring out all the commentariat’s left-of-SSC-center (LOSSCC) posters. Perhaps if similar effort was put into actual creating high quality LOSSCC content, the problem, such as it is, would self correct.”

            When I’m bored, I like watching beekeeping videos on youtube. I’m pretty sure bees don’t understand structural engineering or architectural planning or anything like that. They just have this wax stuff that shows up, and they think it would go real good right… there. And that happens to be where the wax needs to be to make a nicely tessellated honeycomb.

            Think of people posting here as bees. The majority of the time, people aren’t planning what they’re going to post. They just read through all the neat comments, and then something strikes their eye and starts the wax forming, and they form it into a cell of a shape and position that fits their instincts. This is easy and low-effort and fun, so it’s probably most of the posting that happens here. It also generates the spectrum of posts you currently see, and the frustrations you currently see when what is easy and pleasant to post for a majority here is obnoxious and frustrating to a minority. Asking the minority to post stuff to make up the difference won’t work; they are already posting what is easy and pleasant for them to post, and asking them to solve their frustration by expending extra effort isn’t going to solve the base problem and in fact is probably going to burn them out quicker.

            The most likely solutions are to either ban the annoying topics, ban right-wing posters until something more like balance is achieved, or both. As I mention every time this comes up, I think either solution would be dandy.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @ThirteenthLetter:

            Except SJ really is that bad, at least as far as many people here are concerned. You are walking up to that table of Russian expats and telling them to stop blaming Stalin for everything bad that happened. Newsflash: it really was Stalin’s fault, and social justice really has destroyed communities and cultures we loved.

            Come on. Stalin killed, at a minimum, something in the ballpark of 10 million people, enslaved half of Europe under the guise of liberating it, deported entire ethnic groups, sent people to labour camps, etc etc etc. Real-world harm of an enormous magnitude, to the point that he is among the worst human beings to have ever lived. How is there even a comparison?

            @FacelessCraven:

            What were we talking about again? I post here way too much…

            (you’re also quoting some stuff that isn’t me there)

            I think an “object level discussion of culture war only” rule might help. Above I toy with the idea of a pro-SJ thread – good or bad idea?

            And, yeah, Moloch, but if we don’t plant our flag in the sand and fight futilely against the tide, what’s even the point?

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            One of the things I hate about SJW is that way of taking metaphors uncharitably.

            Also, SJW has a wide streak of assymetrical empathy. Some people’s pain is extremely important, and other people’s pain is irrelevant.. Actually it’s hilarious if the latter group mentions any suffering caused by SJW.

            I think SJW is right about some things, in particular that there’s much more prejudice and damage caused by prejudice than most people want to admit. However, I think the streak of cruelty and the desire to replicate a prejudice system with different people on top means that SJW is much too dangerous to want it to have political power.

            Also, SJW is correct that good intentions shouldn’t be an unlimited excuse, and wrong in failing to apply that standard to itself.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Nancy Lebovitz:

            I don’t think that’s their desire, openly or secretly, and I think it is unfair to blame it on them, rather than on all humans. Humans (really, many/most animals; which group-living animals don’t?) tend towards building hierarchies, and so that tendency slips in everywhere. Human tendencies have a particularly sneaky way of worming their way into places where people say “we are striving against xyz!” or “xyz is not real and does not affect us!” For example, you have all sorts of groups that are officially nonhierarchal – with the result that people build informal hierarchies, without even knowing they’re doing it, and informal hierarchies can be nastier than formal. Human nature is basically pretty lousy and I don’t think anything humans do is capable of escaping it.

          • Aapje says:

            @dndnrsn

            The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

            I’m pretty sure that those big mass murderers whose names we mustn’t mention rationalized their actions as being for the good of mankind. As such, I consider the existence of these rationalizations as being unimportant in most contexts, especially to the question whether groups ought to be opposed for seeking harmful outcomes.

            Some cultures/groups lose the ability to correct themselves away from bad actions/thoughts/theories. This includes one particular group that tends to stereotype people by their race and rationalize committing harm on them; and also white supremacists (same for gender).

            From my perspective, if a group consistently displays serious bias against a ‘identity’ group and others in that movement do not stand up to them; then the entire movement is broken, dangerous and potentially one charismatic crazy leader away from doing horrible things, if the same brokenness that suppresses dissent within the movement gets rolled out onto society in general. We’ve seen this before in many places with Godwin-land as the most notorious example, so it’s far less unthinkable than it ought to be.

            Since we are doing examples: Here is Samantha Bee blaming white people for ruining America. Was she corrected for her racist remarks by any SJ-aligned news network, major SJ writer, etc? Haven’t seen it.

            What about Michael Kimmel? Was he called out for describing ‘angry white men’ as suffering ‘aggrieved entitlement’ because they are not content with being ‘scarred by underemployment and wage stagnation.’ It’s this kind of pathologizing of normal human desires/needs as entitlement that is absurd when contrasted with perhaps the main feminist demand of today: wage equality. How is it that higher wages is considered a major issue for women’s welfare, but men who want higher wages (or wages at all) are dismissed as having unreasonable entitlement?

            PS. Counter evidence to my examples are just a single example of a decent source who can reasonably be called SJ-aligned, calling out either of these people.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            @ dndnrsn:

            I don’t think that’s their desire, openly or secretly, and I think it is unfair to blame it on them, rather than on all humans. Humans (really, many/most animals; which group-living animals don’t?) tend towards building hierarchies, and so that tendency slips in everywhere. Human tendencies have a particularly sneaky way of worming their way into places where people say “we are striving against xyz!” or “xyz is not real and does not affect us!” For example, you have all sorts of groups that are officially nonhierarchal – with the result that people build informal hierarchies, without even knowing they’re doing it, and informal hierarchies can be nastier than formal. Human nature is basically pretty lousy and I don’t think anything humans do is capable of escaping it.

            I agree, which is why I think that SJ, a movement which wants to do away with formal hierarchies and generally doesn’t believe in human nature, is so dangerous.

          • dndnrsn says:

            Look, there’s a reason I personally subscribe to boring moderate liberalism, and think the world would be a better place if everyone was a boring moderate of one stripe or another. And even people who are boring moderates can get to doing bad shit they think is justified and are sure will work out.

            But… there are a lot of threats. There’s no shortage of movements all over the political compass that could inspire their adherents to do evil in the name of doing good. I think the endless focus on one particular movement that has not done a great deal of real-world evil here is silly. I just don’t think the amount of worry here correlates in any reasonable way to the amount of harm.

            For example, Wilsonian types confident that this time intervention will create stable liberal democracies instead of chaos and suffering have caused, in the past 15 years, millions of times more damage than obnoxious left-wing activists of a certain sort (which we refer to in shorthand as “SJ”) have. Can they be the boogeyman around here for a while?

            EDIT: It occurs to me that, despite being boring and often somewhat moderate, where Wilsonians go wrong is in being utopians. I am against utopianism. Too bad “yay being boring, yay moderation, boo utopianism” is the least inspiring motto ever, eh?

          • IrishDude says:

            @HeelBearCub

            Go back upthread. Look at those commenting numbers by volume. Then tell me again how I am imagining a right-wing tilt to the comments.

            A few points, assuming you’re referring to rlms’s post here, where he says “Out of comments in the last 100 posts by the 5% (96) most prolific commenters who account for about 65% of comments, I estimate that 32% of comments were by left-wing authors, 40% right-wing, 15% libertarian, 4% other, 10% couldn’t be determined.”

            1. A post by a left-wing or right-wing author doesn’t imply a left-wing or right-wing comment. I’m libertarian, but I’ve posted about hang gliding and other non-political things. Also, some people may classify libertarian as right-wing, but I’ve made arguments on SSC in favor of organ markets, which doesn’t fall in traditional right or left-wing orthodoxy, and I’ve posted in support of open borders, a more traditionally left position.

            It’s possible that people of different political persuasions are more or less likely to post in support of their ‘tribes’ orthodoxy, or more or less likely to make non-political comments. This would skew how the comments section is perceived, making a simple tally of the general political affiliation of frequent posters indeterminate for the political tilt of the comment section.

            2. rlms only classified the prolific posters who contributed to 65% of the comments (reasonably, as classifying the rest of posters would require exhaustive effort). Given the SSC survey results that less-frequent commenters tilt left, most of the 35% of comments made by politically-unclassified posters is likely to skew left. This would up the distribution of left-wing posters, indeterminately, from the 32% estimated by rlms above.

            3. It would be nice to validate the assumptions rlms had about left/right/libertarian/other. It’s possible the political affiliations were incorrectly assigned for some posters.

            4. The SSC survey had the following distribution of responses to whether there is ideological bias among the commenters, with 1 biased toward conservative and 5 biased toward liberal:
            1-2.3%
            2-20.8%
            3-53.4%
            4-21.6%
            5-2.0%

            Whatever your perception is of the comments on SSC, the general readership (which leans liberal) is about evenly split, with 76.9% of readers finding no conservative bias among commenters.

          • Can they [Wilsonian interventionists] be the boogeyman around here for a while?

            Wilsonian interventionists do a great deal of damage to people far from almost everyone commenting here. I don’t think it surprising that hostility is much more likely to be expressed against people seen by those expressing it as a threat to themselves and those they identify with.

            That is, of course, a reason to expect hostility to Trump to appear here as well–unless you agree with him, you have to see him as more of a short term risk than SJW. My guess as to why there isn’t as much as one might expect is that there is so much of it in other spaces most of us also function in.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @DavidFriedman

            Wilsonian interventionists do a great deal of damage to people far from almost everyone commenting here.

            Really? American (or British) dead in the Iraqi war are closer to home than Iraqi dead, the refugee crisis (which is putting pressure on Europe) is in large part caused, exacerbated, etc by foreign interference in North Africa and the Middle East, much enmity against Western countries is due at least in part to Wilsonian internationalism…

          • Aapje says:

            The problem with criticizing interventionism is that there is there is no tribe that can be blamed for it, as both are doing it 🙂

        • Deiseach says:

          As noted above, I think the binding force of the site (or at least the commentariat) is anti-feminism.

          Okay, I’m going to ask: what are the core principles of feminism that you think this site’s commentariat are against?

          gbdub mentioned “legal equality, legal abortion”. The former I’m in full support of, the latter I don’t agree with at all. If that makes me anti-feminist and a gender traitor, then okay. I do try not to get into arguments about abortion because nobody’s mind is going to be changed on that and at this stage I’m sick to the back teeth of the whole debate, especially as my country is running as hard as it can to legalise abortion (even in a limited form, which is not going to remain limited for long, if experience in other countries is anything to go by).

          So – votes for women? Yes, and this is one area where I disagreed with Chesterton. Equal access to education? Yes. Right to choose whom to marry? Yes. Equal pay for equal work? Yes, and again, I’m not going to get into arguments about the gender wage gap.

          Divorce, contraception, abortion, lesbian rights, trans rights? Now we’re getting to the sticky parts.

          What really drove (and drives) me mad in the American election debate was the trotting out of “women” as a monolithic whole in the mantra- “Trump’s policies will hurt womenudocumentedimmigrantspeopleofcolourgayandtranspeople”. Whenever “women” were mentioned, the assumption was that all women would naturally be backing Hillary, because all women wanted contraception as part of their employer-provided healthcare plan, access to OTC emergency contraception, abortion on demand, and the whole gamut of “reproductive justice”. Every single woman in America loved and supported Planned Parenthood.

          Every single woman? There were no women at all who might have been “I’ll have two from column A and three from column B but I’m not thrilled about column C”?

          So here in the same way: what does “anti-feminist” mean in the context you want to use it? Women are less intelligent than men, more driven by instinct and emotion, naturally are inclined to nurturing and care-giving roles, best find fulfillment as wives and mothers, and should leave politics and the world of work outside the domestic sphere to men? Rape culture and the patriarchy? Any woman who complains of sexual abuse/harassment/rape is lying and besides she was probably asking for it? Lesbians are over-masculine women who are mentally and physically deficient?

          What is your definition of “anti-feminist”? If it’s “you didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton”, then neither did I vote for Mary Robinson, the first female Irish president, who annoyed me for much the same attitude of queenly superiority deigning to enlighten the masses thanks to her legal background and hard work for self-promotion feminism and fighting for equality for all the little folks what weren’t clever, educated or nicely middle-class enough themselves to do so. Castle Catholic would have been the term that always came to my mind with the fawning over her in the national – which means in practice Dublin-based – media (yes, I’m letting all my prejudices hang out).

          (I did vote for our second female president, whose politics I found myself more in agreement with,even if not with all her views; does that redeem me somewhat or make me half a feminist?)

        • IrishDude says:

          I’ve become less and less interested in commenting, because anti-left posts get lots of further amplification posts, anti-right posts get the opposite. And forget about making a positive case for just about anything outside of anarcho-capitalism.

          I think I get a lot of critiques when I post in support of ancap. I consider that a good thing because that’s a lot of what I appreciate about posting on SSC. There’s many bright people of all political persuasions here who are good at articulating compelling counter-arguments from a variety of perspectives. From these critiques I learn new arguments I need to account for (and occasionally adjust to), and I also have to focus on understanding my own thoughts on the subject more clearly when I work on a response. Some critiques made on here I ponder over a few days and this reflection period is constructive to bettering my understanding of my beliefs.

          It is nice to see posts from others that make bright and articulate arguments in support of my political beliefs (like onyomi and David Friedman), which I think is what you mean by amplification. I wouldn’t appreciate SSC as much without that presence, but I still find the pushback to be very valuable. I’d feel a bit differently if the critiques were rudely made, but my personal experience has been that people here are mostly polite and just about everyone stops short of rude, with those going over the line badly or in a consistent manner getting the boot from Scott.

        • Fahundo says:

          What about those of us who are anti-feminist and also anti-Trump?

    • quanta413 says:

      In the spirit of charity, I’ll attempt to answer these for myself at least as someone who is extremely negatively inclined towards trump and vaguely positively inclined to feminism (well some forms of it), but feels no need to express this here.

      I don’t rush to criticize trump because I am drowning in an infinite sea of trump criticism which is mixed between fair and deranged, and I believe I have a 0% chance of changing anyone’s mind on this or accomplishing anything besides tribal signalling that will not work out well for me since I don’t map to either of the major U.S. political tribes well. I don’t remember if I’ve actually defended him and it doesn’t sound like something worth bothering with, but if I did it would probably be because I was hoping to help a rational human being not lose it for a moment.

      I don’t rush to defend feminism because I believe the bulk of what I agree with that may have once been a radical feminist claim is now effectively more or less accepted.

      Basically, I live in an insane liberal bubble (college campus) where I’m a blue tribe heretic. I literally cannot avoid the “ra ra! blue tribe” stuff if I wanted to. I come here for a different perspective/community that aligns vaguely better with my own perspective and that I find refreshing. But honestly, culture wars stuff is by far the least interesting thing discussed here and easily decays into nothing but heat.

      • lvlln says:

        I don’t rush to criticize trump because I am drowning in an infinite sea of trump criticism which is mixed between fair and deranged, and I believe I have a 0% chance of changing anyone’s mind on this or accomplishing anything besides tribal signalling that will not work out well for me since I don’t map to either of the major U.S. political tribes well. I don’t remember if I’ve actually defended him and it doesn’t sound like something worth bothering with, but if I did it would probably be because I was hoping to help a rational human being not lose it for a moment.

        I don’t rush to defend feminism because I believe the bulk of what I agree with that may have once been a radical feminist claim is now effectively more or less accepted.

        This basically describes my thinking process as well. I’d go further wrt tribal signalling and say that I want to destroy the norm of tribal signalling through conspicuously hating on certain people, and so I try my best not to partake.

        When it comes to feminism, I think it’s fairly clear that this comment section skews very anti-a-certain-type-of-feminism, one that I as a feminist am also very much against. So I don’t defend feminism against such attacks, since I don’t believe that such attacks are directed at or meant to tar feminism in general, just a very specific subset of it. There’s a motte-and-bailey going on here, because the word “feminism” can sometimes refer to inoffensive mainstream ideas and other times refer to extreme hateful niche ideas. This ambiguity also seems to be actively encouraged by the people of the latter ideology. I think the commentariat is generally good about making the distinction, though, using more specific terms like SJ, SJW, third-wave, intersectional, etc. that make it clear that they’re only speaking out against a subset of feminism. I think the typical “anti-feminist” argument you see here is just as likely to come from a hardcore feminist as from a non-feminist.

    • Acedia says:

      I strongly dislike Trump but don’t post about it here because I think the internet’s already tiresomely full of hot takes about how he’s a terrible person. It doesn’t need one more. Everyone who can be convinced by an internet diatribe already has been.

    • Trofim_Lysenko says:

      A bit late to the party here, but for the sake of calibration I will go ahead and be totally open for a moment:

      -I do not find credible the arguments that 21st century western culture continues to fail to provide an adequate amount of positive female role models or a sufficiently diverse depiction of gender roles and occupations.

      -I do not think objectification of –and media messaging to -women (or men, for that matter) is inherently harmful. I think it can go too far in some specific cases, and that if we were still in a place where messaging like this was omnipresent and didn’t receive any pushback, it would be a problem, but we aren’t anywhere CLOSE, and what we do have gets more than enough pushback that IMO complaints on objectification/media portrayals are basically just an update of the 80s-90s brouhaha over music lyrics and blood and gore in video games. Yes, this includes pornography, though I think the feminists pointing out “workplace safety” and/or pay/health issues with the industry may well have a point and I’m actually on-board with pressure on the industry to clean up in that respect. That said, I don’t like using that as argument for a blanket ban.

      -I think that sexual violence probably is underreported, but that the extent of that underreporting is exaggerated. I don’t believe that “Rape Culture” is a useful description or concept for any part of modern western civil society or media. I understand where the urge for it comes from, but think that the people urging uncritical acceptance of allegations of sexual abuse and violence are doing more harm than good and that due process exists for a reason. I think that if what’s required to make victims willing to come forward is a blanket promise ahead of time that they will absolutely be believed 100% and their accusations acted on as proven no matter what…then the cure is worse than the disease.

      I’m probably missing some other modern American feminist hot button issues, but that seems like enough for a judgement, so:

      By your metric, HBC, would I be an “Anti-Feminist”? Regardless of my views on, say, Abortion, marriage, female suffrage, right to work and equal access/opportunity in all career fields?

      As for Trump: do you really have a hard time picturing a worldview where someone is maximally or near-maximally unfavorable in their view of Trump, and still view the left-wing organizations and groups leading the charge opposing him as more of a long-term threat?

      I find it a pretty tricky spot to be in, personally, which may be why my posting has dropped off post-election. My actual positions are probably not palateable to either side on, say, the Immigration Exec. Orders, so what am I to do? Backing single-issue NGOs might be better than going out and donating to/canvassing for Democrats, but even there I think in the long term that just gives them more resources/power/political capital that will be turned around and reinvested directly against my own political interests.

  19. onyomi says:

    Imagine two cities of largeish population and geographic size.

    These two cities are otherwise identical, except one city is ethnically, racially, culturally, linguistically very evenly distributed, and the other, though including the same numbers of each group, breaks up into easily discernible chunks: the Chinatown, the Hispanic neighborhood, the Jewish neighborhood, the Irish neighborhood. Also, in the latter case, each bit of city enjoys a fairly high degree of political autonomy: there are no liquor stores in the Muslim neighborhood and no abortion clinics in the Catholic neighborhood, for example.

    Which of these two cities is doing better overall? Economically? Life expectancy? Happiness? Is City A culturally boring and torn apart by political factionalism and distrust? Or does the even ethnic distribution create a sense of unity and openness? Is City B a scary place where the Jews fear to enter the Muslim neighborhood and vice-versa? Or does the ability for each group to politically get its own way within its neighborhood allow for amicable trade, travel, and interaction?

    Note that while I have my biases as a decentralist anarchocapitalist I am not asking the question as a rhetorical exercise. I think the answer is non-obvious, and can see some probable disadvantages of scenario B as well.

    • ThirteenthLetter says:

      That’s just not enough data. It depends on how the government is run.

      If City A aggressively assimilates its population and tells them “you’re not black or white or French or Muslim or whatever now, you are a citizen of City A, the greatest city in the world, and if you don’t like it you can leave,” maybe they’ll do just fine.

      If City B has a small but strong central government that ensures basic human rights and freedom of movement exists in the different neighborhoods and nobody’s forming up gangs to raid the neighborhood next door, then maybe City B is doing just fine, too.

      • onyomi says:

        I thought of a lot of details and caveats I could have added to the original scenario (like maybe City B allows freedom of movement and trade within the regions), but decided that risked question begging (that is, assuming that a city of ethnic enclaves with strong political autonomy will elect to reap the benefits of free trade and movement might be tipping the scales in favor of City B, for example).

        Of course in real life nothing ever happens in isolation, but the goal was to isolate the factor of diversity as much as possible: all else held constant, and being told nothing else about these two cities, which do we expect to be doing better? If you say, “it all depends on the policies they adopt/how the government is run.” Okay, absent other information, what sorts of policies do you expect City A to adopt? What sort of government do you expect is more likely to arise in City B?

        Unless only knowing the political organization of a city (one relatively unified legal regime vs. cluster of relatively autonomous regimes) and the ethnic geographic distribution of a city (evenly distributed vs. gravitating towards homogeneous enclaves) is insufficient to guess anything else about it in the absence of other information. That seems surprising and unlikely to me, though it is a legitimate answer, of course.

    • Philosophisticat says:

      Singapore has a diverse population which is distributed relatively evenly by design, with ethnic quotas explicitly set up to avoid the sorts of chunking you’re discussing. So if you want a healthy, happy, wealthy example as a foil to your preferred view there you go.

      • onyomi says:

        Thank you for the example, which is interesting, though, to be clear, City B is not my preferred view. I can see pros and cons for both and both could conceivably arise under anarchocapitalism (as I don’t take it as axiomatic that, left to their own devices, people will prefer to live in ethnic enclaves).

    • Well... says:

      Cool thought experiment. I have no idea how I’d answer it, and I’m not even sure which city I’d rather live in even if both were doing fine.

      I will say, city B sounds like it would be a city in name only, because in reality it’s a bunch of smaller cities. This is appealing to me because I dislike large cities, but now I’m probably introducing an anti-urban bias that isn’t necessarily implied by the scenario.

      Thinking more about it, if it’s possible to break the mold and “be the diversity” in city B without causing or experiencing any trouble, then I’d almost certainly prefer city B.

    • HeelBearCub says:

      except one city is ethnically, racially, culturally, linguistically very evenly distributed

      I think you are putting a thumb on the scales here, unconsciously. You are implying a city of mono-culture, although you don’t say it at all.

      Take some location that has great restaurants in city A. It sounds pretty great to have a collection of awesome an authentic restaurants from every culture sitting right next to each other. If I can get authentic Turkish, Ethiopian, Mexican, Guatemalan, French, English, Irish, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Tex-Mex, Southern, Italian, and everything else in restaurants that are all right there, this is a plus.

      I think there is an implication in your original post that these restaurants won’t even exist, but they will in scenario B. And this is because of the nature of what comes to mind when we think of ethnic enclaves. We assume there will be some great, authentic restaurants in the enclave.

      • quanta413 says:

        I am legitimately confused that you read this as an implication of his question. It’s pretty obvious from reading his initial post that he is implying the opposite of what you claim he is implying. The question is whether or not City A will be harmonious despite (or because of I guess if you’re optimistic about these things) the geographically mixed cultures.

        To quote some of the post

        Is City A culturally boring and torn apart by political factionalism and distrust? Or does the even ethnic distribution create a sense of unity and openness?

        If City A is possibly torn by political factionalism and distrust due because it is “ethnically, racially, culturally, linguistically very evenly distributed”, that sounds like the exact opposite of a monoculture (unless “dysfunctional” is a monoculture). Not to mention he is explicitly posing the question of whether you think distrust and factionalism is more likely or unity and mixture.

        Not to mention, even as much as I like eating out, the intermixture of restaurants isn’t even a serious consideration for whether or not a city is a well functioning polity. Am I missing something about what restaurants are a proxy for?

        • HeelBearCub says:

          How did you manage to just glide over the implication of City A being “culturally boring”?

          Does a vibrant night-life where I can go from a Tapas bar to a French restaurant to a Japanese saki and karaoke bar in one block sound “culturally boring”?

          • Fahundo says:

            “Culturally boring” doesn’t exist in the description of the two cities. Part of the question is whether or not City A is going to be “culturally boring.” It’s not assumed that it is.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Fahundo:
            But culturally boring is in the sentence about the other things quanta said imply a lack of mono-culture.

            Again, I know onyomi didn’t say it. I explicitly said onyomi did not say it.

            But I’m saying it’s how the post reads. It’s an unintentional thumb on the scales.

          • quanta413 says:

            How did you manage to just glide over the implication of City A being “culturally boring”?

            For one thing, I was arguing that your assumption that he was implying a monoculture was weird. In my mind, this is orthogonal to whether or not the city would be culturally boring. To me a city with a lot of fascinating art and history can be both a monoculture and culturally exciting, and a city can have multiple cultures (like my hometown or many other medium sized towns in Southern California), and yet still be culturally boring. It seems like we have such different maps in our head of what these terms mean that we’re partly talking past each other. For you, apparently “culturally boring” == “monoculture” whereas for me those things aren’t on the same scale (but are probably positively correlated over a large number of cities because larger cities tend to be culturally diverse relative to smaller cities near them and larger cities tend to be more culturally interesting than smaller ones).

            Does a vibrant night-life where I can go from a Tapas bar to a French restaurant to a Japanese saki and karaoke bar in one block sound “culturally boring”?

            I don’t view it as culturally boring or not boring; it’s mostly coincidentally related to or tangential to what I think about in terms of culture. This could be a stereotypical American city, possibly heavily segregated by race yet having various fancy ethnic eateries adjusted to American taste in one posh area. I mostly don’t determine how culturally boring a city is by the diversity of its restaurants although all else equal it would be a small plus to being culturally exciting. I think Rome would be culturally exciting even if everyone there was an Italian and I could only get Italian food there because I think the art, architecture, and history of the Vatican (although technically a different state inside Italy) alone is enough to easily spike Rome deep into the “culturally exciting” zone.

            However, surveying one person near me about what they think someone would mean by “culturally exciting”, they say basically “different enough from their own culture to feel novel but similar enough not to discomfort them” and mentioned something about restaurants and nothing about art or history, so apparently restaurants are more important to people than I realized and art and history less important.

          • Aapje says:

            @quanta413

            When different ethnic/cultural groups are living near each other but don’t actually mingle in any significant way, I consider that quite boring.

            IMO, when the inferential distance between groups is too large, people live in separate bubbles, without the enrichment, because there is insufficient common ground for that to happen.

            Imagine being a sheep farmer and placing some specimens of a different breed of sheep among your sheep. They will mate and gain more genetic diversity. Now imagine placing a different type of animal with the sheep, like a cow. They won’t mate and thus no genetic diversity is gained.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @quanta413:
            I’m using the term more like the idea of monoculturalism.

            I’ve also seen the term frequently refer to way certain suburban environments tend to be a collection of single family homes, each on 1/5 of an actor on a cul-de-sac, where everything else is strip malls that have the same national-chain stores, except for the different kind of strip malls filled with big box stores and other national chain restaurants.

            You can find an Olive Garden near an Outback Steakhouse and a Home Depot just about everywhere.

      • Fahundo says:

        If City A doesn’t have any good ethnic cuisine, I think this tips everything unquestionably in City B’s favor.

        Rereading that it seems like it could easily be interpreted as sarcasm, but I assure you it isn’t. I’m currently in a town that doesn’t have a single Indian restaurant, and I consider this grounds for moving away.

        • Well... says:

          I totally get that.

        • Evan Þ says:

          How often do you eat out? I do it maybe twice a week at most, so I wouldn’t consider that a great problem myself. Though, I am coming from a place of privilege – there were always a couple decent ethnic restaurants in all the (three) places I’ve lived.

          • Fahundo says:

            Maybe about twice a week, sometimes more? I really like Indian food though. I also haven’t been able to locate any decent Tom Yum soup.

        • ThirteenthLetter says:

          Might as well not have running water as not have Indian food, as far as I’m concerned.

        • quanta413 says:

          That seems extreme. Have you considered learning to cook Indian food?

          • Fahundo says:

            Before I try that I’d probably have to just learn to cook though.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            In the meantime there are quite good Indian dishes available from Amazon (rice not included but rice cookers work). MTR and Ashoka are good brands; Tasty Bite is too mild for me.

          • Or trying Korean food? Ethiopian? Burmese?

            Indian food is good, but it has closer substitutes than running water has.

            I also agree with the “learning to cook” approach. Alternatively, have a daughter who likes to cook Indian food.

          • Brad says:

            The last Indian recipe I looked up started with a section on obtaining half a dozen different spices and grinding them into a fine powder. I decided I would just order in.

          • rmtodd says:

            Or trying Korean food? Ethiopian? Burmese?

            I suspect if your locality doesn’t have an Indian restaurant, it’s even less likely to have any of the choices you mention.

            Judging just by what I know in the town in Oklahoma I live in, we’ve got plenty of Chinese restaurants, several Thai restaurants, a couple of Indian restaurants, assorted restaurants at various places on the Mexican-TexMex spectrum, the usual pizza places and Italian restaurants, one Greek place that supplies mass quantities of gyro meat, one really tiny Korean place that only does bulgogi, and no Burmese or Ethiopian places I know of.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            I am always bemused by this sort of thing (the recommendations of exotic cuisine restaurants as if any decent town in the US has them). I live somewhere that now has two indian restaurants (both of which are doing badly and likely to go out of business in the next few years, despite one being really excellent). Both opened in the last two years. Prior to that you had maybe 4 different “all you can eat chinese buffet” places with delivery, a couple mexican restaurants, and an olive garden.

            This town is the major urban center for about two hours drive in any direction, the place people go TO to get away from their even smaller towns…

          • Fahundo says:

            This town has a pretty great Korean place. Never even tried Ethiopian or Burmese before.

          • Evan Þ says:

            I third the “learning to cook,” and more specifically, “learning to cook by searching recipes online or something rather than looking at somewhere that starts with grinding your own spices.”

            I recognize my own approach probably won’t work for most people, but… What I did was room for a summer (during college, so it was easier) with a Chinese roommate who liked cooking, and then basically volunteer as sous-chef every night we were both home. By the end of the summer, I knew how to make some good Asian stir-fries, and I knew the basics of how to mix and match tastes.

    • Urstoff says:

      I would wonder about the economic and informal social support in each city. I can imagine the intraethnicity support in City B outweighing the generalized support of City A. However, I can also imagine the interethnicity support of City B being lower than the generalized support of City A.

    • quanta413 says:

      I think the answer to which city is doing better overall is almost entirely path dependent. Is city A intermixed because of relocations of people from the country to the city because their land in the country was consolidated into larger holdings and displaced them? In this case, do the people of city A share a common enemy who displaced them all? Is city B broken into enclaves more because the various groups there have a history of persecuting each other or more for the banal reasons that people just tend to move in near to their relatives? Did one group migrate to the city as poor laborers after another founded it? How long ago? Or did the city occur due to two small towns growing until they merged?

      And perhaps most importantly, is the city well located as a nexus of trade? Prosperity can pave over a lot of differences.

  20. Deiseach says:

    Good news, lovers of cheese! (And indeed dairy in general). Cheese does not kill you!

    According to a study from UCD (University College Dublin) in association with Teagasc Moorepark, cheese is not a villain in promoting coronary artery disease. I’ll throw in the “warning for knowing the angle this is coming from” necessary for all these studies; Teagasc is “(T)he Agriculture and Food Development Authority (which) is the national body providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities”, and Moorepark is its dairy research centre: “Since its establishment by the Irish Government in 1959, Moorepark has evolved to become the focal point of research on milk production in Ireland.”

    So you know, slight possibility of an interest in one outcome over another, especially with how Food Health Ireland worded it on their site (bolding mine):

    The intention is that the results of this study will add to the body of knowledge about cheese and health proving that the combination of nutrients in cheese has many promising health benefits that were never considered in the past.

    However, I do remember the announcements for people to take part in the study (mainly because I couldn’t quite believe they wanted to test people eating cheese) so they did take a representative sample of the population, even if many of them may have been recruited from the strong farmers of Ireland attending the Ploughing Championships:

    Calling All Cheese Lovers
    POSTED BY NATIONAL PLOUGHING ASSOCIATION POSTED ON SEP – 16 – 2016
    Food for Health Ireland researchers undertake the largest study of the impact of cheese on Irish heart health.

    For years, cheese has been demonized as a food high in saturated fat, which could raise cholesterol levels and heart disease risks. If you have cholesterol concerns, you may be told to avoid cheese. Irish researchers in University College Dublin and Teagasc Moorepark now think that this advice needs a rethink.

    A number of scientific studies published in the last few years have called into question the current negative message about cheese as an unhealthy food. This emerging science from around the world is poking holes in the argument that cheese is detrimental to health. FHI scientists are currently conducting the largest study of its kind in Ireland to understand more about cheese and its impact on our health.

    This human study is being conducted in UCD. Dr Emma Feeney, FHI UCD explains ‘Cheese is high in saturated fat, however there is something special about the matrix of cheese. The fat is found with other nutrients like calcium and protein. It is believed that this matrix of nutrients with the fat can potentially have a positive effect on our health. Our study will look at this theory in more detail’.

    The idea of our diet impacting our health is a hot topic these days. With obesity and its related diseases such as heart disease, on the increase, we need to look towards prevention rather than relying on cure. The results of this study will add to the body of knowledge about cheese and health proving that the combination of nutrients in cheese has many promising health benefits.

    If you’re over 50 years old and have a BMI of 25 or over, This Irish cheese study needs you….Come to the FHI stand in the Innovation Arena (Unit no. 7) in the Innovation Arena at the National Ploughing Champsionships to learn more about taking part.

    Anyway, on to the results! The paper itself can be found here:

    The findings of the new study indicate that those who eat large amounts of cheese consume higher amounts of saturated fats. However, the researchers did not find that eating large amounts of cheese led to increased blood LDL cholesterol levels.

    Scientists examined the impact of dairy foods – milk, cheese, yoghurt, cream and butter – on markers of body fatness and health in 1,500 Irish people aged between 18 and 90 years of age.

    An analysis of individual dairy foods found that cheese consumption was not associated with increased body fat or with LDL cholesterol.

    The scientists also found that higher dairy intake was associated with lower body mass index, lower percentage of body fat, lower waist size and lower blood pressure.

    When examining dietary patterns, they discovered that people who regularly consumed low-fat milk and yoghurt tended to have higher intakes of carbohydrates.

    They were also surprised to find that people in the ‘low-fat’ dietary pattern group had greater LDL-cholesterol levels.

    Now, I find the “higher consumption of carbohydrates” both striking and interesting, due to another recent news story about a hunter-gatherer cum slash-and-burn agriculture tribe living in the forests of Bolivia, who allegedly have the lowest level of heart disease in the entire world, and who also have a higher amount of carbohydrate calorie consumption (on top of being immensely more active; forget that stuff about ‘hunter-gatherer lifestyle is one of leisure’, a hunt can take up to eight hours):

    By calorie count, about 14 percent of the Tsimane diet is protein, 14 percent is fat and 72 percent is carbohydrate. (By contrast, the typical U.S. adult diets has more fat — about 16 percent protein, 33 percent fat and 51 percent carbohydrate, according to Centers for Disease Control statistics.)

    “Importantly,” the scientists who studied the Tsimane wrote, their “carbohydrates are high in fiber and very low in saturated fat and simple sugars, which might further explain our study findings.”

    Now presumably we’re not all going to move to the Bolivian jungles to live on monkeys and piranha, but this now knocks on the head all the recent dietary advice I’ve been getting about low-carb diets and (as usual) I have no idea what’s a good or bad diet. So – eat dairy, don’t eat low fat, eat fibre-rich complex carbs as the majority of your calorie intake?

    • Nornagest says:

      Most of the dietary advice you will ever hear is snake oil, for one thing; and for another, a hunter-gatherer lifestyle is so vastly different from a sedentary Western lifestyle that it’s highly improbable that diet will fit into it in the same way.

      In particular, there is not a lot of evidence that low-carb is better than high-carb, holding calories constant. Insofar as low-carb is better in practice, it’s going to be because that particular low-carb diet is more satiating or better for perceived energy levels or subjectively better in some other way; but as the “subjectively” implies, that sort of thing is going to be highly idiosyncratic.

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      My main health concern with eating cheese has always been the potential link to surrender-monkeyism.

  21. Deiseach says:

    The new open thread isn’t up yet and the current one is anti-culture war but I’m feeling discombobulated enough by reading this over on the sub-reddit that I have to mention it here.

    Holy crap, guys. At this point I’m beginning to think I should ask President Trump to pick my lottery numbers for me or something.

    Remember the mini-outrage over Trump not condemning anti-Semitism re: the hate crimes and threats to Jewish community centres? And how The Intercept had to walk back its headline on this article, which seemed to be part of his “cursed with luck” attribute?:

    A wave of attacks on Jewish cemeteries and bomb threats against Jewish community centers might not be anti-Semitic acts but “the reverse,” Donald Trump hinted darkly on Tuesday, according to Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s attorney general.

    …Shapiro, a Democrat, said that he and other officials from both parties “were a little bit surprised” to hear Trump suggest the incidents might be hoaxes.

    As Michael Wilner, The Jerusalem Post’s Washington bureau chief, reports, the Anti-Defamation League has attributed the uptick in threats and attacks to white supremacists encouraged by Trump’s nativist political movement. Wilner also suggested that Trump’s attempt to posit an alternative explanation for the incidents looked like an effort to deflect blame away from from himself or his supporters.

    …Some observers, including Allison Kaplan Sommer of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, took Trump’s use of the word “reverse” as a suggestion that the attacks on Jewish institutions might have been staged by Jews.

    Well, it’s even more “cursed with luck” than it first appeared, because according to that link from the sub-reddit:

    A 19-year-old dual American Israeli living in Ashkelon has been arrested, suspected of being behind most of a series of bomb and other threats to Jewish communities in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand that date back around six months, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

    As of Thursday, with a gag order on the probe being lifted by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court at the same time it extended his detention to March 30, sources indicate that most of the threats against the Diaspora communities and organizations led investigators back to Israel.

    The suspect’s father has also been remanded until the end of the month, with the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court ruling that there is sufficient evidence to suspect that he himself made many of the threatening phone calls.

    …As of Thursday, it was still unclear what the suspect’s motivations were for the many threats, which made international headlines and got US President Donald Trump caught up in accusations that he was light on antisemitism when he did not initially harshly condemn the scares as well as desecrations of Jewish graves, which presumably were not connected to the suspect.

    • Evan Þ says:

      As Scott said several weeks back on Tumblr, might it be possible for Trump to be a Peggy Stu time traveler? In which case, let’s get out of Bowling Green…

    • Glen Raphael says:

      There was no luck involved in that one. The original narrative being pushed by his critics was silly; it should have been really surprising had the evidence supported it. The statement Trump then made was even-handed and left him multiple win conditions. – Trump didn’t even say this was definitely a hoax/false flag, he merely insisted on including the possibility that it might be something like that. His critics were the ones who insisted that no, the cause couldn’t possibly be a hoax/backfire/false flag. In short, his critics defeated themselves.

      (“I always made one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord make our enemies ridiculous.’ God granted it.” – Voltaire)

      Near as I can tell, the original claim implied by the liberal news coverage was that all these bomb threats and headstone-topplings prove the existence of a cabal of secret anti-semitic white-nationalist American Trump supporters who were emboldened by his election and his rhetoric. If you’re Trump, you already know how silly that is so you don’t want to make a statement that “normalizes” that claim as stated.

      The real question is whether all this has caused anyone to update their priors. Now that we already know most of the bomb-scare calls came from a moderate Jewish family in Israel, that several other bomb scares were from an anti-trump activist reporter trying to get someone else in trouble, and that the 42 toppled headstones in Brooklyn were caused by neglect, does anyone want to place odds regarding the other toppled headstones? I’d be happy to bet $100 that if/when we find out what happened to the headstones in, say, Philly, that also won’t match the narrative of “white anti-semite trump supporter”. Any takers?