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Open Thread 76.75

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

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959 Responses to Open Thread 76.75

  1. Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Replying to a comment that I can’t find quickly: I strongly agree that you can’t understand Islam by studying the Koran.

    I will take it further and say that in a world where Buddhists are persecuting and murdering Muslims in Burma, religion is fairly local group culture, and that’s probably a better tool for predicting behavior than studying holy texts.

    I admit I came to this belief after 9/11. I considered reading the Koran, but that iddn’t seem like my sort of fun, and I realized that you couldn’t deduce the specifics of modern Christian religion from reading the bible. So I didn’t need to read the Koran.

    This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read holy texts, just that they don’t have much predictive power about the people who say they believe those texts.

    • bintchaos says:

      Wow…
      Try this– Islamic law (shariah) is quranic exegesis.
      Shariah is the consensual rule of law in dar ul Islam, just like secular law is the rule of law in US and UK and other secular democracies.
      Islamic lawmakers are also clerics, who derive islamic jurisprudence from the Quran.
      This is an example of why I don’t think this commentariat understands Islam.
      Another example– salafi-jihadism is absolutely derived from islamic sacred texts, from Quran and ahadith and teachings of islamic scholars.
      I take it you are uninterested in terrorist motivations and terrorist self-justifications of their actions?

      • rlms says:

        Replacing “Islamic” with “Jewish”, “Quran” with “Torah” works pretty well for a lot of those examples.

        • bintchaos says:

          sure, but the only jewish country is Israel and they have secular parliamentary representative government and follow secular law.
          OTOH Israel does discriminate against minorities in its citizenry– e.g. no Israeli rabbi will marry a jewish woman to an arab man.

          • The only Jewish country is Israel, and Israeli law is not Jewish law, although the former is influenced by the latter. Consider, for a particular example, the legal age of marriage.

            But Jewish law existed and was enforced in diaspora communities for most of the time between the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel and the emancipation, beginning in the late 18th century. So it existed to be compared to Islamic law. Both were decentralized systems, based largely on interpretation of the religious sources by religious scholars. And they were in fact similar in many ways.

          • bintchaos says:

            So why the enormous disparity in reps if judaism and islam are so similar?
            Does it have to do with membership requirements or geo-location?
            Don’t all three religions have a common source? Christians built on the Jewish sacred texts, and muslims built on the Christian sacred texts.
            That would be the Cavalli-Sforza argument on cultural and memetic transmission.

    • Nornagest says:

      I did read a translation of the Koran in the early 2000s, and found it spectacularly unhelpful in understanding the politics around Islam. So that’s a data point in your favor.

      • bintchaos says:

        Incredible.
        All of shariah is quranic exegesis.

        • Nornagest says:

          Okay.

        • Trofim_Lysenko says:

          And yet there is a massive breadth in that exegesis that allows for one Imam to say that obviously the killing of innocent Muslims in the course of physical Jihad is sinful, and for another to say that obviously the killing of innocent Muslims in the course of physical Jihad is forgiven because those Muslims are then blessed martyrs who will go straight to heaven and that any blame and sin lies with the enemies of Islam for making the Jihad necessary.

          This is the same fundamental problem as the Bible and associated Christian exegesis. We humans are really good at reading what we want into texts and twisting them around to support courses of action we want to do.

          Simply referring to the core text, or even to any one scholar’s interpretation and exegesis or even a large school’s interpretation of that text does not give you a complete picture.

          Similar to the way you referred to Salafist Jihadism as if it was the sole philosophical source for Islamist terrorist violence, when in fact it is simply the most recent and currently most influential strain of it.

          • bintchaos says:

            Islam is a consensus religion, any school can be ascendent. It is haram to interpret Quran by reason alone. A lot of Islam is evolved/designed to prevent memetic drift and mutation, and to distribute power to the jurisprudents/clerics (same thing).
            Again, if you want to know what contemporary islamic terrorists (the ones the world is currently worried about) read their 2 field manuals– (dont try the Quran).
            theres translations on the internet
            1. Management of Savagery –Naji (more influential on IS)
            2. The Call to Global Islamic Jihad –Setmarian (more influential on al-Qaeda)
            My complex adaptive systems analysis: Islamic insurgencies are all fractal instances of the same general conflict– scale changes, but the shape remains the same.

          • John Schilling says:

            It is haram to interpret Quran by reason alone

            Isn’t that exactly what “Quranic exegesis” is?

          • bintchaos says:

            No.
            I’m a student of Taymiyyan tafsir and Quran must be interpreted with religion, history, ahadith, isnad etc.
            Cannot be interpreted with reason ALONE.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @bintchaos

            I have read both the works you referenced, and neither is particularly relevant to my point except insofar as they reinforce it by illustrating the breadth of Islamic exegesis, the degree to which interpretation and teaching can vary from one scholarly authority to another. Remember, the same source materials (Qur’an, Sunna, Ahadith) gave rise to everything from ISIS to philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood to the law and culture of the current Iran regime to the Taliban to the laws and culture of countries like Malaysia and Kuwait. Nancy’s point was that study local culture and history is going to tell you a lot more about why Malaysia is different from Taliban-Era Afghanistan is different from ISIS-controlled areas in Syria than the religious texts.

            That you seem to have trouble grasping that point in favor of bumptious posturing about how little the SSC commentariat understands Islam does not speak well of your actual insight and reliability on this topic.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Trofim Lysenko
            Sorry but you aren’t making the point you think you are– both Setmarian and Naji (actually a pseudonym) draw on the Hanbali school and are heavily influenced by Ibn Taymiyya and his student Ibn Qayyim.
            Am I giving too much weight to the “make the sand glow” and “kill ’em all” cohort of the SSC commentariat?

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            Once again, you’re missing the point. I’m not sure why the myopic focus on one subset of a subset of Islamic theology. My point wasn’t that the two works are strikingly different from each other, but that they are strikingly different from the REST OF TAFSIR.

            To reiterate, despite the various epistemic safeguards intended to ensure informational hygiene and perfect transmission, you have a core set of documents being used to simultaneously produce ideologies like those of the Jihadists on the one hand, and those of, say, Iran on the other, and those of your average Malay on a third, and your average Muslim resident of Dearborn, MI on a fourth, and so on.

            Thus, Nancy’s conclusion that study of those source documents themselves are insufficient.

            This is not a hard concept, man.

        • All of shariah is quranic exegesis.

          That is not correct. A great deal of Islamic law, which I would label as fiqh (jurisprudence) not shariah (law in the mind of God), is based on hadith.

          There is a continuing scholarly argument on to what degree the hadith are real accounts of what the Prophet and his companions did and said, to what degree they were invented after the fact to justify legal rules based on neither the Quran nor the Prophet but on either preexisting Arabic law or legal rules of the conquered territories.

          • bintchaos says:

            Please tell me you aren’t writing a book on Quran without being able to read fusha.
            Or actual training or study as an islamic scholar.
            The last thing the world needs is another non-muslim blind man feeling the elephant.

  2. Nancy Lebovitz says:

    In re difficulties with taking action to improve one’s life:

    I have some problems along those lines myself. I believe that part of depression is having difficulty imagining positive outcomes vividly enough to impel action. Or maybe connecting outcomes and action has a component which isn’t about vividness.

    Any thoughts about whether depression is related to a freeze reaction? (I’ve heard it said that it’s not just fight or flight, it’s fight, flight, or freeze. And a further suggestion that fawn (make nice to potentially dangerous people) should be in the mix.)

    Sometimes it does feel like “Do I dare disturb the universe?” Excessively punitive early authority figure? Combination of punitive and nurtuting, so it really feels safest to do nothing? Anxious authority figure, who’s uncomfortable at a child showing initiative?

    While we’re at it, I think there’s a sort of depression which manifests as the ability to engage in and enjoy hobbies while finding it extraordinarily difficult to take care of oneself. Does this have a name?

  3. Nancy Lebovitz says:

    I recently ran across a comment about a product which cost nearly twice as much (at inferior quality) when sold to customers who weren’t as well off.

    I said there’s more guesswork in prices than most people know, but I don’t know whether that’s the whole story. Maybe the better off customers had better knowledge of what is available.

    Anyway, I thought this was a good place to ask about whether much is known about merchants guessing about retail prices, and possibly also how much status level of customers affects prices.

    • Loquat says:

      I’m curious about the context of that price difference. Was the poor-people price meant to be paid all at once, or over time on credit with the possibility of repossession if payments weren’t made? And how does the seller discriminate? I assume we’re talking about credit, in which case the buyer’s credit score and income level influence the terms they get, or maybe explicitly rent-to-own furniture stores which base their entire business model around selling stuff to poor people at high rates, then repossessing it for resale when the buyer falls behind.

      From my brief experience working in retail, the boss had a standard markup percentage she applied to most things, with maybe some rounding up or down on small items.

      • Nancy Lebovitz says:

        No, it’s slacks for fat women. One of the stores is probably LLBean and the other might well be Lane Bryant.

        It’s conceivable that LLBean is less fashion-orientated and therefore spends less producing clothing that doesn’t sell, but this is only a guess.

        • Matt M says:

          Interesting to consider. Most sophisticated pricers will have done some extensive research and modeling of customer willingness to pay. So I would ask, “Why are poor fat women willing to pay more for inferior slacks than wealthy fat women?”

          One guess springs to mind immediately (for me), which is that poor fat women may not wear slacks very often, and as such, will consider them a sort of luxury type item that maybe you purchase one pair and wear them on special occasions, whereas wealthy fat women are more likely to be working professionals for whom slacks are a a regular part of their wardrobe, so they are more discriminating not just in tastes, but in value as well. Just a theory of course.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            If I’m right about Lane Bryant, it isn’t a store for poor people, the prices are more middle class.

          • Loquat says:

            Having bought from LL Bean, and browsed Lane Bryant at the mall, I would never have guessed that they’re aimed at noticeably different income levels. I just checked their pants prices online, and Lane Bryant seems consistently higher (roughly $70 versus $45), and they don’t seem like a lower-quality place although of course you can’t verify clothing quality from the website. Honestly, my first guess would be that a store specializing in clothing for fat women could get away with higher prices because of a combination of (a) their target market feeling more welcome there, and (b) a logical assumption by customers that the place which only sells plus sizes will have better and/or more flattering plus-size clothing than the places that sell all sizes.

          • Matt M says:

            To agree with Loquat, I think that niche markets are generally more susceptible to, let’s call it “inefficient pricing” than more mainstream markets are.

          • Deiseach says:

            Dear people: fat people pay more for clothing in general. Usually this is for sensible reasons such as our clothes require more material.

            However, at the same time there is also much less choice in the clothing available, and it is often of poor quality. Manufacturers use the claim that “the market share of fat people is too small to bother with” for not making or including larger size clothes in their range.

            Often larger size clothing is simply a scaled-up model of “regular” size which means it fits badly or not where it’s needed to fit (e.g. sleeves are too long but also too tight).

            As to why fat women put up with this: because the choice is so small. If Regular Rachel has a choice of twelve dresses, skirts, slacks or tops, and Fat Felicity has a choice of three, and you can’t go naked, then Felicity is going to buy the clothing that (kinda) fits even if it’s more expensive and not as good, whereas Rachel can be more choosy.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Another real difficulty of clothing for fat people is that fat people have all the variation of skeleton and muscle that thin people do *plus* more variation of fat distribution.

            However, there’s also what might be called sumptuary custom– clothes with good styling and materials just don’t get made for fat women. From what I can gather, the siutation is better online than it used to be, but there’s no real improvement in stores.

            This situation is my handy example for the market not optimizing.

            Back to the original subject– it turns out that Lane Bryant doesn’t have a store in that area, so online vs. in person doesn’t offer an explanation.

          • Aapje says:

            @Nancy Lebovitz

            My experience is that stores don’t change the price of different sizes of shoes depending on the number of potential customers who have that shoe size. That would be logical, since the profitability of stocking an item goes down substantially if the number of potential customers is lower. Instead, shops simply don’t carry shoes above and below a certain size, where the cost of stocking that size is higher than the profit.

            Apparently, shoe buyers are economically irrational and refuse to pay for the rarity of their shoe size. This effectively is a subsidy by buyers with common shoe sizes to buyers with rare sizes, but also has the effect of cutting off part of the market. The market is optimizing to the (strong?) consumer preference for the same price for all shoe sizes.

            If the same is true for clothing, then fat people are doubly screwed, because as you argue, they not only need a more rare size, but they also need more body type variants. The resulting low number of potential consumers for each size+body type variant then makes it often unprofitable to offer the clothes for the same price as clothing for more typical bodies.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            I can’t comment on women’s clothing, but for men it seems to be a combination of frequency and material use, and there is a very notable markup:

            For example, Van Heusen Shirts (a brand I buy), fairly run of the mill button up dress shirts of the sort that’s such a ubiquitous part of white collar attire it’s every bit as much a uniform as a silly hat and a nametag. Prices are rounded a bit:

            S,M: $20
            L: $19.25
            XL: $19.50
            XXL: $22.50
            3XL: $24.25
            4XL: $33.85
            5XL: $40

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Another example of price varying with size is T-shirts. The larger sizes frequently cost a little more.

            As I recall, LLBean also charges a little extra for their larger sizes, though I haven’t sorted out the difference between XL and 1X.

            Aapje, the unusual part of the situation is that large sizes for women aren’t simply absent (though they frequently are– and I’ve seen accounts by large women being told that there’s nothing for them in stores even though they might have been there to buy a gift or an accessory), but present while being in inferior styles and material.

            There are people (I think at least influences by Marxism) who believe that discrimination/oppression only exists to get a material advantage. I believe that happens, but also that discrimination and oppression are a luxury that people will engage in even if they lose by it.

          • Aapje says:

            @Trofim_Lysenko

            Interesting, perhaps the Dutch consumers are less rational than the ones near you. 🙂 Or perhaps I’m just not paying attention (shopping is not my hobby).

            @Nancy Lebovitz

            After googling a bit, it now seems more plausible to me that there are a variety of reasons that all work in concert. It may be true that:
            – fashion design schools don’t teach to design for plus-size clothing
            – people who choose fashion tend to be thin and often design for themselves and/or their thin friends
            – the fashion industry is rather f’ed up in general, having an androgynous ideal (see fashion shows with men and women who often seem pre-puberty when it comes to their body)
            – foreign manufacturers in places like Bangladesh have standard patterns for certain sizes and if a brand wants something different, they then have to spend way more effort to handhold the producer, pay more for manufacturing, experience delays because the manufacturers will more often get it wrong, etc. So brands that want something different have to really go against the grain.
            – the focus on refreshing the product line frequently is particularly harsh on female plus-sized clothing, as female fashion changes more often, so the product lines get replaced more often. If plus-sized women differ more in body style, then this may mean that a lot of it is not sold by the time the fashion changes.

          • Harry Maurice Johnston says:

            @Aapje, are you sure the reason is that shoe buyers object to different pricing and not, for example, because it makes it harder to accurately indicate the pricing in-store?

            Advertising isn’t going to have the same impact either if you have to put in a whole bunch of different prices rather than just one, although I guess that only affects product lines that are being promoted.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            Note that those are Amazon prices. If I go to my local Sear’s/JC Penny’s and find those same shirts, it’s going to be:

            S-3XL: $25 except when on sale.
            4XL and up: Not available.

            And then you can go to the Big And Tall Store or whatever local store or chain has fat people clothes, and it’ll be:

            3XL-6XL: $45-50.

            So it may be that the difference is between online retail and storefront retail. Condensing the prices streamlines things on several levels for the store. Either way, I’m willing to bet that the pricing is the same on other items, and that rather than discounting the more expensive sizes, brick-and-mortar stores pad the prices to a nice even level and just have a smaller margin on the cheapest sizes.

          • Aapje says:

            @Harry Maurice Johnston

            are you sure the reason is that shoe buyers object to different pricing and not, for example, because it makes it harder to accurately indicate the pricing in-store?

            My experience is that some shoe stores sort by size, not by model. They have to price the shoes individually anyway. Others present a single model and fetch the specific size when requested, which would make differential pricing a bit hard to indicate & very obvious to the consumer.

            @Trofim_Lysenko

            rather than discounting the more expensive sizes, brick-and-mortar stores pad the prices to a nice even level and just have a smaller margin on the cheapest sizes.

            One can assume that in a reasonably competitive market, the margins would be driven down to a level where the store is making enough profit to remain solvent, but not enough profit to allow the competition to outcompete them. In such a market, padding prices, rather than averaging them out, would allow the competition to undercut them.

          • Harry Maurice Johnston says:

            @Aapje, hmmm. In order for the market to be competitive enough for that to be true, customers need sufficiently accurate detail on pricing in advance. You might do that over the internet, even with a price-per-size system, but that’s not ideal as a customer – if you know exactly what size you need for a particular model of shoe, you don’t need a brick-and-mortar store anyway, and if you don’t, it’s going to be more difficult to compare pricing between stores if each size has a different price.

            So perhaps from that perspective a preference for uniform pricing isn’t as irrational as all that after all? What’s the opposite of a confusopoly?

            (Doesn’t apply if there are multiple show stores at the same site, of course. And I don’t think I’ve ever even tried to comparison shop for shoes, so YMMV.)

        • Douglas Knight says:

          This is part of a very broad pattern that mail-order is both aimed at the richer half of society and cheaper than bricks and mortar.

  4. bintchaos says:

    For example, IS sources are blaming/justifying the London attacks on the use of “willy pete” (white phosphorous) in Mosul. It certainly may be the Russians and Assad are using it, but IS can claim its the coalition bombers for their own purposes.
    Here’s a link to the Amaq video:
    https://twitter.com/FazelHawramy/status/871331640630530050
    In a globalized, connected world, its not possible to quarantine news.
    There is a lot of quranic exegesis that supports a defensive struggle (jihad), mostly from Taymiyyan tafsir.

    • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

      So apparently naked apologism for Islamic terrorism is a-ok, but if someone here wants to talk about Charles Murray or Curtis Yarvin we need super-secret code words. Those are some revealing priorities…

      I get that the report button is broken but this is ridiculous.

      • bintchaos says:

        I’m not apologizing…I’m explaining. And I haven’t said any half truths about Islam– I can back everything I’ve said with Quran and tafsir and evo theory of religion and evolutionary theory of games.
        I didn’t say Murray was “wrong”…I just said he is an awful standard-bearer to represent conservative ideology on campuses, assuming conservatives are trying to break into the closed liberal academic marketplace of ideas.
        And I’m sorry, but I have no idea who Curtis Yarvin is.

        • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

          The comment wasn’t directed at you, it’s directed at Scott and Bakkot.

          I’m replying to your comment as a way of highlighting how absurd it is that Islamists like you who provide cover for ISIS are given a platform here while stats geeks who analyze psychometrics are being muzzled for being ‘too dangerous.’

          • bintchaos says:

            I certainly dont think of myself as an “Islamist” — could you define islamist for me please?
            I wasn’t aware that anyone here was “muzzled”.
            I think what you are describing is pandering to the liberal base on racial & gender IQ differences…kindof like how conservatives pander to their base on climate science and evolution.
            Again, for anyone interested in a rational treatment of IQ, there is Dr. Haier’s book.
            Neuroscience of Intelligence– Murray is mentioned. 🙂

        • Gobbobobble says:

          The difference between crusaders and jihadists is that jihadism is defensive, crusaderism was offensive.

          I haven’t said any half truths about Islam

          • The original Mr. X says:

            To be fair, that statement was more along the lines of an outright falsehood than a half-truth.

          • Nornagest says:

            To be fair, I kinda get the impression that if you ask three Muslims what jihad means, you’ll get six answers.

      • Montfort says:

        Don’t be absurd. I’m sure if dozens of terrorism apologists start flocking to the site and trotting out their hobby horse in every conversation we’ll make them come up with some codewords, too.

        • bintchaos says:

          Can my code word please be Einstein?
          Because this is my hobbyhorse:
          “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

      • Matt M says:

        Naked apologism for terrorism won’t get our host in trouble with his bosses and colleagues. That may be a sad state of affairs, but is true nonetheless.

      • rlms says:

        If you think bintchaos is an Islamist, you might be suffering from outgroup homogeneity bias. If you think the above comment is in any way justifying terrorism, you should probably read it again.

        • The Nybbler says:

          If you think it’s NOT justifying terrorism, you should probably read the rest of this poster’s recent output. As for “Islamist”, I couldn’t say whether Islamist or apologist for same.

          • bintchaos says:

            I’m not an apologist– I’m a mathematician and a realist.
            To paraphrase Descartes, Math is the only true epochè.

          • rlms says:

            Justification implies moral approval. Has bintchaos expressed moral approval of terrorism? I’ve not seen it.

    • The Nybbler says:

      For example, IS sources are blaming/justifying the London attacks on the use of “willy pete” (white phosphorous) in Mosul. It certainly may be the Russians and Assad are using it, but IS can claim its the coalition bombers for their own purposes.

      Or it may just be they’re lying. Been known to happen.

      • bintchaos says:

        Yes, that is true. Its a result of Internet connectivity and US government lying– like denying the use of DU in Fallujah. Propaganda and counter-propaganda is much easier to spread.
        Heres another reason IS gave in the telegraph.
        Love from Manchester written on a bomb
        If you think US government doesnt do this, then perhaps you should read Nick Turse “Kill Anything that Moves”.
        A book made of FOIA requests on the VietNam war.
        I literally cried when I read it…

  5. bintchaos says:

    I will just put this at the bottom then.
    @rlms
    you mean military juntas, correct?

    @David Friedman
    Sorry for lumping the Sahaba and the Tabi’un together but I really didn’t think this commentariat was ready for any level of detail (based on comments here). Sunni muslims believe the Quran is outside time and space, uncreated, revealed. I have never heard of copies of Quran being destroyed– muslims would do that? Quran is sacred. Memetic drift is also prevented by the injunction against translation from arabic, and Quran is written in classical arabic or fusha and although translations are allowed they are viewed as incomplete. People all over the world study Quran every day– not just islamic scholars, but researchers in computational linguistics and information theory. Rand corporation in the US studies Quran looking for ways to subvert it to US goals.
    There are 300k adjectives in French, 600k in English, and over 2 million in arabic. It is said that there are seven thousand layers of meaning in Quran. The life and actions of Muhammed in ahadith form a sort of contextual cordon sanitaire against free-form interpretations of the sacred text.
    This is interesting to me– the n-gram entropy of Quran is 163 bits, which is also the largest Heegner number.
    Fascinating.

    also David Friedman
    Murray is an old white guy with tons of internet hits on his perceived racist agenda, and not a professor or an academic. He is a paid marketeer working for a conservative think tank with degrees in history and polysci. Remember why we have conservative “think tanks” — because universities are painted blue. Where are the young cool conservative researchers to carry your banners? The alt-right isnt going to cut it.

    @Deiseach

    (c) the Church has cleaned up its act since (d) rules for obtaining indulgences – note no money is required for purchase

    even more purely salvation-by-faith-alone– the difference is muslims do not believe in original sin.

    • Deiseach says:

      I really didn’t think this commentariat was ready for any level of detail (based on comments here).

      You have probably lucked into one of the few places on the Internet where the more detail, the merrier 🙂

    • Sunni muslims believe the Quran is outside time and space, uncreated, revealed.

      More precisely, that is the Ash’arite position. It has been dominant since the Asharites won out over the Mutazilites, but I don’t think it defines Sunni Islam.

      I have never heard of copies of Quran being destroyed– muslims would do that?

      A canonical version was established under Uthman, and variant versions destroyed. Scholars differ on the details.

      • bintchaos says:

        Defines contemporary Sunni Islam.
        So if you understand that much, why don’t you understand the origins of salafi-jihadism and the gross morphological and functional differences between Christianity and Islam?
        The difference between crusaders and jihadists is that jihadism is defensive, crusaderism was offensive.
        Quran also says to deal with the Proselytizers (Christians) in a proportional manner.
        “the streets of Jerusalem ran with blood up to the horses’ knees…”
        The bombing and drone strikes create a permissiveness of atrocity in response. Asymmetrical warfare does the rest.

        • The difference between crusaders and jihadists is that jihadism is defensive, crusaderism was offensive.

          Both were offensive. The Muslims started with the city of Medina. They conquered Mecca by a combination of military aggression and conversion. They then conquered all of the Sassanid Empire and about half the Byzantine Empire by military means. Similarly for the expansion into India, the conquest of most of Iberia, … .

          That isn’t the result of being defensive.

          Islam was, on the whole, more tolerant than Christianity–areas ruled by Muslims with substantial non-Muslim populations were common, areas ruled by Christians with substantial non-Christian populations uncommon. But Islam expanded mostly by military aggression, Christianity largely by conversion, although sometimes by aggression as well.

          • bintchaos says:

            I was explicitly contrasting crusaders and jihadists.
            I dont think arab on arab conflict in Mecca and Medina has anything to do with my argument.

          • Jihad can be, and was, against Arab non-Muslims just as it can be against non-Arab non-Muslims, so I don’t see your point.

          • bintchaos says:

            I thought we were contrasting christianity and Islam, particularly vis a vis the Crusades, and how that is relevant in 21st century globalist world.
            India is about relevant as introducing the conquistadores and the Incas would be.

        • publiusvarinius says:

          @bintchaos: You’ve said a lot of half-truths about Islam in this thread. You have been corrected numerous times by different commenters, yet you continue unshaken in your resolve. At this point you should at least decrease your confidence in the correctness of your knowledge.

          Anyway, the First Crusade was called shortly after the Turks and Arabs defeated the Greeks at Manzikert, and 50 years after Al-Hakim revived the tried-and-true tradition of massacring non-Muslims in Jerusalem.

          The offensive war of the Turks has been going on for years at that point: it’ filled with delightful events such as the destruction of the city of Ani and massacre of its Christian population. (see also Historia Hierosolymitana, Gesta Francorum)

          Considering the situation, the Crusade was very much a defensive move.

          • bintchaos says:

            Maybe the First Crusade… how many more were there? 10? 12?
            I haven’t said a single half-truth about Islam.
            I can back everything I have said with Quran and tafsir.
            David Friedman was wrong when he said muslims believe mankind is corrupted by the world– muslims believe mankind is forgetful, not evil– thus, dikhr: remembrance. Muslims do not believe in the Jesus godhead– muslims believe Issa was a mortal prophet. Muslims reject the doctrine of original sin. Muslims believe in salvation through faith AND works.

    • rlms says:

      Yes, various forms of government on the scale from junta to military dictatorship have been pretty successful in North Africa.

      • bintchaos says:

        pardon, I should have said “representative government”.
        I keep forgetting that representative government isnt important to the West anymore.

        • rlms says:

          If you’re saying that persistent lack of representative government is down to some inherent aspect of Islam, I guess Russia and China must have a lot more Muslims than I thought (and I’ll point out Tunisia again).

          • bintchaos says:

            omg, it isn’t due to some “inherent aspect of Islam”, its due to any democratically elected islamic government being crushed/destabilized by the West.
            Wait…is that sarcasm? I have trouble with sarcasm. I’m an aspie.
            I followed Tunisia at the time– there was not a “slight majority of secularists”. Islamists held the majority count. But its interesting that you feel you need to claim that.

            When muslims are democratically empowered to vote, they vote for Islam.
            That is the tragic flaw of the Bush Doctrine. Democracy promotion in majority muslim states just leads to more islamism and more islamists.
            It spreads.

            China and Russia are evolved revolutions– initially they were representative.

          • rlms says:

            No, I’m not being sarcastic. To clarify, I meant “persistent lack of representative non-Islamist government”. If you are saying that no Muslim countries are democratic because the West crushes elected Islamist governments, you are assuming that those countries will always elect Islamist governments. I’m presuming your basis for that assumption is “some inherent aspect of Islam”. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood and you have some other reason.

            Tunisia is somewhat irrelevant, in that I held similar beliefs (that Muslim countries can have democratic non-Islamist governments) on this topic prior to the Arab spring. However you’re still wrong. I don’t know why you’re talking about “Tunisia at the time”, my point is that they *currently* have elected a secular government. That they previously had an Islamist majority is a point in my favour! Electing Islamists and then having them step down when you unelect them is more impressive than not electing them in the first place. Senegal and Albania are further examples of countries with mostly democratic non-Islamist governments.

            If we make another distinction, there are a lot more examples. I think there is an important difference between countries that have laws (against sodomy, blasphemy etc.) taken from Islam but still have an elected government, and actual theocracies. Although the former is still undesirable for progressives like me, it’s not fundamentally different along the oppressive religionness axis from e.g. the UK in the 1950s. I don’t want to go back to the policies that we had then, but it’s not the end of the world if other countries have them. A lot of Muslim countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey etc.) fall on the 50s UK side of this divide.

          • bintchaos says:

            Oh…I see.
            Yes, I do believe muslims will vote for Islam, given the choice.
            Muslims like Islam.
            I also don’t believe universal rights/universal human values exist.
            Because the coarsest scale of the fractal dimension of h.sapiens is N>> 1.
            2 tribes that fight.
            So when you talk about progressive values like free speech or gender equality…it is just meaningless.
            I know this is heresy…my professors universally claim “we are all one”.
            I don’t believe in pure selection of the fittest or evo theory of cooperation in the forms I was initially taught.
            There is too much evidence for the CCP.

          • rlms says:

            What about the Muslims in Senegal, Albania, and Western countries? Why don’t they vote for Islam or Islamism?

  6. Deiseach says:

    Okay, remember the Cowlar that Scott mentioned, back in that post about Silicon Valley? Looks like one farm in Iowa (indeed, several farms) has gone even further:

    Stensland Farms is one of about 50 farms in Iowa that have made the switch to robots. In the US, there are 2,000 robotic milking machines installed, according to estimates from Lely, the Dutch ag-tech company that makes the system Stensland uses.

    And yes, though they don’t mention it by name, it sounds like they’re using Cowlars or something similar:

    The cows’ collar trackers collect a vast quantity of data about the animals’ health and habits — “just like the Fitbit that I have around my wrist,” Fried says — including the number of steps the cow takes per day and their rumination (how much they’re chewing their cud, part of the animals’ digestive process).

    “That becomes an indicator of health,” Fried says. “If a cow has elevated activity and decreased rumination, chances are she’s in heat.”

    Stensland used to artificially synchronize his cows’ fertility cycles using shots so that he could track when they were in heat and ready for insemination. Now he uses information from the trackers and he can follow the cow’s natural cycles. Plus, he says, the system allows him to detect and treat illness or abnormalities better than he could before.

    But the big thing here is labour, and this farm has already eliminated a couple of jobs. I don’t know how things work in the USA but peak milk production over here is roughly April-August. You often see ads in the papers looking for relief milkers and our Iowa farm says it was dependent on immigrant workers. But now they don’t need to be:

    Dairy farmers struggle to fill these jobs, since younger generations are increasingly uninterested in taking up the manual labor of the family business, and it’s hard to find locals willing to do the grueling work. Many farmers rely on immigrant workers, a business model that comes with its own risks, especially given President Trump’s vows to restrict immigration over the US’s southern border. The robots, however, can milk up to 60 cows per day.

    “Once we got these robots in, we were able to lighten the load on the family, plus actually we were able to eliminate a couple jobs,” Stensland says, adding that he thinks the robots will make working on the farm more appealing to future generations of the family.

    Now, if they can have robots milking cows, then I don’t see any reason automation can’t move into tillage. Right now is silage season which also is very demanding and labour-intensive. If you can get self-driving tractors, harvesters, etc this will mean a massive reduction in the need for workers. We talked about this before on here and the idea of large-scale automation for the kind of American farm labour where immigrant workers were needed was dismissed as “not just yet”, as things like fruit picking were much too sensitive.

    But things like grain harvesting and silage cutting aren’t that sensitive. And if they can manage to get robots able to handle a cow’s teats, then robots able to handle fruit will not be that far behind.

    It may turn out that illegal immigration will be slowed or reduced greatly, not because of Trump’s wall or policies, but because automation means the need for labour is reduced so much. They’re talking about it in construction work, it’s happening here as we see with farm work – the traditional occupations for undocumented immigrants. Interesting statistics here from 2016 which includes as part of their definition of “foreign-born”:

    Foreign born. The foreign born are persons residing in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth. That is, they were born outside the United States or one of its outlying areas such as Puerto Rico or Guam, to parents neither of whom was a U.S. citizen. The foreign-born population includes legally-admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants. The survey data, however, do not separately identify the number of persons in these categories.

    Occupations for the foreign-born (and thus those most likely to be vulnerable to automation):

    Occupation
    In 2016, foreign-born workers were more likely than native-born workers to be employed in service occupations (23.5 percent versus 16.5 percent); in production, transportation, and material moving occupations (14.8 percent versus 11.1 percent); and in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations (13.6 percent versus 8.3 percent). (See table 4.)

    Native-born workers were more likely than foreign-born workers to be employed in management, professional, and related occupations (40.7 percent versus 32.2 percent) and in sales and office occupations (23.4 percent versus 15.9 percent).

    Among the employed, foreign-born men were more likely than native-born men to work in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations; in production, transportation, and material moving occupations; and in service occupations. Compared with employed native-born women, employed foreign-born women were more likely to be in service occupations; in production, transportation, and material moving occupations; and in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations. The disparity was especially great in service occupations—32.5 percent of employed foreign-born women worked in service occupations in 2016, compared with 19.4 percent of employed native-born women. In contrast, employed native-born men and women were more likely than their foreign-born counterparts to be in management, professional, and related occupations and in sales and office occupations.

    The following may be of interest; one of the fields where foreign-born outnumber native-born in a profession:

    Occupation as a percent of total employed

    Computer and mathematical occupations

    Foreign born: Men 6.0% Women 2.7%

    Native born: Men 3.8% Women 1.5%

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      Lumping IIT grads in with Mexicans with so little education they haven’t even learned Spanish is unlikely to provide much insight. (This is probably deliberate on the part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

      Here’s my guess at a more-detailed breakdown:

      Computer and mathematical occupations

      Foreign born (India): Men 5.9% Women 2.7%
      Foreign born (other): Men 0.1% Women 0.0%

      Native born: Men 3.8% Women 1.5%

      • Montfort says:

        I wouldn’t want to let data get in the way of your hyperbole, but all Asians made up only 25.8% of foreign-born employees in 2016. Even assuming all Asians counted were Indian (they weren’t), you would need to assume a staggering 22.9% of all employed Indian-born males and 10.5% of employed Indian-born females work in computer and mathematical occupations. And then who’s left to fill the other professional and managerial positions employing foreign-born workers?

    • Montfort says:

      one of the fields where foreign-born outnumber native-born in a profession

      Sorry to nitpick, but those last statistics are a little ambiguous. So, to be clear, native workers are not outnumbered in this sector – foreign-born workers are merely over-represented. The foreign-born labor force is only 16.9% of the total US workforce, so the linked survey seems to indicate ~76% of men and ~74% of women employed in “computer and mathematical occupations” are native-born.

  7. onyomi says:

    I notice a particular rhetorical tactic on the left, especially, and especially in the past few years, which is basically to state or imply that one’s rhetorical opponents are making a big deal out of nothing, blowing things way out proportion, imagining things, or indeed, just straight up strawmanning.

    Which is not to say conservatives do not strawman or imagine things or blow things out of proportion, but I think this video also does a good job of explaining why they might.

    That is, I think leftists have a strong interest in saying “calm down, this is no big deal, we’ve been here before, you’re exaggerating,” etc. etc. because, culturally, at least, the status quo has so very much been in their favor for several decades.

    It may be that conservatives do this too in areas where the status quo seems to favor them, like strong action on global warming or gun control. On these issues it seems to be liberals freaking out and conservatives saying “calm down.” (Of course, saying “don’t worry so much; things are fine as they are” is fundamentally a conservative view, but things get reversed when the status quo is rapid change).

    My point isn’t so much to prove that liberals are more awful, rhetorically, than conservatives, but rather to highlight what I think can sometimes be the highly motivated tendency to tell your opposition to “calm down,” “stop exaggerating,” etc. (especially when they’re losing*).

    *Edit to add: this may put all the more recent right-wing rhetoric about left wing “hysteria” etc. as a reaction to Trump in a different light as well.

    • The Nybbler says:

      I notice a particular rhetorical tactic on the left, especially, and especially in the past few years, which is basically to state or imply that one’s rhetorical opponents are making a big deal out of nothing, blowing things way out proportion, imagining things, or indeed, just straight up strawmanning.

      They call it “gaslighting” (from the movie) and say it’s their opponents who do it. Vox Day’s third rule applies, of course.

      There’s another common tactic; I’ve seen it once called “balloon biting” but that doesn’t seem to be a common term. It consists of asking questions which insinuate your opponent is wrong, especially in the way you’ve described. But then when they get an answer they fail to acknowledge it and just ask another such question.

    • Paul Zrimsek says:

      That’s just Isolated Demand for Rigor’s dumber brother, the Isolated Demand for Indifference. I can’t say that I’ve ever noticed any particular ideological valence to it, but it’s certainly popular. Of course the person who says “What’s the big deal? More people are killed by X” never actually wants us to ignore everything that fails to kill as many people as X, but he’d find it convenient if we ignored this one particular thing.

      • Fahundo says:

        There has to be a distinction between “ignore everything that kills less than X” and “quit acting like something that kills less than X is the greatest threat to civilization,” right?

        • Paul Zrimsek says:

          You’d think there would be– but then you’d be surprised by how often “we should do something about this” gets strawmanned as “this is the greatest threat to civilization”. (Besides, for all I know the greatest threat to civilization might not be killing anyone at all just yet.)

        • John Schilling says:

          Might civilization be threatened by something other than large numbers of deaths? Be sure you are using the right metric here.

          • bintchaos says:

            I think the greatest threat to US right now isnt terrorism– its polarization.
            A house divided against itself cannot stand.
            But Islam may well be an evolutionary threat to western civilization.
            It may have superior fitness in 21st-Century-World.

        • Paul Zrimsek says:

          Sorry, didn’t mean to get too hung up on people literally being killed– that was meant as a stand-in for Bad Things in general.

    • hoghoghoghoghog says:

      More evidence for your point: in areas where conservatives have been winning (the environment, Israel-Palestine conflict), conservatives are the ones saying to calm down.

      On second thought, no one should ever reason based on which side is “winning”, since everyone always thinks they are losing by whatever metrics matter most to them. You might as well count angels.

      Anyway this is going to be a feature of conflicts where both sides admit that trade-offs exist. Each side will downplay the concerns of the other.

      • onyomi says:

        everyone always thinks they are losing by whatever metrics matter most to them.

        I don’t think this is true. I have issues where I think political winds are blowing more in my favor and others where I think they’re not.

        • hoghoghoghoghog says:

          I over-stated my case. It is more that issues where one is losing gain salience. For example you write

          culturally, at least, the status quo has so very much been in [liberal’s] favor for several decades. It may be that conservatives do this too in areas where the status quo seems to favor them, like strong action on global warming or gun control.

          But to me, this looks like conservatives winning on the topics that matter for the last decade, while liberals get booby prizes like gay marriage[*].

          And “we are losing” rhetoric is powerful; for example “Cthulhu always swim left” is a total get-out-of-jail-free card for conservatives, while the sense that they are losing on racial integration and voting rights is behind a great deal of liberal fury. We should therefore expect to hear a lot of this rhetoric, and we should expect it to infect us.

          [*] Not that gay marriage isn’t nice, but the fundamental achievement here is acceptance of gay people, and it’s giving liberalism way too much credit to call that a liberal win.

          • Matt M says:

            I feel like “we always lose” is a MUCH more common complaint from the right than from the left. I hear it from the right constantly, everywhere. Pretty much the ONLY place I’ve EVER heard it from the left is… well, here.

            Also contrast “right side of history” which, nine times out of ten, is a phrased used to argue for (or celebrate the success of) leftist policies. The idea of “it is inevitable that we will win so you might as well surrender now” seems to be a tactic that is almost exclusive to the left.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            You hear it mostly from the hard economic leftists, Matt. If what you want is less free market approaches, more centralized government control and distribution of resources, A 100% nationalized health care system, a 100% nationalized education system, strong national and international unions able to dictate terms to businesses as the rule rather than the exception, and so on, stuff like Gay Marriage seems secondary.

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            The line I hear a lot from liberals is that conservatives are able to systematically shift the Overton window. So what happens is conservatives propose A, Liberals say ‘fine’, conservatives denounce A as radical leftism, and then 50% of the time A passes. This is basically what happened with Obamacare and with gay marriage – these policies weren’t proposed by the Conservative Central Committee or whatever, but they definitely came out of Conservatopia.

            It’s very nice for the democratic party, but from the point of view of liberal ideology this amounts to always losing.

          • Paul Zrimsek says:

            So liberals basically believe that Andrew Sullivan, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum are all the same person? That explains a thing or two.

          • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

            @hoghoghoghoghog,

            I don’t really have a dog in this fight, because I think that both the conservative and liberal bases have been losing simultaneously. That’s what happens when you have a self-serving establishment clique as the leadership of both parties.

            But this kind of stuck out to me:

            This is basically what happened with Obamacare and with gay marriage – these policies weren’t proposed by the Conservative Central Committee or whatever, but they definitely came out of Conservatopia.

            I remember the meme that Obamacare was a compromise* from single-payer, but I’d never until now heard the idea that legalizing gay marriage was a compromise position.

            I have no idea what the more preferred liberal option would be here. Abolishment of marriage entirely? Mandatory gay abortions? Sorry for the snark but I’m very confused.

            *Or at least the sort of weird unilateral compromise that’s more common these days. “I want all of your stuff but I’ll compromise and settle for the parts I can actually take. Why won’t you meet me halfway?”

          • Paul Zrimsek says:

            I believe the first person with any sort of audience to push the gay marriage idea was the aforementioned Andrew Sullivan. But to equate this with conservatives proposing gay marriage is raising outgroup homogeneity bias to an art form.

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            wrt outgroup homogeneity bias: this is why I wrote “these policies weren’t proposed by the Conservative Central Committee or whatever.” I don’t want this to turn into an argument about what conservatives believe, because that is an unanswerable question.

            @ Nabil ad Dajjal: The old school, Alger Hiss Did Nothing Wrong liberal position on gay marriage is that marriage is kind of dumb and the government shouldn’t be codifying and subsidizing it.

          • Nornagest says:

            So what happens is conservatives propose A, Liberals say ‘fine’, conservatives denounce A as radical leftism, and then 50% of the time A passes. This is basically what happened with Obamacare and with gay marriage

            It’s interesting that both sides find it convenient to identify as the one without any agency.

          • Paul Zrimsek says:

            If the part about the Central Committee was meant to acknowledge the non-uniformity of conservative thought, rather than just denying that it’s centrally imposed, then well and good– but now I find it impossible to make any sense of the original complaint. There’s simply no reason to suppose that there was any sneaky shifting of Overton windows going on at all– the only thing that happened was that liberals fastened on the idea of an idiosyncratic conservative, then were surprised when he proved unable to deliver the support of very many other conservatives. By the same token, I might be happy to push a few of Matt Yglesias’ neoliberal ideas, but I wouldn’t suspect anyone of underhandedness if it turned out that the typical Democratic Party activist wasn’t willing to go along.

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        (By the way, I see that the example I crossed out was in your original post. I don’t know whether that’s me seeing it and imagining that I’d created it or if I just read too fast. Anyway I’m sorry for my carelessness.)

    • bintchaos says:

      Both sides have confirmation bias.
      But yes, some liberal behavior is now outside the expectation norm.
      Let me explain what you are objecting to in game theoretic terms– the Founders set up a Nash equilibrium that was beautifully functional for most of our history as a country. But in the 21st century, because of demographic shift and the rise of social media the Red Tribe began to suffer relative fitness erosion.
      So when Obama was elected congressional republicans began playing Sinner v Saint Tit-for-Tat. Now in iterated TfT sinners always beat saints. The game that maximizes payoff is Saint v Saint. Liberals are now learning to play as Sinners too. You may scream unfair, but that is how iterated games work.
      Unfortunately Sinner v Sinner is a CAT game– no payoff for either player.

    • Brad says:

      My point isn’t so much to prove that liberals are more awful, rhetorically, than conservatives, but rather to highlight what I think can sometimes be the highly motivated tendency to tell your opposition to “calm down,” “stop exaggerating,” etc. (especially when they’re losing*).

      I’m trying to figure out what the upshot here is supposed to be? Are you trying to create an intellectual justification for epistemological closure? Do you envision a conversation going like this:

      Interlocutor A: *strawman*, *imagining things*, *blowing things out of proportion*
      Interlocutor B: That’s a terrible argument, it consists of a strawman, imagining things, and blowing things out of proportion.
      Interlocutor A: Of course you would say that, you’ve been winning for several decades.

  8. Kevin C. says:

    Can I just say, three cheers for Representative Matt Rinaldi.

    • Jiro says:

      If they actually had signs reading “We are illegal and here to stay,” accusing him of going after them based on ethnicity is bizarre. It’s like a confession on a sign.

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        Reminds me of that situation a few months ago where college students who were illegal immigrants were writing newspaper editorials that were published and shared worldwide about how totally, proudly, illegal they were, and then when a right-wing commentator pointed out that they were illegal immigrants, the commentator was accused of doxxing.

        The phrase “At least wait until I leave the room!!” comes to mind.

        • Matt M says:

          Isn’t this also one of the supposedly-really-terrible things Milo has done?

          • bintchaos says:

            no.
            “the terrible thing that Milo has done”
            is allude to his support for soft pedophilia and man/boy love on the internet.
            The internet is forever.
            Its interesting to me that the GOP base tolerates pussy-grabbing in a standard bearer but not homoerotic tendency.
            The internet is also why Murray cant penetrate college campuses.
            from the Naked Capitalism blog–
            http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/project-s-h-a-m-e-the-recovered-history-of-charles-murray.html

          • Loquat says:

            After the Berkeley riot that shut down Milo’s attempted talk there, someone defending the riot (a Berkeley professor, I believe) claimed he was planning to demonstrate how to report illegal immigrants to the government, encourage attendees to do so themselves, and possibly out and report illegal immigrant Berkeley students. Milo himself denies this, and the guy had no proof beyond “I totally have an anonymous undercover contact working for Milo, trust me”, but it was naturally seized upon as proof that the rioters were in fact valiant heroes defending the vulnerable.

    • CatCube says:

      Agreed.

  9. Controls Freak says:

    So, Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement, and the press has exploded. This gives rise to humorous phenomena. The best I’ve seen so far is a NYTimes “fact check” that sought to discredit Trump’s citation of economic damages due to regulation. They suddenly discovered that adaptation is a thing! Money quote:

    Economists argue that the projected job losses in the study assume the American economy will not use innovation to adapt to the new regulations.

    By now, you probably know that one of my hobby-horses is that existing projections of the economic effects of climate change with/without mitigation are fundamentally flawed (and perhaps nigh impossible). A major reason why is that we’re terrible at modeling the fast economic/political system even ten years out, so it’s basically impossible to couple that modeling with slow climate dynamics in a way that is theoretically sound. Instead, everyone runs the timescales the wrong way ’round when they think about this problem. It’s nice to see a weaker form of this argument being used in service of ‘the other side’.

    • The Nybbler says:

      “Innovation to adapt to the new regulations” is just broken window economics. Here, we’re going to hobble your legs, perhaps you’ll develop an innovative skipping technique to mitigate the damage.

    • gbdub says:

      So Ive heard that an issue with the Paris Accord is that effectively each country was allowed to set their own target. So e.g. India and China set targets they were already on track to hit, even with no changes in policy (and are thus being praised as “ahead of schedule”). Meanwhile, Obama set aggressive targets for the U.S. that would require actually significant changes in policy.

      On top of that, some of the other countries that did set tougher goals are already failing to meet them, but of course there are no real teeth in the accord to do anything about that.

      How legitimate are these critiques?

      • Charlie__ says:

        It has no real teeth, but its defenders will naturally say that it’s an important political precursor to something more binding.

        I’m genuinely unsure about what other countries are doing. I do remember some noises about China actually making substantial promises, which seems to be backed up by a quick search, but I would be completely unsurprised if a large number of signatories from the third world made no actual policy changes at all.

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        There’s also the thing where the Paris Agreement is toothless and for show and would not have any effect on anything ever, and at the same time the United States withdrawing from it means that humanity is doomed to burn up in the cleansing flames of Mother Gaia’s wrath. It exists in a state of quantum superposition that collapses either way depending on what is necessary for the current thinkpiece.

      • Aapje says:

        @gbdub

        No, the issue is that the developing nations argued that they were still developing and would be limited to low level of emissions, while Western nations would benefit from already having a high level of emissions due to having a big economy as well as benefiting from having build that economy by emitting a lot of CO2 in the past.

        The end result was not that the developing nations could set their own targets, but instead, that there was a negotiation process. The claim that China and India were fully free to set their own targets comes from ignorance.

        As for China, the specific promise that they made is to have more carbon-efficient growth (lower their emissions/GDP ratio), increase the share of non-fossil fuel, increase the amount of forest and have peak emissions in 2030 or earlier.

        Meanwhile, Obama set aggressive targets for the U.S. that would require actually significant changes in policy.

        The promises that China made do require significant changes in policy, before 2030. The Trump administration lied. See the linked document.

    • Fossegrimen says:

      I think that whether the US is in on that particular agreement or not is pretty much irrelevant. On the other hand, I listened to the speech where Trump announced it and he was talking about how this would make foreign leaders stop laughing at America.

      I just wanted to say that if the aim of his presidency is to make people stop laughing, he’s doing it wrong.

  10. Deiseach says:

    Just been Fighting With Strangers On The Internet again and I managed to score some nice insults. Nothing extraordinary or novel, mind you, but I did get called:

    Just like your selfish ass… So your answer served exactly zero purpose besides exposing your homophobia and transphobia (this in the context of me discussing asexality and aromanticism in reply to “why are there so few cis het aces out there”? well gee, I dunno, could retorts like that be one reason straight aces don’t like to talk to non-straight aces?)…Why do you type like a brony who tripped and fell into reddit? We get it, you’re a moron but a pretentious one….Queer is a still a slur. ANd (sic) one that you, a non-sga cis person, cannot use.

    *settles back in chair, cracks knuckles*

    All in all, a twenty minutes well spent, I think 🙂

    Once upon a time, “dialogue” like this would have destroyed me. One of the benefits of getting older is that I no longer give a toss, and I’ve been called worse names by better than this person.

    And this is yet another example of why SSC is an oasis in the wilderness. Even when being critiqued on here, I get a much better grade of “you type like a moron” analysis.

    • bintchaos says:

      Even when being critiqued on here, I get a much better grade of “you type like a moron” analysis.

      This is truthsay.

    • Gobbobobble says:

      SGA may refer to:
      Old Irish language (ISO 639-3 code)

      Do I even want to know what the fuck that or “aces” means?

      • Nornagest says:

        “Aces” is a cute way of saying “asexuals”. I don’t know what “sga” is for sure, but I’ve heard phrases like “sex/gender nonconforming” (basically meaning “queer”, in the non-pejorative sense) floating around, and I’d bet on this being a variation if I had to bet on something.

        Forget it, Jake, it’s Tumblr.

      • rlms says:

        “ace” means asexual. According to Google (I searched for “sga homophobia”), SGA stands for Same Gender Attraction.

      • Deiseach says:

        It was a silly slap-fight which is why I can laugh about it. Basically somebody floating the notion that any young gays and lesbians who thought they were asexual/aromantics were actually being pressured into that by the Evil Asexual Community. Pointing out to them that they were talking through their hat was not received well 🙂

        Listen, if there are any Evil Asexual Conspiracies out there, I want in on them too, guys! I can be as evil and conspiratorial as the next ace/aro person!

        • Protagoras says:

          Nice try at hiding it by playing dumb, but everybody knows that you’re already in the top leadership of the evil ace/aro conspiracy.

  11. Nornagest says:

    The report button still seems to be broken, and in roughly the same way.

  12. rlms says:

    Have the SSC comments discussed the Dragon Army yet? (content warning: rationalist)

    • Nornagest says:

      I’m a little surprised that the drama hasn’t spread over here, but not displeased. Let’s keep it that way.

      • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

        Nornagest’s suggestion seems reasonable, which should tell you that it’s probably wrong.

        Give us a quick rundown on the drama.

        • Nornagest says:

          I’ve heard that we tend to be irrationally contrarian around here, but this is the first time I’ve seen it stated so boldly.

        • rlms says:

          Lots of it is in the comments there, there’s also some on tumblr e.g. here.

    • Paul Zrimsek says:

      If there’s any truth to what my childhood religion taught me about the consequences of unbelief, my afterlife will be spent in something very like the Dragon Army Barracks.

    • Urstoff says:

      That sounds almost as bad as being stuck on an artificial island with seasteaders. But sure, why not, I say they should go for it.

    • Deiseach says:

      I’ve only seen some of the drama swirling around, I have not read the Primary Sources (i.e. the original posts where the idea was mooted) and my reaction is generally “Eh, if I wanted to join the Cistercians, I’d have joined the Cistercians, you know?” 🙂

    • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

      I expected to hate it because of the cringe-inducing name and the fact that it builds on the already cultish practice of rationalist group houses.

      But it actually looks like a pretty solid idea. Clear goals for personal self-improvement in a voluntary community which requires discipline from its members. There’s a decent chance it will crash and burn anyway but that’s a solid foundation to build on IMO.

      Their logo is very sleek too. Not sleek enough to make the name sound less awkward, but it’s a cool design.

      • Nornagest says:

        Well, since “let sleeping dogs lie” didn’t seem to work…

        I think the basic concept of exploring authoritarian modes of self-improvement isn’t a bad one, to give us more data if/when it fails if nothing else, but nothing I’ve seen of this one makes me think that the organizers are remotely equipped to handle a project like it.

        • Deiseach says:

          I think the basic concept of exploring authoritarian modes of self-improvement isn’t a bad one

          Big point here is that there is a difference between authority-based and authoritarian, and getting that confused is going to lead to problems – whether surmountable, ‘okay we need to adjust course’ ones or ‘crashing down in flames’ ones.

          • Nornagest says:

            I’m not sure I understand the distinction you’re trying to make.

            In my reckoning, stuff like personal training or martial arts instruction is pretty authoritarian — your job, sir and/or ma’am, is to tell me what to do, because it’ll lead me to improving in some way that I may or may not understand at the moment, and my job, sir and/or ma’am, is to do it. The whole dynamic’s based on obedience, and it works because others can push people harder and in different ways than most people can push themselves.

            This is different, but it’s different more in terms of scope and qualifications than in terms of basic mechanics. Is that what you’re getting at, or is it something else?

          • Deiseach says:

            Well, your examples there of personal training or martial arts instruction are based on authority – there’s a structure in place, expectations of how to behave, requirements of respect/deference but all based on the legitimate right of the instructor to these because they have the knowledge, experience and skills to teach you and you are the learner. The authority is legitimate and there are channels of resolving disputes and there are protections in place for the learner/subordinate.

            Authoritarian would be demanding “Do as I say because I’m the boss”, even if (say) the method of fighting they were teaching you led to injury or was ineffective. Some guy invents his own Kool Fightin’ Skillz technique that has no knowledge of human anatomy and causes those who follow his principles to dislocate their shoulders, for example, and he ignores all criticism and demands unconditional obedience from his students because He’s The Guru, even though he’s demonstrably wrong.

            Applying this to the Dragon Army House (and I’m just using this as an example because that’s what the original discussion was about; I’m not saying this is how it works in reality for this instance) would be the difference between going in knowing the requirements and rules beforehand and willingly submitting to them (e.g. pledging obedience to the head of the house) and the guy being the ultimate one in charge because he’s the founder and leader, but that position can exist independently of him and he could (in theory) be replaced at the end of a period of office by community vote (like electing an abbot). Authoritarian, by contrast, would be obeying him because that’s the why and he can’t be displaced/removed, has final veto on all decisions no matter what, and if he goes the whole thing dissolves because it all revolved around him.

            EDIT: Using the example from the Rule of St Benedict quoted in the link, there’s an outside check on the exercise and abuse of authority in a community by the oversight of “the bishop of the diocese or the abbots or Christians in the area [who] come to know of these evil ways to any extent”. No checks or outside oversight is part of authoritarian rather than authority-based.

            I admit, I’m pulling all this distinction between the two modes out of the air and it’s personal differentiation, not taken from anywhere or anyone else 🙂

    • cthor says:

      Intentional communes have started for worse reasons.

    • Kevin C. says:

      See my past comment about the failure rates of “intentional communities” (and of human endeavors in general). Here’s the essay link I seem to have accidentally omitted from the original.

      Also, when it comes to the tendency of people outside the “rationalist community” to pattern-match said community to “cult”, this is the sort of thing that does not help.

    • Mark says:

      I love the fact that some guy rocks up and concludes his first ever comment with:

      Anyone who can vomit that out on a page and feel proud of it isn’t fit to lead or teach anything. Period. The world would be concretely better off if the author, and anyone like him, killed themselves.

      And the OP is trying to engage him in reasoned debate.

      And then later the troll writes this:

      Oh, I see. You’re what the Eternal September phenomenon is all about. You shouldn’t feel ashamed that you aren’t cognitively gifted enough to quickly and rapidly comprehend the salient points I made without substantial expenditure of mental effort, because you were born this way, which also accounts for your overestimation of the amount of time it took for me to write my comments. But please don’t pollute the comment space under my comments with your puerile excretions.

      The problem I want solved is how we can enjoy the odd masterful troll like this gentleman, without the trolling and personal attacks destroying the comments section.

      Every person who signs up gets one “get out of jail free” card a year, allowing them to land a few hammer blows in a thread of their choice?

      • Deiseach says:

        The problem I want solved is how we can enjoy the odd masterful troll like this gentleman, without the trolling and personal attacks destroying the comments section.

        I have to admit, correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and appropriate word-choice and use of same would go a long way with me.

        Content, though, is as important as form. Merely dressing up “you are a big ol’, mean ol’, poopy-head” in good prose is not enough; trenchant but witty is the target to aim for.

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      I am totally stealing “caveat/skull:” for all future presentations I make.

      Also, the charter is causing inappropriate flashbacks to a program house I lived in in college….

      Also also, that White Stripes song keeps running through my head.

  13. Kevin C. says:

    So, what are people here’s thoughts on the whole Evergreen State/Bret Weinstein brouhaha?

    • The Nybbler says:

      Evergreen State is an “experimental” college. I think we can now say definitively “experiment failed” and the school should be shut down. Probably should have nipped all that “Day of Absence”/”Day of Presence” stuff in the bud, as it does nothing but promote racial animosity, but it’s now too late; once your President is appeasing mobs of students angry at a professor for objecting to being removed from campus on account of his race, there’s no going back.

      • James Miller says:

        Closing Evergreen State will empower mobs at future colleges. “He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing.”

        • The Nybbler says:

          They _already_ control it. Destroying it limits that control.

          • James Miller says:

            The identity-is-everything left has some power (certainly more than conservatives) but doesn’t control most colleges. At my school (Smith College) most professor, I would guess, still support free speech.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Colleges that aren’t controlled shouldn’t be shut down. My reason for saying Evergreen State needs to be shut down isn’t the existence of the mob but the administration’s capitulation to it.

        • biblicalsausage says:

          I’m thinking of Mizzou here, but let’s set it up as a hypothetical.

          Let’s suppose a couple colleges have, err, campus activism situations that get rowdy enough that it people think twice about applying. In the years following the rowdiness, enrollments and therefore budgets get cut.

          Now, on the one hand, someone could argue that the power to effectively hold a school’s budget hostage in that way gives the university protest mobs power, and therefore encourages them. So you get more mobs.

          On the other hand, the fact that a university knows there are potential financial penalties for the campus getting chaotic gives university admins incentive to make sure those episodes are reined in. So you get less mobs.

          I’m not sure which effect is actually stronger. I’m inclined to think most colleges will keep things under control most of the time for just this reasons.

      • Anatoly says:

        >there’s no going back.

        What does that even mean? What’s the horrible thing that happened? Weinstein hasn’t even been reprimanded in any way, much less fired. The president of the college put out a pretty silly statement filled with appeasement of the mob, sure, and promised a bunch of investment into various racial diversity causes. I agree that’s bad. What does that have to do with the other 99.99% of what goes on in that college, in terms of actual teaching of actual curriculum, be it good teaching or bad teaching, and I honestly have no idea which? Saying that the school should be shut down shows an astonishing degree of focus onto a silly scandal de jour, in preference to literally anything else actually college-y going on in the college.

        In the late 60s there were various well-publicized cases of students taking over entire campuses, disrupting classes, etc. with demands of, well, social justice, and plenty of appeasement coming from the administration. Using your logic, they should have shut down e.g. Berkeley right then, since it definitely failed; presumably for the last 50 years there has been nothing good coming out of it.

        • hlynkacg says:

          Seconding Anatoly here.

          Sure it’s black mark on reputations of the institution and all involved but it’s hardly the end of the world.

        • ThirteenthLetter says:

          There’s a plausible argument that if those campuses had cracked down instead of appeasing the mob, we would be a lot better off today.

          • As best I recall, Chicago did.

            The students occupied the administration building for a while, with nothing much done. Eventually they left. The administration provided tours through the trashed building for everyone interested, then, if I remember correctly, took disciplinary actions against students who had been involved. I don’t think they gave into any demands.

            But it was more than forty years ago and I am going on memory.

      • bintchaos says:

        I think the SSC commentariat is blinded by their own profound cultural chauvinism.
        Free speech rules on campus won’t help you penetrate the brutal marketplace of ideas. Also, the GOP brand is tarred by Trump. Guilt by association. It doesnt matter that GOP intellectuals have run from Trump like scalded cats– he is the head of the GOP.
        Conservative ideology is simply non-competitive on 21st century university campuses. No students want to stand on the tracks of history hollering stop. No students are interested in the Benedict Option. And the spokespeople like Murray or MacDonald are awful– too old, too tainted by their readily available history– the internet is forever. The alt-right bomb throwers are even worse.
        I blame the GOP intellectuals and elites, who have pandered to the base on climate science, evolution, and, indeed, the competitiveness of conservative ideology in the 21st century. The panderers sell the base a conspiracy theory that these excellent conservative ideas (trickle down, supply side, alternative science) are being kept out of academic culture by a liberal conspiracy– that is simply false.
        Islam doesnt need a reformation– it has almost 2 billion reps– its highly competitive, a memetic contagin.
        Conservatism needs a reformation.
        Badly.

        • Well... says:

          I find it more likely the problem with conservatism is that the silent majority is silent.

          • bintchaos says:

            The silent majority is mostly old and white.
            Olds don’t go to college.
            Conservatism is only competitive in the Heartland in 21st century America.
            Conservative media (Brietbart), Conservative film (that horrible Ayn Rand movie that I cant remember the name of), anti-science “alternative facts”, Trump’s numerous gaffes and cognitive decline, are all doing terrible damage to the republican brand. Especially with young, media-savy college students.

          • Wander says:

            “Young, media-savvy college students” have their own issues with branding at the moment.

          • Well... says:

            The silent majority is mostly old and white.

            Not that old. Especially outside urban centers.

            Conservatism is only competitive in the Heartland in 21st century America.

            But the Heartland basically starts less than an hour outside any major urban center.

            Conservative media (Brietbart), Conservative film (that horrible Ayn Rand movie that I cant remember the name of), anti-science “alternative facts”, Trump’s numerous gaffes and cognitive decline, are all doing terrible damage to the republican brand.

            None of those things originate from the silent majority, but from either noisy polemicists along the coasts or loony fundamentalists. That was my point.

          • bintchaos says:

            The only Trump thing said to his base that was true is
            “I am your last chance”
            Trump won because of ~100k votes in 4 battleground states and the electoral college.
            See a trend?

            Popular vote:
            Obama ’08 69.5M, ’12 65.92M
            H. Clinton 65.85M
            Trump 63M
            GW Bush ’04 62M, ’00 50.5M
            Romney 61M
            McCain 60M
            Kerry 59M
            Gore 51M

            the electoral college wont save conservativism for ever

          • hlynkacg says:

            See a trend?

            Not really no. Can you be more specific?

          • Deiseach says:

            Olds don’t go to college.

            And what do you think your parents’ generation did? Until the current crop of under-graduates, no person ever went to college? “Old people” were not always old, when they were young some of them did go to college and also, hey, mature/continuing education is a thing! Some old people do go to college!

            Your idea of “must-see films” for conservatives is sorely lacking, I’m a conservative and wild horses accompanied by elephants and forklifts would not have dragged me to see any movie based on the works of Ayn Rand 🙂

    • lvlln says:

      It’s still awfully early, but I’m hopeful this is another step in the progression of “it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.” College activists seem to be getting more emboldened to disruptive in the name of what they believe is justice, and obviously that’s likely to lead to negative outcomes, whether it be the discrediting of (some? all?) colleges as places that have academic authority or the real physical violence that may erupt if those who object to the activists keep up with the activists’ escalation. But the fact that Weinstein has continued to stand his ground is encouraging, especially since, as far as I can tell, he’s even further to the left than his predecessors in doing this like Christakis or Peterson. And yeah, Christakis and Peterson have done little to stem or turn the tide, and it’s likely that Weinstein won’t create huge impact by himself either, but perhaps he’s just one more step in the progression of people on the left coming out against these bullying tactics.

      One major point that made me discouraged though, was something I heard when Dave Rubin interviewed Weinstein, which is that out of all the major news sources, only Fox News seems to have reached out to Weinstein to cover this story, and his op-ed was published in the Wall Street Journal. As best as I can tell, most other mainstream news sources like NYTimes, CNN, NPR have largely ignored the story. Which seems odd to me, since, whether the news sources are pro- or anti-Weinstein, what happened at Evergreen seems newsworthy, particularly in light of the pattern of events that have happened in very recent memory at Middlebury, Berkeley, McMaster, Yale. Instead, we mostly get sources like Heat Street, Breitbart, or Daily Caller covering this with their usual obvious slant which I find makes them less credible. I’ve been trying to stick to local news sources that seem to want to focus on just reporting what happened.

      Also, one thing that struck me when Weinstein was explaining his objection was him mentioning his Jewish heritage as having conditioned him to ring alarm bells when certain populations of people are demanded to be absent in certain public places. I’m not sure how well this heuristic works for this case, but this doesn’t seem like a bad heuristic overall, and one that I can see why a Jewish person might have such a heuristic. I haven’t seen this point being discussed much in the conversations I’ve seen around this event.

      • Iain says:

        One major point that made me discouraged though, was something I heard when Dave Rubin interviewed Weinstein, which is that out of all the major news sources, only Fox News seems to have reached out to Weinstein to cover this story, and his op-ed was published in the Wall Street Journal. As best as I can tell, most other mainstream news sources like NYTimes, CNN, NPR have largely ignored the story.

        I hadn’t heard of this story until Kevin C posted, and when I googled “Evergreen State/Bret Weinstein” to see what was going on, this NYT article was the first link.

        • lvlln says:

          That’s an opinion piece, not an article, and it’s from yesterday, which is over a week after the incident and 6 days after Weinstein appeared on Tucker Carlson. Given the speed of news today, I would have hoped that NYTimes would have had at least one small article within a few days of the incident or at least the Carlson interview. They certainly don’t need to go breathlessly hunting for bad actions by leftists like Heat St or Breitbart are wont to do, but this seems like the type of high profile event that a news outlet like NYTimes should have had some meaningful coverage on within a few days.

          It’s definitely possible that I missed those articles in my Googling, but an opinion piece on 6/2 about an incident from 5/23 with significant follow-up incidents in the days immediately after isn’t it.

      • Brad says:

        As best as I can tell, most other mainstream news sources like NYTimes, CNN, NPR have largely ignored the story. Which seems odd to me, since, whether the news sources are pro- or anti-Weinstein, what happened at Evergreen seems newsworthy, particularly in light of the pattern of events that have happened in very recent memory at Middlebury, Berkeley, McMaster, Yale.

        It doesn’t seem especially newsworthy to me. If I had skimmed the headline of an article on it I wouldn’t have clicked. These “look at what those college kids are doing now” stories aren’t interesting or relevant to me.

        I’m not sure what story you are intending to reference with ‘McMaster’.

        • lvlln says:

          I think history has proven that “what those college kids are doing now” can have very significant effects in overall politics and culture. Perhaps it’s debatable just how much meaningful lasting change student activists of the last century created, but I think, at the very least, they are significant enough to be in the news. I think US history of the past century would be incomplete without at least some mention of college activists. And I think the past couple years have shown that there’s a (inter)national trend that should be in the conversation about modern political discourse. With Weinstein specifically, the fact that a college professor in the USA was in sufficient physical danger from students who disagree with his opinions that campus security determined that it couldn’t provide enough security for him to hold lectures on campus seems obviously newsworthy. Heck, forget the trend; if that happens anywhere in the USA, that’s something I want to know, and something I believe anyone who cares about politics or discourse in the USA should know.

          Unless by “‘look at what those college kids are doing now’ stories” you mean stories that are sneering at the young’uns for not being like us good-old folks. Which seems to be making my exact case. The exact reason I want coverage by mainstream outlets rather than Heat St or Breitbart is that I specifically want to avoid such sneering. I want to see this covered with the same journalistic standards that places like NYTimes and NPR are known for. And if there’s a positive case to be made for the student activists here, then I want to see that case being made, using the best possible arguments. We need an off-set to the sneering “look at what those college kids are doing now” attitude of the right-wing media when they’ve covered it.

          I’m tired of not seeing good arguments that rebut this sneering, because I’m of the belief that there’s probably a good argument there somewhere, for this type of activism to be so sustained and growing over the past few years, and I’m probably just not getting it. It’s just that no one ever seems interested in making such an argument.

          For McMaster, that was in Canada, wrt Jordan Peterson: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/mcmaster-debate-with-controversial-professor-jordan-peterson-disrupted-by-activists-1.4031843

          • bintchaos says:

            Its because of red/blue polarization and because universities are blue tribe enclaves anymore, for whatever reason.
            Conservative ideology is non-competitive on college campuses in the 21st century, and forced free speech rules won’t change that. And students hate Trump– it doesn’t matter that conservative elites and intellectuals hate him too– you are all still tarred with the Trump Brush.
            JMS:

            An evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) is a strategy which, if adopted by a population in a given environment, cannot be invaded by any alternative strategy that is initially rare. It is relevant in game theory, behavioural ecology, and evolutionary psychology. An ESS is an equilibrium refinement of the Nash equilibrium. It is a Nash equilibrium that is “evolutionarily” stable: once it is fixed in a population, natural selection alone is sufficient to prevent alternative (mutant) strategies from invading successfully.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            @bintchaos:

            forced free speech rules

            Your locution is worthy of Orwell.

          • bintchaos says:

            Machina ex Deus
            well… I’m sorry if this offends you– but even if you gave Murray, Coulter, Milo or HeatherMac an auditorium of students strapped to their seats with their eyes pinned open Clockwork Orange style you simply aren’t going convince any of them to embrace conservatism.
            You need better standard bearers and better material.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            @bintchaos:

            If I were you, I wouldn’t worry too much about offending me.* I would worry about referring to allowing people to speak on college campuses as “forced free speech rules.” Especially in the case of state (i.e. government) universities, to which the First Amendment notionally applies.

            On the substance of your comments: conservatism isn’t popular with young people for structural reasons. Conservatism keeps saying, “Yeah, I know that sounds like a good idea, but here’s why it won’t work.” This didn’t fly with me when I was twenty and hadn’t seen dozens of well-intentioned failures yet; I don’t expect it to fly with current twenty-year-olds.

            For persuasion, Coulter/Milo/Mac are terrible. Murray would have a chance, if presented without introduction. The way to push college students toward conservatism is to introduce them to libertarianism. Then they’ll at least learn how to see how broken their simplistic models of government are.

            I’m far more concerned that the professors and administrators both uniformly lean left, and have a big contingent way out on the far left.

            (* I mean, it’s possible, but you’d have to do something really egregious, like lumping me in with the Protestants, or something.)

          • You need better standard bearers and better material.

            In what ways is Charles Murray a poor standard bearer or his work poor material? Have you read Losing Ground or his later work? If so, what is wrong with them?

            The argument isn’t about forcing radical students to listen to conservatives, it’s about preventing them from keeping people who want to listen to conservatives from doing so.

            Also, at a tangent, I wouldn’t describe Murray as a conservative.

        • Brad says:

          I think US history of the past century would be incomplete without at least some mention of college activists.

          If you had a comprehensive textbook on post-WWII American History, there would certainly need to be at least a few paragraphs, and probably a page or two, on the large and sometimes very violent protests of the 1970s on college campuses. You’d want to mention what happened at Kent State. Maybe in addition to that, you should have a sentence or two about the Apartheid disinvestment campaigns in the 80s.

          I hardly think that means that each and every kerfuffle on any one of the three thousand plus four year degree granting institutions is worth reading about in real time.

          And I think the past couple years have shown that there’s a (inter)national trend that should be in the conversation about modern political discourse.

          I disagree. It looks to me like Chinese cardiologists. There’s an entire cottage industry around digging up obscure things to be outraged about and then peddling them to the respective communities that want to be outraged. In country of 320 million people (plus apparently I guess Canada counts too) you are always going to find something and be able to tell a story about a supposed emerging trend.

          With Weinstein specifically, the fact that a college professor in the USA was in sufficient physical danger from students who disagree with his opinions that campus security determined that it couldn’t provide enough security for him to hold lectures on campus seems obviously newsworthy. Heck, forget the trend; if that happens anywhere in the USA, that’s something I want to know, and something I believe anyone who cares about politics or discourse in the USA should know.

          Doesn’t seem especially interesting to me.

          There are death threats all the time, every single day people are death threatening other people. Sometimes they get taken seriously by law enforcement and sometimes they don’t. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to when they do or don’t.

          Is every death threat that some law enforcement officer takes seriously supposed to make national news, or only this narrowly crafted category of professors receiving death threats from students that disagree with his opinions?

          Unless by “‘look at what those college kids are doing now’ stories” you mean stories that are sneering at the young’uns for not being like us good-old folks. Which seems to be making my exact case. The exact reason I want coverage by mainstream outlets rather than Heat St or Breitbart is that I specifically want to avoid such sneering. I want to see this covered with the same journalistic standards that places like NYTimes and NPR are known for. And if there’s a positive case to be made for the student activists here, then I want to see that case being made, using the best possible arguments. We need an off-set to the sneering “look at what those college kids are doing now” attitude of the right-wing media when they’ve covered it.

          There is no story there. Yes, some out of millions of young uns are doing dumb shit on college campuses. When we good old-folks were young there were some of us doing dumb shit on college campuses too. C’est la vie.

          The only reason this is getting any play anywhere is because we now have dedicated muckracking right wing media digging up obscurities to flatter the prejudices of their audiences (who have had a stick up their asses about universities for decades).

          I don’t see why the NYTimes or NPR should chase along after these muckrackers and expend energy on non-stories. As I said I wouldn’t read it and I’m a subscriber to the former and indirectly a donor to the latter.

          • lvlln says:

            It looks to me like Chinese cardiologists. There’s an entire cottage industry around digging up obscure things to be outraged about and then peddling them to the respective communities that want to be outraged. In country of 320 million people (plus apparently I guess Canada counts too) you are always going to find something and be able to tell a story about a supposed emerging trend.

            This seems like a fully general argument about any sort of perception of a trend. It’s possible that this is a Chinese Cardiologist situation – in a nation of 320MM, almost any apparent trend can be – but is it? I don’t know that there are good, easily available statistics to prove either way, but my intuition is that it’s not. Admittedly, one person’s intuition on something like this is roughly worthless – which obviously applies to you as well as to me. I’m coming from a place where I was on the left end of the student spectrum in one of the most liberal colleges in the US just 10 years ago and seeing that activists like in Mizzou, Middlebury, Berkeley, Evergreen would have been loudly and proudly condemned and likely actively fought against if they had taken place where and when I went to college. Again, one person’s intuition is roughly worthless, and it’s entirely possible that my college was a quirky liberal one, or that my observations aren’t accurate, or all sorts of other errors. But I’m not convinced that that’s the case.

            Doesn’t seem especially interesting to me.

            There are death threats all the time, every single day people are death threatening other people. Sometimes they get taken seriously by law enforcement and sometimes they don’t. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to when they do or don’t.

            Just because you don’t seem to detect any rhyme or reason doesn’t mean that there is no rhyme or reason. Perhaps if more journalists paid more attention to death threats, some rhyme or reason would emerge. That’s what investigation and research is all about.

            Furthermore, characterizing the Weinstein situation as a “death threat” and stopping there is either dishonest or ignorant. His safety was put into question to the point that campus security deemed that it couldn’t protect him. I would expect campus security to have the ability to provide protection from the typical threat on a professor’s safety – that’s ostensibly what they’re there for. Enough college students being able to provide enough of a credible threat of violence that campus security truly believed that they would be unable to provide safety to a single classroom is far beyond the realm of a random everyday death threat.

            *EDIT*
            I just learned that Weinstein’s own WSJ op-ed piece was available even without paying (https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-campus-mob-came-for-meand-you-professor-could-be-next-1496187482?shareToken=stf41515773ad3490cb8140067a949560d) and read it just now, and I realized that even I was vastly understating the situation. He writes the following:

            The chief of our college police department told me she could not protect me on campus. Protestors were searching cars for an unspecified individual—likely me—and her officers had been told to stand down, against her judgment, by the college president.

            If protestors are actually going around campus looking for someone with intent to harm that person, and campus security is told not to interfere by the college president, that’s a very newsworthy situation, especially at a public college.

            Of course, that’s taking Weinstein at his word and the police chief at her word. It’s possible that one or both of them are flat out lying as part of a Machiavellian game they’re playing against campus activists or the administration or whatever else. It’s also possible that the police chief was just plain mistaken. And personally, I would vastly prefer one of those situations, because a situation in which a dishonest professor or police chief is tarring and feathering a good college and its students or just accidentally putting blame on them is far, far more preferable to me than one where students are left free by the college president to threaten a professor’s safety. But I also think that what I prefer to be true is less likely to be true than what Weinstein reported.

            Is every death threat that some law enforcement officer takes seriously supposed to make national news, or only this narrowly crafted category of professors receiving death threats from students that disagree with his opinions?

            Closer to the latter one, though “professors receiving death threats from students that disagree with his [or her/their/xir/etc.] opinions [with enough credibility that campus security admits it can’t provide adequate protection]” isn’t the only category. For example, if a security detail of a politician admitted that recent threats of violence against the politician meant that the politician would have to work from some remote location, I would want to see at least one article on it in a national newspaper. Yes, many things happen in a nation of 320MM – we still expect certain behavior from certain government figures, and when those expectations aren’t met, it’s newsworthy, even if not necessarily page 1 50-point font bold headline newsworthy.

            That’s because there’s some level of security that I think we expect for some figures in our society – one of the reasons our society functions is that these figures can be deeply unpopular and propose/do things others find deeply offensive and still expect that people will unseat them through nonviolent means. Enough people providing enough credible threat of violence to undermine that security is a big deal. A professor being threatened by enough students such that school security can’t protect the professor isn’t just a random person being threatened by other random people – it’s very specifically a relationship where we expect that no matter what level of disagreement of opinions (other than obvious counterexamples like “my opinion is that I should murder you”), that they’ll be resolved without threat of violence – and that whatever threat of violence there might emerge, it would be a tiny weird outlier that security is more than prepared to handle. Not that there would be so much volume of credible threat of violence that the only solution is to acquiesce.

            The only reason this is getting any play anywhere is because we now have dedicated muckracking right wing media digging up obscurities to flatter the prejudices of their audiences (who have had a stick up their asses about universities for decades).

            You’ve asserted something like this a couple of times. I don’t see any evidence or reasoning to support that. As a leftist whose ideal vision for a future is about 95% in agreement with that of these student activists, I think their disruptive behavior is newsworthy on a national level. I think others who think like myself would also want to know – some because it could embolden them to pursue their activism with even more intensity, others because it could inform them on what does and doesn’t work in their activism, still others because it’s good to get information about where one’s ideology leads other people. So it seems obviously false to me that the only – or even primary – reason anyone would care about this is some sort of right-wing anti-academia bias.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Weinstein’s editorial has him talking about “Critical Race Theory” and conspiracies to take over academia. So is he a crazy right-wing conspiracist… or are the crazy right-wing conspiracists actually on to something?

          • Brad says:

            @lvlln

            You’ve asserted something like this a couple of times. I don’t see any evidence or reasoning to support that. As a leftist whose ideal vision for a future is about 95% in agreement with that of these student activists, I think their disruptive behavior is newsworthy on a national level. I think others who think like myself would also want to know – some because it could embolden them to pursue their activism with even more intensity, others because it could inform them on what does and doesn’t work in their activism, still others because it’s good to get information about where one’s ideology leads other people. So it seems obviously false to me that the only – or even primary – reason anyone would care about this is some sort of right-wing anti-academia bias.

            Let’s leave aside NYT and NPR for a second. Maybe they have some bad mainstream media reason for ignoring this story.

            What about Counterpunch or Salon or AlterNet?

          • Nornagest says:

            It might be a little unfair to call Counterpunch and Alternet the media arms of the movements for which antifa are the leg-breakers, but it’s at least gesturing in the right direction. NPR and the NYT are probably in something like 80% agreement with the campus radicals, but for most of the alternative (in the sense of non-establishment, not Sidles alt.) left online media I’d expect much more common ground.

            And because of that, I think it’s not in their worldview to see campus radicalism as newsworthy in and of itself. If you’re a student radical or indistinguishable from one, then if a sexist or racist has the temerity to exist near you, angry protests are natural, they’re a dog-bites-man story. Oppression brings resistance. You still want to publicize unusual examples of resistance, to embolden the movement and to document its successes, but your threshold for unusual is gonna be set a lot higher.

          • IrishDude says:

            There is no story there. Yes, some out of millions of young uns are doing dumb shit on college campuses. When we good old-folks were young there were some of us doing dumb shit on college campuses too. C’est la vie.

            The only reason this is getting any play anywhere is because we now have dedicated muckracking right wing media digging up obscurities to flatter the prejudices of their audiences (who have had a stick up their asses about universities for decades).

            Some things that make this story interesting to me:

            *There is video of the events as they unfolded, like here with students confronting Bret and here with students surrounding and chanting at administrators and then having a ‘listening’ session where a large group of students goes a bit nutso on administrators. Video of events makes things more newsworthy.

            *This incident involves a large number of students, not a handful, indicating a wide base of support for the ideas and tactics displayed.

            *A fellow professor asked: “Could some white women at Evergreen come and collect Heather Heying’s racist ass”. Heather is Bret’s wife. Having professors engage in that type of rhetoric seems way outside the norm, and of possible interest to the public.

            *The campus was recently completely shutdown for security concerns, and prior to that Bret was told it was unsafe for him to go onto campus.

            All those elements have made this fascinating for me to watch unfold, and I think would be of interest to the broader public.

          • Brad says:

            @Nornagest

            You still want to publicize unusual examples of resistance, to embolden the movement and to document its successes, but your threshold for unusual is gonna be set a lot higher.

            A lot higher than what? If a protest is successful enough to be nationally newsworthy* isn’t that exactly the kind of success we’d expect such an outlet to be cover?

            My thesis is that this story wouldn’t be of interest to much of anyone outside of the right wing.** I think the fact that a wide variety of center to far left outlets all desperately fighting for attention didn’t cover it is pretty good evidence of that. Not slam dunk, but pretty good evidence. There are possible alternative explanations, but when you have such a wide range of outlets they start to seem implausible.

            Now maybe you can argue that people are wrong not to find this interesting. And maybe the claim that it is newsworthy is partly doing that. But I don’t think it is fair to push that unto media outlets. You can reasonably expect them to push their readers’ comfort zone a little, but no media outlet can stay in business covering stories their readers aren’t at all interested in.

            *even if the mainstream media refuses to cover it for posited bad reasons

            ** Which is not to say there’s anything wrong with those outside of the right wing taking an interest. Lottery of fascinations and all that.

          • Nornagest says:

            A lot higher than what? If a protest is successful enough to be nationally newsworthy* isn’t that exactly the kind of success we’d expect such an outlet to be cover?

            A lot higher than that of people that don’t share those ideological beliefs about resistance and oppression, obviously.

            The point is, “newsworthy” is defined by how significant and unusual a story looks to individual news outlets, it’s not an objective state. Campus radicals doing radical things on campus look a lot less unusual to the far-left news, because a lot of its writers were, or wanted to be, those radicals a few years ago and even those that weren’t shared most of their assumptions. That leaves significance, which ideology has more complicated effects on, but a less unusual event needs to be correspondingly more significant for someone to bother writing a piece on it.

          • birdboy2000 says:

            Counterpunch has covered this story, and with a sensible anti-authoritarian slant. http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/02/rebels-without-a-cause-the-assault-on-academic-freedom/

          • Jiro says:

            That slant isn’t sensible. It’s saying “the right is really evil. Hey, you should stop this because you’re becoming as bad as the evil right.” Since the evilness of the right is why the left attacks free speech in the first place, he’s basically undermining himself–it’s bad to oppose free speech, but on the other hand, the guys whose speech you want to suppress are really evil.

            It’s like trying to tell the Nazis “Jews kill Christian babies. Those concentration camps where you kill babies are a lot like what the Jews are doing. Surely you don’t want to be like the Jews?”

          • Fahundo says:

            It’s like trying to tell the Nazis “Jews kill Christian babies. Those concentration camps where you kill babies are a lot like what the Jews are doing. Surely you don’t want to be like the Jews?”

            This sounds perfectly persuasive to me.

          • Jiro says:

            This sounds perfectly persuasive to me.

            The problem is that it has the side effect of convincing people that Jews kill babies. That encourages the Nazis. If you’re trying to discourage the Nazis, that works directly against what you’re trying to do.

      • dndnrsn says:

        There’s been a bomb threat so there’s some straight-up news articles in mainstream papers.

      • Nornagest says:

        Campus activism was many times more intense in the late Sixties and early Seventies than today, and that didn’t discredit colleges as sources of academic authority. It did lead to physical violence, but not in the same way — then it was usually between the students and the cops or National Guard, while today we have clashes between nongovernmental pro- and anti- factions, with the cops standing on the sidelines.

        • dndnrsn says:

          On the other hand, they didn’t have camera phones back then. Maybe campus radicals of the 60s and 70s did the same “scream incoherent, border-of-breaking-down-and-crying gibberish in people’s faces” thing. But we don’t have the evidence.

        • lvlln says:

          It’s not about the intensity of the activism, it’s the content. The activists today very explicitly and proudly reject dialogue as a pathway to truth or understanding, and there’s a lot of disdain for empirical knowledge mixed in as well. If activists continue to become more and more disruptive, and colleges continue to acquiesce, some eventually accept those as principles of education. And those colleges would be discredited as having any academic authority, at least among those who use academic knowledge to do stuff that have real consequences.

          I think we’re still very far away from such a scenario – maybe not even within my lifetime – but I find the trend worrying.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            The activists today very explicitly and proudly reject dialogue as a pathway to truth or understanding, and there’s a lot of disdain for empirical knowledge mixed in as well.

            And what exactly happens when the right responds in kind? What happens when right wingers start storming places where feminists are speaking and pulling fire alarms and blaring airhorns?

            I don’t like any of this.

          • The Nybbler says:

            And what exactly happens when the right responds in kind? What happens when right wingers start storming places where feminists are speaking and pulling fire alarms and blaring airhorns?

            THEN the cops, who up until then were saying there was nothing they could do, would start breaking heads, making arrests, and charging felonies.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            Yep. Just like Berkeley shrugged and did nothing about weeks of left-wing violence until right-wing street brawlers began showing up. Then suddenly the police leapt into action.

            To be fair, in Berkeley the cops seem to have taken down both sides equally once they were allowed to do their jobs and the situation was reported evenhandedly at that point, but I don’t know how confident we can be that’s how it would play out everywhere.

          • bintchaos says:

            Let me pose a thought experiment– what would happen to say…Deray giving a talk at a police academy or service academy or military college?

          • The Nybbler says:

            Deray Mckesson is unlikely be invited by any student group at a police academy or service academy. If, for some political reason he were, there would be a good deal of complaining. There might even be heckling at his speech. There would be no crowds of protestors attempting to prevent people from listening to him, nor to drown him out, there would certainly be no violence against him or his sponsors, and anyone who DID heckle would most likely be disciplined.

            It probably wouldn’t come off quite as well as this:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5ZB8Lg1tcA

            But it would be a lot closer to that than this

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6EASuhefeI

        • Campus activism was many times more intense in the late Sixties and early Seventies than today, and that didn’t discredit colleges as sources of academic authority.

          I’m not sure how you measure intensity, but I was an undergraduate in the early sixties and a graduate student until the early seventies, and I would have said that universities were somewhat less of a political monoculture then than they seem to be now.

          • Nornagest says:

            Bigger protests, more corpses, lots and lots more bombings. You’re probably right about academia being less of a monoculture, though.

      • The Nybbler says:

        Now that there’s been a bomb threat (or an overreaction to a bomb threat, as Weinstein would have it), the Washington Post has picked up the story.

    • dndnrsn says:

      -tempest in a teapot at an utterly unspecial university. I hadn’t heard of the place before, and Wikipedia says they have a 98% acceptance rate, which does not scream “cream of the crop”. This is hardly something happening at Berkeley or Yale. Not good for the college. It’s not “a great university where wacky stuff happens”, now the brand of the place to a lot of people is going to be “asylum run by the inmates, and a mediocre asylum at that”.

      -do student protester types know how ridiculous they look? Every scrap of propaganda opposed to them I’ve seen contains some video of wild-looking, screeching students screaming in the face of administrators or whoever, who generally look calm. Do they realize that what to them feels like righteous anger makes them look like spoiled brats?

      -increasing polarization. It’s harder and harder to find someone neutral on this. I get the feeling that it’s polarization to the other side, though – the sort of people who are on-side with this sort of thing usually were on-side with it before. Ditto with Peterson – the people who hate him already held their views, whereas I’ve seen one person I was vaguely acquainted with start posting stuff mocking “SJWs” and supporting Peterson and so on that I had not seen from him before.

      -at first I thought “this is an example of the students as customers mindset going really badly”, but it’s a public college. $6.5k for Washington residents per year, $24k for non-residents. Not cheap – any Canadian could go to a vastly higher-ranked university for a lower yearly cost than a Washington resident could go to Evergreen. But we fund our public universities far more (and private universities here tend to be rather crummy).

      • Deiseach says:

        My uncharitable take on this is they’ve been having “Days of Absence” for a couple years now “to show what it’s like when POC etc are not on campus” as below:

        The Day of Absence at Evergreen typically involves one gender or race deciding that it wants to remove itself from campus for a day—to show the remaining students what life is like without them.

        And I’m going to guess campus life went on just fine without them. Not really a startling blow for making the oppressors realise how much they depend on the POC etc.

        So they decided to switch it around and demand (I think it was a demand, though other reports phrase it as a “request”) that white professors (and students? anyone else like the administration?) stay off-campus instead.

        What this would prove I don’t know, maybe our activists might discover they actually need all those white racists around to run the place. Anyway, they demanded, this guy told them go take a running jump, and result is what we see.

        Probably intemperate on both sides – my own personal reaction would have been “okay, you don’t want Whitey on campus? Sure thing!” and let them sink or swim for themselves – but really students can’t “demand” professors or anyone else do not show up to their legitimate place of employment where they have every right to be for no reason other than a Day Of Sulking. However, it’s now a mess.

        EDIT: I was inclined to laugh about the bomb threats, because eh. It used to be quite common back in the 80s at colleges etc. around exam time for someone to ring in a bomb threat and, because of the IRA, it had to be taken seriously. So the place would be evacuated, the police would show up, search the premises, naturally no suspicious devices would be found and everyone just stood outside grumbling about the waste of time. So I’m not impressed by the bomb threat. On the other hand, this is the USA we’re talking about, and there is the slim but definite chance some of the wackadoodles might genuinely try something (especially if they’re all full of righteousness about being REAL PROPER GROWN-UP activists), so I suppose it has to be taken seriously.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          I’ve always thought Martin Luther King would spin in his grave if he knew black kids didn’t go to school on Martin Luther King Day.

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        Do they realize that what to them feels like righteous anger makes them look like spoiled brats?

        Does it matter to them? They presumably don’t care what a bunch of sexist racist homophobes think, and they’re getting their demands met, so sounds like a winning strategy so far.

        • Deiseach says:

          Part of the problem is that – having seen one of the alleged leaked videos on Youtube – there is a definite and noticeable split between the students who are sincere, and sincerely reacting out of emotional distress, and so they are stumbing over their words, emotional, not able to modulate the level of their voice and so forth, and the ones who just want an opportunity to SCREAM INSULTS at an authority figure without the danger of any comeback, and the SCREAMING POSTURING ones are gettng all the attention and making the entire protest look absurd.

          Honestly, there were a couple of students in that video that I felt would have been better served by someone taking them aside into a private room to talk to them one-on-one and calm them down and help them express what they needed. But they were stuck in the middle of a SHRIEKING MOB and being egged on by the STRUTTING TIN GODS to regurgitate all the approved slogans (I definitely recognised the “if you’re thinking of your response while I’m speaking, you’re not listening to me” phrase one of them came out with from seeing it used online in the context of ‘encouraging active listening’, for example).

    • James Miller says:

      I think WE are now a target of the Evergreen students. From their newspaper:

      ” What he is doing now is antithetical to his purported goal. Weaponizing the publicity he has gained from Trump supporters, FOX News fans and self-ordained “rationalists” against protesters is only making students of color more unsafe. “

      • Zorgon says:

        Shouldn’t surprise you. After all, we rationalists engage in unthinkable hyper-racism like noting the incredibly non-central meaning of the word “unsafe” they’re using.

      • Deiseach says:

        Weaponizing the publicity he has gained from Trump supporters, FOX News fans and self-ordained “rationalists”

        Yeah, how dare he! Weaponizing publicity is a technique to be reserved for the exclusive use of progressive activists and antifa only!

        • The Nybbler says:

          Isn’t “weaponizing publicity” like “weaponizing firearms”? I mean, that’s what publicity is FOR.

          • John Schilling says:

            Publicity is also useful for putting forth positive role models on your own side, uniting people behind a common cause, and distributing generally useful information. So, no.

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      So, what are people here’s thoughts on the whole Evergreen State/Bret Weinstein brouhaha?

      It is just… so… beautiful I could cry. I mean, I went for popcorn for the trans-racial Hypatia article brouhaha, but this one calls for a six-pack—for me to drink while the Left eats itself.

      And the targeted professor is, as near as I can tell, a lefty biology professor. Biology is my least-favorite of the hard sciences, even without the premeds, and if the guy were even a DLC-type Democrat, I might have some sympathy for him that would ruin my Game of Thrones-as-farce enjoyment.

      When I finally realized that higher ed was the enemy, years ago, I was sad at the thought of having to attack it. But now I can rest assured the Left will burn it all down with no assistance whatsoever from conservatives. And this has tripled my resolve to send my kids to schools someplace outside the U.S., both to save money and to keep my retirement fund from going to the over-inflated salaries of administrators like Evergreen President George Bridges.

      No wonder brad thinks this isn’t news—it’s true art: spiritually-uplifting entertainment.

  14. Anatoly says:

    What is actually known about the neurology of learning a skill?

    Learning (to catch a ball, to play a musical instrument, to speak a language, to walk…) seems to require many repetitions with conscious feedback, until slowly the correct movements become semi-automatic or automatic. What is known, if anything, about what changes in the brain as a result of this process? Popular sources often speak of things like strengthening synapse connections between neurons on particular paths – and after many repetitions, a particular path is so strengthened that future behavior falls out of it easily. Is this a vague just-so story or a well-documented process that’s actually understood to some degree?

    Would be very grateful for an expert summary, or curated references to recent academic monographs/review articles on this.

    • rahien.din says:

      Executive summary from clinical neurologist : repetition mumble mumble connectome mumble mumble dopaminergic synapses mumble mumble neuroplasticity mumble mumble engram. There’s so much we do not know.

      To give you an idea, there’s a lot of very exciting optogenetic research aimed at identifying the substrate of memory. In other words, if the brain was a computer, we can tell that things are wired together, we know that it is using electricity, and probably, we have recently located the hard drive.

  15. cthor says:

    I don’t know if this ship has sailed or not, but here’s my thoughts on improving the commenting system…

    First, one small change: put the “Hide” button on top of posts, not the bottom (or preferably on the side of the entire thread). It’s mildly annoying scrolling all the way to the bottom of long posts I don’t want to read to hide them. Then,

    (1) Reduce maximum thread depth
    (2) Order top-level comments by some measure of interestingness (date-of-last-post-in-thread, or number of replies, or number of new replies) and all replies in chronological order

    I think restricting thread depth to 2 (i.e., you can only reply to top-level comments) is key. It forks discussion out into topics, but doesn’t allow more forking that makes multi-person discussion hard to follow and engage in. It also means that you can sensibly hide already read comments by default. So you can get something like:

    ― Exciting Topic
    ―― [ 71 read posts [show] ]
    ―― Reply
    ―― Reply
    ―― Reply
    ― New Topic
    ― Mildly Interesting Topic
    ―― [ 20 read posts [show] ]
    ― Niche Topic
    ―― [ 3 read posts [show] ]
    ― Boring Topic
    ― Boring Topic

    (Server-side all that would have to be done is restricting thread depth, which to my understanding is just a config setting. The collapsing and ordering can be done client-side. So there aren’t technical reasons for this to be untenable.)

    • Well... says:

      I like your first suggestion (putting the “hide” button at the top–actually, it should be duplicated so there’s also one at the bottom; there only needs to be one “show” button, of course) but not your other ones, which for me violate the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” principle.

      BTW, another change could be removing the option to reply to a comment that is hidden, which is a strange option to begin with but also seems to create buggy behavior, or at least it did the one time I experimented with it.

  16. sandoratthezoo says:

    Sorry if this has been said already: the number of comments on the various posts are daunting. But for the whole “Hungarian Intelligence” set of posts, has anyone made a serious attempt to apply the null hypothesis?

    Like, it feels as though Scott is saying: “Look at this clump of geniuses! That can’t be coincidence!” But isn’t a well-known failure of human intelligence that it tends to expect random data to less clumpy than it actually is?

    There are a lot of cities in the world, with lots of clusters of high-IQ people, with lots of pretty good educational systems. There must be millions of people, if not tens or hundreds of millions, who have set out explicitly to raise genius children. Especially after we’ve tried on a bunch of other hypotheses and none of them look really satisfying, can’t we just say, “There is nothing terribly unique about late-19th/early-20th Century Budapest, they just got a clump of geniuses and probably a nimbus around those geniuses that made people look harder for more geniuses”?

    • Nornagest says:

      If you spit a million random bits onto a 1000×1000 grid, the resulting pattern will look clumpier than you’d naively expect; but this is way, way clumpier than that.

    • Well... says:

      But isn’t a well-known failure of human intelligence that it tends to expect random data to less clumpy than it actually is?

      As I’ve said on my blog, now with emphasis: “Nothing in the universe is distributed evenly, or evenly randomly.”

    • Anatoly says:

      If that clump of geniuses was just a random clump of geniuses that happened to be large in Hungary, then it’d be very, very unlikely for all of them to have been ethnically Jewish.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I looked at famous Manhattan Project physicists. Depending on the list, Hungary either had the most, or was about equal to Germany. Since Germany, France, England, Austria etc had many times Hungary’s population, this is surprising. I’m not sure if Manhattan Project physicists is too cherry-picked; someone else can do Nobels or something.

  17. Kevin C. says:

    Catholic farmer ousted from Michigan market over same-sex marriage views“:

    Stephen Tennes filed a lawsuit at a federal court on Wednesday (May 31), seeking his reinstatement.

    In it, Tennes says he was prohibited from selling his products after his business, Country Mill Farms, refused to host a lesbian couple’s wedding at its orchard in Charlotte, 22 miles outside the city and he stated on Facebook “his Catholic belief that marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman.”

    Country Mill Farms had sold fruit and produce at the market for six years, but after city officials learned about the Facebook post, they “strongly and immediately pressured us not to return to the farmers market,” Tennes told a news conference at the state Capitol.

    According to the lawsuit, Country Mill is the only business to have been prohibited under the market’s anti-discrimination policy.

    • Well... says:

      In my experience, farmers’ markets usually contain some potentially interesting culture clashes between conservative rural white folks selling produce and liberal urban/suburban white folks either buying it from them or selling arts-n-crafty stuff in the next booth over. But this is the first time I’ve heard of that potential becoming kinetic.

      • Randy M says:

        becoming kinetic.

        Sounds like a euphemism for a shooting.
        Anyway, I saw something vaguely reminiscent of this visiting a small CA forest town, which seemed to be a mix of the sort-of survivalist types (as much as you can be an hour out of a large city) and the back to nature hippies.

  18. Chalid says:

    It seems like we have a lot of discussions about the terribleness of public schools for the sort of person who frequents SSC. What about alternative schooling systems? The only one I know at all is Montessori, due to having friends who send their kids there, but it seems to not have most of the features people are objecting to in public schools – there’s some freedom to choose activities, mixed-age classrooms, and relative freedom of movement within the classroom, and work is customized for the abilities of the child.

    • Anonymous says:

      What about alternative schooling systems?

      Homeschooling.

      Unschooling.

      Amish education level restriction.

      There’s also what’s called “Islamic education”, which apparently has some major differences to the Prussian model we use, but I don’t know the first thing about.

    • Rob K says:

      I used to stay fairly frequently with some friends whose kids were in a Waldorf school. The aspect of it that seemed both fun and a ton of work was that, both at school and at home, you were never supposed to just give the kid an answer to a question, you were supposed to help them come up with the answer themselves.

      It was cool because they were very inquisitive kids, and it kept me on my toes to be coming up with ways to guide them to whatever they were asking about. But I do remember one time one of them was reading a book about space and wanted to talk about, like, asteroids and comets, and I was thinking “man, I’m trying to eat breakfast here, I’m not sure that Socratically guiding an 8 year old to Newtonian mechanics is gonna happen.”

    • John Schilling says:

      Well, if it’s the “terribleness of public schools” that’s the problem, the obvious alternative is private(*) schools, parochial or secular. And there’s no reason they have to operate according to a fundamentally different system at any level below “who pays?” and the associated feedback and incentives. That can matter quite a bit, even if you are running the same educational model internally. But I’m guessing you are really asking what are the alternatives to traditional American-style K-12 classroom education as practiced in both public and private schools.

      In which case, there are the radical alternatives people are already bringing up, and the “soft” alternative of using the existing system but with increased tracking. The idea that a group of students spread across four standard deviations of intelligence should all study the same material under the same teachers in the same classroom, is almost certainly going to result in a highly unsatisfying experience for many and possibly for most. And it gets worse halfway through when they start splitting not only on raw intelligence but on interests and goals, STEM vs fine arts vs generic college prep vs trade school. Same goes for the alleged “socialization” benefits of public education, where you wind up teaching all the students how to fight for status (or accept lack of same) in an artificial society that bears no resemblance to any of the ones they will variously wind up living in.

      Private schools have a clear advantage in educational tracking in that they can explicitly decide to specialize, but a sufficiently large public school district (and we seem to have a fetish for those) should be able to do a fair job of it as well.

      * I assume we are using US-style terminology here.

      • Kevin C. says:

        Same goes for the alleged “socialization” benefits of public education, where you wind up teaching all the students how to fight for status (or accept lack of same) in an artificial society that bears no resemblance to any of the ones they will variously wind up living in.

        Indeed. Is there anywhere else in life where one spends large quantities of time “socializing” with people entirely within a year of age of oneself, with the sole exception of a single older individual with significant authority?

    • Wander says:

      The Scandinavian “school of the woods” thing that I occasionally hear about definitely seems like a good idea, at least for early education. I personally enjoyed my school experience, but I think that a lot of primary school is not really necessary, and is mostly taking the place of daycare, so it may as well be more like daycare than it is.

  19. Kevin C. says:

    So, I’ve been reading up on “intentional communities” and similar group efforts in attempting to live in a manner differing from the norm. The fake Gandhi quote “be the change you want to see in the world”, and all that. (See also my comment in the previous open thread.) If anyone here has some knowledge in this area, I have a number of questions to which I’m having a hard time finding answers.
    1. How do intentional communities enforce their rules? I mean, what can they really do to a misbehaving member except expel them? And even then, what do you do when an “expelled” member refuses to leave?

    2. Reading up, it looks like practically all present-day “intentional communities” tend to be politically left-wing (environmentalist anti-materialism looks to be the single biggest driver). I mean, sure, there were some in inter-war Germany as part of the Völkisch Movement, but not much newer. What might be the reason for this? Is it down to temperment and character of right-leaning versus left-leaning folks? Or are there barriers to entry or additional difficulties that would-be right-wing intentional communities face that left-wing ones do not? With regards to advice on starting such a community, such as that found here, is there any different or additional advice for those forming a right-wing or traditionalist intentional community?

    3. When it comes to “living one’s values”, “being the change”, etc., for which one starts these communities, how does one “live” values around, say, particular political systems which do not readily implement on the small scale. For example, consider an “intentional community” by “Throne and Altar” Catholic traditionalists in the US, who hold that a Catholic monarchy is the only truly legitimate form of government. Living the “Altar” part is fairly simple (if not easy). But what about the “Throne” part? Other than refraining from participating in the “democratic process”?

    • Anonymous says:

      1. How do intentional communities enforce their rules? I mean, what can they really do to a misbehaving member except expel them? And even then, what do you do when an “expelled” member refuses to leave?

      Shunning. Restraining orders.

    • rlms says:

      If refraining from participating in the “democratic process” is good enough for Salafi purists, it’s good enough for you/Catholic traditionalists.

      • Kevin C. says:

        If refraining from participating in the “democratic process” is good enough for Salafi purists

        Is it? Are you referring to “purists” as in the “purist”/”activist”/”Jihadi” division, as discussed in the Wikipedia article on the Salafi movement (wherein political quietism is the distinguishing trait of the “purists” in comparison to other groups)? And are they explicit monarchists? It mostly seems to be the “activists” and “jihadis”, in that model, who speak of the “Caliphate”.

        Again, what is a “monarchist lifestyle” with neither monarch, nor even a plausible pretender?

        • biblicalsausage says:

          How to be a monarchist in a democracy?

          Well, on the voting side, you could always just make it a policy of voting 100% for incumbents. When no incumbent is available, vote for whichever person has the most family members in positions of power. The one moves you toward the no-term-limits side of monarchy, the other moves you toward the keep-it-in-the-famly side of monarchy.

          I suppose that might, on the margins, move the society toward in a sort-of-monarchist direction. If you’re voting in the Democratic primaries 2016, that would mean Hillary last time. In the Republic primaries, that would be Jeb. In the final election 2016 election, Hillary. In the 2020 election, Trump.

          • Kevin C. says:

            I suppose that might, on the margins, move the society toward in a sort-of-monarchist direction.

            Well, if we’re talking about “how should a monarchist vote”, most of us seem to agree that the most likely path to a monarchy in America is via Caesarism; a dictatorial takeover that preserves the surface forms of, and claims continuity with, the Republic while breaking radically from the substance, and which will only be identified as a new dynasty in hindsight centuries later. Thus, would it not then be the best strategy for us to vote for whichever candidate is most likely to engage in an autocoup and make himself President-for-life? (I note that this is openly stated as the preferred scenario vis-a-vis our current president for some, like the Dreaded Jim, hence the not-entirely-joking “God-Emperor Trump” memes.) Or else, barring that, to vote for whichever candidate is most likely to create the chaos and strife that would subsequently drive such a takeover?

          • biblicalsausage says:

            That might work too. I guess from where I stand, it looks to me like the odds of the world genuinely moving in a monarchist direction are low enough that I can’t really say what the best and most realistic pro-monarchy voting pattern would be.

        • rlms says:

          I’m not saying they’re monarchists. The similarity is that they are also faced with the dilemma of whether or not they should use democratic systems they ideologically oppose to create the (undemocratic) society they want.

    • biblicalsausage says:

      There’s right-wing or traditional intentional communities, but they’re usually called religious groups: monasteries, Amish, various pop-up religious communes of various kinds. Now, if you want to start a non-religious right-wing or traditionally oriented religious community, that’s not going to be easy. The target audience is too small.

    • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

      My $0.02:

      1. Look to the Amish and Haredi on this one. Social ostracism is extremely powerful, and most anti-discrimination laws only apply to so-called public accommodations and not private clubs. Every day I see ultra-Orthodox Jews doing exactly this: they’ve created a totally segregated society in New York via an interlocking series of member-only facilities and strict shunning of outsiders.

      2. Three letter agencies really don’t like it when people on the right go innawoods en masse. It’s what James Scott would call legibility: the state can’t afford to let a parallel society develop. Left wing groups don’t actually oppose the state, more often they’re the testbeds for FedGov’s next progressive push.

      3. What do Throne and Alter types historically done during an interregnum? I don’t know but you should probably find out, because from the monarchist perspective that’s the situation we’re in now. Maybe a “King in the Mountain” type myth might help, encouraging people to take comfort that a new king will arise in the future?

      • Kevin C. says:

        What do Throne and Alter types historically done during an interregnum? I don’t know but you should probably find out, because from the monarchist perspective that’s the situation we’re in now.

        Well, that doesn’t exactly seem to be the easiest information to find. Most “interregna” tend to be periods of chaos, civil war, “warring states”, and so on, and often fairly short (on the order of months or years). So the usual answer is “fight to survive, and/or support one or another claimants until one of them reunifies the kingdom/empire by military force”. And how many interregna have lasted centuries? I mean, even if you ignore Napoleon and go from the death of Louis XVI to the Bourbon Restoration, that’s only twenty-one years. Similarly, from Charles I’s death to Charles II arriving in London was also only twenty-one years.

        But as I recall, for France, post the Revolution, for “throne and altar” folks like Joseph de Maistre, it was “flee into exile into a welcoming monarchical state like Czarist Russia”. I know at least some English Royalists during the Interregnum allied with Irish Catholics and gave support to the Irish Rebellion. Or participating in uprisings like the March 1655 one led by Sir John Penruddock. (Which prompted the “decimation tax” against Royalists in retaliation, as well as, to quote from britpolitics.co.uk

        There was still a fear of further uprisings. Royalists (and Catholics) were to be disarmed. Bonds had to be paid to secure their good behaviour and that of their servants. Permission had to be sought from the Major-Generals if they wished to travel. Unlawful assemblies were to be broken up to prevent Royalists or other conspirators gathering together in large numbers

        .). After that, it looks mostly like ‘let people get sick of military rule, wait for Oliver to die and be succeeded by “Tumble-down Dick”, then have General Monck seize power, then hand it over to Charles II’.

        Also, “back the most plausible pretender to the vacant throne” seems to be a common answer. But who is that for America? Remember, different parts of the US have belonged to the King of England, the King of France, the King of Spain, the Czar of Russia, or the King of Hawai’i.

        • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

          I don’t mean “what did royalist noblemen do,” I’m thinking more about commoners with royalist sympathies.

          You’re not the equivalent of Joseph de Maistre, and never will be. You’re the equivalent of Pierre the random French peasant. You need to think about how that guy would get by after the revolution.

          • Kevin C. says:

            You need to think about how that guy would get by after the revolution.

            Hard to find out, but presumably, as long as he could escape the attention of the Revolutionaries, probably the same as before the revolution. From what I see, the answer is “wait it out until the chaos ends and a new king comes in a few years, a couple of decades at most”. But, first, in those days the peasants could mostly expect to be left to their own devices. And secondly, the interregnum was months or years at most, not centuries; the “keep your head down strategy” had an end in sight.

      • Kevin C. says:

        1. Look to the Amish and Haredi on this one. Social ostracism is extremely powerful, and most anti-discrimination laws only apply to so-called public accommodations and not private clubs. Every day I see ultra-Orthodox Jews doing exactly this: they’ve created a totally segregated society in New York via an interlocking series of member-only facilities and strict shunning of outsiders.

        I’d note that the Haredi example is apposite to the recommendations of the writer of “The Fifth Political Theory“, who argues for us white ultra-Right sorts to start thinking of ourselves as a “Western Diaspora”, analogous to the historical Jewish Diaspora, and organize accordingly, as members of a tribe scattered in lands that are not (are no longer) our own.

        Tribal praxis does not require political parties or the control of a government administration. It requires proximity and a sense of solidarity and cohesion. Let us imagine for a moment what possibilities there might be for, say, twenty Western families living within twenty minutes of one another, as opposed to one hundred bloggers and activists living between California, Virginia, and New York.

        Children could be homeschooled together.
        Consumer goods could be bought in bulk at cheaper rates from big-box stores and redistributed more efficiently than twenty atomized households purchasing exactly what each needed.
        Services could be provided to each other at cheaper rates and in such a way that economic activity is kept inside the community, such as home and auto repair, manual labor, tutoring, tech service, etc.
        Depending on the location (rural, ex-urban, suburban), housing could be bought and rented at non-exploitative rates and without the use of outside brokers or realtors.
        Public social events could be attended as a group with greater frequency.
        Internal social events could be held with greater frequency.
        Clubs, house churches, lodges, and other associations can be formed. Property can be bought or rented for them through the raising of “tithes.”; There’s no temple without a congregation first.

        The general principle of tribal praxis is to go outside of one’s network only as necessary. Resources should be kept internal as much as possible. Opportunities should be afforded to the in-group first. And so forth. All of these build a sense of cohesion and loyalty, and thus a stronger identity. And they are all impossible through the model of purely focusing on politics or metapolitics. Policies and ideas are important. But so are groceries and your social life. So is the education of your children. So is having a sense of ritual to your daily life. So is treating your money like the precious asset it is and being shrewd with it.

        (Emphasis in original. Link.)

    • Matt M says:

      2. Reading up, it looks like practically all present-day “intentional communities” tend to be politically left-wing

      The left has better PR. When they do it, it’s an “intentional community”, when the right does it, it’s a “religious fundamentalist cult” or some such thing.

    • dodrian says:

      I’ve been either a member of or periphery to a number of intentional communities (all religious). None of the ones I was an active participant in were the ‘share-all-you-have’ kind, but all encouraged members who had more to help out those who had less.

      These types of communities need to have a belief that binds them strongly together. Again, all the communities I was a part of this was a religious belief, but it doesn’t strictly have to be. The stronger the core belief the easier it is to resolve other disagreements and disputes. Key to good discipline is having good leadership (and for anything other than a very small community you need to have leadership). A good leader (it could be a single person or a small council) should show adherence to the core belief, be able to make and explain difficult decisions, listen to others, and be willing to admit when they’re wrong or have made mistakes. When there is good leadership discipline works well on its own.

      I’ve known people who have decided to leave such communities because of disagreements, and in one case someone was specifically asked to leave and did so voluntarily. I’ve heard of rare cases where the police/legal system had to be involved – but none of these communities were trying or claiming to be independent of the State, they all followed the law and payed appropriate taxes etc.

      Again – all that I’ve experienced are ‘closed’ communities, in the sense that you have to apply to join and demonstrate a commitment to their core beliefs and values. When that’s the case self-policing and discipline works most of the time. If someone isn’t following the rules or isn’t demonstrating a commitment to the community values asking them to leave usually works.

  20. Kevin C. says:

    Since we’re now past both the “nothing too controversial” thread and the three-day post-tragedy moratorium, how about the Manchester attack? To repeat (with expansion) my bit from the now-dead OT76, there are several points of potential discussion:
    Well, now that we’re past the three-day moratorium, perhaps some here might have at it? There’s several avenues of discussion I see brought up about this:
    1. What does the choice in target, in particular, signal? How much is there a “sexually-frustrated young man” component to this? Or was this attack, as some left-leaning pundits have argued, not “about” Muslim violence, but about male violence against women?

    2. Does the reaction — or more specifically, the lack of one — indicate acquiescence and/or doom for the English. Namely, the attitude expressed frequently around my circles is that if the random slaughter of 8-year-old girls cannot cause “the Saxon to begin to hate”, then nothing ever will, and so Manchester will “continue to embrace with open arms those that murder their children and rape their daughters” to the last.

    3. The use of “but native born, so checkmate, xenophobes” as an argument mode in the wake of events like this. As if we weren’t talking about the children or grandchildren of previously-admitted immigrants. If anything, doesn’t the fact that this sort of problem is not limited merely to immigrants themselves, but their descendants for generations after, point towards needing to be more selective about who one lets into one’s country?

    4. The poll and survey data I’ve seen shows Western women (especially single white women) to be some of the most consistently strong supporters of not only immigration, but Islamic immigration; this, despite, presumably, having more reason to oppose the importation of sizeable, young-male-skewed groups of “regressive”, patriarchal, hard-to-assimilate (based on the track record so far in Europe) populations. I know of a pair of proposed explanations for this apparent paradox floating around the far-right zones I inhabit, but I doubt folks here would agree with either of them.

    • Anonymous says:

      1. What does the choice in target, in particular, signal? How much is there a “sexually-frustrated young man” component to this? Or was this attack, as some left-leaning pundits have argued, not “about” Muslim violence, but about male violence against women?

      The choice of targets probably had something to do with his idiosyncrasies. It’s probably well within the pattern of “culturally Islamic male loser wants a way to redeem his loser life, friendly neighbourhood radical priests give him tips on specifics”. So he takes the template, and applies it to stuff that is somehow central in his life so far, which might well have been rejection by females.

      2. Does the reaction — or more specifically, the lack of one — indicate acquiescence and/or doom for the English. Namely, the attitude expressed frequently around my circles is that if the random slaughter of 8-year-old girls cannot cause “the Saxon to begin to hate”, then nothing ever will, and so Manchester will “continue to embrace with open arms those that murder their children and rape their daughters” to the last.

      I don’t know, but I expect the attacks to keep up for the foreseeable future, the damage control efforts by the establishment to continue, and the popularity of xenophobic movements to rise. Overall, I think it may take time, but the lands of Christendom will be reconquered. Question is, whether the reconquest will be mostly peaceful or a bloodbath. I’ve got approximately zero uncertainty about who will eventually win, though.

      3. The use of “but native born, so checkmate, xenophobes” as an argument mode in the wake of events like this. As if we weren’t talking about the children or grandchildren of previously-admitted immigrants. If anything, doesn’t the fact that this sort of problem is not limited merely to immigrants themselves, but their descendants for generations after, point towards needing to be more selective about who one lets into one’s country?

      It does.

      4. The poll and survey data I’ve seen shows Western women (especially single white women) to be some of the most consistently strong supporters of not only immigration, but Islamic immigration; this, despite, presumably, having more reason to oppose the importation of sizeable, young-male-skewed groups of “regressive”, patriarchal, hard-to-assimilate (based on the track record so far in Europe) populations. I know of a pair of proposed explanations for this apparent paradox floating around the far-right zones I inhabit, but I doubt folks here would agree with either of them.

      I know about the “preference to be subjugated by dominant male, as opposed to partnership with the easygoing male” theory, but what’s the other one?

      • Kevin C. says:

        I know about the “preference to be subjugated by dominant male, as opposed to partnership with the easygoing male” theory, but what’s the other one?

        The other one is the view of those who claim that the single greatest, most implacable enemy to “white male” identity politics is “Nice White Ladies”, because (most) white women utterly hate, to the very core of their being, white men, that they’ll chose the most terrible mistreatment by the worst the world has to offer (the “Henrys”, for those who recall “Radicalizing the Romanceless“) rather than give the time of day to a white guy. Now, some of these ultimately fold back into the other view, by postulating that it is the “easygoing” lack of dominance that makes us so hated, but others seem to just accept this postulated loathing as endogenous/given.

        • Kevin C. says:

          As a follow-up, in the 2014 working paper from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, “Fertility of Turkish migrants in Germany: Duration of stay matters” (PDF), one can, if one examines the data, specifically in Table 5, find that the TFR for German males is 1.27, but 1.67 for German females. So German women are having 30% more children than German men.

          • tomogorman says:

            Perhaps I missed it, but how does your working paper’s study control for the greater ease of tracking number of children born to women vs. those sired by men?
            Notably in the same table all Turks have a TFR for males of 2.28 vs 2.35 for females. Which granted is a smaller difference, but alternative hypothesis is just that Turkish migrant men are more conservative and therefore less likely to have a child they don’t know about?

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          Isn’t that just basically the “shit test?” i.e., the white women really want their men to stand up to the ruffians, and to them, and the white men are failing?

          (Note I think these issues are far too complicated to be summed up by manosphere memes, but I think that’s the concept you’re describing).

          • Kevin C. says:

            The first of the two views (and the second when it folds back into the first) pretty much is. The “pure” second view, though is not. It says that white women don’t really want “their men” to stand up to the ruffians, and to them, they just plain hate us. It’s the view that white women are white men’s single greatest enemy, that there pretty much is a “war of the sexes” here, and that if white men want a future, we’ll pretty much have to treat “our women” like a hostile enemy tribe to be defeated and subjugated utterly. This view differs from the “shit test” one in that “passing the shit test”, as it were, won’t make white women hate white men any less, they’ll just be forced into compliance against their wishes.

            Yeah, it’s a pretty ugly (and deranged) view, which is why I didn’t expect anyone here to agree with it.

          • Loquat says:

            It’s particularly deranged when you look over to the SJ left and see all the rants against “white feminism”, complaints that white women are the worst Oppressors after white men, and Samantha Bee blaming white women for Trump.

        • Well... says:

          white women utterly hate, to the very core of their being, white men, that they’ll chose the most terrible mistreatment by the worst the world has to offer […] rather than give the time of day to a white guy

          Talk about a “sexually-frustrated young man component”…

          I’m pretty much in agreement with your views on immigration as discernible from your original post above, except with this side argument about how “white women support Muslim immigration because they secretly hate us poor white men.” I think you’ve made a bizarre left turn.

          If you’re having trouble in the woman department, in a country with millions upon millions of eligible women, the problem is probably you. (There are plenty of naive liberal pro-immigration white women married to white men!)

          Basically, with this argument you’re overreaching. Like, it isn’t enough to say “We should be more careful about what kinds of people we let in,” you also feel the need to add “and those darn Muslim men are depriving me of a girlfriend,” which in the eyes of many people (a majority of whom, I would guess, are women!) ruins both the credibility of your other arguments against immigration AND your image as a man worth being involved with.

          • Well... says:

            PS. So why do white women so often favor Muslim immigration when it is seemingly counter to their interests? A few guesses off the top of my head that are all better than the “boo-hoo woe is us poor white guys” hypothesis:

            1. It’s a mothery nurtury thing to support immigration, especially when you’re imbued with images of immigrants as round-eyed children, and as other outlets for mothery nurturyness are coded as anti-liberal (see #2).

            2. Women are very status-oriented, especially as monogamy is on a downward slide, and supporting liberal causes is high status (it signals educatedness, urbanness, with-it-ness, etc.). Opposing liberal causes signals uneducatedness, ruralness, and old-timey-ness. Heck, it might be even more basic than that: supporting liberal causes signals youthfulness!

            3. They are naive to the arguments it is counter to their interests, and don’t even have a sense of how these arguments could exist.

          • Creutzer says:

            Mind you, he isn’t endorsing this argument, merely reporting its existence.

          • Well... says:

            “You” was meant to refer to whomever does endorse that argument, whether or not that includes Kevin C.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Well…

            So, is there any evidence they favour Muslim immigration? I’ve seen some polling data suggesting that white women (or, single white women) are one of the most immigration-favouring groups. Alt-right guys tend to look at the “single” bit and create a psychosexual explanation. I think they’re ignoring that single white women are one of the strongest Democrat-or-equivalent-voting groups, and so it’s part and parcel of a greater whole.

            The whole “they want foreign men to come in (because of sex)” seems disproven by the fact that pro-immigrant and pro-refugee people tend to use rhetoric where the central example is kids: DREAMer kids brought to the US by their parents to escape poverty/violence, US citizen kids of illegal parents who would be separated from their families or forced to go to another country if immigration law was enforced, child asylum seekers being carried by their parents into Europe, dead kids washing up on beaches. Grown men are pretending to be under-18s to get asylum more easily, not the other way around.

            Put another way, the alt-right psychosexual explanation is contradicted by the way that the current influx of refugees and asylum seekers (real or fraudulent) entering Europe being by some numbers composed disproportionately to overwhelmingly of young men (as opposed to the historical example, where refugee and asylum seekers are disproportionately women, children, and the elderly) is not a selling point, even among the left. If you look at pro-accepting refugees/asylum seekers material, it tends to show pictures of haggard old women, doe-eyed little sprogs, etc; anti-accepting refugee/asylum seeker material tends to show hordes of young men.

          • Well... says:

            dndnrsn:

            Yes, I agree. I was merely addressing the argument on its face.

      • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

        Overall, I think it may take time, but the lands of Christendom will be reconquered

        Thanks for the optimistic take, those are sorely missing these days.

        Although I’d be shocked if Christians were the ones to do the reconquering: European Christians are thin on the ground and quite a few like Pope Francis actively oppose the continued existence of Europe. A new nationalist movement seems more plausible and frankly more desirable.

        • Gobbobobble says:

          Pope Francis is not a European, he’s from Argentina. Arguably the first properly non-European Pope, since the handful of Popes from outside modern Europe in the 1st Millennium were either Roman citizens or Byzantine Greeks. I think he and John Paul II are the only ones from someplace that did not at one point call itself part of a Roman Empire (Western, Eastern, or Holy).

          • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

            Pope Francis is not a European, he’s from Argentina.

            Fair, though Argentinians themselves tend to have a different opinion on that point.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            Oh? Do you just mean the polandball trope of “Argentina likes to think of itself as part of Europe”?

    • Aapje says:

      Or was this attack, as some left-leaning pundits have argued, not “about” Muslim violence, but about male violence against women?

      I would suggest that this assessment tells you more about the prejudice of those pundits than about the true motives. AFAIK, ISIS attacks show no clear gender preference. In the Bataclan attack, victims got their genitals mutilated, suggesting sexual motives played a role, but it happened to both male and female victims.

      Does the reaction — or more specifically, the lack of one — indicate acquiescence and/or doom for the English.

      They have plenty of experience enduring violence by the IRA. That didn’t doom them and this isn’t going to doom them.

      I also wonder why your circle would expect anything different from what happened. The UK has been very slowly pivoting towards stricter migration rules for some time. Those in power don’t change policies such as these over single incidents. Furthermore, there is a far stronger reaction by the lower classes.

      The use of “but native born, so checkmate, xenophobes” as an argument mode in the wake of events like this. As if we weren’t talking about the children or grandchildren of previously-admitted immigrants.

      When beliefs and facts clash, people frequently come up with rationalizations to defend their beliefs. This seems to be such a rationalization to preserve their support for open borders by arguing that first generation Muslim migrants are not terrorists that often. By arguing that the real reasons that these terrorists became violent is that they experienced xenophobia, the anti-open borders position can be claimed to be the cause of the violence, rather than the solution.

      • Salem says:

        They have plenty of experience enduring violence by the IRA. That didn’t doom them and this isn’t going to doom them.

        We reacted very differently to the IRA than to Da’ish. No-one is suggesting Diplock Courts, internment, or shoot-to-kill.

        On the other hand, it took a long time for Northern Ireland’s troubles to become Troubles. Maybe we’re still only in 1930.

        • bintchaos says:

          I would suggest it is only the beginning– just wait until the out-of-africa economic and warzone refugees start pushing north. The IRA never migrated in the millions to continental England.
          By 2050 there will be 1 billion youth in Africa.
          Largely unemployed and mostly sunni muslim.

      • bintchaos says:

        The pattern is war–>refugees/immigrants–> xenophobic reaction by host population –> some infiestimal fraction of second or third generation become radicalized to terrorist acts for a complex set of motivations.
        the problem is that even a tiny fraction of terrorists can kill a large amount of the host population.
        which then causes more xenophobic reaction from the host population.
        this is a deliberate strategy on the part of IS and al-Q, outlined in their doctrine manuals.

    • bintchaos says:

      you are overthinking this– the Manchester concert was a soft target, the Orlando nightclub was a soft target, the Paris concert was a soft target, all emblematic of western culture.
      Orthodox salafism forbids music except for acapella nasheeds sung by males– it doesnt forbid women.
      Of course the shaheeds would prefer military or economic targets but those are hardened.
      US has an entire cottage industry of soi disant “jihadologists” spouting BS about the complex problem of terrorism and islamic insurgencies and flogging books 24/7.
      The only social scientist I respect on terrorism is Dr. Atran.
      for those of you that can read french here is his take on Manchester.
      https://twitter.com/atranscott/status/868286223651139584
      and a good long form piece widely ignored by the “jihadologists”– who of course have no workable solutions beyond fearmongering and sensationalizing the problem for profit.
      The elephant in the room is refugee numbers, which i prefer to think of as weaponized migration. An Islamic Diasphora– Syria is still generating ~ 1 million refugees per year– there are 23 million refugees currently, and about half are children. Just because the refugees mostly cant get to America doesnt mean this isnt a huge problem for the future. Most of the refugees are from MENA– and most of them are bringing their Quran.
      Most people here seem to accept that intense selection pressure spawned a deme with hyper intelligence (Ashkenazim)– ask yourself what intense selection pressure on Salafis is going to breed. 🙂

    • sohois says:

      From my perspective as a Brit, there has always been an element amongst some people disregard for ‘Islamic’ terrorism as it so pales in comparison to the dangers posed by the IRA; even though they were not filled with deaths, there were simply so many more IRA attacks that the threat of islamic terrorism has looked a bit pathetic by comparison.

      But more than that I think is just the growing acceptance of terrorism becoming a ‘part’ of daily life and no longer a shocking event. It seems odd to write that when just a moment ago I was talking about how limited islamic terrorism seems compared to the IRA, but modern communications has rendered so many attacks as local, even if they take place in France or Belgium or Germany. So there’s a growing normalcy to it, which means less and less shock each time one occurs, and more and more resistance to giving into terrorism. The Brits have traded away as much liberty for security as they wanted, and will do so no more

      • bintchaos says:

        Indeed terrorism has become part of the daily news cycle.
        The proximate cause is 30 years of US/Western FP in MENA.
        The only solution is to allow representative islamic gov in majority muslim nation-states, but the West seems constitutionally unable to allow that.
        Even Morsi’s watered-down pluralism was not tolerated, and the west is constantly trying to undermine Erdogan.
        In the end islamic governments are inevitable in MENA and sub-sahara.
        The choice is not between secular democracy and islamic government, but between different forms of islamic government.
        So far our choice has been war and meddling. That creates refugees, and the cycle goes on…maybe forever…or at least until the End-times.

        • Aapje says:

          The proximate cause is 30 years of US/Western FP in MENA.

          I think that it is far more complex than that. There is a worldwide movement to more orthodox Islam. This is also the case for Indonesia, which is not MENA and has not been meddled with much by the US/Western nations, ever since they got self-governance.

          Even Morsi’s watered-down pluralism was not tolerated, and the west is constantly trying to undermine Erdogan.

          Seriously? Erdogan has stifled the press, has been putting political opponents in prison with no evidence of them actually having committed a crime, etc.

          The West is actually doing extremely little to undermine him, unless you want to argue that keeping him from gaining extreme control over the Turkish diaspora is undermining him. IMHO, a more reasonable claim is that Erdogan is undermining the West by demanding that the Turkish diaspora doesn’t assimilate.

          The only solution is to allow representative islamic gov in majority muslim nation-states, but the West seems constitutionally unable to allow that.

          The problem is that many of these countries don’t have a culture of respect for minorities, so the result will just be that the majority will oppress the minority. This may be marginally better than a minority oppressing the majority, but it’s not going to stop war, refugees, etc.

          The narrative that the only thing that prevents paradise in non-Western nations is the West keeping out is very silly and easily disproven by various nations where the West has little influence, yet those nations keep doing badly.

          • bintchaos says:

            sry, i meant “why do they hate the US in particular.”
            and that isnt the narrative at all.
            if you want to know what they really want you should read Abu Bakr Naji– Management of Savagery (Idarat al Tawahhush)
            its basically a field manual for crashing a super-power and more.
            The plan is to to use “savagery” (chaos, war, etc.) to spawn a global socio-religious conflict. Anti-globalist nationalism, reactionary and xenophobic movements are all following their playbook.
            Trumps isolationist tendencies are a gift to islamic insurgencies everywhere.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            @bintchaos:

            The proximate cause [of Islamist terrorism] is 30 years of US/Western FP in MENA.

            then…

            Trump’s isolationist tendencies are a gift to islamic insurgencies everywhere.

            How can you believe both of these things?

          • The Nybbler says:

            Seems like it’s the Chomsky Principle at work: “It’s always America’s fault.”

        • >Indeed terrorism has become part of the daily news cycle.
          The proximate cause is 30 years of US/Western FP in MENA.

          Do you know much about the history of Saudi Arabia, in, say, the 19th or 20th century?

      • Creutzer says:

        So there’s a growing normalcy to it, which means less and less shock each time one occurs, and more and more resistance to giving into terrorism. The Brits have traded away as much liberty for security as they wanted, and will do so no more

        On the other hand, it’s very odd to frame a tightening of immigration restrictions as “trading away liberties”, so one should expect that part of the reaction to continue growing stronger.

      • Matt M says:

        We also have daily stories about, say, the epidemic of rape on college campuses, and yet, no one is promoting the narrative of “rape on college campuses is just a part of daily life and we have to learn to accept it”

        If targeted and intentional slaughter of 8-year-olds is “just a thing we have to accept and get past” then what ISN’T acceptable? Where on Earth do you possibly draw the line if not there? And, if I may, how EXACTLY do you expect me to get outraged at news stories like “Michael Flynn got paid 45k to give a speech to Russia Today” when at the same time, you are telling me NOT to get outraged over child-murder?”

        • rlms says:

          The frequencies matter. Terrorism is a very infrequent event, which may make it less bad on net than individually less bad events that are more frequent. Although in any case, I don’t think the narrative of “this is a thing we just have to accept” is being pushed any more strongly regarding terrorism than for school shootings.

          • dndnrsn says:

            Every school shooting is met with calls for gun control. I have never seen anyone say “this is just part of living in the modern day” after some maniac with an AR-15 shoots a bunch of kids.

          • rlms says:

            @dndnrsn
            But that is fundamentally what people who don’t agree with calls for gun controls are saying, if they aren’t proposing any solution.

          • John Schilling says:

            And every terrorist attack that might plausibly be attributed to Islam is met with calls for immigration restrictions and/or military interventions.

            Whether or not you hear “this is a thing we just have to accept”, depends on whether you hang out with people who favor the usual alternatives or those for whom it is anathema. In the case of terrorism, it’s pretty clear – conservatives already favor all the standard remedies so for them terrorism is a “Something Must Be Done!” problem, liberals find both expelling Muslims and bombing them to be abhorrent, so terrorism is something they may prepared to live with. With school shootings the proposed solutions are gun control and the more draconian forms of educational reform, which make it less clear but weighted towards the conservatives tolerating the status quo.

            In both cases, the smarter ones won’t go about saying “this is just something we have to live with”, anywhere undecided moderates are likely to be hanging out.

          • rlms says:

            @John Schilling
            Yes, exactly. I think that in both cases the correct thing to do is regard it as a tradeoff (even if you view it as heavily weighted to one side). Deaths are taboo, so mentioning the tradeoff is regarded badly. But it still exists.

        • Machina ex Deus says:

          @Matt M:

          If targeted and intentional slaughter of 8-year-olds is “just a thing we have to accept and get past” then what ISN’T acceptable?

          White girls making burritos.

          (Sorry, I’m just filling in for suntzuamine while he’s away.)

    • Matt M says:

      1. What does the choice in target, in particular, signal?

      4. The poll and survey data I’ve seen shows Western women (especially single white women) to be some of the most consistently strong supporters of not only immigration

      Perhaps it’s the cynical rightist in me, but I think these two things point to evidence that all the talk of “Trump’s anti-Islamic rhetoric plays into the hands of ISIS and makes us less safe” is complete and total nonsense.

      This attack took place in a country where insulting Islam is literally illegal at a concert of an artist who has been virulently anti-Trump and is progressive in all the right ways. Hate speech laws didn’t stop them from attacking England, and tweets of diversity and acceptance didn’t stop them from attacking Miss Grande.

      Basically, it proves that appeasement and cuckery won’t save you. It’s hard to take serious anyone saying “better not insult Islam or Islamists will attack you” when the very people loudly shouting “DON’T INSULT ISLAM” are, themselves, being attacked by Islamists.

      • bintchaos says:

        Trump’s anti-Islamic rhetoric absolutely plays into IS vision of the long game.
        But agree that pandering to the local UK population of Sunni muslims while bombing the sh** out of Syrian and Iraqi Sunni muslims non-locally doesnt work as a pallative.
        Here is the DailyBeast on Naji
        http://www.thedailybeast.com/isis-wants-a-global-civil-war

        • Matt M says:

          Trump’s anti-Islamic rhetoric absolutely plays into IS vision of the long game.

          Prove to me that people who say bad things about Islam are more likely to be the victims of terror attacks than people who loudly denounce Islamophobia.

          • bintchaos says:

            That is not what i said.
            i said, “it doesnt make a difference.”
            ISIS goal is to drive a wedge between the host population and government, and muslim citizens.

        • Aapje says:

          @bintchaos

          Hillary Clinton’s support of LGBT rights also played into the ISIS vision of the long game.

          Even more elementary, any politician who doesn’t support Sharia law is ‘haram’ in the eyes of orthodox Muslims. In fact, you don’t even have to be a non-Muslim, as a lot of violence is against the ‘wrong kind’ of Muslims.

          • bintchaos says:

            Bush found out that it is not possible to terraform culture in OIF.
            Secular democracy will simply never take in muslim countries– shariah is the consensual rule of law.
            Think about it…2 billion people reading the same book.
            Know anything about John Maynard-Smith and EGT?

          • Secular democracy will simply never take in muslim countries– shariah is the consensual rule of law.

            If you look at Islamic history, one pattern is the alternation between relatively secular polities, where Islam is the dominant religion but people don’t take restrictions they don’t like very seriously, and fundamentalist revivals, such as the Almoravides and Almohades in North Africa. As best I can tell, the current Saudis are the product of one such.

            For the non-fundamentalist periods, note medieval anecdotes about caliphs drinking wine pretty openly, widespread toleration of homosexuality. There are two medieval essays that take the form of debates on the relative attractions of heterosexual and homosexual sex.

      • beleester says:

        cuckery

        Seriously? I didn’t take you for a /r/the_donald resident.

      • Jiro says:

        Perhaps it’s the cynical rightist in me, but I think these two things point to evidence that all the talk of “Trump’s anti-Islamic rhetoric plays into the hands of ISIS and makes us less safe” is complete and total nonsense.

        This is a second example of something I pointed out when Scott claimed that voting for Trump would be bad for the right: “My opponent should, to achieve his own goals, do something which straightforwardly seems to harm him and help me”, is probably motivated reasoning.

        (Or concern trolling if done on purpose.)

        • bintchaos says:

          If the SSC commentariat is so bright, just read Naji.
          It is part of IS masterplan.

      • Winter Shaker says:

        a country where insulting Islam is literally illegal

        Can you provide more detail on that? Maybe I haven’t been paying attention to the news enough, but I understand that we still have the European Convention on Human Rights (incorporated into UK law by the Human Rights Act (1998) which does allow for some people to stretch the exceptions-to-free-speech on ‘inciting racial hatred’ grounds, but does (yet) not prohibit robust criticism / mockery of religions as abstract memeplexes.

        • Salem says:

          He is presumably referring to the offence of inciting religious hatred. Despite what Matt M says, insulting Islam is not literally illegal (but only because the Labour government’s attempts to do so were defeated by a backbench revolt), but it’s close. This has not been found to conflict with the ECHR – Article 10 has exceptions wide enough to drive a coach and horses through.

        • Harry Maurice Johnston says:

          See also We Few, We Fragile Few on Popehat. Not specific to Islam, but FYI.

    • lvlln says:

      Point 3, the “but native born, so checkmate, xenophobes” argument is one that I bought into wholeheartedly until very recently. It had always seemed to me that proponents of policies to reduce immigration were explicitly invoking the fear of new immigrants who may commit terrorist acts in order to justify their proposals, and so a terrorist not being an actual immigrant always seemed to me like a slam dunk gotcha against these people that I had perceived as xenophobes.

      But as I’ve done more research on this issue the past few years due to the terror incidents just continuing to pile up, I’ve learned that I was really mistaken about the position. While the fear of letting terrorists immigrate in is and was certainly real, it was completely dwarfed to irrelevance by the greater concern that a relatively concentrated population of immigrants who share a culture vastly different from ours can lead to, on the margins, a greater number of people of that culture – including everyone from recent immigrants to “natives” of 5+ generations and everything in between – getting radicalized to positions that are not just vastly different from but actually incompatible with our culture. And, on the margins, more people who are radicalized translates to more people who carry out terrorist acts.

      I was vaguely aware of this argument as a thing before, but I thought it was a tiny point that no one ever made and one that can easily be dismissed by claiming “they’ll just buy into our more liberal, more secular society since they’ll see how awesome it is.” The research I’ve done on and off the past few years tells me both that this is actually the main point, and it can’t be so easily dismissed, because the proportion that do buy into our secular society isn’t sufficiently high that the increasing radicalization isn’t obviously a non-factor. When I see the literature published by ISIS and the trends of Westerners who tend to get radicalized by them, it seems to me that this is very much a factor, far more than any sort of resentment over bigotry or colonization done by Westerners.

      I’m still pro-open borders for other reasons, but I see the “but native born, so checkmate, xenophobes” as wholly invalid now and engaging with a silly strawman – at best, a weakman – and designed entirely to score points rather than to make a meaningful argument. Given how actively ignorant people tend to be of research that might contradict their positions, I expect to see this argument continue to grow in popularity, though.

      • dndnrsn says:

        Disaffected youngsters, mostly young men, is a big problem. “Kid of immigrants radicalized into hardcore version of his family’s religion” and “radicalized convert” are just two of the flavours of that with the largest potential for mass murder.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          I think the transition from disaffected youth to terrorist is (nearly) unique to Islam.

          In any society, in any given year, there will be a certain percentage of young men who experience and existential crisis. Either they’ve “done everything right” and failed and are poor and miserable, or they’ve succeeded in their career and finances but still find life empty (many of the westerners who joined ISIS were middle class, with college degrees and jobs and yet decided to move to the desert and behead people, and engineers are unusually likely to become terrorists). It’s impossible to make a society where there are no disaffected 20-something year old men. It’s just part of becoming a man for a lot of people.

          In response to this long dark night of the soul, some young men will give up and turn to suicide, or drugs, or alcohol. But a lot will also turn to religion. They’ll pick up their holy book and say, “yes, this is why I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t doing what my spiritual leader told me to do!” If that spiritual leader is Jesus Christ, well, it’s possible to twist his words to some kind of violence but it’s really, really hard to do so. It’s far more likely you’re going to decide to be more like Jesus and love others as yourself and go volunteer at a soup kitchen or something, and you’re still suffering, but at least you’ve come to terms with it and found a productive spiritual outlet. You never, ever make the news. If that spiritual leader is Mohammad, then the response is “this is why I’m not happy, I’m not doing what my leader and said and slaughtering infidels!” and we have a new jihadist.

          And it doesn’t matter that (some) modern Islamic scholars preach that no, violent jihad is no longer acceptable for Muslims, what 25 year old who’s mad at the world listens to their elders? Ever? They’ve got the book, right in front of them, and old people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. That is the problem of the self-radicalizing nature of Islam.

          • rlms says:

            “You never, ever make the news.”
            That is also true if your spiritual leader is Muhammad and you don’t become a terrorist.

            “They’ve got the book, right in front of them”
            It’s clichéd, but have you read the Old Testament? It’s got a fair bit of slaughter in. Also, they only have the book in front of them if they know Arabic, which is not a given except for first-generation immigrants from Arabic-speaking countries.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            “You never, ever make the news.”
            That is also true if your spiritual leader is Muhammad and you don’t become a terrorist.

            Yes. But the number of Christians who go ka-boom at pop concerts is zero, and the number of Muslims who do so is non-zero.

            It’s clichéd, but have you read the Old Testament?

            Yes, except in Christian theology the Old Testament is treated as a historical or historical/mythological document, not a list of exhortations. The Old Testament is “here’s what happened” and the New Testament is “here’s what you should do now.” The Koran and Sunnah are not, at all, like that and contain direct commands to current followers.

            We should really be past the “Christianity and Islam are the same!” meme by now. They’re clearly not, in terms of both philosophical content and tendency to produce suicide bombers.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            It’s clichéd, but have you read the Old Testament? It’s got a fair bit of slaughter in.

            The slaughter in the OT is mostly just described in a “This is what happened” historical sense. Even the verses where God commands it are referring to a specific situation (the Israelite conquest of Canaan), and there’s no indication that these are meant to be general commands applying to all believers everywhere.

            Also, they only have the book in front of them if they know Arabic, which is not a given except for first-generation immigrants from Arabic-speaking countries.

            English translations of the Koran exist, and are easily available over Amazon.

          • rlms says:

            @ConradHoncho
            “But the number of Christians who go ka-boom at pop concerts is zero”
            Wrong! Looks like it’s one to one.

            I agree that Christianity and Islam aren’t the same. But I think the difference is largely down to how they’re practiced, and specifically the fact that the really bad interpretations of Islam are much more popular than the really bad interpretations of Christianity. I don’t think the content of the Quran comes into it. If you can give a single example of someone radicalised solely from the Quran I’lll eat my words. A quick search suggests this guy, but his brother says he grew up in an extremist family, a fact corroborated by his sister saying “I am proud of my brother. He fought until the end. I think the world of (Osama) Bin Laden”.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Conrad Honcho

            So, note, I said mass murder. There are things a different sort of disaffected young man might drift into that involve retail, as opposed to wholesale, murder. “Young man without prospects who drifts into a gang because it offers a bit of money, some masculine camaraderie, etc” is an archetype that kills vastly more Americans than either the archetypes I mentioned above, or the “angry young man goes all AR-15 in a school” archetype. Or maybe just “man without prospects who gets drunk and gets into fights and beats his girlfriend/wife” – that archetype kills a lot of people too.

            This is just because right now, due to historical events, Muslim (mostly Sunni) extremist terrorism is a thing. It wasn’t always a thing – consider, for example, how the Palestinian commies have disappeared and been completely supplanted by Islamists.

            You can’t say “this is something inherent to Islam” without explaining why Sunni Muslims do it more than Shia, or why it’s become so much more of a thing over the past few decades.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            and specifically the fact that the really bad interpretations of Islam are much more popular than the really bad interpretations of Christianity

            I mean, that depends on how you feel about the “I Fucking Love Jesus” cults Evangelicals.

          • Anonymous says:

            Needs more Inquisition.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @dndnrsn

            I need to do some more comparative religion research with regards to Islam. I don’t have an answer to why Sunni Muslims blow themselves up more often than Shia, so yes I need to answer that question.

            I still think there’s a general problem with regards to Islam, which is the source of sin/suffering. In Christianity, we assume people are born fallen/corrupted, and if your life is shit there’s a pretty good chance it’s your fault. Also, humans are made in the image of God, so they could be perfect like God, but if they’re not it’s because of their own choices. In Islam, humans are just one of Allah’s infinite creations, and are not made in his image. They’re also made pure, and corrupted by the outside world.

            This is why they stone the rape victim rather than the rapist. He’s a pure muslim man, who never would have done that awful thing if he hadn’t been tempted by the harlot’s brazen bare ankle.

            This is a fundamentally different view on the nature of man and sin. If you place the blame for your poor situation on yourself, like in Christianity, you might try to improve yourself. If you place the blame for your poor situation on what other people are doing (those “spreading mischief in the land”), and justify killing them to stop it, then there will be no end to the killing, because there is no end to problems and suffering in this world.

            As far as world religions go, this is unique to Islam.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Conrad Honcho

            Let’s see what the Hebrew Bible has to say. Deuteronomy 22:23-29 (NRSV)

            If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

            25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor, 27 for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

            28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

            So, by the Hebrew Bible – binding on Jews, certainly, if not on Christians – is not exactly that friendly to rape victims, unless they’re engaged to be married and fight back. Additionally, the model of “bad things are happening to you personally/your community as a whole because you tolerate evildoers in the community” is certainly a model that exists in the Hebrew Bible. One answer the Jews of the period the books were composed and edited had to the question “why did we just get invaded by a foreign empire? We’re God’s chosen people – why is this happening to us?” is “because you’re tolerating wrongdoing, and God is punishing the group for the sins of a component part; y’all better ensure everyone behaves”.

            In comparison, Christianity derives from Jewish apocalypticism: where the above worldview (my fuzzy memory of studying this stuff is saying it’s the “prophetic worldview” but my fuzzy memory is not a solid authority) is “God is punishing the many for the sins of the few, and so the many better make sure those few behave themselves, and then God will make the foreign invaders go away”, apocalypticism says “bad stuff is happening because the world is ruled by evil, but God is going to come and make things right and change everything – the good guys are gonna continue to suffer but we just gotta hold on and stay strong.”

            My point in this is that if the same or similar moral model can be found in stuff that’s binding on Jews as it is binding on Muslims… then why aren’t Jews stoning rape victims to death and blowing themselves up in pop concerts and nightclubs? Just like with the question “why are Sunnis so disproportionately the ones committing terrorist violence in the name of religion”, the answer has more to do with recent history – both the relatively recent (centuries) and the truly recent (decades). The same stuff answers the question “why are there places in the Muslim world that within living memory were quite cosmopolitan and secular, and in some of them it was common to see grown women not wearing hijabs, and now they are not cosmopolitan, not secular, and niqabs are common?”

            There are some really, really serious problems right now in the Muslim world and in contemporary Muslim thought – more with Sunnis than Shias – but the problems lie more in recent history than in the Quran or the hadith traditions. While those things can be used to justify some awful stuff, the Hebrew Bible and New Testament can be too – and yet Jews no longer stone rape victims to death, Christians no longer put heretics to death, etc.

            EDIT: Perhaps I’m being a little coy. This isn’t my area of expertise, far from it, but my understanding is that modern Sunni radicalism starts to pop up in the early to mid 20th century. This is a period where things are not going well for the Muslim world: the Ottoman Empire has kicked it, the entire Muslim world is under the thumb of Western powers (perceived as either Christian or degenerate and atheistic), after 1948 the state of Israel has been created and has just kicked out a whole bunch of Muslims, embarrassed Muslim armies, and will continue to do so, etc. It’s in this environment that the Muslim Brotherhood pops up, Qutb starts writing his influential stuff, etc. Then, in the 70s and 80s, American support for (what they perceive as) anti-Soviet fighters kicks things into high gear. The war in Afghanistan becomes an incubator for Sunni radicalism. This has been repeated more recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, North Africa, etc.

            Or, consider that Black September was a secular outfit, within the past 20 years the PFLP have gone from a major player to a very minor element, and that while suicide bombing is identified with Muslim terrorists (when you hear “there’s been a shooting” you think “huh, I wonder who did that”, when you hear “some guy blew himself up”, on the other hand…) in its modern incarnation it was originally a Tamil Tiger thing.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @dndnrsn

            But have Jews ever blown themselves up en masse due to oppression? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve heard tell that, at some points, occasionally in world history, Jews just might have faced some unfair oppression. Once or twice. Maybe. Never started suicide bombing campaigns against children though.

            The Hindus go by a Just World theory. If your life sucks now, it’s because you deserve it because you were shit in your past life. That’s why Mother Theresa started her mission. She was on a train, saw the untouchables, asked why no one was helping them and learned that no one would ever help them, or care about it: they deserved it.

            Theology really, really impacts the way people interact with the world. Muslims blowing themselves up is not a side-effect of political oppression. It’s baked into the theology. Hindus not giving a shit about the poor isn’t a side-effect of class struggle. It’s baked into the theology.

            Epistemological aside: I think our own filters color not just the way we see the world but the way we believe others see the world.

            When all you have is an X Hammer, problems tend to look like X Nails. The feminists see the world through gender, so the concert bombing is male-on-female, gender-based violence. If you’re a materialist, of course terrorism is caused by the economic impact of climate change! And as a religious person, of course I think people’s motivations come from their religions (or cultures heavily shaped by their religions, or lack thereof).

            Reality is probably a combination of these things.

          • biblicalsausage says:

            I’m suprised that a CTRL+F search in a big discussion of Islam vs. Christianity/Judaism only shows one passing mention of “hadith.”

            Here’s my recommendation to anyone who’s interested in getting familiar with the scriptures of Islam as opposed to Christianity/Judaism. Look up “Sahih Bukhari” and just read some of it at random. Five pages should do it.

            Christians traditionally read the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament, which mostly recommends non-violence. Mostly — there’s passages her and there that could be read as endorsing violence sprinkled in.

            Jews traditionally read the Hebrew Bible through the lens of the Talmud, which is a considerably more humane document than the Bible, though it does have its darker moments (killing snitches, for example).

            Sunni Muslims traditionally read the Quran through the lens of the Sunnah — the hadiths and early biographies of Muhammad, both of which contain a lot more terrifying stuff than the Quran does. Sunnah is where the name Sunni comes from — it’s not some set of odd documents that only a few Sunnis are into.

            I don’t know that the problem essentially boils down to the Sunnah, but you can definitely go very easily from the Sunnah to a really horrifying set of norms.

            Google Bukhari. It’s all online, and translated into English.

          • Aapje says:

            @dndnrsn

            So, by the Hebrew Bible – binding on Jews, certainly, if not on Christians – is not exactly that friendly to rape victims, unless they’re engaged to be married and fight back.

            The Bible pretty obviously distinguishes between rape and consensual sex based on whether the woman fights back, so you are misrepresenting it.

            Note that for most of history and in the eyes of many contemporary people, this is/was how people distinguished between rape and consensual sex when it comes to the woman (for men it is more complex, where even if the man fights back it is/was often not considered rape).

          • rlms says:

            @Conrad Honcho
            “This is why they stone the rape victim rather than the rapist.”
            That’s not really accurate. No-one is ever stoned for being a rape victim, they are stoned for the “crime” of “adultery” if they are raped by a man with enough power to influence the court. If that isn’t the case, the rapist is executed.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Conrad Honcho

            But Muslims blowing themselves up is a recent development. The rise of international Sunni radical terrorism is a recent development. If there was something baked into Islam as a whole that leads to suicide terrorism, all Muslims would do it, and would have been the innovators of suicide bombing instead of the situation in reality – which is of Sunni radicals being enthusiastic but late adopters of suicide terrorism. So it seems a bit hard to say it’s baked in.

            @biblicalsausage

            Yes. Like I said, not my area of expertise – but just talking about the scriptures isn’t enough. (There’s a Protestant-ish bias in religious studies which leads to a focus on scriptures and a Protestant-style understanding of religious vs secular).

            @aapje

            I get that’s the understanding of rape in the Hebrew Bible and in many societies up until recently. But I’m saying that the rules in the Hebrew Bible are bad for some women who are actually victims of rape.

          • biblicalsausage says:

            @Aapje

            Yes, the Bible does distinguish between rape and non-rape. But it is only concerned about the distinction if the woman is betrothed to a man (in which case the rapist is killed) or if the woman is a virgin (in which case there is a fine and possible marriage to the rapist).

            It is important to note that there is no penalty for rape in general, outside of cases where there’s a father or husband whose property is being violated. There’s also the fact that rape is treated as equally serious to adultery in the case of raping the betrothed woman, or in the case of the virgin less serious than adultery. So in the case of raping a woman betrothed to another man, there is in fact zero penalty for raping her — the capital offense is having sex with her. Her rape is not actually treated as a crime — it’s just a possible defense she can use to avoid being killed, if she was raped in the right circumstances.

            It’s also worth noting that raping a virgin is a much less serious crime in the Bible than it is for a virgin not to have an intact hymen when she is married off.

          • No-one is ever stoned for being a rape victim, they are stoned for the “crime” of “adultery” if …

            Zina isn’t adultery, it’s illicit intercourse. It’s a crime even if neither partner is married.

            It’s a capital crime only if the party has had the opportunity for licit intercourse, and the most obvious case is if he or she is married. But that would also apply to someone who had been married but no longer was, which would not be adultery.

          • DavidS says:

            I think its a genuinely hard problem to say if qualities of religions in practice are related to scripturr/theology. Just too much opportunity for just so stories when actually historical experience is varied.

            On rape in the bible, my understanding is the Hebrew just means have sex with as a transitive man to woman verb. As in its also used in the context of the wife’s right to her husband ‘raping’ her. So yeah this is a rather crude ‘ if you didn’t cry out you consented’ which isn’t ideal but not as bizarre as the classic translation sounds.

            On suicide bombers I still don’t get why they’re morally worse than other killers but for what its worth I believe that Islam is the only abrahamic faith without scriptural precedent as Qur’an doesn’t include Samson pulling down the temple…

          • bintchaos says:

            I’m sorry, but this commentariat is woefully ignorant about Islam.
            The major difference between Islam and christianity is christian salvation by faith alone versus islamic works + faith.
            Islam is in the position that the catholic church was in once upon a time, when excommunication was literally a sentence of hell.
            Muslims dont believe in original sin– they believe children are born without sin, but that mankind is forgetful, not that man is corrupted by the world.
            What you call “terrorists” are proponents of salafi-jihadism, i.e., followers of the Salaf, the original Companions of the Prophet.
            Someone mentioned the ahadith (plural of hadith). The ahadith function as a kind of memetic hygiene to prevent memetic drift and mutation of Quran.
            Followers (Sunnis, salafis, hanbalis, etc) of al shayyk al Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah, can validate jihadism through a hadith where Muhammed states the Companions cannot be criticized, even if they perform horrible acts.
            Other islamic scholars can bring arguments from the Quran or ahadith that counter violent jihadism, but Taymiyyan tafsir (quranic exegesis) is still the most wide-spread accepted form among Aulhus Sunnah (Sunnis = People of the Middle Path).
            Taymiyyah literally wrote the book on that, al Wasitiya .

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            @bintchaos:

            I’m sorry, but this commentariat is woefully ignorant about Islam.
            The major difference between Islam and [C]hristianity is [C]hristian salvation by faith alone versus [I]slamic works + faith.

            Catholics (a bigger chunk of Christians than, say, Shi’a are of Muslims) do not believe in salvation by faith alone: “Faith without works is dead.” Seriously, we even re-word part of “Amazing Grace” over this. You should be happy I jumped on this before Deiseach saw it…

            I generally find it dangerous to fling around accusations of ignorance here; alternatively, you could tell us how wrong we all are about late 19th-century naval architecture and armament.

          • Deiseach says:

            You should be happy I jumped on this before Deiseach saw it

            Aw dash it, you mean I don’t get to quote chunks of my three-essay series* on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy? 🙁

            *insert The Onion‘s cartoonist’s weeping Statue of Liberty at the foot of this comment*

            *Teaser sample to leave you begging for more – or begging for me to show mercy and desist:

            How To Earn Your Salvation in 14 E-Z Steps!

            Salvation-based, Biblically-derived methodology compiled by sinners for sinners! Special plenary indulgence included if your order is received during a Jubilee Year! 100% Satisfaction (for sin due to the saving work of Christ on the Cross) guaranteed! No money down (because that would be simony)! If not completely satisfied with the condition of your soul after application, simply return to us in the original wrapping before the Second Coming and General Judgement (offer void in Lake of Fire).

            Earn your salvation today!

            Well, we’re not quite that bad – not yet. Yes, it’s that old Roman Catholic stand-by, well-known to you, our separated brethren, as “works righteousness” and known to us (if we know them at all) as something completely different. I am referring to what old-timers will recognise as the Works of Mercy. Traditionally, they are divided into two lists of seven: the Corporal (or bodily) works and the Spiritual works.

          • bintchaos says:

            Then let the stoning begin.
            I was raised orthodox catholic, went to Immaculate Conception in elementary school, i understand catholicism very well. My parents have an Infant of Prague under a glass bell in their elegant foyer. We used to change its cunning little liturgical vestments for the different liturgical seasons.
            And I know all about buying indulgences lol– but the Church is toothless now. I have friends that are Born-agains– i understand perfectly well about salvation and original sin– it doesnt matter if you are a murder/rapist on death row– you can be still be saved just by a profession of faith. My Born-agin friend explained how she “is just as bad as Jeffrey Dahmer”.
            I tried to explain the conflict within Islam about violent jihad– and how Taymiyyan tafsir rules Auhlus Sunnah– Sunnis, and how ahadith about the Companions of Muhammed informs the People of the Middle Path– but I’m sure you know way more than I do.
            Sorry for thread-jacking.
            Rationalist community my narrow white a**

          • followers of the Salaf, the original Companions of the Prophet.

            The Companions are the Sahabah. The Salaf are the first three generations.

            Someone mentioned the ahadith (plural of hadith). The ahadith function as a kind of memetic hygiene to prevent memetic drift and mutation of Quran.

            I don’t know what you mean by that. The hadith are traditions of what the Prophet and his companions did and said. They were initially oral, eventually written down, so there developed an extensive scholarship attempting to determine which ones were genuine. It was generally agreed that most of them were at least dubious, and there ended up being several books each of which contained what its authors believed to be the reliable ones.

            They aren’t about the Quran at all–drift in its text was prevented at an early stage by producing a single official version and destroying all alternates. The hadith were taken as evidence of what the Prophet, who was divinely inspired, did and said, so provided information additional to that in the Quran.

            Islam is in the position that the catholic church was in once upon a time, when excommunication was literally a sentence of hell.

            I don’t understand this either. There is no Sunni equivalent of the Pope and nobody in a position to excommunicate anyone (aside from God).

            I am also not sure what your point is about ibn Taymiyyah. There have been lots of Sunni scholars and they wrote lots of books. He was one who happens to have been popular with the founder of the Wahabi variant of Sunni Islam, the variant currently supported by the Saudis.

          • INH5 says:

            But have Jews ever blown themselves up en masse due to oppression? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve heard tell that, at some points, occasionally in world history, Jews just might have faced some unfair oppression. Once or twice. Maybe. Never started suicide bombing campaigns against children though.

            So tell me, if Muslims blowing themselves up is their theologically programmed response to oppression, why were there no suicide bombings during the Algerian War of Independence?

            If you’re not familiar with the war in question, it lasted from 1954 to 1962 and pitted a predominately Sunni Muslim nationalist guerrilla group (the FLN) against a much better armed Western nation (France). While the FLN had primarily nationalist goals, it made a heavy use of religious rhetoric and propaganda from inception. Both sides committed numerous atrocities, including torture by both sides, mass forced displacements of Algerian Muslims by the French Army, and several bombing campaigns by the FLN that occasionally reached into France. Yet as far as I can tell, the FLN never carried out even one suicide bombing during the entire duration of the war. This would seem to be a pretty big anomaly for the Muslim theology -> suicide bombing theory.

            And it’s not like suicide bombing wasn’t technically feasible at the time. China and Japan both made extensive use of suicide bombers during WWII.

            Also, while I’m more uncertain about this, I haven’t been able to find any examples of suicide bombings during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. If there really weren’t any, that would be an even bigger anomaly, since that war is generally considered to be the birthplace of modern Jihadist militancy. It was also contemporaneous with the first modern suicide bombings by Muslims, in that particular case by Shiities in Lebanon.

            Like dndnrsn said, Muslims blowing themselves up is a recent phenomenon. Unless the Quran was rewritten in the 1980s, it doesn’t make sense to point to it as the reason for why suicide bombings happen.

            The Hindus go by a Just World theory. If your life sucks now, it’s because you deserve it because you were shit in your past life. That’s why Mother Theresa started her mission. She was on a train, saw the untouchables, asked why no one was helping them and learned that no one would ever help them, or care about it: they deserved it.

            Theology really, really impacts the way people interact with the world. Muslims blowing themselves up is not a side-effect of political oppression. It’s baked into the theology. Hindus not giving a shit about the poor isn’t a side-effect of class struggle. It’s baked into the theology.

            Would you care to explain how Hindu theology leads to suicide bombing, seeing as how the group that pioneered modern suicide bombing, the Tamil Tigers, had a mostly Hindu membership?

            Also, Sri Lankan Tamils are about 20% Catholic, so while I haven’t been able to confirm this, it seems likely that some of the “Black Tigers” were Catholic. There were also at least a half dozen confirmed examples of Christian suicide bombers in Lebanon during the 1980s and 1990s. So while you’re at it, could you explain what aspects of Christian theology lead to suicide bombing?

          • Deiseach says:

            while liberals get booby prizes like gay marriage

            But that’s what they went for – social liberalism rather than economic liberalism (something like the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democrat Party). Because those were perceived as easy, cost-free, achievable targets and let them wrap (for instance) gay marriage in the rhetoric of the Civil Rights movement (something resented by a portion of the African-American community who are socially conservative and church-going and did not like seeing middle-class white people conflating “I’m gay and suffering societal disadvantage for that” with “I’m black and suffering societal disadvantage for that”).

            Heck, even the right-wing in my country went for that! The Fine Gael-led coalition government cheerled and pushed for the marriage equality amendment. For precisely those reasons: seen as a cheap, easy, virtuous target that would cost them nothing on the things they really cared about.

            Of course, now we’re seeing that there is a cost to telling people “Haw haw, eat it, suckers! This is the law now, what you gonna do? Not vote for us? You don’t vote for us anyway! Haw, haw!” No, they don’t vote for you, they go out and vote for Trump.

            And my country now has its first son of an immigrant, gay, Taoiseach. Who is otherwise impeccably conservative and on the business-friendly side (light touch regulation, cutting taxes, promoting enterprise and reward for effort, all the rest of it) and pro-cutting welfare (he went from the Department of Health – widely seen as a punishment placing for his too-soon revealed ambition – to the Department of Social Protection where he happily rolled out an “inform on welfare cheats” promotion).

          • Deiseach says:

            And I know all about buying indulgences lol– but the Church is toothless now.

            Then you don’t know about “buying indulgences” because indulgences are not granted for payment*. (Yes, I wrote an essay about exactly this). I can forgive your ignorance, though, seeing as how if you went to a Catholic school in the past forty years you got the post-Vatican II catechesis which was all about “we no longer learn lists of rules, we talk about how Jesus was nice and it’s nice to be nice” (there’s a reason I say I got all my theological education out of reading Dante).

            *If you’re sputtering “But Luther! Tetzel! Leo XIII!” (a) that was five hundred years ago (b) yes it was a disgrace but it was also more complicated than the simplified and Protestant-history version of “selling salvation for a donation” (c) the Church has cleaned up its act since (d) rules for obtaining indulgences – note no money is required for purchase

          • Matt M says:

            But that’s what they went for

            Sheesh, no kidding. Do you remember the euphoric celebrations from the left when they got gay marriage? THEY didn’t see it as a “booby prize.” They were acting like it was the single greatest victory in the history of the universe.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @INH5

            Also, while I’m more uncertain about this, I haven’t been able to find any examples of suicide bombings during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. If there really weren’t any, that would be an even bigger anomaly, since that war is generally considered to be the birthplace of modern Jihadist militancy. It was also contemporaneous with the first modern suicide bombings by Muslims, in that particular case by Shiities in Lebanon.

            Spitballing: Suicide bombing is a technique associated more with what used to be known as “urban guerrilla” tactics – would probably just be called terrorism today. In both the recent wars in Afghanistan, holding the cities wasn’t the hard part for the Soviets/Americans and allies. So, the first time around, suicide bombing probably didn’t have much of a point to it – the war was won and lost out in the remote areas, where crowds of people to blow yourself up in were rare. The more recent war, suicide bombing has become part of the toolkit, but it seems to mostly be used in the violence that has come to the cities after foreign troops started becoming scarcer.

          • John Schilling says:

            But have Jews ever blown themselves up en masse due to oppression? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve heard tell that, at some points, occasionally in world history, Jews just might have faced some unfair oppression.

            But mostly prior to the invention of high explosives and the electric detonator. Really, you need the post-WWII diffusion of military technology into the civilian sector to make suicide bombing practical on a wide scale.

            If you’re being less literal, consider the etymology of Zealot, and the outcome.

            So, yeah, Jews have been engaged in ultimately self-destructive murderous slaughter of their oppressors and anyone who kind of sort of looks like their oppressors for longer than Islam has existed. The Jews we have now, are the ones that have been selected by two thousand years of evolution for less suicidal responses to oppression.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            Sheesh, no kidding. Do you remember the euphoric celebrations from the left when they got gay marriage? THEY didn’t see it as a “booby prize.” They were acting like it was the single greatest victory in the history of the universe.

            Not to mention all the rhetoric about how gay marriage was the biggest civil rights cause of our generation, how everybody who opposed it was a homophobic bigot who needed to be hounded out of polite society, etc., etc. I suppose it’s theoretically possible that some people might get this worked up over a meaningless booby prize, but it seems pretty unlikely.

          • Jiro says:

            I can forgive your ignorance, though, seeing as how if you went to a Catholic school in the past forty years you got the post-Vatican II catechesis which was all about “we no longer learn lists of rules, we talk about how Jesus was nice and it’s nice to be nice”

            How is this not “those people aren’t True Christians” (or at least what they’re teaching isn’t True Christianity)?

          • Deiseach says:

            How is this not “those people aren’t True Christians” (or at least what they’re teaching isn’t True Christianity)?

            Oh, no, that’s not what I’m saying at all! I’m complaining about people not being taught the basics of the faith, as if you took geography in secondary school and instead of being taught about (say) glaciation, the teacher said “Now class, today we are going to colour in all the countries on the map that start with “G” and we’re going to colour them green because green starts with G!”

            That’s the level of catechesis I got going from sixth class in primary school (“now today we learn the six laws of the Church”) to first year in secondary school (“imagine an alien in a flying saucer visited this country, what would you tell them about being a good person?” and yes the workbook – I can’t call it a catechism – had a cartoon of an alien in a flying saucer talking to a boy and girl) 🙂

        • Aapje says:

          @dndnrsn

          Exactly, some non-Muslim kids also get radicalized and shoot up their school or such, but the difference is that there is not a large community that tells non-Muslim kids that they are great if they do, that they’ll get all the sex they want in heaven or that they can live in a Utopian nation where they feel they belong, etc.

          In the past, we’ve also seen that fairly high percentages of Western youngsters became violent when there was a reward model in place (like the radical left in the 70’s-80’s, the various separatist movements like the IRA and ETA).

          I think that the globalists greatly underestimate how little meaning in life the losers and even many of the winners in our society experience. Jordan Peterson makes an interesting argument that people need to experience a sense of order and that we are increasingly putting people in situations where they feel chaos and have a feeling of being lived, rather than get a sense that they are making a substantial positive contribution to society (Peterson calls this the Hero Myth that people need).

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            I’ve really been wanting to see how Peterson would analyze Islam.

            He talks about how kids who shoot up schools hate God, and barely metaphorically. Examining the writings of these things it’s kind of clear, they had Job’s conversation with God and when God says “Yeah, you’re suffering, but have you seen how awesome this fish is?!” they respond with “no, it’s not worth it, screw this, screw you, screw everything, and I’ll show you just how worthless it all is!” and they kill kids and kill themselves.

            What happens when the answer from Allah is “you’re perfect, it’s the fault of all those others spreading mischief in the land, and if you take them out things will better for everyone and perfect for you?”

          • dndnrsn says:

            See above – that there is a large population who will say “way to go!” is a fairly new thing.

        • “This is why they stone the rape victim rather than the rapist.”

          Where in Islamic law do you find that?

          With or without rape, voluntary intercourse with someone who is neither your spouse or your concubine is a crime–a capital crime (zina) if you have had an opportunity in the past to have intercourse with spouse or concubine. The only situation I can think of where a rape victim would be legally executed would be if the court believed she was lying, that the intercourse had actually been voluntary. And then both parties would held guilty.

          So far as the quote from Jewish law, the issue isn’t whether one is sympathetic to rape victims, it’s whether one believes the claim that the intercourse was rape. If a couple has intercourse in a town and it was rape the woman would have yelled and probably been heard, so if she didn’t it wasn’t rape. If it happens in the countryside, the woman’s claim is believed on her word, since if she is lying there is no way to show it.

          • biblicalsausage says:

            That “if the court believed she was lying” bit is very important. At least under some understandings of Shariah law, you need four male witnesses to establish a rape. If a rape that has three frickin male witnesses is legally not a rape, then you’ve essentially got a legal system that has legalized rape.

            Most Muslim countries don’t use that standard of proof, so I’m not accusing that of being “part of Islam” necessarily. I don’t know the Shariah that well, and attitudes toward Shariah vary. But it is out there for some Muslims.

          • At least under some understandings of Shariah law, you need four male witnesses to establish a rape.

            Zina, illicit intercourse, is a Hadd crime and requires four adult male Muslim witnesses of good repute to the same act of intercourse, which makes conviction difficult. Some scholars apparently hold that committing rape can be prosecuted as a special case of zina. But the fact that a crime cannot be proved to the Hadd standard (two eyewitnesses for offenses other than zina) does not mean it isn’t punished. There is generally the option of prosecuting the act as Tazir instead, with a lower standard of proof and a lower penalty.

            If a woman “confesses” to having been raped, she is not confessing to committing zina, since zina has to be voluntary. So to get the result you describe, you would need four eyewitnesses to her having engaged in voluntary intercourse.

          • biblicalsausage says:

            @DavidFriedman,

            We seem to have gotten slightly tangled up in our conversation. I’m having a little trouble working out exactly who’s claiming what. Just for the sake of clarity, I want to make clear that I didn’t bring up anything about victims of rape being punished; though I did walk into a conversation where that was being discussed.

            It sounds like I’ve been working from a somewhat oversimplified understanding of how Shariah handles rape, possibly based on a misunderstanding of Pakistan’s Hudood Ordinances.

            But the distinction between Hadd and Tazir is a helpful distinction.

          • But the distinction between Hadd and Tazir is a helpful distinction.

            Also between both and Jinayat.

            There are only five Hadd offenses, and neither murder nor assault is included.

            For at least my sketch of the system, see the chapter on Islamic law in the webbed draft of my current book.

          • biblicalsausage says:

            @DavidFriedman,

            Thanks for the link. I will probably devour the Romani and Jewish ones first, but I will definitely get the the Muslim one.

      • INH5 says:

        But as I’ve done more research on this issue the past few years due to the terror incidents just continuing to pile up, I’ve learned that I was really mistaken about the position. While the fear of letting terrorists immigrate in is and was certainly real, it was completely dwarfed to irrelevance by the greater concern that a relatively concentrated population of immigrants who share a culture vastly different from ours can lead to, on the margins, a greater number of people of that culture – including everyone from recent immigrants to “natives” of 5+ generations and everything in between – getting radicalized to positions that are not just vastly different from but actually incompatible with our culture. And, on the margins, more people who are radicalized translates to more people who carry out terrorist acts.

        I was vaguely aware of this argument as a thing before, but I thought it was a tiny point that no one ever made and one that can easily be dismissed by claiming “they’ll just buy into our more liberal, more secular society since they’ll see how awesome it is.” The research I’ve done on and off the past few years tells me both that this is actually the main point, and it can’t be so easily dismissed, because the proportion that do buy into our secular society isn’t sufficiently high that the increasing radicalization isn’t obviously a non-factor. When I see the literature published by ISIS and the trends of Westerners who tend to get radicalized by them, it seems to me that this is very much a factor, far more than any sort of resentment over bigotry or colonization done by Westerners.

        The problem with this argument is that a lot of terrorists did not, in any sense, hail from ghettos of a “vastly different culture.”

        First, a large portion of them are converts – around 2/3 of American Islamic terrorists and 1/3 of British ones – who of course weren’t raised in a Muslim culture in the first place. Jake Bilardi, for example, clearly did not join ISIS because of insufficient assimilation to secular Australian culture.

        Second, even among terrorists who have a Muslim background, many of the ones that I’ve looked at appear to have been quite assimilated. Two of the Paris attackers owned a bar and one is reported to have been a regular at gay bars in Brussels. 3 out of 4 of the July 7, 2005 bombers lived in Beeston, a suburb of Leeds that is hardly a Muslim ghetto – Muslims only make up about 5% of the population there. The Nice attacker was described by neighbors as a man who ate pork, drank alcohol, took drugs, and had a promiscuous sex life with both men and women. Then there was the pair of British Jihadists who purchased Islam for Dummies on Amazon before they left for Syria.

        Concentrating on the US because that’s the country that I’m most familiar with: Of the last 4 major Islamic terrorist attacks there, in only one case (the San Bernardino shooting) can the perpetrators be even remotely described as “isolated from secular society.” The Fort Lauderdale airport shooting was carried out by a Puerto Rican convert and military veteran. The Orlando shooting was carried out by a security guard, fitness nut, and wannabe cop with a history of instability and violent threats who seemed to be ignorant of even basic facts about the Syrian conflict, such as that ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Hezbollah are enemies of each other. The Boston Marathon bombing was carried out by an aspiring professional boxer and his younger brother who was described by classmates as a fan of hip-hop and marijuana.

        Etc. Etc.

        Whenever someone talks/writes about how Muslims in the West become terrorists because “they form ghettos and don’t assimilate,” I wonder if they have ever actually read a biography of a Western Muslim terrorist, because it really isn’t hard to find plenty of counterexamples.

        Of course all of the above evidence is anecdotal, but it’s backed up by studies, which find that neither more religious Muslims or more politically conservative Muslims are more likely to support terrorism, and that religious education is negatively correlated with support for terrorism unless it happened at a madrassa that was directly run by the Taliban or a similar group.

        So while ghettos of unassimilated immigrants do pose a number of problems, I don’t think terrorism is one of them.

    • rahien.din says:

      My particular heterodoxies :

      1. What does the choice in target, in particular, signal?

      My reaction to these attacks changed forever after San Bernardino. Emphatically granted : the attack was horrifying and deplorable, and its results pure tragedy. But the man and his wife dressed up like Cobra Commander and murdered a bunch of county employees at a Christmas party – what? That was the most cartoonish, campy depiction of evil I have encountered IRL. The only way San Bernardino will ever be topped is if a Muslim husband, wife, children, and grandparents behead a pile of kittens and baby rabbits on Easter morning.

      It struck me as obviously designed to manipulate. And this is the very nature of terrorism. Terrorism (unlike pitched battle or guerilla warfare) does not work by inflicting real material damage. It is a tactic of manipulation. The choice in target signals only that terrorists pick targets that they think will be maximally manipulative.

      If you’re trying to figure out why 8-year old girls, why Ariana Grande, why Manchester, why the 22nd, etc., then you are successfully being manipulated. Don’t be manipulated.

      Don’t be manipulated!

      2. Does the reaction — or more specifically, the lack of one — indicate acquiescence and/or doom for the English.

      Reacting to Islam is exactly what Islamists want us to do. AFAICT, Islamists care about subjugating everybody, but their first priority is subjugating moderate or heterodox or Western-like Muslims. IMHO this is implicit in the legal codes that allow infidels to live in Muslim society with additional taxes but relatively unmolested, but demand execution for the crime of apostasy.

      What are moderate Muslims trying to do? Get to the West, away from theocracy. Islamists want them back under the thumb, but they can’t accomplish it, because of our philosophical and legal traditions. If moderate Muslims won’t come back willingly, and Islamists can’t themselves force them to come back, the only way they get moderate Muslims back is to get us to send them back. The way they do that is manipulating us into conflating “Islam” with “dangerous” or “anti-Western” or “cannot assimilate” or “alien.” If that works, they accomplish their first goal and consolidate power over 24% of the world’s population.

      If it doesn’t work – and we bleed the more intelligent, brave, conscientious, and ambitious Muslims out from under them – they lose.

      In other words : No. A lack of reaction is not acquiescence. Reacting to terrorism is acquiescence.

      So, maybe, actually, the Brits aren’t going to be manipulated into becoming accessories to the crimes of theocrats. In which case, bravo. They win this round.

      Edit: missing “not”

      • LHN says:

        Stipulating the thesis, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect a broad population to respond to deliberate, targeted outrages with anything other than outrage. (Especially since if the reaction is muted, the terrorists will continue to probe to discover what will provoke outrage.)

        There may be policies that can partially channel that outrage and determine whether the response is comparatively productive or counterproductive. And there are more and less stoic cultures (though I’m not sure how you produce the former, other than maybe via repeated trauma). But “don’t react, that’s what they want” is probably no more practical for a large society than for a middle schooler being bullied: the level of control being asked for simply doesn’t exist.

        • rahien.din says:

          Two meanings of the word “outrage” are doing work in your post. I think the most efficient way for me to make my point clearly is to paraphrase from your post. This is how I interpret the situation :

          I don’t think it’s realistic to expect a broad population to respond to deliberate, targeted atrocities with anything other than fear. (Especially since if the reaction is muted, the terrorists will continue to probe to discover what will provoke fear.)

          There may be policies that can partially channel that fear and determine whether the response is comparatively productive or counterproductive.

          From a practical standpoint, I share your concerns entirely. This is an enormous challenge to face as a person and as a society. But…

          We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men
          – Edward R. Murrow, “See It Now”

          • LHN says:

            It could be fear, it could be anger. It probably won’t be stoic dismissal.

            Re the Murrow quote, McCarthyism probably wouldn’t have burned out if Communists had been actively trying to create incidents to remind Americans that they were a persistent domestic threat, rather than if anything the opposite.

          • rahien.din says:

            LHN,

            I think I hadn’t answered certain concerns adequately and may have been wrong. Merely doing nothing is not an appropriate response. Below, I tried for better.

            Re the Murrow quote, McCarthyism probably wouldn’t have burned out if Communists had been actively trying to create incidents to remind Americans that they were a persistent domestic threat, rather than if anything the opposite.

            I think you’re totally right. This is a different challenge that we face.

        • Matt M says:

          And you’re also at the complete and total mercy of the bully. So if you say “Don’t react, that’s what the bully wants” that’s fine, unless he decides to escalate. The bully pushes you in the the hallway, you don’t react, because that’s what he wants. So then he knocks your lunch tray out of your hands, and you don’t react. He punches you, and you don’t react.

          Eventually he slams your head into a concrete wall and you die. But I guess you won, because you didn’t react, right? You sure showed him.

          • rahien.din says:

            You are absolutely right that to do nothing is still unacceptably bad. And I can see how my responses here have not sufficiently allowed for that fact. That’s my error and I will attempt to revise.

            The exact purpose of terrorism is eliciting a desired reaction. And therefore, to react as the terrorists desire is to become complicit in terrorism by fulfilling its purpose. For instance, I remember when every speech on Al Qaeda referenced their supposed hatred of our freedoms. Our responses to 9/11 curtailed our freedoms of travel, of speech, of personal security. In that instance, we were willing subjects of Al Qaeda.

            What we need to do is determine what the terrorists want. Then, when a terrorist attack inevitably occurs, we need to do the exact opposite of what they want.

            For instance, if (as I believe) they want moderate Muslims back in subjugation, we need to make them safer and more free and more welcome here, and snatch up as many as we can. Vacuum them up, appreciate them, and build an Islamic Reformation within that diaspora. Bleed the Islamists dry and let them vanish back into their desolate sands.

            Yes : that would not be easy, there are manifold difficulties with mass immigration, not all (perhaps, few) immigrants will assimilate easily or initially or at all, our culture will have to adjust in potentially painful ways, etc. But it’s still far better than acquiescence and consigning power to our enemy.

          • Wrong Species says:

            What we need to do is determine what the terrorists want. Then, when a terrorist attack inevitably occurs, we need to do the exact opposite of what they want.

            No, we need to figure out what causes terrorists attacks and then prevent it. “Beating terrorists at their psychological game” is not a terminal value. Keeping people safe is.

          • Randy M says:

            Agree with Wrong Species.

            What the terrorists want is not wholly relevant to what we want. We want to fulfill our (myriad) terminal values, including safety of our citizens. If the optimal way of doing that makes terrorists happy, so be it. If the optimal way of doing that makes terrorists sad, so be it.

            Now you (rahien.din) are making a strategic argument that fulfilling terrorists wants will necessarily both empower them and incentivize them to continue. This makes sense but is not necessarily true for all responses, and the particular optimal response may or may not align with some or all of what some or all of the terrorists expressly or secretly want.

            You are also being disingenuous or at least selective. Some of the things terrorists want are greater deference to Islam generally, worldwide, and enforced by law. This is one of their ultimate goals, even if you think their view is that greater acrimony now will serve as a recruiting tool. So by your reasoning, should we publicly blaspheme Islam? I wouldn’t argue this, because again, and as Wrong Species points out, our goals are not to thwart terrorist desires, but their attacks. Preventing their presence in our midst may do so; it may have downsides as well.

            To reiterate–it is a fallacy to say that a particular reaction is against our goals simply because we believe it is what the enemy believes will advance their goals. They may be wrong. It may be that responses of varying strength will serve opposing goals. We may have different time preferences. They may be using reverse psychology. etc

          • rahien.din says:

            Wrong Species,

            This is… not mysterious. There is no “cause” for terrorism, just as there is no “cause” for maneuver warfare. They are simply tactics to be employed if/when they are necessary to achieve goals.

            – Terrorism will continue to be employed iff it is successful.
            – Terrorism is successful iff it induces a desired response in policy or societal activity.
            – Modus tollens : if terrorism does not induce any significant response, or if the response to terrorism is counter to the desired response, it will not continue to be employed.

            a la Nixon, the only way to stop terrorism is to take the profit out of terrorism.

          • Wrong Species says:

            The best way to fight terrorism without giving in is to convince the terrorists that they are never going to win. You do that by constantly fighting, throwing more resources at finding them until they realize their cause is hopeless. The reason insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq work so well is because they are convinced we’re only in it temporarily, they just need to hold out.

          • rlms says:

            @Wrong Species
            Do you have some examples of that working? The method that was eventually successful at dealing with terrorism in Northern Ireland was pretty much the opposite: compromise with terrorists and agree to their reasonable demands. There is no room for compromise with ISIS, but in general the point stands.

          • rahien.din says:

            What the terrorists want is not wholly relevant to what we want. We want to fulfill our (myriad) terminal values, including safety of our citizens. If the optimal way of doing that makes terrorists happy, so be it. If the optimal way of doing that makes terrorists sad, so be it.

            Bullshit. The most effective way to ensure our safety from terrorism is to convert to Islam or to capitulate to jizya.

            You are also being disingenuous or at least selective. Some of the things terrorists want are greater deference to Islam generally, worldwide, and enforced by law.

            I have not been disingenuous, or selective. You will find that I referenced this in my initial post when I plainly stated “Islamists care about subjugating everybody.”

            even if you think their view is that greater acrimony now will serve as a recruiting tool.

            Whether that is true or not, I mostly don’t care. If you thought that I did, then like Wrong Species you made an incorrect inference.

            it is a fallacy to say that a particular reaction is against our goals simply because we believe it is what the enemy believes will advance their goals.

            Proves too much and is counter to general principles. Successful prosecution of a war requires that we deny the enemy his objective.

            Moreover, I have explained why I think that this is important in this war, both in the long-term (preventing the consolidation of power by Islamists) and in the short-term (making terrorism a nonviable strategy).

          • Randy M says:

            Bullshit. The most effective way to ensure our safety from terrorism is to convert to Islam or to capitulate to jizya.

            This is a non-sequitor in response to my statement that our goal is to fullfill our values, including safety. I value not affirming Islam.
            This is also, if valid, entirely rebutting your earlier point that Muslims suffer from Islamic terrorism, so you are being contradictory here.

            Whether that is true or not, I mostly don’t care. If you thought that I did, then like Wrong Species you made an incorrect inference.

            You made a rather impassioned plea that we “we bleed the more intelligent, brave, conscientious, and ambitious Muslims out from under them”, so I would think it a fair inference that you care which side Muslims drift towards.

            I have not been disingenuous, or selective.

            Your argument is that we must not react at all to terrorism because this will allow (somehow) moderate muslims to fall under the sway of extreme Islam. This may not be intentionally selective, but it does seem rather myopic.

            Successful prosecution of a war requires that we deny the enemy his objective.

            Moreover, I have explained why I think that this is important in this war, both in the long-term (preventing the consolidation of power by Islamists) and in the short-term (making terrorism a nonviable strategy).

            Your demonstration that encouraging the spread of Islam through the west will do either is lacking. Perhaps if the moderate muslims stay with the theocrats, they will overthrow the radicals. Perhaps they will reform it. Perhaps they will convert or submit, but we will reach detente once we each have safe space. Perhaps the radicals will grow in power but be unable to harm us as we tighten internal security and prevent the growth of hostile sub-populations, then reform over time. In any event, your explanations were unconvincing bromides.

          • John Schilling says:

            Do you have some examples of that working?

            The (Basque separatist) ETA? The Red Army Fraktion? The SLA? Pretty much everybody Hans Gruber was pretending to work for in Die Hard?

            The method that was eventually successful at dealing with terrorism in Northern Ireland was pretty much the opposite: compromise with terrorists and agree to their reasonable demands.

            But their reasonable demands were such a small fraction of the total that this hardly counts as a compromise. That’s true of most terrorist groups. The IRA demanded the surrender of the Six Counties to the Republic of Ireland. They didn’t get that. They didn’t get anything remotely close to that. They lost, full stop.

            The circumstances of the people they were fighting for may have been marginally better at the end of the fight than the beginning, but that’s true of most terrorist groups and it’s mostly just regression to the mean. Terrorism is most likely to start when the (Irish/Basques/Palestinians/whatever) are being more repressed than usual, so as long as the postwar settlement doesn’t include vindictive reprisals against the civilians and eventually includes lifting wartime emergency measures, the civilians will probably be less repressed at the end.

            Counting this as a victory for, or even compromise with, the terrorists would be a mistake.

          • rlms says:

            @John Schilling
            I think we are interpreting Wrong Species’ comment differently. I agree that if you can make terrorists think they have no chance of winning, that will stop them (unless they fell like they have nothing to lose, or other factors encourage them to keep fighting). This is a high level strategy, and I agree with your assessment that the ETA stopped fighting broadly for this reason. But I think that the feeling of hopelessness came from the fact that they eventually realised they didn’t have much popular support. The Spanish government didn’t compromise, but they also didn’t (as Wrong Species was claiming) constantly fight and throw resources at locking up ETA members. I agree that refusing to negotiate with terrorists is often a good tactic. But I don’t think taking an active approach and doing all you can to hunt down terrorists is likely to work, unless you are talking about a small, narrowly focused group like the SLA that can be treated like an ordinary set of criminals.

            The IRA’s political wing is alive and well, and has a third of the seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly. They haven’t achieved their main goals, but they are in a much better position than the losers of most wars are, and I certainly wouldn’t be happy to see Islamist extremists in the West “lose” in a similar way.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Bullshit. The most effective way to ensure our safety from terrorism is to convert to Islam or to capitulate to jizya.

            You mean the nation as a whole? Because an individual converting to Islam isn’t particularly helpful, as most of the terrorists aren’t particularly careful. If that’s what you mean, the desirability of this policy ranks just above being genocided, and just below committing genocide.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            @rlms:

            Do you have some examples of that working? The method that was eventually successful at dealing with terrorism in Northern Ireland was pretty much the opposite: compromise with terrorists and agree to their reasonable demands. There is no room for compromise with ISIS, but in general the point stands.

            Actually, it’s more complicated than that. In particular, the reason the terrorists were willing to compromise and offer reasonable demands was that it became clear that their original, unreasonable demands (the incorporation of Northern Ireland into Southern Ireland) weren’t going to be granted, at least not as long as they continued their terrorist campaign. Accordingly they agreed to make peace and to work for their goals through democratic means. This wouldn’t have happened, though, if the British government hadn’t fought against the IRA.

          • rahien.din says:

            Randy M,

            We want to fulfill our (myriad) terminal values, including safety of our citizens. If the optimal way of doing that makes terrorists happy, so be it.

            I value not affirming Islam.

            Precisely. My objective in mentioning jizya was to elicit something like “I value not affirming Islam” from you. Like you, I do not think bending the knee is an acceptable option. I want to counter your claim that “If the optimal way of [fulfilling our myriad terminal values] makes terrorists happy, so be it.”

            In some sense I do agree. The enemy may be mistaken or deceived in their aims, and in that circumstance (at least) it may not make sense to prevent them from achieving the objective. Let him step on the rake.

            But I do not think this reasoning applies to Islam specifically, or in general to an enemy seeking to obtain a very clear strategic objective. Neither do you! When you end up stating how you think this would work, you propose the following Hail Marys :

            Perhaps if the moderate muslims stay with the theocrats, they will overthrow the radicals. Perhaps they will reform it.

            Perhaps they will convert or submit, but we will reach detente once we each have safe space.

            Perhaps the radicals will grow in power but be unable to harm us as we tighten internal security and prevent the growth of hostile sub-populations, then reform over time.

            Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. These ideas have had plenty of time to bear fruit. Has this actually happened to any meaningful degree?

            Or, instead, do moderate Muslims trapped in Islamist theocracies become trapped, murdered, or terrorists themselves? Instead, do countries such as Saudi Arabia, with whom we have a greasily friendly detente, end up exporting virulent Islamists that fly airliners into symbolic targets?

            Come on.

            I would think it a fair inference that you care which side Muslims drift towards.

            Maybe, but in truth I think that theoretical radicalization provoked by our response to terrorism is a dubious idea, and policy flowing from that idea is invariably craven.

            Your argument is that we must not react at all to terrorism

            In fairness, I copped to any error and lack of clarity, and revised my general assertion.

            I did assert those last two points elsewhere, but I grant that this subthread is out of control and honestly, it would be unreasonable for me to expect you to read and respond to the whole mess of it. You’re not responsible for conversations I am not directly having with you. I only bring that up to demonstrate that my goalposts aren’t moving.

            The Nybbler,

            I meant on a societal level, and yes, I totally agree with you. I did not bring up conversion/jizya as an acceptable option, only to counter one of Randy M’s claims.

          • Fahundo says:

            Perhaps if the moderate muslims stay with the theocrats, they will overthrow the radicals. Perhaps they will reform it.

            Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. These ideas have had plenty of time to bear fruit. Has this actually happened to any meaningful degree?

            Wouldn’t Oman be a pretty good example of this happening?

          • Randy M says:

            In some sense I do agree. The enemy may be mistaken or deceived in their aims, and in that circumstance (at least) it may not make sense to prevent them from achieving the objective. Let him step on the rake.

            Good, this was my point. I agree with you that doing what the terrorists explicitly want in order to get them to stop is foolhardy, no matter the terrorist. If they see the tactic successful, they will not foreswear it.But we can include in our responses actions that we may think they want if the purpose is not appeasement and isn’t perceived as such.

            Instead, do countries such as Saudi Arabia, with whom we have a greasily friendly detente, end up exporting virulent Islamists that fly airliners into symbolic targets?

            Come on.

            Sure, but I don’t see the “Pretend we can predict whose children will go kabloom and whose won’t” as any more realistic, nor the “just accept it is part of life.” The usefulness of an uneasy peace with Muslim nations is predicated on separation.

            Maybe, but in truth I think that theoretical radicalization provoked by our response to terrorism is a dubious idea, and policy flowing from that idea is invariably craven.

            Okay then, I acknowledge I didn’t pick up on that and agree.

            You’re not responsible for conversations I am not directly having with you.

            Gracious of you. I try to read the whole thread before commenting but, well, you know.

      • Wrong Species says:

        So let’s say that the British decide to kick out all the Muslims in the United Kingdom and in this hypothetical world, all Islamic terrorists attacks will cease to exist. Under your logic, ISIS has won even though they are no longer a threat to the U.K. Terrorists don’t only attack the countries that are supposedly part of the problem. They attack the countries they are in. Why do you think Britain was attacked rather than Hungary?

        • rahien.din says:

          Think of moderate Muslims as a resource. Successful investment in that resource will play a large role in determining the coming century.

          If Islamists consolidate control over that resource, they will use it in their attempts to dominate the world. As I said, Islamists care about subjugating everybody, but their first initial priority is subjugating moderate or heterodox or Western-like Muslims. If that resource escapes their grasp, they will gradually become irrelevant.

          Britain was attacked because they are a richer lode of that resource. In comparison, Hungary is much more poor in that resource. This is somewhat analogous to the Gold Rush occurring in California but not in Florida.

          Edit: I did not initially realize that Hungary may be somewhat systematically complicit with the Islamists’ goal of consolidation of Muslim power.

          • Wrong Species says:

            That doesn’t make any sense. If that was true, then Islamists wouldn’t be wasting their time in places like Afghanistan and Yemen. It just seems like you made up this hypothesis ad hoc to support your other hypothesis. Do you have any kind of evidence to support this assertion?

          • rahien.din says:

            Wrong Species,

            No, that is actually how I think at baseline : people are a resource that can be invested in successfully, wasted, misused, or left fallow. (That’s how I think about many things, in fact.)

            I don’t know what evidence one could demand thereof. But,
            – I tried to explain why I think this makes sense from what I know of Islam
            – It follows from general principles that guide empire building (the goal of Islamists), whereby one must consolidate power before mobilizing it toward a goal
            – It offers a rare satisfactory explanation as to why Muslims are doing otherwise-nonsensical things such as murdering health inspectors
            – It fits with the countries under the greatest threat of Islamist terrorism
            – It productively conjoins truths sourced from the Red Tribe (we are at war) and from the Blue Tribe (Islam itself is not the enemy) and in doing so, elucidates who our true enemies and allies are
            – It informs us as to how we can follow the good principle of “Don’t do what the enemy wants you to do”
            – It suggests adjustments to policy and doctrine so that we are not led around by the nose any longer

            And for pete’s sake, I described my thoughts as “heterodoxies.”

            ETA : I could certainly be wrong. Worth stating.

            rahien.din : Think of moderate Muslims as a resource. Britain was attacked because they are a richer lode of that resource. In comparison, Hungary is much more poor in that resource.

            Wrong Species : If that was true, then Islamists wouldn’t be wasting their time in places like Afghanistan and Yemen.

            Afghanistan and Yemen are full of the resource. Maintaining and consolidating their control over the resource is their initial goal. Therefore, operating in Afghanistan and Yemen seems perfectly in line with their goals. It makes even more sense when one remembers that these are places where they can create and refine the human and non-human tools of terrorism with less interference.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Wrong Species

            Prior to the Soviets in Afghanistan and the American support for the mujihadeen, Afghanistan was not much of a centre of Islamist zealotry. The cities were notably westernized and fairly cosmopolitan, and the tribal groups in the remote regions were doing their own thing, but it wasn’t really an Islamist thing. Modern Islamist terrorism dates to the 1980s and can’t be understood without reference to the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

          • Wrong Species says:

            The reason I asked for evidence rather your musing is because what makes sense to me is different than what makes sense you. It’s not enough to tell a nice sounding story and your story has plenty of holes. First you suggest the more typical progressive theory that inciting Islamic hatred causes more attacks. When I suggested a counter-example, you switched to saying that terrorists attack wealthier countries rather than poorer countries. Then I suggested another counter-example, you suggested a vaguely alluded to “the resource” which I’m guessing is supposed to be people. But that’s exactly my point in the first place, that more Muslims generally means more Muslim terrorists. So now I don’t even know what your theory is and what you would consider as evidence supporting my theory instead of yours.

          • rahien.din says:

            Wrong Species,

            First you suggest the more typical progressive theory that inciting Islamic hatred causes more attacks.

            Your inference is totally incorrect. I do not believe that idea. It is a non-starter at best. The premise is rather dubious. The actions that flow from that idea are invariably craven.

            While I acknowledge the illusion of transparency, I can not deduce how you arrive at this belief from my posts. I worry that you have me confused with someone else.

            you suggested a vaguely alluded to “the resource” which I’m guessing is supposed to be people.

            I explicitly stated that, indeed, this is supposed to be people. There is no vagueness or allusion. You need not guess. It is explicitly stated multiple times.

            In fact, it is the single most important idea in my thinking on this matter. You will find it in my initial post : Islamists want moderate Muslims back. It is their first priority, in terms of importance and in terms of sequence. We must deny the enemy his goal.

            You are a nimble thinker and a clear writer, and I learn well from and enjoy these kinds of disagreements. So I genuinely welcome further discussion. But I think you will find my ideas more intelligible, and you will not be burdened by these confusingly mistaken inferences, if you deliberately read what I write before replying.

            ETA: another time it was explicitly stated

          • Wrong Species says:

            I promise you I am reading what you are saying but I’m not the only one confused. Let me try this again. You seem to have a theory that terrorists want more moderate Muslims on their side. The best way to do that is convince them to join. But when the West reacts disproportionately, it causes the moderates to become more extreme. So we should not react like that, for example by expulsions of Muslims, or else the moderates become more extreme putting us Westerners more at risk. So if moderate Muslims are the key, then wouldn’t have less Muslims in general deprive extremist of a vital resource, which is exactly what I’ve been saying?

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Think of moderate Muslims as a resource.

            Why?

            Successful investment in that resource will play a large role in determining the coming century.

            How do you figure?

            From my point of view, consider my children a resource. One that I don’t want blown up. What do I get out of the valuable resource of moderate muslims that is worth the risk of my children being blown up?

            Also, consider that I care not just for my own children, but any children in my nation. So, the resource loss of children of my nation being blown up is only moderately less than the resource loss of my specific children being blown up.

          • rahien.din says:

            Wrong Species,

            Thanks for restarting. Also, let me acknowledge the illusion of transparency – I bear some responsibility for lack of clarity. So, I’ll attempt to clarify my thoughts.

            I want to do this point-by-point and I do this not to fisk you. I am concerned that I will be accused (again) of moving goalposts, which I sincerely feel I have done. Likewise, if you think I am mistaken or being dishonest, I would appreciate it if you point to specific phrases in specific posts, if only so I can understand how I can say things better. Please grant charity – I will too. This is what I refer to as my original post.

            Please note : I really deliberately described my ideas as “heterodoxies.” I must point out that your subsequent interpretations lump me in with general orthodox Leftist pablum. C’mon.

            Here we go. Apologies for the wall of text :

            > You seem to have a theory that terrorists want more moderate Muslims on their side.
            No. In my initial post, I specifically asserted that Islamists want to subjugate all Muslims. Not convert, convince, enlist, win over, manipulate, decieve, or trick. Subjugate. I mean that as in “to bring under domination or control.”

            This is not simply a battle of hearts and minds that we must win by noble behaviors. It is war for up to 24% of the population, in which one side benefits from those people being largely free, and the other side benefits from those people being dominated. It is a war that has its source both in the theology of Islam (as I understand it) and in general strategic principles.

            > The best way to do that is convince them to join.
            No. In my initial post, I asserted that “What are moderate Muslims trying to do? Get to the West, away from theocracy.” I further noted that “moderate Muslims won’t come back willingly” and “Islamists can’t themselves force them to come back.” I believe that moderate Muslims in the West are more convinced they want to join the West, and are irrevocably convinced that they do not want to be Islamists. And both Westerners and Islamists know that to be true.

            Practically, I do not think that convincing moderate Muslims to become Islamists will swell their ranks to any meaningful degree (especially because many of those radicalized motherfuckers just want to blow themselves up).

            > But when the West reacts disproportionately, it causes the moderates to become more extreme. So we should not react like that, for example by expulsions of Muslims, or else the moderates become more extreme putting us Westerners more at risk.
            No. I never once asserted that moderate Muslims would become more sympathetic to Islamism based on the extent of our reaction to terrorism, or that this is something that should influence policy or doctrine. In fact, I have stated multiple times that I largely do not care about this prospect. The idea itself is dubious, and doctrines that flow from it are invariably craven.

            What I did assert in my initial post is “the only way [Islamists] get moderate Muslims back is to get us to send them back.” Expulsions, deportations, restrictive immigration policies, and overall inhospitability to Muslims will make it harder for moderate Muslims to reach sanctuary here, and thus more of them will remain subjects of Islamists.

            Islamists will not ask us to send their former subjects back, because we just won’t comply. They can not force us to do so diplomatically or milatarily. The one lever they have to pull is our opinion of Muslims in general. Terrorism is an extremely effective way to pull that lever because it is designed to manipulate public opinion without needing to inflict real material damage on true strategic targets.

            If Islamist terrorism alters our opinion of Muslims… which gets us to restrict moderate Muslims’ ability to emigrate from Islamist theocracies… then a substantial portion of the 1.8 billion Muslims on the planet will remain subjects to this aspiring empire. This is the consolidation of power that marks the first phase of empire building. This is the enemy’s objective, and it is what we must deny him.

            If, in response to Islamist terrorism we see Islamists as our enemy… which gets us to come to the aid of moderate Muslims who wish to emigrate from Islamic theocracies… then a substantial portion of the Islamist powerbase will evaporate.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @rahien.din

            Here’s problem 1:

            We’ve got Muslims coming to the West who are moderate and would practice a form of Islam that is not destructive to Western society. However, we also have Muslims who come to the west to be “radical” (which is to say, orthodox) Muslims, to live according to those principles, and to convert others to them. In some cases to also commit and encourage terrorism once they are here. How can we tell the difference? It seems to me the majority of Middle Eastern muslims are the immoderate type, and refugees in particular are not selected to be moderate.

            Here’s problem 2:
            When moderate Muslims come to the west, their kids often turn out to be radical Muslims.

            If we admit both radical and moderate Muslims, we’ve helped nobody; the radicals in the West will get the moderates under their thumb here, convert more to radicalism, and generally be a problem. If we somehow admit moderates only, but their kids turn out to be radicals, we’ve literally planted the seeds of our own destruction.

          • Wrong Species says:

            Honestly, I don’t even know why fisking is considered a bad thing. It doesn’t bother me. So now I think I understand you but I’m still not sure why you’re so worried. In my model, the worst that Islamic terrorists can do is persistent, deadly attacks. I don’t see them as an existential threat.

            If Islamist terrorism alters our opinion of Muslims… which gets us to restrict moderate Muslims’ ability to emigrate from Islamist theocracies… then a substantial portion of the 1.8 billion Muslims on the planet will remain subjects to this aspiring empire. This is the consolidation of power that marks the first phase of empire building.

            How powerful do you think groups like ISIS can get? Because I can’t imagine them ever having more power than ISIS at its height. The closest I can see is something like the very conservative Saudi Arabia which isn’t at the same level.

          • bintchaos says:

            There is no such thing as a “moderate” muslim.
            Even Shadi Hamid says that.
            Either one is muslim, or one is not muslim.
            Islam is a consensus religion– there is no pope.
            There are different schools of Sunni Islam, and the Sunni/Shia divide, but no Sunni school, and no Shia are accepting of Israel or capitalism or American hegemony.
            It is an existential conflict.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            While I am sympathetic to the idea of weaponizing brain-drain and cultural assimilation (especially cultural assimilation) and in fact made an argument for that in a previous OT some time ago, I think you need to familiarize yourself with this subject a bit more Rahien, because even IF all the other issues we’re discussing are solved it’s not going to have the effect you want.

            Your hypothethical “Moderate Muslim” is something of a spherical cow. In reality Muslims come in a variety of flavors, but the majority of those live outside “The West”. Of those, the majority does not want to move to “The West” unless forced to do so by massive disruptions (war, collapse of governments, etc). Finally, of THOSE, the vast majority (something like 70-80% depending on where you look) want to live in a society guided on explicitly theocratic principles of law and culture.

            Even assuming we backtracked on the cultural trends that discourage assimilation, and fixed the issue of 2nd-3rd generation radicalization (or at least tamped it down with solid law enforcement and intel work to ride through the bumps until assimilation has finished its work), and so on….you’re not going to have robbed the extremists of that resource. The non-secular, non-westernized muslim world is still going to comprise the majority of the world’s muslim population.

            As I said before, I think that increased immigration is a good idea (though not unrestricted immigration. How wide we open the gates depends on how well we’re doing at assimilating our new arrivals. The better and faster it’s happening, the wider we can open them, but there will be an upper limit), but immigration and refraining from responding militarily to terrorist attacks is not going to make Islamist terrorism go away.

          • The Nybbler says:

            There are different schools of Sunni Islam, and the Sunni/Shia divide, but no Sunni school, and no Shia are accepting of Israel or capitalism or American hegemony.
            It is an existential conflict.

            Weren’t you complaining that commenters don’t value Muslim lives? Because you’re providing a darn good reason to _not_ value Muslim lives. If it’s an existential conflict then to value Muslim — that is, irreconcilable enemy — lives is tantamount to suicide.

          • bintchaos says:

            Should I then not value conservative lives?
            Because that is an irreconcilable conflict between opposing ideologies.
            I value all human life.
            I’m just pointing out that if the US wants to end terrorism, it needs to change the initial conditions that create terrorism.
            All the US is doing now is spreading Islam and creating bitter resentment among sunni populations.
            Most of those ~21 million refugees will be carrying a Quran.
            US policy has turned the ME into a jihadi factory.

          • but no Sunni school, and no Shia are accepting of Israel or capitalism or American hegemony.

            In what sense is no school of Islam accepting of capitalism? It’s true that almost all Muslim scholars believe interest is forbidden, as did Catholic and Jewish scholars (in the latter case only between Jews) in the past. But lots of Muslim societies, including Saudi Arabia, accept work arounds that charge interest in fact but not in form.

            That aside, I would have said that Islam was at least as tolerant of capitalism as Catholicism, possibly more so.

            Also, since your statement was very broad, do you think it applies to the Ismailis, a substantial Shia sect?

            For the general issue, you might want to look at Islam and Capitalism by Maxime Rodinson.

          • rahien.din says:

            All,

            Thanks for your replies! As always, there is much for me to learn.

            It seems we’ve arrived at a sort of expected-value problem now, weighing the immediate dangers (cultural or explosive) posed by having more Muslims in our midst against any long-term dangers posed by an Islamic empire (should it come to pass). It’s fair to say that y’all are more concerned with the former than am I, and I am more concerned with the latter.

            I see three main bones of contention :
            – Muslim countries are unlikely to acquire the means to threaten Western nations with real material damage
            – Individual Muslims (or Muslim groups) within Western nations will acquire the means to threaten individual Westerners
            – Islam as a religion is incapable of moderation, neither on an individual nor systemic level, at least to a degree that preserves our expectations of safety

            Those are all worth talking about. But, ultimately, this strikes me as one of the least-navigable regions of the culture war and I don’t think I have much to offer now, beyond my own contentious intuitions / clung-to hopes / personal experience. I’m satisfied having explained the mechanics of my ideas (so nicely summed up as “weaponizing brain-drain and cultural assimilation”).

            Thanks again

          • The Nybbler says:

            Should I then not value conservative lives?

            Assuming you are a Muslim and you believe the stuff you are posting, you already do not.

            I’m just pointing out that if the US wants to end terrorism, it needs to change the initial conditions that create terrorism.

            According to the conditions you have set out, the only way the US can do that is to either yield to Islam or genocidally destroy it.

        • rlms says:

          Are there any remotely recent examples of expelling a religious group from a Western country that aren’t literally Hitler? Yes, obviously that situation is a win for ISIS. For the sake of argument, let’s completely disregard the value of Muslim lives (even though I don’t think (/hope) any SSC commenters would go quite that far). Concentration camps and deaths from attempting a forced mass deportation still lead to the UK becoming a global pariah. Everyone who isn’t so fond of the Nazis leaves, probably burning most societal institutions on the way out. This is the implausible best case scenario. The more realistic outcome would just be a civil war.

          • James Miller says:

            The example the alt-right uses is the expulsion of ethnic Germans from parts of Europe after WWII.

          • rlms says:

            To be pedantic, they weren’t a religious group. But in any case, hundreds of thousands of them died in the process. I don’t think it’s a very good example.

          • James Miller says:

            rlms,

            It’s certainly not a good moral example, but it is an example of what Europeans think is morally acceptable.

          • rlms says:

            Which Europeans? I’m pretty sure the dead Germans didn’t find it acceptable. Sure, the thugs killing them probably did. Stalin found the gulags morally acceptable too.

          • James Miller says:

            Do the people currently living in the countries the Germans were kicked out of think the expulsions were immoral?

          • rlms says:

            I don’t know, but I hope so. I think we have some Eastern European commenters here. What do you think?

          • Douglas Knight says:

            In the 19th century America expelled the Mormons. The Mexican Revolution expelled the Mormons, although that was more ethnic than religious. The Greco-Turkish war expelled the Muslims from Greece.

          • Matt M says:

            Did they really “expel” the mormons?

            I thought they just made it legal to kill them so that they would then leave “of their own accord.”

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            More an ethnic based expulsion, and from not a western nation but a nation we sort of cared enough about to go to war for, how about the expulsion of Palestinians from Kuwait?

            About 200,000 people who didn’t get genocided or anything. Not good, though.

          • bintchaos says:

            and it doesnt matter… as long as the west keeps on creating refugees by propping tyrants and meddling the refugees continue.
            and SSC commenters do obviously completely disregard muslim lives.
            that is empirically obvious.

          • The Nybbler says:

            The West did NOT create refugees by propping up tyrants. If anything, the West created refugees by toppling or failing to prop up tyrants.

          • bintchaos says:

            Do you read history at all? US propped Mubarak for 30 years. Obama promised Iran he wouldn’t attack Assad to get the treaty signed.
            Congress changed the law to sell arms to Sisi after the coup.
            US is joined at the hip with the Saudis.
            mirable dictu, and here I thought the SSC commentariat was so intelligent that they intimidated me.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @bintchaos

            Do you read history at all? US propped Mubarak for 30 years.

            Were there refugees from Egypt during those 30 years?

            Obama promised Iran he wouldn’t attack Assad to get the treaty signed.

            Strong Assad = no refugees, though.

            Congress changed the law to sell arms to Sisi after the coup.

            And now Egypt is stabilizing.

            US is joined at the hip with the Saudis.

            Looking around for refugees from KSA…not seeing them…

            mirable dictu, and here I thought the SSC commentariat was so intelligent that they intimidated me.

            I’m new here, but I’ll say this: humility is a virtue.

          • Wrong Species says:

            @bintchaos

            Your reasoning doesn’t make sense. Tyrants hate terrorists. The US does prop up tyrants to a certain extent but that’s not why there is a terrorism problem. Let’s look at the Middle East right now:

            Syria-limited US intervention until ISIS became a threat and almost all directed towards them
            Iraq-US overthrew a tyrant
            Afghanistan-US overthrew tyrants
            Yemen-US barely involved(although Trump might change that), mostly just spec ops against terrorists
            Somalia-same as Yemen

          • bintchaos says:

            I have tried to explain that terrorism is a response to western attempts at regional hegemony, resource theft, bombing and droning, etc.
            If you want to know all about terrorist planning and goals you can read these 2 books and they will tell you in their own words want they want and how they plan to accomplish their goals.
            You dont have to guess, the jihadis spell out their grievances and plan how to redress them.
            The Management of Savagery by Abu Bakr Naji– open front jihad carried out in muslim lands against the “near enemy”.
            The Call to Global Islamic Jihad by Setmarian– this is the cellular or covert jihad that features spontaneous acts carried out by lone wolves in foreign lands against the “far enemy”.
            Right on cue, Manila World Resorts Attack, 36 dead, many wounded– claimed by IS. An example of cellular jihad against the far enemy.
            Is it not apparent that what the US is doing ISN’T WORKING?

          • Wrong Species says:

            Also, I feel the need to clarify that I never advocated expelling all Muslims. They have rights too. It was just a hypothetical to make a point.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Conrad Honcho
            Assad is creating refugees at a pace unparalleled in history.
            May I humbly refer you to some statistics?
            There are 21.9 million refugees now, more than at any time since WWII.
            Here is a breakdown of who they are and where they are going.
            Almost all muslim, and half are children.

          • Sandy says:

            @bintchaos:

            as long as the west keeps on creating refugees by propping tyrants

            This is nonsense. The West did not create the refugee stream flowing through Libya by propping up Gaddafi, they did it by killing him. And as for “tyrants”, the choices to replace these tyrants are not particularly more appealing. Saudi Arabia, for example, the quintessential Arab puppet state, faced an insurrection in 1979 that captured the Grand Mosque in Mecca and shocked the Muslim world. The rebels weren’t demanding democracy and human rights, their grievances were more along the lines of “The House of Saud and the ulama are traitors who have spread Western degeneracy in the Hejaz, we must purge them and create pure theocracy for the Mahdi.”

          • Do the people currently living in the countries the Germans were kicked out of think the expulsions were immoral?

            I am currently in Poland, so I asked a Pole. He thought most Poles did not think the expulsions were immoral.

          • Anonymous says:

            Not any more immoral than the expulsion of the ethnic Poles from nowadays Ukraine and Belarus, anyway.

          • Wrong Species says:

            There is no conceivable way the US can be blamed for what’s happening in Syria. Assad was not propped up by the US, he’s an ally of Iran. The only link might be the limited weapons the US gave to the rebels but that wasn’t nearly enough to counteract Russia’s involvement. Bad things in the Middle East can’t all be reduced down to US policy.

          • Iain says:

            Bad things in the Middle East can’t all be reduced down to US policy.

            This is an insight that I wish more people on both sides shared.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Wrong Species

            There is no conceivable way the US can be blamed for what’s happening in Syria.

            oh yeah? what do you think Obama traded for the Iran treaty? What happened to the infamous “Red Line”?

            Recently, portions of the strategic-communications façade erected by the administration have started to crumble, allowing interested analysts and members of the public to see the administration’s actual policy more clearly. In a recent interview, Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon revealed that in 2013, Iran told President Obama that if he were to strike the regime of Bashar Assad following the latter’s chemical-weapons attack, the Iranians would collapse the talks over their nuclear program. Obama canceled the strike, of course, and later reassured Iran that the United States would not touch Assad. Solomon’s reporting confirms a critical fact about Obama’s Iran and Syria policies: They are one and the same. Or, stated differently, Syria is part of the price for the president’s deal with Iran.

            Man, you guys are very quick to crit Obama over ACA– this is a legit criticism– what is the problem?

            @The Nybbler

            the only way the US can do that is to either yield to Islam or genocidally destroy it.


            If you think the US can genocide 1/4 of the world’s population without collapse or spawning a backlash that turns US into a nuclear wasteland, knock yourself out.
            Hitler was able to wipeout half of the breeding population of Jews because there were only ~16 million Jews. Not possible to genocide Islam I think.

            How many here have seen Alien: Covenant? I’m always amazed at the naivity of the humans in the Alien series…they never seem to get over their deep intrinsic belief that the Alien is “just an animal”. Instead of telling the colony ship GTFO– something just wiped a planet clean of animal life here they persist…
            And so they get wiped out every cycle.
            Thats the US– in VietNam, in MENA, and most recently in Africa — we just bomb/drone insurgencies into rubble. We think we are “wiping them out”– they are just animals after all.
            SSC commentariat doesnt really understand Islam, so you think of terrorists as “losers” or “sexually-frustrated” young men…thats not accurate– Islam is an organism (complexity theory term) that is core-programmed to survive.
            At 2 billion reps it is pretty successful.

          • John Schilling says:

            There is no conceivable way the US can be blamed for what’s happening in Syria

            As I’ve argued before, it is conceivable that the US can be blamed for what is happening in Syria by intervening in Libya in a way that gave false hope to dissident Syrian officers contemplating an otherwise-doomed mutiny. But this would at most be an example of the US being foolish and irresponsible, not stupid and malevolent.

          • Wrong Species says:

            @bintchaos

            So the United States is responsible for terrorism in Europe because two years after the Syrian Civil War began the United States didn’t intervene to help the side that is allied with Al-qaeda linked groups? That’s the story you want to stick with? In that case, I guess the United States was the cause of both World War One and two. We didn’t get involved until a good three and two years after they began.

            @John Schilling

            I can see the argument but I’m skeptical. Didn’t both wars get started around the same time, somewhere around March 2011? I can also see the opposite argument, that US intervention in Libya will prevent Syria from becoming an Islamist state because Putin said that he got involved to prevent a Gaddafi style execution.

          • bintchaos says:

            Did you even read the Tablet article I linked?
            Syrian revolution was supposed to be a soft coup that toppled Assad, an outflow from the Arab Spring revolutions.
            Obama whiffed on his “Red Line”.
            Refugees from wars in MENA cant reach the US– but they can reach Europe.
            Poor europeans…its weaponized migration.
            US policy has turned the ME into a jihadi factory.

          • Wrong Species says:

            @bintchaos

            What exactly do you think the US could have done that wouldn’t have ended with Syria being a mess?

          • bintchaos says:

            rahien.din
            you are correct in your thesis– Dr. Boyer gives a good explanation in his book Religion Explained– the extremists burn the middle ground to force moderates and fence-sitters into their camp.
            But bombs falling in Syria and Iraq make their case just as strongly as discrimination, ghettoization, and anti-immigration, anti-refugee policies do.
            @ Wrong Species
            US should have supported Morsi. Again, your choice is not secular democracy or islamic government– its a choice between different forms of islamic government. Choose the most benign form. Morsi style pluralism or the Caliphate?
            Lady or the Tyger?

          • rlms says:

            @bintchaos
            There is at least one other choice: secular junta.

          • Wrong Species says:

            How would the US supporting an Egyptian president have prevented the Syrian Civil War?

      • Kevin C. says:

        From “Terror and Tribe in the West” by “Titus Quintus” of “The Fifth Political Theory“:

        De-nationalized Europeans—the tribe which doesn’t identify as a tribe—and minorities/immigrants will not vote for the “xenophobic” policies necessary to stop imported terror. The former do not want to be “racist” and would rather face literal martyrdom for their tolerance. The latter have no real incentives to be anti-immigration as they are often an imported people themselves, and opposition to immigration is associated with “racism.” Ethnocentric Europeans will vote for counter-terrorist policies, but their votes won’t matter and their politicians cannot win. This latter group will become the future Western diaspora, as for all intents and purposes they are already living as a foreign minority in the countries which they inhabit.

        Muslim terrorists are going to continue to attack European and Eurocolonial countries because they believe they are “Crusader states” that persecute Muslims. And these states are going to tolerate it because they are more committed to cosmopolitan piety than they are to their own self-preservation. This is indeed just the way things are: two systems of false perception in conflict with one another. You will not save these people. You must rid yourself of this attachment. They do not want you to save them. They think you are an immoral sociopath whom they would not want to have as a neighbor, friend, co-worker, or employee. Muslims are at war with such liberal cosmopolitans. These people are not the Western diaspora and we should not become emotionally invested in their conflict.

        5PT recognizes that this is a tragedy. But if no one is willing to really do anything to decisively put a stop to it, our response cannot be to lose our minds with rage and spout improbable policy prescriptions ad infinitum. And our response must never be violence in return either, because it would be both ineffective and bring us further misery at the hands of the state. It really is time to detach ourselves from countries like Britain, France, and the United States. These are not attacks on “our people” or “our nation,” and anything we have to say about it is not going to change this. Our fellow citizens are just not interested in preventing this anymore than they are interested in preventing their transition into a demographic minority.

        [Emphasis in original]

        • rahien.din says:

          Thanks for posting that but, eesh. I read the essay and largely interpret it as : in the face of Islamic terrorism we should all just run away.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Yes, the only possible solutions are fight, run or convert. You can only fight if your countrymen will fight, and western europe has decided they will not. Ever. They will be conquered and converted by the sword.

            The fallacy of western liberalism is the assumption of cultural supremacy. That Muslims will see western culture, with its drugs and promiscuity and crass commercialism and effeminate men and yappy feminists and say “this is great! Screw Islam, I want to be a wage slave!” And no, they don’t, and they’re not going to. Not in the long run.

            Osama Bin Laden said “put a strong horse next to a weak horse and people tend to prefer the strong horse.” Islam is aggressive and expansive and offers meaning and purpose. Western liberalism is passive and regressive and offers shame, self-loathing, and your children blown to bits. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine which is the strong horse in this scenario.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @rahien.din

            I think you missed some of the context. If you look elsewhere on that page, the main idea of the author is “the Western Diaspora”. His overall argument is that as the political hold of deracinated, cosmopolitan elites is to solid to be dislodged, that “our countries” are no longer ours; that political nationalism is futile, and that those of us of nationalist bent, who consider ourselves “Western”, must start considering ourselves exiles without a home, strangers in a strange land, a “Western Diaspora”, in deliberate parallel to the Jewish Diaspora. That we need to become tribal, keep our business, socialization, marriage, and everything “inside the tribe” as much as possible. In the case of this Islamic terrorism essay, the view is that the “Manchester will not be divided”, “if we react, the terrorists win!” folks:
            1. will never fight back against Islam, but will just keep on letting themselves be killed to the last;
            2. are in firm control of the politics of the nations-that-are-no-longer-ours, and will block any attempts by us to break from the position in (1);
            3. are not “our people” anyway, but a foreign tribe in whose countries our diaspora finds itself, so we should not much care when they let themselves get killed via (1).

            I guess that might be called “running away”, but his point is that this is all we can do; we Westerners no longer have a homeland of our own, we are a Diaspora, a tribe in exile, and need to wake up to that truth and start acting and organizing accordingly.
            (In one essay, the author makes comments to the effect about selecting mates with an eye toward selectively breeding for “tribalism”, until we are as “clannish” as the Pashtuns, because we’ll need that to survive as the Diaspora.)

            In short, it’s a view for white ethnopolitics and/or Western nationalism a bit like what Dreher’s “Benedict Option” is for Christian traditionalism.

          • bintchaos says:

            Except most of the children being currently blown to bits are Syrian and Iraqi muslim children blown to bits by American bombs.
            The Islamic Diasphora will spread the Quran like a memetic virus.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @bintchaos

            It’s almost as if invading the world…and then inviting the world…is a bad idea? Someone should coin a phrase about that.

          • Iain says:

            @Conrad Honcho:

            The fallacy of western liberalism is the assumption of cultural supremacy. That Muslims will see western culture, with its drugs and promiscuity and crass commercialism and effeminate men and yappy feminists and say “this is great! Screw Islam, I want to be a wage slave!” And no, they don’t, and they’re not going to. Not in the long run.

            You’ve posted this before in previous threads. Again: I invite you to look at facts instead of theory. (The equivalent results for America are similar; this just happens to be the study that I can reliably find via Google.) A representative quote:

            Muslims stand out as being among the most enthusiastic group of Canadian patriots. More than eight in ten are very proud to be Canadian (more so than the non-Muslim population) and this sentiment has strengthened over the past decade, especially in Quebec. Strong religious identity notwithstanding, Muslims are as likely as others in this country to say their Canadian identity is very important. And they agree with other Canadians on what makes Canada a great country: its freedom and democracy, and its multicultural diversity. Their greatest dislike, not surprisingly, is the cold climate.

          • John Schilling says:

            You can only fight if your countrymen will fight, and western europe has decided they will not. Ever.

            In the same way that Western Europe decided in 1938 that they would not fight against Hitler. Ever.

            “Western Europe” is not the monolith you imagine it to be, and is never more than one vote away from waging war against militant Islam (or anyone else). It may be a bit out of shape in waging war effectively, but the Arabs aren’t terribly good at that either.

          • rahien.din says:

            Kevin C.,

            Oh I definitely got that flavor of Ragnarok from the essay.

            It seems a good encapsulation of the author’s philosophy. I just… feel there is such an incredible epistemic distance between me and the author, that it is hard for me to write a helpful response. And I either have to write a(nother) giant wall of text, or to settle for something prosaic. For better and for worse, I opted for the latter.

            (And FWIW I don’t know if you posted it to demonstrate your personal ideas, or merely that these ideas exist out there.)

            One question I have : let’s examine the hypothetical in which the author is correct on all his points, and this “Benedict Option” comes to pass. It seems that the hypothetical Western country would then contain A. scores of dead cosmopolitan Liberals, B. a smaller contingent of surviving diasporic Western tribals, and C. their victorious Islamist overlords.

            What happens then? Do the Western tribals expect that, in a nation of Islamists, their attempt at diasporic enclave will be successful? Or will they inevitably be submitted? Surtr comes not to judge or divide, but to set the entire world ablaze.

            If you think that would be unacceptable to Western tribals, well, they’re no different from Western cosmopolitans. Both would be martyred for their cherished ideas, be it deracination or non-Muslim tribalism.

          • John Schilling says:

            Except most of the children being currently blown to bits are Syrian and Iraqi muslim children blown to bits by American bombs.

            Wait, what? Are you Sean Penn or something?

            Pretty certain that less than ten percent of the Syrian and Iraqi Muslim children being blown up are being blown up by American bombs, and if you extend that to Syrian and Iraqi Muslim children being shot, stabbed, or starved to death it drops to less than one percent. The remaining 99+% being the victims of Syrian and Iraqi Muslim men killing in the name of their God or their local tribal grievances.

            But if you’ve got anything like evidence for that extraordinary accusation, now’s the time.

          • bintchaos says:

            Shorter John Schilling: Being American means never having to say you’re sorry.
            Who is the biggest arms broker in the world again?
            USA! USA! USA!

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @Iain
            Western Muslims, -especially- American and Canadian Muslims, are grossly non-representative of Muslims worldwide. Even if we assume for the same of argument that every single Muslim who says they want secular and not theocratic government specifically want a US/Canadian/British/Australian style Liberal Democracy with strong free speech and civil libertarian tendencies, an assumption I don’t think is a particularly good one, that comprises….let’s see here…

            …20-30% of the world’s Muslim population. so basically, imagine if Indonesia suddenly decided they wanted to hop on board the Western/Universal Country Train. That still leaves pretty much the entire rest of the Dar Al-Islam.

            To be clear, I am not claiming that the other 70-80% are all unequivocally in favor of ISIS or creating a new Caliphate or even explicitly anti-US or anti-Western. But neither are they PRO-Western in either the geopolitical or the philosophical/cultural sense. And that means that the sizable minority who DO subscribe to anti-Western philosophies (philosophies that pre-date both recent US foreign policy and Israel) will continue to have a sizable ambivalent to slightly sympathetic population from which to draw strength and converts and funds in order to sustain themselves.

          • Iain says:

            @Trofim_Lysenko:

            Sure — but Conrad Honcho is explicitly talking about Western Muslims. This whole conversation has been about the dangers of “inviting the world”. My point is that Muslims who take the proactive step of moving to a Western country (especially Canada or the US) are a biased sample of global Muslims, and empirically speaking we actually do a pretty good job of assimilating the vast majority of them.

          • rahien.din says:

            Trofim_Lysenko,

            I think Iain’s point stands, insofar as it rebuts Conrad Honcho’s claim that Muslims will never Westernize. If any significant group of Muslims has Westernized, then Honcho’s claim is false.

          • Nornagest says:

            [anti-Western] philosophies that pre-date both recent US foreign policy and Israel

            Recent US foreign policy, yes. Israel, I don’t think so.

            Political Islam is as old as Islam is, but the movements tying it to anti-colonial, anti-Western sentiment are quite recent. You’d really have to stretch to see it before WWII, and I think the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was the real turning point; that’s what proved that a nationalism based around fundamentalist Islam had legs. Arab nationalism is older, but most of the Arab nationalist states were a lot more secular; the Arabian Peninsula itself mostly isn’t, but politics there are more tribal than nationalist. And ISIS is its own thing again.

          • bean says:

            @bintchaos
            Knock off hacking the reply function. Also, you didn’t answer his point, which is that we’re not actually the ones doing the killing.
            Edit: The post this was replying to seems to have vanished.

          • bintchaos says:

            lol–
            no, we are just the ones having our proxies, allies and props do the killing.
            We just sell the arms.
            capitalisma si!
            my humblest apologies.

          • bean says:

            Right. Then I’m going to ask for sources on the origin of the weapons being used in Syria. The US may be the world’s largest arms supplier by dollar, but most of that is us selling very expensive airplanes and missiles to NATO and our other allies. Very little of it is us going to The International Arms Bazzar and selling to anyone with the cash.
            Seriously, I work at a major aerospace corporation, and the mess that ITAR makes is impressive.

            Edit: I looked into this more. Of US arms exports 2010-2016, aircraft made up more than 50% of the value. The other large categories (>~10% each) were Armored Vehicles and Missiles. No US produced equipment in this category is a major contributor to deaths in Syria. Other categories that cleared a billion in the period in question are Air Defense Systems, Engines, Sensors, and Ships.
            Syria’s weapons come from China, Iran and Russia. I can’t find out where the rebel’s come from (SIPRI doesn’t know), but they aren’t buying F-16s or AEGIS.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @Iain

            Yes, there is a self-selected group of new Canadian muslims who are really glad to be Canadian (and probably also very likely to say positive things so other Canadians don’t think poorly of them). But the peer pressure that comes from groups of Muslims is “be more muslim” not “be more Canadian.” There’s a difference between what people do and say in small groups versus large groups.

            If you want to know what an ideology is like, look at what it does when it has power. There is not a muslim nation in the world you would move to. As their numbers go up in Canada, Canada will get more Muslim, it will not be the Muslims who get more Canadian.

            What’s your take on the Lebanese civil war? Why will Canada, or the UK, or anywhere else in western europe be any different?

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @Iain
            As you yourself just said, what you currently have is a biased sample. What happens when, ceteris paribus, you increase your sample size? Regression to the mean. This is accentuated in the case of immigration because by and large the people who are sympathetic to western culture and most readily assimilated are precisely the ones who are already over in the US, Canada, and so on happily taking their kids to soccer practice and being mildly scandalized at their daughters necking on the train with their non-Muslim boyfriends.

            In reality even that 20-30% minority I mentioned (which is where almost all immigrants are going to be drawn from absent something like the recent wave of refugees) is comprised of people who mostly want a secular government but a strongly Islamic culture. Their idea of a good place to live and raise a family looks a lot more like Riyadh than Vancouver or San Francisco, and they will be exerting both social and political pressure accordingly.

            In short, while I think you are more right than Conrad about the current state of affairs, the more we lower the barriers to immigration, the more of a point he has. I think he’s overstating it quite a bit, but he’s not entirely wrong.

            That said, I did some back of the envelope calculation and assuming two points (that Arab, Turkic, Iranian, and SE Asian Muslims are as assimilable as 19th century Irish, and that our capacity to assimilate immigrants is at least as strong as it was in 1850), we can take in roughly 1.5-2 million Muslim immigrants per year for the next decade or so without having to worry about any sort of drastic political or cultural changes of the sort Conrad is worried about. That rate is far, far above current levels. Personally I wouldn’t want that to go over 1 million for 5-6 years because I think that we do have a much higher risk of infiltrators and because I am not confident that those two assumptions are valid, but again that gives us room to increase immigration levels quite a LOT over current rates.

            @Nornagest

            Except the most prominent voices of criticism of the west weren’t motivated by Israel. Have you ever read Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones, or at least his travel article “The America I have Seen”? He was one of the intellectual founders of the Muslim Brotherhood and modern political Islam, and while he is certainly not pleased by western support for Israel, it was his experience of day-to-day life in America for the two years he spent here from 1948-50 that hardened his convictions that the Muslim world must find a way to embrace the technical and organizational advantages of Western culture while rejecting utterly their philosophical underpinnings as inimical to and corrosive of basic human decency and values (as he saw them).

            And while Qutb’s writing was post-WW2, he was already making arguments along these same lines in the 30s, as were his intellectual contemporaries like Hassan Al-Banna. Meanwhile, over in Saudi Arabia the rise of Wahabbism to include the violent persecution of Shia started even earlier, in the teens and 20s.

          • Nornagest says:

            Except the most prominent voices of criticism of the west weren’t motivated by Israel.

            Didn’t say they were. They came after Israel’s founding in time, is all I’m saying.

            Wahabbism is another story, as you say, and it’s basically a tribal one — the rise of Wahabbism as a major Islamic sect is deeply entangled with the rise of the House of Saud as a political force. If another family had won the game of Arabian thrones, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab probably wouldn’t have been remembered as anything other than one of many early modern preachers with weird ideas. And if the Ottoman Empire hadn’t fallen apart when and how it did, he probably wouldn’t have had his modern prominence.

          • Iain says:

            @Trofim Lysenko:

            I think you are probably:
            a) underestimating the appeal of western culture and western values,
            b) overestimating the degree to which all Muslims who find those values appealing have already successfully moved to North America, and
            c) underestimating the degree to which stated opinions about how society should be organized are shaped by the society in which you currently find yourself.

            If you did a global poll asking people of Chinese descent how they felt about capitalism, you would get the impression that, statistically speaking, they don’t really like it. Shockingly, however, Chinese immigrants to North America manage to integrate just fine.

            That said, I think your analogy to the Irish is the correct way to think about this. I don’t think we’re that far apart. I’m not arguing for completely open borders; I’m just pointing out that Conrad Honcho’s hyperventilation about Canada turning into Lebanon is untethered from empirical reality.

            @Conrad Honcho: My take on the Lebanese civil war is that it is completely irrelevant to a discussion of Canadian politics. Canada will be different because Canada and Lebanon are different countries in different situations with different cultures and politics. (For example, none of Canada’s political parties are affiliated with a particular religious or ethnic group. Unless you’re trying to warn me about the sinister rise of the Bloc Québecois?)

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Iain

            Hey, it wasn’t long ago that most terrorism in Canada was FLQ, eh?

          • Jiro says:

            If you did a global poll asking people of Chinese descent how they felt about capitalism, you would get the impression that, statistically speaking, they don’t really like it.

            Do you have a source for this odd claim? At most I would expect Chinese in China to react adversely to the word “capitalism”, but be fine with capitalism itself.

      • IMHO this is implicit in the legal codes that allow infidels to live in Muslim society with additional taxes

        A small correction–different taxes. Non-Muslim peoples of the book pay a head tax. Muslims are supposed to pay the Koranic tax, which is an income tax on certain forms of income plus a wealth tax.

    • Nancy Lebovitz says:

      I wonder how much choice of target has to do with logistics (a place where it will be easy to kill a lot of people) more than symbolism.

      I’ve been expecting more attacks as a result of ISIS members losing territory and scattering across the world, but I’m not sure how sound this theory is.

      *****

      Sidetrack: would it do any good to label ISIS and the like as islamophobic because they mostly kill Muslims, or is this just something that I think is funny?

      • Sivaas says:

        Probably wouldn’t do any good, and it’d be interpreted as some desperate defense to being labeled an islamophobe: “No, it’s the MUSLIMS that hate Islam, they’re the evil ones!”. I don’t think you can plausibly use the term “X-phobe” on a member of the group X, although it clearly makes sense logically.

        It is pretty funny though.

        • Gobbobobble says:

          Do you remember when phobos meant “fear” and wasn’t conscripted into meaning “hate”? Pepperidge Farm remembers…

        • lvlln says:

          But there also seems to be a correlation between those who label others as “islamophobes” and those who claim that ISIS isn’t Islamic, so I don’t think the rejection would tend to follow that exact reasoning. I do think there would be the declaration that you’re just asserting a red herring in order to distract from your own moral failings which make you deserving of the label of “islamophobe.” But I don’t think the rejection would actually involve an attempt to engage with the reasoning contained within that assertion. At least, that’s my intuition based on my observations.

      • Randy M says:

        would it do any good to label ISIS and the like as islamophobic because they mostly kill Muslims, or is this just something that I think is funny?

        I am going to bite my tongue (or fingers, as it is) on some sarcasm and simply say that I doubt ISIS and the like (for even very broad definitions of the like) care very much for your estimation of the quality of their islamo-philia.
        It seems they believe in a higher authority than #trendingtweet or #hastagdiplomacy.

      • Conrad Honcho says:

        would it do any good to label ISIS and the like as islamophobic because they mostly kill Muslims, or is this just something that I think is funny?

        I agree it is funny, but I don’t think it’d be effective. I also don’t particularly care for Trump’s choice of “losers.” I mean, I get what he’s going for (being a “monster” can be cool, but being a “loser” can never be) and maybe that’s better for the long game, but it feels wrong to dismiss as simple “losers” someone who blows up my kids.

    • ShemTealeaf says:

      Regarding #4, my first instinct is that I would expect single white women to be (in general) fairly strong supporters of a whole basket of “bleeding heart”-type liberal policies, and relaxing immigration restrictions is just one of the policies that goes along with that. I’d be interested to see the specific polls you’re citing, but I’m not sure that the support for immigration requires a specific explanation beyond general liberalism.

      • Conrad Honcho says:

        The polls I’ve seen show single women strongly supporting immigration while married women much more likely to oppose it. The pop-sci theory is that women’s maternal instinct is potent. If they don’t have kids, they see the immigrants as substitute kids they need to protect from the evil monsters in their own society, and if they do have kids they see the immigrants as potential monsters who would blow up their real kids.

        There could also be another confounder for “married and anti-immigrant” vs “unmarried and pro-immigrant.” I’m tempted to say, though, that motherhood greatly changes women.

        • The original Mr. X says:

          Not just women; I’ve known a couple of men who said things like “I became a conservative the first time I held my new-born child in my arms.” I think having a child to protect naturally makes you more risk-averse, which in turn makes you less likely to support radical social changes with difficult-to-predict consequences.

        • ShemTealeaf says:

          Could be motherhood, but it could also just be that married women on average tend to be older than single women.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            From the surveys I’ve seen, older single women are just as pro-immigrant as younger single women. It’s either marriage that changes women, or the same thing that causes anti-immigrant sentiment causes marriage.

    • Mark says:

      I think we should reintroduce capital punishment for terrorist murderers.

      • Gobbobobble says:

        As emotionally satisfying as that’d be, making a bunch of martyrs would do us no favors.

        • Randy M says:

          That begs the question. The recruitment equation includes more factors that glory of martyrdom, such as the allure of the “strong horse”, shame of public humiliation, recidivism rate of non-executed murderers (assume the eventual release, which seems likely), prison recruitment, and diminishing returns on martyr glory. If ISIS believe martyrs to be in their interest, they can create them regardless of our eagerness to capture or deter without harming them.

          • rlms says:

            “recidivism rate of non-executed murderers”
            I think current evidence suggests approximately zero, if we’re talking about terrorists. Do you have any examples of people who’ve been sentenced for terrorism, been released, and committed more crimes?

          • Randy M says:

            I don’t know how many have passed through civilian courts. Here’s a place to get a rough idea, based on Gitmo detainees, the guilt of which you can doubt if you like, but it is probably the closest reference class.

            Do you have any reason to think it would be particularly low, as such numbers go?

          • rlms says:

            I think that is a very different reference class. I definitely agree that the recidivism rate for those convicted of planning terrorist attacks etc. and sentenced to a few years in prison will have a non-zero recidivism rate, even those who are actually go through a proper legal system. But the group under discussion is non-executed murderers, who are generally sentenced with a tariff of multiple decades. I think the recidivism rate for these kinds of people will be pretty much zero because (as far as I know) very few murderers go on to kill more people after being released from prison at the age of 70.

          • Randy M says:

            Based on what?
            Here’s a quick study showing 15% of homicide parolees in the area studied had another violent offense. Here’s another larger one I haven’t read all of. No repeat murder, which is encouraging, but there were numerous violent re-offences (I need to read closer to tease out drug & violent offenses). The form/motivation of the homicide is predictive of recidivism rate; I wonder where “ideologically motivated” will fall? Probably on the high end.

            Maybe you are assuming all terrorist murders result in 50+ years of incarceration. This list is interesting.

          • rlms says:

            The first study covers people who’ve been released after 11 years on average, at the age of 37. That is a very different group from those who’ve been released at the age of 40.

            I don’t think that list says what you think it does. If you look at the individual cases, the people who actually came close to murder did receive lengthy sentences. Those with relatively short sentences didn’t come close to murder. For instance, Saajid Badat was at one point planning to blow up a plane, but ultimately didn’t actually try. Umran Javed was sentenced to 6 years for “soliciting murder”, which sounds very light. But all he actually did was shout “Bomb USA”. So that sentence is actually pretty heavy; from a US perspective it is presumably a gross violation of freedom of speech!

          • Randy M says:

            the age of 37. That is a very different group from those who’ve been released at the age of 40.

            How so? I ask with some trepidation, fearing the precipitous aging I face in the next half decade.

            I don’t think that list says what you think it does.

            I didn’t say it proved my point; though I guess I implied such. Anyhow, the relevance depends on how one defines the group of “terrorist murderers”. Does it includes “terrorist attempted murderers” and “terrorist murderer conspirators” ?

          • rlms says:

            You mean you don’t know about the Rite of Increased Placidity all 38.5-year-old men must go through on pain of death? Maybe it’s just a British thing. But seriously, I meant to say 40 years later (at the age of 70). I will concede that 40-year-olds and 37-year-olds probably have pretty similar levels of everything.

            Well, technically “terrorist murderers” only includes terrorists who actually have murdered, but as most of them die shortly afterwards I think you can reasonably include attempts as well. But the terrorists on that list who did actually attempt murder did get long sentences. To go back to my examples, the correct reference class for Saajid Badat isn’t convicted murderers, it’s people who were planning to murder someone (maybe they bought a gun and wrote some plans down) but didn’t actually do anything. Similarly, Umran Javed is nowhere near murder. Under a reasonable legal system, he wouldn’t have been jailed at all (or at least not for the same thing): while shouting “bomb, bomb USA” is certainly unpleasant, that doesn’t make it OK to violate freedom of speech.

          • Randy M says:

            Okay, there probably won’t be many released bombers/shooters/drivers/whatever that later pull the trigger or push the button that is fatal. But in the broader question of “would ‘Martyrdom’ help their cause” I can think of ways that a released convicted terrorist could be used that might outweigh the somewhat dubious allure of death by execution. As a figurehead, writer or speaker (which can be done from prison), giving technical expertise, and so forth. How it all washes out is probably impossible to quantify, but I don’t think it can be glibly assumed one way or another.

            You mean you don’t know about the Rite of Increased Placidity all 38.5-year-old men must go through on pain of death?

            Shoot, I’m going to need to take advantage of every random burst of virility over the next two years.

      • Skivverus says:

        Well, that provides some incentive for would-be non-suicidal terrorists not to explode things, but it also removes some of the incentive for them to be non-suicidal. Not sure it nets positive.

      • John Schilling says:

        Do terrorist murderers surrender often enough for this to matter? If their plan is to go out in a blaze of glory, “…and we’ll execute you if you don’t die in the Butch Cassidy Ending!” may not be much of a deterrent.

      • Mark says:

        The calculation is that committing to decency and justice will have some effect on the behaviour of our enemies.

        This is a battle for minds. I’m British and I find all of the blah blah blah “pray for something” (without any actual prayer?) “isn’t this a tragedy“, “how sad” stuff sickening, and I’m probably closer to the jihadi sweet spot than most British people.

        If British society was grimly determined to destroy those who commit these evil acts, with its determination powered by a love of justice, it would be a lot more appealing to violent young men.

    • nimim.k.m. says:

      I already forgot about it.

      Which, by the way, is scary, but I guess it’s also natural. Guernica was major international scandal. By 1944, aerial bombings on industrial base and the civilian populace in general were so commonplace that they rated almost on the scale “minor local news, only statisticians count them”, unless something very big and noteworthy got hit.

    • BBA says:

      My view is that “lone wolves,” like this perpetrator apparently was, should be seen more as a mental health issue than as a terrorism issue.

      (There’s an SJW meme going around that it’s white privilege that the Portland stabber is called mentally ill and not a terrorist. I say it’s not either-or.)

      • Matt M says:

        I don’t think the Portland stabber qualifies as a terrorist by any reasonable definition. He didn’t kill the Muslim girls he was allegedly harassing, he killed the white guys who came and confronted him about it. “People confront crazy ranting dude on a bus and get stabbed for it” is not exactly the oddest occurrence known to man. There is little evidence to suggest he would have killed anyone had the guys not chosen to confront him over his “hate speech” (friendly reminder, hate speech is a legal and constitutionally protected right)

        • skef says:

          There is little evidence to suggest he would have killed anyone had the guys not chosen to confront him over his “hate speech” (friendly reminder, hate speech is a legal and constitutionally protected right)

          Christ, you’re an asshole.

          • hlynkacg says:

            If I had a dime for every crazy guy on the bus who threatened to kill me I’d have enough to buy a fancy coffee at Starbucks, who could have guessed that this particular crazy would follow through?

        • hlynkacg says:

          There is little evidence to suggest he would have killed anyone had the guys not chosen to confront him

          …well aside from the fact that we already know how the story ends.

          • Matt M says:

            The fact that he killed people who confronted him tells us very little about the likelihood of his killing people who DON’T confront him. I see crazy ranting homeless people on the streets all the time (some using racially offensive language). As far as I know, they are no particular threat to public safety (or at least I assume they’re not, as they’re out in public in full view of the authorities who do nothing about them).

          • The Nybbler says:

            As far as I know, they are no particular threat to public safety (or at least I assume they’re not, as they’re out in public in full view of the authorities who do nothing about them).

            Some of them are; they occasionally do crazy violent things as well as merely crazy things. But the authorities don’t care about them until they actually do significant harm. The authorities are there to protect them from everyone else, not so much to protect everyone else from them.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Matt M

            Precisely.

        • rlms says:

          Yes it’s outrageous when people are punished simply for speaking. Let us weep too for Umran Javed.

          • Matt M says:

            Um, I’ve regularly denounced the complete lack of and disregard for free speech in the UK. Here’s the latest hilarity: 10 officers and attack helicopter sent to break up a party for playing offensive music.

            This from the same nation that tells us picking up pieces of brains at childrens concerts is something we just have to accept as a logical and necessary consequence of living in an enlightened and pluralistic society.

          • So you are either strongly pro-gun-control, or living in a glass house….which?

          • rlms says:

            @Matt M
            So you denounce it in the case I linked above as well? Really, your denunciation should be much stronger regarding Mr Javed: the ability to make political statements even if they offend sensitive snowflakes is much more vital to a free society than the ability to play loud music.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Matt M

            I was expecting that to link to crazy over-reaction over a noise complaint, but .. yow. Wait’ll they hear the one about a former German leader’s monorchism…

        • RDNinja says:

          This touches on something I was wondering. All of the coverage I’ve seen was vague about what the victims actually did to intervene. All I see is phrasing like “tried to put a stop to it.” (Anyone have clearer sources?)

          Is it possible they actually instigated the physical confrontation? If so, could the stabber claim self-defense?

          • xXxanonxXx says:

            The deputy prosecutor’s affidavit, itself based on video of the incident, records that Christian (attacker) said to Fletcher (surviving victim), “hit me again,” right before the stabbing took place. At that time the girls had already wisely moved to the other end of the car. It looks completely plausible that the real narrative is three strapping men learned the hard way why starting a fight with an obvious psychotic on public transit is a bad idea.

            That’s just depressing though. I can understand why people would prefer the much more inspiring “American Heroes Defend Innocent Muslim Girls From Knife-wielding Maniac.”

      • BBA says:

        Well thanks for the threadjack, Matt. The point I was trying to make, more or less, was that there’s more similarity in mindset between the Manchester bomber and the Portland stabber than between the Manchester bomber and a typical young Muslim male, or for that matter between the Portland stabber and a typical white dude who posts obnoxious shit on Facebook. Framing it as being about Islam (or about white bigotry) misses something important.

    • onyomi says:

      My primary takeaways are to completely stop believing in two myths related to terrorism and immigration:

      1. I should have realized this earlier, but “poverty causes terrorism” simply doesn’t hold water. The people who commit terrorist acts, like Bin Laden, often seem to come from middle and upper classes in their home countries. The second and third-generation transplants may also be poor and unemployed relative to the native population, but they are still doing well compared to the poor of their parents’ and grandparents’ countries. To say nothing of all the really poor people around the world who don’t become terrorists.

      On the other hand, “war causes terrorism” might be more plausible. This would tend to indicate that first worlders (and maybe the third worlders themselves, in many cases) might be better off with third worlders living under stable, if cruel and illiberal dictatorships, than under messy “regime change” situations we tend to cause with our interventions.

      2. The “integrate and woo them with universal culture and they will become peaceful” thing also doesn’t work if the immigrants are not actually integrating, culturally, which is less likely to happen if they come in large numbers. If anything, it seems like the home-grown second and third-generations are the greater danger of late: their parents aren’t that ideological and are just grateful to be in a place which isn’t war-torn. But the disaffected younger generation who doesn’t fit into the new setting may feel much more aggrieved.

      • if the immigrants are not actually integrating, culturally, which is less likely to happen if they come in large numbers.

        A number of different ethnicities came to the U.S. in large numbers in the past–Irish, Italians, Jews, Poles, … . Most of them integrated culturally.

        • Brad says:

          What’s more Muslim immigrants are currently integrating integrating culturally into the United States. Bengalis for example are already at the second and third generation and show no signs of radicalization.

          Europe has a problem that the US doesn’t and from this the right wing concludes that we should adopt European style ethnic nationalism. That makes no sense at all. It’s transparently motivated reasoning.

          • Randy M says:

            Europe has a problem that the US doesn’t

            Scope. We had attacks in very recent memory (San Bernadino, Orlando). Europe is importing migrants from Muslim countries at a greater rate due to proximity. The Muslim percent of the population there is greater, and the problem is more pronounced.

            European style ethnic nationalism

            In what sense is nationalism still European? Much of Western Europe is officially happy to redefine race and ethnicity entirely out of what it means to be Swedish, British, French, or German, let alone European. It seems quite wrong to imply that Europe’s problems stem from them being particularly exclusionary.

          • Aapje says:

            @Brad

            Progressives are generally not making the argument that Muslims are a problem in Europe, but that the US Muslims are different.

            It’s a bit silly to blame the right wing for conflating all Muslims when the left tends to do the exact same thing.

          • Brad says:

            @Aapje

            Progressives are generally not making the argument that Muslims are a problem in Europe, but that the US Muslims are different.

            The argument isn’t that European Muslims are different from US Muslims, but rather than American culture is superior at integrating people to European cultures.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Brad

            Isn’t difference part of the explanation? The US and Canada are in a different geographic location than Europe, and so get a very different sample of Muslim immigrants. It’s a two-part explanation: different sample and better at integration.

          • Brad says:

            @Randy M

            In what sense is nationalism still European?

            I don’t think it is any coincidence that these two posts are from European posters:
            https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/05/31/open-thread-76-75/#comment-506654 (4)

            https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/05/31/open-thread-76-75/#comment-506697

            Even offensive far right crap like this: https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/05/26/the-atomic-bomb-considered-as-hungarian-high-school-science-fair-project/#comment-505839
            from an American is still much more ecumenical the attitude of many even center-right Europeans.

            It’s tough to make ethnic nationalism work in the US since it is so blindly obvious that we are, and virtually always have been, multiethnic.

          • Randy M says:

            Europe has a problem that the US doesn’t and from this the right wing concludes that we should adopt European style ethnic nationalism

            Your juxtaposition implies that Islamic integration into Europe is difficult because of nationalism. To expound on that you link 3 SSC comments. The implication being perhaps that casual attitudes in Europe are racists (to the extent of noticing self-identification and voting trends thereof!) in ways pervasive enough to undermine all the official welcome given?

            [post edited 7 minutes after posting]

          • Brad says:

            @Randy M

            Your juxtaposition implies that Islamic integration into Europe is difficult because of nationalism.

            Specifically, ethnic nationalism.

            The implication being perhaps that casual attitudes in Europe are racists (to the extent of noticing self-identification and voting trends thereof!) in ways pervasive enough to undermine all the official welcome given?

            I didn’t say racist.

            As for the official welcome part, I dispute your premise. Yes, the government doesn’t explicitly define “Swedish” based on ethnicity and instead based on citizenship. That makes sense because governments deal with people on the basis of citizenship. It’s a category that exists to help government run smoothly. That doesn’t have much to do with whether or not a country, or even a government, is influenced by ethnic nationalism. However, if you look at who can be a citizen, I’ll note that extensive jus sanguinis and limited jus soli is fairly common in Europe.

            I get that you have an ax to grind with liberals and their darn cosmopolitan attitudes, but I don’t think you are engaging in particularly good faith here. Do *you* think that a randomly selected European is less likely to have ethnic nationalist sympathies than a randomly selected American?

          • Randy M says:

            I think that European nations have historically been synonymous with ethnicity but that there is a concerted effort to change this within the last few years. There has been pushback to this, and pushback to the pushback. At the moment, I’d wager that in, say, France you are about 34% likely to find someone who thinks France should be for the French. I will grant that in the US you are probably less likely to find someone who thinks the nation should serve the genetic posterity of the founders. European nations are (were) run as family businesses, America is publicly traded. Jus Soli is rare not just in Europe but about everywhere the majority have been in the territory longer than, say, the age of sail.

            I’ll note you didn’t seem to notice I disputed the lack of problem in the US. Do you grant overlooking it, or are you thinking of another problem?

          • Brad says:

            @Randy M
            Your first paragraph concedes what’s necessary to explain the phrase “European style ethnic nationalism” so I’m not sure what your continuing objection is, if any.

            I’ll note you didn’t seem to notice I disputed the lack of problem in the US. Do you grant overlooking it, or are you thinking of another problem?

            I dispute that the incidents in San Bernadino and Orlando are sufficient to make out the case that we have a problem with integrating Muslims in the Untied States.

          • Randy M says:

            I’ll withdraw objection to the phrase “European ethnic nationalism” since Europe invented the concept of the nation state (not to say rule by ethnicity, which seems pretty ubiquitous outside the colonies).

            The original sticking point was “still” and I’ll admit I was overlooking a minority that retain the traditional understanding of nation and probably numerous institutions built during that time.

            I do not think much evidence has been shown that this concept or attitude is what separates Muslims from Europeans in European nations versus the situation in the US. It seems much more likely that the key is a relative population levels and selection factors (immigrants versus refugees, planes versus rafts, etc.).

          • Aapje says:

            @Brad

            The problem with your argument is that the causality is reversed. These people came in, they had job guarantees, they got a lot of support with things, by all accounts people were usually pleasant to them, etc. Then over time the speed of integration was too slow and the friction thus too high in the eyes of the natives and a decent subset became hostile.

            So it was mainly slow integration that caused the hostility of an increasing subset of the natives, not vice versa.

            In The Netherlands, we also had the influx of a decent number of Moluccans, who fought for the Dutch colonial army and had to flee when The Netherlands lost control of the Dutch East Indies (aka Indonesia). These people had been promised a Republic of South Maluku by the Dutch government in return for serving in the Dutch colonial army, which was a promise that the Dutch government could not make good on, due to losing. The result was increased unrest among the Moluccans in the Netherlands and eventually, terrorism.

            Also, these people got treated way worse than the later Muslim migrants. They were initially housed in a a World War II Nazi refugee, detention and transit camp. All the support they got was in the form of loans, which they had to pay back, etc. Pretty shitty.

            And yet…this group was never particularly disliked by any sizable fraction of the Dutch natives and they were much more prone to intermarry with the natives, were far more eager to integrate, etc.

            Even for the later group of Muslim migrants you see far higher animosity by natives towards the Moroccans than towards the Turks. These people migrated concurrently, in very similar numbers, got very similar treatment, etc. There is no reasonable explanation for this difference in perception except for differences between Moroccan and Turkish culture.

            So…the logical conclusion is that the culture of the migrating group plays a huge role. This narrative that Europeans are just nasty people who prevent migrants from integrating due to widespread racism is fully consistent with the SJ view of the world, but simply not very consistent with the facts.

          • I think that European nations have historically been synonymous with ethnicity

            Are you limiting that to recent centuries? It’s not that long since France contained multiple groups with mutually incomprehensible languages. Similarly for Italy. The Italian language is a modern invention.

            Language isn’t a perfect marker for ethnicity, but I would think it is an adequate one for the argument.

          • rlms says:

            @David Friedman
            But the Italian nation is also a modern invention.

          • Randy M says:

            Are you limiting that to recent centuries? It’s not that long since France contained multiple groups with mutually incomprehensible languages.

            At the time, were they all considered one nation, or various nations/groups contained in the same empire or state?

        • The original Mr. X says:

          I think that comparison is problematic, for several reasons:

          (1) Whilst Ireland, Italy, Poland, and the parts of Europe where most Jewish immigrants came from, were obviously different to the US, they were less different than the Middle East. This made integrating them easier.

          (2) This was a time when the US firmly saw integration as a good thing, and there were all sorts of social etc. pressures put on immigrants to do so. This isn’t the case any more.

          (3) This was also a time when communications were slow enough that someone moving to America from Europe would communicate infrequently, if at all, with people from the home country, which, once again, encouraged integration, and also made it harder to keep connected to any sectarian conflicts going on.

          (4) Given the existence of identifiable Irish-American, Italian-American, etc., communities, these groups still haven’t fully integrated into the US mainstream, despite coming over when circumstances were much more favourable to integration.

          • Anonymous says:

            (4) Given the existence of identifiable Irish-American, Italian-American, etc., communities, these groups still haven’t fully integrated into the US mainstream, despite coming over when circumstances were much more favourable to integration.

            And, if I weren’t anonymous, I would bet that they vote identifiably differently from Real(TM) Americans.

      • DavidS says:

        Poverty causes terrorism doesn’t mean terrorists are poor. Could be that seeing all the suffering coreligionists drives the bin Ladens. Plenty of other cases of revolutions extreme politics etc being at lesser claimed as driven by suffering not felt directly by the actual ringleaders

    • rlms says:

      We should probably work out why the police didn’t do anything when friends and family of the attacker reported him for talking approvingly about suicide bombings, making weird noises in his shed, and literally hoisting the black (ISIS) flag. Paying more attention to people who visit warzones and then come back to the UK might also be sensible.

      • Randy M says:

        Any theories?

      • bean says:

        How many people do those sorts of things? I’m sure all of us have joked about something that would be considered terrorism if we actually did it. Yes, in most cases it’s obvious that we’re not serious, but I’m sure that there are lots of people where it isn’t.
        It’s entirely possible that the Manchester police have a thousand files that look exactly like his did before he blew himself up. They can’t do more than a cursory check on all of them. (Not to mention the 10,000 files in the rest of the country which are also not attached to suicide bombers.)

        • Jaskologist says:

          This is a good question; I don’t know how we would figure it out.

          It is worth mentioning that terrorist attacks being performed by people the authorities had already been warned about is such a common phenomenon that over on the right, it has been given a name: Known Wolf. (Long list at the link.)

          But how many false positives are there? I don’t know.

          • Iain says:

            From this Independent article about an FBI warning to MI5:

            In response, defence officials said that at any one time they are juggling 500 terror investigations involving 3,000 subjects.

            But there’s no indication of how much evidence they have in any given case. I’d be a bit surprised if the FBI has warned MI5 about 3000 other people.

      • John Schilling says:

        …reported him for talking approvingly about suicide bombings, making weird noises in his shed, and literally hoisting the black (ISIS) flag.

        So, reported him for things that aren’t crimes. What exactly are you expecting the police to do?

        Paying more attention to people who visit warzones and then come back to the UK might also be sensible.

        “Paying more attention”, how, exactly?

        Having a policeman visit them and saying, “Are you a terrorist? Because we think you’re a terrorist, even if you haven’t committed any crimes yet. We’ll be watching you”, doesn’t make them less likely to commit terrorist attacks. I’m pretty sure it makes that more likely.

        Arresting them for whatever offenses you can pin on them when the police visit, locking them up for a few months or a few years, that also makes them more likely to commit terrorist attacks, not less.

        Locking them up for twenty years for having visited an ISIS war zone and returned (while having a bushy beard and a funny name), that would work, but it would require either drastically changing or utterly ignoring the laws.

        Having the police put them under surveillance so that you can arrest them immediately when they do something unambiguously terroristic, that could work except that even the East German Stasi never had the resources for something like that. As bean points out, an awful lot of people are going to match this profile.

        Hiring a prostitute to pretend to be their girlfriend for the next ten years might work, if you can screen out the prostitutes likely to turn sides on you, but that also is going to require an enormous commitment of resources and will be politically unpalatable if it gets out.

        What, specifically, do you have in mind in the “paying attention” department, and why do you expect it will matter?

        • onyomi says:

          Having the police put them under surveillance so that you can arrest them immediately when they do something unambiguously terroristic, that could work except that even the East German Stasi never had the resources for something like that. As bean points out, an awful lot of people are going to match this profile.

          I hate to say, but the solution to this seems to be to let in/back in fewer people who match this profile so you can keep a closer eye on those who do.

          That said, does the UK really have thousands of people who match this particular profile (that is, not just Muslim, but Muslim, male, young, recently visited a war zone, came back with a big beard)?

          Seems at least they could set off a little alarm in the system when they re-enter the country: passport control checks all the warning sign boxes=increased police scrutiny for several months, at least?

          • The Nybbler says:

            That said, does the UK really have thousands of people who match this particular profile (that is, not just Muslim, but Muslim, male, young, recently visited a war zone, came back with a big beard)?

            You can’t just count that particular profile, but every other particular profile with a similar threat level. (No, I don’t know what those would be; the Boston Marathon bombers would be another though)

          • Aapje says:

            @onyomi

            That said, does the UK really have thousands of people who match this particular profile (that is, not just Muslim, but Muslim, male, young, recently visited a war zone, came back with a big beard)?

            At least 400.

            But your profile is far from the only group whom are at high risk of radicalizing to domestic terrorism.

          • onyomi says:

            @Aapje

            400 doesn’t at all sound to me like an unmanageably large number of people to keep an eye on. There could, of course, be further criteria for upping or lowering the surveillance level on such individuals depending on their behavior.

            As for other groups, who’s a higher risk group than the one I mentioned? Even if we had 5 such groups for a total of 2000 such “very high risk individuals” needing close surveillance at any given in time in the UK it doesn’t strike me as crazily burdensome.

          • Aapje says:

            @onyomi

            Close surveillance is really, really expensive. If you want basic 24 hour surveillance, you need more than 3 x 8 hour shifts a day just for the direct surveillance. If you don’t actually want the surveillance to be discovered and the target is not a total idiot, you need something like two or three times as many.

            As for other groups, who’s a higher risk group than the one I mentioned?

            People who visit jihadi websites and post ‘death to the infidels’ comments, for example.

            People who visit extremist mosques.

            Many terrorists didn’t travel to war zones and then came back.

            Finally, it’s not even that easy to find out who traveled to Syria, because the jihadi’s don’t get direct flights. They go to Turkey or Libya and then travel by private transportation. A lot of times when you hear after an attack that the perpetrator was in Syria, the security agencies really only know that (s)he was in the vicinity and they assume that (s)he went to Syria because of the attack that happened later*. However, when they are working to prevent attacks, they don’t have that information and can’t necessarily distinguish between the person who went to Turkey for holidays vs the person who went to Syria to fight.

            * This is the case for the Manchester bomber, for example.

          • onyomi says:

            @Aapje

            I wasn’t suggesting 24 hour surveillance for everyone who matches that profile. Probably something like regular checkups and some scale of threat estimation that ramps up or ratchets down the surveillance level depending on the person’s activities.

            It doesn’t take 24 hour surveillance, for example, to figure out that a person is visiting a radical mosque every day, or that he’s visiting jihadi websites.

            If a young Muslim male comes back from a war zone with a big beard and then proceeds to spend his days at Zumba and Starbucks, then you lower the surveillance on him in favor of the guy who’s spending all day at the mosque and posting on Jihadi boards. Maybe they already have something like this in place, but they sure seem terrible at catching people before they act (though obviously “pre-crime” is inherently way more difficult).

            But if the problem is there are literally thousands of people who match the highest risk profile (Muslim, young, male, recently visited a war zone, frequents Jihadi sites, lives in a neighborhood known for radicalism, etc.), then the question again becomes how to let in fewer such people in the first place.

          • Harry Maurice Johnston says:

            @onyomi, aren’t the vast majority of the people in question British citizens? I very much doubt the UK government could get away with not letting them back in, and if they did manage it, would you trust them to always use that power appropriately?

          • onyomi says:

            @Harry Maurice

            How did they become British citizens in the first place? It might not be reasonable to “revoke” the citizenship of existing high-risk citizens, but one can certainly make it harder for those groups which have proven themselves high-risk to become citizens in the future, such as by weakening or eliminating jus soli.

          • John Schilling says:

            How did they become British citizens in the first place?

            Mostly by having their grandparents live in countries the British conquered and incorporated into the Empire, with “…and if you are particularly talented and play nice, we’ll let you come live in our much better country” as a consolation prize to minimize resistance. Then failing to integrate and assimilate the people who took them up on it.

            There are a couple million of them in the UK now; they aren’t going anywhere and you aren’t un-citizening them without a time machine.

    • Brad says:

      Namely, the attitude expressed frequently around my circles is that if the random slaughter of 8-year-old girls cannot cause “the Saxon to begin to hate”, then nothing ever will, and so Manchester will “continue to embrace with open arms those that murder their children and rape their daughters” to the last.

      Find circles with fewer terrible people in them?

    • Art Vandelay says:

      The thing about this case is it’s quite clear what we could have done to have stopped this atrocity.

      Our security services never should have cultivated British-Libyan Islamists, including Abedi, as an anti-Gadaffi force and allowed them to go to Libya to join up with the jihadis to become even further radicalised and receive military training. After sending them off to learn how to make bombs and be further indoctrinated by extremist ideology we never should have let them back in.

      Then when the US security services told their British counterparts that he was a terrorist threat they should have taken it seriously.

  21. Kevin C. says:

    Any suggestions for ways one can get out, meet new people and improve one’s social skills when one has essentially no money to spare, and no car?

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you live in a city or on a homestead 100km from the nearest village?

      • Kevin C. says:

        I’m pretty sure I’ve said it here before, but I live in Anchorage, Alaska. Population just under 300K, but geographically a bit more spread out, and with more “green space”, than most Lower 48 towns (average density of only 152 people/square mile). Add in sidewalks covered in snow (sometimes several feet) a good portion of the year, and lousy public transportation (due to get even worse with our bus system’s “improvements” starting this October).

        • Creutzer says:

          You’ve got amazing nature and a high-trust society up there, right? Then I do have a suggestion: join a club for mountaineering, camping, or some close-to-nature activity like that. Will require a certain up-front investment, but probably not much if you can rely on others to contribute material or lend you something.

          I don’t know what it’s like in Alaska, of course, but the Alpine Societies in Europe need volunteers for stuff like maintaining trails. Might be worth looking into specifically, because that’s a pretty apolitical and uncontroversially prosocial cause.

          • Kevin C. says:

            join a club for mountaineering, camping, or some close-to-nature activity like that.

            See my reply to Anonymous below; transportation is the biggest barrier.

            As for volunteering for trail maintenance or similar, most of the positions look to be for Campground Hosts and Park Caretakers who live in a cabin on-site (and are paid a subsistence allowance). The trail maintenance/cleaning program, “Adopt-A-Trail”, is (like “adopt-a-highway” programs) more for business-sponsored group volunteering than individual efforts, and again requires one have one’s own transportation to and from the trails.

            Edit: Also, for further example, here’s the listings for the Alaska State Parks Volunteer Program Volunteer and Volunteer Internship Positions for “trail crew”.

          • Creutzer says:

            If a group plans to go to the mountains, only one of them needs to have a car. That was part of why I made the suggestion.

            These trail maintenance things you dug up are, indeed, not what I was thinking of. I looked briefly at the website of the American Alpine Club and what they need volunteers for, and it looks rather different from what a European Alpine Club’s website would list. It does seem that things are organised a bit differently across the pond. Which doesn’t mean that it’s not worth thinking about joining as a regular member.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Creutzer

            If a group plans to go to the mountains, only one of them needs to have a car.

            Assuming the group is small enough to fit into that car, and that the car’s owner is willing to pick up and drive all the people without cars, rather than expecting everyone to own their own vehicle and drive themselves (which is pretty much the standard here).

          • Creutzer says:

            Well, if the group is larger, then two people need to have a car. I really see no reason why people should expect everyone to have their own car, short of some sort of bizarre cultural independence fetish (but then why would you be going somewhere together in the first place?).

          • Aapje says:

            Kevin,

            Some people enjoy traveling together and will gladly pick you up. You pretty much consistently seem to assume the most negative possibility, which is a good recipe for analysis paralysis.

            Perhaps step 1 in your self-improvement plan should be to force yourself to assume less and inquire more.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Creutzer

            Are you American? Because, outside the big coastal urban zones, car ownership is very much A Thing. And as for my locale especially, recall also snow on the ground for 5+ months of the year. The vast majority of households do indeed own a car. And as for my fellow “non-drivers”, in my own personal experience, the single largest fraction of us are that way because of losing their license due to DUI.

            @Aapje

            Oh yes, I’m just assuming to know anything about the local culture with regards to car ownership and ability to get rides from near-strangers. I’m sure you’re so much better positioned, halfway around the globe, to tell me all about it, since I’ve only just been born here and lived here all my life. You arrogant Dutch asshole.

          • Aapje says:

            Sorry for giving suggestions after you asked for suggestions.

            Just because it is standard that people drive their own car, doesn’t mean that those people are automatically unwilling to drive you for social events. Even if there is a social norm for car ownership, that can merely mean that people who don’t own a car are judged as somewhat sad/defective, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t want to help you.

            You may be correct that people in Anchorage have a culture that makes them not want to drive you for occasional social events, but your earlier comment was rather ambiguous whether the Anchorage culture merely expects people to have a car or whether they are actively hostile to people who don’t own a car.

            I assumed the former and apologize if my assumption was offensive.

          • Creutzer says:

            What Aapje said.

          • random832 says:

            the single largest fraction of us are that way because of losing their license due to DUI.

            If you’re concerned that people will assume this of you, maybe the solution is to simply volunteer the real explanation.

          • FollowTheQuest says:

            Kevin, that was rather uncalled for. He’s probably right. Despite the independence fixation of those rugged folk who I imagine live in Alaska, surely of the hundreds of people listed on these meetup.com events, SOMEONE is going to be friendly enough to share a ride. You could contact the group organizers and find out at least before you start calling people names.

            https://www.meetup.com/TheAnchorageAdventureClub/
            https://www.meetup.com/Anchorage-Trail-Runners/
            https://www.meetup.com/The-Anchorage-Dance-Meetup-Group/
            and you could explore FB groups and events as well.

            As someone else who has been without a vehicle in the American boonies, frustrated by the American love of automobiles after visiting a country with actual public transit – like-minded people often come together, quite enthusiastically, to welcome more people to their interest group. You really are handicapping yourself before you’ve even reached out to any of these groups to see if your current notion (that literally NO ONE in Alaska is willing to carpool) is true. Yeah, it can feel really awkward and painful and nerve-wracking to try to reach out to total strangers like that, and it might take a few tries, but you’re just dismissing this option outright because you’re so sure it’ll fail.

            What did you think people were going to suggest as a solution to your transport woes, summoning Mother Goose to fly you away?

        • Anonymous says:

          OK. Learn to like walking is the first required step, I guess.

          Other than that, seek out hobby groups that appeal to you. You may try out new hobbies, too. These things ought to be easily found online, then joined in meatspace.

          • Kevin C. says:

            Learn to like walking is the first required step, I guess.

            Already done.

            Other than that, seek out hobby groups that appeal to you. You may try out new hobbies, too. These things ought to be easily found online, then joined in meatspace.

            I’m on Meetup, but having problems finding any groups that work. Their page seems to rely on location data, so I can’t just link to the list of Anchorage area groups, but they don’t seem to work. Either they’re for specific classes of people to whom I don’t belong (women, seniors, Native Alaskans, mixed-race people, people with genital herpes, members of particular professions, specific religions, and so on), or they involve activities (usually sports/athletics) with non-trivial equipment costs and fees, or the group itself has membership dues. Even the “come meet new people” group has activities like “let’s go climb Flattop“, which wouldn’t be a problem (I’ve done it before in my high-school days), except that I have no transportation to and from the Glen Alps trailhead. (The Flattop Mountain Shuttle‘s van service from Downtown is not cheap, and rather limited in times and scheduling.)

          • Anonymous says:

            Hmm. Any roleplaying groups in the area?

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Anonymous

            Searching online, I found four. One is up on “Hillside”, which is well outside my transportation range (and requires approval from the “Organizer” to join). One is female-only. One, according to Meetup, meets at “various locations”, none of which are visible to non-members; I’d have to join to find out if I can even get to their meetings. And the last looks to be brand-new, and has no information on the whens and wheres yet listed.

          • Anonymous says:

            Inquire.

          • Kevin C. says:

            Inquire.

            About what, with whom?

          • Anonymous says:

            About locations, times, etc. With any contact people who you can reach.

          • Aapje says:

            Tabletop gaming?

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Can you start your own group?

          • I’m pretty sure there is still an SCA group in Anchorage. SCA can be expensive or almost free, depending what you choose to do.

          • johnjohn says:

            [quote]I’d have to join to find out if I can even get to their meetings.[/quote]

            … So?…
            Join
            See if the locations work out
            If they don’t
            Leave the group

        • sohois says:

          Is biking not possible there? A quick glance of google maps suggests the town can’t be much more than 15km either horizontally or vertically. Assuming that the roads are kept free of snow, and you yourself aren’t physically impaired, presumably a push bike could get you anywhere in an hour and would not have high costs?

          • Anonymous says:

            Biking isn’t costless, but it is cheaper than taking public transport on average. Especially if you buy used, essentially disposable bicycles.

          • Kevin C. says:

            Don’t own a bike (not usable for a sizeable fraction of the year, and no room to keep one in my apartment). And it would be quite a long distance bike, with plenty uphill, before a long hike and climb — I’m not that athletic — and I don’t recall there being a bike rack at the trail head the last time I was there.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Anonymous

            Again, you first have to consider Alaskan winters. Plus, thanks to my disability status, I do at present qualify for half-fare status, combined with the savings from buying an unlimited-use annual bus pass (the same price as 11 “monthly” passes).

          • Anonymous says:

            Right, so public transport is probably cheaper than cycling for you.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Anonymous

            Indeed, but it still leaves much of the city, including most of the trail heads and such outside the city proper, out of easy reach (and will only get worse come October).

          • sohois says:

            Alaska seems to be pretty big barrier to most of what you want to do. I’m sure you have answered this before, but what is keeping you from just moving elsewhere, even overseas if the US is too expensive?

          • Kevin C. says:

            @sohois

            I’m sure you have answered this before, but what is keeping you from just moving elsewhere, even overseas if the US is too expensive?

            You can see my answers here and here, for one. First, there are the monetary factors. I’m dependent on government aid, some of which I lose (with a literally years-long waiting list to get back on) if I even move apartments, let alone cities. Add in that I’m required to have a “representative payee” for my SSI, in which role my mother serves; it’s kind of hard for her to do that if we’re in different states.

            Second, is the social/psychological factors. My family is the core of my psychological support network, and the last time I tried to live elsewhere, I wound up with multiple psychiatric hospitalizations in a period under six months.

            As for a foreign country, there’s several additional objections and problems. First, all the financial points above become even worse. Second, what country would take a jobless parasite on the commonweal like me, and why wouldn’t I find them even less pleasant for me to live in? Third, making new friends is hard enough without adding a bunch of cultural and linguistic barriers on top. Fourth, despite some French in elementary school, German in junior high, a course in conversational Russian, four years of high school Spanish, and 1 2/3 years college Japanese, when it comes to actual fluency, I remain pretty much monolingual (for that matter, it took me until age four before I even began speaking English).

    • Aapje says:

      Are there any organizations that need volunteers within walking distance of your home?

      • Kevin C. says:

        Not really, and all the volunteer-seeking operations in my area tend to be at least implicitly, if not explicitly, left-wing, which doesn’t make me a very good “fit”.

        • Aapje says:

          Are their goals objectionable to you or do you feel ill at ease with the people that work there?

          • Kevin C. says:

            Mostly the former; as to the latter, it’s less that I’d be ill at ease with the people there, as that they’d object to my presence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why don’t you have money, BTW? You seem fairly intelligent and even educated.

      • Kevin C. says:

        Because I’m unemployed, on SSI disability (plus state APA and rent subsidy) due to mental illness and Asperger. I know I commented somewhere earlier on SSC about my travails with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and their inability to help me find gainful employment (as I am far from their usual client). And the only thing my Physics bachelor’s from Caltech (there, finally got autocorrect to stop messing it up) seems to have done is make me “overqualified”.

        • Anonymous says:

          In that case there might be a way to get both some money and some human contact: small jobs. Subscribe to whatever online service(s) that provides listings for stuff you can do for money. Apply to do said work. This will put you into contact with people and might even earn you some money.

          Once you do a bit of that, you might even have a small network of acquaintances impressed with your conscientiousness and intelligence, who might be willing to help you gain stabler employment.

          • Kevin C. says:

            Subscribe to whatever online service(s) that provides listings for stuff you can do for money.

            Such as?

            And there’s the problem that this sort of thing can potentially put my SSI and other benefits at risk, without providing nearly enough to substitute for them and live on.

          • Anonymous says:

            Such as?

            Like: https://anchorage.craigslist.org/search/lab

            I’m sure you can google up more.

            And there’s the problem that this sort of thing can potentially put my SSI and other benefits at risk, without providing nearly enough to substitute for them and live on.

            Ask your welfare providers if/how to avoid getting screwed.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Anonymous

            Like: https://anchorage.craigslist.org/search/lab

            Well, I looked at that, and first, some of those listings are quite some distance from Anchorage. One is even for Wrangell, which is 705 miles away on straight-line distance. Another is for Deadhorse, on the Arctic Sea coast, over 800 miles away by “road”. (Alaska is really, really big.) Second, a lot of the listings are for drivers, and I don’t drive. Others are night jobs — and the buses don’t run at night here. Most others require specific experience and training I don’t have (carpentry, maintenance, roofing, childcare, crane operator, hair stylist, glazier, etc.), which generally leaves “janitor” or “day laborer”, and the latter requires your own transportation to the job site. In the specific job listings on that page, one generally finds “Must have reliable transportation” and “Applicants must have a clean driving record with own vehicle” or similar.

            I feel like I should mention that, frankly, the local economy, and thus local job market, really suck right now. We pretty much never bounced back from the “Great Recession”.

          • Anonymous says:

            Can you get a driver’s license somehow?

            Overall, you might want to develop a mindset of seeking opportunity, rather than enumerating problems. (You don’t seem to be multiplying them, but that is even worse.) Be like MacGuyver. Use whatever you *do* have to achieve what you want, rather than pondering what you don’t have.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Anonymous

            Can you get a driver’s license somehow?

            I do have a driver’s license — because it’s the most common form of photo ID. But I barely passed the road portion of the driver’s test to get it (after taking a driver’s ed course). And I’ve not been behind the wheel since. I hate driving, and not just because of my motor coordination issues. (As a partial aside, pretty much anyone who knows me and has seen The Big Bang Theory has said that Sheldon reminds them of me.) Add to that the factors that I can’t afford the state-required auto insurance even if I wanted to acquire a car, and that I have no parking space at my apartment building (there are much fewer spaces than there are apartments in the building).

        • James Miller says:

          There might be great value in having a study of high IQ adults with autism. If you are looking for a low cost project, you could consider contacting many such adults and asking them about problems they face in holding high-IQ type jobs and then publishing your results online.

        • Forgive me for an obvious suggestion, but have you considered learning some coding and doing freelance work? With your degree I have zero doubt it would come easily to you. It might give you a lot of freedom in your life that you’re currently missing.

        • caethan says:

          Hello, fellow Techer. No imposition intended, but I did go look you up in the Alumni Directory – we were there at the same time. If you like and as a show of faith, you can pull me up by looking for class of ’03/male/California/BS Chemistry/Ruddock. I’m the non-hispanic one (the other one was my roommate – Chem for life!).

          If you don’t mind my asking – you said you had serious psych issues when you tried to go off to grad school. Was Tech better for that? I ask because I’m in the Bay Area now basically because this is where most of my Tech friends ended up, and the folks I hung out with in college are now most of my friend circle here, along with their spouses and friends. I felt pretty isolated in grad school and went a year or so at a time without any real social contact. Now that I’m back around Tech friends, we have monthly D&D sessions and other get-togethers and such. In short, is reconnecting with an existing but dormant friend network elsewhere an option for you?

          • Kevin C. says:

            I didn’t really have much in the way of friends or a social network at Caltech. Nor roommates; I was always in singles in either Ricketts or Avery. Not to mention the shift from class of ’04 to class of ’05 due to the medical leave of absence following my suicide attempt.

            The only friends I have, I met in elementary school, junior high , or freshman year of high school, all of whom are here in Anchorage.

    • bintchaos says:

      maybe someone has suggested this– but as an aspie one of my enduring obsessions is board games– go and chess especially.
      Is there a chess club?

      • Kevin C. says:

        Well, I just searched for one, and I found listings for three; one is specifically for “Government Hill” (a neighborhood bordering on JBER, not readily reachable). The second has a webpage whose most recent update is from 2011 (involving a tournament with registration fees).
        The third link, alaskachessleague.com, is now a spam page on casino poker in Swedish.

        • bintchaos says:

          well…in your situ…i would try the first one as a one time experiment, even if the transport was non-cost viable for frequent trips…
          I love chess tho– i love all sorts of games, video games, board games, alternative reality games…do u enjoy board games? do u have a favorite game?

          • Kevin C. says:

            I hate to be that guy, but the second person pronoun is “you”, not “u”, and it’s “though”, not “tho”. And the first person pronoun “I” is capitalized. Please stop abusing the language so.

            As for what board games I enjoy, I admit a personal preference for shōgi, the Japanese cousin of chess.

          • bintchaos says:

            Okfine.
            I would still try door number one in your situation.
            You might find a chess otaku in your neighborhood that you could ride with, or maybe start a satellite club closer to where you live.
            But you didnt answer my question? Do you like chess? Are you a gamer?
            I dont know shogi, but my college had a Go club.
            I know MMORPGs get dissed a lot, but I know actual humans who met in World of Warcraft, lived together for 2 years, have been happily married for 2 years, and now are expecting a baby.
            Or go to school– I’m an aspie too, and I’m very very good at school.
            Volunteer to teach after school enrichment at a local public school. Surely you have the chops– Caltech? Teach kids to play shogi. Or be a substitute teacher if you can qualify.
            High school was awful-awful for me– but college is wonderful. You have gifts– use them to make someone’s life better.

          • Winter Shaker says:

            I hate to be that guy, but the second person pronoun is “you”, not “u”,

            Come on. No need to beat up on the Dutch any more than you already have 😛

          • Aapje says:

            @Winter Shaker

            In that case, he should be chastised for his unintelligible Dutch 🙂

          • rahien.din says:

            In that case, he should be chastised for his unintelligible Dutch

            Interchanges like this are why I come here.

          • bintchaos says:

            Interchanges like this are why I come here.

            What is even funnier is that I’m a she, not a he.

          • rahien.din says:

            What is even funnier is that I’m a she, not a he.

            Well damn I should have caught that. You have “bint” in your username, as in, “I mean, if I went ’round saying I was an emperor, just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they’d put me away!”

          • bintchaos says:

            bint means “daughter of” in arabic– I love languages and [mathematical] Chaos.

          • rahien.din says:

            Interesting. Is that the provenance of the British slang word “bint,” or is this just some weird etymological convergence?

          • Nornagest says:

            Is that the provenance of the British slang word “bint”?

            Yeah, it comes out of the colonial era, when Britain had troops in a lot of Arabic-speaking countries and the troops had, or wanted to have, local girlfriends.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @bintchaos

            Do you like chess?

            I have played some occasionally, but not really seriously. I don’t actually know any of the “algorithmic notation”, or the names of strategies, or anything like that.

            Are you a gamer?

            No, not really. And especially not MMO’s, or any sort of cooperative or multiplayer game.

            Volunteer to teach after school enrichment at a local public school.

            Who do you think I should contact in the school system to find out if Anchorage School District does such things, and if they take volunteers? Plus, getting ahold of shōgi sets, particularly in multiples, is not all that cheap.

          • bintchaos says:

            i hope I’m not going to be accused of reply hacking again, but I just cant be here 24/7 like some people.
            @rahien.din
            yup– arabic for daughter
            but slang derivations are in the UD as you pointed out. Its common ghetto speak in the UK, especially Roadmens culture.

            @Kevin C.
            I think one shōgi board is fine– have the kids bring chess boards from home, and Go boards are cheap– just buy one if no one has one.
            Call the school district and say you want to volunteer teach a math enrichment class after school– most elementary schools have after school programs that are staffed by EAs and would love volunteers– if you like working with kids you could substitute teach– most states let you sub with a 4 year degree– pick a school you can walk to, and you only have to accept jobs you want. Just think! Maybe you could use some of Polger’s methods?
            When you call the school district about volunteering ask about applying to be a substitute teacher too– your Physics BS from Caltech should be very welcome.
            Since you are a cat person, why not volunteer for a cat rescue society, they love volunteers too. One way I learned to mitigate my aspie-ness is dogs and horses– grew up with horses, and I now volunteer for a giant breed dog rescue– much less anxiety inducing for me than humans.
            A lot of my friends call me Sheldon, and I too hate driving. It makes me terribly anxious.

            Sheldon Cooper:
            You may not realize it, but I have difficulty navigating through certain aspects of daily life: understanding sarcasm, feigning interest in others, not talking about trains math as much as I’d want to. It’s exhausting!

            Good luck!

          • Loquat says:

            FYI, when the comment thread has reached maximum depth and you’re looking at a series of posts with no “reply” option, “reply hacking” is when you use a clever workaround to insert your comment in the middle of that series rather than letting it be added to the end. You might think it’s a good idea, but it’s considered impolite.

          • The Pachyderminator says:

            FYI, when the comment thread has reached maximum depth and you’re looking at a series of posts with no “reply” option, “reply hacking” is when you use a clever workaround to insert your comment in the middle of that series rather than letting it be added to the end.

            It’s probably bad form to ask how this is done, but I’m very interested to hear that it’s possible. Does it involve changing the system time on your computer? But I would think that what matters is the system time on the server handling comment submissions.

          • bean says:

            It’s probably bad form to ask how this is done, but I’m very interested to hear that it’s possible. Does it involve changing the system time on your computer? But I would think that what matters is the system time on the server handling comment submissions.

            It does not. It’s been discussed here a couple of times, and at a very high level involves forcing the comment system to treat your comment as a reply to a bottom-level one, which results in it being inserted directly below that one. (I suppose that it’s possible that it would be below any other hacked replies.)

          • Nornagest says:

            It’s probably bad form to ask how this is done, but I’m very interested to hear that it’s possible. Does it involve changing the system time on your computer? But I would think that what matters is the system time on the server handling comment submissions.

            The basic approach involves manipulating the URL encoding for comments, and if you know what that is you can probably figure out how to do it. System time has nothing to do with it.

    • James Miller says:

      Start a podcast and interview guests.

      • Kevin C. says:

        Where and how would I find these guests, and how would I convince them to let me interview them?

        • James Miller says:

          I have my own podcast so I can confidently say that people who don’t know you can be surprisingly willing to go on your podcast if you just email them. It’s hard to get famous people as guests and non-famous people often don’t respond or say yes but then never agree to a date, but if you don’t let that bother you, you can often get guests. If you want to do this I suggest setting everything up and putting up one show where you interview a friend or just talk yourself, and then you have something to point to when you ask someone to be a guest. You can ask saying “I like what you wrote in this blog post would you like to discuss this issue further on my podcast?” You could also do a YouTube channel where you video interview guests. YouTube doesn’t charge to host content, while SoundCloud and (I think) most other voice hosting services do. You could also do a YouTube channel discussing basic physics concepts.

    • dodrian says:

      Walk around your neighbourhood a couple times this week (go different directions) and stop by any ‘community-space’ looking buildings. Small local clubs are often really bad at maintaining an online presence, but sometimes better at keeping info up to date in the locations they usually meet.

      Stop in at any community centers / public spaces. See if there’s a bulletin board advertising activities or clubs meeting during the week. Also look at churches/religious centers – some are happy to rent out their halls for use during the week by local nonreligious groups in the community.

      Groceries stores might have a ‘classifieds’ bulletin board inside where local clubs advertise. Same for a local newspaper. Sometimes dollar stores or local restaurants will have a free ‘classifieds’ paper outside.

      Gyms and hobby stores (sewing, music, gaming, etc.) might also host (or advertise for) local groups, though those are more likely to have some costs.

      • Kevin C. says:

        ‘community-space’ looking buildings.

        I don’t know what you mean here.

        Stop in at any community centers / public spaces. See if there’s a bulletin board advertising activities or clubs meeting during the week.

        Public (outdoor) parks don’t have bulletin boards; and I’m not sure what you mean by “public spaces” otherwise.

        Also look at churches/religious centers

        How do I look inside one for such postings without, as a non-parishoner, intruding into their space?

        Groceries stores might have a ‘classifieds’ bulletin board inside where local clubs advertise.

        I’m well familiar, as I used to advertise my tutoring services on such boards. I’ve never seen a club advertized on one; only businesses, indy band concerts, large items (snowmobiles, bikes, used pick-ups, etc.) for sale, and the occasional lefty political cause looking for volunteers.

        • Nornagest says:

          ‘community-space’ looking buildings.

          I don’t know what you mean here.

          Community centers, Veterans’ Memorial buildings, large parks, YMCAs, independent cafes (not Starbucks), makerspaces, pubs. In really small towns, gas stations.

          If you have a specific type of hobby in mind, you could also try stores catering to that hobby. Game stores for tabletop gaming, outdoor stores for outdoor stuff, small to medium-sized concert venues for music stuff, that sort of thing.

          How do I look inside one for such postings without, as a non-parishoner, intruding into their space?

          As long as you’re not showing up in the middle of the night or interrupting a service, and you don’t look like you’re angling to steal some stuff, most denominations won’t care. Unchurched people hanging around a church is a good thing from their perspective.

          There are a few exceptions (Mormons don’t let non-Mormons into their temples, for example, although most Mormon churches are not temples), but as long as you let yourself be politely shooed away if you step on one by accident, it won’t be a problem.

          • Kevin C. says:

            Veterans’ Memorial buildings

            The one for our state is over a hundred miles away from Anchorage.

            YMCAs

            Only a single one in town, used to go swimming there as a kid (it’s in walking distance of my parents’ home), stopped once it started getting too expensive and too “closed off/members only” and less accessable to general public.

            independent cafes

            I don’t drink coffee, and those cost money (if you hang around and don’t buy anything, you’re loitering).

            makerspaces

            The only one in town appears to be the one held itermittantly at the one public library which is at presently undergoing massive, years-long renovations, and so closed at present.

            pubs

            I don’t drink, I’m not into watching sports, and again, that costs money.

            If you have a specific type of hobby in mind, you could also try stores catering to that hobby.

            Not really, because, again, the cost involved.

          • Randy M says:

            Not really, because, again, the cost involved.

            You want to meet people and improve social skills. Go and browse, and say hi to customers. If you can’t tell who might be receptive to small talk, talk to everyone and build a model based on their responses. Talk to the clerks if they aren’t busy, most of the time they won’t mind. Find three establishments, go to a different one once a week. Save up a few pennies to make small purchases every few months if you feel like you are burdening them.

            You need to look for reasons to say yes rather than no. Make a dart board of the suggestions suggestions that aren’t literally impossible and just pick something. Unless it just really isn’t important to you, but you’ve had similar questions before I believe and are responding to people often, so it seems like it is.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Randy M.

            If you can’t tell who might be receptive to small talk, talk to everyone

            and get asked to leave by the staff — or perhaps hauled off by the cops — for “harassing their customers” and/or “loitering”.

          • Nornagest says:

            The one for our state is over a hundred miles away from Anchorage.

            Huh. Where I’m from, there’s at least one for every city, including my hometown, which is something like 1/100 Anchorage’s size. Maybe Alaska’s too young a state to have many of them.

            There must be some loose equivalent. I have a feeling you’re going to shoot down anything more I find, though. It might be a good idea to adjust your willingness to e.g. spend small amounts of money.

          • keranih says:

            and get asked to leave by the staff — or perhaps hauled off by the cops — for “harassing their customers” and/or “loitering”.

            Dude. Long game. You’re trying to learn a new skill. You need practice and you need to pace yourself.

            Like: “This week I will go to two coffeeshops/bookstores/groceries and say “Hello, good morning” to five different people. Next week I will go to three, and greet ten people. The week after, I will stick with three, greet ten people, and at each spot I will say something else “Like the tee shirt. Cute dog. Hot out, huh?” to one person at each. The next week, I will also practice a quiet, non-creepy smile at two other people.”

            And so on, and so on. Set the number of interactions low, so you don’t hyper stress, give yourself permission to visit places and not interact with anyone, and constantly add weight. Not a lot, let yourself slowly build.

            Plan in a ‘rest’ week every three four weeks where you drop back and don’t do as much. After one month, think about small milestones (a whole conversation? Someone opens a conversation with you? Someone invites you to do something?) and write down some goals. “I want to get comfortable enough around people that I chat with someone for two minutes by Labor Day” and so forth. These are not deadlines, they are goals. After a couple months, you’ll be able to re-evaluate and notice if you need to rework the goals.

            This isn’t *easy*, but it is relatively *simple*. I wish you all kinds of luck.

          • Loquat says:

            and get asked to leave by the staff — or perhaps hauled off by the cops — for “harassing their customers” and/or “loitering”.

            Dude, I realize being overly negative is kind of your shtick, but come on. Speaking as someone who has actually worked at a shop that catered to a specific hobby, I am highly confident that it is possible to enter a hobby shop, ask the staff a few questions about the hobby, and leave without buying anything, without getting into any trouble whatsoever. It happened all the time at the store I worked for!

          • Randy M says:

            or perhaps hauled off by the cops

            Oh, there’s another opportunity! Win-win!

        • Aapje says:

          Scientology is also an exception, stay away from them.

          In general, the more mainstream the church (in your community), the more likely it is used as a way for people to meet and the more likely the church is going to be rented out to others (also to non-religious folks, as long as nothing satanic happens, many churches will generally gladly take the cash).

          Christians tend to have a strong norm of helping people, which is not just limited to their ingroup. So the chance that they’ll be friendly and helpful is going to be high.

          • Kevin C. says:

            In general, the more mainstream the church (in your community),

            What about “ethnic” churches? The geographically closest church to me is all-Samoan, for example.

          • Aapje says:

            They are probably going to tailor very specifically to that ethnic group and their culture. They may not have much to offer you.

            Then again, if you are interested in Samoan dancing, you may find that they have a Fa’ataupati dance group and that they are willing to let you join as their pet white dude. Or they may have something else to offer you. Or nothing at all, I don’t know much about Samoans.

            You can always just turn up and ask what they do for their community and whether they have cultural things which are open to outsiders. In general, most people like to talk about their interests and subculture & many ethnic communities have events open to outsiders. There is a good chance that they’ll keep you on the outside of their community, but you can always try.

            Tip: don’t go in and ask for what they can do for you right away. Tell them that you have been passing by their church regularly and were wondering about their community. Ask them whether they just have services or also do cultural things. If they say yes to the latter, that is the moment where you can ask them more details about those cultural
            things and which are open to outsiders.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Aapje

            They are probably going to tailor very specifically to that ethnic group and their culture. They may not have much to offer you.

            You seem to have missed the point of my question. My concern is that if I show my face, the attitude will be “what do you think you’re doing here, white boy?”

          • Vermillion says:

            Then you will have learned that it is not a church which you should go back to. It is unlikely to be fatal so I’d say it’s a worthwhile experiment. Versus never going, and never learning potentially the opposite, i.e. that you really enjoy your time there.

            I’m also going to predict with oh medium-high confidence that if you go to a service you will not be the only white boy there.

            Edit: if I’m wrong I owe yah a box of cookies.

          • biblicalsausage says:

            I wouldn’t worry too much about an all-Samoan church. In general, churches are happy to have literally anyone attend.

            (And I’m not saying this as someone trying to get you to go to church. I’m not religious, but I grew up in churches, and have had a fair bit of contact with ethnic-minority-based churches.)

          • Aapje says:

            @Kevin C

            My concern is that if I show my face, the attitude will be “what do you think you’re doing here, white boy?”

            Such a response can mean two things:
            – Either you violated some social norm.
            – They are assholes.

            You’ve stated that your goal is to learn to be more social and interact with more people. The latter automatically means that you have a risk to meet assholes. The former means that you will sometimes fail and have a bad response from others. If you are not willing to take these risks, you probably cannot achieve your goals.

            As I and others have argued, churches in general are fairly low risk, as most have a norm of being nice to outsiders, as long as you show a little respect.

            I have also given you a strategy which neurotypicals commonly use to maximize their chances of a good interaction, by giving the other person plenty of opportunity to shut down the interaction in a kind way. Your autism may prevent you from executing it at the level of proficiency of the average person (the other person may try to shoo you away using subtle signals, which you may fail to interpret), but the at a minimum such an approach signals a decent level of respect.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Aapje

            Either you violated some social norm.

            Yes, the norm that the church belongs to the Samoan community, and is for “Islanders” only, no pālagi welcome. And from what I know of the local Islander community, the expression of their displeasure at my invasion could very well be violent.

            as most have a norm of being nice to outsiders

            From what I know — mostly second-hand — at least around these parts, the Islander churches are pretty hostile to non-Islanders, the Korean churches are pretty hostile to non-Koreans as well, and the Russian Orthodox won’t kick you out like those others, but you aren’t likely to be really welcome unless you’re either of Russian extraction or married to one.

          • Aapje says:

            Well, then you go for one of the other churches.

    • Mark says:

      Apply for lots of jobs and go to the interviews to practice charming people.

      Sports. Find a local sports group and go along.

      Music.
      Find a little group doing something, or learning/teaching and head on over.

      Don’t talk about politics.

      Volunteer. Go and talk to old people in a home. Or help out disabled people.

      • Kevin C. says:

        Apply for lots of jobs and go to the interviews to practice charming people.

        Isn’t it dishonest to apply for a job you can’t or don’t intend to actually take? (Perhaps even fraudulent?)

        Sports. Find a local sports group and go along.

        First, cost of equipment, location fees, etc. Second, and what about after I’m booted from the group for being too spectacularly uncoordinated?

        Music.
        Find a little group doing something, or learning/teaching and head on over.

        Find where and how? And how do I contribute when I neither own nor play an instrument? (And attempts to learn have failed due to fine motor skill difficulties, hand tremors, and difficulty hearing the difference between nearby pitches?)

        Volunteer.

        Again, all the volunteer-seeking groups and volunteer listing I can find are either looking for people with specific, professional skills, or else politically/culturally incompatible (as in, I disagree with their basic mission).

    • Well... says:

      Get a dog. Walk the dog at a park. Anchorage has parks, right? I don’t see how you can walk a dog for a week and not wind up having a friendly conversation with a stranger, plus you have a built-in conversation starter: your dog. Plus it’s a dog, so the pet-therapy elements will be at work as well, soothing your anxiety and clearing your mind so you can talk easily.

      Man, if I lived in Anchorage I’d have like 8 or 9 huskies by now.

      • Kevin C. says:

        Get a dog.

        Don’t like dogs (I’m a cat person), don’t have space in my apartment for a dog, and can’t afford the expenses associated with dog ownership.

        • Well... says:

          Don’t like dogs (I’m a cat person)

          That’s bullcrap. Unless you have some actual major problem with dogs saying you’re a “cat person” really just means a preference for cats, not an aversion to dogs. Even if you’re not giddy about dogs doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy having one. And besides, the benefit is you get one of the easiest most natural ways for even the most socially anxious to meet people.

          don’t have space in my apartment for a dog

          More bullcrap! There are people in Manhattan with huskies. You could easily get a smaller more laid-back breed. Plus it sounds like you don’t have a job so you’re around to walk and train the dog.

          can’t afford the expenses associated with dog ownership

          The poorest people in the world still own dogs, so get over yourself. If you can afford an internet connection and a smartphone plan you can afford a dog. Dog food for a small breed is not a major expense. You can often get the leash and collar for free when you adopt. Still dirt cheap if you buy second-hand at thrift stores or on CL. There are even charities that provide all these things to dog owners in need. If you adopt a dog from a kill shelter you need have no guilt about not paying for veterinary services since you’ve already saved the dog’s life.

          Getting a dog is the best suggestion anyone has given you so far. Don’t dismiss it.

          • Deiseach says:

            There are people in Manhattan with huskies.

            And I think said people should be strung up by their thumbs. Keeping large working dogs in environments that do not allow for them to be outside and free-roaming for a large part of the day is not optimum and can veer towards animal cruelty. Yeah, so you walk your dog regularly in the dog park, yippee, but most of the time they’re confined to your apartment and need to be trained out of the habits bored animals engage in.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Well…

            First, I do have an aversion to dogs. Second, I don’t have a smartphone, and my internet connection is DSL through my landline (I can’t even watch many YouTube videos properly due to the slow loading speed). Third, see Deiseach’s reply.

            (And what is it with dog people being so aggressively proselytizing, anyway? As if everyone can be automatically expected to share their fondness for threatening carnivores.)

          • thepenforests says:

            This seems like sort of a weird comment, and possibly a typical mind failure. Plenty of people do have an aversion to dogs. I’m one of them, and it seems like the OP is one too.

          • Well... says:

            @deiseach:

            i sorta agree, I just used that example to show that having a dog in an apartment is totally possible.

            @Kevin C.:

            Why didn’t you just say you had an aversion to dogs in the first place? That isn’t the same thing as being a “cat person.” Anyway, calling dogs “threatening carnivores” is kinda funny given that you claim to like cats, which are also carnivores but typically far less sociable or domesticated ones. Once again, maybe the problem is you. Thousands of generations of humans have interdependently coexisted with dogs just fine.

            Aggressive proselytizing is a natural next step after dozens of gentle suggestions are met with the smell you’ve been giving off: “I’m going to resist and make excuses against any good advice you give me even though I’m the one who asked for advice and made my situation sound kinda desperate.”

          • CatCube says:

            @Well…

            I like dogs just fine, but any breed of a medium size or bigger can be a damned threatening carnivore. Cats are extremely tough for their size, and can definitely hurt a person, but you don’t see many news stories about somebody being killed by a housecat.

            My aunt and uncle had a dog that, for reasons that are still mysterious to all of us, hated me. Didn’t mind my parents (who I was living with at the time). But every time I walked into their house, the dog went absolutely bugshit and started barking at and biting me. We all came to the conclusion that the dog had to be kept in a bedroom when I was over there. I don’t fear dogs, but that one taught me why somebody might.

            Being nervous about dogs is not an unreasonable phobia–though how rarely a dog will actually carve somebody up does make it more of a phobia that a rational fear. Also, to be fair to @KevinC, proposing getting a dog is a way, way bigger investment of money and time, especially at the outset, than any other suggestion here. I remind you that most of the suggestions are to get out and try things; you can’t “just try out” a dog for a little bit to see if you’re OK with it.

            I agree that he’s been way too quick to shoot down most suggestions or find ways they might not work, but pushing back on “just get a pet!” if you’re not ready for it is reasonable.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            The poorest people in the world still own dogs, so get over yourself.

            I have an unusual neurological condition that makes “get over yourself” sound exactly like “please punch me in the face.”

            Anyone else similarly afflicted?

        • Chalid says:

          Maybe an alternative small animal like a rabbit or guinea pig? I’ve seen people walking those at the park before and there are always lots of people who want to chat with the owners.

          • Well... says:

            I disagree. Don’t be the guy with a rodent on a leash at the park. You’ll attract only weirdos and small children, whose parents will wish you had stayed home.

            For an apartment dweller who’s a little anxious nervous dogs but wants the perfect way to get out and meet new people, adopting a small breed is the best possible suggestion.

      • Fahundo says:

        I don’t see how you can walk a dog for a week and not wind up having a friendly conversation with a stranger

        I know I could pull this off

      • Nancy Lebovitz says:

        Well…

        While I think Kevin C. has more possibile choices than he believes, dogs really do cost money.

    • Vermillion says: