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Neutral vs. Conservative: The Eternal Struggle

I.

Vox’s David Roberts writes about Donald Trump and the rise of tribal epistemology.

It’s got a long and complicated argument which I can’t really do justice to here, but the thesis seems to be that the US Right is defecting against the country’s shared institutions in favor of forming its own echo chambers.

So for example, there used to be a relatively fair media in which both liberals and conservatives got their say. But Republicans didn’t like having to deal with facts, so they formed their own alternative media – FOX and Rush Limbaugh and everyone in that sphere – where only conservatives would have a say and their fake facts would never get challenged.

Or: everyone used to trust academia as a shared and impartial arbitrator of truth. But conservatives didn’t like the stuff it found – whether about global warming or trickle-down economics or whatever – so they seceded into their own world of alternative facts where some weird physicist presents his case that global warming is a lie, or a Breitbart journalist is considered an expert on how cultural Marxism explains everything about post-WWII American history.

It concludes that “the press cannot be neutral”, although it also “cannot afford to be, or be seen as primarily instruments of the Democrats”. To its credit, it admits this is kind of contradictory:

They must figure out a way to play a dual role: to be fair and consistent referees of policy and ideological disputes within the public square — while also acting to defend the institutional integrity of the square itself from what is, at present, a highly asymmetrical threat. They must fight to keep some core principles and commitments inviolate, outside the sphere of normal political dispute, against an administration that wants to drag them in…that’s a humdinger of a problem.

Let me start by saying what this article gets right.

I think it’s right that the two parties used to have much more in common, and be able to appeal to shared gatekeeper institutions that both trusted.

I think it’s right the Republicans unilaterally seceded from those shared gatekeeper institutions, so that now we’re in the weird position of having two sets of institutions: one labeling itself “neutral” and the other labeling itself “conservative”.

I think it’s right to consider the situation asymmetrical. Yes, CNN leans liberal, but it’s not as liberal as FOX is conservative, and it’s not as open about it – it has a pretense of neutrality that FOX doesn’t, and although we can disagree about how realistic that pretense is I think few people would disagree that the pretense is there. Nor is there a liberal version of FOX that lacks that pretense of neutrality.

I think it’s right that the conservative side is worse than the neutral side. However biased and crappy you think CNN and mainstream academia are, FOX and the conservative academic bubble are working on a different level (though note that as a liberal, I would say this, and you should interpret it with the same grain of salt that you would any other “my side is better than yours” claim).

I think it’s right that this situation is horrible and toxic and destroying the country, and it’s really good that someone has pointed this out and framed it this clearly.

I think it’s wrong in exactly the way I would expect it to be wrong, which is also an example of what’s wrong with it.

II.

Roberts devotes four sentences in his six thousand word article to the possibility that conservatives might be motivated by something deeper than a simple hatred of facts:

The right’s view that the institutions lean liberal is hyperbolic, but not without foundation. Science, academia (at least liberal arts and social sciences), and journalism do tend to draw their personnel from left-leaning demographics.

Those institutions have cosmopolitan aspirations — fair application of transpartisan standards — but there’s no doubt that in practice, those aspirations often cover for more parochial preferences.

But the right has not sought greater fairness in mainstream institutions; it has defected to create its own.

Roberts says that these neutral gatekeeper institutions “tend to draw their personnel from left-leaning demographics”, as if this was just a big fuss about 105 New Englanders for every 100 Texans. I would like to counter with a report from a friend who graduated from a top university last year:

I was at my graduation last weekend, and the commencement address was basically about twenty minutes of vitriolic insults directed at Trump. And in between burying my head in my friend’s shoulder in discomfort and laughing nervously, I was thinking about the family of this guy in my class.

He’s the first person in his family to go to college. He drove an hour every day to go to a somewhat better high school because there was an epidemic of gang violence at his local school. Against the odds, he did well, and got into college, where he has continued to get good grades and play sports and generally do things that make parents proud.

His family is not well off. They’re Mexican-American. And they’re Trump supporters.

Yeah, I’m kind of confused too. But they honestly are. (Not even reluctant Republicans supporting Trump–they voted for him in the primary. His aunt owns a Make America Great Again cap.) And all I could think about was how happy they must have been to be attending their son’s graduation from one of the best universities in the world [citation needed], only to have that happiness turn to bewilderment and anger as everyone around them cheered a series of caustic attacks against them and their values. The message couldn’t have been clearer: “You don’t belong here.”

My mom thought this speech was So Courageous. When I suggested that it might have been more courageous to say something that not everyone there agreed with, she replied, “the students maybe, but a lot of the parents looked unhappy.”

Seventy percent of the parents there had family incomes over six figures. (More, probably, since low-income parents are less likely to attend graduation.) A lot of them are members of the self-perpetuating intellectual/economic elite. This probably isn’t true of the few Trump supporters among them.

So if we are going to single them out for judgment, force them to account for their support for an “infantile,” “bullying,” “proto-fascist” “charlatan”…can it not be on the day of their kids’ graduation?

And sure, if you consider me your friend, then that makes this one of those “friend of a friend” stories. But I dare you to say that any of this sounds the least bit implausible. My point is, just because a university paints “ACTUALLY, WE ARE POLITICALLY NEUTRAL” in big red letters on the college quad, doesn’t mean that anyone is required to believe it. And the ideology that invented the microaggression can’t hide behind “but we haven’t officially declared you unwelcome!”

And the same thing is happening in the media. For example, in this very piece, Roberts cites a Vox poll showing that Trump supporters are more likely to be authoritarians. Vox has pushed this same claim many more times: Authoritarianism: The Political Science That Explains Trump, The Rise Of American Authoritarianism: A Niche Group Of Political Scientists May Have Uncovered What’s Driving Donald Trump’s Ascent, The Rise Of American Authoritarianism Explained In 6 Minutes, The Best Predictor Of Trump Support Is Authoritarianism.

Okay. But Vox is working off an internal poll that it hasn’t released (or at least I can’t find it) meaning no one has any idea if the sample size and methodology are okay. And some political science professors tried the same exercise around the same time with excellent methodology and a sample size of over a thousand and found the opposite – Trump supporters were less authoritarian than Cruz supporters, and no more authoritarian than Rubio supporters. They did find that Republicans were a bit more authoritarian than Democrats, but correctly noted that the measure involved is literally called “Right-Wing Authoritarianism”, is based on a scale invented by Theodor Adorno to prove conservatives had fascist tendencies, and only asks questions about child-rearing practices (you get marked as “authoritarian” if you have a traditional religious child-rearing style). And there are other investigations of authority that try to control for this sort of thing and sometimes find find liberals and conservatives are about equal in respect for authority.

I don’t want to overdo my criticism. “Right-wing authoritarianism” is a powerful idea with a good academic reputation, and the decision to focus solely on child-rearing was a principled choice to avoid including politics itself in the construct. And failed replications should be an opportunity for reflection rather than a cause to instantly dismiss a finding.

Yet it’s still good practice to mention their existence. And I still feel like somewhere there might be a conservative who reads this sort of thing and feels like Vox is not quite the perfectly-neutral mutually-beneficial gatekeeper institution of their dreams.

And whenever I mention this sort of thing, people protest “But Fox and Breitbart are worse!” And so they are. But I feel like Vox has aspirations to be something more than just a mirror image of Fox with a left-wing slant and a voiced fricative. It’s trying to be a neutral gatekeeper institution. If some weird conservative echo chamber is biased, well, what did you expect? If a neutral gatekeeper institution is biased, now we have a problem.

Roberts writes that “the right has not sought greater fairness in mainstream institutions; it has defected to create its own”. This is a bizarre claim, given the existence of groups like Accuracy In Media, Media Research Center, Newsbusters, Heterodox Academy, et cetera which are all about the right seeking greater fairness in mainstream institutions, some of which are almost fifty years old. Really “it’s too bad conservatives never complained about liberal bias in academia or the mainstream media” seems kind of like the opposite of how I remember the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The way I remember it, conservatives spent about thirty years alternately pleading, demanding, suing, legislating, and literally praying for greater fairness in mainstream institutions, and it was basically all just hitting their heads against a brick wall. Then they defected to create their own.

III.

This predictably went badly.

I wrote before (1, 2) about the sort of dynamics this situation produces. A couple of years ago, Reddit decided to ban various undesirables and restrict discussion of offensive topics. A lot of users were really angry about this, and some of them set up a Reddit clone called Voat which promised that everyone was welcome regardless of their opinion.

What happened was – a small percent of average Reddit users went over, lured by curiosity or a principled commitment to free speech. And also, approximately 100% of Reddit’s offensive undesirables went there, lured by the promise of being able to be terrible and get away with it.

Even though Voat’s rules were similar to Reddit’s rules before the latter tightened its moderation policies, Voat itself was nothing like pre-tightening Reddit. I checked to see whether it had gotten any better in the last year, and I found the top three stories were:

The moral of the story is: if you’re against witch-hunts, and you promise to found your own little utopian community where witch-hunts will never happen, your new society will end up consisting of approximately three principled civil libertarians and seven zillion witches. It will be a terrible place to live even if witch-hunts are genuinely wrong.

FOX’s slogans are “Fair and Balanced”, “Real Journalism”, and “We Report, You Decide”. They were pushing the “actually unbiased media” angle hard. I don’t know if this was ever true, or if people really believed it. It doesn’t matter. By attracting only the refugees from a left-slanted system, they ensured they would end up not just with conservatives, but with the worst and most extreme conservatives.

They also ensured that the process would feed on itself. As conservatives left for their ghettos, the neutral gatekeeper institutions leaned further and further left, causing more and more conservatives to leave. Meanwhile, the increasingly obvious horribleness of the conservative ghettos made liberals feel more and more justified in their decision to be biased against conservatives. They intensified their loathing and contempt, accelerating the conservative exodus.

The equilibrium is basically what we see now. The neutral gatekeeper institutions lean very liberal, though with a minority of conservative elites who are good at keeping their heads down and too mainstream/prestigious to settle for anything less. The ghettos contain a combination of seven zillion witches and a few decent conservatives who are increasingly uncomfortable but know there’s no place for them in the mainstream.

IV.

I don’t want to give the impression that this is limited to the places people traditionally gripe about like academia and the media. The same dynamics are going on everywhere.

In the hospital where I work, there’s a RESIST TRUMP poster on the bulletin board in our break room. I don’t know who put it there, but I know that anybody who demanded that it be taken down would be tarred as a troublemaker, and anyone who tried to put a SUPPORT TRUMP poster up next to it would be lectured about how politics are inappropriate at work. This is true even though I think at least a third of my colleagues are Trump supporters.

I went to a scientific conference in a field completely unrelated to politics where one of the researchers giving a presentation started with a five minute tangentially-related anti-Trump rant. I can’t imagine someone giving the opposite rant any more than I can imagine a pro-Trump commencement speaker at my friend’s graduation.

I’m desperately trying to avoid the Nerd Culture Wars, which have somehow managed to be even worse than the Regular Culture Wars, but even I’ve heard about GamerGate and the Rabid Puppies. These were originally movements to fight a perceived liberal bias in regular gaming/sci-fi. They of course failed, and now they’re their own little separate conservative spaces practicing conservative video game commentary/sci-fi writing. I don’t want to deny that they’re often horrible. They’re horrible in exactly the same way FOX News is horrible, and for exactly the same reasons. I expect this pattern of conservatives seceding from theoretically-neutral-but-realistically-left-leading communities and forming terrible communities full of witches to repeat itself again and again, because it’s happening for systemic rather than community-specific reasons.

The overall impression is of a widespread norm, well-understood by both liberals and conservatives, that we have a category of space we call “neutral” and “depoliticized”. These sorts of spaces include institutions as diverse as colleges, newspapers, workplaces, and conferences. And within these spaces, overt liberalism is tolerated but overt conservativism is banned. In a few of these cases, conservatives grew angry enough that they started their own spaces – which began as noble attempts to avoid bias, and ended as wretched hives of offensive troglodytes who couldn’t get by anywhere else. This justifies further purges in the mainstream liberal spaces, and the cycle goes on forever.

Stanford historian Robert Conquest once declared it a law of politics that “any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing”. I have no idea why this should be true, and yet I’ve seen it again and again. Taken to its extreme, it suggests we’ll end up with a bunch of neutral organizations that have become left-wing, plus a few explicitly right-wing organizations. Given that Conquest was writing in the 1960s, he seems to have predicted the current situation remarkably well.

V.

David Roberts ends by noting that he doesn’t really know what to do here, and I agree. I don’t know what to do here either.

But one simple heuristic: if everything you’ve tried so far has failed, maybe you should try something different. Right now, the neutral gatekeeper institutions have tried being biased against conservatives. They’ve tried showing anti-conservative bias. They’ve tried ramping up the conservativism-related bias level. They’ve tried taking articles, and biasing them against conservative positions. I appreciate their commitment to multiple diverse strategies, but I can’t help but wonder whether there’s a possibility they’ve missed.

Look. I read Twitter. I know the sorts of complaints people have about this blog. I’m some kind of crypto-conservative, I’m a traitor to liberalism, I’m too quick to sell out under the guise of “compromise”. And I understand the sentiment. I write a lot about how we shouldn’t get our enemies fired lest they try to fire us, how we shouldn’t get our enemies’ campus speakers disinvited lest they try to disinvite ours, how we shouldn’t use deceit and hyperbole to push our policies lest our enemies try to push theirs the same way. And people very reasonably ask – hey, I notice my side kind of controls all of this stuff, the situation is actually asymmetrical, they have no way of retaliating, maybe we should just grind our enemies beneath our boots this one time.

And then when it turns out that the enemies can just leave and start their own institutions, with horrendous results for everybody, the cry goes up “Wait, that’s unfair! Nobody ever said you could do that! Come back so we can grind you beneath our boots some more!”

Conservatives aren’t stuck in here with us. We’re stuck in here with them. And so far it’s not going so well. I’m not sure if any of this can be reversed. But I think maybe we should consider to what degree we are in a hole, and if so, to what degree we want to stop digging.

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1,910 Responses to Neutral vs. Conservative: The Eternal Struggle

  1. reasoned argumentation says:
  2. David Condon says:

    I was thinking about this post the other day when I suddenly realized it could be used to explain tribal behavior in academia. I particularly like this quote:

    “The moral of the story is: if you’re against witch-hunts, and you promise to found your own little utopian community where witch-hunts will never happen, your new society will end up consisting of approximately three principled civil libertarians and seven zillion witches. It will be a terrible place to live even if witch-hunts are genuinely wrong.”

    I would phrase my thinking this way: whenever a once popular position becomes less popular in academia, even if the position is correct to some degree, the people who continue to stand behind that position will become increasingly hostile towards and isolated from those who don’t hold that position. Those who agree with the position, but conclude it is not worth risking their reputation over will stand aside, and ignore the issue. Those who remain will tend to consist of mostly zealots. The degree of zealotry will correspond with the amount the popularity of the position has decreased. If the position becomes more popular again, zealotry will decrease.

    Remove “in academia” from the above paragraph to get the generic claim that is being advocated in this blog post.

  3. bintchaos says:

    oh my goodness i never used the word trivial.
    i want to know why the two sides are so different, and why they are diverging.
    polarization is observably increasing.
    see Pew
    I think the within group variance can be accounted for with CCP —
    possibly theres a difference in brain biochemistry.
    Academe brute force selects for high IQ– Military selects for something else
    thats my point

  4. Plucky says:

    I’m a conservative who has more or less fled/seceded/abandoned all the “neutral” institutions. I’ve done so basically for the reasons you outline- they’ve become intolerably left-wing in practice and they have made it clear they have no intent of ever giving my side a fair shake.

    (side note: What you term “Conquest’s Third Law” is usually called O’Sullivan’s Law by conservatives, after John O’Sullivan, former National Review editor and Thatcher aide: https://web.archive.org/web/20030707094659/http://www.nationalreview.com/flashback/flashback-jos062603.asp)

    The issue is not and never has been one of facts. There is sufficient journalistic integrity at CNN, the NYT, WaPo, etc. that they are very rarely wrong on a matters of simple fact, and the factual mistake they do make are typically corrected with the appropriate amount of diligence and embarrassment. The issues with “gatekeeper” media are more commonly
    – value judgments presented as facts, or more commonly statements that are true only if one accepts an implicit (and obviously progressive/liberal) value judgement.
    – related: dubious claims or assumptions of causality (good example: The idea that poverty causes crime is almost always assumed to be so obviously true in news reporting that it’s never even presented as a potential point of dispute). This is probably the worst problem, precisely because these are the exact places where liberals tend to dig in their heels the most and accuse conservatives of “denying facts”, when the “fact” in question is not a fact but a disputed claim of causality.
    – the choice of which facts to present, which to omit, and how such facts are organized in the narrative (this of course includes the choice of which stories are stories and which are “not a story”). I personally stopped reading the NYT about a decade ago when I hit my limit on reading articles that, somewhere around the 14th paragraph, would mention a fact that completely demolished the entire premise of the article, but that the author would just glaze over and keep on going as if the premise was still valid
    – obvious double standards in how they treat D and R politicians (anytime there’s a scandal, if the pol is an R then it’s a dollars-to-donuts bet that “Republican” will be in the headline. If it’s a D, then (D-NY) will appear around the fifth paragraph)
    – related, the obvious double standard in which stories embarrassing to conservatives are gleefully given prominent space and stories embarrassing to liberals are covered reluctantly in less-prominent places, and always, always presented “with context”
    – obvious double standards in how activist groups, think-tanks, and other groups are presented (e.g., a place like the Heritage Foundation will always be called “the conservative Heritage Foundation” whereas a place like the Center for American Progress will usually just be “the Center for American Progress” without any label indicating they are left-wing
    – where terminology is disputed, the liberal-preferred terminology will always be treated as normative and conservative-preferred terminology will usually get scare-quotes
    – The common use of scare quotes and other rhetorical methods to insinuate that conservatives are making arguments in bad faith without openly making the accusation. This is probably the second-worst problem because it makes clear the news source doesn’t take you seriously and wants to convey to its audience that it shouldn’t either, which when done sub-rosa is extremely dirty journolistic practice. It’s impossible to have a productive argument with someone who refuses to acknowledge that you mean what you say, and that how you say it reflects how you conceive of the issue.
    – The indirect, dishonest editorializing method of quoting progressive activists at length, un-rebutted, in “news analysis” pieces and then pretending that the article author and editor don’t obviously agree with the activist and that the purpose of the article wasn’t just to push that line.
    – Absolutely everything ever written by Linda Greenhouse
    – The preposterous ignorance of extremely basic tenets of orthodox Christian theology, especially in articles that are about church-related things
    – The method of rigging an argument by going to the dumbest, platitude-spewing hack possible to present the conservative side (the only thing in the world worse than arguing with an idiot is having to watch an idiot argue your side)
    – The recurring genre of articles about conservatives that read like (and are roughly as inaccurate as) freshman-level anthropological studies of some primitive Amazonian tribe, with no comparable examinations of liberals
    – the complete predictability that the “angle” they will take on a story will always manage to work in the progressive issue du jour (there’s an ancient conservative joke that the day after the apocalypse, the NYT headline will read “World Ends: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit”)
    – In the specific case of TV, it’s common to be able to easily detect from the verbal tone, facial expression, and mannerisms when the anchor wants the audience to know what the “right” and “wrong” sides of an argument are (Liberals, to get what I mean here: consider Brit Hume. As a news anchor, he always presented the content of a news story in the classic, objective, just-the-facts, old-school news anchor style. But you didn’t need poker-pro facial-expression-recognition skills to know that he’s conservative and considered the conservative take to be correct, and no doubt his presentation of the liberal side would grate on you in a hard-to-pin-down way. Liberal anchors are just as obvious to, and have the same effect on, conservatives)

    None of the above gripes are in any way new; they’re the exact same gripes conservatives have had for two generations, and every single one of them is still repeated on a nearly daily basis. It’s as if liberal newspeople read the list of conservative gripes and then decided “wow, this is actually a really effective way to be biased and pretend not to be, let’s actively try to do this now” (yes, yes, I know that quite obviously this did not happen anywhere, that there’s no actual conspiracy. My point is that there doesn’t need to be and the results are almost indistinguishable). At some point it’s not worth sticking around in hopes they get better and that giving them your money and ad-market share just makes you a sucker.

    Roberts’s “conservatives have never asked for institutional reform” shtick is the exact sort of historical ignorance that infuriates conservatives (and is so, so perfectly Vox that it’s kind of funny). Complaining about “gatekeeper” media bias has been a staple part of conservative media as long as there’s been conservative media. Buckley was complaining about it as far back as the 60’s. It’s been an arrow in Rush Limbaugh’s quiver since the 80’s. 15 years ago this book was a #1 best-seller for two months and got enough attention that a president did this to fire a shot across the media’s collective bow. The very existence of the “public editor” position at the NYT was a response to when, right as media bias was a hot topic due to the reaction to that book and entire websites devoted to OCD-level bias checking of the NYT, the Jayson Blair scandal happened to them. For Roberts to be completely ignorant of that is, well, a perfect anecdote illustrating why conservatives have such contempt for Vox.

    Speaking of Vox, that people would treat an organization run by the Journ-o-lister in chief (Don’t know what the Journ-o-list is? Welcome to the world of “you’ve just proven my point about media bias”) as even plausibly a neutral gatekeeper is also exactly the sort of thing that makes conservatives livid.

    • bintchaos says:

      Its really not like that…why is academe 90% liberal? why is hollywood 90% liberal? why is the military 90% conservative?
      part of it is self-selection, part of it is relative phenotypic fitness, part of it is THE FACT that conservative ideology is non-competitive in academe and culture. All this is part of a complex adaptive system that is transitioning from equilibrium to non-equilibrium.
      Im an academic– i cant respect people that reject science.
      The medias job is reporting the truth, reporting facts.
      Unfortunately the truth and facts seem to have a liberal bias lately.

      • Aapje says:

        Progressives just reject different science.

        • bintchaos says:

          Its not science if it can’t be proven.
          We are getting really, really good at proving things in the 21st century.
          I predict we are going to see a revolution in the social sciences with the introduction of mathematical rigor and “reality mining” data science techniques.
          see Social Physics

          • Aapje says:

            We are getting really, really good at proving things in the 21st century.

            Replication crisis?

            Much of science is in a pretty bad way, where p < 0.05 has become a religion, even though optimizing for a low p just prevents some types of problems. Other problems just keep happening and science has been ignoring the evidence for decades. The equivocation of p < 0.05 with 'true,' rather than to take it as an indicator that further research is warranted (as was the intent of the person who introduced the metric), has resulted in a lot of unreplicated results that are treated as proven and a lack of incentives to do that further research in many fields. Only very recently do we see some attempts to fix this, but there are bad incentives build into the core scientific model that we have adopted.

            Furthermore, some important issues are not even being researched, because of dogma. For example, most rape research only looks at rape of women by men. Famous rape researchers like Mary Koss* refused to investigate raped men because she argued that men suffer less from rape. However, even if this were true, this would merely be relevant to how the statistics on male rape ought to be interpreted and thus is not a justification for not collecting the data using the same methodology as used for female victims. By not collecting the data on male rape victims in the first place, conclusions are used to justify not collecting the data that could result in different conclusions. It's corruption of science to only collect half the data because of an a priori decision that the other half can't be significant.

            *Who was the source of the 1 in 4 figure that lots of progressives threat as unquestionable truth, even though it is completely dependent on how you define rape and many of the women who were considered raped by Koss didn't consider themselves to be raped. This strongly suggests that a very expansive and non-objective definition was used. When criticism of that subjectivity is called the rejection of science, this conflates the subjective interpretations of scientific results with the objective scientific results. This is especially problematic as academia are increasingly becoming dominated by people with certain viewpoints, so fewer and fewer people are left who can point out the alternative interpretations of scientific results that deserve consideration.

          • bintchaos says:

            its my understanding that the replication crisis is confined to the soft sciences– EvoPsych, sociology, polysci, etc.
            its dated methodology.
            Do you follow Rolph Dengen? He’s exposing a lot of that in old studies.
            My point is we are the cusp of a data revolution which will rigorize the soft sciences.
            I recommend Dr Pentland’s book– Social Physics.
            If you have an academia account you can read James Lee’s new paper on hereditability of educational attainment– the methodology is really splendid.
            And Big Data will change everthing– what the MIT Social Machine folks call “reality mining”.

          • bintchaos says:

            Its like Dr. S says…

            Or: everyone used to trust academia as a shared and impartial arbitrator of truth. But conservatives didn’t like the stuff it found – whether about global warming or trickle-down economics or whatever – so they seceded into their own world of alternative facts where some weird physicist presents his case that global warming is a lie, or a Breitbart journalist is considered an expert on how cultural Marxism explains everything about post-WWII American history.

            but conservatives wont be able to throw radar chaff at scientific results they dont like for much longer
            The DataPorts platform will serve vast quantities of data for analysis.
            https://twitter.com/AndrewLeifer/status/865276706944417792

  5. dalemannes says:

    Awesome op-ed! This is actually both funny and enlightening at the same time.

    Particularly funny is his last three paragraphs. Awesome stuff!

    Scott Alexander identifies as liberal, but he is awfully sympathetic to conservatives. Most liberals that I know are the opposite.

    • bintchaos says:

      no one will talk about the core problem tho–
      conservative ideology is non-competitive in the institutions of academe and culture.
      I agree with Scott Alexander that its time to stop digging.
      But what is the alternative?
      “Free Speech” is just a stalking horse to get conservative ideology into the marketplace of brutal ideas (college campuses). But there is no peer-to-peer fitness landscape for those ideas. eg, I ask a conservative friend what conservatives want from liberals– he said, “respect us even if we are wrong”. This was in a discussion of climate science.
      But as a scientist, how can i respect the rejection of science? where is the utility good in that?

      • georgie616 says:

        Do you respect Muslims o Mormons even though their religions say crazy shit..

        • bintchaos says:

          im sry…i dont get ur point.
          ALL religions say crazy sh**.
          Google Shakers, Snake-handlers, Church of the Living Word, etc. for some examples from xianity.
          Mormonism is kinda special though because it originated in modernity so the fog of pasthistory doesnt obscure some of its more radical lapses into the suspension of disbelief.

  6. georgie616 says:

    Pew did did a study a few years ago and actually found that MSNBC was substantially more biased than Fox News during the 2012 election. Here’s Here’s a politico article on it:

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/12/is-msnbc-worse-than-fox-news-179175

    While people like Sean Hannity are crazy and insanely biased fox news during the daytime is mostly pretty straight news. MSNBC by comparison was far more opinion shows than straight news. Also while CNN used to be pretty balanced straight news in the last year it has become explicitly affinities republican imo. I’ve read articles that suggested this was actually planned as a way to boost ratings, and it’s worked extremely well.

  7. OldMugwump says:

    The idea of a neutral gatekeeper press seems to be a modern invention of journalism schools.

    I prefer MSNBC and Fox to CNN or the NYT. Because MSNBC and Fox make no pretence of impartiality (Fox’s is clearly tongue-in-cheek.)

    If journalists were interested in truth, they wouldn’t pretend to be impartial (they’re human, of course they have opinions of their own). Instead they’d openly admit their viewpoint and let the reader judge their arguments.

    There are still countless newspapers in the US with “Republican” or “Democrat” in their title. I suspect the relatively high esteem which journalists enjoy is a legacy from the era when these newspapers were founded.

    Before the rise of “professional” journalism in the middle of the 20th century, truth was assumed to exist (even if it was difficult to find), and publishers were proud to announce their political allegiance.

  8. I have a question, is this epistemic polarization limited to the Anglosphere, Western nations, rich nations, or is it a global trend? Are there places that have systems or cultures that are resistant to this, but that are still pluralistic and have relatively good freedom of speech?

    (please no partisan answers that solely blame the left or right)

  9. Roanoke says:

    As someone who’s not on the left, I’d really appreciate it if liberals would try to live up to their value of tolerance. Or you know, try not to be such unbearable assholes.

    • Kevin C. says:

      Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

      We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

      –Karl Popper

      Remember, error has no rights. As these helpful anti-fascists explain, their opponents are

      nothing more then scum of the Earth that have no business even living in the first place. Same holds slightly lighter though for conservatives who can at least keep shut.

      That “violent confrontation” is “the only effective tactic”; that they must “not give them one inch, by any means neccesary”; that “preventing the spread of such… ideals justifies the use of violence, and in most cases killing.”
      So the left-leaning folks who post here, at least, are indeed quite tolerant by comparison.

  10. Yair says:

    From The Newsroom:

    Charlie: We did the news.
    Leona: For the left.
    Charlie: For the center.
    Leona: Are you fucking out of your mind–?!

    Charlie: For the center, Leona! Facts… are the center. Facts. We don’t pretend that certain facts are in dispute to give the appearance of fairness to people who don’t believe them. Balance is irrelevant to me. It has nothing to do with the truth, logic, or reality. He didn’t go on the air telling people to give peace a chance, but evolution? The jury’s back on that one.

    At this point in time entire chunks or the right are at war with science. Not just with the social sciences but in many cases even with the physical sciences (anti-vaxxers come to mind). It is an epistemological war not just with empirical science but also wit deduction based reasoning.

    Sure the likes of NYT and Vox have a responsibility to find those on the Right that attempt to argue using reason and evidence, but it is not their fault if there aren’t many of them at this point in time.

    I think Scott is way to forgiving with the Right on this, possibly because being a liberal he expects more from his own side, but they are responsible for their own actions.

    • hlynkacg says:

      How do you know what you think you know?

      • Yair says:

        The same as everyone else, using induction analogy, deduction and lots of assumptions/axioms.

    • Nornagest says:

      There are rightists in these comments who’ll be happy to tell you at great, tedious length about the facts the left is ignoring, and how those demonstrate that it’s really the left that’s anti-science. I don’t really believe them, but I don’t believe you, either.

    • At this point in time entire chunks or the right are at war with science.

      The left too. The difference is in which parts of relevant science happen to clash with what they want people to believe.

      The left has been at war with economics over minimum wage laws for fifty years or more. At the moment, both parties are at war with it over free trade. The left not only refuses to accept obvious implications of Darwinian evolution when it doesn’t like them, it actively punishes members who hint at believing in them. The left routinely takes for granted claims about the consequences of AGW for which there is no scientific support, the issue over which Chris Landsea resigned from the IPCC a fair while back. Similarly for GMO organisms, although that doesn’t hold for all of the left.

  11. CarthaginianMathematician says:

    Stanford historian Robert Conquest once declared it a law of politics that “any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.” I have no idea why this should be true, and yet I’ve seen it again and again. Taken to its extreme, it suggests we’ll end up with a bunch of neutral organizations that have become left-wing, plus a few explicitly right-wing organizations. Given that Conquest was writing in the 1960s, he seems to have predicted the current situation remarkably well.

    I imagine that this is law works at least in part due to the fact that neutrality is a liberal value. Conservatism has historically been associated with the suppression of socially unacceptable opinions, and only the Marxist/Foucaultist elements of the left have equaled the willingness of the right to enforce political uniformity. As the John Buchan quote goes:

    A Whig is a man who is prepared to go to the stake for his beliefs, but who will not send his opponents there. A Tory is one who will not only burn himself, but is quite prepared in the last resort to burn those who differ from him.

    You can see this on the left today in the US and Western Europe. The left gets into vicious infighting over whether it is acceptable to impose political uniformity, whereas the right has already enforced it among its elites and heavily encouraged it in its followers. I use the US as an example because as an American I am most familiar with its politics, but it seems to me that this plays out in Europe and even in Asia too, just with different positions on a different political space of opinions in a different Overton window. A US Republican faces a much more extensive right wing political correctness to bend the knee to: tax cuts are automatically good and necessary, abortion is a form of murder or at least manslaughter, religion is a universal good (and typically (s)he must go further and state clearly that the US is a Judeo-Christian nation), a more heavily armed populace is always better, a bigger military is automatically better, and immigration must be more heavily controlled.

    The Democrats are quite conflicted on all of these issues: Sanders and Clinton publicly argued over gun control, economic policy, and military size while the GOP was almost fully in agreement on these issues. While the GOP was all in agreement over having a muscular foreign policy (arguing primarily over the specifics of it), Sanders’ interest in drawing down the US military was combated by a Clinton interested in a reasonably muscular US foreign policy (but less muscular than the GOP).

    This goes back at least to the nineties, in which the Democrats were struggling over whether political correctness was acceptable even as Newt Gingritch imposed his will and opinions on his party with a velvet fist.

    • cassander says:

      The left gets into vicious infighting over whether it is acceptable to impose political uniformity

      Please, show me where is that fight being waged. SHow me someone on the american left saying, on at topic besides abortion, that I believe X but I don’t think that I have the right to impose that on people? Because I’m not seeing it.

      The inheritors of the whig tradition are on the political right in the US.

      tax cuts are automatically good and necessary, abortion is a form of murder or at least manslaughter, religion is a universal good (and typically (s)he must go further and state clearly that the US is a Judeo-Christian nation), a more heavily armed populace is always better, a bigger military is automatically better, and immigration must be more heavily controlled.

      There are lots of informed conservatives in this comments section, you should try actually talking to them. You might learn something. Because this is laughably ignorant.

      • CarthaginianMathematician says:

        There are lots of informed conservatives in this comments section, you should try actually talking to them. You might learn something. Because this is laughably ignorant.

        I personally know conservatives who have not bought into these ideological points: but conservative politicians have to. I am aware that almost no voter agrees in full with the conservative slate I laid out – but the GOP as a party and as a movement enforces this among almost all candidates.

        • cassander says:

          Hardly a voter agrees with ANY of what you’ve laid out. And this election should have made it perfectly clear that the GOP as an institution has zero control over who runs under its banner.

        • I personally know conservatives who have not bought into these ideological points: but conservative politicians have to.

          “The biggest immigration problem we got in America is a government that’s not doing its job,” says Armey. “I don’t like illegal immigration, but I’ll tell you something: I don’t run stop lights. But you put me out on the road at two o’clock in the morning on the way to the all-night drugstore to get medicine for my babies, and you give me a stop light that is stuck on red, and no traffic in sight, and I’m gonna go through that red light.”

          (Dick Armey, ex majority leader, currently head of Freedomworks, in defense of illegal immigrants.)

          A politician running for office has to take positions that the voters, in particular enough voters of his party to get the nomination, want in order to win. That’s true whatever his party. Do you think very many Democratic congressmen feel free to publicly question the existence of a large gender gap, unequal pay for equal work, or suggest that one source of differences m/f or by race might be a difference in the innate distribution of relevant characteristics? Express skepticism of the claim that global warming is a terrible threat which must be dealt with?

          Is it possible that you only recognize pressure for uniformity when it is for positions you disagree with?

    • The left gets into vicious infighting over whether it is acceptable to impose political uniformity, whereas the right has already enforced it among its elites and heavily encouraged it in its followers.

      I am a libertarian, I make no secret of my views, which include an extreme pro-immigration position–I’ve been arguing for free migration for something over forty years. They include support for complete free trade. Legalization of all recreational drugs.

      In the U.S., libertarians have generally been considered part of the conservative coalition. I get invited to give talks for the Federalist Society, widely viewed as part of the right. A fair while back I had a friendly debate with Ed Meese, somewhat later a debate, I think on free trade, at a high up conservative gathering at which I had the pleasure of talking with Phyllis Schalfly–who turned out to share my pro-encryption views on that topic.

      That does not appear consistent with your claims. A Republican congressman may be restricted in what positions he can hold without risking a primary challenge, but that would be true of a Democratic congressman as well, with details depending on the district. But intellectuals on what is usually considered the right hold a variety of views. Charles Murray, for instance, in a recent book argued for a basic national income.

  12. bintchaos says:

    ummm…this is my first time commenting.
    i have been linked Scott Alexander posts multiple times as exemplars of writing style and substance.
    Talents i will have to acquire to articulate my CCP model– writing it in LaTeX is not sufficient persuasion or explanation.
    i disagree strongly on the fluidity of outgroup definition…i would say its evolutionary.
    i read all the comments and found them fascinating data.
    great post.

  13. bintchaos says:

    my favorite part–

    The overall impression is of a widespread norm, well-understood by both liberals and conservatives, that we have a category of space we call “neutral” and “depoliticized”. These sorts of spaces include institutions as diverse as colleges, newspapers, workplaces, and conferences. And within these spaces, overt liberalism is tolerated but overt conservativism is banned. In a few of these cases, conservatives grew angry enough that they started their own spaces – which began as noble attempts to avoid bias, and ended as wretched hives of offensive troglodytes who couldn’t get by anywhere else. This justifies further purges in the mainstream liberal spaces, and the cycle goes on forever.

    Here [liberal space] NewYork Magazine devotes a whole issue to the Alt-Right. The Alt-Right is an obvious instantiation of your thesis– also VDARE (home of iSteve Sailer) and the Unz Review.
    except…the cycle wont go on forever and its not equilibrium– at least, not anymore. Thats the cause– breakdown of the soldier/explorer CCP fitness parity under technology and demographics.
    Non-equilibrium systems become vulnerable to collapse.
    The problem is how to restore parity to the soldier sub-population? we dont need as many soldiers now, and the jobs of the future are explorer jobs.

    i also really liked this

    I appreciate your concern, and I’ve added a parenthetical to my post that I am probably biased on this for the obvious reasons.

    the flesh envelope biases us all…but i like your humility in admitting that.
    what is critical is how we deal with bias.
    Me, i try to use physics and math whenever i can– Math is the only true epochè.
    and theres my bias revealed– saying that makes me an elitist 🙂

  14. Tatu Ahponen says:

    This seems like one of those things where it would be useful to see leftism as liberalism as two different concepts. The US media is liberal, sure, but is it leftist? How much space does it give economic left-wing viewpoints (some, yes, but these seem to currently be stuck in their own ghettos like Jacobin or Chapo?) Does it take consistently the side of the labor against the capital? From my perspective, the US media is indeed a battle between two sides, but there’s a third side that’s left with quite a bit of less visibility – though gaining some with the Sanders campaign and because liberals occasionally give it space to seem more open-minded until it becomes powerful enough to oppose it, as has happened with the conservatives in the US and, say, Corbyn in UK.

    • dndnrsn says:

      Often around here “leftist” and “liberal” get used interchangeably. It’s complicated by the fact that there are people who are leftists, but not in an economic sense – they want radical change, but not along economic lines. Further, there are people who think of themselves as leftists, radicals, whatever, but are really just liberals without the good bits – the “radical” changes they want for society are nothing of the kind, but they also don’t have respect for stuff like freedom of speech, conscience, etc in the way liberalism should (or, conversely, they are leftists without the good bits – full of zeal, but not for anything that will actually fix the core problems).

      • And further complicated that some of us use “liberal” in its old sense, roughly a moderate version of the modern “libertarian” and, I gather, still the way the term is used in most of Europe. And there is “neo-liberal,” which seems to be mostly used as a negative term and, I think, comes out of the old rather than the new sense of the word, although I could easily be wrong.

        Does anyone here know in what language and when “neo-liberal” first appeared?

        • Brad says:

          I don’t have access here, but I saw a claim that OED has a reference in English dating back to the 1890s. It is such an obvious neologism that it has probably been coined independently several times each with an independent meaning, depending in part on the many different underlying understandings of the word liberal.

          My sense is that the most common usage today is as a pejorative deployed by adherents to European style economic left and center-left philosophies to describe European style economic center-right philosophies.

          • My sense is that the most common usage today is as a pejorative deployed by adherents to European style economic left and center-left philosophies to describe European style economic center-right philosophies.

            “Center right” can cover a lot of different things. A liberal in the 19th c. sense would be in favor of free trade and easy migration, much of the modern European right is against both.

            As you see the term used, is a neo-liberal for free trade or protectionism? Raising or lowering barriers to immigration? Prohibiting recreational drugs or legalizing them?

          • Brad says:

            I’m not an expert, but I think most western European countries have a party — though it might be small in some cases — that’s for freer trade, lower taxes, less regulation, and more privatization versus whatever the status quo is in those countries. These are the ones that are labeled neoliberal. Not the far right parties that have anti-immigration at their core and tend to be more protectionist.

            I don’t think it translates particularly well to U.S. politics at the current time because both parties are divided on the question of free trade. But we often stand accused of being the intellectual source of many of the ideas.

            If that sounds a lot to you like what the Europeans also call liberal, I agree. I’m not sure what the difference in connotation is exactly. Maybe one of our European posters can chime in.

          • Aapje says:

            I’ll quote a ‘thinker’ of the Dutch liberal party:

            Neoliberalism is the idea that the market is always right. Based on this principle it tries to dismantle the state and let the market provide public services. Privatization and deregulation are the core of the ideology. Politics is reduced to a slave for the economy.

            Neoliberals see all human interactions as economic transactions. Morality is defined in economic terms, where all acts that are based in greed will result in morally just outcomes.

            19th century liberalism is a reaction against the ancien régime. In the aristocratic system, public services were in private hands. Liberals wanted to create a clear separation between public and private: no authority without responsibility. The neoliberal privatization agenda seeks to do the opposite. Therefor, neoliberalism is not liberal. It is anti-politics. Public services should not be left to the irresponsible greed of the market.

            Translated and summarized from here.

            Another person who makes a similar argument:

            Liberalism means that the focus is on the development of the individual, with his own responsibility and entrepreneurial spirit. There is a connection with a humane aspect, namely self-determination and growth of the individual. In neoliberalism, liberalism has become dogmatic and the connection with this humane aspect is abandoned as a keystone. The individual has become an economic component, which is one-dimensionally measurable and manageable. The system is now the point of reference and the one who has the power in this system.

            Then the writer gives examples of how various privatization efforts have actually resulted in dis-empowered consumers and professionals. Instead, power has been placed in the hands of managers whose only expertise is money.

            Snippet taken and translated from here.

        • Tatu Ahponen says:

          The European and American liberals aren’t that far apart, really. I remember a guy from an Internet forum I posted in in my youth (as did Scott) saying that the difference between the two is that in America supporting a health care system where providers are private but state offers universal insurance makes you a radical liberal, while in Europe supporting a health care system where providers are private but state offers universal insurance makes you a radical liberal. Liberalism has included both social liberalism and what is now called “classical” liberalism for a long time.

          American and European liberals, at least the ones who are prone to expressions of international solidarity, also often recognize a certain kinship – witness Obama intervening to support Macron, for instance.

  15. Naldo Sjakie says:

    Scott writes:

    Conservatives aren’t stuck in here with us. We’re stuck in here with them. And so far it’s not going so well. I’m not sure if any of this can be reversed. But I think maybe we should consider to what degree we are in a hole, and if so, to what degree we want to stop digging.

    The core of all political disagreements seem to originate in moral intuitions in some sense. Moral intuitions reveal themselves to each of us via tribal emotions, because morality is intrinsically a social thing. Therefore, maybe a rule of thumb for “right thinking people” is to assume one’s objectivity is handicapped whenever one feels any trace of tribal emotion in the process of communication. Maybe it would be prudent not to say anything at all when one’s objectivity is potentially handicapped.

    Or does resisting tribal emotions cause a weakening of loyalties, setting oneself adrift on a sea of neutral emotionless fact with the sounds of righteous battle and glorious cries of victory carrying distantly from the shore? Well maybe that’s not a bad thing.

    (Of course, moral intuition and tribal emotion felt in the service of the tribe of humanity against existential threats from without seems risk-free I should add. The greatest thing to bring us all together would be an incompetent alien invasion).

    • Nornagest says:

      Therefore, maybe a rule of thumb for “right thinking people” is to assume one’s objectivity is handicapped whenever one feels any trace of tribal emotion in the process of communication. Maybe it would be prudent not to say anything at all when one’s objectivity is potentially handicapped.

      We tried that back at Less Wrong. It sorta worked for a while, but in the long run it ended up incentivizing people who were really damn sure that their objectivity wasn’t handicapped; that is, partisans. Of really weird, fringe causes, usually.

      The rest of us could still sit back and feel smug about how objective we were being, but that’s cold comfort when most of the day’s post volume is people arguing about Death Eaters.

  16. trevor says:

    Incidentally there are high quality right-wing media. The best example is the WSJ. Its pretty clear that WSJ leans right and its also clear that its the best paper in the country.

    Another good example is the National Post in Canada which is vastly superior to both the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. With Media its only about a few people at the very top who control things.

  17. Serinis says:

    Given that the momentum is now with the conservatives, changing courses is the probably the best strategy. Also that the sections of society discussed here (academia & media) have essentially no/little actually power, the current stranglehold liberals have is incredibly fragile & unreliable.

    To clarify, the media’s power is entirely built on persuading the people who have the actual power in society (policemen, middle managers, soldiers etc) and if that doesn’t work, well dominance mean’s f*#k all. Hence you get the situation where the candidate (Hillary) who outspent the other by 2:1 on ads (media’s power) loses to Trump.

    This process goes on long enough and instead of what’s happening in global warming (effectively no action), conservative agendas will be defacto policy despite media or academic disdain. Suddenly the actually wielders of power will have different allegiances.

    • Kevin C. says:

      Given that the momentum is now with the conservatives

      [Citation needed]

      the people who have the actual power in society (policemen, middle managers, soldiers etc)

      “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Analogously, the actual power lies not with (rank-and-file) policemen and soldiers, but with the people whose orders those rank-and-file follow.

  18. jamesrovira says:

    Nah, if right wing media chooses to spout delusional lies and eschew fact and research based reasoning, that is not the fault of left wing or centrist media.

    But how are you defining right and left? Aren’t those BS designators anyhow? Major corporations now own the majority of our media outlets.

  19. MB says:

    “I have no idea why this should be true, and yet I’ve seen it again and again.”
    There’s little mystery to the process. Being left-wing is about inflation and lacking standards.
    Left-wing politics enlarged the suffrage from a handful of nobles, to the propertied class, to all able-bodied men, then women, to eventually include illegal immigrants and convicted criminals. It’s about eliminating competitive examinations and selective admissions of any kind. It’s about complaining that the very idea of expertise, intelligence, merit, beauty is sexist, racist, etc.. It’s about printing unlimited amounts of money.
    The only kind of standard that left-wing people admit is that there should be no standards. If someone owns an old book or a nice painting, if someone is pretty, if some group or person is or is thought to be better in some way than another, etc. — then the left-wing policy will be to destroy that real or imaginary superiority.
    The process usually goes as follows: some polity or community has accumulated some sort of capital (be it cultural, financial, biological, military, etc.) — in other words, it has something good going on. A left-wing person joins it, but due to natural (feelings of) inferiority cannot rise any further, nor enjoy his or her membership in peace. This is often the case for the rich heirs of self-made men.
    There is a feeling of unfairness. The left-wing person brings in allies from outside the community, by relaxing the standards — enlarging the suffrage, encouraging immigration, admitting men into a women’s-only school or vice-versa, abolishing entrance examinations, bribing the poor with unlimited amounts of paper money, etc.. Now the original person is no longer alone and is no longer the weakest/worst person in the community. The people brought in are even more left-wing than the trojan horse, because they know they’d never have qualified under the original standards. When they become sufficiently many, they plunder the community’s assets and redistribute them to themselves and their friends. The cycle repeats.
    Eventually, the community succumbs to degeneracy and entropy and the few decent people left withdraw to begin anew elsewhere.
    The only way to prevent this process is taking draconian, dictatorial measures to restore the old standards. Only explicitly right-wing organizations can even begin to try to do it. Having standards is right-wing; abolishing them is inherently left-wing.
    I hope there is some happy medium between Louis XIV and the Cultural Revolution (probably how society was 50-100 years ago), but if forced to choose between these two extremes I’ll choose Louis XIV 100% of the time.

  20. keenan says:

    Long time, first time. I hope it doesn’t get entirely drowned out by better-written and -informed comments.

    I have an idea about what media organizations can do to break the cycle Scott identified here: encourage more direct debate between positions.

    Despite the radical expansion in the amount of political news/information/entirely-crazy-bullshit that people consume, I think there is less direct, sober dialogue about issues than ever. We either ignore the other side, or highlight useful weak-men arguments with which to tarnish them, or we watch people online and on TV screaming over each other.

    In particular, I would like to see more public debates, either written or in person, between intelligent, thoughtful people of different political perspectives. For these to be successful, they should:

    1. Focus on a narrow, practical question: Don’t talk about the size of government; discuss whether a specific agency should be cut. The more specific the issue under discussion, the harder it is for debaters to avoid directly engaging with their opponent’s thinking.

    2. Allow the debaters to ask questions of each other: Encourage participants to try to fully understand the opposing argument. Open-ended questions are good. Tactical questions to lead your opponent into traps is not.

    3. Use heavy moderation/editorial discretion: This one is harder, but is absolutely necessary. The job of a good debate moderator is to provide an environment in which the most useful discussion can take place. Debaters should never impugn their opponent’s motives. They should avoid clunky, political catchphrases, preferring instead a wide variety of words. The debaters should be encouraged to directly respond to their opponent’s arguments, rather than ridiculing or dodging them.

    4.Get commentators to make the other side’s argument: This one is weird, but I think it would be hugely enlightening. Get people to explain, as best they can, why there are smart, kind people who disagree vociferously on the topic at hand.

    I am aware that there are debate-like things in media (NYT does one, there are the IQ2 podcasts) but in general I find they either set too hazy a topic, or have an insufficiently diverse/talented panel to do the topic justice.

    • Wrong Species says:

      I think all real life debates could be replaced by an internet moderated one and be all the better for it. It’s hard to Gish Gallop your way to victory online.

  21. benwave says:

    less than twenty four hours, one thousand comments. dear lord. I’m frustrated by the fact that the general commentariat here is Just of high enough quality that I actually do want to read through it : (. Dear SSC commenters, please either become better, or slightly worse at comments. Thanks, your friend Ben <3

    • quanta413 says:

      I think the comments here are below par for SSC. I recommend sparing yourself the pain of reading it all.

  22. binarybias says:

    The bias is and was always there. It cannot be removed. It should be made Explicit by requiring any and all ‘talent’ to disclose all their political actions – votes, contributions, attendances, past and present. That would allow viewers to evaluate the broadcasters’ bias on their own and measure out whatever amount of salt they wish to take with their information consumption.

    People do not understand bias.

    Bias is universal. It is almost ALWAYS subconscious and impossible to counteract.

    It is why almost any science that cannot be duplicated via double-blind study is questionable.

    Survey respondents are sensitive to bias at every level. Even the best polls are biased, and those who do them are biased in their corrections for bias. Question order, answer order, tone of voice (if spoken), question wording, answer wording, sample choice, sample result, all are tip-of-the-tongue bias areas; but there are biases even in the software that models results – after all humans wrote the code.

    • sold2u says:

      The myth of media objectivity was created by an avowed socialist – Walter Lippman. I suspect it was more about installing leftist thought in the media and to brainwash society into believing that propaganda wasn’t really propaganda.

      Time to just bury the myth of media objectivity. It was always a pretense to begin with.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        In the middle of the 20th Century, most cities in the U.S. had one dominant newspaper that got all the classified advertising. Owning, say, the Los Angeles Times in 1972 was incredibly profitable because it was a natural monopoly.

        So, it behooved successful newspaper barons to claim the mantle of neutrality so that political disagreements wouldn’t shake your monopoly position. If you read the thick Los Angeles Times and the thin Los Angeles Herald-Examiner carefully, you could tell that the Times was liberal and sedate and the Herald-Examiner was conservative and feisty. But what really mattered was what paper had most of the classified ads. Because the LA Times did, it could afford to be liberal like its newsroom wanted, but it couldn’t be really obvious about it because that might irritate classified advertisers.

        So the LA Times let its newsroom be liberal as long as they more or less pretended to be neutral enough to not annoy classified advertisers.

        The Herald Examiner barely had any classified ads so it had to appeal more to a portion of readers, such as people who understood and didn’t like the Times’ long-winded liberalism. So it was more fun to read, but it didn’t have the financial resources to run the kind of Whither Burma? in-depth reporting that the Times indulged in at its peak.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          In contrast, England and France have just one capital/metropolis, so most newspapers are national newspapers and they don’t pretend to be neutral. The Guardian backed Labour, the Telegraph backed the Tories, the Times was delivered to important people of the Establishment because their grandfather’s butler had always brought in the Times on the breakfast tray, the Daily Mail was bought by working class readers if today’s front page caught their eye, etc

          There was a lot more competition, so there wasn’t much pretense of neutrality, unless that was part of the marketing image of the newspaper; e.g., The Times of London was typically edited by a member of Milner’s Cabal that had been launched by Cecil Rhodes in South Africa. It wasn’t neutral but it acted like it was.

  23. Wrong Species says:

    When was the last time creationism was actually relevant in politics? It seems like such a weird thing to talk about when Trump got elected by being a secular nationalist.

    • HeelBearCub says:

      Way, way, way back in … April of 2017?

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        A creationist-friendly bill passed a state legislature committee by a 4-3 margin in one of the most conservative states in the union. And then… [checks the news]… it died on the floor of the House a few weeks later.

        Yeah, no, pretty much everything is more relevant in politics than this.

    • Nornagest says:

      I still hear about it on the state scale, but I don’t think it’s been on the national agenda since the early Bush years.

  24. ericchristianberg says:

    I was very compelled by David Chapman’s analysis of the shift in political viewpoints in the 60s and 70s when the two parties went from arguing about policy to taking moral stands and this seems to be fallout of the same issue. When you recognize that the other side has different priorities but that compromises can be made on the basis of shared values, it allows for a neutral ground where facts are analyzed and policy discussed. When you shift perspectives to thinking that you are engaged in a holy war with an evil opponent, there is no room for neutral ground. Once the blue team started to identify itself with moral positions birthed from the civil rights movement and the red team began painting their positions with the brush of religious orthodoxy, neutral ground and objective discussion went right out the window. So, it is hardly surprising that a pretense towards objectivity has suffered. Nobody is looking for facts to build reasonable policy around, they are looking for ammunition for their holy war.

  25. Thegnskald says:

    Political maturity, at this point, is recognizing that if the Democrats came down hard against evolution, Republicans would suddenly discover how dumb creationism is. If Republicans came out in favor of NASA, Democrats would be against that.

    Beyond maturity is political wisdom: if either of those happened, nothing would change. The official platforms cover less than half a percent of what government does. The meaningful legislation goes uncontested in the public eye, because the meaningful legislation is boring, heavy on details, and light on soundbites.

    Which isn’t to say that the parties can do whatever they want, because ultimately voters vote based on vague feelings on how they think things are going, feelings which are influenced by those details in subtle ways. If legislation made YouTube worse, the incumbents would go away, and someone else would replace them.

    Because the real point of the parties taking opposing positions on nonsense isn’t because they care particularly about those issues, it is to make themselves distinct from the party currently in power – to declare that they will take the country in a different direction. No politician wants to say “I will do mostly the same thing but slightly different.”. So a mature government with a mostly functional set of policies will have incredibly partisan and dumb looking election behavior, because as the points of distinction narrow, and less and less should be changed, the irrelevant details become more and more important.

  26. theschaef47 says:

    Nor is there a liberal version of FOX that lacks that pretense of neutrality.

    MSNBC?

  27. sold2u says:

    I don’t understand these two statements:

    “the enemies can just leave and start their own institutions, with horrendous results for everybody.”
    “Conservatives aren’t stuck in here with us. We’re stuck in here with them”

    How does the right opting out of left-wing institutions harm the left? The left doesn’t have to visit the right wing ghettos. Or are they just miffed that conservatives aren’t listening to Colbert’s sick burns?

    • Trofim_Lysenko says:

      “How does the presence of ghettos impact my city/society? After all, it’s not like me and mine actually have to go visit them or see them!”

      EDIT: Let me make the point more clear.

      “Ghettos”, whether literal or metaphorical, are not good for the health of the larger social or political structure they are a part of, even if you can as an individual avoid personally entering them.

      Their effects, and their output are -not- confined to their geographic or (or URL) boundaries, but spread through to affect the rest of society too.

      • sold2u says:

        The left isn’t interested in dialogue – it is interested in lecturing. They don’t care what people who disagree with them have to say, and they find zero value in it. Which is fine.

        But, if you spend your time hectoring an audience, eventually they get tired of it and change the channel. Which is what has happened here.

        But I don’t see how the left is worse off. IMO everyone is better off.

    • The Nybbler says:

      Conservatives leaving the institutions and founding their own deprives the institutions of legitimacy as the authoritative institutions of their kind.

      • sold2u says:

        how? Conservatives were never represented in these institutions to begin with. To the left, it is completely transparent

        • hlynkacg says:

          An institution’s claim to being a “neutral gatekeeper” is worthless if it is neither neutral nor a gatekeeper.

          How do you plan to mediate intertribal disputes in a society where the tribes have their own institutions and are fully status independent?

          • sold2u says:

            I agree that these institutions are not neutral and probably never were.

            So, the only issue for the left is that the right no longer buys the fiction that these self-styled “neutral gatekeepers” are what they claim to be. So what? I don’t see how the left is harmed.

            What sort of disputes need mediation anyway?

          • hlynkacg says:

            What sort of disputes need mediation anyway?

            Is that a joke?

        • The Nybbler says:

          It’s much harder to maintain the image of an ideologically neutral institution if one side refuses to participate in it; it makes it clear that institution does not represent the truth but rather the left (or the right or whatever).

          • sold2u says:

            But that horse left the barn ages ago..

          • The Nybbler says:

            The first major break was the creation of Fox News, but only now are some of those institutions realizing what happened.

          • sold2u says:

            IMO, it really started when Matt Drudge broke the Monica Lewinsky story. The idea that Matt scooped all of the national broadsheets, the networks etc was preposterous.

            It showed that the media circles the wagons to protect Democrats. From there, the conservative websites began to flourish and fill the void the MSM left behind.

    • Urstoff says:

      Insularity leads to groupthink leads to purity tests leads to purges and gulags.

      • sold2u says:

        My point is that the left has always been insulated. They never heard opposing views in academia or the media. So for them nothing changes.

        All they lose is the pretense of neutrality (which only they bought) and the inability to push their agenda on the right the way they want to. That isn’t a harm on the left, nor is it bad for society.

        • Urstoff says:

          By what measure are you judging that the left has always been insulated?

          • sold2u says:

            The left’s assumptions never get challenged in the MSM, and for the most part, conservative arguments are being framed by people who don’t believe them, or even understand them.

          • Urstoff says:

            That’s more of an assertion than a measure. By what measure are you asserting that the left’s assumptions were never challenged? Also, what assumptions were those that were being unchallenged?

          • By what measure are you judging that the left has always been insulated?

            I can’t speak to “always,” but it is consistent with my experience as a Harvard undergraduate in the early sixties.

          • Urstoff says:

            Thanks David. My bias is toward believing that, of course, but with any assertion about social trends, it’s very easy for someone to come back and say “well I didn’t see that happening, in fact, I saw the opposite”, and we haven’t progressed an inch in resolving the question. Is anecdotal evidence all we have, or is there something more concrete we can look for?

          • I’m afraid anecdotal evidence is all I have.

            And some of it may be biased, since I would have been better informed about my side of the argument than most people on either side–my father was widely, and not entirely inaccurately, reported to be Goldwater’s economic advisor–and naturally judged people by comparison with myself.

            I remember a fellow undergraduate, who didn’t know me, remarking that he couldn’t take economics at Chicago because he would burst out laughing. I think that gives some idea of how the Harvard department presented views they disagreed with–including some that, within a decade or two, they had conceded were correct.

            And I remember another student reporting that his econ instructor, on being told that he had gone from being a Rockefeller Republican (liberal) to being a Goldwater Republican, checked his records to confirm the extraordinary fact that the student had gotten an A in the course.

        • hlynkacg says:

          That isn’t a harm on the left, nor is it bad for society.

          This is where we fundamentally disagree, I think that you’re so used to existing in a relatively “high trust” society that you haven’t given any thought to what the alternative looks like. This sort of tribal status independence where the tribes are forced to intermingle and nobody can be trusted to act as arbiter/neutral-third-party is precisely how ethnic conflicts get started.

          • sold2u says:

            ok, but it was the left that forfeited the credibility of these institutions, not the right.

            you can’t blame the right for playing the “consider the source” game the left has always played.

          • hlynkacg says:

            That’s arguable but in the end it doesn’t matter. The claim that this isn’t a harm on the left, nor is it bad for society is obviously (and possibly catastrophically) false.

          • sold2u says:

            I don’t see the left being harmed by only preaching to the converted. Yes, they would rather they had no competition, but they aren’t being harmed at all. Regardless, they brought this on themselves.

            I think more voices and points of view is better than only one.

          • hlynkacg says:

            The harm does not come from “preaching to the converted” the harm, both to the left and society, comes from the end of detente.

            You’re looking around and assuming that because you don’t see any ethnic strife, the norms against ethnic strife can be safely removed.

    • Jaskologist says:

      Conservatives still get to vote.

      Also, a lot of those left-wing institutions depend on government funding.

      • sold2u says:

        which is why they are left-wing. who is going to get you a bigger budget (and paycheck)?

  28. Drew says:

    There’s a simple-seeming explanation for Conquest’s law: Organizations are subject to scope-creep. Scope-creep has a left-wing bias.

    You’re on the board of a community organization. A member comes in with a special request. Requests will be things like, “please make sure the conference has vegan food,” or “can we do some outreach targeted at group X?”

    These requests aren’t “political” in the normal sense of there being two, roughly-balanced factions.

    Instead, you’ll have 3-5 vegans who are really invested in vegan food options. They want to eat. And you have 200+ other people who don’t really care all that much. The vegan food option might represent $0.25 out of their annual dues.

    The asymmetry means that these projects are easy-to-adopt and hard-to-kill.

    Not all of the projects are political. But, small-group focused activism has a left-wing bias.

    So, over time, organizations end up over-extended and vaguely left wing.

  29. Anon256 says:

    The most extreme example of a Voat-like “zillion witches” ideological ghetto in the world today seems to be ISIS. Do you think in response to this the Western intellectual/media mainstream should be more inclusive of radical Islamists and their ideas?

    • MostlyCredibleHulk says:

      Aren’t we already kinda there? I don’t see too much critical discussion of Islam in feminist or social justice circles, despite there being a rich ground for it (maybe I don’t know enough of them, if so, please point out the places where such discussion happens). I don’t mean stuff like cutting off heads, but just discussing the status of women in traditional Islamic society, or the status of “other” – non-Islamic person, or slavery still existing in Islamic world. I don’t think there’s a serious discussion of this – instead, it’s mostly “no to Islamophobia” and now even calls for Western women to wear hijabs to support Islamic women supposedly suffering from Islamophobia. I think at least the left wing of Western intellectual/media mainstream is already very tolerant of radical Islam, unusually tolerant, as far as you can go without supporting the cutting off heads part.

      • Anon256 says:

        To the extent that this is the case, do you think it is an effective strategy against ISIS? (I’m personally not sure what the best strategy is, I’m just noting that the sets of people advocating “be more inclusive of conservatives” and people advocating “be more inclusive of radical Islamists” don’t seem to have much overlap.)

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          Why does it need to be an effective strategy against ISIS? He’s just talking about the treatment of Muslim women in general. If a Christian man in the US did not let his wife go outside without covering her hair/face, feminists would crucify him.

          • INH5 says:

            Why does it need to be an effective strategy against ISIS? He’s just talking about the treatment of Muslim women in general. If a Christian man in the US did not let his wife go outside without covering her hair/face, feminists would crucify him.

            I think this is more due to the outgroup/fargroup distinction that Scott talks about in this post than any kind of special deference towards Islam. I also don’t see much feminist criticism of fundamentalist Mormon splinter sects that practice polygamy and child marriage, for example. Heck, HBO even made a show about fundamentalist Mormon polygamists that portrayed them in a vaguely sympathetic light. In both cases, the groups are seen as so distant as to not be of major concern. They’re just weird savages that live out in the desert.

            The mainstream religious right, meanwhile, is seen as he outgroup because they’re close enough and powerful enough to have an actual impact on the lives of the feminists in question by, for example, passing laws that restrict access to abortion in Red States.

            Whereas any Muslims that a typical North American progressive (I don’t know enough about European politics to describe how it works over there) happens to know personally are, due to epistemic bubble factors, likely to be more on the liberal side of the political spectrum. So they get to be included in their ingroup.

          • Jiro says:

            I also don’t see much feminist criticism of fundamentalist Mormon splinter sects that practice polygamy and child marriage, for example

            There’s “no criticism” of polygamist Mormon sects because nobody talks about them. Nobody goes around saying that people who try to criticize them anyway are committing polygamyophobia.

          • INH5 says:

            They’re still a valid counter-example to the idea that “if a Christian man in the US [treated his wife the same way that fundamentalist Muslim men treat their wives], feminists would crucify him.” And they’re really only the first example that came to mind. There are any number of Christian sects in the US that are far more patriarchal/anti-feminist than the mainstream religious right but get a lot less criticism than the latter from the left because they’re seen as fargroups instead of outgroups.

            The “Islamophobia” discourse is another issue, which I think is partly a strategic political alliance between the left and American Muslims but mostly what Scott describes in the “post-partisanship” post as “using [fargroups] as props in our own local conflicts.” In the case of, for example, passing around stories (true or false) of hijabi women getting attacked, the intent is obviously to make the right/Republicans/Trump and his supporters look bad. The politics of the hijab itself isn’t discussed because it just isn’t something that the progressives passing around those stories care about.

          • Jiro says:

            Criticism of polygamy is accepted by feminists, even if it isn’t done much. It is also an overwhelming proportion of what feminists say about polygamous sects, even if it is not large in absolute magnitude.

            Neither of these is true for feminists versus fundamentalist Islam. They’re both different kinds of “no criticism”.

            Amd both of these are fargroups.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            Polygamists aren’t aggressively criticized because polygamy is next on the list for normalization.

        • gbdub says:

          I don’t think the idea is to be inclusive of actual radicals, it’s to be more inclusive of relatively mainstream people, lest they be marginalized and become actual radicals.

          • Anon256 says:

            Mainstream relative to what? A mainstream elected politician in Iran likely has positions that are still totally outside the Overton window in the US, and I think few in the US would advocate expanding the Overton window to include them.

            The intellectual/media mainstream is inclusive of many people who a typical Bernie Sanders supporter would call “conservative”, and NYT was just last week bragging about adding Bret Stephens to their op ed page (as a third conservative along with Douthat and Brooks), but Scott is not satisfied. No matter where one draws the line of who to include, there will be people just on the other side who are “relatively mainstream” and your argument implies should be included lest they be radicalised. But the alternative is to draw no line and include actual ISIS supporters.

          • gbdub says:

            You’re correct it’s a tough line to draw, but we’re talking about including Paul Ryan and Indiana Trump voters here, we’ve got a long way to go before inviting ISIS becomes an issue. I don’t know exactly where the right line is, but if it cuts out literally half the country it’s probably cutting too deep.

    • Tracy W says:

      I have on occasion thought that the best thing the US government could do for democratic reformers in Iran would be to issue statements of support for the theocracy. Obviously the US government wouldn’t positively endorse theocratic control but it could make statements like “We call on protestors to respect the authority of the existing Iranian institutions and avoid unsettling extremist reforms.”

      Maybe something similar could be done to Isis.

  30. cyclemadness says:

    I have not read the Roberts piece – yet – but, as I read this, I had a fundamental question: how do you define conservative? I think the word used to mean – ages ago – William F. Buckley-quality principles and argument. Now, after 30 years of setting up its principles and perimeter, I only see conservative to mean racist, sexist, and fundamentally anti-poor, anti-democratic, and anti-tolerance. I don’t see that as equal but opposite to liberalism but as the antithesis of the society that we have tried to create with laws that respect the ideal that there is equal opportunity for all. Of course, that is an ideal that has never really existed, but I subscribe to that ideal rather than the ideal that we are all in this for ourselves and that we are not responsible for the well-being of our fellow citizens. I’m an idealistic fool in the view of most people, I’m sure, but I genuinely like to see people of different races working, living, socializing together and loving whom they choose. I am neither offended nor threatened by them but am by a fundamentalist government that aims to impose a religion-based system on the country. I don’t want to live by a conservative, religion-based moral code that forces me to accept beliefs I don’t believe in because the people in control simply cannot live with anyone not exactly like them.

    • Paul Zrimsek says:

      When you do read the Roberts article, let us know what you think of the part where he says “We’re richer than you are. Neener, neener, neener!”

    • eyeballfrog says:

      Your comment reads as someone who has never actually interacted with a conservative person and has his entire image of conservatives filtered through Huffington Post.

    • I am neither offended nor threatened by them but am by a fundamentalist government that aims to impose a religion-based system on the country. I don’t want to live by a conservative, religion-based moral code that forces me to accept beliefs I don’t believe in because the people in control simply cannot live with anyone not exactly like them.

      At the moment, that seems closer to describing the left than the right, assuming you are willing to accept a definition of religion broad enough to include non-theistic versions. Consider some examples:

      Which comes closer to “the people in control simply cannot live with anyone not exactly like them:

      Someone who doesn’t approve of homosexuality chooses not to bake a cake for a gay wedding

      or

      Someone who doesn’t approve of homosexuality is compelled to bake a cake for a gay wedding or pay a large fine.

      Schools require children to use the bathroom that fits their biological sex

      or

      Schools are required to allow children who are biologically male to use the girl’s room and children who are biologically female to use the boy’s room.

      A prominent academic, offering conjectures as to the reason that most academics in some fields in a top school are men, includes among possible explanations that there may be m/f differences in the distribution of the relevant abilities

      or

      The same prominent intellectual is fiercely attacked and forced out of his job for saying that.

      Can you offer a balancing set, a case where conservatives in power are the ones trying to force other people to be, or at least act, like them?

  31. Kevin says:

    This post is already referenced in The Atlantic: What Critiques of ‘Smug Liberals’ Miss

    • Jordan D. says:

      I really liked that article (although it needed another editing pass), but I’m exactly the sort of person who would, as a liberal voter in a deeply-Republican area. I’ve only ever been personally accused of smugness online, but the generalized campaigns in the area still grate.

    • Forlorn Hopes says:

      I knew it would be Connor even before clicking it.

    • eyeballfrog says:

      The article misses some important asymmetries in the two sides.

      1) Liberal smugness gets more play. Yes Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter exist, but do they get anywhere near the national attention as, say, John Stewart?

      2) Liberal smugness and conservative smugness have slightly different flavors. Conservatives tend to portray liberals as foolish, while liberals portray conservatives as stupid. The latter seems somehow smugger, though I’m having trouble articulating why.

      3) This might be my perception, but at least in the most recent political season, conservative smugness seemed to be directed at the liberal elite, while liberal smugness was directed at working class conservatives. The article illustrates this itself where it compares Hillary calling me deplorable to me calling her a witch. I’m not usually one to cite punching down, but I think it’s a little rich to see me and the potential president of the US as having even social standing.

      • Iain says:

        1) Liberal smugness gets more play. Yes Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter exist, but do they get anywhere near the national attention as, say, John Stewart?

        Yes.

        At his peak, Jon Stewart got about 2.5M nightly viewers. Rush Limbaugh gets more than 13M listeners/week. (Sean Hannity is close behind at 12.5M.)

        Also, this is your regularly scheduled reminder to go read the full context of “basket of deplorables”. Specifically, here’s the very next paragraph:

        “But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”

        That witch!

        • Nornagest says:

          Reminds me of “…and some, I assume, are good people”.

          • Iain says:

            If Trump had immediately followed “some, I assume, are good people” with a sympathetic description of the problems those people faced, and a commitment to reach out to those people, but everybody ignored the latter half of his remarks, then it would be worthwhile to point out that there was more to the story, no?

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Also, Clinton described knowing good people who supported Trump. She didn’t just mention their existence as a hypothesis.

            “Basket of deplorables” struck me as a very weak insult. I was amazed that people were so angry about it, which I suppose is another reason why I shouldn’t go into politics.

        • Paul Zrimsek says:

          Not all the people who disagree with me are fiends in human shape. Some are just pathetic losers.

        • eyeballfrog says:

          Yeah, but if you don’t fall into that “other basket” you’re still being called deplorable. And not just deplorable–“Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic”. (And note she said half of Trump supporters–millions of people–are deplorables.) Her message is “everyone who supports Trump is desperate or Hitler”. Not exactly surprising people reacted badly.

      • The Nybbler says:

        I think Limbaugh is about as smug as can be, and I haven’t seen much from Coulter (what little I’ve seen has been openly hostile rather than smug). But for Limbaugh or Coulter or Vox or Huffpo to be smug is one thing. For a putatively neutral institution (and I don’t count Vox as one) to have the same sort of smugness is very different. That is, if we actually had neutral institutions representing people from all over the political spectrum, I wouldn’t want Limbaugh to be a spokesman for one.

  32. samuelthefifth says:

    On the topic of those “worker ants” and the culture war.

    Guess what, here’s a group of people who have legit beef, who have never been allowed to define themselves publicly, and who the media has created a giant ugh field around. Every time you talk about them, you repeat the caricature that’s been made of them, by assuming bad faith as a foregone conclusion. They just want to chime in and set the record straight for themselves, to separate them from whatever bad actors you’ve lumped them in with.

    What do you do? You apparently wordfilter and ban them and join in throwing shade from afar without engaging, ensuring the farce will go on indefinitely.

    And this in a thread about media bias of all places.

    • herbert herberson says:

      Upthread some antfolk tried to set the record straight to me, and all they succeeded in doing was convincing me that they were using an idiosyncratic set of definitions in which they were very emotionally invested and that accordingly further discussion would be somewhere between useless and impossible.

      • Thegnskald says:

        All I saw was an argument about whether they were left-wing or right-wing, and if being opposed by/to a particular group of self-styled feminists is right wing, there is no Left left.

        The issue with the coalition of interests that is leftist politics has always been that they were barely restrained from attacking one another, of declaring their disagreements heresies that put their rivals in the right-wing camp. Well, that worked wonderfully well with the blue collar workers in the last election, pushing a large group of previously stout allies away.

        Sometimes I am convinced intelligence is what Cassandra’s curse was talking about. I have only been complaining about this utterly predictable problem for the last two decades, and been routinely denounced as tone policing, as being a troll, as being a secret right-winger trying to instigate shit.

        At a certain point I can only be grimly satisfied by the last election, the loss was quite well earned.

      • The Nybbler says:

        Upthread some antfolk tried to set the record straight to me, and all they succeeded in doing was convincing me that they were using an idiosyncratic set of definitions

        You simply rejected it out of hand.

        That poll of a couple hundred people is not enough to make me disbelieve my lying eyes.

        The ants were a movement that resulted from a split in the left. Gamers interested in the indie scene were mostly _on the left_. Eron Gjoni (in the game of ants, he was the ball, as Anita S. might say) was (and perhaps still is) an actual _SJW_.

        What’s left of the ants (at least on /r/KotakuInAction) is more right _now_. That’s a fairly recent phenomenon, I think due to three factors — one, those interested strictly in the gaming aspects and not the wider culture war have dropped out. Two, an influx of culture warriors from the right who weren’t that interested in the gaming aspects. And three, actual conversions: the SJW left has driven some of the anti-authoritarian left into the right’s arms. The third factor is probably the smallest.

        Again, though, this is a recent phenomenon. During the US primaries, the KiA was far more a Bernie-supporter place than a Trump-supporter place.

        Yes, the ants are and always were anti-feminist, specifically anti-intersectional-feminist. But unless that’s the defining characteristic of the left/right axis, that doesn’t mean the ants are on the right.

        Contrast them with the Sad Puppies; Larry Correia is a conservative, classic God, Guns, and Country. The other Sad Puppy leaders are also conservatives or right-libertarians. The Sad Puppy blogs are full of conservative opinions. Nothing like the KiA of the past.

        • herbert herberson says:

          https://web.archive.org/web/20160201205910/https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/

          This is the subreddit in question on the day of the Iowa primary. The third post is non-game-related antifeminism. The fourth is complaining about “the left’s war on dissent.” The twelveth is a pro-Milo post, the twentieth is Ben Shapiro “destroying” the concept of white privilege. The ones I didn’t specifically mention are ideologically neutral at most (e.g., “[Censorship] Guy who claims dictionary is sexist, tries to get Teal Deer’s video pulled down by citing harassment.(imgur.com)”). There are no pro-Bernie posts, and not even any posts talking about the evils of gaming corporations or payola for positive reviews. It’s pure culture-war-fodder, and the only way you can claim it’s not taking the right-wing side of it is by stating that the feminists and SJWs it opposes are not on the left, a.k.a idiosyncratic definitions.

          If you go even further back, say to autumn of 2014, this is less stark, but the eventual path isn’t hard to see coming, and the overall picture is of possibly-libertarian-leaning-but-mostly-apolitical people forming a coalition against an enemy that considers itself on the left.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Which is to say, your evidence that the ants are on the right are based on opposition to SJWs/feminism. That’s what the Milo article is about, that’s what the third post is about. If everyone who is opposed to the SJWs is on the right, then the ants are on the right. So is most of the SSC commentariat. This is absurd; I’m aware that the SJWs themselves consider this to be true, but I see no reason to give their views credence.

          • herbert herberson says:

            There’s a difference between being one of the center-left liberals who thinks Jonathon Chait is right and maybe comments a couple times on Facebook about those damn college kids and participating in/identifying with an purely reactionary movement.

            But, really, semantics is a waste of everyone’s time, so I’m going to re-commit to dropping it. Genuinely sorry for bringing it up again here.

          • ChexLeMeneux says:

            If there aren’t a significant amount of people who consider themselves on the left among these groups, why do their own straw polls say otherwise? Why do people show up in threads over there to say they are on the left when questions about the political makeup of the group come up?

            These people really shout their opinions. Aggressively, over aggressively. I don’t see what value they would find in saying they are on the left on most issues if they aren’t.

          • eyeballfrog says:

            You’re right, this is becoming semantic. So let’s taboo right-wing. Explain what is wrong with the ants without referencing them being a “right-wing” movement.

          • Brad says:

            Explain what is wrong with the ants without referencing them being a “right-wing” movement.

            It’s nearly impossible for anyone to tell what their concerns are in any sort of reasonable amounts of time. You start listening and you get this convoluted story about some obscure game developer that broke up with her boyfriend and then slept with some kind of reviewer, and then someone else jumps in with complaints about some random woman with a youtube channel that claims mainstream video games are sexist, then it quickly devolves into masses of complaints about how the movement was portrayed in the media. They’ll be lots and lots of annotated screenshots where you have no idea what you are supposed to be looking at. You’ll hear a lot of references to ethics in games journalism, but not much about how massive game companies give free stuff to people that review their games, which one would think would be the heart of the ethics critique (a la payola in the 50s on the radio).

            Telling me the movement is being treated unfairly is one thing, but you still need to be able to say what the movement is about in the first place. Preferably in some kind of “elevator pitch” fashion.

            It’s even worse than Occupy Wall Street, and that’s saying something.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Brad – “It’s nearly impossible for anyone to tell what their concerns are in any sort of reasonable amounts of time.”

            1. The strongest pro-SJ faction of games fandom proved themselves hypocrites by closing ranks around an abuser and attacking the victim for speaking up. This was shocking because most gamers thought themselves pro-SJ and not hypocrites.

            2. When 1 provoked a shitstorm, the strongest pro-SJ faction (which had a long record of promoting, approving of and encouraging shitstorms) declared that this and other simmering conflicts within the community was proof that the community as a whole was full of awful people who should be purged.

            3. When 2 exponentially expanded the scope and intensity of the shitstorm, the pro-SJ faction declared that this was proof that they were right all along and that they were fighting the good fight against misogynist doxxers and harassers, called for reinforcements from the wider culture, and openly encouraged their partisans to engage in harassment and doxxing against their enemies while suppressing any attempt by the other side to fight against harassment or doxxing.

            4. The double-down on the double-down on the double-down on hypocrisy caused the shitstorm to grow large enough to eat the entire internet for some months.

            Multiple previous scandals had already dealt with the payolla issue, with the result that the old gaming media were held in active contempt and a new games media had emerged to replace them. That new media’s rise had coincided with the emergence of indie gaming and Steam, resulting in a brief golden age where indie devs, new journalism and gamers were all on the same side. the Ants happened when the journos defected on that alliance in a way that many people saw as deeply unethical.

            Brief enough?

          • Brad says:

            Fairly brief, though still not really elevator pitch ready.

            Anyway, to respond to the substance, the way you describe it makes it sound like the kind of thing that if you were not heavily involved in the original sub-sub-fandom in question it is highly unlikely you would ever care.

            There’s an old Jewish joke:
            Q: A Jewish man is stranded on a desert island, how many shuls are there on the island?
            A: Two, the one he goes to and the one he refuses to set foot in.

            It alludes to the fact that synagogue politics is notoriously bitter. But I can tell you from long experience that it is incredibly boring to hear about synagogue drama for a synagogue you don’t care about and where you don’t know any of the people involved.

            At the height of la affair de ants, as you said, it started to eat the internet. I hope you can appreciate why Scott might want to ban the term and why many of us were exasperated to have it spill over in so many places. Even among the many of us that do pick up a video game from time to time.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Brad – “It alludes to the fact that synagogue politics is notoriously bitter. But I can tell you from long experience that it is incredibly boring to hear about synagogue drama for a synagogue you don’t care about and where you don’t know any of the people involved.”

            Eh, sure, and likewise I have no objection to Scott banning the related terms.

            It’s a bit frustrating to see the (I think) false version of the narrative raised, try to correct the record with the facts as I see them, and then be told “shut up, no one cares”. As an Ant, I care rather a lot, and apparently people on the other side do too since they keep bringing it up.

            Not talking about it is also hard because it was actually sorta-kinda important, as a possible high-water-mark of SJ in the broader culture.

            [EDIT] – Of course, the way, way, way, way more productive thing to do, either by the OP in this thread or by the first person to respond to them, would have been to point out that this article is aimed at non-ants, trying to get them to treat red tribe with more charity, and part of that is using facts they agree on as a basis for common ground. Challenging those facts undermines this whole approach to start a fight that you aren’t going to win anyway, because they don’t have enough charity to listen to your position. There is a time and a place, and this is not it.

          • Jiro says:

            the way you describe it makes it sound like the kind of thing that if you were not heavily involved in the original sub-sub-fandom in question it is highly unlikely you would ever care.

            Except that the shitstorm resulted in social justice attacking gamers in general, including gamers who weren’t originally involved. Right now, the Ants seem to be mostly a pushback against social justice attacks on games and gamers.

          • Brad says:

            @FacelessCraven

            It’s a bit frustrating to see the (I think) false version of the narrative raised, try to correct the record with the facts as I see them, and then be told “shut up, no one cares”. As an Ant, I care rather a lot, and apparently people on the other side do too since they keep bringing it up.

            Fair enough. Scott did bring it up, and was rather unflattering about it.

            Re: Edit
            I said almost exactly the same thing in a slightly different context to AnonYEmous elsewhere on this page.

            @Jiro

            Except that the shitstorm resulted in social justice attacking gamers in general, including gamers who weren’t originally involved. Right now, the Ants seem to be mostly a pushback against social justice attacks on games and gamers.

            These terms are way too slippery. I don’t think “social justice” as a whole, inasmuch as it is even a coherent concept to begin with, went on the warpath against gamers in general.

            Which is to say, I don’t think that the social meaning of being a regular WoW or Call of Duty or Madden player is any different on college campuses (the supposed heart of social justice) today than it was May 2014.

          • random832 says:

            I’m reminded of My id on defensiveness, which I’m certain someone must have linked recently but I can’t find either here or the open thread (maybe it was on one of the other threads that’s been linked here). EDIT: I’m an idiot, it was in this blog post, but only linked with a number so when I searched I didn’t find it. Well, my point remains that it seems like a perfect example.

            Which is to say, I don’t think that the social meaning of being a regular WoW or Call of Duty or Madden player is any different on college campuses (the supposed heart of social justice) today than it was May 2014.

            To my understanding, the attack was on people who considered themselves “gamers” – not merely that regularly played the games but who considered it their primary hobby, and you can get away with “being a regular WoW or Call of Duty or Madden player” by simply saying “but I’m not, you know, a gamer” (with the implied side order of “I have an actual life unlike those nerds”)

            It’s fundamentally an anti-identity attack, not an anti-activity attack, so you can’t really say “the social meaning of doing some thing hasn’t changed” is evidence against it.

            (As I recall it was mainly actually the media attacking “gamers”, at least early on, but that’s beside the point)

          • Jiro says:

            It’s an attack on both the identity and on the games. Social justice has no problem saying that games themselves are sexist, along with the implication that gamers are sexist for playing them.

          • Brad says:

            @random832

            To my understanding, the attack was on people who considered themselves “gamers” – not merely that regularly played the games but who considered it their primary hobby, and you can get away with “being a regular WoW or Call of Duty or Madden player” by simply saying “but I’m not, you know, a gamer” (with the implied side order of “I have an actual life unlike those nerds”)

            It’s fundamentally an anti-identity attack, not an anti-activity attack, so you can’t really say “the social meaning of doing some thing hasn’t changed” is evidence against it.

            Fine, substitute gamers. Same point remains. “Those nerds” was true in 2014 (or 2000 for that matter) and in 2017.

            (As I recall it was mainly actually the media attacking “gamers”, at least early on, but that’s beside the point)

            A claim that there were a series of articles across several different media outlets in a localized time period is a very different claim than one that unreasonably personifies “social justice” as “attacking gamers”.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Jiro:

            Right; it escaped the sub-sub fandom when the so-called Gamers Are Dead articles were published (and, coincidentally, the forbidden name was coined). At that point it went from being mostly chan drama to a major battle in the culture war.

  33. The original Mr. X says:

    Quite a few people above have said things like “Maybe liberals think conservatives are dumb because conservatives actually do believe dumb things.” The examples given of dumb things conservatives think (e.g., creationism, the US Civil War being primarily about tariffs, etc.) mostly aren’t live issues in other countries, so if this were really the reason we’d expect liberal smugness to be primarily an American phenomenon. As a matter of fact, though, lots of other countries have smug liberals going on about how non-liberals are all stupid and bigoted. Therefore, the idea that conservatives started all this by believing in dumb ideas is unlikely to be correct.

    • Mixer says:

      First time poster – long time lurker. This conversation has just been too interesting not to participate in.

      The Civil War. I’ve had this conversation more times than I can count, with people all across the ideological spectrum. The crux of this argument goes to what @DavidFriedman has been saying in one form or another – that people work from data that they have available, from a particular point of view and have manipulated that data to achieve an end. And, I realize @The original Mr. X, that you aren’t even the 10th person to mention it so far in this long comment string, but you are the last one (so far) so I’m responding to you.

      No, obviously the Civil War was not fought over slavery. Yes, of course the Civil War was fought over slavery. These are two factually true statements, depending on what data you are using and how you are manipulating the data:

      “No, obviously the Civil War was not fought over slavery.” : Let’s start with the Nullification Act (and subsequent Nullification Crisis that followed). You can argue when the “beginning” of the Civil War was, but that’s it for me (some would argue the Tariff of 1828 was the start, for example.) After these two events (and several similar, but minor other ones), secession talk subsided until the late 1850’s due to a positive economic environment – a rising tide lifts all boats, so while the tariffs were still in effect, the impact was not felt as succinctly. The only exception to this would be the Wilmot Provisio in the mid 1840’s, but that applied to new territories and not existing Southern states. Then, in 1857, the economy took a downturn and the government started talking about new tariffs. The South was unanimous in no new tariffs, especially in a downturn, but Congress moved forward with the Morrill Tariff anyway, to which the South promptly announced its secession and formation of the Confederacy.

      “Yes, of course the Civil War was fought over slavery.” : Since this is the prevailing common understanding, I won’t bother going into the details since it’s likely everyone already knows them. Here’s a link that pretty much covers them all in case you don’t.

      From the first point of view, the data is accurate. Those acts were passed, dissents were made and documented, literature exists from the time that corroborates that data. From the second point of view, that data is accurate. Laws were passed, rhetoric was made and documented, literature exists from the time that corroborates that data. So – which is right and which is wrong? Only a point of view will determine that (“Well, slavery is wrong, so it must be slavery since the racism still exists” or “Those greedy bankers and politicians are still greedy, so it must be economics”). And, since that point of view is personal, anyone who doesn’t share that point of view (or even worse… feels quite confident of their non-conforming point of view) are stupid, crazy, ignorant, etc, etc.

      Personally, I think the real answer to “What caused the Civil War” is a bit of both. Economic conditions are certainly strong motivators for conflict. However, most of the tariffs affected the wealthy in the South (this is not to ignore the pass-through to the consumers, just that the Southerners most likely to call for secession early on were the wealthy ones who were having their profits eaten into by the impact of tariffs.) But, it’s really difficult to rally a population to war by saying, “Hey! Them dern Yankees are causing me to lose money! You should put on a uniform and go fight them!” No, to sell a war (especially a Civil War) to the population, you have to present something more emotional – like, for example, “They want to destroy our way of life!” It is not a stretch of the imagination to believe that for the people on the front lines getting shot, yes, they were fighting for a way of life that included slavery, not because of the Morrill Tariff. But, to ignore the economic foundation for the Civil War is to risk repeating something like it again. Future historians may view Trump, for example, as the first indicator of the Second Civil War (should it happen) and we’re already arguing about how he got elected. The Left says the country has many more “racists and misogynists” than they originally thought and the Right says that the country is “becoming more conservative” when (if you actually talk to a Trump supporter) they say they are worried about their jobs and are tired of having a government that they don’t see cares one bit about them.

      • Conrad Honcho says:

        Great post, Mixer, thank you.

      • Iain says:

        It is fair to speculate that part of the elite motivation for the Civil War may have been economic. It is not reasonable to say that the war had nothing to do with slavery.

        If you would like to understand the causes that motivated the seceding states, it is instructive to look at the declarations they wrote at the time. Take, for instance, Mississippi:

        Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

        This is not ambiguous. Compare the number of times “slave” appears in these documents (85) to the number of times “tariff” appears (0). The South was very explicit about its motivations for seceding; in the same spirit that justifies actually talking to Trump supporters, I encourage you to listen to the words of the people who actually made the decision to secede.

        • Mixer says:

          I never said the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery. I did state that the idea of selling the war/secession to the population from a “way of life” perspective that included slavery. By the time Declarations had been drafted, of course they are heavily tilted towards protecting the institution of slavery – those are public documents. And, I imagine a little post hoc ergo propter hoc was going on there.

          Please remember that I specifically stated that “Yes, of course the Civil War was fought over slavery” is a factually true statement. The problem with the Left (and the Right for that matter,) is that if the data presented does not coincide with their worldview, that data is dismissed (and usually the person citing that data is berated or chastised.) I think this is really what Scott’s point is in this article. Consider his last paragraph:

          Conservatives aren’t stuck in here with us. We’re stuck in here with them. And so far it’s not going so well. I’m not sure if any of this can be reversed. But I think maybe we should consider to what degree we are in a hole, and if so, to what degree we want to stop digging.

        • PedroS says:

          I think both descriptions are true: the Confederate States DID secede over (and hence fought for the preservation of) slavery as shown by the declarations of independence of the seceding states, but the Union did not fight the Civil War for abolitionism (as evidenced by the continuing presence of slavery in Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and West Virginia). Also, the Emancipation Declaration emphatically did not apply to Union states and Union-controlled areas. The Union fought, like most states do, to prevent secession regardless of the actual (just or unjust) motives behind the secessionist states.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            My guess is that the Civil War really was about 99% over slavery. Even the tariff issue was an epiphenomena of slave vs. free.

            For example, in 1830 when he was ginning up the Nullification Crisis against Andy Jackson over the Tariff of Abominations, John C. Calhoun, who hadn’t been averse to the Hamilton/Clay theory of tariffs when he’d started out in politics in the 1810s, admitted that what was really going on was that our “peculiar domestick institution” meant that South Carolina’s economy was diverging from the national economy. Tariffs to protect infant industries were good for the country as a whole, but South Carolina was diverging fundamentally from the North by becoming ever more of a slavocracy and thus was never going to develop industry because of slavery, so slavery meant South Carolina needed free trade.

  34. This article is coming under a bit of discussion in a blog two degrees of Kevin-Baconesque separation from Scott (the SSC blogroll links to Popehat, which links to Simple Justice): http://blog.simplejustice.us/2017/05/03/too-important-to-be-neutral/

  35. postgenetic says:

    Going bigger pic:
    Think much of polarization is a pre-apocalypse circling of the wagons, in part, per the ancient, selected math: Us>Them; Me>U.
    +
    Collapse, or a large and rapid restructuring of relationships in a nonequilibrium system (continuously dynamic) is when-not-if physics called self-organized criticality: meteor hits; mass extinctions; climate changes; stock market crashes; plagues; world wars; etc.
    +
    Per exponentially accelerating complexity, our limited information-processing bio apps (& additional selected qualities), we’re all cherry pickers by def.
    +
    Per Natural Selection: Fitness>Truth
    “Evolution is quite clear, it’s fitness and not truth that gives you the points you need to win in the evolutionary game.” Donald Hoffman

    Fitness App: Deception
    “Deception is a very deep feature of life. It occurs at all levels—from gene to cell to individual to group—and it seems, by any and all means, necessary.”

    “When I say that deception occurs at all levels of life, I mean that viruses practice it, as do bacteria, plants, insects, and a wide range of other animals. It is everywhere. Even within our genomes, deception flourishes as selfish genetic elements use deceptive molecular techniques to over-reproduce at the expense of other genes. Deception infects all the fundamental relationships in life: parasite and host, predator and prey, plant and animal, male and female, neighbor and neighbor, parent and offspring, and even the relationship of an organism to itself.” Robert Trivers — The Folly of Fools — 2011

    * * *
    “Perception is not about seeing truth; it’s about having kids.” Donald Hoffman

    The Margins of Selection: link text

    Robert Kurzban interview, evo psych, author of: Why Everyone (else) is a Hypocrite: link text

    Robert Trivers Interview, author of The Folly of Fools: link text

    • The Nybbler says:

      Hi John!

      • Incurian says:

        lol. After reading the first sentence I thought, “I wonder if there will be lots of links at the end?”

        • FacelessCraven says:

          I am 90+% confident this is not John Sidles.

          • My guess is that it is. A conjecture I formed before seeing anyone else’s comment on it.

          • The Nybbler says:

            I considered the possibility; there are some slight differences. But that brings to mind only two worse possibilities:

            1) Someone thinks it’s a good idea to _imitate_ him.

            2) There’s two of them.

            I think it’s him, and any discrepancies are the result of a deliberate but poor attempt to change his style.

          • Marshayne Lonehand says:

            Perhaps a type specimen will help! 🙂

          • FacelessCraven says:

            Sidles doesn’t argue that deception is an intrinsic part of what it means to be human, or that literally-cut-throat competition is a necessary and proper part of human existence. The above comment seems to boil down to a claim that polarization is normal and fit, that cooperation is an aberration and we’re merely reverting to normality. That is a pessimistic, cynical view of reality, and Sidles’ faults do not include pessimism or cynicism.

          • hlynkacg says:

            So you’re saying he’s not the Sidles, he’s the anti-Sidles?

          • Nornagest says:

            Yeah, I’m not getting a Sidles vibe from this, unless Sidles changed his style substantially, which I don’t think he’s capable of. This is just as incoherent, but it’s terse and distant; Sidles is long-winded and smug.

  36. This article is coming under a bit of discussion in a blog two degrees of Kevin-Baconesque separation from you (your blogroll links to Popehat, which links to Simple Justice): http://blog.simplejustice.us/2017/05/03/too-important-to-be-neutral/

    • Vorkon says:

      Speaking of degrees of separation, it’s interesting that you should mention Popehat, since it’s run primarily by a guy who pretty obviously hates Trump, but whose content is currently dominated by articles admonishing the media for lying about and/or misrepresenting legal issues related to Trump, since that’s not helping anything. It reminds me an awful lot about the arguments Scott is making in this post.

    • eyeballfrog says:

      I think that article makes Scott out to be more sympathetic to the liberal side than he actually is. Don’t get me wrong, Scott is definitely a liberal himself. But the thrust of Scott’s article seems to be “Hey guys, have you considered the possibility that this is actually our fault?”.

  37. ajfirecracker says:

    CNN leans liberal, but it’s not as liberal as FOX is conservative, and it’s not as open about it – it has a pretense of neutrality that FOX doesn’t, and although we can disagree about how realistic that pretense is I think few people would disagree that the pretense is there. Nor is there a liberal version of FOX that lacks that pretense of neutrality.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Breaking News: Trump’s Tax Returns

    Also what is “Fair and Balanced” coverage if not a pretense at neutrality? I think Fox folks would tell you it’s simply that reality has a conservative bias.

  38. Ozy Frantz says:

    Shouldn’t we at least consider the hypothesis that neutral institutions keep going left because the left is actually more likely to be right? I know it is very low-status to admit that your ingroup might possibly be correct about things, but if you are dividing people into “the kind with all the religious people” and “the kind that literally won’t shut up about how great they think science is,” it really wouldn’t be that surprising if the latter’s beliefs are more truth-tracking. Journalists’ attempts to be nonpartisan just got us horserace journalism and the execrable “everyone who is actually informed about the issue says X, some random loony says Y, there are Two Sides To This Issue” sort of article.

    I admit this doesn’t explain posters at hospitals and commencement speeches, and agree that it is appalling for politics to enter such spaces. I am mildly surprised that a Catholic hospital in the Midwest has this problem; I went to a Catholic school in Florida for high school and we pretty much only had conservative wildly inappropriate political comments from teachers.

    • Thegnskald says:

      Mostly, the left is more enamored with science as an institution, an abstract representation of knowledge itself, than science as a process. Science demands trying to prove our most cherished beliefs wrong, not confidently seeking out confirming evidence where ever we can find it.

      This doesn’t lead to being more right, it leads to being more confidently wrong (albeit generally in a more socially acceptable way) – and it damages the hell out of science in the process, because science is fundamentally a destructive process, an evolutionary process, and “Yay scientific knowledge” reduces turnover.

      Reality doesn’t have a liberal bias – reality is that place where children starve to death, where people die screaming for lack of basic medical care, where animals are eaten alive and parasites mind-control hosts into getting eaten. Reality is in sharp and ugly contrast to liberal values. Liberal values take work – lots and lots and lots of work. Pretending reality is friendly to our values only works insofar as somebody else is doing all the work to make it possible.

      • Mark says:

        My own opinion is that such people generally suffer from disordered digestions, which causes their minds to take a nasty turn. They fancy they are ‘realists’, when they are only obscene. They go grubbing in the sewers for their realism, and refuse to believe in the grass and flowers above ground – which, nevertheless, are equally real!

        source via

        • Thegnskald says:

          Grass and flowers are just as engaged in the endless striving for survival as anything else, however much they please our aesthetic senses. Indeed, they please our aesthetic senses for likely evolutionary reasons, which is to say, carved by death over long eons.

          Reality doesn’t care. That is the nature of it. Liberal values are things we choose for ourselves, things we build for ourselves, and they are the more worthwhile for it. They aren’t innate, they aren’t natural, they aren’t guaranteed. Which means the achievements of humanity mean something, that this isn’t just the way things had to turn out.

          • Mark says:

            So, you’re using quite a narrow definition of “reality” then?

            How would values that were completely contrary to reality (in the broadest sense) be selected for?

            We want to survive, but “reality” wants to kill us. Except that we do survive.
            There must be at least some aspect of reality that isn’t counter to that value.

            I don’t know, I don’t think that “nature is opposed to liberalism” is a very helpful meme. You could just as well say that “reality” is opposed to all values, and none.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Mark –

            Reality is neither opposed to nor in favor of values. It lacks moral agency.

            In the broader sense of reality, including humanity, if Christianity or some other religion manages to take over the world, facts support the religion.

            Science, as a process, is the process of identifying what nature demands, that nature may be commanded – but there is no reason to suppose that commanding nature is a more correct approach than praying to fictitious gods. There is no reason to believe medicine is better than violence – that is a question of values, not reality.

            As somebody with modern liberal values, I much prefer what we have, but I do not confuse the success of my values in promoting themselves with the correctness of them; at best, they are consistent.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @Mark

            Would a Saudi Muslim agree that reality has a liberal bias? Or would he state reality has an Islamic bias?

          • Mark says:

            Coming from the culture that I come from, divine revelation is one of the things I’ve never really been able to get my head around, especially with respect to biblical/koranic literalism.

            So, if you’re working within that framework, I don’t really think you can say anything at all, except to parrot whatever truths have been given to you.

            From my perspective, I’d say there are multiple vectors through which ideologies are selected and that there might be multiple niches in which ideologies can exist.

            To me, liberal ideology is ideology that emphasises the rights or experience of the individual. Now, often (always?) liberals think that the best way to promote individual experience is through one engineered social system or another, but still, they are fundamentally concerned with individual rights and experience. Does it make sense to say that you must fight against the flow of nature in order to value individual experience?

            I have been known to say “the individual doesn’t exist” – but even I think that the above criticism is either too strong or, really, applies to anything subject to selection.

            I mean, if we can make exactly the same statement about anything, what’s the value?

            On the other hand, if we’re talking to someone who claims to be a normal Western liberal talky person, but who is treating their values like something gifted from on high by the universe, it might be a valuable point.

          • Incurian says:

            To me, liberal ideology is ideology that emphasises the rights or experience of the individual. Now, often (always?) liberals think that the best way to promote individual experience is through one engineered social system or another, but still, they are fundamentally concerned with individual rights and experience. Does it make sense to say that you must fight against the flow of nature in order to value individual experience?

            I think this is where the distinction between negative and positive liberty becomes illuminating.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @Mark:

            Now, often (always?) liberals think that the best way to promote individual experience is through one engineered social system or another, but still, they are fundamentally concerned with individual rights and experience.

            Yes, I agree, the social system in which we are concerned with individual rights and experience is constructed.

            Does it make sense to say that you must fight against the flow of nature in order to value individual experience?

            To value your own individual experience? No, I can agree that’s natural. But to value someone else’s individual experience? Particularly one who is not part of your ingroup? That is one of the most unnatural things there is. It is constructed, and constantly being worked against, and must be maintained.

            The natural state of man is “my tribe kills your tribe or your tribe kills my tribe.” And lots and lots of tribes in the world still play by those rules. Reality does not have the “everybody is nice and friendly except for the evil red tribe” bias (some) liberals think it does. Reality is that when the feminist went biking across the middle east to “prove” Muslims were friendly she got raped and murdered because the individual rights and experiences of infidel women are not part of Muslim values.

            Appreciation for individual rights and experiences is a Western Christian/Enlightenment value. It is not a natural value, or you’d expect to see that same value in Islamic values, or traditional Japanese, Chinese, Hindu, or African tribal values. And we don’t.

          • Mark says:

            People can be made to believe anything – the level on which an ideology is selected isn’t primarily that of appeal to the individual.

            So, if it isn’t the difficulty of persuading individuals of its value, then where does the particular difficulty of instituting liberalism come from?

            Is it that liberal society is destroyed by non-liberal society? Well, no. I would say that the more universal ideologies have an obvious advantage over narrower ones – they aren’t naturally restricted and when they do well, they do really well. With limited communication technology that advantage is perhaps irrelevant. With improved technology, universalism dominates.

            (Incidentally I don’t think there is any reason why Islam, nationalism, or urban life should be considered more natural to the hunter gatherer than Judeo-Christian/liberalism or anything else.)

            Googling “woman bikes across Middle East returns this. She was sexually assaulted a few times, but not raped or murdered.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            Googling “woman bikes across Middle East returns this. She was sexually assaulted a few times, but not raped or murdered.

            I’m sure you should inform the feminists that “sexually assaulted” a few times isn’t a big deal.

            The original author was conflating two similar cases – biking woman was merely sexually assaulted. Hitchhiking woman was the one who was murdered.

    • Murphy says:

      Are there many good examples from history?

      When the implications of scientific results get tied in too closely with party-politics I don’t think the outcome is always optimal truth finding even if the winning side is making a lot of noises about how important science and technology is to them.

      During the cold war the soviets made a lot of noise about their scientific excellence but scientific theories that smelled too much like capitalism were discarded leading to lysenkoism.

      If you strongly filter your academics on an axis which cuts through various social issues there’s a strong risk that you may be causing the same kind of distortion.

      If you push out everyone who talks too loudly about the data indicating X because everyone knows that people who support things like X are evil, racist, biggoted,sexist monsters then how much can you trust the wealth of papers coming out of the field showing X to definitely not be true.

      There’s definitely things researchers just avoid talking about except in hushed tones in the corner office because they know and the people they’re talking to know that it gets you labelled to talk too publicly about them.

      You might also be misidentifying the trend. Older people tend to be more conservative, younger people more liberal.

      Since science tends to involve constantly changing beliefs it’s more likely that the set of beliefs the young will latch onto will more closely mirror the most recent scientific position at the time. But young liberals become old conservatives and if you measured based on comparing beliefs at set time points you might find that the liberal individuals are not much more correct averaged over a lifetime.

    • gbdub says:

      First, not everything that splits left and right even has a knowable objective truth. A lot of it is just “how do we react to the same set of facts”. There’s no definite right answer on tax policy or immigration law – or there might be one but we don’t have a control planet to run the experiment. So from that sense alone, “liberals are just right so their bias is okay” must be rejected. (Side note, see the poll above in the thread – if you think atheism and/or rejecting young earth creationism are decided liberal issues, you might be surprised).

      Second, there’s plenty liberals are objectively wrong about, especially if you eject all dissenting views and they can get away with lazy arguments.

      Third, even if we grant that liberals are 100% right and conservatives are 100% wrong, you’re left with half the population, enough to swing a lot of elections obviously, who have been run out of the institutions generating this liberal truth. Even if you are convinced you are right you should be seeking better engagement with conservatives, because unless you plan to secede or kill all of them, you need to convince at least some of them. You can’t do that if everyone holes up into their tribal intellectual spaces and just shouts insults at each other.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      But if we’re talking about the media, we’re not talking about truth-seeking organizations. We’re talking about a handful of extremely wealthy multinational corporations that own 90% of the media. Their goal is power and wealth, and they exert power to drive conservative voices and thought off their platforms.

      This does not seem like the sort of behavior likely to result in truth.

      • Jaskologist says:

        Recent riots have shown that the ostensibly “truth-seeking organizations” also exert power to drive conservatives off their platforms.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          Also, the organizations that direct the riots and train the rioters are funded by extremely wealthy people. Some rioters are paid, yes, but even if they’re not, the people organizing and directing the riots are. For instance the riot that shut down Trump’s rally in Chicago during the primaries was organized by MoveOn.org, which is funded by billionaires, the same of which also contributed to Hillary Clinton and the DNC.

          This is not grass roots, power-to-the-people stuff. This is the elite funding mob violence against their political opponents. CNN never talks about that, though.

    • Deiseach says:

      if you are dividing people into “the kind with all the religious people” and “the kind that literally won’t shut up about how great they think science is,” it really wouldn’t be that surprising if the latter’s beliefs are more truth-tracking

      Roll over Mendel, and tell Lemaître the news!

      🙂

    • DrBeat says:

      The left (the popular people, who are wearing the left like a skin suit) won’t shut up about how much they love science because science tells them things that flatter their emotions. The moment science tells them something that does not flatter their emotions, science is a hateful outmoded construct made by evil white men and people who put their faith in science are probably white male nerds who obviously should be punished for the crime of being able to be punished.

  39. acedeuceblog says:

    Also, I think Scott vastly overestimates the number of witches out there. Once you dig in enough to understand a witch’s perspective, you generally find that they aren’t witches, just confused or misguided. One might expect memes to evolve a sort of immune system to protect their hosts from contamination by competing species of memes, by making the host think the competing meme is a witch. I see something like that in a lot of religions as well as political ideologies. So for example you get Atheism being confused with Satanism among the more devout denizens of the bible belt. And in politics, if you look closely, you’ll find that the difference between a Richard Spencer and Hitler is as large as the difference between Bernie Sanders and Stalin. while each side generally underestimates the differences within the other side. Liberals tend to assume that anyone who openly speaks of race realism is out to oppress minorities, but this isn’t the case. Lee Kuan Yew, for example, was a race realist who also completely supported equal rights and getting along with everybody in a multicultural society, while also running some voluntary positive eugenics programs. (from the horse’s mouth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moEPY8kIhts)

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      So for example you get Atheism being confused with Satanism among the more devout denizens of the bible belt.

      I think this is a confusion among liberals about what Christians mean by “satanic.” That doesn’t necessarily mean worship of theological Satan. It means a system of belief in which good is equated (or replaced) with evil. So for instance, an atheist may no longer abide Christian sexual morality and become promiscuous. This replaces the virtue of chastity with the sin of lust. You’re not worshiping Satan, but you are doing what Satan wants (or rather, what Satan did, putting his own rules ahead of God’s), and that’s satanic.

  40. acedeuceblog says:

    Imagine if a courtroom had, instead of a separate lawyer for each side, one guy who affected to be fair and argue both sides simultaneously? Would that improve the epistemic process in the courtroom? That is essentially what you have with the pipe dream of neutral institutions. I think it’s better to listen to a variety of openly biased sources from several perspectives that are as different as possible. All institutions are biased, and overt bias is more honest and easier for the reader to compensate for than covert bias. That is how you escape your personal filter bubble and find the best arguments wherever they may be. What you need is the competition of the free marketplace of ideas, but what you get within any one institution is a filter bubble. Every tribe has its own taboos and blind spots, even the tribes that pretend to be neutral and omniscient. The only way to get the whole truth is to listen to all the tribes and sort it out in your own mind.

    • random832 says:

      On the other hand, imagine if a courtroom had no judge.

    • caethan says:

      You realize that’s exactly how civil law (French-descended) countries run their courts, right?

    • Imagine if a courtroom had, instead of a separate lawyer for each side, one guy who affected to be fair and argue both sides simultaneously?

      That is, with some stylization, the inquisitorial model, which is the standard in most of Europe other than the U.K. and which some people argue works better than the adversarial model used in the Anglo-American legal system.

      • PedroS says:

        [ courtroom which, instead of a separate lawyer for each side, has one guy who affected to be fair and argue both sides simultaneously] is, with some stylization, the inquisitorial model, which is the standard in most of Europe

        ??? In inquisitorial systems judges may investigate charges, summon witnesses, etc., but there are still separate defense lawyers. Since the right to have a lawyer is widespread in Europe (I cannot, without googling, think of a single democratic country which does not recognize that right), I am afraid you may be thinking of something else instead.

        EDIT: All European countries (except the Vatican) have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which requires its signatories to recognize the right to counsel

        • I said “with some stylization.” The primary work of investigating guilt or innocence is supposed to be done by the court, not by the two sides independently.

      • The Nybbler says:

        It’s also the standard in things like campus tribunals, which have a well-earned reputation as kangaroo courts. And that’s not new; when I was in school in the early 1990s the student paper suggested the Judicial Program director’s favorite TV show was a blending of “Captain Kangaroo” and “The People’s Court”.

  41. daystareld says:

    My problem is as follows:

    How do we differentiate a world where the what Scott describes is the root of the problem (because Scott’s absolutely right that the things he describes happens) and a world where modern American liberals are just “correct” on more issues than conservatives are? Even if it’s just as little as 10% more correct?

    Scott is framing this as “Liberals did X” or “Liberals failed to do X.” He even says here:

    “The way I remember it, conservatives spent about thirty years alternately pleading, demanding, suing, legislating, and literally praying for greater fairness in mainstream institutions, and it was basically all just hitting their heads against a brick wall.”

    But WHY was it like hitting their heads against a wall? Are liberals just too stubborn? Are they too close-minded? Are they too proud to sit in the same lecture hall as someone who voted for Reagan?

    Or is it that the things conservatives were pleading, demanding, suing, legislating, and praying for were just not things that were acceptable to give? “Respect our beliefs” sounds good when we ignore what those beliefs are.

    So this is where I’m lost and looking for the answer. Because I can spend the rest of my life telling liberals to stop being mean to conservatives, and I don’t think it’s going to matter. Scott admits that he doesn’t know what the solution is, and I don’t blame him: it’s a hard problem. But what makes it a hard problem is that if you try to drill past “stop the insults, stop the arrogance” and break down what, specifically, needs to change to make, for example, academia, more welcoming for conservatives, you quickly find yourself in a dangerous place. Because anti-Trump posters are new. Liberal domination of academia is not, and I think my original paragraph points to why.

    As an example: all it takes is for even 60% of conservatives to grow up with a deeply held, emotionally fulfilling, socially reinforced belief in creationism, and suddenly there are a number of university classes that seem unwelcoming to conservatives. Not even Christians, because liberal Christians tend to have no problem with accepting at least the shell of evolution: specifically conservatives.

    And yes, you’ll have some liberal students mocking them for their rural-hometown beliefs, and that’s bad and harmful. But is that the actual root of the problem? Was it happening anywhere near as often 30-50 years ago?

    History classes that make no apologies about how the Civil War was fought over slavery is also unwelcoming to most conservatives raised with Southern pride. Health/Sociology classes that demonstrate how abstinence-only education leads to more teen pregnancy and STDs compared to sex-education is also unwelcoming to most religious conservative values. World studies that demonstrate the many ways the US has fallen behind other developed countries is unwelcoming to the fierce nationalism that many conservatives hold dear.

    And these are just objective facts. Not subjective values like social justice or equality or progressive views on gender or sexuality. A divide which was all the more pronounced ~30 years ago, when these cracks started to widen into fissures.

    And sure, plenty of young liberals off to college for the first time are full of many stupid ideas too. I don’t know how many liberals have walked away from careers in medicine because they were informed that homeopathy and acupuncture are not scientifically supported methods of treatment. Probably quite a few.

    But I think that just makes up the 40% in which liberals are wrong. Hell, make it 45%. Because even a 5% difference is enough, on a wide enough scale.

    And if this sounds too much like “reality has a well known liberal bias,” that’s not my intention. I am trying really hard not to sound snarky or condescending, and I know that if we stacked all the stupidity found predominantly among liberals up, it would make a long shadow too.

    But finding the solution means finding the actual problem, and I don’t believe that if every liberal just stopped making insulting comments tomorrow, if there was some magic cease-fire where both sides treated each other with more respect, conservatives would suddenly stop viewing academia and news organizations as biased, unwelcoming places.

    Which isn’t to say liberals shouldn’t stop being snarky and condescending. I’m just skeptical it’ll solve this particular problem.

    • ajfirecracker says:

      I think reality has not just a conservative bias, but an overwhelming conservative bias. Remember how the Soviet Union literally collapsed? Why did it do that? If you have no explanation for that event (probably the single biggest imposition of reality on politics for the past 200 years) you shouldn’t be telling other people what sort of public policy to pursue.

      • herbert herberson says:

        They were defeated by an extremely powerful rival empire that put huge resources behind an effort to purposefully bankrupt them (and took 45 years to do it)?

        • AnonYEmous says:

          then why did Mao’s China forcefully transition away from communism and thus become one of the greater powers, after killing a ton of its citizens?

          • herbert herberson says:

            Because it had split with the Soviets over both ideological and practical issues, subsequently needed a trading partner to fuel its industrialization, had had a formative WWII experience that included capitalist allies and whose main enemy wasn’t Western or especially capitalist, a relatively short history with doctrinaire Marxism but a very long history of more-or-less non-ideological bureaucratic control, and a very willing partner in a Western block that was happy to overlook civil rights abuses and mostly-empty sloganeering if it meant peeling the world’s largest country away from the Warsaw Pact.

            Also, don’t write the CCP off yet. They’ve found themselves a situation where they enjoy physical possession of a vastly disproportionate amount of the world’s means of production. It may or may not be a long con, but if it is it is a very good one.

          • cassander says:

            Because it had split with the Soviets over both ideological and practical issues, subsequently needed a trading partner to fuel its industrialization,

            It got this, in the 70s, before any economic reforms.

            had had a formative WWII experience that included capitalist allies and whose main enemy wasn’t Western or especially capitalist, a relatively short history with doctrinaire Marxism but a very long history of more-or-less non-ideological bureaucratic control, and a very willing partner in a Western block that was happy to overlook civil rights abuses and mostly-empty sloganeering if it meant peeling the world’s largest country away from the Warsaw Pact.

            How on earth would any of that encourage them to abandon maoism?

      • Urstoff says:

        Sounds more like reality has a neoliberal bias.

      • ajfirecracker says:

        What are you even talking about? The US did not invade the USSR. The Soviet system collapsed because central planning does not work

      • That’s only one of two shoes that fell.

        The other was what happened to China after Mao died. From then to 2010, per capita real income increased twenty fold. It happened as a result of China abandoning economic policies that the left generally viewed sympathetically in favor of something much closer to capitalism.

        When Mao died, The Economist obituary praised him for ending starvation in China. The current estimate is that the famine during the Great Leap Forward killed about thirty-five million people, although there are skeptics who argue it was only a few million.

      • daystareld says:

        If your argument against modern American liberalism is “but the Soviet Union!” then we’re going to be talking past each other from the get go. I try not to engage in strawmen that monstrously large.

        If you want to have a real discussion that shows you actually understand the people who disagree with you, try again by starting at some actual examples of American liberalism that’s objectively wrong. You’d probably be surprised at how often I agree with you.

    • gbdub says:

      The problem with driving the sides to separate spaces that just shout at each other in the margins is that both sides are wrong in their own ways. If you chase out all the conservatives, who corrects the liberal errors? And vice versa? So you need to find some way to keep the groups together and clash civilly but productively.

      • daystareld says:

        Agree completely, and that’s why we need a sane Right and Left. But that first requires
        agreeing on fundamental basics of rational epistemology and debate, which includes scientific evidence and fact-checking. Say what you will about neo-hippie leftism, but all the anti-science on the Left isn’t nearly as big or well-represented, politically, as the anti-science on the Right.

        I want sane, intelligent conservatives to take take their party back from the crazies so we can actually get two functioning parties in the US, but with Trump’s presidency, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen unless he screws things up at least as bad as Bush did.

        • Aapje says:

          all the anti-science on the Left isn’t nearly as big or well-represented, politically, as the anti-science on the Right.

          The anti-science on the left is far less obvious because they tend to be far less transparent about it. Conservatives who are anti-science deny the quality of the evidence, but anti-science progressives simply ban research in certain topics and/or introduce huge bias in science, so they can claim to ‘follow the evidence.’

          For example, it is mainstream among progressives to argue that science has proven that unconscious ‘isms’ exists, have a major effect and refer to IAT studies as evidence. However, it seems that IAT just produces noise, but due to publication bias, small n’s and other bad science practices, you have a body of poor science that superficially seems to support a certain narrative.

          This narrative is then used to push for policies such as affirmative action, quotas, blinding, etc. The currently popular narrative on the left that they are the side of science in itself leads to denial of evidence that their own side has pretty strong biases that results in the corruption of science and the rejection of strong scientific theories.

          • daystareld says:

            Do you believe that unconcious “isms” are only supported by IAT research? Or are you singling it out because it’s the research that can be most easily criticized, so you don’t have to worry about the other research that’s not IAT, such as changed names and genders of randomized college applications and job resumes and interviews?

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            Do you believe that unconcious “isms” are only supported by IAT research?

            Here’s a better question – do you believe that “isms” have any explanatory power over extremely well-documented* group differences?

            The rest of it is simply called Baysian reasoning. Knowing about membership in groups with lower average ability in the realm in question gives you information – especially when there’s a thumb on the scale to distort credentials in favor of groups with less average ability.

            * My guess is that the sample sizes on the group differences evidence is at least (literally) 1 – 10 million times greater than those for IATs.

          • The Nybbler says:

            the other research that’s not IAT, such as changed names and genders of randomized college applications and job resumes and interviews?

            Probably p-hacking and publication bias. Always reporting bias by the press. Sometimes out-and-out misrepresentation of the study; one that was ballyhooed as showing discrimination by software managers was actually a dummy study where undergrads stood in for actual software managers.

          • Aapje says:

            @daystareld

            A lot of that research compares lower class black names to not lower class white names, so I’m not convinced that they are not actually measuring dislike of certain subcultures, which is fundamentally different from dislike of skin color. After all, culture is a choice and can be legitimately problematic; while skin color is not inherently problematic or a choice (although skin color can be correlated with culture, which is exactly what may confound a lot of studies).

            Similarly, we do know that there are substantial differences in choices that women make on average and that those choices are generally disliked by employers (like working fewer hours, leaving the job when getting a child, etc).

            Of course, stereotyping people for being part of a subculture based on names, gender or the like is pretty shitty and can be a good reason to intervene in some way. However, if one blames stereotyping by race or gender for what is actually fairly rational (and crude) stereotyping of cultures, one tends to make wrong interventions that don’t work and can actually be counterproductive.

          • Aapje says:

            I also want to point out that treating people differently for some factor that mostly correlates with a legitimate difference is inevitable, since we can’t have perfect information. At one point you have to bite the bullet and treat people on the limited information that you have.

            We can disagree on:
            – whether people should not judge people based on some kinds of information, like race and gender, even if those are correlated with a valid reason to treat people differently
            – whether we are too prone to judge and should be more eager to collect more information

            However, for both these issues much of Social Justice doesn’t have a principled stance. Instead, they reject it when women and black people are judged collectively and/or eagerly & treated worse than men and white people, but they eagerly judge men and white people collectively and treat them worse than women and black people.

            The same behavior can be seen among SJ scientists and there is a lot of pseudoscience to legitimize this hypocrisy.

          • daystareld says:

            What I’m hearing here is “People are judged unfairly by a number of factors, but just not the factors that SJWs believe they’re judged by, and also if they were judged by those factors it’s not the fault of the people judging them, and even if it was SJWs are just as judgy toward white people and men, so we can safely ignore all the research that shows that racism and sexism exist.”

            Is that about right?

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @DaystareId:

            What I’m hearing here is [various mutually-exclusive excuses] so we can safely ignore all the research that shows that racism and sexism exist – Is that about right?

            Close but not quite, so let’s try again. The first hurdle to clear is that a proper study involving “changed names and genders of randomized college applications and job resumes and interviews” is just really hard to do well. The fact that names connote more stuff than just the precise thing you’re testing means you don’t have a clean test. If “Jennifer” gets fewer interviews than “John” it might be because the name “Jennifer” signals female but it also might be because a typical “Jennifer” is older or younger or of a different social class than is expected to be ideally suited for this job. So when you find a difference that seems too big to be random noise you don’t know what it means. Not unless you take great lengths to confirm that the names you picked really are equivalent in all but the attribute you care about. Which is rarely attempted. So the result that gets portrayed in the abstract and media accounts as proof positive of secret badthink is often only suggestive – it tells us there might be something there to find, given appropriate followup.

            A second issue is that even if you are testing what you think you are, the effect size you find in such studies tends to be really small, smaller than the outcome difference you’re trying to explain, rendering the claim that this effect explains the outcome difference implausible. (An effect size can be statistically significant without being of practical significance.)

            A third issue is that – just as with the IATs (and also with “stereotype threat” studies) – these studies often fail to replicate and are being done by motivated researchers, so once you take the file drawer effect into account it’s not clear what’s left.

            (These kind of studies sometimes suggest women do better and sometimes suggest women do worse. If researchers are ideologically motivated to find women do worse but accidentally find no effect or a reverse effect they are likely to tweak some parameter and run the study again until they or some other research team get(s) the “right” answer.)

            Though it’s hard to argue well at this level of generality and it’s hard to prove a negative, so let’s turn this around: Do you have some particular non-IAT studies in mind that you think convincingly demonstrate the unconscious “isms” you’re concerned with?

            (Note that this sort of skepticism isn’t an isolated demand for rigor if those making the argument apply it to social-science findings in general.)

          • Aapje says:

            @daystareld

            The currently popular narrative is that there is a huge amount of racism and sexism that is both unconscious & irrational and that only happens to ‘oppressed’ groups, like non-white people and women. The result of this belief is that any disparity in outcomes where non-whites and women are worse off is typically blamed on racism and sexism, while any disparities where white men are worse off is blamed on those white men making bad choices.

            Researchers keep trying to find evidence for certain groups being hated for no reason, because they want it to be true. Due to bad practices and sheer volume, they find some results, but these suffer greatly from the ‘replication crisis’ once you redo the studies in a more solid way. Yet despite this, people keep believing the narrative despite the lack of solid scientific evidence.

            If you accept the idea that discrimination generally happens because people are judged for actual differences of the group(s) they belong to, then this immediately demolishes the idea that you have a strict dichotomy between oppressed and oppressor groups. So this means that men and white people can suffer from this just like women and non-whites. This kind of discrimination is also not obviously wrong, because it is logical to act based on expectations that are true for averages. If it is true that 99.9% of people with a bomb vest are terrorists who want to kill you, it is completely reasonable for you to run away if you see a person with a bomb vest and if you are a police officer, to shoot them. This harms the 0.01% of people who are not terrorists, but have shown really bad judgement by picking an inappropriate Halloween outfit. However, the harm to this small group is smaller than if we give people with bomb vests the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, it is not reasonable to run away from people who dress like conservative Muslims or shoot them on sight, even if there is a slightly bigger chance that they are terrorists than other people. So it is reasonable to discriminate for actual group differences to some extent (where one can debate about where the line should be).

            When it comes to this kind of discrimination, we are already doing so in ways that almost everyone considers appropriate. For example, we make a young male driver pay more for car insurance, because on average, they do more damage. This is gender and age discrimination, but no politician or advocacy group is fighting to ban this. My argument is that discrimination based on average differences between groups is often falsely claimed to be without a rational reason when it happens to some groups. This makes the debate irrational, because instead of looking at the actual reasons why people treat groups differently and having a rational debate whether this is a ‘bomb vest’ or a ‘dressed like a Muslim’ situation, people jump to conclusions.

            Ironically, there is a severe gender and race bias in how eager progressive people are to jump to conclusions, which is actual discrimination. I am pointing out that bias and demand equality. If we treat some groups differently for their gender or race, because that is correlated with different outcomes on average, we should do the same for other groups. And if we ban it for some groups, we should ban it for other groups in similar situations.

            However, in this topsy turvey world, demanding equality is perceived as demanding inequality…because people have a broken model of reality.

          • daystareld says:

            @Glen

            It’s actually not nearly as hard as you’re making it it out to be. The reality of sexism and racism is so clearly established, both historically and in modern times, that while we have to be careful of confirmation bias, the studies swapping the names is enough to confirm that people with those names are likely getting positive responses less. Maybe you don’t call that sexism because you don’t think the people making the decision are consciously thinking “Ugh, a woman, no thank you,” but it can still point to a systemic disadvantage toward women even if they’re not.

            That said, I’m happy to look over citations for all the systemic problems you’re claiming about the problems with the research, like sample size. I’m not particularly interested in finding specific research and seeing if they pass your standards, but if you have actual research demonstrating the systemic flaws in the studies that I’ve referred to, I’m more than happy to look at those.

            @Aapje

            You appear to be arguing both that the “popular narratives” about racism and sexism are incorrect, and yet that it’s completely reasonable for prejudices to exist. Then you say that, following that, if we should be concerned about any prejudice, we should be concerned about all prejudice.

            So what your argument strikes me as is someone who is used to denying the negative effects of racism and sexism toward minorities and women, and then using the negative effects of racism and sexism toward white men as an excuse to justify your opposition to those calling for (in your perspective) specific harms toward minorities and women.

            What you miss when you take that path is that there are plenty of people who, for example, are totally okay with also calling out unfairness against men, and also calling out the unfairnesses against women. Not everyone who is progressive is an extreme “SJW.” If you disagree with the exact ratio at which both groups are disadvantaged, that’s definitely a point worth talking about.

            But first, you have to chose what ideological stance you have: either acknowledge and admit that there are those other harms to minorities and women, or say that prejudice is justified in every case and demand equality of defense against it. To me, you appear to be using the much-cited motte-and-bailey.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            It’s actually not nearly as hard as you’re making it it out to be. The reality of sexism and racism is so clearly established, both historically and in modern times

            It really really isn’t. If it was so well established you’d think that someone could produce some actually valid science showing it – yet they can’t.

            On the other hand differences in average capabilities and temperaments of different groups is literally the single best established social science finding and possibly the only valid social science finding.

            Even if you fail to grasp that you’d think that some rich leftist out there would start up competing firms with all the disused talent – VCs funded pets.com with millions and millions of dollars but they’re all so racist that they’d never fund “the all woman engineers firm”? Of course they would – in fact, they lavished billions on Elizabeth Holmes just because she was a plausible female Steve Jobs – shockingly, it turned out she was actually a fraud – but no one wanted to look to closely to find that out. That’s the oppose of a world where talent is ignored because of “sexism” and “racism” (whatever those words are supposed to mean) – that’s a world where there are massive differences in talent and no one wants to accept it.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @daystareId:
            [I made a longer post, but it seems to have gotten eaten by a filter, so here’s a shorter one]

            Here’s a couple of the sort of studies I have in mind when we discuss this stuff:
            Do Employers Discriminate by Gender? A Field Experiment in Female-Dominated Occupations

            We built voice modulation to mask gender in technical interviews. Here’s what happened

            The first study involved sending out CVs swapping the names to discover varying amounts of bias favoring women – women get more callbacks – across many professions, including for entry-level computing-related jobs. (many earlier studies with similar findings are referenced in passing)

            The second study involved digitally varying apparent gender during voice interviews. Result: Having a female-sounding voice produced ever-so-slightly better reviews by tech interviewers than did having a male-sounding voice.

            Were these the kind of studies and study results you had in mind when referring to clearly established systemic disadvantage toward women?

          • Aapje says:

            @daystareld

            You appear to be arguing both that the “popular narratives” about racism and sexism are incorrect, and yet that it’s completely reasonable for prejudices to exist.

            Prejudice is necessary and incredible useful, because humans have limited senses. So we have to act on limited information, always!

            When you drive your car and claim right of way, you are actually basing your decision of a ton of prejudice. You assume that the other driver knows the law. You assume that the other driver is willing to follow the law. You assume that the other car has working brakes. You assume that the other driver is paying attention. Etc.

            All these assumptions are based on general information about how drivers act, not on specific information for that driver. In other words, you judge the other driver by how most drivers act. This is prejudice and it works, because they do tend to act that way.

            The SJ narrative accepts that it is perfectly valid to act in the same way towards men or white people, but not for men or white people to act like that to women or black people. By treating groups differently, it is the SJ people who are biased.

            Of course, there is no rational basis for claiming that it is wrong to judge ‘oppressed’ groups for group characteristics, but completely fair to judge ‘oppressor’ groups for group characteristics. To legitimize this bias, bias is introduced into science (mostly unconsciously, people are looking for confirmation of their bias).

            Once you accept that prejudice works and has benefits and downsides (so it is not a black/white issue), you can have a rational discussion about it.

            For example, imagine that people of group A have a culture where they nearly always pay their debts, while people of group B only pay back their debts 75% of the time. If a bank asks higher interest to members of group B, it superficially looks like they are discriminating. However, they make equal profit on each group and are simply being rational, based on the limited information that they have. If the culture of group B would change so they nearly always pay back their debts, the interests rates would equalize.

            The conservative solution tends to be to change the culture of group B (or accept that they have to face the consequences of their culture); while the progressive solutions tend to be to force the bank to equalize the interests. The latter will require the bank to increase the interest for group A and thus makes group A suffer for the culture of group B.

            However, the progressive narrative calls the bank ‘-ist’ in this scenario and pretends that the bank is not making a rational decision based on the limited information they have; and it denies that forcing them to make a different choice hurts group A.

            What you fail to understand is that I primarily object to the lie. You can have rational reasons to prefer to make group A worse off in favor of group B. For example, because you think that this will help group B economically, which will improve their pay back rate over time. However, if you deny the reality of the situation, you can’t actually understand the consequences of your actions or the reasoning by people who are not in denial.

            Not everyone who is progressive is an extreme “SJW.”

            I never claimed so, but the basic broken model of SJ is currently dominant among progressives. That you can’t understand my point of view just demonstrates this, as these radical ideas are just normal to you.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            […] the progressive solutions tend to be to force the bank to equalize the interests. The latter will require the bank to increase the interest for group A and thus makes group A suffer for the culture of group B.

            The argument goes even further than this. Higher interest is a tradeoff: group B accepts higher interest rates in return for paying back loans less punctually, which in turn means it’s allocating the resources in would have put into maintaining the discipline for paying back loans into other efforts instead. By making group A pay a higher interest rate than it would in isolation, the bank incentivizes group A to adopt more of the cultural customs / resource allocation of B, since the customs that lead to loan payment discipline are no longer useful to A.

            But the equalized interest rate charged by the bank is based on an average between A and B, not B. If A drops to B’s level, so will the average rate. This may be enough to make that bank unsustainable, causing it to go out of business and leave everyone without loan access altogether. The progressive strategy of equalizing rates makes group B worse off; the conservative strategy of incentivizing group B to allocate more effort toward loan repayment makes group B better off.*

            (I remember Romney making an argument very similar to this with regard to businesses performing so poorly that they justified another business buying them and reallocating their assets a la Bain Capital. That argument convinced me that he truly understood economics well enough – especially relative to Obama – to vote for him in 2012.)

            *With respect to bank access, at least. Group B might be worse off in whatever it’s spending less effort on as result of devoting more on loan repayment, but everyone in the discussion seems to agree that paying loans on time is a universal net benefit.

          • daystareld says:

            @reasoned argumentation

            “It really really isn’t. If it was so well established you’d think that someone could produce some actually valid science showing it – yet they can’t.”

            Okay, so this is where I bow out of the discussion and “agree to disagree” unless you can actually do anything to prove your argument, rather than just repeating that any science that disagrees with you isn’t valid. The world has such an enormous amount of evidence for the existence of racism and sexism in it that I find conversations on, not the particulars and manifestations, that we can argue for sure, but the very basic, bottom-line existence of them to be about as fruitful as flat-earth conversations.

            If you really, truly care about this topic, feel free to make a CMV post on Reddit and I promise I will go participate there. On this medium, in this context, I don’t find the chance of the conversation being fruitful for either of us high enough to be worth the effort. Cheers.

            @Glen Raphael

            For the first, not at all, since the first one is specifically about entry-level positions. I have never heard a single person, liberal or otherwise, claim that women can’t get jobs due to discrimination: the argument as far as I know it has always gone “Women are disadvantaged when pursuing high level jobs in many environments that are traditionally dominated by men.”

            The second is a much more relevant bit of research, even if it’s still an issue of entry-level jobs, but it IS just one bit of research, and is qualified appropriately as follows:

            “Though these trends weren’t statistically significant, I am mentioning them because they were unexpected and definitely something to watch for as we collect more data.

            On the subject of sample size, we have no delusions that this is the be-all and end-all of pronouncements on the subject of gender and interview performance.”

            However, it’s definitely a good starting point toward figuring out why sexism might not be the most relevant or even a relevant factor at all in certain fields. I’ve actually seen that study before, and the best response to it I remember is someone calling for this process to be done within a company rather than for new hires, where biases are far less likely to come into play. It’s not even that hard to imagine all the reasons why women might be subconsciously more preferred for entry-level jobs.

            @Aapje

            “Prejudice is necessary and incredible useful, because humans have limited senses. So we have to act on limited information, always!”

            I’m not arguing against the usefulness of System 1 processes in day-to-day life. But you are extending an analogy about driving toward a conscious, System 2 judgement of people based on their skin color, and that’s where we’re talking past each other.

            “The SJ narrative accepts that it is perfectly valid to act in the same way towards men or white people, but not for men or white people to act like that to women or black people. By treating groups differently, it is the SJ people who are biased.”

            Sorry, that hasn’t been my experience of them. But if those are the only groups you care about, I can see why you might see it that way.

            “Once you accept that prejudice works and has benefits and downsides (so it is not a black/white issue), you can have a rational discussion about it.”

            It has benefits and downsides

            “For example, imagine that people of group A have a culture where they nearly always pay their debts, while people of group B only pay back their debts 75% of the time.”

            Culture is not race.

            “However, the progressive narrative calls the bank ‘-ist’ in this scenario and pretends that the bank is not making a rational decision based on the limited information they have; and it denies that forcing them to make a different choice hurts group A.”

            Again, culture is not race. Do you really not understand this, or are you being deliberately obtuse?

            “That you can’t understand my point of view just demonstrates this, as these radical ideas are just normal to you.”

            I understand your point of view just fine. It’s just demonstrably wrong by the following sentence: Culture is not race.

            @Paul Brinkley

            “The progressive strategy of equalizing rates makes group B worse off; the conservative strategy of incentivizing group B to allocate more effort toward loan repayment makes group B better off.”

            Except this analogy isn’t actually found in reality anywhere, as far as I know. The actual situation is that, recognizing historical and systemic disadvantages, progressive strategy is to make more effort to reward those in Group B who have been held back by circumstance rather than individual ability.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @daystareld:

            Entry-level jobs seem like a good study target for practicality’s sake – it’s easier to throw a large pool of resumes at a large pool of jobs they’re qualified for if the jobs aren’t highly specialized. Plus if there were a “leaky funnel” problem we’d get the most bang for the buck by addressing it at the beginning, no?

            Anyway, here’s a two more links to mull over. The study:
            National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track

            …and the associated CNN article: The myth about women in science

            Some relevant bits from the latter:

            National hiring audits, some dating back to the 1980s, reveal that female scientists have had a significantly higher chance of being interviewed and hired than men. Although women were less likely to apply for jobs, if they did apply, their chances of getting the job were usually better.
            […so we did a new study and…]
            What we found shocked us. Women had an overall 2-to-1 advantage in being ranked first for the job in all fields studied. This preference for women was expressed equally by male and female faculty members, with the single exception of male economists, who were gender neutral in their preferences. In some conditions, women’s advantage reached 4-to-1. When women were compared with men who shared the same lifestyle, advantages accrued to women in all demographic groups—including single or married women without children, married women with preschoolers, and divorced mothers.
            […]
            While women may encounter sexism before and during graduate training and after becoming professors, the only sexism they face in the hiring process is bias in their favor.

            I think at this point the ball is in your court. The current evidence of discrimination against women based on treatment of CVs with the name changed is at best ambiguous. You can’t just wave vaguely in the direction of those kinds of studies and assume they all support your view – it should be clear by now that they do not.

          • Aapje says:

            @daystareld

            Culture is not race.

            Actually, culture is often strongly linked to race. If it wasn’t you couldn’t have articles like this

            It’s completely logical that this is the case, because race develops in a very similar way to how culture develops: groups of people who do things together (like eating together or having sex with each other). It’s actually very common that people prefer to mate with those of the same cultures, this then causes a stronger genetic bond as well. The main differences is that major cultural changes can happen on far shorter timescales, but even (sub)cultures in a multicultural society often correlate with race. For example, for obvious reasons, African-Americans tend to share race as well as a shared history that helped create a shared culture.

            Now, I’m not claiming that race correlates with culture perfectly, but this is not necessary for my argument. If I can make a statement about culture that is true more often for one race than another, I can improve my predictions by taking race into account. For example, I want to advertise a hip hop artist, but only have money for 1 billboard. I can choose between a black and a white neighborhood. My prediction is that that placing the billboard in the black neighborhood will probably generate more sales. Do you think that this is a bad guess?

            The actual situation is that, recognizing historical and systemic disadvantages, progressive strategy is to make more effort to reward those in Group B who have been held back by circumstance rather than individual ability.

            But those strategies also make predictions based on race*, even though the correlation is not 100%! Affirmative action that is based on race will benefit a recent African immigrant, despite that person not having the same historic background as an ex-slave. It will apply to an African-American who grew up in the south in a very racist environment and whose predecessors suffered from slavery and post-slavery segregation for a very long time, just as much as to the northern African-American who grew up in a very progressive environment and whose predecessors became free early on and who faced far less discriminatory laws and policies.

            It also doesn’t apply to groups who are now considered white, but who faced racial discrimination in the past, like Italians.

            So what you favor is on the same spectrum as what you oppose, by making decisions based on race that (you think) will have better outcomes on average than when not taking race into account, even though there are people for whom that stereotyping is wrong. That is my point.

            If you favor stereotyping when it suits you, you can’t just turn around and condemn it when it doesn’t.

            * With gender, the mistake made is different, because the main issue is that the claim of historical and systemic disadvantages for women is greatly exaggerated and for men, are played down and ignored far too much.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            Paul Brinkley: The progressive strategy of equalizing rates makes group B worse off; the conservative strategy of incentivizing group B to allocate more effort toward loan repayment makes group B better off.

            daystareld: Except this analogy isn’t actually found in reality anywhere, as far as I know. The actual situation is that, recognizing historical and systemic disadvantages, progressive strategy is to make more effort to reward those in Group B who have been held back by circumstance rather than individual ability.

            This analogy follows precisely from an analysis of incentives. You cannot simply insist it doesn’t exist, any more than you could insist that if you tax cigarettes, people will keep on smoking and you’ll raise all the tax revenue you could ever need. It consequently doesn’t matter how nobly-intended that progressive policy is. I can’t fix my car engine by removing the head gasket and pointing out that it was making it too hard for the gasses inside the cylinders to escape.

            ETA: I don’t mean to sound snippy about this, but at the same time, we can’t afford to entertain every policy alternative that comes along that very obviously ignores incentives, just because it’s well-intentioned.

          • daystareld says:

            @Glen Raphael

            “Entry-level jobs seem like a good study target for practicality’s sake – it’s easier to throw a large pool of resumes at a large pool of jobs they’re qualified for if the jobs aren’t highly specialized. Plus if there were a “leaky funnel” problem we’d get the most bang for the buck by addressing it at the beginning, no?”

            Sure, if that’s what the problem is, but I don’t know that it is. Again, I’ve never heard people insist that women have trouble finding jobs: the complaint I’m familiar with is tha women are dscriminated against *in the workplace* and are not promoted or advanced at the same rate as men.

            What I will admit is that this probably has a lot more to do with specific industries and their cultures than anything else: new generations are continually more progressive than the previous ones, and some fields probably have a reverse effect. It actually wouldn’t surprise me if by the time we actually pinpoint this effect in every field, we find it’s largely gone in most modern work places.

            But not entirely. Since the ball’s in my court, I’ll link to a few studies that convinced me that it’s still a problem:

            http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0891243212438546

            http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550611415693

            http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0149206310365902

            I made an effort to sift through the dozens of articles I found for a source that I felt could be reasonably taken as neutral. If you have a problem with Sage, let me know.

            There’s also this “Research Roundup” from the Harvard Business Review: I didn’t follow through on every single link, but most that I did seemed decently solid.

            https://hbr.org/2013/09/women-in-the-workplace-a-research-roundup

            @aapje

            “Actually, culture is often strongly linked to race.”

            Sure, and if you cherry pick in what ways they’re linked, you can fool yourself or others into thinking that generalizations about one are as valid as generalizations about the other.

            “But those strategies also make predictions based on race*, even though the correlation is not 100%! Affirmative action that is based on race will benefit a recent African immigrant, despite that person not having the same historic background as an ex-slave.”

            This is true, and a flaw in Affirmative Action in some respects, but not in others, such as trying to offset present biases in those who might be heading the application process or engaging in interviews and so on.

            “It also doesn’t apply to groups who are now considered white, but who faced racial discrimination in the past, like Italians.”

            See above. As far as I know, there is no research showing that Italian names on resumes get lower acceptance rates.

            “If you favor stereotyping when it suits you, you can’t just turn around and condemn it when it doesn’t.”

            Sorry, I think you’ve mistaken me for a deontologist 😛 I’m a utilitarian: what I care about are outcomes.

            Also, the point isn’t to “favor stereotyping,” the point is to address an objective problem *somehow* rather than sitting on our hands and ignoring it because no solution is perfect.

            @Paul Brinkley

            “This analogy follows precisely from an analysis of incentives. You cannot simply insist it doesn’t exist, any more than you could insist that if you tax cigarettes, people will keep on smoking and you’ll raise all the tax revenue you could ever need.”

            But the analogy about incentives *doesn’t apply.* That’s my point.

            Unless you actually think that Affirmative Action makes white children not want to go to college anymore? Or that black students don’t try as hard as they could because they think AA will land them a spot anyway?

            This is the same train of thought that goes along with “Well, we can’t make poor people’s lives too easy, or they won’t look for work.” Yeah, sure, okay, FOX can find some idiots spending their foodstamps on lobster at the supermarket and parade the poor fool in front of the camera to stoke the outrage machine, but for the majority of people, being poor SUCKS, being on foodstamps or disability or unemployment SUCKS, and they’re already working their asses off trying to make more money anyway.

            As far as I’m aware there isn’t any strong evidence that the majority of people in shitty situations are less motivated to get out of those shitty situations if you try to help them. If you think things like Affirmative Action DEmotivates the majority of minorities rather than provide an incentive, or demotivates the majority of whites, then feel free to link me to that research.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @daystareld:

            Again, I’ve never heard people insist that women have trouble finding jobs…[new study links]

            Hang on a minute. YOU initially claimed that studies specifically involving, and I quote:

            changed names and genders of randomized college applications and job resumes and interviews

            provide compelling evidence of anti-woman unconscious bias. That was the specific thing I was disputing.

            Toward that end, my links provided some evidence that gender-blinded resume studies are inconclusive. Some find “bias” FOR women, a finding which still gets spun as “sexism” in media accounts which leave out the directionality to let the reader simply assume any alleged bias must hurt (rather than help) women. Some find no bias at all. And repeated studies of similar careers can find completely different amounts of bias – the first study I linked was an example where “computer operator” and “data entry” had completely different results. (no bias in one study, massive anti-male bias in the other)

            Blinding sex by tweaking the CV (in a resume-based job application) or by changing voice (in an interview-based job application) might indeed conceivably provide reasonable evidence of “unconscious bias”, if the results were consistent, replicable, predictable, in preregistered studies. I don’t get the sense that this is the case – my vague impression is that in this whole area the studies finding anti-woman bias were a casualty of the replication crisis. The first few studies I found appeared to support that impression and none of the links you just gave even touch on the topic.

            So…if you still want to back up your earlier assertion, please provide links to studies you think do that.

          • Aapje says:

            @daystareld

            Sorry, I think you’ve mistaken me for a deontologist 😛 I’m a utilitarian: what I care about are outcomes.

            So what are you optimizing for:
            A1. Making sure that the percentage of poor blacks is the same as the percentage of poor whites?
            A2. Minimizing the number of poor people, regardless of race?
            B1. Maximizing the income of women and putting the same pressure on them to sacrifice their happiness for income as is done for men?
            B2. Pushing people towards work arrangements that maximize people’s happiness*?
            C1. Increasing the gender gap in government funding and services?
            C2. Decreasing the gender gap in the same?
            D1. Making special laws giving special treatment to people based on gender and race?
            D2. Treating everyone race and gender-neutral?

            A lot of the things that are done in the name of SJ are options 1 and make the situation worse when it comes to options 2.

            * Keep in mind that women are happier than men during the ‘career years’, suggesting that work-related gender issues make men worse off, so if anything, on this issue the effort should go to liberate men from their provider role.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            @daystareld

            But the analogy about incentives *doesn’t apply.* That’s my point. […] This is the same train of thought that goes along with “Well, we can’t make poor people’s lives too easy, or they won’t look for work.”

            By this argument, we could pay everyone $100/hour, and it’d be fine, because incentives don’t apply. We could admit only black students to college, and shut white students out, because incentives don’t apply. We can mock this or that minority group, and never fear for retaliation, because incentives don’t apply.

            All of which are, of course, outrageous strawmen. Which is to say: I think you should take another hard look at whether incentives really do or do not apply to economic activity.

            Are you familiar with the adage, “economics is thinking on the margin”? This is precisely what I used as far back as the analogy about loan repayment. It is not the case that everyone in group A repays their loans, always, and then we switch to equalized interest rates and suddenly everyone in group A is slacking. Rather, it’s that some members of group A never repay, some rarely do, some do some of the time, some are pretty good about it, and still others are stalwartly repaying every penny, on time. Raise the rate on A (so you can lower it on B and not run out of money), and every member does some sort of adjustment, from none at all because they don’t care or didn’t pay attention or whatever, to caring a little and waiting a month longer before getting that car, or feeling rather stressed before it happened and now having to drastically redo their budget around the fact that they can no longer use a credit card.

            Likewise, with your other examples. You won’t see a mass exodus of white students due to AA, but you might notice a few here and there who were on the fence about college, and AA makes the difference between college and trade school. Or between trade school and going back to the family farm or store.

            Or a poor person who is working their ass off to get by, and responds to financial aid by working the same amount and relaxing with a beer in the evening instead of just going to bed. In some sense, there’s nothing wrong with their choice – it’s their property now, to do with as they see fit – but it surely does not have the effect desired by the legislator, because the poor man is still poor, and marginally more inebriated. Some of the poor will indeed be more productive, as this is, again, a spectrum, and there will be some portion of them for whom an extra $2k/year makes that critical difference between barely getting by and having enough to save for a small business – but all of those $2k/year aid packages are coming out of someone else’s pockets, and many of them are also on the margin, busting their own asses.

            Incentives saturate this entire scenario. Not just an interest rate, but that rate combined with getting fed, fixing up the house, saving for recreation, spending time on training, raising kids, and so on. It’s not enough to say giving them money will be worth it, because you don’t know up front how their incentives will impact their decisions, and that money is scarce enough that you can’t simply keep pouring it in until they’re obviously doing better, especially when pouring it like that will negatively affect your supply of it in the future.

          • daystareld says:

            @Glen Raphael

            Ah, you’re right, that was stupid of me: I basically mixed scenarios mid-paragraph: I find the name swapping as evidence for racism and sexism in many hiring processes, but you’re right that it’s not strong evidence in the case of sexism, and I shouldn’t have equivocated the two.

            I’ll recind that earlier assertion, since as you’ve demonstrated well, my confidence in it is nowhere near justified enough.

            @Aapje

            “So what are you optimizing for:”

            You’re describing false dichotomies. Minimizing the number of poor people is obviously more important than making sure the % of poor people are equal among different races, but if you frame it as one or the other, you’re just giving up on maximizing positive values. “Special laws giving special treatment” is exactly how we treat the handicapped, and most people don’t get upset at such because they can observe the effects of broken legs or debilitating diseases, but can’t observe the effects of centuries of systemic racism/sexism in social norms and learned behaviors.

            Justice is an important value with real, tangible outcomes, such as reducing civil unrest, hate crimes, lost potential, and so on. Studying the effects of centuries of slavery and segregation and systemic racism, and how they continue to be part of the dysfunctions in black communities today, means caring enough to try and correct the imbalance. If I had to choose between inventing free, limitless energy, thus catapulting the majority of the planet’s poor out of poverty, or black and white equality in the US, I would pick the former, but reality doesn’t work that way. You can advocate for both.

            “Keep in mind that women are happier than men during the ‘career years’, suggesting that work-related gender issues make men worse off, so if anything, on this issue the effort should go to liberate men from their provider role.”

            Feminism does seek to do exactly this, by insisting that women can be primary money earners as well, and encouraging men to take part in child rearing.

            @Paul Brinkley

            “All of which are, of course, outrageous strawmen. Which is to say: I think you should take another hard look at whether incentives really do or do not apply to economic activity.”

            I’m sorry, but I think you’re still attacking strawmen. You making outrageous comparisons as an intuition pump does not work when my claim is not “incentives don’t matter,” but that *these particular incentives* do not cause *those feared harms* in anywhere near a wide enough net negative to matter.

            “You won’t see a mass exodus of white students due to AA, but you might notice a few here and there who were on the fence about college, and AA makes the difference between college and trade school. Or between trade school and going back to the family farm or store.”

            So what? This is going to sound harsh, but even accepting that such people exist, my model of anyone so unmotivated by the thought of AA is that they’re probably not someone who’s going to succeed or excel in academia anyway. Plus, in terms of sheer numbers, my money is on them being more than balanced out by the minority students who go the extra distance and push themselves harder than they normally would and are given the opportunities they normally wouldn’t have.

            “Some of the poor will indeed be more productive, as this is, again, a spectrum… but all of those $2k/year aid packages are coming out of someone else’s pockets, and many of them are also on the margin, busting their own asses.”

            Are you under the impression that the majority of welfare taxes are being paid by those “also on the margin?” They don’t call it a redistribution of wealth for nothing, you know 😛 If you’re upset that it’s not redistributing it WIDE enough and that more needs to be taken from the rich, we’re in perfect agreement.

            “It’s not enough to say giving them money will be worth it, because you don’t know up front how their incentives will impact their decisions, and that money is scarce enough that you can’t simply keep pouring it in until they’re obviously doing better, especially when pouring it like that will negatively affect your supply of it in the future.”

            On the contrary, I can say that and I do, because the majority of the evidence shows how powerful those safety nets and social services are in helping lift people out of poverty. Worrying about wasting money on them and spreading uncertainty and fear about incentives is a classic tactic of those that disagree with the policies for other reasons: without robust evidence to counter the research against the claim that social safety nets help more than they hurt, I’m going to continue believing the observations that confirm that research.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            @daystareld

            You making outrageous comparisons as an intuition pump does not work when my claim is not “incentives don’t matter,” but that *these particular incentives* do not cause *those feared harms* in anywhere near a wide enough net negative to matter.

            Here was your claim:

            But the analogy about incentives *doesn’t apply.* That’s my point.

            Here was the analogy you had to have been referring to:

            The progressive strategy of equalizing rates makes group B worse off; the conservative strategy of incentivizing group B to allocate more effort toward loan repayment makes group B better off.

            This analogy had a longer explanation behind it. Your response at the time was:

            The actual situation is that, recognizing historical and systemic disadvantages, progressive strategy is to make more effort to reward those in Group B who have been held back by circumstance rather than individual ability.

            Which didn’t really address the explanation of the analogy (which wasn’t even an analogy, but whatever) except to say “no, it works the way I claimed previously” and to ignore the incentives described. For which the natural interpretation is that either you think incentives don’t matter at all, since you didn’t address them, or that you meant to and somehow left that part out as an honest mistake.

            Did you mean to address them? It’s hard to see that from your later responses:

            This is going to sound harsh, but even accepting that such people exist, my model of anyone so unmotivated by the thought of AA is that they’re probably not someone who’s going to succeed or excel in academia anyway.

            Is your model of AA beneficiaries similarly harsh? Why is one side a band of aspiring luminaries going the extra distance and the other just a bunch of slackers? Who’s actually treating people equally here?

            Are you under the impression that the majority of welfare taxes are being paid by those “also on the margin?”

            I’m well aware that the top 50% of taxpayers pay the top 97% of income taxes, and I’m willing to entertain that similar holds for welfare, so let’s run with that. Are you under the impression that the top 50% are going to make whatever investments they make, regardless of what their tax rate is? That they’ll never reshuffle their assets into this venture or that, creating these jobs or those? That they won’t let a business starve because they’re getting squeezed at the moment and can’t afford to put their capital in?

            On the contrary, I can say that and I do, because the majority of the evidence shows how powerful those safety nets and social services are in helping lift people out of poverty.

            Have you read Bastiat? This isn’t FUD. It’s quite real; just hard to measure. You can’t simply rely on research; you have to pay attention to that research’s selection bias.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @daystareld:

            I find the name swapping as evidence for racism and sexism in many hiring processes, but you’re right that it’s not strong evidence in the case of sexism, and I shouldn’t have equivocated the two.

            Okay, thanks. So we’re agreed name-swapping studies are not strong evidence for anti-women bias, but you think name-swapping studies are still in play as evidence for racism, right? So let’s move on to that issue. Please read this (very brief) essay:

            Greg vs. Jamal: Why Didn’t Bertrand and Mullainathan (2004) Replicate?

            Bertrand and Mullainathan (2004) was one of the better papers finding that “black” names get fewer callbacks. A 2016 economic study related to hiring noted in passing that when they tried to control for race the earlier result didn’t replicate in a small footnote:

            In contrast, we find no difference in the returns to postsecondary credentials by race when applying to jobs that require applicants to have a degree or a certificate.

            The essay I linked above suggests a possible reason for the disparity – the particular “black names” chosen in earlier studies signaled low socioeconomic status while the names chosen in the most recent study did not. (the author tested “do these names seem low-income?” and “do these names seem black?” via Mechanical Turk surveys to confirm an initial hunch.)

            Article concludes:

            The lower callback rates for Jamal and Lakisha in the classic 2004 AER paper, and the successful replications mentioned earlier, are as consistent with racial as with SES discrimination.
            […but…]
            To test racial discrimination in particular, and name effects in general, we need the same study to orthogonally manipulate these, or at least use names pretested to differ only on the dimension of interest. I don’t think any audit study has done that.

            Until such a study has been done, I’d say the jury is still out.

          • Aapje says:

            @daystareld

            “Special laws giving special treatment” is exactly how we treat the handicapped, and most people don’t get upset at such because they can observe the effects of broken legs or debilitating diseases, but can’t observe the effects of centuries of systemic racism/sexism in social norms and learned behaviors.

            1. This is a completely false analogy, since women and minorities are not handicapped. By treating past problems as permanent disabilities, you are telling people that they don’t have the same abilities right now, while they do have them. This teaches them a victim mentality that doesn’t help them.
            2. That you can’t observe the effects and yet are so certain is very telling that you are working based on faith. How can you be sure that you aren’t just telling yourself a story that is false? For example, you argue that a black kid today is a victim of centuries of issues passed down to him, but why isn’t the same true for a white kid born in the Appalachia mountains? Didn’t that region suffer from centuries of major deprivation? If society is filled with racism that victimized them to such an extent that it is unreasonable to teach them that they can achieve much more, then how come many minorities do much better (like recent African migrants, Hispanics and Asian Americans?).
            3. How are you so sure that centuries of sexism doesn’t affect men? If you ignore the false feminist history and actually study history, you see a ton of systemic sexism targeted at men. Why do you assume that this hasn’t left major issues that deserve special treatment, if you assume that this helps women with their major issues? At least be consistent.
            4. Why do you ignore wealth/class? The top 1% has a bigger wealth gap to the rest of society than exists between whites and any minority, between men and women, etc. In my country, the poorest men got political franchise 2 years before women did. Descendants of the aristocracy do much better rtoday than descendants of lower classes. Why is this mostly ignored?

            Feminism does seek to do exactly this, by insisting that women can be primary money earners as well, and encouraging men to take part in child rearing.

            Sorry, you have been bamboozled by the false rhetoric. NOW opposes shared parenting laws, because they don’t want men to share parenting equally.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            “Special laws giving special treatment” is exactly how we treat the handicapped, and most people don’t get upset at such because they can observe the effects of broken legs or debilitating diseases, but can’t observe the effects of centuries of systemic racism/sexism in social norms and learned behaviors.

            So the mechanism for “centuries of racism” effecting social norms and learned behaviors (but being put under different selective pressure can NEVER result in genetic differences!) is that parents raise children in maladaptive ways due to their own treatment. For example, parents poor, children go to bad schools, rinse and repeat for the next generation.

            To claim that this is the mechanism for observed group differences is absurd because the (just-so) story fails in so many ways – groups that didn’t remain poor, the consistency of racial differences across cultures, the utter lack of functional societies made up of low achieving groups, etc. but to claim that this holds for sexism is beyond absurd. There’s not even a mechanism. Are current women only descended from other women and men descended from men? The human species has been sexually dimorphic for its entire history. This argument claims that women and men have (irrationally, apparently) been treated differently but this has had no evolutionary effects which cause differences between the sexes? That’s absurd. “Women have been subjected to sexism for millennia that didn’t let them use their intellectual gifts” – well guess what? Brain tissue is metabolically expensive and you’ve just argued that the selective pressure on women was such that being intelligent wasn’t a benefit. Congratulations.

          • bintchaos says:

            Within group variance is greater than between group variance on race and on sex (Jensen, 1994).
            And like Dr. Haier says in his new book (The Neuroscience of Intelligence, 2017)
            “Intelligence is 100% biological.”
            IQ is not plastic post early childhood nutritional issues.
            Libs and cons are both wrong on this– libs believe all humans are equal and the playing field can be leveled through civil law and civil welfare, cons believe white people are both more intelligent and thus more equal than others.
            The hideous truth is that the CCP (competition cooperation paradigm) that evolved in the EEA (environment of evolutionary adaptation) favored soldier and explorer phenotypes equally. But 21st century environment favors explorer phenotype explicitly and its just gunna get worse going forward. Consider academe– explicit selection for high IQ (120 points and up) resulted in nearly all explorer phenotype while the military which accepts IQ of 90 points or greater is nearly all soldier phenotype.
            I think theres likely significant differences in brain biochemistry that we will be able to explore with cognitive genomics going forward.
            Great times for science.
            🙂

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            Within group variance is greater than between group variance on race and on sex (Jensen, 1994).

            IQ is not plastic post early childhood nutritional issues.
            Libs and cons are both wrong on this– libs believe all humans are equal and the playing field can be leveled through civil law and civil welfare, cons believe white people are both more intelligent and thus more equal than others.

            The first statement has no relationship to the second one.

            Men vary in height more than men are taller than women. That doesn’t mean that women aren’t on average shorter than men. Man vary in strength more than they are stronger than women – the average man is still stronger than 98% of women, etc.

            “Differences within groups are greater than differences between groups” is true but doesn’t have the implication “therefore differences between groups are trivial”. The second part isn’t implied by the first.

            … and “explorer phenotype” vs “soldier phenotype”? You claim to be an academic? There are literally 3 hits on google scholar for “explorer phenotype” – 2 are for papers about microbes and the third is for a paper about hooded warblers. Talking about it as if anyone other than you even knows what this is in relation to humans is time-cube-esque.

          • daystareld says:

            @Paul

            “Which didn’t really address the explanation of the analogy (which wasn’t even an analogy, but whatever) except to say “no, it works the way I claimed previously” and to ignore the incentives described. For which the natural interpretation is that either you think incentives don’t matter at all, since you didn’t address them, or that you meant to and somehow left that part out as an honest mistake.”

            I don’t think that’s a natural interpretation at all, and I contend that it was, in fact, an analogy, unless you and I have very different understandings of how Affirmative Action-type laws work in the US. The interpretation I think is more fair is that I don’t think Affirmative Action works like loan repayment regulations.

            “Is your model of AA beneficiaries similarly harsh? Why is one side a band of aspiring luminaries going the extra distance and the other just a bunch of slackers? Who’s actually treating people equally here?”

            I don’t think I made such a sweeping generalization: I’m just saying, if you’re going to use the specter of those who quit their pursuit of higher education for the fear of being passed over in an already highly selective process, I feel it’s more than fair to counter with the idea of people who go the extra distance because of it. And that I really doubt the quality of the student who would normally have gone for higher education, but was turned off by Affirmative Action.

            “Are you under the impression that the top 50% are going to make whatever investments they make, regardless of what their tax rate is?”

            Not regardless, but not solely swayed by it.

            “That they’ll never reshuffle their assets into this venture or that, creating these jobs or those?”

            They’ll shuffle their money where there are high expectations of return, and the tax rate is only one consideration of many in that.

            “That they won’t let a business starve because they’re getting squeezed at the moment and can’t afford to put their capital in?”

            They can choose to do that if they want, others will be more than happy to fill the gap. The market abhors a vacuum, and the idea that a profitable business is being left to starve for capital in the modern day because some investors don’t find the profit margin high enough has never been proven, as far as I can find in any economic study. It’s an article of Supply Side Economics faith that, if it ever applied to the real world, certainly doesn’t seem to in modern global economies.

            @Glen

            It’s a good data point to keep in mind, but as the study itself admits, far from conclusive:

            “But this conclusion is tentative as best, we are comparing studies that differ on many dimensions (and the new study had some noteworthy glitches, read footnote 4). To test racial discrimination in particular, and name effects in general, we need the same study to orthogonally manipulate these, or at least use names pretested to differ only on the dimension of interest. I don’t think any audit study has done that.

            @Aapje

            “This is a completely false analogy, since women and minorities are not handicapped.”

            By your perspective, sure. By those who disagree with you, clearly this is a point of disagreement: not all handicaps are immediately observable. The contention of many progressives is that women and minorities are, in fact, handicapped by history, circumstance, or society’s prejudices.

            “This teaches them a victim mentality that doesn’t help them.”

            That’s your opinion: evidence of the “victim mentality” demotivating minorities from achieving success has not been proven. Also, shouldn’t you be just as worried about setting a counter narrative about men and whites, since you seem to be arguing that THEY are in fact the ones who are unfairly persecuted?

            “That you can’t observe the effects and yet are so certain is very telling that you are working based on faith. How can you be sure that you aren’t just telling yourself a story that is false? ”

            I said that others, those who agree with you, could not observe it: I did not say that no one could observe it. By accounts of those who live with those prejudices every day, it’s quite real, and from the evidence I’ve seen, quite well supported. But evidence has always been a weak convincing force to those who find the conclusion unsavory, so we live in a country that went through centuries of slavery and segregation and systemic racism and sexism, and yet still have people arguing that all that’s in the past and has no effect on anyone’s lives today.

            “How are you so sure that centuries of sexism doesn’t affect men?”

            You need to study feminism better, rather than just believing the strawman of it on the internet: every feminist I’ve ever met in person is absolutely a believer that that centuries of sexism doesn’t negatively affect men too, myself included.

            “Why do you ignore wealth/class? ”

            I don’t ignore it, I just think of it as an adjacent but separate issue. An upper class black man will still, on average, be treated worse than an upper class white man, in many parts of the USA.

            “Sorry, you have been bamboozled by the false rhetoric. NOW opposes shared parenting laws, because they don’t want men to share parenting equally.”

            Sorry, you didn’t read your own link carefully enough. NOW opposes arbitrary and evidence-blind assumptions of parenting capability. It always amuses me how often that link shows up by people who clearly found it linked to them by some anti-feminist group and never looked past the surface to see NOW’s own explanation for why good intentions does not make good law.

            @reasoned

            “Are current women only descended from other women and men descended from men?”

            No, but current women are still judged by assumptions about differences between men and women that originated in previous generations, both within their own families and in many areas of society at large.

            @bintchaos

            “Libs and cons are both wrong on this– libs believe all humans are equal and the playing field can be leveled through civil law and civil welfare”

            I have never met a liberal who believes “all humans are equal,” and contend that this is a strawman. What the liberals I know believe is that all humans should be given equal opportunities, regardless of baseline assumptions about their capabilities.

            For what it’s worth, I think your representation of conservatives is a strawman too: they’re not all racist, but they are more likely to deny evidence of racism and privilege.

          • bintchaos says:

            no strawmen involved
            just shorthand for reality
            its not possible to level the playing field with civil welfare and civil law (what libs advocate), and neither is it possible to level the playing field with attitude and effort (what cons advocate)
            shorter: cant make a human with an IQ of 70 pts (functional retardation) into a theoretical physicist, or indeed, a whole lot of things requiring an IQ greater 120 pts like doctors, lawyers, etc
            college graduate is one of those things
            but 90 pts gets a human into the armed services
            academe is +90% liberal
            military is +90% conservative
            is it just brute force selection for IQ?

          • Plucky says:

            @ bintchaos: your characterization of the military is not right, on numerous fronts:
            1) The military is not 90% conservative. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/pentagon-survey-twitter-facebook-military-politicization-235378 : “Fifty-four percent of officers responding to the survey said they were Republicans, 24 percent said they were Democrats and 14 percent reported they were independents. But more striking, Urben said, was that when asked about their political ideology, nearly 47 percent identified as conservative, 32 percent as moderate and 22 percent as liberal. That compares with previous studies in which as many as 65 percent of military officers reported they were politically conservative. […] Separate studies have suggested that the political attitudes of the enlisted ranks more closely reflect the public at large.”

            2) The intelligence threshold for military service is higher than you suppose. The technical sophistication of the equipment today puts the minimum acceptable IQ for enlisted somewhere closer to 98-100 (this is something of a known problem to the military- I can’t find a link but they estimate that ~75% of the population is either “physically, mentally, or morally unfit to serve”). Officers are required (with some rare exceptions) to have 4-year degrees, which means a min IQ more like 110 or so, and high-ranking officers are typically expected to get a graduate degree somewhere along the line (for a well-known example, David Petraeus is a Princeton Ph.D.). The service academies, which produce a disproportionate share of the higher-ranked officer corps, are very academically rigorous institutions.

            -The military is different in the sense that, unlike society at large, it tends to get more conservative as you go up the education scale. At the very top ranks it will vary by administration, since while everyone (for obvious reasons) strenuously denies it, political views do play a role in who gets promoted once there are stars on shoulders.

          • bintchaos says:

            you are talking about officers, and Im talking about the military as a whole including enlisted men.
            Also, the entry requirement for the military is 90 IQ points currently, it has been lowered in time of war, etc.
            That is from Dr. Haier’s new book, The Neuroscience of Intelligence.
            There isnt a hard gate for IQ in academe, but its a highly competitive system where 120 IQ points is probably the low end of selection. The top universities can be the most selective, taking perhaps the top 1% or even the top .01% of applicants.
            Academe is structured as pretty much brute force selection for IQ — the military takes most applicants and sorts them into appropriate jobs.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @daystarld:

            It’s a good data point to keep in mind, but as the study itself admits, far from conclusive

            Sure. Though I actually found the explanation suggested pretty generous to the earlier studies. A simpler explanations for the data at hand (given the replication crisis) is that the earlier study results are simply bogus.

            To wit: Imagine you’re doing a study (pre-replication crisis) whose entire point is to quantify racial bias. If you don’t find racial bias, you don’t have a publishable finding! So you’re likely to convince yourself you did something wrong and just need to run the study again, or try analyzing the numbers a different way, or eliminate some fraction of the data that had some iffy characteristic, until the numbers look better. If a few dozen people try doing studies like this (none of which have been preregistered), those that by random chance happen to find statistically-significant racial bias are the ones that get published. Given that environment, we’d expect published studies to find bias whether it’s there or not.

            So now we have a new study which wasn’t specifically of racial bias so it was publishable whether or not racial bias was found. Doesn’t that situation seem much more likely to produce an honest finding than the earlier situation was? But to be fair, there are still several options to consider, including these:

            (1) Perhaps the older studies are all bogus or mistaken and there was never racial or SES bias.
            (2) Perhaps the new study is bogus or mistaken and the earlier results are valid – there both was and still is racial bias in resume callbacks.
            (3) Perhaps both old and new studies are accurate but the older studies were measuring low-SES bias – there was never pure racial bias in resume callbacks, merely SES bias.
            (4) Perhaps both old and new studies are accurate and the contrast tells us there once was racial bias in resume callbacks, but that bias has since faded away within the last decade or so and no longer exists today.
            (5) Or perhaps it’s all random noise – there’s too much variance between different people reading resumes at different firms for such studies to be at all meaningful.

            …and so on. Regardless of which interpretation you lean towards, it should at least be obvious the data doesn’t (yet?) tell a particularly clear story. The claim that there exists substantial unconsious racial bias demonstrated by resume callback rates should perhaps be considered not proven until those better studies my source suggested have actually been attempted.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      Is evolution and creationism discussed often in the news media? I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of my conservative friends mad at CNN at because “they push that evy-lew-shun talk!” but because CNN ignores conservatives stated motivations and policy prescriptions, reads their minds and determines they’re solely motivated by blind, irrational hatred of everyone who isn’t a white christian heterosexual male and then brings on 6 panelists to argue over whether the conservative is just regular racist or super racist.

      It’s not about facts, it’s about which facts they choose to focus on to shape their narrative. And their narrative is a predetermined conclusion, “Reps bad Dems good.”

      Basically, I think you’re focusing on facts instead of narrative, and narrative is where the action is.

      • daystareld says:

        “I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of my conservative friends mad at CNN at because “they push that evy-lew-shun talk!”

        Then you’re probably not talking to the 60% of conservatives who believe in Creationism.

        Narrative may be where the action is, but it takes facts to stop a false-narrative from gaining traction. And ~60% of the time, facts just aren’t on the conservative’s side.

        And when the facts aren’t on a newsman’s side, they either spin the truth (which, yes, CNN and MSNBC are surely guilty of too) or just flat out lie, as most FOX “anchors” do regularly, repeatedly, and seemingly without shame.

        Fact checking sites and organizations pretty unanimously put FOX News behind even the worst of the liberal news stations, and if you think that’s just more elitist liberal bias back-patting each other over how many conservative puppies they could kick in a day, then I’m curious to know what version of FOX you’re watching that makes it not-objectively-worse than just run-of-the-mill political spin on the other news stations.

        Because on the FOX I watch, the evils of liberals and Democrats and minorities and the poor are literally on parade day after day after day after day. So if there’s a moral high ground here, I don’t think I’m disqualifying CNN for bashing conservatives just yet.

        In reality, all major news stations in the US are terrible. But even if I’d happily watch CNN, MSNBC, and FOX all go out of business, false equivocation is still false.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          No, the facts are generally on the side of whatever narrative you’re pushing. If your narrative is “we shouldn’t be letting in illegals because some will rape or murder our citizens” then the facts are on your side: Americans are raped and murdered by illegal immigrants who should have never been let in the country. Run stories highlighting the victims of illegal immigrant crime like Jameel Shaw. Facts are on your side.

          If you’re pushing the narrative “we should be lax on illegal immigration because poor Latinos suffer when they cannot get jobs in the US” then the facts are on your side. Poor illegal immigrants who committed no malum in se crimes will suffer if they are deported. Run stories about deported families at risk of being killed. Facts are on your side.

          I think you’re just looking at the narratives you care about, that match your values, and correctly noting that the facts support them. And then not hearing the other narratives, or dismissing the facts associated with them because they’re irrelevant to your goals and values.

          And “fact checking” is just a whole bunch of selection bias and isolated demands for rigor.

          • daystareld says:

            No, I’m examining two narratives and evaluating their importance based on common values and analysis of outcomes.

            The response to illegal immigrants murdering American citizens is not “Lalala, I can’t hear you!” it’s “How often? Okay, so what are the solutions? And what are the consequences to doing those vs doing nothing?”

            If you think a single citizen dying to immigrants is more important than a million illegal immigrants leading happier, healthier, more productive lives, then yes, your hyper-partisan conservative will focus on the narrative of immigrant crime.

            If you think a single illegal immigrant living happier, healthier, more productive lives is more important than a million US citizens being murdered by them, then yes, a hyper-partisan liberal will focus on the narrative of helping immigrants.

            If, however, you’re (what I would consider) a sane utilitarian who cares more about reducing suffering than security theater, the evidence of illegal immigrants causing crimes is vastly underwhelming compared to the evidence of helping them escape poverty or suffering. And on top of that, the proposed consequences of trying to enforce outdated and draconian immigration laws is further more harmful than the positives we gain as a country for having illegal immigrants.

            This is, admittedly, a more complex calculus than “illegal immigrants good” or “illegal immigrants bad,” which is how new stations tend to work. But if, on the whole, the latter is less true than the former, then yes, the new station trumpeting the latter is the one that’s less correct.

            Unless of course you dismiss the entire concept of fact checking so that we can stay in a perpetual state of solipsistic apathy about what’s true and what’s not.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            If you think a single citizen dying to immigrants is more important than a million illegal immigrants leading happier, healthier, more productive lives, then yes, your hyper-partisan conservative will focus on the narrative of immigrant crime.

            Taking in people who by their nature create societies that are so horrible that living in those societies is a humanitarian disaster is just a way to destroy the recipient.

            In other words, that immigrants would lead better lives here is exactly how you know that they’d make life worse for our fellow citizens by them being here. They’re not moving to get away from “tragic dirt”.

          • Nornagest says:

            That “by their nature” could use some proving.

          • Jiro says:

            If, however, you’re (what I would consider) a sane utilitarian who cares more about reducing suffering than security theater

            Sorry, I’m not a sane utilitarian.

          • DrBeat says:

            I know this one. Utilitarians always lie, and virtue ethicists always tell the truth, but sane people believe all true things and insane people believe all false things to be true and vice versa. So this answer doesn’t rule out the possibility of you being a sane utilitarian, the only possibility it actually rules out is that you are an insane virtue ethicist, because if you were you would erroneously believe yourself to be a sane utilitarian and then accurately report it.

          • Jiro says:

            You are thinking of vampires.

          • Jaskologist says:

            a sane utilitarian

            A utilitarian is a man who has lost everything except his reason.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            No one is actually a utilitarian, let alone a sane one, except maybe Singer, and people think he’s kind of kooky for it.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @daystareld:

            If, however, you’re (what I would consider) a sane utilitarian who cares more about reducing suffering than security theater, the evidence of illegal immigrants causing crimes is vastly underwhelming compared to the evidence of helping them escape poverty or suffering.

            No, I’m neither sane nor a utilitarian, I’m Catholic. Do you think the purpose of the United States government is to maximize global utility? Because if that’s the case then the government should seize most of your assets and redistribute them to starving kids in Africa because it’ll ease their suffering more than it will cause you to suffer.

            Each person may have equal moral value in the eyes of God, but not in the eyes of my government. My government needs to be primarily concerned with the wellbeing of the ~300 million Americans, not the other 6.7 billion people on the planet. They have their own governments.

            Our poor people rely on the government enforcing immigration laws so people who do not share their values or agree to operate under the same rule of law as they do do not move into their neighborhoods and threaten or displace them. You may not care any more about American poor people than you care about Honduran poor people, so you’re willing to ignore the laws that help American poor people. Basically, in the iterated prisoner’s dilemma that is rule of law, you’re defecting. Be careful with this, because when the government later decides that the interests of some other group of foreigners are more important than the interests of daystareld, you’ll have a hard time making your case. Utility is utility.

            Anyway, we’re basically mindkilled by politics at this point. I was trying to demonstrate that disagreements on “facts” are not our real issue, because the “facts” support lots of different narratives and courses of action, depending on your values. But I think we agree now that we have very different value systems, right? So therefore agreement on “facts” isn’t going to get us far. You and I can completely agree on the facts and I still won’t want to do the things you want to do, and vice versa.

          • daystareld says:

            “No, I’m neither sane nor a utilitarian, I’m Catholic.”

            So, we have pretty widely different set of values and epistemology then. But I’m pretty sure Jesus had some things to say about helping the less fortunate? “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”

            “Do you think the purpose of the United States government is to maximize global utility?… Each person may have equal moral value in the eyes of God, but not in the eyes of my government. My government needs to be primarily concerned with the wellbeing of the ~300 million Americans, not the other 6.7 billion people on the planet. They have their own governments.”

            In my ideal US government, yes, but either way this assumes that rounding up and deporting illegal immigrants is in the country’s best interest, despite all evidence to the contrary.

            “Our poor people rely on the government enforcing immigration laws so people who do not share their values or agree to operate under the same rule of law as they do do not move into their neighborhoods and threaten or displace them.”

            There is no evidence that this is a significant issue for “our poor people.” Also, since that’s apparently your concern, I hope you’re all in favor of policies that help our poor people with measurable areas of hardship, like healthcare and financial aid and so on.

            “You may not care any more about American poor people than you care about Honduran poor people, so you’re willing to ignore the laws that help American poor people.”

            Again, there is no evidence that American poor people are hurt by illegal immigration more than they’re helped by them.

            “Basically, in the iterated prisoner’s dilemma that is rule of law, you’re defecting.”

            That’s not how the prisoner’s dilemma works 😛 I’m arguing that it’s immoral and harmful to follow through on this law, so the law should be changed. Your argument, apparently, is now “It’s the law, respect it regardless of what the consequences are.

            In which case, I hope you think any friends or family you might have who smoke pot illegally should be thrown in jail. Rule of law is the rule of law, after all.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @daystareld

            Wait, you mean, when I die, God doesn’t judge my soul, he judges my government’s soul? Oh, that’s really easy then. All this time I’ve been thinking I need to do that whole “take care of the poor thing myself.” I had no idea I could just outsource that to the government and scoot right on into heaven. Just bring your voting record to the pearly gates.

            Again, there is no evidence that American poor people are hurt by illegal immigration more than they’re helped by them.

            This is not true at all. Looks like we do have a disagreement about facts.

            Now that you know the US Commission on Civil Rights has found that “Evidence for negative effects of such competition ranged from modest to significant” are you going to update your model of the effects of illegal immigration on poor blacks?

            If so, and you don’t change your opinion on illegal immigration, then I think that proves my point: we can agree on the facts and still not agree on what to do because you value the foreign poor as much or more than the native poor. Or perhaps you simply value the benefits you get from illegal immigration (cheaper tomatoes, etc) and are indifferent to the needs of the American poor or their voices in shaping government. If you don’t update, then I was wrong, and we are in actuality arguing over facts.

            That’s not how the prisoner’s dilemma works 😛 I’m arguing that it’s immoral and harmful to follow through on this law, so the law should be changed. Your argument, apparently, is now “It’s the law, respect it regardless of what the consequences are.

            No, you still have to obey the laws you don’t like. That is how the prisoner’s dilemma works in rule of law. If I have to follow the laws you like that I think are immoral, you have to follow the laws I like that you think are immoral. If you’re just going to start ignoring all the laws you don’t like (defecting) then I’m going to start ignoring the laws I don’t like (defecting) and we wind up in anarchy. Now that’s with regards to ignoring laws, not advocacy to change laws while still obeying the laws you don’t like.

            So to clarify, what’s your position on the enforcement of illegal immigration laws and the acceptability of sanctuary cities? I understand you want to change the laws we currently have, but are you opposed to enforcing the laws as they stand?

            In which case, I hope you think any friends or family you might have who smoke pot illegally should be thrown in jail. Rule of law is the rule of law, after all.

            I support decriminalizing many drugs. In the meantime, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

          • Brad says:

            You’ve set up a false dichotomy. There’s no such thing as universal enforcement of any law in any country. Enforcement discretion is built into the system at every level. You can’t point to one particular case of a universal phenomena and decide everyone but you is acting in bad faith.

          • daystareld says:

            @Conrad Honcho

            “Wait, you mean, when I die, God doesn’t judge my soul, he judges my government’s soul? Oh, that’s really easy then. All this time I’ve been thinking I need to do that whole “take care of the poor thing myself.” I had no idea I could just outsource that to the government and scoot right on into heaven. Just bring your voting record to the pearly gates.”

            …Or you could… do… both? I mean, if you think your God is so easily fooled that He cares more about the relative handful of people you donate to in your area than the millions you negatively affect with your votes, you have an even poorer esteem for your God than I do 😛

            “Now that you know the US Commission on Civil Rights has found that “Evidence for negative effects of such competition ranged from modest to sgnificant” are you going to update your model of the effects of illegal immigration on poor blacks?”

            Sure, assuming this is based on legitimate research that’s reproducible and generalized, including the effects of illegal immigrants in lowering food prices and the costs of services that are often used by poor blacks.

            “So to clarify, what’s your position on the enforcement of illegal immigration laws and the acceptability of sanctuary cities? I understand you want to change the laws we currently have, but are you opposed to enforcing the laws as they stand?”

            If the law is unjust and causes more harm than good, yes. I believe that the decision of how to enforce laws is within the purview of state agencies, and that choosing to turn a blind eye toward laws that they neither have the manpower to enforce nor the stomach to enact is part of what helps people decide whether a law is just or good.

            This, by the way, is consistent with my position against enforcing blasphemy laws that are still on the books in many states, or sodomy laws, or obscure clothing regulation laws, all of which and more exist all over the country. (Seriously, if you haven’t looked into all the weird laws some states and cities have, you should: some are quite amusing). I’m assuming you’re against enforcing those too, but due to your religion I’m not actually sure.

            “I support decriminalizing many drugs. In the meantime, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

            Cool, so as soon as you report all your friends and family who use drugs to the proper authorities, I will agree that your position on enforcing laws on immigration is consistent. Sound fair?

        • The Nybbler says:

          Fact checking sites and organizations pretty unanimously put FOX News behind even the worst of the liberal news stations, and if you think that’s just more elitist liberal bias back-patting each other over how many conservative puppies they could kick in a day

          That is exactly what it is. Fact checking organizations started with a claim of neutrality that was never believed (and never credible).

        • John Schilling says:

          “I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of my conservative friends mad at CNN at because “they push that evy-lew-shun talk!”

          Then you’re probably not talking to the 60% of conservatives who believe in Creationism.

          Are you?

          Seriously, how often do you personally talk to creationist conservatives about their perception of CNN (or the MSM generally)? Because I’ve got family on the literal Young-Earth Creationism side of the fence, and my take is the same as Conrad’s. They criticize the MSM for e.g. their support for (inadequate opposition to) Hillary Clinton, and they criticize public schools and the liberal politicians who “control” them about their teaching evolution. You are running off an ill-informed and factually incorrect mental model of creationist conservatives here, and it’s making you look foolish, not them.

          • daystareld says:

            No, I’m running off an experience of seeing those *I* know who believe in creationism getting mad at CNN for using old earth models to talk about climate change, report on failures of state run schools to educate their students on evolution, and bring on panelists who (admittedly) are more than keen to insult creationists for simply being wrong period, end of discussion, all as evidence of “clear liberal bias in the media.”

            I’m glad your family apparently doesn’t think any of that, but don’t call others foolish for having different experiences than you.

          • John Schilling says:

            I’m glad your family apparently doesn’t think any of that, but don’t call others foolish for having different experiences than you.

            Isn’t that exactly what you just did to Conrad Honcho?

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @daystareld

            Do you know a lot of creationists, then?

          • daystareld says:

            @John

            “Isn’t that exactly what you just did to Conrad Honcho?”

            …No? Where did I call him foolish?

            @Conrad

            “Do you know a lot of creationists, then?”

            Personally? Nine or ten, last I counted. I think one might have since changed their views.

  42. pkolding says:

    With respect to the proposition of an inherent “Right-wing authoritarianism”, I think the Left has missed a central stimulus of the modern Right: Reaction to the perceived authoritarianism of the Establishment Left.

    Two events, I believe, had a profound effect on the Right and have motivated their determined move from the comfortable bastion of the conservative media bubble into a deliberate policy of “change or destruction” of the country. The first was the judicial reversal of the results of democratic referenda and the subsequent award of same-sex marriage rights; the second, the deliberate flouting of immigration law by those assigned to enforce it.

    The Left has made a profound mistake in imagining that the Right’s opposition to same-sex marriage and their insistence on the enforcement of immigration law is wholly rooted in a partisan preference against same-sex marriage and illegal immigration. Instead, the Right has been galvanized by a realization that the Left Establishment has no regard for the rule of law and the conceits of the primacy of democratic authority. In short, the Right has witnessed, from their own ideological perspective, the exercise of totalitarian power directed against not only conservative ideas, but against the fundamental principles of democratic primacy and the rule of law.

    Unless the Left understands this, they will never understand the motivations of the burgeoning Right, nor will they be able to find a solution to an ever-growing movement towards territorial dismemberment.

    • Amos says:

      I agree. The ‘change the laws by legislating from the bench’ and picking which laws we will enforce is a defection. There is constitution and it doesn’t say that same-sex marriage is law of the land. And it doesn’t give a president the power to nullify laws that have already passed because he doesn’t like them. If you want to change the laws or the constitution then convince enough voters and you can do so. But if you can’t convince enough voters and proceed with what you want like a bunch of dictators you don’t get to complain about how the other side is killing democracy when they notice and start fighting fire with fire.

      • hlynkacg says:

        I am reminded of a moment in Gorsuch’s confirmation and the liberal talking heads were criticizing him for deciding cases on “cold legalisms” rather than moral worth and I wanted to reach through the screen and slap them. I mean come on do you really want Trump to nominate someone to the USSC who does not feel constrained by the letter of the law?

        • random832 says:

          Just out of curiosity, at the object level, do you agree with Gorsuch on TransAm? This isn’t just a matter of Chevron deference, but also whether his interpretation of the law (which treated the word “drive” and “operate” as synonyms) was reasonable, and that there’s no common-law principle that could have protected the trucker instead.

          The trucker was fired for taking action in a medical emergency situation to save his own life. I think his boss was guilty of attempted murder.

          • hlynkacg says:

            While I feel that the court ruled correctly in the end I think that Gorsuch’s dissent is a reasonable critique of that decision.
            I agree with you that Maddin was taking action to save his own life, and believe that he would have been on much firmer common-law ground if the case had been framed as reckless endangerment on the part of TransAm rather than wrongful termination.

        • Deiseach says:

          liberal talking heads were criticizing him for deciding cases on “cold legalisms” rather than moral worth

          Which also makes me want to slap them, although I don’t know if that reveals the liberal/left idea of what law is about: how you feel about something rather than the letter of the law. The idea apparently never percolating into their little minds that they had better cling to the letter of the law as hard as they can, because it is not divinely ordained as a principle of the universe that they and their side will always be in power, and if the opposition gets in they do not want opposition judges making decisions in cases based on “how this judge personally feels about the moral worth of the defendant”.

          If you and I disagree on many principles, but we both agree to go to law as an independent arbitrator, and it so happens the judge is one of your party and I lose my case on a point of law, I can respect you and them. I cannot respect or believe you if your judge judges the case on how they personally feel regarding who is the moral superior, rather than what the law is.

          It’s a kind of secular Lollardism, the kind of thing that Chesterton was mildly mocking when talking about the real Lollards:

          Nobody who really understands the logic of the Lollards (a much more sympathetic set of people) really wishes that they had succeeded in taking away all political rights and privileges from everybody who was not in a state of grace. “Dominion founded on Grace” was a devout ideal, but considered as a plan for disregarding an Irish policeman controlling the traffic in Piccadilly, until we have discovered whether he has confessed recently to his Irish priest, it is wanting in actuality.

          But the progressive element really do seem to want a “dominion founded on grace”, where being Woke is the modern equivalent of being in a state of grace. And while I’d agree that the progressives are a small minority, I do worry that the liberals are also inclined towards “right-thinking people will make the right decisions based on what is plainly right, and they will know this by a burning in their bosom, not by cold legalism”, which ought to horrify everyone, conservative or liberal, as a proposed governing principle.

          • hlynkacg says:

            Truly! a man for all seasons.

            …and when the last law is down, and the Devil turns on you, where will you hide? I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

    • Kevin C. says:

      nor will they be able to find a solution to an ever-growing movement towards territorial dismemberment.

      It seems to me like they already have one; namely, that the question of “territorial dismemberment” was, in the words of the late Justice Scalia “settled at Appomattox”. To quote from Chief Justice Chase’s majority opinion in Texas v. White:

      By these, the Union was solemnly declared to “be perpetual.” And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained “to form a more perfect Union.” It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?

      and

      When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final.

      In short, can they not simply take the view that we are “one nation, indivisible”, once you’re in, you’re in forever, and that any sort of “territorial dismemberment” has been ruled out of the question for all time, no matter how popular it may be with the voters? And that any motions in that direction will get the same treatment as the last bunch to try?

      Edit: Further, what would territorial separation accomplish, really? Even if the US broke up into Bluelandia and Redstatia, how long before Bluelandia would have the “international community” bringing sanctions against Redstatia for their “human rights violations”, failure to take their “proper share” of third-world “refugees”, and pressuring for “regime change”, complete with Bluelandia’s State Dept. and CIA fomenting and backing “color revolutions”?

      • pkolding says:

        I think it absurd to argue the rule of law when the movement towards territorial dismemberment is being motivated by the rule of law being ignored by those obliged by democratic primacy to enforce it.

        As to what territorial dismemberment would accomplish: It would be the re-establishment of the rule of law by those securing and enforcing territorial authority in the various geographical areas formerly incorporated in a single state.

        • Kevin C. says:

          I think it absurd to argue the rule of law when the movement towards territorial dismemberment is being motivated by the rule of law being ignored by those obliged by democratic primacy to enforce it.

          That doesn’t mean they won’t still argue it, and that it won’t provide sufficient legitimation for giving any future would-be secessionists the same treatment as the last group to try. What makes you think the next attempt will fair any better than that one?

          It would be the re-establishment of the rule of law by those securing and enforcing territorial authority in the various geographical areas formerly incorporated in a single state.

          Again, but for how long? How long until that “rule of law” becomes the next target of the “international community”, and “those securing and enforcing territorial authority” become the targets of “regime change”?

          • pkolding says:

            The error here is that the flouting of the rule of law and the dispensing of democratic primacy as authoritative motivates both sides equally. Successful authoritarian action is just as motivating to those who agree with it to seek distinct territorial authority as its opposition.

            It is inevitable that foreign powers and interests will attempt to exploit weak powers should the territory they occupy be deemed useful. This is not an argument not to seek territorial authority, however.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            How long until that “rule of law” becomes the next target of the “international community”, and “those securing and enforcing territorial authority” become the targets of “regime change”?

            With America taken out of the picture (due to being in the process of splitting in two), the most powerful countries in the international community would be Russia and China, neither of which are noted for their support of progressive norms.

    • Civilis says:

      Apologies in advance, as I am aware that this is a mental fixation of mine.

      Instead, the Right has been galvanized by a realization that the Left Establishment has no regard for the rule of law and the conceits of the primacy of democratic authority. In short, the Right has witnessed, from their own ideological perspective, the exercise of totalitarian power directed against not only conservative ideas, but against the fundamental principles of democratic primacy and the rule of law.

      For society to function, there need to be rules so people know what behavior is appropriate. Society has written rules (laws and regulations) and unwritten rules. The most important unwritten rules establish a framework by which we view the written rules. As an example, a long time unwritten rule is that nonviolent civil disobedience in violation of an immoral written law is moral, and that unwritten rule takes precedence over the unwritten rule that one should obey the law. One of the most central rules in Western society and one of the reasons society functions as well as it does is the rule of law, that the written law should be enforced fairly and impartially. The rule of law coupled with the idea that laws will be made on democratic principles is why we trust government with the power it has.

      Alinsky’s fourth rule is “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” It has a necessary corollary that if your enemy tries to make you live up to your rules to your own disadvantage, you must be willing to abandon them. Groups that know when to abandon a rule because it is being used against them thus have an advantage over groups which remain wedded to rules.

      Another important observation is that “no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.” People adapt to situations. When people are put at a disadvantage by the rules, some will be smart enough find a way to change the rules to their advantage, and others will copy them, thus removing an existing rule or establishing a new rule with precedence over the existing rules.

      The continued abuse of Alinsky’s 4th rule against the right has selected for groups on the right willing to abandon their own unwritten rules including those related to the rule of law itself when they become disadvantageous. This is a really, really, REALLY bad thing for society, and I have no idea how to get the genie back in the bottle.

      • hlynkacg says:

        While I agree on all points I feel like you are underestimating the degree to which, This being “a really bad thing for society” is one of the radicals’ explicit goals. They don’t want to get the genie back in the bottle.

      • Conrad Honcho says:

        This is a really, really, REALLY bad thing for society, and I have no idea how to get the genie back in the bottle.

        I think it’ll work itself out naturally. We’ve been through this before in the late 60s/early 70s/Day of Rage, etc. The general public really doesn’t like violence and civil unrest. The more extreme, riotous, and unreasonable either side gets the more public opinion will turn on them. And the left will get violent more quickly and more often than the right will.

        I say that because the economic leftist mindset is predicated on violence as a necessary tool to punish oppressors, seize their wealth, and redistribute it to their victims. The right starts with the idea of free markets, voluntary exchanges of goods and services, “taxation is theft,” and then non-libertarian conservatives reluctantly agree some taxes are necessary for civilization. So to the right violence is a necessary evil to maintain civilization, but to the left it’s a necessary good to punish oppression. You’re always going to get more violence out of the side that starts off thinking violence is good.

        • Nornagest says:

          The economic right hasn’t always, or even usually, been particularly libertarian. It’s usually been quite comfortable with protectionism, for example.

          And I think you’re overbilling the role of violence on the economic left. It’s relatively mainstream on the modern left to forgive low-level violence in the face of oppression, but the reasoning’s almost always social rather than economic, and goes more like “violence is a sad consequence of social injustice, so we should be lenient” than “fight the power”. Actual radicals are few and far between, at least before late 2016, and economic radicals even more so — even now, bona fide lower-class revolutionary sentiment is pretty much limited to a few atavistic tankies.

    • Brad says:

      the second, the deliberate flouting of immigration law by those assigned to enforce it.

      Are they unfamiliar with Prohibition?

      I’m always surprised when self identified conservatives act as if what is happening right now is completely unprecedented. You’d think they of all people would have the opposite tendency.

  43. grifmoney says:

    How do the last two paragraphs connect with anything you’ve said in the rest of the article? You’re suggesting that the current strategies liberals are employing are not working (though you admit you don’t know exactly which ones or all of them), and that therefore we ought to try something else to avoid the “horrendous results” of conservatives starting their own institutions.

    But what it really sounds like is that, behold, conservatives actually have enough independent political power to not give a shit about what liberals do or think. In what way, then, is the conservatives’ ability to not be held accountable to liberal values something to do with bad liberal strategies?

    The reasonable conclusion from sections I-IV really ought to be that liberals should focus on doing what’s right, and maybe undo or mitigate the damage caused by conservatives, and to stop trying to make the enemy behave (because we’ve tried a bunch of stuff and now it seems to be a waste of time no matter how creative your strategies are).

    • AnonYEmous says:

      The reasonable conclusion from sections I-IV really ought to be that liberals should focus on doing what’s right, and maybe undo or mitigate the damage caused by conservatives, and to stop trying to make the enemy behave (because we’ve tried a bunch of stuff and now it seems to be a waste of time no matter how creative your strategies are).

      I mean, switch the words “liberals” and “conservatives” and…yeah, already figured that out a while ago. Hence, Trump.

  44. BBA says:

    There is one exception to Conquest’s law that I’m familiar with, but I don’t know if it counts as an exception. The Zionist Organization of America was far-left when it started and is far-right now, though consistently Zionist for its entire existence. The funny thing about national self-determination is it flips from left-wing to right-wing once you get the nation-state you’ve been clamoring for and you go from oppressed minority to oppressive majority.

  45. Crell says:

    Much of your point is valid, and logical, and beats up on the Left rather appropriately.

    However, there is one piece of the history you seem to gloss over, or assume. Specifically, that the mainstream media was suppressing Conservative Views(tm), which were equally valid as Liberal Views(tm), and thus showing bias.

    As the (rather self-serving I grant) saying goes, “facts have a known liberal bias.”

    For instance, I could buy the argument that the media spent more time giving voice to anti-gun advocates than pro-gun advocates, and/or representing the latter negatively. That’s a situation where the facts on the ground are mixed, inconclusive, and highly dependent on what bias you want to present. (The correlation between gun ownership and crime can go whichever direction you want it to depending on which sample group and geographic area you want to sample.)

    However, given the overwhelming scientific consensus and preponderance of facts on human-caused climate change, or evolution, or that the Laffer curve and trickle-down economics are nonsense, I wouldn’t expect the media to present climate change denial in a “balanced” manner with actual scientists. I wouldn’t expect, or tolerate, the mainstream media “teaching the controversy” on evolution vs creationism since there is no controversy: There’s the actual scientific fact, and there’s closed-minded snake-oil nutjobs. Sorry, but that’s not even a debatable point.

    It’s not mainstream or balanced or neutral to give anti-vaxers equal air time as actual doctors.

    (I’m sure someone could point out an issue where the Left(tm) are the ones totally out of touch with the facts. I’ve no doubt they exist, but being fairly Left-wing myself I am not in a position to judge that. Organic, maybe?)

    Given that, then, if the “neutral” media refuses to give air time to creationist climate-denying anti-vaxers, and the creationist climate-denying anti-vaxers go off and form their own media organization instead, can you really blame the “neutral” media for that? What else were they supposed to do, spend half their time interviewing anti-vaxers just to keep them from setting up their own websites? That would have been even worse.

    Some topics are matters of opinion. Some are matters of unclear or complex scientific investigation. Others have a very clear Correct and Incorrect answer and to pretend otherwise is just pandering to people’s ignorance and actively undermining the society.

    It’s not always obvious which one is which, unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean the distinction doesn’t exist.

    • suntzuanime says:

      Some facts have a conservative bias, but the left makes implicit threats of violence to shut fact-lovers up about them. So I’m afraid you can’t get your examples in a cowardly forum like this one.

    • cassander says:

      >However, given the overwhelming scientific consensus and preponderance of facts on human-caused climate change, or evolution, or that the Laffer curve and trickle-down economics are nonsense

      And here you beclown yourself. No one anywhere has ever defended anything called “trickle-down economics”. It is purely a term of abuse. That you think there are people out there who support such an idea says far more about you than your ideological opponents.

      As for the laffer curve, this is not a thing that is disputed. If you tax something at 100%, you will get no revenue from it, because no one will do the thing you’re taxing. If you tax it at 0%, you’ll also get no revenue. At some point in between, there is a maximum, and that curve is called the laffer curve. You can debate where the revenue maximizing point of a tax is, but you can’t dispute that there is one. Again, your comment speaks volumes about your actual comprehension of the arguments made by those who disagree with you, and not flatteringly.

    • Matt M says:

      How do you feel about mainstream news outlets giving “equal time” to things like anti-GMO hysteria, people who deny that raising the minimum wage will increase unemployment, or defenses of socialism as practiced in places like Venezuela and Cuba?

      • Crell says:

        From what I’ve seen, including on this very blog, the impact on unemployment of raising the minimum wage is variable and inconsistent. It sometimes has a net positive impact, sometimes net negative, with the average being “slightly positive economic impact but a wide standard deviation”. So I’d put that into the “there’s a fair dispute to be had” category, vis something a “neutral” news outlet should be covering. (Better than they do now, certainly, but it’s a fair topic for debate among reasonable people.)

        • Matt M says:

          My understanding is that there is literally ONE study suggesting that raising the minimum wage will not harmfully impact overall employment, that there are a bunch of issues with it generally, and that it studies a “modest” increase (whereas the “fight for 15” contingent is calling for essentially doubling the minimum wage)

          I would bet if you surveyed economists on this, over 90% would agree that the minimum wage hurts employment.

          • My understanding is that there is literally ONE study suggesting that raising the minimum wage will not harmfully impact overall employment,

            My understanding isn’t.

          • You could add that one of the authors of that study said that, of course, he wouldn’t expect the result to hold for a large increase.

            In the same interview he made it clear that he had gotten a lot of negative pressure from fellow economists as a result of the article. On the one hand that is evidence in favor of the claim that most economists expect increasing the minimum wage to decrease employment opportunities for low skilled workers, hence saw his result as heresy.

            On the other hand, it is evidence that the preponderance of that view might be in part due to social pressure within the population of academic economists.

    • However, given the overwhelming scientific consensus and preponderance of facts on human-caused climate change, or evolution, or that the Laffer curve and trickle-down economics are nonsense, I wouldn’t expect the media to present climate change denial in a “balanced” manner with actual scientists.

      I was going to comment on your economics, but that comment got eaten by the “you have to log in to comment, even though you are logged in” bug and someone else has made the point, so I’ll limit myself to climate change.

      Presenting that in a balanced manner isn’t limited to the question of whether AGW exists–there is also the question of consequences. How many people, reading U.S. media, realize that total sea level rise over the past century is less than a foot, or that the high end of the IPCC projection for 2100 implies coastlines shifting in by an average of about a hundred meters? How many realize that the most recent IPCC report retracted the claim of a link between AGW and droughts? How many realize that the one effect of doubling CO2 we can be confident of is a sharp increase in agricultural yields, quite side from any effects, positive or negative, due to climate change? How many have thought about the fact that humans currently thrive across a range of climates much larger than the projected shift–that warming to 2100 is on the scale of raising Minnesota to the current temperature of Iowa?

      The usual presentation is badly biased, and not because it assumes AGW to be true.

    • ajfirecracker says:

      Crell, that was beating up on the left?

    • abc says:

      Since other commenters have already pointed out the problems with your other examples, I’ll address this one.

      It’s not mainstream or balanced or neutral to give anti-vaxers equal air time as actual doctors.

      What do you mean by “anti-vaxxer”?

      1) Someone who opposes all vaccinations.

      2) Someone who believes the FDA isn’t infallible about determining the safety of vaccines.

      3) Someone who believes that every vaccine someone’s ever developed and/or proposed making mandatory isn’t necessarily a good idea.

      Near as I can tell the term “anti-vaxxer” exists in order to permit it’s users to conflate (1) with (2) or (3).

      • Jiro says:

        Often it’s “someone who believes #1 or at least something closer to #1 than to the others, but is using #2 or #3 as cover for that.” People who believe #2 or #3 in a way which can’t get mistaken for #1 (including not having isolated demands for rigor) don’t get called anti-vaxxers.

        • The Nybbler says:

          People who believe #2 or #3 in a way which can’t get mistaken for #1 (including not having isolated demands for rigor) don’t get called anti-vaxxers.

          Not true. Merely not wanting to get a flu shot (#3, maybe #2) gets you called an anti-vaxxer.

          • random832 says:

            That seems just ignorant, especially since, as I understand it, there’s nothing making the flu shot mandatory, and it’s not even produced in enough quantities to give it to everyone anyway – it’s mainly given to people who are at a particularly high risk of being exposed (e.g. teachers) and/or of dying if they do get the flu (e.g. the elderly).

            But there certainly are some apparently-#3 ideas that clearly fall under the umbrella of anti-vax. Before it became a big thing that was constantly in the news, the first “anti-vax” movement I was aware of tended to at least claim they were specifically against the MMR vaccine (and isn’t it so unfortunate that no-one produces the old separate measles/etc vaccines? I guess we’ll just have to go unvaccinated.)

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            I have personally experienced being called anti-vax for expressing doubts about the flu vaccine (which I get when I can).

            Elsewhere in the thread, someone talks about how when subgroups among the blue tribe fight, they do it by accusing the other subgroup of not belonging to the blue tribe. This is an example of that.

          • [the flu vaccine is]mainly given to people who are at a particularly high risk of being exposed (e.g. teachers) and/or of dying if they do get the flu (e.g. the elderly).

            That might have been true of some flu vaccine at some point, but for quite a while the local drugstore was offering free flu shots for anyone who wanted them.

          • random832 says:

            My understanding is that it’s still mainly marketed (is “marketed” the right word for a free service?) to high-risk groups, and it’s understood that they don’t have enough supply for their entire customer base to descend on the store looking for free flu shots. This could be a few years out of date though.

            EDIT: I think I am remembering specific years in which not enough vaccine was produced, the CDC announced this, and therefore healthy adults were discouraged from seeking the vaccine early in the flu season that year. But this seems to happen often – googling “not enough flu vaccine”, I find references from 2001, 2003, 2008, and 2010 on the first page, and googling “flu vaccine shortage” turns up mainly discussions of a major shortage in 2004, and one result for 2013.

          • Matt M says:

            I’m 31 years old and every year of my working life my employer has offered and encouraged EVERY employee to get a flu shot (and when I was in the military, it was required)

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            Pretty much anyone in the US can get a flu shot for free. It’s just a hassle to wait for 20 minutes so people don’t bother.

        • abc says:

          People have been called anti-vaxxers for opposing mandatory vaccinations against measles, HPV, etc.

  46. goshdarnsits says:

    I’m confused. News sources exist to tell us facts about what is actually physically going on in the world. They are our fact-finding and fact-obtaining method for us to get good data so that we can understand exactly what is going on outside of our eyesight radius.

    Any and all attempts at screwing with this process for political agendas is obviously atrocious and a terrible idea. That is like Firefox deciding to add a political filter to their system so that they can change text and block websites that don’t support Firefox’s political agendas. Or someone putting a filter on your contacts so you can only visibly see things around you that support a political position.

    People complain about China’s frewall, but this is uch worse. It’s completely disgusting and screwed up no matter who does it or why they do it. Screwing with people’s epistemics and their ability to obtain unfiltered true information about the world is absolutely ridiculous and unforgivable.

    Replacing information about physical reality with information about social reality is just plain a terrible idea. Do I need to make additional strong arguments supporting these points or is this already just plainly obvious to everyone?

    • cassander says:

      There’s no such thing as neutral reporting. Even if all you tell people are straight facts, which facts you tell them, even the order you tell them in, will send a message.

      • goshdarnsits says:

        You can also claim that my eyes have bias and are not neutral or that my brain’s processing of words inherently biases things and makes them non-neutral. This is somewhat true, but at the same time doesn’t matter and is no reason at all to dismiss the idea that information can be transferred from one person to another in a clear enough way that any minute biases in any possible direction can be easily corrected for.

        Extents matter and even if we say that 100% pure unbiased news isn’t possible, then 99.99% unbiased is definitely possible. Anyone who has watched a football game where referees use multiple slow motion playback recordings to watch whether the football landed in one place or another or whether a person’s foot touched one place or another understands this.

        • cassander says:

          If we’re going to accept that it’s just a manner of managing bias (and I think we should) then I’d much rather we have news organizations that drop the pretense of platonic neutrality, openly declare their biases, and spend a lot of time calling each other out, and shining a light on, on their respective screwups.

          That strikes me as a much more robust system of truth discovery than a bunch of people pretending airly pretending to be neutral, whose natural reaction will be to cover up, or at least ignore, events that would betray a lack of neutrality for fear of shattering the image.

          • goshdarnsits says:

            That system assumes that people will listen to both multiple groups and form an idea of what actually occurred in reality based on all three together. It’s nice in theory, but as explained above (and obvious if you’ve spoken to people in the southern US who only ever watch Fox News) people in practice don’t look at multiple sources and form an opinion based on all of them. In practice, they watch one and then assume all that that one says is factually true.

            Instead of getting groups at least trying to convey direct factual information about material reality (because otherwise they will show strong deviations compared to the others around them and stick out like a sore thumb) you get an extreme slant that people will then not correct for. Instead of getting the top view of the image http://callisto.ggsrv.com/imgsrv/FastFetch/UBER1/ZI-0384-2009-DEC00-IDSI-36-1 you get one of the two dimensional ones which offer much less useful data about reality instead.

            Or to say the same thing mathematically, if normally everyone is incentivized to present facts as close to 0 on a LeftRight scale as possible, then anyone who presents an article with a heavy slant Left 3 or Right 3 will stick out and look weird. However, if everyone is told it’s okay to slant things because it’ll balance out later, then they’re perfectly safe in suddenly presenting articles at Left 20 or Right 20. The first set at least vaguely keeps everyone near zero, but the second creations distortions away from factual material reality so far that everyone turns into a giant mess.

            Also, since people have already accepted that “managing bias” is okay instead of working towards factually presenting information about physical reality you end up getting spin from EVERY source where all of those sources agree on certain ideologies. Don’t forget that both Republicans and Democrats strongly favor having a democratic republic and agree on very massive long lists of things in general.

            Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius is an important short story by Jorge Luis Borges that explains this well and can help someone grok it.

          • cassander says:

            >That system assumes that people will listen to both multiple groups and form an idea of what actually occurred in reality based on all three together.

            Not really. I’m assuming that most people are passive absorbers of news that basically ignore anything that isn’t shouted from the rafters. The best way to get them shouted at is to create an adversarial shark tank, where the providers viciously pounce (i.e. shout at) on those who make egregious errors. That maximizes the chance that listeners will encounter some of the shouting.

            >if normally everyone is incentivized to present facts as close to 0 on a LeftRight scale as possible, then anyone who presents an article with a heavy slant Left 3 or Right 3 will stick out and look weird.

            This math assumes that truth is always at 0, never at right 3 or left 3. This isn’t the case. Your system massively privileges conventional wisdom, an attribute I consider positively harmful, because even if the CW is right now, over time, reality will change and it won’t.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      On the same day, an unarmed black kid is shot by a white police officer and a white college girl is raped by a Mexican illegal immigrant. CNN expends 1% of their news cycle on the rape and focuses the other 99% on the shooting and Breitbart does the opposite. Which one is the horrible, evil, biased villains pushing a political agenda?

      • goshdarnsits says:

        You’re making claims about the time spent reporting on different events. I think this is an important question (which I don’t have a answer to at the moment), but it is tangential to the argument I was making about the importance of clearly reporting facts.

        If either one has screwed with the reporting of facts about the events that occurred, then they are jerks who are contributing to Moloch by putting all of their readers in a situation where their information about reality has been screwed with so that they can’t clearly understand the actual sequences of events in physical reality properly.

        Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius is an important short story by Jorge Luis Borges that explains this well and can help someone grok it.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          Thanks for the link, I’ll read it later.

          My thesis is that the facts are barely relevant, because humans don’t make decisions based on isolated facts. They talk, think, and decide in narratives.

          And what facts you even notice are largely dependent on your goals. Part of what your brain does is filter out the infinite number of irrelevant facts around you at any given time. If you’re aware of every scuff mark on the floor and tile on the ceiling you’re probably unable to function or on drugs.

          • goshdarnsits says:

            Uh…. Facts are important. Really really important. And if people are making too many decisions based on narratives and ignoring facts that disagree with those narratives then this is very bad. (It is also likely quite true that this is going on on a massive scale and this is very very bad.)

            http://sl4.org/wiki/TheSimpleTruth is probably important for you to read as well. (And I double down on saying that linked short story is important.)

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @goshdarnsits – “Facts are important. Really really important.”

            No one argues whether we should eat rocks or corn. The facts are obvious, people who eat rocks lose their teeth, people who eat corn grow big and strong. No one argues whether murder should be legal. Obviously that would be a bad deal for everybody.

            Facts are important, but the issues that can be easily settled by facts have been settled. I mean, this is almost a tautology. The issues we’re stuck with are the ones that can’t easily be settled by facts, usually because the facts involved are either extremely difficult to obtain, profoundly complex, or nearly impossible to interpret properly. That’s where the heuristics and narratives take over, as they have in pretty much every issue we’re currently dealing with.

            [EDIT] – And of course, for some issues, the narrative actively suppresses facts, which I think we’d all agree is a problem even if we couldn’t agree on which narratives are at fault.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @goshdarnsits

            It’s a fact that if we enforce illegal immigration laws, some poor, nice, hardworking Mexicans who just want a better life will be unable to come to the US and will suffer in the poverty and violence of the cartel-controlled parts of Mexico.

            It’s a fact that if we don’t enforce illegal immigration laws, some poor innocent Americans like Jameel Shaw will be murdered by Mexican criminals who were able to cross the border several times undeterred.

            Should we enforce immigration laws or not?

            If an average person starts without a particular opinion on the issue, and their trusted media source bombards them with true facts about the plight of poor illegal immigrants, what narrative about illegal immigration are they going to tell themselves, and what conclusion are they going to draw? If their trusted media source bombards them with true facts about horrible crimes committed by illegals, what narrative about illegal immigration are they going to tell themselves, and what conclusions are they going to draw?

            So what matters more in media and politics? Facts or narrative?

          • hlynkacg says:

            Calling immigration laws “illegal” betrays a particular opinion as well.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            pretty sure that was “illegal immigrant” laws, not illegal “immigrant laws”.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @hlynkacg

            I agree with that. What matters in shaping political opinion is which facts are presented or excluded, in what ways, with what emotional context, using what emotional language. This is why focusing on facts and fact-checking is missing a large part of the story, because what matters is which facts you’re including or excluding and the manner in which you do it. You can have your facts 100% correct and still leave people with a false impression of the narrative.

            For instance, after the election CNN was pushing a narrative about pro-Trump violence. A video clip on twitter went viral and CNN wrote a story about it. (note the story has been updated since the original posting and only the title and first two paragraphs remain unaltered). In the clip a man was speaking on some stairs at an anti-Trump rally at OSU. Another man yells “You are so stupid!” and nails him with a flying tackle. In the original story CNN presents the events as “Anti-Trump protestor attacked,” described the events, and then talked some more about other incidents of “Trump violence” and people’s fears thereof. Anyone reading the story was left with the impression that those speaking out against Trump are in danger of violent attack from Trump supporters.

            It turns out the attacking student was autistic, and actually a supporter of Hillary Clinton. He become socially confused and thought the speaker was pro-Trump instead of anti-Trump and attacked him for that reason. A week later CNN went back and edited the story to it’s current form where they explain the attacker was not, in fact, a right-wing supporter. But they initially made no effort to ascertain why the events took place or give it proper context, nor did they make any disclaimers like “the motive for the attack remains unknown,” they just splashed up a story about pro-Trump violence.

            The vast majority of people who saw that story never saw the truth, and instead had narratives swimming in their heads of right wingers beating up dissenters. CNN never presented a false fact, but they pushed a narrative that was orthogonal to the truth.

            Narrative and emotional context matter much more than “facts.”

          • MugaSofer says:

            >It’s a fact that if we don’t enforce illegal immigration laws, some poor innocent Americans like Jameel Shaw will be murdered by Mexican criminals who were able to cross the border several times undeterred.

            This is true regardless of whether immigration laws are enforced, as long as they’re not enforced so well that illegal immigration drops to ~0.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          I read the story, it was enlightening, but I don’t think quite relevant here. Few people are actively making up facts. Go scroll through the front page of Breitbart (or CNN for that matter). Find me something that’s an error of fact. You probably can’t.

          Almost no one is making up facts. They’re picking and choosing which facts are relevant to their purposes. And someone who only pays attention to one or the other says “how can anyone disagree with me? Don’t they know the facts?!” No, they don’t care about those particular facts because those facts are irrelevant to their purposes. They do not help them achieve whatever their goal is so they may as well not exist.

          One last thing. In terms of bubbles, I find it extremely hard to believe that it’s the right locked in a bubble and never hearing liberal “facts” or arguments. The entire culture is left, the schools are left, the movies are left, the TV shows are left, the late night comedy schmucks are left, the HR department is left, every major media outlet except Fox and Breitbart is left. It seems to me much more likely that there are more liberals who have never bothered to see the world through the lens of Breitbart than there are conservatives who look at only Fox and Breitbart and never see CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, watch a movie, go to school, or have a job.

  47. tayfie says:

    There’s been lots of discussion about the bias of news networks in the thread that seems mostly based on anecdote. I don’t watch Fox or CNN. How would I know who is biased?

    What if we look at which parties the employees of said news organizations give money to? Surly political donations is a better proxy of actual beliefs than isolated examples.

    Starting with Fox, with its parent company News Corp.:
    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/totals.php?id=D000000227&type=P&cycle=A#affiliates

    For all election cycles going back to 1990, News Corp donations are 58% D and 40% R. Fox News specifically gives 46% D and 54% R. Note that Fox News is a tiny part of News Corp donations: ~$130,000 out of ~$15,000,000.

    In 2016, News Corp went 53% D and 34% R. Fox News went 52% D and 49% R.

    Next is CNN, with parent company Time Warner:
    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/totals.php?id=D000000094&type=P&cycle=A#affiliates

    For all election cycles going back to 1990, Time Warner donations are 74% D and 23% R. CNN is 80% D and 20% R. The same caveat, that CNN is a small part of Time Warner, holds.

    In 2016, Time Warner went 87% D and 11% R. CNN went 100% D.

    I’ll leave other networks as an exercise for the reader. Though I haven’t searched exhaustively, these distributions seem semi-consistent over the years.

    This data makes a compelling case that FOX is much closer to the center politically than CNN, and can hardly even be called right-wing. There is always the possibility that FOX promotes right-wing bias to appeal to their viewers and CNN suppresses their bias to appeal to theirs. There is the possibility that both companies, due to location, give disproportionately to sure-to-win Democrats to buy favors. However, without more information, I prefer Occam’s Razor: FOX is much less biased than CNN.

    I am sure many people will rebel at this notion. I struggled too, but consider that you calculate the bias of news stations by comparing them to other news stations instead of politicians or the population as a whole. Fox may be conservative news and still be to the left of half the country.

    • Matt M says:

      Fox may be conservative news and still be to the left of half the country.

      Yup. Spend enough time in truly red tribe circles and you’ll find that “Fox news is way too liberal” is considered a perfectly normal and defensible position.

    • Yosarian2 says:

      There is always the possibility that FOX promotes right-wing bias to appeal to their viewers and CNN suppresses their bias to appeal to theirs.

      Yeah, I think this is basically what is going on.

      Or to put it another way, I think CNN’s goal is to produce “the news”, they are trying to tell the truth in an unbaised way. (How close they come to that goal is another question, but just having that as a goal is important.) CNN’s secondary goal mostly seems to be “getting ratings”. They don’t seem to have a deliberate political goal at all; which isn’t to say there isn’t some bias, but it’s not an intentional one.

      On the other hand, I think Fox News was specifically designed by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes as a propaganda network with the deliberate intent of trying to move the US to the right, politically. Murdoch did similar things with his media empire in both the UK and Australia, and Ailes was a long time Republican operative who was involved in the political campaigns of Nixon, Reagan, and Bush before going into the media business. For most of the time Fox News was on the air, it was well known that Ailes would write up a bunch of Republican talking points and tell all of the people on his network to use those talking points and that verbiage when speaking about events, which they would.

      The political outlook of people isn’t the only variable here. The goal those people and that orginization is at least as important.

      • tayfie says:

        “Fox News was specifically designed … to move the US to the right.”

        That strikes me as pure conjecture as to the motives of Murdoch and Ailes that doesn’t fit with the facts. If their goal was really to move the US to the right, why would they hire so many non-believers? You can’t win without dedicated soldiers.

        I think the real motive is much more cynical and self-interested. Murdoch and Ailes realized that there was a large unserved market for conservative opinion editorial shows. They don’t really believe in the cause, but they can rake in massive amounts of viewers and cash by serving the people no one else will.

        The reason Fox is massive isn’t because the media leans conservative, it is because the media leans so liberal that Fox is the only conservative name in town. The liberal news outlets are a dime a dozen, so there is a lot of division in the consumer base. There is too much competition for a Fox-like monopoly on that section of the Overton window.

        As for CNN, I don’t see why their motives are any different than Fox. What makes you think they are?

        • Yosarian2 says:

          That strikes me as pure conjecture as to the motives of Murdoch and Ailes that doesn’t fit with the facts. If their goal was really to move the US to the right, why would they hire so many non-believers? You can’t win without dedicated soldiers./blockquote>

          Not everyone they hire was a “dedicated soldier”, but Ailes set the editorial policy for the whole station with a political aim. People have analyzed it and there would be 4 or 5 specific talking points of the day that would be repeated during every single hour, in every show, during the day. According to people who worked there those were dictated by Ailes first thing in the morning every day.

          As for Murdoch; I’m sure looking for markets where there is economic demand for a conservative is part of it, but Murdoch wants political influence as well. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that every paper, tabloid and tv station across his huge multinational empire are all conservative. If his interests were just economic that seems unlikely.

          I think he has quite successfully moved the political discussion and the political system to the right in the US, in the UK, and in Australia.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            Not everyone they hire was a “dedicated soldier”, but Ailes set the editorial policy for the whole station with a political aim. People have analyzed it and there would be 4 or 5 specific talking points of the day that would be repeated during every single hour, in every show, during the day. According to people who worked there those were dictated by Ailes first thing in the morning every day.

            Clearly Ailes just learned how to manage a media property by observing the NY Times – see the pull quote from this link from a twelve-year NY Times reporter elsewhere in this thread.

            http://deadline.com/2016/11/shocked-by-trump-new-york-times-finds-time-for-soul-searching-1201852490/

  48. Sonata Green says:

    For some reason I’d pegged you as slightly right of center, but here you are saying “we” about liberals. On reflection, it’s obvious that, regardless of how conservative you may or may not lean, you still live in Blue America¹.

    An anecdatum for the Red-Scott theorists: reading SSC has caused me to shift significantly rightward.

    1. As in One America, Two America, Red America, Blue America.

    • blacktrance says:

      Scott is definitely left-of-center, despite some communitarian and libertarian sympathies and willingness to reject some progressive orthodoxies.

  49. The Nybbler says:

    The Sad Puppies were about the _Hugo Awards_, not SF in general. SF has long had its little mostly-conservative space, known as Baen Books. (Not sure what would have happened if there’d been no Jim Baen). Though Baen publishes Mercedes Lackey (who I think left the house over an argument over whether Jim Baen was letting his politics color the business; she came back after his death), Lois McMaster Bujold, and Eric Flint, all left-of-center and Flint being a self-described socialist.

    Larry Correia’s original intention in Sad Puppies 1&2 was to demonstrate that politics were in fact involved in the Hugos.

    Mission Accomplished

    itself representing the left-leaning and progressive qualities of the Hugo Awards themselves

    Sad Puppies 3 and 4 were attempts (failed) to reclaim the Hugos; Vox Day who led Rabid Puppies was out to destroy their reputation, and with the connivance of his enemies has probably succeeded.

    Fox News was created because Murdoch and Ailes saw an untapped market; with all the major networks leaning left, there was an opening for a right-leaning channel. Of course, with several major networks plus the more-left NPR on one side, and only Fox on the other, that meant Fox ran the entire gamut of the right side of the spectrum.

    A lot of the article is bulverism about this claim:

    In Limbaugh’s view, the core institutions and norms of American democracy have been irredeemably corrupted by an alien enemy. Their claims to transpartisan authority — authority that applies equally to all political factions and parties — are fraudulent. There are no transpartisan authorities; there is only zero-sum competition between tribes, the left and right. Two universes.

    Take away the term “alien”… and the problem is that this is true. One faction was able to take those institutions — academia, government (meaning the bureaucracy, not the political leadership), and media (he mentions science, but I think this “science” ends up being part of either academia or government depending on who you mean), and as a direct result they ceased to have any transpartisan authority.

    • Vorkon says:

      Larry Correia’s original intention in Sad Puppies 1&2 was to demonstrate that politics were in fact involved in the Hugos.

      Slight quibble: Sad Puppies 2 may have been a deliberate attempt to demonstrate that politics were involved in the Hugos, but Sad Puppies 1 was just a goofy blog post making fun of tear-jerker charity commercials.

  50. MostlyCredibleHulk says:

    Yes, CNN leans liberal, but it’s not as liberal as FOX is conservative, and it’s not as open about it

    I admit I don’t watch CNN a lot (I almost never watch TV news or, Lord Almighty forbid, talk shows), but from what I’ve seen third-party CNN has been basically Clinton News Network before the election, and Bash Trump Network after. They produce such stories as “Trump is afraid of stairs”, and others not much better. Maybe it doesn’t qualify as “liberal” but as “unhinged”, but it’s certainly nowhere near neutrality. And then there’s MSNBC….

    FOX and the conservative academic bubble are working on a different level

    Yes, if you tresspass FOX, you can be yelled at in absentia by a blowhard on a FOX show, which you can avoid watching and never know about it. If you trespass the academic bubble, you literally can get beaten up (and any of your supporters so), the area you purported to desecrate by your presence would be trashed, and for sure you would not be able to speak anywhere that the bubblemasters are in control. If you are particularly unlucky, you can also get kicked out of a job (that would happen even if you possess impeccable liberal credentials, if whichever group your cross has bigger ones, there’s literally nobody who is safe from the purges), stripped of any academic honors that you can be stripped of and become a persona non grata in the whole establishment. But surely, FOX is even worse. They sometimes say mean words and sometimes – gasp! – their reporting is not 100% accurate (never happens to any other network of course)!

    This justifies further purges in the mainstream liberal spaces,

    Do you notice the pattern here? When rights do not like how the community is managed, they build the alternative one. When lefts do not like how the community is managed, they expel everybody who disagrees with them and take measures to shut them up (1st amendment is a huge obstacle in this, but where it doesn’t work – e.g. big private platforms like Facebook and Twitter – the left routinely works the moderation mechanisms to silence conservatives and eject them from the platform completely, even though there are easy mechanisms to avoid reading offensive posts forever, and they are routinely successful). Surely, the right conclusion from this the right is the group that has authoritarian tendencies.

    You may think conservative communities are terrible. Liberals may think they are terrible. But here’s the thing – if they wanted to have a say in this question, maybe they shouldn’t have ejected the conservatives and try to shut them up every chance they’ve got? Now that conservatives found their own spaces, the opinion of liberals carries literally zero value in those. Scratch that – it carries large negative value, there are groups which have specific purpose to piss off liberals, and they are successful. Check out the “okay as white power symbol” story, for example. But liberals talking about how terrible it is is not going to work – for that to work, they should not have declared the conservatives “basket of deplorables” (yes, I know that’s not exactly what Clinton did, but that’s exactly what many on the left think and some openly say at slightest prodding) and rejected the idea of having a civil conversation. Trying to start conversation now as if not only nothing happened, but the conservatives actually owe the left some consideration of left’s sensibilities, is not going to meet much welcome.

    The overall impression is of a widespread norm, well-understood by both liberals and conservatives, that we have a category of space we call “neutral” and “depoliticized”.

    No, we had a category. Until the left decided it’s time to do a purge and freedom of speech does not apply to “hate speech”, which is any speech disagreeing with the left. And now we don’t have that category anymore. Can we have it back? Maybe, but that would require the left learning about tolerance and diversity – the words they like to use a lot but practice as little as possible when it comes to ideas and expression. I don’t see many people on the left, excepting Scott, that think about how to do it, let alone actually do it.

    • Yosarian2 says:

      If you trespass the academic bubble, you literally can get beaten up (and any of your supporters so)/blockquote>

      I think you’re creating a false dichotomy here. There have been multiple examples in the past year of pro-Trump people committing violence against anti-Trump people. Political violence is unacceptable no matter what the source, and while it’s still rare it’s on the rise which is deeply concerning, but it’s hardly been one sided.

      Until the left decided it’s time to do a purge and freedom of speech does not apply to “hate speech”, which is any speech disagreeing with the left.

      That’s not that simple either. There are a couple of topics that will make people on the left demand that the person saying them be silenced, and a couple of topics where people on the right demand that. Bill Maher lost his old show (ironically, called “politically incorrect”) because of right wing outrage that he had “insulted the military”. People on the right organize boycotts because they think a company isn’t respecting Christmas enough. Ect.

      Both sides have a few hot button issues they will flip out over.

      • MostlyCredibleHulk says:

        Political violence is unacceptable no matter what the source,

        Oh wouldn’t it be nice if it were true. The reality looks very different from that – for significant part of the left, violent groups like BANM or “Antifa” are if not explicitly endorsed then widely tolerated. Surely, if asked directly, every smart leftist would say “nononono, we don’t condone what these people are doing!” but if you compare their behavior towards the violent left to their behavior towards very non-violent right who has the views they find unacceptable, you’d see how much more tolerant they are towards the former than towards the latter. There’s no chance somebody would be a target of personal destruction campaign from the left, or lose a job, or be deemed unsuitable to occupy a position of trust, if somebody found to be somehow associated with a group like BANM. Worst you’d get is “well, yeah, those people, we don’t endorse them, but what you gonna do?”. Now compare to when somebody says or does something that the left considers really unacceptable, not unacceptable-for-show.

        In fact, left-wing terrorist Bill Ayers has been Distinguished Professor in the Illinois university. Any right-wing terrorists that have the same level of acceptance on the right? And latest left protests featured (not as mere rank and file participants, but as distinguished speakers and organizers) persons like Rasmea Odeh (PFLP terrorist who was in jail for several murders, lied about it on citizenship application) and Donna Hylton (kidnapped a a person and, together with accomplices, tortured him to death). I don’t think there was any problem with accepting and excusing violence here.

        Both sides have a few hot button issues they will flip out over.

        Except the results of the flipping seem to be very different. When did you see the last time an organized right-wing group trashing a place where a speaker with whom the right disagrees is about to speak? How successful a right-wing group would be in preventing any dissenting opinion from being voiced in a university campus, and how tolerant would the administration and the police be if that would lead to threats of violence or actual violence? Because in the case of the left, the answer is “very”.

        • psmith says:

          In fact, left-wing terrorist Bill Ayers has been Distinguished Professor in the Illinois university. Any right-wing terrorists that have the same level of acceptance on the right?

          I recently saw a fascinating take on this:

          Like, around and after the Days of Rage period, Frank Rizzo, Ed Rendell, and Rudy Giuliani did oversee the use of unsanctioned violence to defeat their enemies and move the political situation in a congenial direction, directly in the face of officially legitimated government policy. They just used police forces. They weren’t even punished with light sentences, and more than “assistant professor”, they became mayors, governor, plausible candidate for President.

          How’s that for institutional support?

          • MostlyCredibleHulk says:

            I’m not sure what exactly this refers to. Surely there’s a problem with police sometimes going way overboard, and sometimes the police behaves in a manner which would be considered a grave crime if done by anybody but the police. The “blue wall” and qualified immunity are real problems. That said, I am not sure what specific things this comment refers to – while Ayers’ doings are widely known I personally have hard time – maybe out of ignorance – to figure out which specific actions of Giuliani are referred to which would be comparable to Weather Underground actions.

        • Yosarian2 says:

          Any right-wing terrorists that have the same level of acceptance on the right?

          Depends. Do you consider staging an armed standoff with police, first on your ranch and then later while occupying public land, an act of terror? Several members of Congress supported them, at least at first. I wouldn’t quite call it terrorism, but it’s certainly armed resistance.

          And the most violent acts of right wing terror, like blowing up abortion clinics or shooting people because if their race or religion, don’t really have any equivalent on the left (at least not since Vietnam.)

          Donna Hylton (kidnapped a a person and, together with accomplices, tortured him to death).

          You may be missing the point there. She committed a horrible crime in 1986, served a 25 year sentence in prison, and since then has reformed her life and started advocating for prison reform.

          Nobody on the left is ok with her crime. But if we want to reform the prison system, and I think we need to, we probably should be listening to people who have been through it. And yeah that means listening to people who probably did something terrible a long time ago. That doesn’t mean anyone is justifying or supporting the original crime.

          How successful a right-wing group would be in preventing any dissenting opinion from being voiced in a university campus, and how tolerant would the administration and the police be if that would lead to threats of violence or actual violence?

          From the point of view of black people at the University of Missouri, that was exactally what was happening in 2015, and the university refused to do anything about it until the whole college football team went on strike and refused to play.

          • hlynkacg says:

            I think a key difference that I feel you’re ignoring is that when right wingers progress from implied threats of violence to explicit threats and actual acts they tend to be promptly condemned and taken down by other right wingers. Pretty much every instance of anti-abortion violence in the US on Wikipedia’s list ends with the perpetrator being arrested and serving very long prison terms (assuming they didn’t get the death penalty) often in a very “Red” state.

            Point being, that if one group throws it’s violent actors in jail, while another rewards it’s violent actors with cushy professorships and speaking-gigs, one can draw an inference about the relative “acceptability of violence” within those two groups.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            People who commit actual violent acts for political reasons are in general promptly condemned by *everyone*, and are taken down by the police. That’s not a right wing or left wing thing, it’s universal. Antifa people who commit crimes against property in Washington DC, one of the bluest cities in the country, are also taken down and arrested by the police.

            If that ever starts to break down that means the rule of law itself is starting to fail, at which point things may very quickly slide in a very nasty direction.

            Anyway, my initial point was just that there have been instances of political violence from extremists on both sides; that, by historical standards, political violence is still very rare in the US, but it is rising, and that is concerning and another sign that we need to try to reduce the partisan divide in this country. I really don’t see any reason to think it is more common on the left then on the right, though; if anything there have been more serious examples of right wing political violence in the last decade then left wing.

            We also do have to be a little careful here; we’re all in partisan echo chambers now which exaggerate how often and severely the “other side” is doing terrible things while mostly ignoring or downplaying the terrible things done by our “own side”. So the result is that now most people on the left think that the right is incredibly violent and of course they are not; most people on the right think the left is incredibly violent and of course they are not.

          • John Schilling says:

            People who commit actual violent acts for political reasons are in general promptly condemned by *everyone*, and are taken down by the police. That’s not a right wing or left wing thing, it’s universal. Antifa people who commit crimes against property in Washington DC, one of the bluest cities in the country, are also taken down and arrested by the police.

            What about antifa protesters who commit crimes against people in Berkeley or Middlebury>?

          • Yosarian2 says:

            What about antifa protesters who commit crimes against people in Berkeley or Middlebury>?

            Not sure what you’re trying to say. Political violence is not acceptable. It has been committed by both sides recently near Berkeley, and it’s not acceptable for either side.

            If you’re being critical of the police response to the violence, that’s perfectly fair. The police have pretty much just stayed back and let Antifa and the alt-right violent protesters fight it out on several occasions recently near Berkeley without getting involved.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            If you’re being critical of the police response to the violence, that’s perfectly fair. The police have pretty much just stayed back and let Antifa and the alt-right violent protesters fight it out on several occasions recently near Berkeley without getting involved.

            That’s an unbelievably dishonest way of phrasing it.

            The police stepped back and let Antifa attack – while doing all they could to tilt the playing field in favor of the Antifa – such as by disarming non-Antifa and somehow missing when Antifa brought in glass bottles, bike locks, and explosives. The shocking part was that the righties fought back – because that was something they’d never done before.

            Previously they had a faith that the media would portray them as the victims of a violent and premeditated assault – when the press was reporting things like “violence at Trump rally” – without reporting that the violence was directed against the Trump supporters (I’m sure they were trying to be neutral and just were confused though) – part of the right realized that the calculation wasn’t:

            Get attacked, get reported as being non-violent and the left gets portrayed as violent

            but was actually:

            Get attacked, get reported as the aggressor (in plausibly deniable ways)

            So they decided that “get attacked, use the fact that they’re not weak leftists to win the fight” was a better payoff – plus it’s fun beating up weakling leftists who start trouble.

          • hlynkacg says:

            People who commit actual violent acts for political reasons are in general promptly condemned by *everyone*, and are taken down by the police.

            I view the violence in San Jose back in June and the more recent violence in Berkeley and Middlebury as strong evidence to the contrary. Fact f the matter is that “whether or not it’s ok to punch nazis” is now a legitimate topic of debate and the assault on professors Murray and Stanger resulted in 0 arrests. Violence by left-wingers is considered acceptable in a way that violence by right-wingers is not.

            If that ever starts to break down that means the rule of law itself is starting to fail, at which point things may very quickly slide in a very nasty direction.

            I agree, and that’s precisely why I find the recent events in Berkeley and Middlebury so disturbing. Left-wingers (black bloc/anti-fa in particular) are engaging in political violence with the implicit approval of both police and the media on the assumption that right wingers will not respond in kind. I think that assumption is mis-founded.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            plus it’s fun beating up weakling leftists who start trouble.

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but somehow I get the feeling that you’re not arguing in good faith against political violence here.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            Left-wingers (black bloc/anti-fa in particular) are engaging in political violence with the implicit approval of both police and the media on the assumption that right wingers will not respond in kind.

            From what I can tell, the main argument of antifa and similar groups is that right-wingers and neonazis are already in the streets committing violence against both liberals and minorities and that therefore people need to fight back. When a group of right wingers go down to Berkeley to specifically pick a fight with them they’re just feeding into the antifa narrative.

            Fortunately the large majority of people on the left have rejected that kind of violence; there may be a few hundred antifa types but there are millions of peaceful nonviolent marchers.

            But I will say that the sense that people are under attack is very common on the left, including the nonviolent left. I’ve seen multiple friends on facebook share tips on how to survive as a gay person or minority in Trump’s America, things like “never go anywhere alone” and “know where a safe house is” and “carry a weapon”. And it’s not entirely unrealistic; I personally and my wife were harassed by Trump supporters just because we had a Hillary sign on our lawn, for months after the election ended.

            People are scared and angry. I am not normally a violent person, but when people started trespassing on my property and scaring my wife, it changes your perspective pretty quickly.

          • Iain says:

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but somehow I get the feeling that you’re not arguing in good faith against political violence here.

            I don’t know what could have given you that idea.

          • I’ve seen multiple friends on facebook share tips on how to survive as a gay person or minority in Trump’s America, things like “never go anywhere alone” and “know where a safe house is” and “carry a weapon”.

            I’m curious. Is that attitude having any effect in reducing left wing support for restrictions on firearm ownership?

            And it’s not entirely unrealistic; I personally and my wife were harassed by Trump supporters just because we had a Hillary sign on our lawn, for months after the election ended.

            Do you think that’s more common than the same pattern in the other direction in communities where the Trump supporters were the small minority? I’m not sure how one would know. But “people with locally unpopular views get harassed” isn’t the same story as “the right harasses the left.”

            To put it differently, the violence was in Berkeley, which isn’t a place where the Trump supporters are in a majority.

          • Nornagest says:

            Is that attitude having any effect in reducing left wing support for restrictions on firearm ownership?

            I know at least one liberal-leaning person who’s bought a gun because of Trump, and more than one who’ve talked about it. I don’t know if it’ll make much of a difference in terms of policy, though.

          • John Schilling says:

            If you’re being critical of the police response to the violence, that’s perfectly fair. The police have pretty much just stayed back and let Antifa and the alt-right violent protesters fight it out on several occasions recently near Berkeley without getting involved.

            They’ve also stood back and let Antifa commit violent crimes against people who weren’t alt-right violent protesters, and they’ve stood back and let Antifa terrorize communities into silence and submission, and it is grossly dishonest for you to try and frame this as some sort of consensual ritual combat.

            Given that dishonesty, I think you are lying when you say that “political violence is not acceptable”. Because here you are, accepting it, so long as the winners are people you approve of.

          • hlynkacg says:

            From what I can tell, the main argument of antifa and similar groups is that right-wingers and neonazis are already in the streets committing violence against both liberals and minorities and that therefore people need to fight back.

            I understand that this is their argument. Further more I get the impression both from your reply and media coverage of the anti-fa that this belief is widely held among progressives. Which brings us back to the key difference that I feel you’re ignoring. When the right wing engages in physical violence the right wing gets blamed (rightly) and the perpetrators end up in jail. When the left wing engages in physical violence the right wing still gets blamed and the perpetrators do not go to jail.

            You said…

            If that ever starts to break down that means the rule of law itself is starting to fail, at which point things may very quickly slide in a very nasty direction.

            …and my whole point is that this is already happening.

            A week after the Apr 15th protest someone posted a video in the subreddit’s Culture War Discussion Thread of a masked anti-fa hitting a another guy over the head with a bike lock on the end of a chain while the police officers visible make no move to intervene.

            To my knowledge the violence in Middlebury resulted in 0 arrests and little in the way of condemnation from the wider left. Sure, Bernie and a bunch of Harvard professors spoke out against it, but they were notable specifically because they were outliers. Near as I can tell the vast majority of the left are broadly sympathetic to the anti-fa even if they aren’t joining the bloc themselves.

            So speaking of “nasty directions”…

            Let’s say “Bike lock guy” get’s lucky and hits someone about 4 inches lower and to the left, striking the temporal fossa instead of the frontal dome and his victim falls over dead because complex skull fracture + cerebral hemorrhaging is no joke. That would be 2nd Degree Felony Murder in the state of California, committed in full view of multiple cameras and police officers yet I sincerely doubt anyone would be charged, (at least not without overwhelming outside pressure) or that such a case would attract more condemnation from the wider left than Middlebury or the punching of Richard Spencer did.

          • Randy M says:

            I don’t even think that that is there argument. I think they argue that right-wing speech/advocacy is inherently violence, and deserves to be met with force, and if the authorities are not acting to shut down incipient fascism, they are in collusion with it.
            They will with sincerity assert that the right started it, however they are unable to conceive of a difference between speech and actions.

            “They” here is referring to Antifa as referenced by Yosarian2 and hlynkacg, not necessarily Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama, commenters here, your hippy aunt, etc.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @hlynkacg:

            Middlebury saw a lot more condemnation than Spencer getting punched did. Lots of liberals writing articles about the importance of free speech.

            If the whole “liberals just hold the coats of the guys in black masks smacking people with bike locks while the cops watch and don’t do anything” narrative was really true, then why do the guys in black masks, when you pay attention to what they’re saying, see liberals and cops as getting in the way of fighting fascists, as coddling fascists, etc?

          • Matt M says:

            then why do the guys in black masks, when you pay attention to what they’re saying, see liberals and cops as getting in the way of fighting fascists, as coddling fascists, etc?

            Because it serves them to say this whether it is true or not?

            A basketball coach never says the refs are doing a great job. He always says that they screwed him over, are out to get him and his team, etc. Because it’s ALWAYS best to say that, because saying that increases the likelihood of calls being made in your favor.

          • hlynkacg says:

            Yes, Middlebury saw a lot more condemnation than Spencer getting punched but that’s damning with faint praise. Outside of Fox News the responses were variation on “violence is wrong/regrettable but…”. As I said above, Bernie’s full-throated defense of free speech and unequivocal condemnation of the rioters was notable specifically because it was an outlier.

            As for the anti-fa themselves, I imagine they’re disappointed that the police are only allowing them to operate unopposed rather than throwing open the armory for them.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            The antifa argument is that their violence is speech and that right-wing (which is anything they disapprove of) speech is violence.

            Yosarian seems to endorse and at least excuses this view when he says things like this:

            From what I can tell, the main argument of antifa and similar groups is that right-wingers and neonazis are already in the streets committing violence against both liberals and minorities and that therefore people need to fight back

            and

            But I will say that the sense that people are under attack is very common on the left, including the nonviolent left. I’ve seen multiple friends on facebook share tips on how to survive as a gay person or minority in Trump’s America, things like “never go anywhere alone” and “know where a safe house is” and “carry a weapon”. And it’s not entirely unrealistic

            That coupled with a lack of any evidence of actual violence from the right can only mean that he’s referring to speech as violence. The left often uses “this makes me feel unsafe” as a way of equivocating between speech they don’t approve of and violence.

          • MostlyCredibleHulk says:

            Nobody on the left is ok with her crime.

            Is it really true? I remember when Romney was a candidate, he was proclaimed unfit for serving as a president for taunting a possibly gay kid while he was a kid, and for driving a dog around in an unsuitable way, and for what not. Trump gets a huge amount of heat for an offhand macho comment he made decades ago (that comment is disgusting, but it’s no murder). I’ve never seen even a mention of what Hylton done being “not ok” in any left publication mentioning her. And we’re talking about torture and murder here. Same with Odeh. And it’s not unique cases – recently NYT published op-ed from Marwan Barghouti, convicted terrorist, currently in prison for organizing and perpetrating multiple acts of terror, calling him “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian”. Only after a massive outcry they bothered to mention his terrorist acts. No comment of them being “not ok” either. Compare this to how they would talk about somebody who they actually consider “not ok”. The contrast is obvious – only after being called out the left would say anything about things that are not-ok-for-show, but no prompting is needed for things that are not-ok-for-real.

            From the point of view of black people at the University of Missouri, that was exactally what was happening in 2015

            Could you be more specific – i.e. which speakers were disinvited from the campus after threat of violence from the right, how many times it happened, was there any instances of actual violence? What I remember was that there were some low-key racist incidents, mostly involving one or two drunken idiots, which were followed by massive protests, claiming they weren’t handled properly, and demanding the heads of the university management, which heads were promptly produced for them on a silver platter. During the whole ordeal administration was nothing but submissive and compliant to all demands, issuing multiple proclamations decrying racism, instituting mandatory diversity trainings and apologizing profusely. Not that it did them any good. But this doesn’t exactly look like the picture of a campus occupied by violent right where left (or black) students are unable to have their voices heard and were violently threatened. In fact, their slogan was “white silence is violence” – i.e. unlike actual violence perpetrated by groups like BANM and Antifa, the violence they are complaining about is not being vocal enough in agreeing with them. I think there’s some difference here.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ reasoned argumentation

            I appreciate the input but you’re wrong about there being no evidence of violence on the right. The difference as I said above is that incidents of violence on the right generally end with the perpetrator getting arrested. In the mean time I’ll wait for Yosarian or dndnrsn to make that argument before commenting further, thank you.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            >That coupled with a lack of any evidence of actual violence from the right

            Wait, what?

            A Trump supporter was literally just arrested for attacking people with a machete for being liberal.

            http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/student-injured-machete-attack-university-coffee-shop-47084014

            Another Trump supporter yelled “get out of my country” and shot two people who were Indan.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/24/get-out-of-my-country-kansan-reportedly-yelled-before-shooting-2-men-from-india-killing-one/

            I could go on for quite a while here, but you get the idea. How can you claim there has been “no” right wing political violence?

          • Yosarian2 says:

            On a side note, I do think the Berkely police were wrong in not doing more to stop violence or destruction of property. I think it’s incorrect that people are taking that and drawing conclusions about the country as a whole; Berkley is VERY far from the norm in a lot of ways, and in general even liberal cities have been quite harsh on left protesters who crossed a line (and even some who didn’t; see the history of OWS in New York City for example.)

          • Nornagest says:

            I’ve spent a lot of time there, and I think Berkeley is not now as far from the norm as its reputation would suggest. It’s very proud of its history of activism, and it likes to think of itself as countercultural, but its local politics are indistinguishable from those of any other small, wealthy Northern California town.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            >I think you are lying when you say that “political violence is not acceptable”. Because here you are, accepting it, so long as the winners are people you approve of.

            Stop that.

            I have not said anything in favor of political violence, nor in favor of antifa.

            When you do this, when you take a tiny fringe minority committing acts if violence and pretend that they’re the norm, just because it’s a club you can hit the other side with, all you are doing is normalizing political violence and making the whole problem worse, just for a bit of political advantage.

            If you treat ever liberal as if they’re antifa, you’re acting as antifa’s best recruiter.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            >That coupled with a lack of any evidence of actual violence from the right

            Wait, what?

            A Trump supporter was literally just arrested for attacking people with a machete for being liberal.

            You want to play this stupid game?

            http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/man-accused-killing-ups-driver-killed-donald-trump-article-1.2917660

            Some guy killed a UPS driver because he was convinced he was Donald Trump. Some maniac tries to grab a gun at a Trump rally because he wanted to “kill Trump”.

            http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/19/politics/trump-rally-gun-police-officer/

            Guy rushes the stage with the stated intent of killing Trump.

            http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/man-rush-stage-trump-rally-pleads-guilty-article-1.2727161

            Now here’s the difference. The guys from my first link and your link were lunatic criminals and are treated as such.

            The guys from the second and third links are more “political” (ya know, just trying to kill Trump like every good person should – just like if you were a time traveler you should kill Hitler (and did we mention that Trump is just like Hitler? did we? cause he totally is)) so they both got a slap on the wrist. Second guy got interviewed respectfully on CNN – and got a sentence of a year’s probation and a $250 fine. The third guy got one year’s detention then deported.

            Lunatic wanna be assassins get protected and feted by the “neutral gatekeepers”. Leftist mobs get police protection. Violence that rightists engage in gets treated like violence and actually prosecuted. This is because your side encourages and endorses political violence and the other side doesn’t (for now).

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Matt M

            Because it serves them to say this whether it is true or not?

            A basketball coach never says the refs are doing a great job. He always says that they screwed him over, are out to get him and his team, etc. Because it’s ALWAYS best to say that, because saying that increases the likelihood of calls being made in your favor.

            OK, but it also serves the interests of the right (conservatives, alt-right, whatever) to say “the police protects the antifas, the police let them do whatever they want, they go unpunished, etc”. So clearly any argument based on “cui bono?” is going to fail, because both sides benefit from saying “the authorities are on THEIR side.”

            @hlynkacg:

            Yes, Middlebury saw a lot more condemnation than Spencer getting punched but that’s damning with faint praise. Outside of Fox News the responses were variation on “violence is wrong/regrettable but…”. As I said above, Bernie’s full-throated defense of free speech and unequivocal condemnation of the rioters was notable specifically because it was an outlier.

            Do you commonly read left-liberal sources? The NYT and Atlantic commonly print stuff like this, or this, or this.

            As for the anti-fa themselves, I imagine they’re disappointed that the police are only allowing them to operate unopposed rather than throwing open the armory for them.

            This isn’t true. In Canada, there have been protests against a bill that is, rather vaguely, supposed to do something about anti-Muslim sentiment, somehow. The protesters of the bill are generally outnumbered by counterprotesters. The antifa among the counterprotesters, when they’re not complaining that the rest of the counterprotesters (liberals!) are not getting with the program and bum rushing the bad guys, are complaining that the police set up in between the two groups instead of letting them punch some Nazis. This is fairly common when there’s a right-wing demonstration. I’d note that at the most recent Berkeley thing, a lot of the videos show cops in some places basically standing between the two groups.

            I can go and with a few minutes find antifa types talking about how liberals are weak and are undermining the left and can’t be trusted and will always knuckle under to fascists. I can also find alt right types talking about how conservatives are weak and are undermining the right and can’t be trusted and will always knuckle under to communists.

            It’s like how people who are pro-Israel think the media (in general) is against Israel, and those who are against it think the media is for it. Extremists are never happy with the moderates “on their side” as it turns out.

          • Guy rushes the stage with the stated intent of killing Trump.

            Not according to the story you linked to:

            DiMassimo has said he wanted to grab the microphone to show people they could stand up to the brash presidential candidate.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            Not according to the story you linked to:

            DiMassimo has said he wanted to grab the microphone to show people they could stand up to the brash presidential candidate.

            My mistake – I unintentionally conflated the two. The second link guy said he wanted to kill Trump – the third guy burst onto the stage and rushed at the candidate which is reasonably interpreted as a threat – and I stand by my assessment that CNN giving him an interview is exactly “encouraging violence” – by giving free positive publicity to people who engage in political violence.

          • John Schilling says:

            I have not said anything in favor of political violence, nor in favor of antifa.

            When confronted with cases of antifa doing violence to people who were not themselves violent, you falsely characterized those cases as mutual consensual combat. That actually is speaking in favor of the antifa and of their political violence. It is also a lie, and gives me cause to suspect you are lying about other things.

            If you treat ever liberal as if they’re antifa, you’re acting as antifa’s best recruiter.

            I don’t treat every liberal as if they’re antifa. I treat you as if you’re antifa. Or, more precisely, as an antifa apologist unwilling to get his own hands dirty.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Yosarian2
            You’re missing the point. I am not saying that the anti-fa are the norm, nor am I lumping all liberals in with the anti-fa. What I’m saying is that political violence is currently being tolerated by the wider left in a way that it is not tolerated on the right.

            You don’t see anti-abortion bombers getting offered teaching gigs at Christian schools or someone convicted of kidnapping, rape, and murder serving as a key-note speaker at a Tea Party rally do you?

            I’m fairly certain that a Republican caught flashing a III% sign would be chased out of office in short order (at the very least they would be forced to prostrate themselves before the court of public opinion and beg for clemency), yet nobody in the Democratic party seems to find the mayor of Berkeley’s endorsement of BAMN to be a cause for concern. If you don’t take measures to police the bad actors on your own side you shouldn’t be surprised when people interpret them as speaking for you. After all, silence betokens consent.

            Furthermore, if you don’t police the bad actors on your own side sooner or later someone else will, and I’d rather not let things progress that far because people who are not “on your side” have far less motivation to be charitable or gentle in thier policing.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @hlynkacg

            Furthermore, if you don’t police the bad actors on your own side sooner or later someone else will,

            Assumes that there’s a “someone else” out there capable of “policing” those “bad actors”; that is, powerful enough to do so, and subsequently survive the massive, crushing, disproportionate retribution/”punishment” for having the sheer gall to dare raise a hand to those “bad actors”.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Kevin

            There is always a bigger (more disruptive) fish.

          • Brad says:

            What’s missing from this discussion is any sort of engagement with the notion that maybe Berkeley, Middlebury, and antfi aren’t huge deals that everyone ought to have a publicly stated opinion on. Clearly, many of you disagree with that, but I don’t see any acknowledgement that it is even something worth considering.

            Just saying it is “political violence” or labeling it “terrorism” and assuming that’s sufficient to answer the question decisively is question begging.

            Maybe they aren’t two datapoints in a dangerous and massively consequential trend for America, but rather this spring’s shark attack story. Or maybe not, but it is at least worth considering for two seconds.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @hlynkacg

            There is always a bigger (more disruptive) fish.

            So sayeth The Phantom Menace, but since the set of fishes is finite, there pretty much has to be a “biggest fish” — or else a finite subset of equally-big “biggest fishes” for which there exists no fish bigger.

            Breaking away from the metaphor a little, what do you, honestly, see as a possible “bigger fish”? (Back to the metaphor:) Who dares to take on Leviathan?

            If you lay a hand on it, you will remember the struggle and never do it again! Any hope of subduing it is false; the mere sight of it is overpowering.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Brad
            I disagree vehemently for reasons already discussed. Sectarian/political violence is highly corrosive to civil society and tolerating it will only lead to escalation.

            @ Kevin
            Everything can be killed by something.

            In the near term “the bigger fish” are those people and institutions who are disinclined to engage the opposition on the opposition’s terms. In the long term I put my faith in the gods of the copybook headings, as should you.

          • Jaskologist says:

            Let us not forget internal collapse, which is pretty much my theory for how Hillary lost. Even if your immune system can’t destroy cancer, the cancer will ultimately destroy itself.

            Not very comforting for the host, I admit.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Brad – “What’s missing from this discussion is any sort of engagement with the notion that maybe Berkeley, Middlebury, and antfi aren’t huge deals that everyone ought to have a publicly stated opinion on. Clearly, many of you disagree with that, but I don’t see any acknowledgement that it is even something worth considering.”

            I’m interested in this argument, if you’d like to elaborate it. I’m also interested in the argument that Antifa’s violence, to the extent that it is non-lethal though organized and tolerated, is less important than right-wing lone-wolf violence, which is more lethal but also severely punished and not tolerated at all.

            I guess my main question is, what are the contours of this position? What violence matters and why? What level of lethality/organization/toleration is the limit, past which it’s time to start taking it seriously? What’s the acceptable response from the other side? What’s the rules on escalation?

          • Brad says:

            @FacelessCraven

            I’m interested in this argument, if you’d like to elaborate it. I’m also interested in the argument that Antifa’s violence, to the extent that it is non-lethal though organized and tolerated, is less important than right-wing lone-wolf violence, which is more lethal but also severely punished and not tolerated at all.

            Assuming we are talking about things like the machete incident, I don’t think those are terribly important either.

            I guess my main question is, what are the contours of this position? What violence matters and why? What level of lethality/organization/toleration is the limit, past which it’s time to start taking it seriously? What’s the acceptable response from the other side? What’s the rules on escalation?

            My prior is that all of us pay too much attention to and give too much weight to rare events that impact few people. Whether that’s shark attack, Muslim terrorist attacks, west nile virus, or Newton.

            I’d caveat that in a few ways though:
            1) Some processes have feedback loops and can grow exponentially. They bear keeping an eye on.

            2) Sometimes an event will bubble to the surface of public attention but it isn’t an isolated or rare incident. It is something that happens many times all across the country, it just happened to be the one that got famous.

            3) Sometimes even if you personally know something ought not to be treated as a big deal you also know that many other people will and so you can’t just ignore it completely. Nonetheless, in these cases you have a choice of joining the stampede enthusiastically or at least doing what you can to contextualize it.

            hlynkacg is I think is saying that these incidents fall into the first category. I don’t deny that they might. But I don’t think they inevitably do. We and other countries have had incidents like these before. Not exactly identical of course, but that could be described as political or partisan violence, where the police were not as enthusiastic as they ought to have been, and where there was not a national outcry afterwords — but not all these incidents lead to a spiral that got out of control. Why some and not others? I’m not certain but I think it would interesting topic of discussion.

            Do you think it fits into one of the exceptions I listed or do you think I’m wrong about the general principle?

            As a final note, I think the analysis looks different if you are a Berkeley student, a Berkeley resident or perhaps even an Oakland or SF resident. Just because something strikes me as being blown out of proportion by many people doesn’t mean it isn’t highly relevant to some others.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @hlynkacg

            those people and institutions who are disinclined to engage the opposition on the opposition’s terms.

            First, can you be less vague? Second, what does it matter on which “terms” or with which methods “those people and institutions” engage “the opposition”, when the opposition is so much more powerful that it can withstand any conceivable attack, and lash back with such utter force as to uttery crush “those people and institutions”, again, no matter the “terms of engagement”? “Everything can be killed by something,” but the only thing that can kill the otherwise invincible, unstoppable Left, is the Left, that is, the inevitable ruin that follows from its incompatibilities with human nature. Indeeed, in the long term, the Gods of the Copybook Headings insure their end… the problems are that they will continue steamrolling all opposition and gobbling up more and more of the world until that distant day, and that the “fire and slaughter” in which the Gods of the Copybook Headings return will inevitably include the extinction of the white race and the permanent, irreversible end of civilization.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ brad
            Yes, That is precisely what I’m saying. Perhaps I’m letting my own experience make me paranoid but I feel like a lot of people in the US, having grown up in an environment where mob violence (sectarian or otherwise) is reasonably rare, seriously underestimate how quickly a situation can go sideways, and just how hard it is to get the genie back in the bottle once it’s out.

            @Kevin
            We’ve been over this before, most recently in this very thread. I’d rather not derail this discussion, but feel free to post something in the open thread.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @hlynkacg

            Done.

  51. Trofim_Lysenko says:

    Since this conversation has meandered all over the place with a lot of claims being thrown out about this or that being what conservatives/liberals in the US believe, I think it would do us good to have a little CALIBRATION TIME, ladies and gents! WITHOUT googling for the answers:

    What percentage of Democrats are creationists (God created man in his current form ~10,000 years ago)? What percentage of Republicans? What percentage of the US as a whole?

    What percentage believe that God -directed- or -guided- human evolution, for the same three categories?

    What percentage believe that God had NO part in human evolution, same three categories?

    write them down, and again that means without googling.

    how did you do?

    • Nornagest says:

      Okay, I’ll bite.

      What percentage of Democrats are creationists (God created man in his current form ~10,000 years ago)? … of Republicans? […] of the US as a whole?

      I’m guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of 20, 40, 30.

      […] that God -directed- or -guided- human evolution

      Assuming this to be exclusive with the previous, around 60, 45, 52.

      that God had NO part in human evolution

      20, 10, 15.

      And about 10% “other/don’t know/lizard people” for all categories.

      (ETA: Ybbxf yvxr V unir gur eryngvbafuvcf nobhg evtug ohg V’z haqrerfgvzngvat gur ahzore bs perngvbavfgf bs nyy cbyvgvpny crefhnfvbaf, naq fyvtugyl birerfgvzngvat gur ahzore bs perngvba abagurvfgf. Guvf vf n cbyy sebz 2008, gubhtu, fb guvatf znl unir punatrq va gur ynfg gra lrnef.)

    • gbdub says:

      Hopefully this isn’t too much of a spoiler, but what’s most shocking to me is that the numbers have been basically flat in all three categories since 1982.

    • Gurer ner ernyyl bayl sbhe eryrinag ahzoref urer, gur erfg qrevir sebz gubfr.

      V rfgvzngrq 25% bs Qrzf naq 50% bs Erchoyvpnaf ner perngvbavfgf. Gra gb gjryir cbvagf ybj ba obgu pbhagf.

      V rfgvzngrq 25% bs Qrzf naq 10% bs Erchoyvpnaf jbhyq fnl Tbq unq ab cneg va ribyhgvba. Fvk gb rvtug cbvagf uvtu ba obgu pbhagf.

    • quanta413 says:

      I did ok.

      V rfgvzngrq gung 40% bs Qrzbpengf naq 60% bs Erchoyvpnaf jrer perngvbavfgf. Ba guvf V jnf sernxl pybfr.

      V qvqa’g qb nf jryy ba gur erfg bs gur fcyvg. V rfgvzngrq 20% bs Qrzbpengf naq 10% bs Erchoyvpnaf oryvrirq va abagurvfg ribyhgvba.

    • Trofim_Lysenko says:

      V ernyyl fubhyq unir gubhtug gb EBG13 zl nafjref va gur vavgvny cbfg, ohg V fbhtug bhg gur qngn fcrpvsvpnyyl gb gel naq pnyvoengr zlfrys.

      V haqrerfgvzngrq gur ahzore bs perngvbavfgf fvtavsvpnagyl va obgu cnegvrf, thrffvat gung vg jbhyq or fbzrguvat yvxr 20-30% sbe Ercf naq 10-15% sbe qrzf. Zl guvaxvat jnf gung gur crepragntr bs bhgevtug lbhat-rnegu perngvbavfgf unq qebccrq bss fvtavsvpnagyl va fgrc jvgu gur ybff bs cbyvgvpny cbjre bs gur puevfgvna evtug, ohg gung nccrnef gb unir orra onqyl jebat.

      V npghnyyl tbg gur ngurvfgvp ribyhgvba ahzoref nobhg evtug (V jnf guvaxvat nobhg 10% npebff gur obneq) qhr gb cevbe xabjyrqtr bs cbyyf nobhg ngurvfz naq whfg jung n zvabevgl ivrj vg vf va gur HF.

      Gur vagrerfgvat guvat gb zr vf gung gur Qrz.-Erc. fcyvg ba guvf vffhr vf npghnyyl ZHPU aneebjre guna V jbhyq’ir nagvpvcngrq!

      Side note: What percentage of a group has to hold a view before it is fair to say that holding that view is a good indicator that a person is in that group, for the purpose of left/right sorting in the US?

      Ideally we should look for things that ALL Republicans and right-leaning independents believe and NO Democrats and left-leaning independents believe, and then vice versa, and label the first one American Right Identifier and the second one American Left Identifier, but I don’t think there are any such 100-0 splits.

      To be clear, looking for policy/philosophy questions (guns make people safer, more immigration good, god created man 10,000 years ago, social safety nets are a core part of a healthy functional government, etc), not toxoplasma of rage story positions (OJ is Guilty, Pulse Nightclub shooting was homophobic right wing gun violence, Richard Spencer had it coming, Hilary Clinton’s e-mail server was illegal/immoral).

      The latter are more polarized but don’t reveal much of underlying belief structures because there’s so much tribal noise and motivated reasoning going on. Sadly, I feel I have to reject “smaller government” beliefs as a valid identifier of “right wing” due to revealed preferences (maybe military spending, but even then, not so much).

      • quanta413 says:

        Side note: What percentage of a group has to hold a view before it is fair to say that holding that view is a good indicator that a person is in that group, for the purpose of left/right sorting in the US?

        I suspect there are few views (barring blatantly obvious things like “Christians believe that Jesus is their Lord and Savior”) that will break hard enough that it’s almost 100-0 for one group and almost 0-100 outside the group. Sort of like how looking at single nucleotides in someone’s DNA sequence won’t tell you very much about someone’s ancestry. You’ll have to aggregrate across a bunch of views; I suspect that there is more than one distinct combinations of views that is very rare outside a group. So even if only 20% of the group holds any one of these distinct combinations of views by aggregating across unique combinations you can get a reliable indicator.

      • Trofim_Lysenko says:

        Yep, that’s the issue I’m finding so far. The -most- polarizing ones so far are recent news story opinions. For example, asking:

        “Was the Pulse NightClub Shootings in Miami more an example of:

        A)Gun Violence In America

        or

        B) Islamic Terrorism?”

        Gets you something like 80-20 Terrorism (Rep) and 70-30 Gun Violence (Dem) (Gallup has the poll if you want to see the precise count), but I don’t think is particularly useful because what you’re really measuring there is Toxoplasma and at most it maybe tells you a little bit about worldview but not political and moral philosophy.

    • cactus head says:

      I’ll treat these as mutually exclusive beliefs within each group of USA citizens:

      For the ~10000 year question: 5, 25, 15 respectively for Democrats, Republicans, and all of USA.

      Directed/guided: 25, 60, 50.

      No part: 70, 15, 35.

      How did I do? Cerggl onqyl. V haqrerfgvzngrq gur eryvtvbfvgl bs gur Havgrq Fgngrf n terng qrny. V’q chg guvf qbja gb yvivat va Nhfgenyvn naq orvat va n oyhr-gevor raivebazrag zl jubyr yvsr.

    • humeanbeingblog says:

      I did ok. Guessed a 40-50-10 split for creation-ID-Darwin for the country overall, with 10 point tilts on the extremes for Dem and Rep, making Reps 50-50-epsilon and Dems 30-50-20. Should have had a slightly different ratio guess for country overall.

    • ashlael says:

      My guess was 70-20-10 for republicans and 30-50-20 for democrats in terms of creationist/theistic evolution/straight evolution.

  52. BBA says:

    On certain left-wing blogs I read, the notion that MSNBC is “the liberal Fox News” is laughable. Does Fox have any left-wing hosts as prominent as Joe Scarborough is on MSNBC?

    Not that MSNBC was particularly left-wing in the first decade or so of its existence. Aside from Scarborough, their early-2000s lineup included the likes of Alan Keyes and Michael Savage. Phil Donahue claimed his show was cancelled for his opposition to the Iraq war. It was only in 2005 that Keith Olbermann let his liberal freak flag fly and the prime-time lineup became solidly left-wing. They still have Joe Scarborough in the morning, though.

    • Urstoff says:

      Also, the politicization/sensationalization of MSNBC/CNN seems like a direct response to Fox and it’s success. Rachel Maddow has a show because Bill O’Reilly had a show. They didn’t develop in parallel. This is not to apportion blame, because, again, cable news is terrible, but the fact that MSNBC has a strong left voice doesn’t mean that Scott has somehow misdiagnosed things. Also, when reading Scott’s piece, I knew that he was going to get well, actually’d into oblivion in the comments on that point which isn’t really even part of his main point.

      The important takeaway seems to me that even if you’re trying to be neutral and factual, you need to be ever-vigilant about your own biases, assumptions, and viewpoints; otherwise, you create monsters like conservative talk radio and Fox News, and then sooner or later everyone, regardless of viewpoint, has stooped to that level. The only glimmer of hope I see right now across all of our institutions is Heterodox Academy, and maybe the open access movement in academic publishing. We need similar things in media production, media consumption, and other various social institutions.

  53. Maxwell says:

    “FOX’s slogans are “Fair and Balanced”, “Real Journalism”, and “We Report, You Decide”. They were pushing the “actually unbiased media” angle hard.”

    It’s more about flattering the audience. The slogans help the viewers imagine that they are fair-minded, thoughtful, independent thinkers.

    • cassander says:

      ARe you claiming that this is true of fox, but not true of, say, the washington post?

      • MostlyCredibleHulk says:

        WaPo slogan is now “Democracy Dies in Darkness”. Pretty heavy metal of them, also not a bad name for a Game of Thrones episode, if such thing as democracy had a place in that world. Not sure what it is meant to claim though. Maybe that they are the last bastion preventing the destruction of American democracy by Powers of Darkness (aka Trump)? Surely more ambitious that plainly claiming to report fair and balanced news…

        • Nornagest says:

          Holy shit, that really is their slogan.

        • CatCube says:

          Holy fuck. Did somebody hack their homepage?

        • Yosarian2 says:

          They were asked about it, and said that it was supposed to be a reference to the importance of the free press in our society, and was not supposed to be a comment on Trump directly. Apparently it’s a phrase Bob Woodward has been saying for many years.

          • Evan Þ says:

            Which would be wonderful if only it wasn’t such a huge glaring coincidence that they changed it just when, you know…

          • MostlyCredibleHulk says:

            Yeah right, they change their tagline immediately after Trump is elected to a slogan so unusual that people have hard time believing is real, and it’s just a coincidence, no comment on Trump whatsoever. Sorry, not buying this bridge.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            Yeah, I know.

            Whatever they claim, it’s probably a reference to Trump and his (perceived?) attacks on the free press.

            It’s interesting, all of these papers like WaPo and the NYT have had a huge boost in paying subscribers since Trump started attacking them. People on the left support them more because Trump hates them. That’s probably what it is really about.

    • Trofim_Lysenko says:

      And the new NYT slogan is “The Truth is more important now than ever”, although even their much older motto certainly pushed “unbiased media” hard with “All The News That’s Fit To Print”. And CNN’s is “The Most Trusted Name In News”. There are plenty of outlets including broadcast and print that have similar mottos and slogans: No Fear, No Favor ; Give light and the people will find their own way ;

  54. Yosarian2 says:

    I think the media tries another strategy to deal with this, which has been even less effective. The media is afraid of being accused of having a liberal bias, but they really do disagree with the Republicans on a lot of major issues (the “elite consensus view” on things like global warming, immigration, gay rights, ect, is much closer to the Democratic view). But they want to look neutral. So what they do is they try to spend just as much time attacking the Democratic candidate during an election as they spend attacking the Republican candidate. But they agree with the Democratic candidate on most of the issues, so the way they manage to do that is to find (or invent) personal flaws and failings on the part of the Democrat, to call them “boring” or “unlikable” or to take minor scandals and blow them up into a huge deal. The end result is that the Repubican candidate usually comes off looking “likable but dumb” and the Democratic candidate comes off looking “smart but crooked and dishonest” to most people who casually watch the TV news. This has been the pattern I’ve seen in every election since, I donno; Bush/Gore? Maybe Bob Dole/Bill Clinton?

    It doesn’t fool the conservatives; they still can tell that the media doesn’t agree with any of their ideas on immigration or taxes or poverty. But it does make politics even more nasty and personally destroying, and does turn more people off from it, and I think it make be one of the reasons people these days have such a much lower opinion of politics then was true 30 or 40 years ago.

    Anyway, that’s been the pattern for a long time now. But that might have finally broken after this election; there’s a sense in a lot of circles I think that by electing Trump, the Republicans have crossed some final, unforgivable line, and now there’s no more room or tolerance for political neutrality or compromise with the Republicans, not even from our “neutral institutions”. Which can’t be good for the country, long term, but I really don’t know how we can fix it now.

    • MostlyCredibleHulk says:

      > and now there’s no more room or tolerance for political neutrality or compromise with the Republicans, not even from our “neutral institutions”

      That strategy seems to not be the best one for them, as Republicans now control the Congress, the Presidency and 32 state legislatures (you need 38 to pass constitutional amendments btw). Usually the party in this position would seek some power-sharing arrangement. But maybe Democrats are content with owning California, Oregon and couple of other deep-Democratic states, and let go of federal power ambitions? That would be an interesting development.

      • Yosarian2 says:

        Usually the party in this position would seek some power-sharing arrangement.

        I think the far left point of view is that Democrats have tried compromise and moderation and being the voice of reason and normalcy for decades, and that hasn’t worked. What has worked has been the extremism and no-compromise holy war of the Tea Party. So, the theory goes, Democrats need to start to “fight fire with fire” and that’s how they can win back power.

        In the short run it might even work; take things up to 11 and turn out the faithful for the midterms and you can win them (just like the tea party did for the Republicans in 2010). Longer term though if we don’t do something about the growing partisan divide we are going to have a real problem.

        If a more centrist Republican had been elected, some Democrats would be trying to compromise, but Trump is just radioactive. Not just the Democratic base but even the Democratic mainstream and would he ready to lynch anyone who tried. Working with Trump on anything in any way is seen as basically collaborating with the enemy.

        If you think I’m exaggerating, the state of California is now talking about blacklisting any contractors who work on Trump’s wall, never allowing them to work for the state again.

        http://www.npr.org/2017/05/02/526514203/states-move-to-blacklist-southern-border-wall-contractors

        • MostlyCredibleHulk says:

          > Democrats have tried compromise and moderation and being the voice of reason and normalcy for decades

          Certainly not in the decades I remember. Bush was regularly declared literally Hitler, and rank-and-file Republicans weren’t treated much better by rank-and-file Democrats. Maybe it was before Bush? What I read about Reagan era doesn’t look like it was the case either.

          > In the short run it might even work; take things up to 11

          You mean Berkeley riots, or DC riots, or literally beating up people, or banning any travel to a state tainted with different opinions, or declaring that everybody who disagrees is literally Hitler is not taking things to 11 yet? I think I’d really hate 11 then.

          > just like the tea party did for the Republicans in 2010

          Tea Party did nothing like that. It was mostly pressure on Republican politicians, things that the unions and other left groups have been doing for years. Tea Party never had power to conduct organized media campaigns across wide spectrum of media companies, or to unperson somebody in wide range of occupations for heresy, or to pass legislation banning travel to certain state or organize riots with virtual impunity.

          > If a more centrist Republican had been elected, some Democrats would be trying to compromise

          Riiiight. Because they compromised a lot with Romney, who is as centrist as they get. I’ve been hearing this for years – if only Republicans didn’t do this particular thing we oppose and didn’t elect this particular candidate who is Satan incarnate, we’d get along just fine. But somehow getting along just fine only requires doing exactly what Democrats want and that’s the only compromise that’s on the agenda. I’ve stopped believing this primitive trick long ago.

          > Working with Trump on anything in any way is seen as basically collaborating with the enemy.

          Exactly the same would happen with any other elected Republican. Look into Gorsuch confirmation – he has been widely praised until the nomination, but when it came to the actual nomination, Democrats filibustered it like he was completely unfit. All with the same tune of “if only they nominated really qualified candidate…” This is not even funny anymore, I don’t think anybody buys this.

          • Matt M says:

            Gorsuch is a bad example imho

            Even though they never explicitly admitted it, it was OVERWHELMINGLY obvious that nobody was objecting to him on ideological reasons. It was 100% entirely about “getting revenge for the GOP blocking Garland” and literally everyone knew it.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            >Certainly not in the decades I remember. Bush was regularly declared literally Hitler…

            Democrats in Congress during the Bush era pretty regularly worked with Republicans and with Bush to pass bipartisan laws and budgets and such. Much more so then Republicans did under Obama, and much more so then any Democrat will do with Trump.

            >You mean Berkeley riots, or DC riots, or literally beating up people,

            There have been at least as many examples of people on the right using political violence over the past few years as there have people on the left. Often much more serious examples of violence.

            Neither is acceptable, but pretending it’s one sided is just going to make things worse.

            >Because they compromised a lot with Romney, who is as centrist as they get.

            If Romney had been elected in 2012, many moderate Democrats in Congress would absolutly have found issues they could work with him on. This united front against Trump is something new.

            Take a look at how many votes Bush’s cabinet appointments got; even the most controversial were in the 80’s.

            >Look into Gorsuch confirmation – he has been widely praised until the nomination, but when it came to the actual nomination, Democrats filibustered it like he was completely unfit. All with the same tune of “if only they nominated really qualified candidate

            How is that any different from what the Republicans did to Garland? Almost word for word it’s the same story. He was widely praised by Republicans, was clearly qualified. The only difference is that Republicans wouldn’t even hold hearings on Garland, wouldn’t accept or reject him, just to stop Obama from nominating anyone at all.

            That’s a far more serious breach of democratic norms then mearly filibustering a candidate after hearings. People are not going to forget what the Republicans did to Garland. Frankly any 5-4 decision this supreme court makes will be considered illegitimate by a large part of this country because of that.

          • cassander says:

            @Yosarian2

            > Much more so then Republicans did under Obama, and much more so then any Democrat will do with Trump.

            When harry Reid controlled the senate, Obama’s budget proposals were often voted down by massive margins. It takes two to have an impasse, Why are you assuming the republicans were at fault? especially when Obama’s absolutely terrible relations with hill democrats weren’t exactly a secret?

            The only difference is that Republicans wouldn’t even hold hearings on Garland, wouldn’t accept or reject him, just to stop Obama from nominating anyone at all. That’s a far more serious breach of democratic norms then mearly filibustering a candidate after hearings.

            Why do you say that? they strike me as exactly the same. What’s the point of holding hearing for someone that isn’t going to be voted on, and if voted on, would be defeated. I’ve never understood this pearl clutching around not accepting or rejecting him. They did reject him. They said They’re not even going to hold hearings. Had Obama really wanted to get something done, he could have struck a deal with a gang of republicans (who did have an outright majority in the senate) to get another Kennedy on the court, but he didn’t want to do that. And had the senate just voted him down one day, I doubt the critics would have been silenced.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            >They’re not even going to hold hearings. Had Obama really wanted to get something done, he could have struck a deal with a gang of republicans (who did have an outright majority in the senate) to get another Kennedy on the court, but he didn’t want to do that

            Mitch McConnell specifically said he wouldn’t hold hearings on ANYONE Obama nominated, period. And frankly Garland is dead center politically, probably not far from Kennedy. It didn’t matter. So I doubt there was any room for negotiations or compromise.

            I think that by doing that in such a blatant fashion, they pushed us into a new political reality where neither party is ever going to be able to nominate anyone to the Court if the other side has the Senate. And I think that is likely in the long run to lead to a situation where the judicial branch just slowly stops being an independent third branch of government that can credibly act as a check on the other two.

          • cassander says:

            Yosarian2 says:

            Mitch McConnell specifically said he wouldn’t hold hearings on ANYONE Obama nominated, period.

            There were about 50 other GOP senators besides mcconnell, and you only need to peel off a few.

            And frankly Garland is dead center politically, probably not far from Kennedy. It didn’t matter. So I doubt there was any room for negotiations or compromise.

            This line speaks volumes about your world view. “He’s as right wing as democrats go, it’s not possible to go any further to the right.” Yes it is. You go, gasp, RIGHT OF CENTER. You accept the reality that there’s a republican senate who is under zero obligation to consent to whomever you nominate and nominate someone they actually like. Not another scalia, of course, someone moderate right, like kennedy or souter, then hope that their views will “evolve.” Hell, make a show of it. Throw their partisanship back in their face, and say that if the judiciary committee can produce a list of, say, 5 names by consensus, he’ll nominate someone from the list. There only isn’t room for compromise if your position is “a democratic partisan or bust”. And if that is your position, well, it’s not the republicans refusing to compromise, now is it?

            I think that by doing that in such a blatant fashion, they pushed us into a new political reality where neither party is ever going to be able to nominate anyone to the Court if the other side has the Senate.

            You mean, gasp, the legislature might constrain the executive? How will the republic survive?

            And I think that is likely in the long run to lead to a situation where the judicial branch just slowly stops being an independent third branch of government that can credibly act as a check on the other two.

            By what mechanism does this occur? judges won’t stop being appointed for life.

          • There have been at least as many examples of people on the right using political violence over the past few years as there have people on the left. Often much more serious examples of violence.

            Could you give examples? I cannot think of any, but I don’t read newspapers much.

            >Look into Gorsuch confirmation – he has been widely praised until the nomination, but when it came to the actual nomination, Democrats filibustered it like he was completely unfit. All with the same tune of “if only they nominated really qualified candidate

            How is that any different from what the Republicans did to Garland?

            As best I can recall, the Republicans never claimed Garland was particularly unqualified. Their position was that it was near the end of Obama’s term, they hoped to win the next election, so they would stall, as they were legally permitted to do, until their man was in a position to nominate someone they liked better.

            The same effect but a different justification.

          • Iain says:

            There were about 50 other GOP senators besides mcconnell, and you only need to peel off a few.

            Mitch McConnell is the Majority Leader. He schedules the votes, and decides whether the nomination will even be brought to the floor. If McConnell does not want Garland to be considered, Garland will not be considered.

            You accept the reality that there’s a republican senate who is under zero obligation to consent to whomever you nominate and nominate someone they actually like.

            So, you should look for people who get statements like this one made about them? (See also: here, here, here.) Merrick Garland was the guy that Republicans were pointing out as a highly qualified centrist alternative when Kagan was nominated.

            Mitch McConnell knows how the game is played. The odds that the Republicans would win in November were not that good, but they were certainly better than the odds that they would face any sort of punishment from voters for hard-to-explain procedural obstruction. Why would he ever fold? In the worst case, Clinton wins and he can bring Garland up for a vote during the lame duck period; in the best case, he gets a Republican nominee. There is literally nothing that the Democrats could offer that McConnell would benefit from accepting. You can bash McConnell all you want; you might rile up the Democratic base, but the swing voters don’t care, and they’re the only ones who really count.

          • cassander says:

            @Iain says:

            Mitch McConnell is the Majority Leader. He schedules the votes, and decides whether the nomination will even be brought to the floor. If McConnell does not want Garland to be considered, Garland will not be considered.

            The power of the majority leader is dependent on the support of his caucus. he is not a dictator. He is not even harry reid.

            So, you should look for people who get statements like this one made about them? (See also: here, here, here.) Merrick Garland was the guy that Republicans were pointing out as a highly qualified centrist alternative when Kagan was nominated.

            No, you look for one of them. You offer them something that they actually like. you know, COMPROMISE. A democratic president offering up a democratic nominee is not compromise.

            Mitch McConnell knows how the game is played. The odds that the Republicans would win in November were not that good, but they were certainly better than the odds that they would face any sort of punishment from voters for hard-to-explain procedural obstruction. Why would he ever fold?

            Again, mcconnell doesn’t have to fold, you just need a few members of his caucus to. And the way you get them to fold is to offer them something they want. “Sure, maybe trump wins, but probably not. How about you roll the dice with a souter 2 now rather than whatever crazy hippy hillary is going to appoint.” And that’s before we even consider the broader optics of how much good press obama would have gotten if he made it look like he was trying to put aside partisanship and let the republican controlled judiciary select his shortlist. You turn Mcconnell from someone drawing strength from a unified caucus to being weakened by a divided one by offering them something to divide over.

            There is literally nothing that the Democrats could offer that McConnell would benefit from accepting.

            I’ve just explained what they could offer, twice. Here’s a third time. They could have offered a Souter.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            >There were about 50 other GOP senators besides mcconnell, and you only need to peel off a few.

            If the Senate leadership (IE: Mitch McConnell) held a hearing and allowed s vote that would have been true. But he did not. He just didn’t schedule a hearing at all. So there wasn’t any vote you could “pull off a few” on.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            Could you give examples? I cannot think of any, but I don’t read newspapers much.

            Sure.
            Conservative attacks people with machete in a coffee shop, demands to know their political party and lets them go if they are a Republican:

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/04/28/machete-wielding-assailant-asked-about-political-affiliation-before-campus-attack-witness-says/?utm_term=.6709af80c067

            Trump supporter assaults a Muslim worker at airport, tells her the new U.S. president would “get rid of all of you.” ”

            http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-supporter-charged-hate-crimes-against-muslim-airport-worker-548977

            Trump supporter shoots two Indians, killing one, after yelling “get out of my country”

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/24/get-out-of-my-country-kansan-reportedly-yelled-before-shooting-2-men-from-india-killing-one/?utm_term=.549745aa239d

            Ect. There have been a number of incidents like that.

          • cassander says:

            @Yosarian2 says:

            If the Senate leadership (IE: Mitch McConnell) held a hearing and allowed s vote that would have been true. But he did not. He just didn’t schedule a hearing at all. So there wasn’t any vote you could “pull off a few” on.

            The Mcconnell could only do that because his caucus supported doing it. You peal them off, and that goes away. Senate leadership is not all powerful. gangs of senators can do a lot, when they want to. Obama gave them no reason to want to.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Ah, that second one would be Robin Rhodes, supporter of Congressman Jim McGovern (D – Mass) and other Democratic politicians. No evidence of Purinton (the Kansas murderer) being a Trump supporter either.

            It’s bad enough you take individual acts of violence, supported by no organized group and arrested and charged and basically treated like the criminals they are accused of being and put those against organized political violence which is praised or said to be understandable by less radical groups, which is not punished and is indeed allowed to flourish. But it’s worse to attribute these acts to one side without evidence or (as with Rhodes) in the face of contrary evidence.

            Further, I suspect the Rhodes case is going to turn out to be yet another hoax.

            There simply is no question about which side is engaging in and endorsing the vast majority of the political and ideological violence, and it’s not “Trump supporters”. Transparent sophistry won’t change that.

          • Yosarian2:

            Thanks.

            All three of those were examples of single individuals acting crazily. All three got arrested. That’s analogous to the fellow who killed someone because he thought he was Trump.

            That’s very different from a large number of people engaged in open political violence and not getting arrested, charged, or jailed.

            You described one of the three assailants as a conservative, the other two as Trump supporters. Following up on the news stories, there does not seem to be much support for any of those claims. The first one was hostile to non-Republicans, which might or might not mean he was a conservative. The second had a past history of contributing to both Democratic and Republican candidates, but did mention Trump during the attack. The other didn’t even do that–he seems to have been drunk and hostile to Indian immigrants who he falsely assumed were illegal immigrants from the Middle East.

            Do you have evidence to support your descriptions of all three? If not, does that say something important about your standards of proof in deciding what to believe and say?

          • Tatu Ahponen says:

            “Bush was regularly declared literally Hitler”

            …by the Democratic Party, as an institution?

            “You mean Berkeley riots, or DC riots, or literally beating up people, or banning any travel to a state tainted with different opinions, or declaring that everybody who disagrees is literally Hitler is not taking things to 11 yet? I think I’d really hate 11 then.”

            Those were done by the Democratic Party, as an institution?

          • Iain says:

            I’ve just explained what they could offer, twice. Here’s a third time. They could have offered a Souter.

            Okay, so Obama nominates Souter Jr. McConnell’s best case is still waiting until after the election to see if Trump wins, but now his worst case is pushing Souter Jr through during the lame duck period. Meanwhile, the best case for the Democrats got substantially worse.

            Why would anybody in the Republican caucus oppose this? Who, on the Republican side, would prefer Souter Jr over the possibility of Gorsuch, so strongly that they are willing to go against the Majority Leader, get booted out of their committee assignments, and face an inevitable primary challenger calling them a squishy RINO who betrayed the party?

            There are only two ways the play could go wrong. First, if Clinton had won, McConnell would have had to move quickly to get Garland confirmed. Presumably McConnell was confident in his own ability to do so. The harms to any individual Republican senator if McConnell was wrong are way more diffuse than the clear harms of taking a public stance against the caucus.

            Second, maybe you face some sort of consequence at the polls in November. Maybe the voters will notice your cynical obstruction and turn against you. McConnell’s genius lies in realizing that those consequences would never happen. Republican partisans aren’t going to suddenly turn Democrat because their side is playing hardball. Democratic voters were already maximally opposed. There just aren’t that many swing voters who pay close enough attention to the minutia of Senate procedure to care about any of this. I’m sure that the Democrats tried all sorts of Garland-based ads with their focus groups; the fact that you didn’t see any of them during the election is a sign of how unpersuasive this stuffy procedural stuff is.

            In the meantime, nominating Souter Jr would have gotten the Democrats crucified from the left. Indeed, there’s a case to be made that Obama should have nominated somebody much further left; McConnell was never going to allow a vote on anybody Obama nominated, but a more exciting, less centrist nominee might have made it marginally easier to mobilize the base. (It’s unlikely that it would have changed anything, though.)

          • cassander says:

            @ian

            Okay, so Obama nominates Souter Jr. McConnell’s best case is still waiting until after the election to see if Trump wins, but now his worst case is pushing Souter Jr through during the lame duck period. Meanwhile, the best case for the Democrats got substantially worse.

            Only if you assume Obama is a complete idiot. The deal would be souter jr. confirmed BEFORE the election, obviously.

            Why would anybody in the Republican caucus oppose this? Who, on the Republican side, would prefer Souter Jr over the possibility of Gorsuch, so strongly that they are willing to go against the Majority Leader, get booted out of their committee assignments, and face an inevitable primary challenger calling them a squishy RINO who betrayed the party

            Every one of them that thought hillary was going to win the election, which is probably all of them

            McConnell’s genius lies in realizing that those consequences would never happen. Republican partisans aren’t going to suddenly turn Democrat because their side is playing hardball. Democratic voters were already maximally opposed.

            I agree, but an offer of souter Jr. changes those optics, both publicly and within the senate. “Republican senate blocks democratic nominee” is a good headline for Mcconnell to have. “republican senate blocks republican nominee” is not, especially when almost everyone thinks that hillary is going to win. In the senate, the deal of confirming him now suddenly looks a lot better. And if you take the approach I suggested of letting judiciary name a short list, then Mcconnell has to get up there and say “i’m blocking my own nominee for the supreme court”, which is much worse for him than blocking obama’s nominee. Now those charges of rank obstructionism are actually true. And then there’s all the absolutely fantastic media coverage that Obama would have gotten by such a move ensuring the whole debate was more covered in general. And at the end of the day, the court still would have moved to the left.

            In the meantime, nominating Souter Jr would have gotten the Democrats crucified from the left

            .

            weren’t you just arguing “Republican partisans aren’t going to suddenly turn Democrat because their side is playing hardball. Democratic voters were already maximally opposed.”? Unless your claim is that the democratic base acts very differently than the republican, you can’t have them willing to defect over this but not the republicans.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            All three of those were examples of single individuals acting crazily. All three got arrested.

            Yes, that’s very true. Most examples of right wing violence in recent years have been “lone wolf terrorist” types, whether it’s been examples like that, or people bombing abortion clinics or mudering abortion doctors, or mass shooters like Dylann Roof, ect. Whereas most of the examples of left wing violence has been small groups destroying property in riots or whatever. Overall more people have probably been involved in acts of left wing violence, but more people have been killed by acts of right wing violence.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            DavidFreedman: you are correct, I should have said “right wing motivated violence” instead of “Trump supporter”. We don’t know how or if those people voted.

            Of course, most of the antifa people arrested in Portland were not Democrats or Hillary supporters and were not even registered to vote, and yet people have never questioned calling that “left wing violence”. Are you sure you aren’t demanding a higher standard of proof from one side then the other? In all cases I think the motivations seemed clear.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Overall more people have probably been involved in acts of left wing violence, but more people have been killed by acts of right wing violence.

            Naa, it’s just that no one has been digging up murders with left-wing motivation and cataloging them in an attempt to make the right-wing equivalent of the antifa and other organized left-wing violence look like no big deal. Probably because that right-wing equivalent doesn’t exist.

          • hlynkacg says:

            not helping your mate.

          • Yosarian2 says:

            >Naa, it’s just that no one has been digging up murders with left-wing motivation and cataloging

            Right wing motivated terrorism ha been a major problem in the US for decades. The second largest terror attack the US has ever seen, the Oklahoma City bombing, was a right-wing terror attack, and there has been a steady stream of incidents since then.

            This is not “some digging up examples to make a point”, it’s a very serious problem in the US, second only to Islamist terror and not second by much, and frankly one that has consistently been a much bigger threat than “left wing violence” or “antifa”.

        • cassander says:

          I’d agree with MostlyCredibleHulk, there’s been no moderation from the democratic side in recent decades.

    • tayfie says:

      I’ll second the idea that liberal media figures try to check their bias but it just doesn’t work.

      It doesn’t work in lots of subtle ways. Body language and tone can tell a a lot. My general experience this election cycle is that they would attack Clinton without any fire, while they were truly scared by Trump.

    • cassander says:

      “So what they do is they try to spend just as much time attacking the Democratic candidate during an election as they spend attacking the Republican candidate.”

      I doubt this is true, but even if it is, the attacks are not the same. “Clinton’s healthcare package numbers don’t add up” is not the same as “Trump is a moron who’s going to make himself dictator then start world war three” (an accusation that was leveled at bush as well. And Reagan), and shouldn’t be treated as such. Even if the quantity of attacks are the same, the substance of them isn’t, and that clearly matters.

      • Matt M says:

        I don’t even recall Clinton being “attacked” at all. I thought the narrative of “the media screwed Hillary” was formed on two counts:

        1. They spent too much time talking about her e-mails, which was a total non-story (may be technically true, but ignores the point that most of the time they spent talking about it was done from the lens of “this is a non story and trump and his supporters are stupid for talking about it”)

        2. They gave Trump too much attention and more credit than he deserved because he was good for ratings (may be technically true, but ignores the point that most of the attention they gave him was of the “look at this stupid idiot rapist who will probably be just like hitler” variety)

        I really don’t recall any “Hillary is bad” stories from the MSM. Like, at all.

      • “Clinton’s healthcare package numbers don’t add up” is not the same as “Trump is a moron who’s going to make himself dictator then start world war three” (an accusation that was leveled at bush as well. And Reagan)

        And Goldwater.

      • cassander says:

        @Matt M says:

        IIRC, there were some studies going around during the general election that showed that she had gotten attacked more than trump during the primaries . This might very well be true, though it was usually quoted in the context of “proving” that the media weren’t anti-trump or pro-clinton during the general.

        I’ve not seen a similar study done post election.

        I really don’t recall any “Hillary is bad” stories from the MSM. Like, at all

        I saw people then saying that the media was anti-Clinton because it reported on her various scandals, and shouldn’t have, because they were clearly all nonsense. Or even if there was some little bit of truth there, it was blown way out of proportion.

        I don’t hold to this line of thinking, but it was definitely out there.

      • Yosarian2 says:

        1. They spent too much time talking about her e-mails, which was a total non-story (may be technically true, but ignores the point that most of the time they spent talking about it was done from the lens of “this is a non story and trump and his supporters are stupid for talking about it”)

        What media sources were you watching or reading? I thought that all the mainstays (New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, network news, ect) covered the various email stories and wikileaks stories as if they were huge scandals. None of them acted like it was a “non-story”, just the opposite.

        Meanwhile they failed to take Trump seriously, and as a result, did very little digging into any of his scandals until quite late in the campaign. Sure they quoted him saying absurd things and criticized him for them but they didn’t go much deeper until very late.

        (By the way, if you got your news filtered through some aggregator like reddit or twitter, you could have gotten a very different impression of those sources, just from the filtering effect.)

        Anyway, there actually has been research that has shown that the news media generally runs about the same ratio of positive to negative stories against both democrats and republicans.

  55. Nornagest says:

    This is the worst comment section I’ve seen on this site for a while.

    • hls2003 says:

      Hardly surprising; this wasn’t Scott’s best work anyway, and it’s explicitly appealing to partisan perceptions.

    • Ilya Shpitser says:

      I fear that something might be in the air lately… Not sure if Trump himself, or he’s just a symptom of something else. Lots of places that are otherwise peaceful are at each other’s throats.

    • MostlyCredibleHulk says:

      That comment would be much better if it had an explanation what “worst” means.

      • Nornagest says:

        Highest heat-to-light ratio, mostly.

        • AnonYEmous says:

          like i said from the start

          “who defected first”

          and like i didn’t say from the start

          “I have a strong opinion but know that facts are hard to come by, especially insofar as defectors have no reason to make defection explicit”

          so i feel you

        • MostlyCredibleHulk says:

          This is understandable, it’s a hot topic, and there’s little possibility of discovering something somebody doesn’t know about it – all of it is happening before our eyes, the facts are out there to see, what differs is interpretation, but it’s very hard to convince somebody to change one’s interpretation…

    • Trofim_Lysenko says:

      Is it me, or did it draw a lot of first time and/or infrequent posters, both left and right-leaning?

      But yeah, a lot more heat, less light.

      To be fair to said first-time/infrequent posters, part of the problem is that we also have a fair number of right-leaning regulars who are too easily tempted to fight smug with smug.

    • suntzuanime says:

      Now that you’re here!

    • Urstoff says:

      Yep. It riled up all of the commenters for whom the world is a Manichean struggle between them and the SJW’s (define that as you will).

      • Trofim_Lysenko says:

        Yes, AND also a bunch quick to point out that Scott’s imagining things, reality/Truth just has a liberal bias and smart, rational, impartial people recognize that. Which then draws counter-bickering from the people you just mentioned

        Neither, though, is particularly helpful.

      • Deiseach says:

        It riled up all of the commenters for whom the world is a Manichean struggle between them and the SJW’s

        Hey, you take that back! Manicheans are heretics, how dare you associate me with heretics! 🙂

    • Brad says:

      It’s not like Scott ever made a secret of his ideological commitments, but somehow whenever he posts something that indicates that, yep he’s still left of center, people lose their minds.

      • AnonYEmous says:

        “who defected first” is an intense mode of discussion, especially because one side has alleged for so long and with such fervor that the other side defected first in a sneaky manner

        i have a lot of sympathy for this view, but even objectively: this is a red-hot topic, and on top of that Scott didn’t do a great job of discussing it. It seems like he tried to get past whether or not it was true to get to a larger point, but he did a very poor job of this as well (usually he fails, but admirably; this time I wasn’t even sure if he tried).

        • Brad says:

          The post wasn’t aimed at you. If someone that the post *was* aimed at was semi-convinced by it and then read the comments whatever convincing Scott did would most likely be completely lost.

    • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

      The good thing about this kind of comment is that everyone can go ahead and think “Yep, those other guys sure are shitting up this place”.

      • Nornagest says:

        My first comment was a shitpost to begin with, but it’s been interesting (and kinda depressing) to come back to it a day later and find so much “yep, the comments suck, and it’s all the fault of those fuckers“.

        • Trofim_Lysenko says:

          That was my point when I said that there is a lot of bad comments from -both- sides here, but I’m not sure anyone noticed.

        • hlynkacg says:

          Let that be a lesson to you.

    • Chevalier Mal Fet says:

      I mean, did you see the comment threads for the second half of 2016? (Hell, all of 2016)

      I stopped reading the comments for months, the election made this place a seething pit of rage and interminable, repetitive arguments.

      (still the best comments on the Internet, though. The whole Internet lost its mind in 2016)

    • Deiseach says:

      Well, a topic like this is a bear pit combined with a snake pit with a light shower of vitriol pattering down on our heads while we tussle.

      Matters have become so polarised pretty much everywhere that I really think there is very little neutral common consensus ground for people from all sides to stand on and say “At least we all agree on this point”; perhaps “murder and rape are bad” is about as good as it gets, and even there we’ll find people on one side claiming incident A was clearly rape/murder and people on another side claiming it clearly wasn’t.

  56. Forlorn Hopes says:

    These were originally movements to fight a perceived liberal bias in regular gaming/sci-fi. They of course failed, and now they’re their own little separate conservative spaces practicing conservative video game commentary/sci-fi writing.

    This is factually wrong. The puppies was right wing but us ants are against politicisation of games. In practice that mostly meant Anti-SJW, but even now if you go to the major Ant hive on reddit you’ll see that we have a rule against unrelated politics, that rule was put in place because it was getting filled up with pro-Trump posts.

    Nor did we fail. We took down Gawker! Got federal legislation clarified. And outlasted every organised attempt to oppose us.

    • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

      Nor did we fail. We took down Gawker!

      I thought Peter Thiel did that one.

    • Jesse E says:

      Guess what, your favorite game is political. It may be political in a way you don’t see or in a way you agree with. Hell, Call of Duty is inherently political, but there were no calls for it not to be made. The truth is, ants are against politics they don’t like in games. Which is fine, but they should be honest about that.

      As for “taking down” Gawker, a billionaire managed to get one subsite of Gawker to be shut down. Every other Gawker sub site is alive and in many ways, better off than before now it’s under the protective arm of a large corporation instead of depending on a moron like Nick Denton to lead them.

      Anita’s still going to get invited to talk to game developers, the gaming media anybody actually cares about is still SJW as hell, and so on, and so forth. Will you still make some peoples lives annoying as hell on Twitter? Sure, but that’s about it. You’ll also take credit for some things that you didn’t really do, but that’s part ‘n’ parcel of any activist group.

      • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

        Guess what, your favorite game is political.

        I mean, if you ascribe to a “everything is political” mindset, sure. But I’m having a hard time finding the politics of, say, Super Mario Bros without making major stretchs in logic.

        • Nornagest says:

          Well, it’s pro-monarchy, and racist against turtles.

          • quanta413 says:

            Monarchy is obviously the right and just way to rule any fungal kingdom. Although non-fungal principalities may do best under a different system of government.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Although non-fungal principalities may do best under a different system of government.

            So “Great idea; wrong kingdom?”

          • quanta413 says:

            So “Great idea; wrong kingdom?”

            Yes. An angiosperm kingdom mayhap be better structured as a merchant oligarchy or perhaps an anarcho-syndicalist commune. However, I would not deign to dictate how they should run their own affairs.

          • Iain says:

            So “Great idea; wrong kingdom?”

            Sorry Mario, but your principality is in another castle?

          • Vorkon says:

            “Great idea Mario, but your ideal socio-political structure is in another kingdom.”

          • Vorkon says:

            Aw man, Iain beat me to it. >.<

        • Randy M says:

          Look at this and tell me it isn’t saying something about hierarchy.

        • Forlorn Hopes says:

          It’s obviously espousing family values: “Bros” is right there in the title. Peach wears pink, and likes to bake, and is the absolute ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom.

        • Jesse E says:

          I mean, it’s a little silly, but it a positive portrayal of a monarchy and has some signs of some weird heiarchal system where the humans rule over the other seemingly sentiment creatures. One could even make an argument about how the only way to ‘win’ is through violence.

          Now, it’s not a huge deal, and I’m not saying every game is hugely political, but there is politics.

          • Randy M says:

            Oh, obviously. And the dragon-visaged Koopa foes are clearly a stand-in for the then-emerging thread from China and East Asia generally. The fact that along the route to Bowser’s castle Mario finds coins in “mystery boxes” is trying to warn American youth that this Oriental menace will surpass them economically, especially with the West so decadent–see the Mushroom kingdom as a clear reference to the hippy culture of the recent past when the first Mario game debuted, and the general ineptitude of these serfs to effect any change in the plight of their peach-hued (and named) sovereign. Now the game’s predictions of a European savior for Western Capitalism were off-base, but it was an interesting bet that a more compassionate, third-way Europe would assist in the revival of the beleaguered American shroom-head.

      • Forlorn Hopes says:

        https://imgflip.com/i/1ob12a

        There is a difference between a game having a story and a game being political. Warhammer 4000’s story glorifies war, fanaticism, xenophobia, and even genocide. It’s clearly not trying to convince the players that these things are good, nor is it trying to convince the player the opposite via satire.

        It’s simply uses them to make an over the top and fun setting. That’s true of most games. Meanwhile games that are trying to convert players usually aren’t that good. Compare the origonal Mass Effect trilogy to the newest one.

        • Jesse E says:

          Well, that’s the fundamental disagreement, isn’t it? I don’t doubt you believe this, but I 100% disagree with you.

          • AnonYEmous says:

            Then allow me to use the solid argument I mentioned, wherein depiction is not endorsement.

            To put it simply, the space marines live in a fascistic society. (More of a uber-religious one, but whatever). This is not said to be good or bad. It simply…is. No effort is made to argue that this is how society should be run.

            Of course, this type of analysis means that you can’t really distinguish who is being purposefully political or not. But what else is new?

          • beleester says:

            If you’re portraying the Space Marines as the heroes of your story, and let the player play as them, that’s, well, not endorsement, but definitely more than “depiction.”

            That’s what it means to say that everything is political. The act of putting something in a narrative, with a protagonist on one side and an antagonist on the other, is always going to portray some things in a positive light and others in a negative light. The artist’s choice of one thing, and not another thing, is a deliberate decision, influenced by their politics and society’s attitudes.

            That doesn’t mean it’s always worth fighting over, or that the authors aren’t allowed to choose those things, but it’s certainly fair game for criticism and you can’t assert that something is non-political just it’s not putting up a neon sign saying “THIS IS HOW TO RUN SOCIETY.”

          • Protagoras says:

            It is common in tabletop role-playing games for the PCs to be, as it is sometimes described by myself and my fellow tabletop RPG enthusiasts, murder hobos. Those of us who play such RPGs do not in general endorse solving lots of real world problems with violence, much less the inevitable in game tendency to seek to escalate everything to violence because the fights are fun and you can take the other side’s stuff after you kill them. But we do have fun playing those games. It is probably healthy for us to step back and question what we’re doing once in a while, but it is really needlessly alarmist (and probably counter-productive, given people’s natural tendency toward defensiveness) for outsiders to try to preach to us about what’s wrong with what we’re doing. Everything is problematic, and it’s worth thinking about that, but people should be a lot more careful criticizing problematic stuff other people like than criticizing problematic stuff they themselves like. Which is, sadly, the reverse of how they usually operate.

          • Nornagest says:

            If you’re portraying the Space Marines as the heroes of your story, and let the player play as them, that’s, well, not endorsement, but definitely more than “depiction.”

            Sure, the story follows characters with some pretty messed-up values, and you’re encouraged to sympathize with them. But I could say the same for Macbeth.

            Actually, Macbeth is arguably worse: most of the people who die in that play were totally innocent, and when you play a psycho in a video game you’re almost always up against people who’re even worse.

          • lvlln says:

            @beleester:

            If you’re portraying the Space Marines as the heroes of your story, and let the player play as them, that’s, well, not endorsement, but definitely more than “depiction.”

            That’s what it means to say that everything is political. The act of putting something in a narrative, with a protagonist on one side and an antagonist on the other, is always going to portray some things in a positive light and others in a negative light. The artist’s choice of one thing, and not another thing, is a deliberate decision, influenced by their politics and society’s attitudes.

            This, to me, seems like the intractable disagreement between those who insist “everything is political” and those who insist “fiction is fiction.” Obviously most people exist on a spectrum between the 2, but where one lies on the spectrum seems to depend on how much one buys into the argument that showing a figure in fiction in a positive light is an act of advocating behavior or characteristics of that figure in real life.

            Which, again, seems intractable to me, since it almost seems definitional in terms of what “advocating in real life” means. But I wonder if there’s a way to get around it by asking the empirical question, How and how much do such depictions actually influence people who consume such depictions?

            Even if a positive depiction of something in fiction can be described as “advocating” certain behaviors or characteristics in real life, why should anyone care, if it doesn’t actually influence people to adopt those behaviors or characteristics? This seems like an empirical question that can be answered, and as best as I can tell, we don’t know the answer. But I’m not an academic or expert of sociology or psychology. And I think it would behoove the people who claim “everything is political” to actually go about finding the answer to this, because without empirical evidence of influence, even if something is considered political advocacy, it doesn’t follow that it’s something to take seriously in the political realm. And if the empirical evidence reveals that such influence is weak or different from what’s actually advocated, then they can stop wasting time.

          • Aapje says:

            I think that’s it’s perfectly valid to want to experience an immoral perspective, if there are no victims.

            Evildoers are humans like the rest of us and are motivated by similar emotions as us. So it can be helpful to step into their shoes and figure out why their perspective appeals to some people. Furthermore, it is hard to figure out what morality is right and getting into extreme situations can clarify what you oppose and support.

            In real life, you see people experimenting with emotions and morality by seeking relatively extreme situations, to figure out where they stand, in life. For example, it is quite common for children to torture and kill small animals.

            If people can do these things in an environment where such behavior doesn’t hurt others, that seems like a good thing.

        • Robert Liguori says:

          I think I disagree about WH40K not being an argument. I think it is, but not precisely with satire. It’s taking the talking points of fascism, and positing a world where they’re true, where it is genuinely necessary to unite behind your faction and its leader and wage war on the Other, because to do otherwise, or even think of doing otherwise, will devastate your entire soceity.

          It’s pointing out that there could be a world where fascism is right, good, and necessary, and that such a world looks nothing like ours.

          But WH40K is huge, sprawling, and has had so many hands on it over time, that you can point to a bunch of different sections with different inspirations. There are some bits in which the fascism simply is, some in which it’s glorified unironically, but lots in which it’s used to make a point.

          • Forlorn Hopes says:

            Well given the huge amount of works set in the Warhammer 40K universe I don’t doubt that some people are trying to make a point.

            However the parts I’ve seen myself (the video games) really do not give any impression of trying to make a point. And I only need to demonstrate one work of art that’s not political to disprove “all art is political”.

            The origonal Dawn of War had quotes like “Beginning reform is beginning revolution.” and “Hatred is the emperor’s greatest gift to humanity.” from the point of view of the players race the Space Marines.

            There’s nothing in the game that turns these pro-fascism quotes around to make a point that fascism is bad. And if you want to say the game encourages fascism that’s an extraordinary claim so it requires extraordinary evidence that’s just not there.

        • dndnrsn says:

          It’s interesting that people map the humans in W40k to fascism, given that it’s a sort of monarchy/theocracy – not populist in the slightest. Weird how any authoritarian/totalitarian system gets thought of as fascism.

          • MugaSofer says:

            It’s human-supremacist (complete with Exterminatus of the impure mutant), much of the imagery deliberately evokes Naziism (lots of skull symbols and Naziesque uniforms), and the Emperor – despite his title – is not a hereditary position but instead rules through sheer ubermenshy force of personality. I think there’s a definite fascist case to be made.

          • dndnrsn says:

            It’s a grab-bag of “this shit is evil but cool” imagery. Thinking about it more, there is a degree of popular sovereignty (without popular rule), which is a big part of fascism – the dictator (purports to) rule in the name of “the people”. The Emperor rules in the name of humanity.

      • AnonYEmous says:

        I think the problem that I’ve encountered with people of this stripe is that they fail to consider tiering.

        For example, it may be true that everything is political (though I have a very solid argument against that too). But it’s obvious that games like Mario are on the lowest tier of politics, whereas a game like…say, Sunset, is all about politics. Take a recent example, where the creators of Shovel Knight introduced a gender-swap feature, explaining that they were uncomfortable with using “regressive” gender stereotypes and wanted to fight them.

        The bottom line is that I’d like most games to be at the lowest tier of politics, where any politics are unintentional or simply there to advance the story. If you can play through an entire game and have to scrounge around for political lessons, then that’s apolitical enough for me.

  57. moscanarius says:

    Someone should ammend the RESIST TRUMP sign to RESIST TRUMPETING YOUR POLITICAL OPINIONS

  58. Chilam Balam says:

    That’s an interesting post, but I think we should also look at the influence of Churches in the American experience. The largest “safe spaces” that exist on the right are Evangelical Churches and the parallel Evangelical Christian society that exists in parallel to the mainstream American culture. They’re pretty explicit about this, if you go to any of these churches, they’ll tell you they are trying to create a “Christian Space”. They’ve got their own movies, music, books, websites, and their own institutions: churches, schools (both grade school and college), youth groups, etc. And they’re quite explicit about what views you can and cannot hold in these spaces. Like, you can’t believe in evolution, or not be Christian, etc. Many people are forced out from these institutions because of this: http://religiondispatches.org/special-report-have-evangelical-colleges-succumbed-to-theological-paranoia/
    https://chrisstroop.com/2017/02/11/more-evangelical-purges-come-to-light-why-are-some-people-surprised/
    (Both of these pots are from some one who’s ex-evangelical, so certainly biased against evangelical culture, but the facts are fairly checkable, and again, these institutions don’t usually deny these sorts of firings, just the tone.)

    I think we should point out that a lot of American skepticism of the mainstream comes from this culture. If you’re evangelical, you’re taught very early on not to trust main experts on a whole host of issues, like evolution, geology, astronomy, biblical criticism, and so on. And I don’t find it surprising that polarization in America has increased dramatically since Evangelical churches burst back onto the political scene in the 1970s. The former set of left institutions that mediated this sort of culture were unions, and they’re mostly dead today. And the culture of Evangelicalism is quite different, particularly on matters about empiricism and intellectualism. The classic book on this is the Scandal of the Evangelical Mind from the mid-90s, which is written by an Evangelical critic discussing his frustrations with an aspect of the movement’s intellectual life. I don’t think much has changed since its publishing.

    So I suspect that’s also part of the imbalance, that there’s a parallel Evangelical life you can live in much easier than trying to live in a parallel leftist world.

  59. Aftagley says:

    I’m a liberal who works in a decidedly conservative working environment. At a staff meeting last week, the head of our office complemented our IT head by saying something along the lines of “He’s so good, had he been with the FBI, well, they would have found those 30,000 emails.” someone else chimed in “Or he’d have been killed.” The room exploded with laughter.

    This is in the same organization (I’ll stop being vague and admit I’m in the military) where even polite, if negative comments towards Trump have been cause for censure due to purported “disrespect.” This hasn’t effected me because long ago I stopped talking politics at work.

    Those few who know of my political orientation outright refer to me as being one of the few “good” liberals, mostly because I don’t often choose to get in debate when Obama’s “questionable” citizenship comes up. This is somewhat annoying, but mostly I get through it by doing my job (which I love) and just changing the topic when politics comes up. Knowing my career plans, I’ll pretty much always be in majority conservative environments, and I’m completely ok with that. Sorry if that’s too much detail, but I’m just trying to provide context for why I think you’re incorrect here.

    First off, accepting the premise that all meaningful organizations are either left leaning, on their way to being left leaning or set up in direct opposition to their left leaning counterparts is not only false, it’s buying into the same false narrative Fox and its ilk try to push, that conservatives are this quaking minority who need constant defense. They’re not. For every chunk of society controlled by the left, I can name an equally important one run by the right. The left purportedly has the media, the right has the religious organizations. The left has the courts, the right has Law enforcement. The left has the unions, the right has the business interests that have been killing unions over the last few decades. It’s not a perfect balance, but one sided it is not. The idea that there is nowhere in society for a conservative to rest his hat is ludicrous.

    Secondly, I understand the desire to set up splinter groups more friendly to your viewpoint. If someone offered me the chance to do my current job, just in a setting more friendly to my political views, I’d strongly consider it. That doesn’t, however, explain why the perspective taken by these groups is always to burn their former group members to the ground. Fox News an arguably understandable reaction to what conservatives thought was a liberal dominated media becomes obsessed with attacking it’s former compatriots. The Gate Group of Gamers you mentioned got edged out of the increasingly progressive gaming culture and so started a new organization (understandable) and began issuing death and rape threats against its supposed enemies in traditional games culture (absolutely insane). These new organizations don’t, like you’d assume, merely pursue the same kind of topics they previously addressed just from a conservative perspective, they instead try to burn the previously existing organizations to the ground so they become the only perspective.

    I’m starting to drag on here, so I’ll summarize by saying that I agree with David Roberts. What’s happening on and to the right isn’t normal and most definitely isn’t the result of liberal action and/or bias.

    • reid says:

      > That doesn’t, however, explain why the perspective taken by these groups is always to burn their former group members to the ground.

      i’ve seen enough concerted efforts on twitter to have randos who said the wrong thing get fired, or controversial speakers chased out of town/assaulted by protesters, to think that this phenomenon is constrained to the right. these aren’t ‘former group members’ as you put it, but you can flip it — progressives in academia openly castigate the red tribe in their midst, which likely has the result of driving them away. progressives in many cultures (eg gaming) openly try to drive out people with opinions contrary to their political beliefs. i don’t think it’s out of the realm of reasonable conclusions to partly ascribe reaction to that as ‘the result of liberal action and/or bias.’

    • Edward Scizorhands says:

      where even polite, if negative comments towards Trump have been cause for censure due to purported “disrespect.”

      I appreciate your providing of a different perspective than Scott’s. This one may not be on-point, however. It seems respect for the Commander-in-Chief is a serious issue in the military; during the Clinton years I had several conservative friends in the military who said “I’ll tell you the truth about anything except my feeling of the C-i-C.” I.e., they had to lie because official position was to support him.

    • Forlorn Hopes says:

      and began issuing death and rape threats against its supposed enemies in traditional games culture (absolutely insane).

      That’s a myth, we didn’t do that.

      Or at least, all the data driven studies (including those by people opposed to us) found that we were no more likely to be abusive than the average twitter user.

      • DrBeat says:

        Seeing how successful the lies were, that even people who are currently at this moment talking about how the cultural gatekeepers lie about people they don’t like in order to turn people against them and cause them harm will agree that of COURSE the things those identified liars said about unpopular people must be uncontroversially true, makes me want to decapitate myself.

        All is lost. All is lost, and all is ruin. Popularity devours all. Everything that makes life possible to tolerate will be annihilated by the popular, out of the sheer unbridled joy of annihilating things that make life possible to tolerate. All is lost.

        • hlynkacg says:

          Turning and turning in the widening gyre
          The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
          Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
          Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
          The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
          The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
          The best lack all conviction, while the worst
          Are full of passionate intensity.

          Surely some revelation is at hand;
          Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
          The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
          When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
          Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
          A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
          A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
          Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
          Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

          The darkness drops again but now I know
          That twenty centuries of stony sleep
          Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
          And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
          Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

          • Kevin C. says:

            Quoting the entire poem without any attribution?

            (And how exactly is this a reply to DrBeat’s comment?)

          • hlynkacg says:

            Yes.

            DrBeat says…

            All is lost, and all is ruin.

            Entropy devours all. So what? How did our forefathers respond? How would a true heir of the West respond? Two millennia of history and philosophy have already provided you with an answer. Surely some revelation is at hand, surely the Second Coming is at hand. You can’t slay the beast but you can vex it with a rocking cradle.

            Judeo-Christian allegory motherfucker DO YOU SPEAK IT?

          • DrBeat says:

            Popularity is invincible and inexhaustible. It is literally impossible to defeat popularity because popularity is by definition that which wins interpersonal conflicts. The popular will destroy everything and everyone that dare to ever do useful things, because nothing will ever escape the attention of the popular ever again. You cannot slay the beast. You cannot vex the beast. The beast is that which is empowered by every possible permutation of motions you can undertake or not undertake.

          • hlynkacg says:

            Ok, and?

            Which part of my reply did you not understand?

          • Aapje says:

            @DrBeat

            Popularity can decrease, especially if a group wins and their policies turn out to be bad.

          • DrBeat says:

            The popular always win, the policies they agitated for get implemented, they are bad because they were not made to do useful things they were only made to flatter the emotions of the popular, and nobody is capable of noticing this. They are not capable of noticing it. They cannot draw the conclusion from evidence. Marxism, for example, has failed as decisively and disastrously as it is conceivably possible for a set of ideas to fail, but Marxism will never, ever, ever, ever, ever go away.

          • Aapje says:

            Who cares? No one is going to give Marxists power in the West again.

            The goal is not to eradicate, but to marginalize.

          • hlynkacg says:

            nobody is capable of noticing this.

            The fact that you are writing this demonstrably proves otherwise. Seriously, you and Kevin need to grow the fuck up. Stop complaining about an absence of virtue and start trying to live up to it.

          • Mark says:

            I think the channel 4 show “The Island with Bear Grylls” which aired earlier this week may be instructive.

            A middle aged man called Phil took to wandering around camp with his tallywacker out, and this and other behaviour led to him becoming the group outcast. An all-round unpopular fellow.

            After a conflict with Jacqui, a retired policewoman, about who should sit next to the fire, Phil’s enemies decided to hold a vote to see if he should be expelled from the community.

            In the end they voted 9 – 6 to get rid of him. Victory for the popularity monster.

            But. The people who voted for him to stay didn’t do so because they liked him. They voted for him to stay because the idea of expelling him appalled them. “It’s like Lord of the Flies”.

            In Britain, at least, I think there are quite a few of us who think we owe something to people who we don’t particularly like. And, that actually, what we like best of all are principles of fairness.

            So, the solution is to appeal to that principle of fairness in the most abstract possible terms, and limit the damage that the mob can do when their passions are enflamed by some specific issue.
            Tolerance and diversity of individuals, not cultures.

          • DrBeat says:

            Who cares? No one is going to give Marxists power in the West again.

            Nobody, except for all of academia and all blue tribe activism, which are made out of popularity the way a bagel is made out of bread, and thus even people who despise them feel the undischargeable obligation to give them extra consideration, deference, respect, and utility.

          • Aapje says:

            @DrBeat

            Marxism may be popular in certain enclaves, but it is not popular in the mainstream and thus cannot be made into policy.

            Anti-egalitarian feminism is popular in certain enclaves AND is too popular still in the mainstream, so it can be made into policy. The mainstream needs to reject it (more).

        • Quoting the entire poem without any attribution?

          Has the flattering implication that of course everyone here will recognize it.

          Probably not true, unfortunately.

        • Deiseach says:

          DrBeat, I don’t know what to say to you. You seem to have some hurt relating to popularity, the lack of it and those who are popular using their power to mistreat the unpopular.

          I’ve never been “popular” and I don’t care a straw about that. I think there was one (1) attempt in my entire school career to mildly bully me, which I didn’t even recognise as a bullying attempt at the time, and avoided by the tactic of simply walking away because sorry, have to go home now. I’ve never been hurt by being unpopular because (a) I don’t care and (b) I don’t think the popular have ever tried to crush, destroy or otherwise afflict me personally.

          So… I really don’t know how to react when you talk about the entirety of present culture and civilisation being “annihilated by the popular, out of the sheer unbridled joy of annihilating things that make life possible to tolerate”. Dude, get over yourself is perhaps harsh to someone who may be in pain, as also “they only have the power you give them”. Yeah, I agree that the current drift of society is something I disagree with, and I mostly dislike a lot of the cultural Zeitgeist, and I even agree that it is popularity-driven because people want to be cool and to be part of the latest cool thing, but I don’t personally feel it as an attack or punishment or the popular flaunting their power over the unpopular. I think it’s a damn fool idea (see my growling about the Freddie deBoer article) and a mistake and sawing off the branch we’re all sitting on and I expect it to end badly, but I don’t feel the same hopelessness you seem to feel and certainly not in the same way.

          If you want to be popular, or engage in the arena of the popular, and fail at it, and perceive that you are being punished for failing – I can’t help you. I can say I’m sorry you’re hurt, but I don’t understand* the impulse to “I want to be one of the popular”. Presumably my brain-wiring didn’t get that module connected up, along with my other loose screws and missing connections.

          *Being socially averse/avoidant/having social anxiety has upsides as well as downsides. Didn’t get an invite to the cool party being thrown by the cool and popular person that everyone else but you is going to? Blissfully happy, because would not have liked to be obligated to go, do not like parties/crowds of people, it saves the effort of thinking up an excuse as to why I can’t go, and now can spend free time at home doing stuff I like!

          • The Nybbler says:

            as also “they only have the power you give them”

            Unfortunately, this is not true. In high school, bucking the popular people makes you a fair target for abuse, including such things as theft and assault. In the real world, the popular people get to make policies both formal and informal which result in punishment for those who refuse to go along with them.

          • DrBeat says:

            I don’t want to be popular. Where do you get that? Where do you even get the idea I think that’s possible?

            People are what they do. I don’t think there’s any argument here.

            People do what they can get away with. This is trivially observable.

            And what every single person in the entire world including yourself can also observe is some people just get to keep getting away with things. They get to keep being selfish and keep being malicious and keep punishing people for the crime of not being popular enough to make punishment stop and keep annihilating utility to feed their own emotions because… that is what they get to keep doing. Because they are inherently popular. Because they are entitled to respect, deference, attention, and utility. Because everyone will let them do it.

            Because they keep getting away with it, they keep doing it. Because they keep doing it, who they are is “people who do those things”. What they desire is to do those things. They will scream at everyone that allowing them to do those things is synonymous with virtue. Because they are inherently popular, everyone believes them.

            In the OP of this very thread, we just saw how Scott, even though he was at that exact moment talking about how dishonest the social left is when talking about their enemies, he was incapable of stopping himself from believing what they said about their enemies. That’s the invincible, inexhaustible, inassailable power of the popular. Even people who think they are lying, who KNOW they are lying, people who are at that moment saying “These people are lying to me!” cannot stop themselves from believing the lie.

            Because their power does not come from any thing they actually do, it comes from how people just let them get away with things and find it inherently emotionally rewarding to side with them, they can never ever be defeated. They might change the window dressing of their demands. They may switch superficial sides. But they will always be there, always destroying, always empowered, always rewarded for it.

            They do not only have the power I give them. They have the power that everyone is giving them, one hundred percent of the time, because it is inherently emotionally rewarding to give them that power.

          • CatCube says:

            Look, dude, there’s not some sort of Great Chain of Being for popularity. People are more or less popular in different groups. Somebody who’s highly respected in a college or office environment might very well be looked down upon on a construction site, for example.

            Hell, the whole “Affluenza” debacle ended up with the kid and his mother getting shiny bracelets from the feds. Do some “popular” people get away with some things, from time to time? Absolutely. That particular family had money and power enough to get away with murder, until they didn’t. There’s not some fully-generalizable Popularity stamp that is immutable.

            Can it be close to immutable in a particular context? Yes. As this American Dad scene riffs on, people can get a reputation that propagates outside of their control. But if you move to a new job, it probably will not follow you.

            I’ve been in organizations where I’m more or less popular based on things both within and outside of my control. As a junior Army officer, I was alright. Once I moved into company command, I had more trouble partially due to my difficulty in knowing when to put my foot down resulting in my being nice to a fault, and partially due to events that made my boss look askance at me. Admittedly, the first had something to do with the second. Throughout my Army career, I was a little more “mousey” than the culture really respected.

            When I moved to my current job as a design engineer, there was a distinct difference. For one, I actually am probably too outspoken, and need to work on dialing it back. This probably has something to do with the other, where I actually feel like I know what I’m doing, so I’m more confident. I actually do know more about what I’m doing, as I’m a lot better being handed a technical problem and solving it compared to trying to unfuck a massive personal nightmare that subordinates drop on my desk.

            So you can absolutely change your place in the pecking order, but it requires knowing your own strengths and limitations, and picking a pecking order where your strengths are more important than your limitations.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @CatCube

            You don’t understand, because you’re in the middle of the pecking order. The middle is very different from the bottom. Anyone with any sort of social skill (and you have it, as you’ve done the leadership thing) can avoid the bottom. If you lack the social skills to not be on the bottom, you lack them in all contexts.

          • CatCube says:

            I learned the social skills, and relatively late. Just like I learned how to calculate the moment capacity of a beam, or what a properly-drafted contract drawing looks like. For most jobs, interacting with others is just as important as any technical skill.

            I cannot tell you the number of times when in the Army I would talk to a subordinate, tell him what I needed, paused, then reiterated what I wanted in very slightly different words, and occasionally I would do this three or more times. Then, as I was walking away, I would think back over the interaction and the guy’s body language and realize the poor bastard was almost ready to chew his own arm off to escape that conversation. I have improved this somewhat, though I do still have the tendency. It’s a little easier now because it’s somewhat more acceptable for someone to talk over me or say that they’re leaving, compared to when I outranked the victims of this and they felt they couldn’t walk away (though I knew I had this tendency and wouldn’t have been offended if they had done so–I even told my First Sergeant that he was welcome to do this and to poke me if I was doing it to others). However, the biggest improvement is learning what body language to look for, prior to the end of the conversation. This is something I’ve had to do more by rote than any sort of natural feel. Learn what the people you interact with do when they’re bored by somebody. It helps if you know that somebody else in your office is a crushing bore; watch what other people do when that guy talks to them and memorize the body language. I find looking for the position of hands and arms to be the easiest, but it’s still a work in progress. Do the people you interact with the courtesy of looking out for when they’re not interested and not making them feel like they’ve got to be the bad guy by telling you directly.

            I really cannot respect all this wailing and woe about it any more than I can respect the subject of a Theodore Dalrymple column talking about how bad things just happen, or how the knife “just ended up” in the guy that said subject is in prison for murdering. You do actually have control over your actions. Don’t be a bystander in your own life.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @CatCube

            Again, you’re not getting it, because you had enough skill to keep you off the bottom.

            I cannot tell you the number of times when in the Army I would talk to a subordinate

            You see, you had subordinates. Those of us on the bottom do not, neither formally or informally. Somewhere in the Army — maybe not the current US army, but some armies — there are a bunch of poor schlubs who are privates and who will never be anything but privates. Literally everyone around them (except the other forever privates) will have higher status. They’ll always get the crap work, always bear the brunt of mistakes made by their superiors, and if they complain about it they’ll be punished more.

            You do actually have control over your actions. Don’t be a bystander in your own life.

            Indeed, but somehow it always works out that I must use my control over my own actions to act in the way others demand I do, or I will suffer consequences. And there is no one I can impose consequences on. That is the bottom.

          • Enkidum says:

            “somehow it always works out that I must use my control over my own actions to act in the way others demand I do, or I will suffer consequences.”

            This is literally true of everyone in the entire world.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Enkidum

            No, it is not. When high-status people behave they way they wish to instead of the way others want them to, it is _the others_ who suffer the consequences.

          • DrBeat says:

            There’s no such thing as “social skills”. They are phlostigon to try and explain inherent popularity. Nothing about them can be predicted if modeled as a skill that is used, and everything about them can be predicted if modeled as an inherent trait. An unpopular person who does literally every single thing that is categorized as “social skills” correctly will be punished for it, and you have seen this happen. After the fact justifications are made for why that person was “creepy”, which means “not inherently popular enough to assert away our desire to punish them by force of their popularity.” An inherently popular person can do literally none of the things that are described as “social skills” and still be showered in rewards and given the attention, deference, consideration, and utility they are entitled to, and you have seen this happen. Because that’s “countersignaling”. How can it be countersignaling if they are destroying the only channel by which they send any signal of being socially powerful, which should render them unpopular and punished by everyone in sensory range? If social standing were dictated by “social skills” it would be like countersignalling wealth by destroying your wealth and becoming a homeless person. But that is not what happens —
            they are still given attention, deference, consideration, and utility they are entitled to. Because “social skill” is not the only channel. It is not even an important one. Social status is granted by an inherent trait. The trait of inherent popularity.

            “somehow it always works out that I must use my control over my own actions to act in the way others demand I do, or I will suffer consequences.”

            This is literally true of everyone in the entire world.

            No. No it is not.

            For unpopular people, it is true one hundred percent of the time, and then consequences are suffered anyway, because the unpopular are punished for not being popular enough to make the punishment stop by the force of their popularity.

            For people who are neither very popular nor very unpopular, it is true some of the time, as they fit in different ways into different informal hierarchies based on which particular people find it inherently emotionally rewarding to side with them and which find it inherently emotionally rewarding to punish them — at some points there are people above them and at some points there are people below them.

            For the inherently popular, it is never true. The actions of the inherently popular, no matter what they are, create obligations in others to react appropriately to them. Their will is manifest and no more questionable than the wind or the trees, and it is the obligation of all other people to react in the “right” way to the actions of the popular.

            And I’m almost certain you have experienced this yourself, because you have probably either gone to school or had a job. You know all those times that someone did something to you that was wrong, and there was no question it was wrong, they wronged you by any coherent standard, and yet YOU were the one chastised because you did not react to it the right way, while their wrongdoing was ineffable and inexorable and could not be questioned? And didn’t you notice how the person who did wrong to you always got away with it? Because that is inherent popularity. They always got away with it because they have the inherent trait of other people allowing them to get away with things. And they act like people who constantly get away with that. Have you noticed how often popular people, when bullying unpopular people, use the justification “your reaction to my attack on you justifies my attack on you?” And how they constantly get away with it, and everyone around them repeats that justification as if it was wisdom and not obviously self-contradictory? Because that is inherent popularity.

          • Thegnskald says:

            DrBeat –

            I guess I can count myself in the “popular” camp – people have always liked me, although I have never made any particular effort at being liked. It annoys me when people openly dislike me, but ultimately I just don’t care; at some point I realized I didn’t respect the opinion of somebody who had a low opinion of me.

            So, here is my contribution: I like you. You have my approval. You are weird and intelligent, and interesting to read.

            Now you’re part of my crowd; the group I am popular with is probably remote from where you live, but if you were here, I could easily insert you into the “popular” crowd of my local group, which my wife and I have inadvertently taken over. What would that change?

          • lvlln says:

            I’m curious, DrBeat, how do people detect this “inherent popularity” in others? The way you describe it makes it seem like some independent video game stat assigned to someone at birth which determines how others interact with that person. But it’s not like we each have numbers floating on our heads for others to read in order to guide their actions. And there’s no evidence that we have some ability to “feel” chi or human fields or whatnot. So how is that information conveyed?

            And are there any specific examples you have in mind when you think of people who are truly fully inherently popular? So much that they have literally no limitations on their actions that would provide them negative consequences? I.e. they could go out in the street and start randomly murdering and raping men, women, and children with abandon, and other people would not cause them to suffer as a result? I can think of some people who could suffer relatively weak consequences for committing a crime an order of magnitude less than something like that, but I’m not sure I believe anyone could suffer literally zero negative consequences from doing that, for instance.

          • Enkidum says:

            To add some anecdata to the fire, I went through my childhood (up to age 18ish) as distinctly unpopular, with quite significant physical and emotional bullying through most of elementary school, and a very limited number of friends. I am now fairly comfortable in most social situations and I would say I’m probably more liked than most people my age and professional status. This has very much been a case of me learning social skills and deliberately applying them. That doesn’t mean there aren’t genetic factors involved (I’m not ugly, I’m probably relatively neurotypical, smart, etc), but the things I learned made a huge amount of difference too.

            For the inherently popular, it is never true. The actions of the inherently popular, no matter what they are, create obligations in others to react appropriately to them. Their will is manifest and no more questionable than the wind or the trees, and it is the obligation of all other people to react in the “right” way to the actions of the popular.

            This is just false for 99% of the human race. It’s not even true most of the time in high school, and in any environment outside of it, it’s almost always just wrong.

            It is true that well-liked people get away with shit that others don’t, but at some point chickens tend to come home to roost. Sometimes they don’t, because life isn’t always fair. But being well-liked today is not a free pass tomorrow (although it clearly helps). And spending your life resenting those people for their perceived privileges is not a good way to live.

            Look, with all due respect… you don’t know any of these people. You think you can identify them, but you’ve never had a close relationship with any of them, because if you had, you would realize how poorly this maps onto the reality of their lives. I do know these people. Hell, to some people, I am one of these people, and it’s simply not true at all for me.

          • The Nybbler says:

            It is true that well-liked people get away with shit that others don’t, but at some point chickens tend to come home to roost.

            Sewage, whether chicken-derived or otherwise, has a tendency to flow downhill. And the name of that hill is status. If you’re on the bottom of that hill, you’ll notice that when you don’t do as others want, you suffer consequences. When others don’t do as you want, you suffer consequences. When others’ failure to do as you want (even as they promised) causes you to fail to do as others want, you suffer the consequences (and neither of the others do). Observation demonstrates that there are other people for whom some or none of these facts are true.

            As for whether this is learned social skill or an inherent popularity, I do not know. My belief is it is largely skill learned in childhood; if you learn to be a bottom-status person then, you will always be a bottom-status person. And there will always be be bottom-status people.

            As for how people detect this status, I do not know. But they can. And you can’t imitate it. It’s something like a piano player. You can have two piano players, each equally technically skilled by any objective measure, and one will be considered a virtuoso while the other merely competent and workmanlike.

          • Tarpitz says:

            It seems to me too obvious that “popularity” (and I think we’re in a technical/esoteric enough usage to warrant the scare quotes here), like most things, is a skill which can be learned informed by both a talent which is probably genetic, or at any rate acquired at a young enough age to be for practical purposes immutable, and by external factors and short and longer term choices.

            Virtually (perhaps even literally) no-one could be as good at tennis as Roger Federer no matter how hard they worked at it, but the vast majority of people could be better than average at tennis if they put the effort in (and perhaps received a bit of decent coaching). A small minority are essentially incapable of playing the game. And even Federer’s skills will decline (have already declined), and could be eliminated entirely by some catastrophic accident.

            My popularity fluctuates with my weight, my mental health, my alcohol consumption and perhaps most of all with how much effort I make. My brother, far more popular by nature (and in reality, through the early part of our lives), has fallen ever deeper into the trap that awaits those with superlative natural empathy and severe self-esteem issues. He identifies with devastatingly selective accuracy only the worst in people and deliberately brings it out. This is not a trait that engenders popularity.

            People – especially but not only women – whose beauty is an important driver of their popularity will find that popularity declines as they age, or if they get fat. But nothing – not even looks or money – is so important to popularity as social skills. They are real, and while informed by innate ability and uncontrollable circumstance, they are learnable and amenable to conscious improvement.

    • cassander says:

      >This is in the same organization (I’ll stop being vague and admit I’m in the military) where even polite, if negative comments towards Trump have been cause for censure due to purported “disrespect.”

      this would have been equally true of obama, for reasons that should be beyond obvious. Generals have been fired for saying slightly mean things about vice presidents.

    • Trofim_Lysenko says:

      With the military it’s important to distinguish what happens at company-grade and field-grade levels, and distinguish that from flag country.

      The culture skews very conservative at the lower and middle levels. At the highest level, that reverses itself, though even there it’s not AS liberal as most colleges or other liberal dominated institutions.

      Police are the same way in most cases, as a matter of fact (with the exception of rural county sherriffs in conservative-dominated states since they’re often directly elected), with a big gap between beat cops and even sergeants/liuetenants/captains and Chiefs of Police.

      Finally, yeah, respect for the CinC is part and parcel of the deal.

      (Active duty Army, 2000-2005)

      • random832 says:

        Finally, yeah, respect for the CinC is part and parcel of the deal.

        The idea that polite private disagreement is inherently “disrespect” seems corrosive to American values (in particular freedom of speech).

        But, then, a lot of the constitution doesn’t seem to apply to the military.

        • Incurian says:

          Polite private disagreement isn’t disrespect, even in the military. Here is article 88. There are additional regulations, but they’re all kind of like this one.

          So you can say “I sure don’t like President Trump’s foreign policy, in fact it’s quite bad!” But you couldn’t say something like “Fuck Trump, he’s a god damn idiot,” just like at any job you probably couldn’t get away with saying something like that about your boss.

    • hlynkacg says:

      To offer a counter anecdote…

      I was active duty Navy/Marines from 2002 – 2009 and a reservist for a few years after that. I once had Dan Rather in the back of my helicopter and have joked (to much laughter) that the world would be a better place if I had thrown him out over the Jungles of Sumatra, the only thing that stopped me was that I would have had to throw the cameraman out too and he seemed nice (not to mention that two people falling out of a helicopter would have likely aroused suspicions or resulted in an interminable safety stand-down about positive retention/control of passengers).

      That said if I had offered my honest opinion of Obama or Bush (post TARP), our Secretary of State, anyone else in my chain of command who I considered “less than exemplary” I would have, at the very least, received a stern talking-to from my RO or XO about spreading dissension in the ranks if not a formal counseling chit.

      Point being, I don’t think your observation indicates what you think it indicates. The chain of command is sacred for reasons that exist independently of politics.

      Edit:
      At the risk of doxing myself I find it odd yet interesting that I appear multiple times in the first page of a google image search for “Dan Rather” + Sumatra but not at all in a search for my own name.

    • The left purportedly has the media, the right has the religious organizations.

      ??

      Some religious organizations. As best I can tell, the mainline Christian groups are quite open at present not only to female priests but to gay (male or female) priests. The mainline Christian groups, some time back, were pushing for disinvestment in South Africa, mostly ignoring the fact that the Nigerian government was in a war with a largely Christian minority and killed about a million of them. As best I can tell, large parts of modern organized religion are routinely center left, although other parts are not.

  60. jhertzlinger says:

    Cthulhu cannot always swim left. The direction of left changes every week.

    Jefferson’s anti-racism has been called a left-wing movement.
    Jackson’s racism has been called a left-wing movement.
    Lincoln’s anti-racism has been called a left-wing movement.
    Wilson’s racism has been called a left-wing movement.
    Truman’s anti-racism has been called a left-wing movement.
    … and we have always been at war with Eurasia comrade!

    Let’s take another issue that is currently politicized: carbs vs. fat. Today carbs are bad on the right and fat is bad on the left. A generation ago, that wasn’t the case.

    Let’s look at a possible future controversy: A generation from now, Rebecca Tuvel might be seen as a brave pioneer on the left … or maybe as a crypto-fascist. I would not care to bet in either direction.

    Maybe we should first agree on definitions of Right or Left.

    • Ilya Shpitser says:

      Forget left or right, I don’t think Cthulhu even swims, it’s more like a jellyfish.

    • reasoned argumentation says:

      Let’s take another issue that is currently politicized: carbs vs. fat. Today carbs are bad on the right and fat is bad on the left. A generation ago, that wasn’t the case.

      Yes it was – George McGovern was the head of the Senate committee on nutrition that issued the “fat bad, carbs good” guidelines.

  61. Eponymous says:

    How can you say with a straight face that Vox isn’t a terribly biased left-wing outlet that only plays at being a neutral gatekeeper? I mean, putting them in the same reference class as the New York Times and CNN seems an insult to true journalism.

    Vox’s target audience are the sort of leftists who think that leftists are highly intelligent and right about everything, unlike those stupid and uneducated conservatives, and mainstream journalists are forced by conventions of journalistic balance into false equivalence reporting, and thus are inaccurate; and so *of course* taking a perfectly neutral stance of just presenting the whole facts, even if they are inconvenient to conservatives, will result in a highly liberal news outlet, because the facts have a well-known liberal bias!

    Quite frankly, there are a *lot* of very explicitly leftist organizations and institutions, particularly on the internet. It’s true that these are not quite as dominant among liberals as the analogous organizations are on the right, since the liberals also have most of the mainstream organizations.

    And if you think the WSJ and Fox are so awful, I don’t really know what to say. I see both of them as quite mainstream, and I don’t think they are more to the right (relative to the median voter) than the mainstream media is left. And then there are all the far-left outfits (like MSNBC). It’s true that these aren’t as popular as Fox, because Fox is only slight to the right of the median viewer! But what’s on MSNBC probably has as much influence on the median elite (rather than median voter) as what’s on Fox.

    In general the financial news has a more conservative perspective, but it’s mostly blue tribe business conservatism, so leaves a lot of the right out in the cold.

  62. xq says:

    I don’t think your argument is responsive to Roberts’. Partly this is Roberts’ fault, because part of his argument is hidden in links to Brian Beutler and Matt Yglesias, and his own article is less explicitly about media criticism than those links, but he clearly agrees with them and his article needs to be seen in that context.

    The basic argument is: the media’s response to asymmetric polarization has been “false balance” (Republicans do this bad thing, Democrats do this bad thing, it all pretty much evens out) rather than maintenance of norms against right-wing encroachment. An example of this is the vast amounts of attention the media paid to the Clinton emails, to balance out coverage of various Trump scandals. The common center-left media critique that Roberts is echoing here is that, rather than trying to achieve parity in negative coverage by magnifying the importance of the email scandal, the media should have covered Clinton vs Trump scandals in proportion to their actual importance.

    Your response is against people on twitter saying “hey, I notice my side kind of controls all of this stuff, the situation is actually asymmetrical, they have no way of retaliating, maybe we should just grind our enemies beneath our boots this one time.” But this is not the view Roberts, or Vox, represents. They do not feel that their side controls the mainstream media; to the contrary, they believe they’ve been outplayed by the right in this space. You think gatekeeper institutions should try being less biased against conservatives. But to Roberts, much of problem is that the media already goes out of its way to be fair to conservatives, at the expense of other values like accuracy. Perhaps they are wrong, but your article is non-responsive to the core of the argument, instead responding to a very different viewpoint.

    • gbdub says:

      Besides the obvious question begging (we’re right, so showing the other side doesn’t make us balanced, it just makes us wrong) I think that’s the core of the “cry wolf” problem. The left-leaning media already lost its credibility with right wingers, who defected to make their own institutions. At this point, being more openly biased just feeds ammunition to the right wingers saying “see, you’ve been biased all along, why should we believe you now?”

      The fact that Trump got elected shows the right-wingers and right-leaning moderates are too numerous to crush, so you have to actually convince some of them. Unfortunately any moral capital you had with them was lost arguing that W. Bush was the unique, totally unprecedented threat to democracy. Saying “okay, now we’re really serious” and turning up the stridency doesn’t buy that capital back.

      The power of academia and the news media to convince the broader population of things they don’t really want to believe was a powerful but delicate tool, and now that it’s broken it’s going to be really hard to repair.

      If you want to prove how deadly serious you now are, I think you have to be more charitable to Trump than you were to past Republican presidents, not less. Then you can say, look, we’re bending over backwards to be charitable and objective here, and the best case scenario still doesn’t work. Maybe that strategy won’t help, but screaming “he’s a racist with tiny hands” over and over again isn’t helping.

      So far moderate Republican legislators have done more to block Trump than anybody – what’s the argument you’d pitch to them?

      • xq says:

        You’re treating points in contention as so obvious they don’t even need to be argued (and then accusing the other side of “question-begging”)

        Can you point to some examples you believe to be representative of the mainstream media “arguing that W. Bush was the unique, totally unprecedented threat to democracy”?

        Out of curiosity, I googled the NYT endorsement of Al Gore in 2000:

        Despite all the complaints about the difficulty of falling in love with either Al Gore or George W. Bush, these two very different men have delivered a clean, well-argued campaign that offers a choice between two sharply contrasting visions of the future…
        Having listened to their debate, we today firmly endorse Al Gore as the man best equipped for the presidency by virtue of his knowledge of government, his experience at the top levels of federal and diplomatic decision-making, and his devotion to the general welfare. We offer this endorsement knowing that Mr. Bush is not without his strong points and that Mr. Gore has his weaknesses. But the vice president has struggled impressively and successfully to escape the shadow of