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Open Thread 77.75

This is the biweekly hidden open Thread.

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820 Responses to Open Thread 77.75

  1. Tekhno says:

    I tend to slip into using SSC threads as a smart people pool where I can throw in lazy haphazard shower thoughts until something great happens. This probably means I’m free riding. People like me need to start pulling our weight, because if we all did this, the pool would dry up, and SSC would turn into a giant random hypothesis generator without anyone invested enough to test any of them.

    • Well... says:

      Don’t you pull your weight by “weighing in” thoughtfully on other people’s threads?

    • Tekhno says:

      I guess so, but if everyone treats SSC this way, the quality of those other threads will go down. We need to be invested, and uh… not lazy.

  2. johan_larson says:

    McDonald’s is fighting for its life.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-mcdonalds-franchises/

    It’s strange to see so august a firm having to fight so hard. Back when I was growing up in the 80s, McDonald’s was absolutely the dominant firm in fast food. But now it’s having real problems.

  3. Nancy Lebovitz says:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/06/its-like-all-connected-man/530532/

    A theory that just about all traits are affected by just about all genes.

  4. hyperboloid says:

    Here is a question I’ve never heard anybody ask, to what extent was the cold war military industrial complex the cause of 1970/80s era de-industrialization in the US?

    There are two mechanisms that would have been at work. The first is fairly easily quantifiable, demand pull inflation driven by Johnson’s decision to pay for the Vietnam war by printing money; the second is harder to asses* assess precisely, the diversion of R&D funds and technical talent into weapons systems.

    During the time period in question the United States produced world beating weapon systems that revolutionized military affairs, and at the same time fell behind countries liker Germany, and in particular pacifistic Japan.

    Think about it, one morning in 1976 a air force crew chief got up proud to know that this was going to be his first day working on a brand new F-15, one of the greatest military implements ever designed, an aircraft of unmatched capability, built at eye watering expense, years ahead of anything in the soviet arsenal.

    That man drove to work in a Chevy Vega.

    *The spell-check on my phone has revealed a sad truth about my life. I am apparently more likely to type the word “asses” (plural, as in more then one ass) then I am to type “assess”. How many times could I have used “asses” in a text?

    -“yo, you got to get down 2 the club, you wouldn’t believe the asses as these girls.”
    -“You better tell those contractors to shove that bill up their asses”

    I’m not thinking of a lot of other possibilities.

    • cassander says:

      I’m not sure what you’re asking, exactly. MIlitary spending was about 10% of GDP when eisenhower left office, it was about the same level through most of the vietnam war. DUring the 70s, that figure declines continuously to about 5% of GDP, then rebounds to about 6-7% under Reagan. If anything, the 60s and 70s saw huge declines in military R&D spending.

      • hyperboloid says:

        MIlitary spending was about 10% of GDP when eisenhower left office, it was about the same level through most of the Vietnam war

        “About ten percent” leaves a lot of room for variation. Military spending declined through the late fifties and early sixties before ramping back up as the Vietnam war escalated. As a percentage of of GDP it wasn’t large, but the effect on the monetary base contributed significantly to the stagflation of the following decade.

        If anything, the 60s and 70s saw huge declines in military R&D spending.

        I’d like to see the numbers on that, as I very much doubt that R&D spending decreased during the sixties. DARPA was founded in 1958 and the subsequent decade saw not only the wide spread introduction , and further development of, ground based ICBM’s and sea launched SLBM’s, but also a whole slew of advanced aviation and space programs. And that’s without counting cold war related civilian programs like, Mercury, Gemini Apollo, and the SST.

        The absolute dollar values may not have been huge, but it may have been enough to squeeze out funding for research that would have benefited the civilian economy more directly, and the diversion of talent was likely substantial. the country could only produce so many world class engineers, and if they were all working on the Saturn Five, then they weren’t doing something else.

        The basic hypothesis is that our competitors, in particular Japan, were able to put their R&D resources, not to mention their best minds, into
        developing new industrial processes while we focused on cold war programs and let our manufacturing stagnate.

        • bean says:

          I’d like to see the numbers on that, as I very much doubt that R&D spending decreased during the sixties. DARPA was founded in 1958 and the subsequent decade saw not only the wide spread introduction , and further development of, ground based ICBM’s and sea launched SLBM’s, but also a whole slew of advanced aviation and space programs. And that’s without counting cold war related civilian programs like, Mercury, Gemini Apollo, and the SST.

          I don’t have numbers, but it’s true. Particularly after about 1965, basic military R&D was slashed badly to pay for Vietnam. Read any history of military procurement during that time, and you’ll see this. (OK, I have odd tastes in reading.) This was more obvious in some fields than others. Air had actually been winnowed badly in the previous few years, while shipbuilding didn’t take the brunt of it until the late 60s. (Well, after getting pounded by Polaris in the late 50s.)

          • albatross11 says:

            How much of this effect is driven by money, and how much by culture–specifically, what people want to work on, what people think are the important problems, etc. (Remember this applies to bosses and investors, not just newly-minted EEs looking for a job.).

    • pontifex says:

      I think this is ignoring the obvious explanation. Germany and Japan (along with a lot of Europe) got bombed flatter than a pancake in the 1940s during WWII. Re-industrialization took a while, but by the 1970s they were back on their feet. If we had gone back and bombed them into the stone age again, we could have had another 20 years of crappy American cars being state-of-the-art. But we were too busy with ultralounge and disco music.

    • Tarhalindur says:

      I think the Cold War and the military-industrial complex both relate to the decline of manufacturing in the US, but for different reasons.

      The Cold War itself was relevant to American deindustrialization mostly for reasons relating to diplomacy – my understanding is that the US offered concessions to key regional powers in order to keep them in the American fold and/or strong enough to resist the Soviets, and that in at least four cases (Germany, Japan, South Korea, and eventually China) this involved concessions on industrial policy that functionally strengthened the competitiveness of their manufacturing relative to the US. This might have happened anyways – Germany and the US used a very similar strategy in the late 1900s to great effect – but it didn’t help.

      The military-industrial complex is another matter, but then I think a more appropriate and revealing name for the MIC is the American imperial armature – in other words, the network of corporations, NGOs, and intelligence agencies that maintains American puppet states, which has been running since at least the early twentieth century (see: banana republics) and went into overdrive after WW2 crippled the European colonial powers. That also seems to have something to do with American deindustrialization, but it’s a more general fail state of empires generally and free-trade hegemons in particular; Great Britain underwent the same process in the late 1900s, and Spain and Rome seem to have undergone something similar. I’m not sure why this occurs; my best guess is that empire (i.e, tribute economy) creates warped incentives and cost disease which render manufacturing less competitive and cause real problems when diminishing returns kick in on tribute.

      (As you might guess given the above, I’m skeptical that free trade passes the “does it work?” test for any real length of time under conditions short of full political union.)

      There is, of course, at least two possible reasons for the decline of American manufacturing that have nothing to do with the Cold War at all. First, WW2 wrecked the infrastructure of a bunch of industrial powers that would otherwise compete with the US. (Of course, this does tie into reason 1 above; Germany and Japan were allowed to reindustrialize for a reason.) Second, peak conventional (i.e, non-fracking) American oil production occurred in the early 1970s. That forced the US to start importing oil with associated expenses, negating any previous oil-exporter comparative advantage over other industrial nations. (I’m not sure how significant this effect was; if it’s strong, then one of the key drivers of American deindustrialization is the 1973 OPEC oil embargo.)

  5. Mark says:

    Thinking about 20th/21st Century US – why hasn’t there been sectarian conflict/war?

    Obviously, there was low level ethnic cleansing at the neighbourhood level, but that never seemed to translate into outright warfare. Never became organised.

    Is it just that the level of normal “crime” in major US cities was on a similar level to “warfare” in other countries?

    • hyperboloid says:

      Obviously, there was low level ethnic cleansing at the neighbourhood level

      Citation very much needed, where in America has there been ethnic cleansing?

      • The Nybbler says:

        Citation very much needed, where in America has there been ethnic cleansing?

        It was called “white flight”. The book “Philly War Zone: Growing Up in a Racial Battleground”, by Kevin Purcell, got a lot of discussion in the subreddit several culture war threads ago; Purcell describes how out-and-out violence against whites, tolerated by the authorities, was used to drive his and other white families out of West Philadelphia.

      • Conrad Honcho says:

        Today I think the primary “ethnic cleansing” is latinos aggressively driving blacks out of historically black areas. These days if you’re straight outta Compton there’s a 65% chance you’re Hispanic or latino. This is also a stated goal of La Raza, to encourage immigration and reproduction to eventually ethnically cleanse the SW US states in the Aztlan Reconquista.

        • Montfort says:

          I assume by “La Raza” you mean “La Raza Unida,” a seemingly-defunct political party known for activity in the 60s and 70s.

          By all accounts I can find, their high-water mark was winning 6-7% of the vote in a Texas governor’s election. And this is the most recent party event (from 2012) I saw covered by the media:

          Now graying and with a few in their 70s and beyond, some party activists will gather in Austin on Friday for a rare La Raza Unida reunion and conference. The event marks the 40th anniversary of Raza Unida candidate Ramsey Muñiz’s failed 1972 run for governor.

          Organizers expect more than 300 people from as far as California and Washington for the two-day event at Mexitas Mexican restaurant, 1107 North Interstate 35, and an adjacent bingo hall.

          Are La Raza Unida still relevant? Or are you thinking of La Raza Nation, a hispanic gang in chicago (and if so, do they have any political ambitions in the southwest)?

          • Montfort says:

            Another misconception about NCLR is the allegation that we support a “Reconquista,” or the right of Mexico to reclaim land in the southwestern United States. NCLR has not made and does not make any such claim; indeed, such a claim is so far outside of the mainstream of the Latino community that we find it incredible that our critics raise it as an issue.

            NCLR has never supported and does not endorse the notion of a “Reconquista” or “Aztlán.” Similarly, NCLR’s critics falsely claim that the statement “Por La Raza todo, Fuera de La Raza nada,” [“For the community everything, outside the community nothing”] is NCLR’s motto. NCLR unequivocally rejects this statement, which is not and has never been the motto of any Latino organization.

            15 seconds with ctrl-f in their “about” section.

            Edit:
            I actually did that part before assuming we were talking about the old political party, but since the denial was so clear Conrad presumably wouldn’t have said “a stated goal.”

          • FacelessCraven says:

            Yeah, and the Republican Party is the true friend of minorities!

            edit: I’m pretty sure I can find activists claiming the La Raza title and advocating for Reconquista if I look.

          • BBA says:

            “La Raza” is just Spanish for “Hispanic” so, yeah, you probably could.

          • Montfort says:

            But that’s exactly what I’m asking about. What organization that uses the name “La Raza” has it as a stated goal? It’s not the NCLR, as far as I can tell it’s not the HNBA (formerly “La Raza National Lawyers Association”), I can’t find any political statements by La Raza Nation or Católicos por La Raza (also possibly defunct).

            Who are we talking about, and roughly how many of them are there? Do they do anything these days? Is it like a myspace group of 200, or a massive political organization that might actually accomplish something, yet never seems to make the news or have an online presence?

          • Matt M says:

            Well, it’s a common enough sentiment that a random vodka company of all things thought to include it in a marketing campaign targeting hispanics

          • Montfort says:

            Targeting hispanics and others in Mexico. The ad didn’t even run in the US. Obviously our neighbors to the south take a different view of the Mexican Cession, but very few of them are actually asking for it back. And even if they were clamoring for it, that’s still different from hispanics in the US actively trying to “ethnically cleanse” the American Southwest.

            We’re like four steps away from the claim I originally asked about. I don’t care to engage “Hispanics in america want to ethnically cleanse america, but secretly, so you have to infer it from mexican vodka ad campaigns” any more than “Republicans in america want to ethnically cleanse america, but secretly, so you have to infer it from country club ad campaigns.” Maybe one or both of those conclusions are true, but arguing about secret beliefs is usually a big headache.

          • Brad says:

            Naturally the alt right dug it up even though it wasn’t even run in the US. Giving lie to the notion that hate reading and trolling for things to be outraged about isn’t a hobby of that set.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            It’s a loose, semi-legitimate and semi-underground political movement with this goal. Kind of like saying “white nationalists want a white ethnostate.” They do. But it’s not like there’s a President of White Nationalism and a survey card for people whose primary identity is “white nationalism.”

            There are latinos of various levels of organization and sincerity who want lots more latinos in the SW states so they can have latino ethnic rule in that territory. This does not seem at all like it should be a controversial statement. What exactly is your objection?

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Brad – Evidence is asked for. Evidence is provided. You claim that providing evidence is proof that everyone on the other side spends their time looking for things to be outraged about. That doesn’t seem super productive.

            I will agree it’s not the best evidence. I actually thought about googling for some myself, but am feeling lazy at the moment. If this conversation goes on long enough, I might take a crack at it. I’m pretty sure I remember a speech or two from last year.

          • Montfort says:

            Thanks, Conrad. Can you cite any examples? Is there a chicano-nationalist equivalent of stormfront? The national brown beret page is down, as are several local chapters’, which is pretty much all I could find on wikipedia.

            Additionally, I wonder if these are really a central example of “La Raza” if so many organizations that call themselves “La Raza” disclaim these goals. By definition white nationalists want a white nation. But I don’t think La Raza is used the same way – though I admit I don’t read enough of the activism to know.

            Edit:
            My objection? Well, you say:

            Today I think the primary “ethnic cleansing” is latinos aggressively driving blacks out of historically black areas… This is also a stated goal of La Raza, to encourage immigration and reproduction to eventually ethnically cleanse the SW US states in the Aztlan Reconquista.

            But it seems like you’re actually defining La Raza as just “the people who want to ethnically cleanse the Southwest US” – so of course it’s trivially true, but it’s only informative if you give us an idea of how many and how organized they are.

            It also seems like you’re equivocating between “wants to drive out blacks and other non-hispanics and form a breakaway nation” and “wants to increase the population of hispanics in certain states” and “wants to encourage hispanic people to vote according to ethnic interests,” the last of which is not ethnic cleansing, and the second of which might be ethnic cleansing, sort of, but isn’t really central.

          • Matt M says:

            Naturally the alt right dug it up

            alt-right?

            This was a news item and controversy back when it was published in 2008!

          • albatross11 says:

            There’s another problem with the ethnic cleansing line, here. It’s pretty common in the US that different ethnic groups move in/out of different neighborhoods. I gather it’s pretty common that crime is a factor there, but I don’t think it is at all common that this crime represents a large scale more-or-less coordinated effort to drive the others out so we can have the neighborhood for ourselves. Instead, I think it’s usually more like the neighborhood is kinda falling apart and the schools aren’t all that great and there’s more crime than there used to be, so let’s move somewhere nicer. The exodus of people lowers the cost of housing, and so poorer people with fewer choices move in. Most people don’t like being a minority in their own neighborhood even without fears of crime and such, so there’s added disincentive to start the move, and added incentive at the end for holdouts to leave because like everyone around them is Salvadoran.

            Now, locally, I’m sure there’s some hostility both against the invaders and later against the holdouts. But I don’t believe this is anything like a major driver in most cases. Mostly, the neighborhood goes downhill and people move out and the housing gets cheaper and the next wave of immigrants or poor people or whatever moves in.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @Montfort

            Thanks, Conrad. Can you cite any examples?

            Is the SPLC reputable? This was the second result when searching DDG for “la raza ethnic cleansing los angeles.”

            I might have been too explicit in my original statement, but the basic idea of “ethnic group wants to displace other ethnic groups with varying levels of explicit intent” is kind of the story of humanity. During the election last year there were riots around Trump appearances with latinos waving Mexican flags and holding signs that said “Make America Mexico Again.” Given that it seems hard to deny that some latinos might, at some point, have realized that

            1) numbers give them group political power in geographical regions

            2) that’s beneficial and they like it

            3) it’s worth actively pushing for

            Also, keep in mind that “ethnic cleansing” was not original meant as a euphamism for genocide. It’s literally meant to indicate the removal/displacement of one ethnic group by another without explicitly murdering them. So either forced migration, or just moving into an area and being very hostile to other groups such that they “choose” to leave.

            There are definitely many more news articles about the phenomena of latinos displacing blacks in lower class areas of the south west out there, but they don’t tend to attract a lot of national attention because LA ghetto turf wars aren’t of particular interest (or availability) to the NY Times audience.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Albatross:

            Read these excerpts from “Philly War Zone”

            https://devinhelton.com/lost-world-of-west-philadelphia

          • Montfort says:

            Yeah, that works. Interesting article. I’m not seeing much connection in this particular case to the 60s-70s Aztlan stuff, but that definitely is ethnic cleansing on a neighborhood scale.

          • Matt M says:

            Is the SPLC reputable?

            No

    • cassander says:

      no rich, industrialized country has ever had a civil war. Doesn’t mean that it can’t happen, of course, just that we have no idea what it takes to cause such.

    • Matt M says:

      I have the same explanation for this as I do for the decreasing amount of international conflict. It’s all economics.

      1. Standards of living have increased exponentially. More importantly, they have diverged from “basic subsistence level” and “things you can construct on your own with raw labor in a few days” by huge amounts. Meaning, the risk of war, for the average person, is higher than ever. If you’re a Roman peasant and the goths burn down your village, how different is your life, really? You’ve lost your thatched hut I suppose. You have to re-plant some of your crops. The difference between “your life without war” and “your life if the war goes badly” isn’t nearly extreme as it is today. You sort of even see this play out in something like Gone With The Wind, but by today’s standards it’s far more extreme.

      2. Everyone is more interconnected now than ever. This is mainly observable on the international scale, but it’s true within nations as well. Within the US, MAYBE California and Texas could make a plausible argument that they could stand alone. That’s about it. But there are too many powerful corporations and other entities that have major offices in every major US city that would never endorse the idea of any kind of major separation. We all depend on each other too much to achieve that lovely standard of living mentioned above. China will NEVER go to war with the west, because they need us to buy their goods (and we will never go to war with them, because we need them to produce our goods). The same sort of logic plays out, albeit in different forms, with California, Texas, Ohio, and New York. Hell even the Confederacy figured this out. It looked, in terms of population and GDP, that they’d have something of an even match on their hands. Then it turned out all the heavy industry to make the actual implements of warfare was located in the north. Whoops!

      I think you can verify my two assertions by observing where warfare still does happen. It’s mostly confined to small, poor, isolated states. It’s power struggles between tribes in Sudan, where people have little to lose, where the two tribes aren’t directly dependent on the other for much of anything at all, and where the rest of the world doesn’t have any particular reason to give a shit.

      • Wrong Species says:

        For 1, your analysis only works if you don’t go further back than 1946.

        For 2, it only works if you don’t go further back than 1919.

      • We all depend on each other too much to achieve that lovely standard of living mentioned above. China will NEVER go to war with the west, because they need us to buy their goods (and we will never go to war with them, because we need them to produce our goods).

        An argument Kipling made, in verse.

        A decade or so before the start of WWI.

        • Matt M says:

          So because he was wrong when we were slightly interdependent, it’s also wrong now that we’re significantly more interdependent?

          • albatross11 says:

            The fact that something would be disastrous if it happened is a good reason why a single rational decisionmaker won’t do it. It’s not such a good reason for why a political system full of self-interested actors and institutions and complicated rules won’t do so. Japan going to war with the US was suicidal, but they went ahead and did it anyway. WW1 was a civilization-wrecking catastrophe, but they did it anyway. We came close to a nuclear exchange with the USSR several times, even though everyone on both sides knew that would be the end of both our countries, and have a death toll in the billions.

            So even if we assume that big wars would be disastrous in economic terms (which I imagine they would be), that’s not enough to sau that they won’t be blundered into by miscalculation, or won’t happen because of the internal political dynamics inside the countries that start the whole thing up.

          • Tarhalindur says:

            Japan going to war with the US was suicidal, but they went ahead and did it anyway.

            [engage nitpick mode]

            I’d argue that one, actually: They may have overestimated their chances due to irrational factors, but Japan’s basic decision to go to war with the United States was completely rational. At some level, Japan concluded that war with the US was inevitable (understandable at least and quite possibly just correct given US policy in the late 1930s) and that their position relative to the US was worsening with time. Given those assumptions, going to war quickly was actually maximizing their odds of success, especially when you take military initiative into account.

            (The same dynamic, including the inferior side psyching itself up with assumptions of an intangible “martial spirit” force multiplier, shows up in the American Civil War. Interestingly, so does the all-or-nothing gamble to try to win the war before the American/Union strategic and logistical advantages could be brought to bear; Pearl Harbor is to the Pacific War what Antietam/Gettysburg were to the Civil War.)

          • cassander says:

            @Tarhalindur says:

            I’d argue that one, actually: They may have overestimated their chances due to irrational factors, but Japan’s basic decision to go to war with the United States was completely rational. At some level, Japan concluded that war with the US was inevitable (understandable at least and quite possibly just correct given US policy in the late 1930s) and that their position relative to the US was worsening with time. Given those assumptions, going to war quickly was actually maximizing their odds of success, especially when you take military initiative into account.

            Eh, I’ll have to push back here a bit. I agree in principle that “the Japanese were just crazy” line is clearly wrong. There was some rational calculation in the Japanese decisions, but not a lot. In particular, if you decide that you are going to take on a foe that’s stronger than you, no rational calculation involves keeping a million man army running around china massively draining resources from your fight with that foe. Japanese foreign policy was driven by rational calculation only in the sense that it was a policy calculated to prevent anyone in japan from losing face or giving into their ideological rivals, not anything to do with strategic calculation.

          • John Schilling says:

            What good would a million infantry soldiers have done against the United States Navy? To a first approximation, the Japanese had enough men to take and hold every island to which they could reliably deliver supplies, and putting a surplus of men on an island to which they cannot reliably deliver supplies just means they starve faster.

            Nor is it clear that Japan’s army was draining much in the way of resources that would have been useful in the war against the United States. Note that, even in 1945 when the blockade was nearly complete, Japanese forces in China were still advancing against the enemy. That was a largely infantry army that consumed locally-grown food and cheap small arms ammunition, with a light mechanized overlay.

            And the alternative to a Japanese army in China, in 1941, was a United States Air Force in China, with secure bases within P-51 and B-17 range of the Home Islands.

          • cassander says:

            John Schilling says:@

            What good would a million infantry soldiers have done against the United States Navy? To a first approximation, the Japanese had enough men to take and hold every island to which they could reliably deliver supplies, and putting a surplus of men on an island to which they cannot reliably deliver supplies just means they starve faster.

            At the very least, not having them in china would have freed them to work in civilian industry back in Japan.

            Nor is it clear that Japan’s army was draining much in the way of resources that would have been useful in the war against the United States. Note that, even in 1945 when the blockade was nearly complete, Japanese forces in China were still advancing against the enemy. That was a largely infantry army that consumed locally-grown food and cheap small arms ammunition, with a light mechanized overlay.

            The question isn’t “could the IJA survive in Japan?” but “how much stuff did the Japanese send to the IJA before it was forced to survive on its own?” And at the very least, they sent aircraft and pilots that could have been used better elsewhere.

            As for the US AAC in china, they tried that with b-29s in 44, it failed miserably.

      • Nancy Lebovitz says:

        “Meaning, the risk of war, for the average person, is higher than ever. If you’re a Roman peasant and the goths burn down your village, how different is your life, really? You’ve lost your thatched hut I suppose. You have to re-plant some of your crops. The difference between “your life without war” and “your life if the war goes badly” isn’t nearly extreme as it is today. ”

        I think people were more likely to end up dead or enslaved in early wars. Consider how much less effective medical care was, and how much less access there was to food reserves.

        The difference now is that people are much more likely to have political influence– even fairly low-status people can make a difference if they’re numerous.

  6. Well... says:

    A glaring inconsistency among the All Trite and similars:

    Do they believe it’s possible to change white culture or not? I can’t tell. When they talk, for example, about spreading awareness of anti-white bias in the media, it seems like they do believe it’s possible to change white culture (e.g. in a way that makes anti-white bias in the media less prevalent, or at least less commonly tolerated). Recaps of All Trite events such as the Am [random characters inserted to throw off search engines:_%^&*] Ren conference are rife with this kind of “We’re making big changes to the culture!” type attitude.

    But when they talk about demographic change and the issue of white birthrates comes up, I’ve never seen any of them propose changing white culture so it becomes more popular for white people to have lots of kids. The closest they come is whining about not having enough money to support big families (which is obviously bogus because people used to have way bigger families with way less money). It seems like they treat it as a foregone conclusion that if white TFR is <2 then that is where It Shall Stay For All Time, and Woe Is Us We’re Being Genocided, and all efforts are instead put into cultivating edgy, naughty opinions about what ought to be done.

    • Mark says:

      In terms of internet ‘bad guys’ (the only type I’m familiar with) I’ve seen lots of comments encouraging white people to have more children.

      This is my interpretation of what you are saying:
      “Baddies think they can change the culture. But baddies don’t think they can raise the birth rate. This is an inconsistency.”

      Well, there might be reasons why they think this specific part of the culture can’t be changed – that isn’t an inconsistency. They might actually think it can be changed, which means one of your premises is wrong. They might not want to change that particular element for other reasons, as a preference – again no inconsistency.

      So, basically I feel like you have to do more work before this can be classified as a glaring inconsistency. There are too many potential complications creeping in and I don’t think your argument is clear enough.

      • Well... says:

        Point taken. I should have added something like “In my experience” to the beginning. I visited All Trite sites daily between about mid-2011 and early 2016. Fortch Ann was never one of the sites I went to, and I have since come to understand that a surprising portion of All Trite ideas originate there–so you’re right, I very well may have missed those comments. I also don’t use Twitter.

        I’m not sure “baddies” is fair, but there too I take your point.

        But I still think that while you might be able to find a few comments here and there to the contrary, my observations are probably correct in general, because your explanations don’t seem to add up:

        – If they think culture can be changed so as to encourage a higher white TFR, or simply don’t want a higher white TFR, then the “white genocide” complaint should not exist.

        – Tribalism is a very basic instinct, but surely cannot be said to be much more basic than procreation. If culture can be changed so that white people are more tribal and identitarian, then surely culture can be changed so that white people have more kids.

        • albatross11 says:

          I’m not sure what all trite really means (anything from literally nazis to all Trump voters, depending on who’s speaking), but I’ve seen discussions of how to increase fertility in first world countries on Sailer’s blog and also on West Hunter. (Neither of those is white nationalist, though I think both attract a certain subset of WNs.). My impression is that this is hard to do–evolution equipped us with sex drive to get us to have kids, and birth control means we don’t generally have more than we want to. Since kids are expensive and time consuming and cramp your fun life in various ways, many people either don’t have them, or wait till they’re 40 to have and raise one kid or something.

          • Well... says:

            This illustrates my point in numerous ways.

            Maybe a few Sailer commenters advocated increasing white TFR. But Sailer himself (if I remember right–it’s been well over 1.5 years now since I was a regular reader) tended to prefer to obsess over perceived obstacles to “affordable family formation” than offer up creative solutions. He didn’t strike me as short on creative solutions in general, mind you.

            Kids have always been expensive and cramped your fun life. But what are your priorities? If you’re white and being able to go out to bars on a weeknight is more important to you than having at least 2 kids, then you shouldn’t complain about low white TFR or so called “white genocide”.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      Like Mark, I have seen “have white babies” memes on the four chinz. I have also seen counter trolls, mocking such people for being basement dwelling virgins posting about white birth rates on the internet while the white women they should allegedly procreating with are off banging black guys. So, I don’t think the issue is unaddressed, either by the [redacted] or by the counter-[redacted].

      • albatross11 says:

        I think blacks are also at sub-replacement fertility, but just barely. And Asians are a little lower fertility than whites. Hispanics have higher fertilty but I think that’s mostly the first few years after they arrive. (Hispanics tend to have their families earlier than whites, I think. Probably the normal pattern in Mexico or El Salvador is more like the pattern in Utah now or most of the US a few decades back.

    • Their problem is that they want to portray the west as being in apocalyptic meltdown, but don’t actually have that many complaints. If the west were that bad, the immigration issue would solve itself. They have crime, terrorism and birth rates to complain about. The list becomes even shorter if birthrates are a fixable issue.

  7. hoghoghoghoghog says:

    I realized, when reading rightists on Muslim immigration, that I have a very different idea of how to fight Islamic terrorism than they do. I’d like to make it explicit, and see what they think.

    1) People only do terrorism if they expect it to cause terror, either by doing great immediate damage or by promising more damage in the future.
    2) Islamic terrorism is exceptionally effective at promising more damage in the future. This effectiveness explains why it is exceptionally common.
    3) Islamic terrorism can credibly promise future damage because it actually is part of a long-term campaign pursued by a several overlapping global conspiracies.
    4) Radically naive conclusion: Islamic terrorism is exceptionally common because of the existence of well-organized Islamic terrorist conspiracies. Western efforts should focus on destroying these organizations. Anti-terrorism efforts that would leave these organizations intact (such as expelling all Muslims from the West) are missing the point.

    Analogy: Outside of India, Communist insurgency is no longer a serious threat. This is not because leftists were expelled back to the USSR where they came from. Rather it is because the power that used to be running Communist insurgencies no longer exists.

    • Well... says:

      4) Can’t we do both?

      [To clarify, I don’t support “expelling Muslims from the West” but I do support greatly reducing Muslim immigration and visas, and being less unwilling to pressure immigrants to assimilate.)

      • Trofim_Lysenko says:

        Count me as another “rightist” (I guesS? for values of rightist) in favor of some value of “Do Both”…

        …though I am actually for -increasing- Muslim immigration as much as practical given our capacity to assimilate them, and doing everything we can to ramp up the incentives to speed assimilation, while simultaneously regulating both the speed of immigration and its sources as much as possible.

    • Mark says:

      I think that you are focusing on international, ideological terrorism, but forgetting sectarian or nationalist terrorism.

      If Muslims make up 30 percent of the population, extremists can credibly promise future damage. I think the only way that wouldn’t be the case is if Muslims stopped identifying primarily as Muslims (Communism/Islam collapsed).

      So, mass immigration is completely safe if we expect Islam to collapse and/or there is no difference between Islamic and Western people (as groups).

    • Matt M says:

      I feel like even if this made logical sense (and I’m not sure it does), it has no chance of being adopted, because it pretty flagrantly conflicts with most people’s views of justice. You are basically, for lack of a better term, blaming the victims.

      In another thread I used the analogy of a bully at school, who keeps violently escalating his bullying against his victim, while the victim does nothing, because parents and teachers keep telling him “The bully is just looking for a reaction, if you don’t react, he’ll leave you alone.” Eventually the bully smashes the kid’s head into a cement wall and he dies. But I guess the dead kid is the winner, because he never gave the bully the reaction, right?

      For an even more direct and borderline offensive alternative, how about this one. We know most rapists are primarily motivated by power. Therefore, rape victims would be best served loudly insisting that they choose to be raped and that they enjoy the act of being raped. In this case, you deprive your rapist of the feeling of power he so desperately seeks, and he will not rape anymore, because it cannot give him what he wants. Think that would go over well?

      • Aapje says:

        We know most rapists are primarily motivated by power.

        Do we?

        This is asserted by some groups, but I’ve never seen solid evidence.

        • rahien.din says:

          Furthermore I have heard that in areas that ease restrictions on various alternative sexual outlets (porn, prostitution), there is a correlated decrease in rape rate.

          It might be that rape is about power only in the same way that mugging is about violence.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      I think you’re missing a few dimensions. One is time, that is, a person is not radicalized now but may be radicalized in the future. This radicalization may have absolutely nothing to do with Islamophobia. Read, for instance, the Rolling Stone article on the younger Boston Bomber. It wasn’t hatred of Muslims that made him do what he did, he was just a lost, disillusioned young man like so many people are. Heck, like almost all young men are at some point in their lives. When you have that kind of “what am I doing here?” long dark night of the soul, some people turn to family, or alcohol and drugs, or vidya games or suicide…or religion. And the answer can’t be “make a society where no young men are ever disillusioned.” That’s not possible.

      Also, you’re missing density effects. Of course Muslims are peaceful when they’re a small percentage of the population. They’re a small percentage of the population! Now get an entire town that’s Muslim. And now they start thinking, “We’re Muslim, we should live by Muslim laws.” Particularly if you bring in a more energetic imam who riles people up. “You know what’s wrong here? Why we’ve got problems aren’t doing as well as we should? Because we’re not living by Sharia!” But since the host government can’t allow the muslim community to implement that (“well, okay, you can stone your women, just not our women”) they’re now being “persecuted for their religion” and that justifies all kinds of radicalization (and not just in a common sense way, but in ways specifically endorsed in Islamic law).

      So, the larger problem is that people and their belief systems are messy. They feel more or less strongly about them at different points in their lives, under different circumstances, and when they’re isolated or concentrated.

      • Zodiac says:

        And the answer can’t be “make a society where no young men are ever disillusioned.”

        But make one where so few are disillusioned that the worst case scenario is extremely unlikely?

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          I don’t think that’s possible. At all. I mean, honestly I think “disillusionment” is part of the process of becoming an adult.

      • dndnrsn says:

        One important historical fact is that radical Muslim terrorism is a fairly new thing. Societies have always had disaffected young men – ours probably has more than usual – but the sort of radical Muslim terrorism we’re seeing now was not really around a few decades around. The italics-at-the-end-of-Lovecraft punchline is, “does this mean other sorts of disaffected young men might ramp up the violence considerably too?”

        • currentlyinthelab says:

          No.

          Most young disaffected males don’t grow up in a philosophy that rewards martyrs with paradise.

          Which greek philosopher was it that thought that the state should encourage a belief in the afterlife, with violent death serving in its cause as a way to get into heaven?

          • dndnrsn says:

            There have certainly been disaffected young men who have done violence, singly or in groups, without a religious view that they would attain paradise with martyrdom.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @dndnrsn

            I think that’s a different motivator, though. I mean, those are people who are (metaphorically or literally) angry at God, and they kill the innocent and themselves to show just how much they hate everything. Imagine the alternate ending to Job, where God says “yeah, you’re suffering, but have you seen this fish!?” and the response is “fuck you, fuck your fish, this is all pointless, watch this” and they shoot up a school. That’s a very different motivator than “yes, you’re suffering, it’s those people’s fault kill them and I’ll make it perfect for you.

          • dndnrsn says:

            We don’t have any totalitarian, or even truly authoritarian, political movements right now, but “disaffected young men” are a common part of their base when they pop up.

            Consider Goebbels’ life story.

          • currentlyinthelab says:

            That’s true dndnrsn.

            But the risk ratio of these violent outbursts is so much different under these different cultures.

          • dndnrsn says:

            Consider that cultures can change, the circumstances they find themselves in can change, etc.

            A disaffected young Muslim man born in Germany coming of age – there were “guest workers” from the early 60s on – in the late 70s, early 80s, perhaps even more recently – clearly something has changed, because the model of radical Muslim terrorism we have now (focusing on killing people instead of just making a point; generally making civilians the main targets; featuring either attacks that by necessity kill the attacker, or attacks in which the attacker prioritizes killing more people while getting away alive) is a relatively recent thing.

            Had it not been for the circumstances existing in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, Goebbels would have become a schoolteacher somewhere or something, or maybe continue as an aspiring author living in penury.

        • albatross11 says:

          Wasn’t most of the terrorism a century or so ago either Communist or Anarchist? With a side order of domestic terrorism in the US via the Klan?

          • dndnrsn says:

            Yeah, the central example of terrorist has changed from one thing to another over time, plus is different in different places.

            I mean, look at modern suicide bombing – it was innovated by the Tamil Tigers. Now it’s considered part and parcel of radical Muslim terrorism – how many people know the Tigers came up with it as it currently is?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            And, how many people would incorrectly identify the Tigers as Muslim?

      • rlms says:

        “And now they start thinking, “We’re Muslim, we should live by Muslim laws.” ”
        Citation certainly needed (as in examples of Muslims campaigning to be allowed to live under Sharia law rather than national law in Western countries, preferably with estimates of how common this is).

        • Zodiac says:

          It’s hard to find quality information on this in English but in Germany we have a Sharia Police. They aren’t forcing people to obey Sharia, they are basically more intrusive preachers but I can certainly see how this can spin out of control.

          • rlms says:

            Thanks. I’m aware of this kind of thing (English examples here), but my impression is that it is generally small groups being provocative in the model of the Westboro Baptist church rather than something with significant widespread support. Some areas of the UK have high numbers of Muslims, and politicians in those areas sometimes make appeals to their group interests. But this generally involves saying nasty things about Israel and appealing to customs such as not drinking alcohol (George Galloway is the classic example), not favourable comments about Sharia.

        • More likely is the pattern of other embedded systems, such as Amish, Romany, or very orthodox Jews. Enforce your own legal system on your own people by non-violent means, such as the threat of ostracism, while not expecting the state to enforce it.

          • rlms says:

            I don’t think that happens either. Muslims are much better integrated into society at large than the first two of those groups. Sharia courts can/are be used for civil arbitration like orthodox Jewish courts (although I think proportionately less frequently), but neither group uses them for criminal cases in any significant amount.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          As others have pointed out, it is already happening in the west, although in small doses because the critical density hasn’t been reached yet. But you’ve seen the Pew polls and such. Depending on what survey you’re looking at and when it was taken, you generally find around 25% of UK muslims support Sharia law. And when you look internationally, support for Sharia law goes up in nations that have a more dense muslim population.

          I don’t think they’re lying. This is what they want, and simply can’t do it right now because population density. As the density of muslims in western nations increases, the calls for Sharia will increase. Eventually you wind up in a Lebanese civil war situation.

  8. Opposition to oil pipelines is one of the more irrational movements today, as I discuss here. It isn’t very long.

    Preventing oil transport by pipeline just results in more expensive transport and often more dangerous transport. But pipeline opponents very rarely discuss alternatives, and when they do it’s clearly wishful thinking.

    • hoghoghoghoghog says:

      Environmentalists are not fundamentally opposed to pipeline construction. They are in favor of raising the costs of fuel, and opposing pipeline construction is a hacky but potentially effective way to do that (particularly if coupled with strong environmental liability laws to mitigate the dangers of other forms of oil transport and to make fuel even more expensive).

      You claim that oil pipelines would not make fuel significantly cheaper. But if that were so, then why is the right so concerned with getting these pipelines? Purely for environmental safety reasons?

      • The oil companies are pretty intent on getting pipelines built because it affects their profit margins significantly. And depending more on other transport will make their lives more difficult as bottlenecks occur (A year or two ago at the height of the North Dakota oil boom I heard many complaints of farmers about oil producers monopolizing the trains, so there will be fights for resources without pipelines).

        I haven’t heard of the right being particularly concerned about getting pipelines. All the discussion I’ve heard were complaints from the left.

        Environmentalists are not fundamentally opposed to pipeline construction.

        Well you are certainly correct, because I am an environmentalist who wants more pipelines. But if you are talking about those protesting pipelines, I think this is incorrect. The two links I have to protesters are here and here. Both of them are fundamentally against pipelines. I’d love you to provide a link of a protester saying that pipelines are not spawn of the devil.

  9. Mark says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qgm8anDusw
    [Watching video is probably a waste of time – white man living in Japan is annoyed that an old woman doesn’t speak to him directly, while her husband asks generic “foreigner” questions]

    As a white person who has lived in Japan, I understand what it feels like to be a victim of discrimination.

    Discuss.

    • Zodiac says:

      Disclaimer: I have never lived in a foreign country and have not faced discrimination, I have however had a few lessons of Japanese and got a small taste of their mannerism and way of thinking
      There isn’t really a lot of substance in that video that could be talked about. I am uncertain if this isn’t just a mannerism thing that he misinterpretet. I also don’t really understand what exactly he means with guiding questions. Guiding towards what? If it’s just the ordinary question that you ask a foreigner I have a hard time as seeing that as discrimination.
      Overall it seems to me like he uses his western mannerism of being very open and honest instead of the rather careful and restricted approach that seems to be common in Japan, especially in old people.

      • Brad says:

        He said gaijin questions not guiding. As I understand it, that’s a mildly pejorative term for foreigners, especially white foreigners.

        TBH I didn’t get much out of the video and kind of regret watching it. He may have had a larger point based on years of experience, but the actual example he focused on didn’t seem that bad to me and could easily have been the result of some sort of old fashioned gender norms.

        Also, there was no reason it had to be a video. The video format added nothing. In cases like that, I prefer text.

        • Zodiac says:

          Ups, that makes more sense, although it doesn’t clear up anything on the content of the questions. I still imagine “Where are you from? Do you like it here?”

      • Mark says:

        Yes, he was saying “gaijin questions” – questions that Japanese people ask to gaijin (foreigners).
        I guess that would be things like:
        “Where are you come from?”
        “How long you stay in Japan?”
        “Can you eat Japanese food?”
        “You know Japanese? Can you read hiragana?”

        I think you’re right, it’s more about openness and authentic communication. Things tend to be more formalised in Japan, authenticity far less valued, which means that there can be a bit of a tendency to objectify foreigners, rather than view them as individuals.

        It wouldn’t really be a problem if those questions were a prelude to a more involved conversation, but that tends to be it.

        In Britain, if we talked to foreigners like that – like literally the *only* questions or conversation you would have with them were things like “Ah, you come from Italy. You like pasta?” you’d probably be considered to be a bit of a shitty person. And if you had to put up with that level of conversation for twenty years, like you’d lived in Britain half your life, I think it’d be annoying.

        So, it would be discrimination if we held Japanese people to the same standards as we hold ourselves.

        • AeXeaz says:

          Turning questions about what kinds of food people like into discrimination doesn’t sound like the best recipe for “authentic communication”.

          • Mark says:

            So, if I met a black person, and I was like, “hey, do you like watermelon and fried chicken?” as an opening line… that’s not discrimination?

            I think if you’ve got a legitimate interest in whether this individual who stands before you likes this thing, that is part of authentic communication.

            If you are satisfying your curiosity about a stereotype, it is important to approach it with a bit of tact, however. (Or humour?)

            And if you really can’t see beyond the stereotype, not really interested in the individual before you, then that’s basically discrimination.

          • AeXeaz says:

            From what I understand, the watermelon and fried chicken thing has some added baggage (which, as a non-America I’ve never been able to understand), so I don’t think that’s a very good example.

            Also, to make this analogous to what happens in Japan – the question should be flipped around. Whenever I’m faced with “gaijin questions” in Japan, it’s not “hey, do you like meatballs and lutefisk?”, it’s “so do you like Japanese food?”. And while a relatively common question, I don’t see anything inauthentic about it.

            EDIT: The bit about “tact (or humour)” is spot on, and it goes both ways! The best way to steer a conversation in another direction is often a (self-deprecating) joke and a smile (genuine or not)

          • Mark says:

            Yeah, I mean, I feel like if I say to an Italian “Do you like English food”, that’s alright because it’s a bit self-depreciating.

            If we turned it around and asked about something we were actually proud of, like, “Do you like the lack of corruption in English society”, it might not go down to well? Might be seen as a bit rude by other English people, anyway.

            I think “gaijin questions” are basically a micro-agression.
            If the person thinks you view them as a stereotype, they will be offended.

          • hlynkacg says:

            From what I understand, the watermelon and fried chicken thing has some added baggage

            Watermelon and fried chicken are stereotypically cheap “low class” foods that are particularly popular in the south. As such, the image of a wealthy yankee* offering a southerner, and black southerners in particular, fried chicken has a certain classist edge.

            *person for the northeast seaboard

          • Aapje says:

            @Mark

            So, if I met a black person, and I was like, “hey, do you like watermelon and fried chicken?” as an opening line… that’s not discrimination?

            I think that it’s normal for people to base their small talk on stereotypes. If I meet an old lady, I may ask whether she has grand kids and some questions about those kids. That’s because it seems common that old ladies want to talk about their grand kids. I have to pick a topic to talk about anyway, so why not something with a high probability of success?

            I don’t think it is helpful to then call it discrimination when people do the same thing for ethnic groups. The more useful criticism seems to be that their stereotypes are overly simplistic, rather than that they stereotype at all.

            IMO, such allegations just cause people to avoid talking to the ethnic group, because when you are telling them that their coping strategy, which worked for them their entire life, is not working for this group, they are left with no coping mechanism, rather than a better one.

        • Zodiac says:

          This might be an anglosphere thing then. In Germany if you asked only these kind of questions that might be judged as a missed opportunity or something like that but nobody would see you as a bad person for it.
          I can see however how this can make people upset over time. I’ve been travelling for a short while and some of the more veteran travellers have expressed similar frustration to being asked the traveller questions over and over.

          • AeXeaz says:

            Getting annoyed at the same questions again and again is kind of understandable, but taking that out on the people who ask the questions is kind of rude. And making assumptions about their motives for asking the questions and jumping straight to accusations of discrimination/racism is *really* rude.

            About the anglosphere thing – I’ve noticed that when I’ve been to large international conferences, people from outside the anglosphere (including me!) are much quicker to use national stereotypes as “tools” when describing themselves or interacting with each other, often in a joking manner. “I must be the only french person who doesn’t like cheese”, “Why are you wearing a jacket, I thought you Norwegians loved the cold!” and so on.

    • AeXeaz says:

      He seems like a really unpleasant person, and after living in Japan for years he should probably have a better idea of how to handle situations like that. Like, even starting off with a “no, but you can speak to me in Japanese” is, eh, it’s pretty rude. At least if he actually worded it like that in Japanese.

    • onyomi says:

      As a white person who has lived in a number of Asian countries, and who speaks a couple Asian languages, I can confirm that this sort of thing gets annoying after a while; though I think calling it “racism” is a bit much, calling it “stereotyping” might not be much off the mark.

      The problem is, as an American, I come from a place where, if you judge solely based on someone’s race that they don’t speak English or aren’t from America you are probably being an asshole, because there are too many native-born Americans of every race for you to make that assumption.

      In places like Japan, however, though any given white person you see might have grown up in Japan and identify as Japanese, or have spent the past 20 years working in Japan and think of Japan as home, 99 out of 100 white people you see will not speak Japanese and not identify Japan as home. As such, there is an identification between race and culture which you don’t get in the US.

      In Japan (and my impression is, Korea, too), especially, because it’s a small country geographically, there is also a certain insularity (they call it “island mentality”) where they tend to treat being Japanese as a kind of special club. So if you don’t look like a member of the club, but are in the clubhouse, they are going to say “so, how are you enjoying your visit to our club?”

      This happens to some extent if you speak a dialect of Chinese other than Mandarin. Mandarin is seen as a lingua franca, so if you can speak it, it isn’t seen as so surprising; many Chinese don’t actually speak Mandarin all that well, or have weird pronunciation, so I think maybe meeting a white person who also doesn’t have a perfect CCTV accent is not so strange. But if you speak say, Shanghainese in Shanghai, or, to a lesser extent, Cantonese in Hong Kong, you get a reaction more like you get speaking Japanese in Japan, i. e. surprise.

      The surprise can be a very pleasant surprise from their part–look at this person who has taken the trouble to learn our secret language! They must really love our culture! But it can also feel kind of threatening. Also, in places like Hong Kong, where more educated people are expected to, though often don’t, speak good English, if you speak to them in Cantonese there can be a sense of “what, you don’t think I speak English?” Like as if by speaking to them in the local dialect you are identifying them as a member of the parochial class who don’t know the lingua franca.

      I’m not sure if there’s a really good solution; ironically I find it tends to be much better in places where the host population is less likely to encounter white people, especially white tourists. Something about having a large number of tourists in a place makes that place really shitty. I guess it’s that you have all these transitory people, usually clueless, usually rich from an Asian perspective, and they’re ripe for taking advantage of but also super annoying so people learn to be able to just yell whatever basic English they need at every white person they see.

      Whereas if you find a place that isn’t frequented by tourists (I guess ideally where you’re not the only white person who has ever put down roots), you find that people are more appreciative of you speaking their language, less apt to engage in a status game with respect to “what language are we going to have this conversation in??” and more likely to have a genuine, rather than superficial curiosity about you and your hometown. And that can get old, too, yes, but not nearly so quick as being treated like a tourist.

      That is, I find I’m paradoxically more likely to be treated like a “normal person” in places without a lot of white people precisely because the locals don’t have a “dealing with white people” cognitive toolkit (had the same experience outside of Paris relative to Paris, actually, since my French is not good enough to pass for a French person). One time a random Japanese couple came up to me, in Japan, and asked me for directions, in Japanese. I was so happy! And I actually knew the answer to their question. I guess gaijin, like everyone else, just want to be treated like a “normal person,” at least at the outset.*

      My other rule of thumb is that if someone starts a conversation with me in English, I will respond to them in English and not switch to another language unless they are having obvious trouble understanding me. Conversely, however, I do get mildly, and imo, justly annoyed at people who respond to me in English after I start a conversation with them in e.g. fluent Japanese.

      *At the outset of the conversation, that is. Don’t know anything about this particular guy’s history, desires, etc. but there may be something of a desire on the part of some white people in Asia to “have their cake and eat it too.” This is because simply being a white person in Asia automatically makes you more “interesting” than most people for good and for ill. Good in that some people seem excited just for the opportunity to talk to you, bad in that you can’t ever just blend in. I imagine for most people, being treated as “special” starts out fun, but gets old; we should, however, keep in mind that, as white people in Asia, though we aren’t fully accepted as “normal” in many ways, we are also exempt from a lot of the behavioral expectations e.g. Japanese have for each other.

      Speaking a language well can also become a double-edged sword because, for example, if you speak Japanese well, Japanese people are more likely to assume you “get” Japanese cultural cues, that you have the hypersensitive Japanese social antennae, etc. which you may still not. And this can lead to misunderstanding.

      • Wander says:

        I think part of them replying in English is because they’re just looking for opportunities to speak English. My dad often says that when he was working in a Swiss bank, despite being a native Swiss speaker people would talk to him in English, because they wanted to practice and obviously he has more opportunities to speak Swiss German than they do to speak English.

        • onyomi says:

          Yes, that is definitely part of it, which is why I reply in English to people who start a conversation with me in English. As a language learner myself, I know I’m disappointed if I speak in say, Cantonese, and the listener, despite having understood and being a native Cantonese speaker, still speaks back to me in English. So I try not to do the same thing to others.

  10. Tibor says:

    Do you agree with this video that rhetoric is so important? It seems that in some ways his definition of rhetoric overlaps with the sort of things the rationalists care about and criticize. I am a bit skeptical that teaching it at schools would improve things so much. The problem seems to be that a lot of even smart people are extremely susceptible to pathos as long as it comes from their tribe and so not only don’t just laugh at drivel like “Yes we can!” or “Make America great again!” but also apply their critical thinking to the rhetoric coming from the other tribe only (so they won’t ridicule someone from their “own” team if he shows an absolute lack of understanding of probability and statistics even if they are themselves trained statisticians).

    • Mark says:

      Yes, I think it can be incredibly powerful.

      I think the best example is the speech at the end of the great dictator, which forced me (a politically normal English speaker) to appreciate the power of Hitler’s rhetoric (minus the logos).

        • Mark says:

          Ha… yeah, I felt exactly the same way until I saw Charlie Chaplain using a similar style to say something I agreed with.

          Then it became incredibly emotionally powerful.

          • Tibor says:

            You mean this speech? I don’t know, I still find it a bit disturbing, in fact I originally thought that Chaplin’s point was a subtle critique of collectivism by showing how one can manipulate people with these noble sounding ideas and them twists the whole thing and r calls for the “people to unite” (this phrase is something that is almost guaranteed to set my alarms off) in the way that sounds very much like communism or fascism. However, I think he actually meant it seriously.

            On the other hand maybe I am simply not emotionally attuned to the content of either Hitler’s speeches or Chaplin’s speech. A different style of pathos, things like “give me liberty or give me death”, i.e. something that emphasizes individual liberty and freedom does affect me emotionally quite strongly. Still, I haven’t seen it delivered in a manner as aggressive as that of Hitler or Chaplin and it seems to me that an emotional appeal to the desire for liberty somehow does not mix well with such an aggressive style – it seems to work better when applied in a “defensive” manner. While Churchill was not exactly a liberal, his famous “fight them on the beaches” speech hits the right tones. While it is obviously very specific in that it addresses the immediate threat from The Hun the third Reich, its style can be more broadly applied to something like defending against oppression. I don’t think it would work if delivered in a aggressive manner like Chaplin does in his speech, since it is in a sense passive in its nature. And indeed, Churchill hardly raises his voice in the speech at all. The point is not to go out there and enforce “our” demands, but to prevent others from doing so. The US Libertarian party mascot is a porcupine which fits well into this style or the simple but (to me emotionally powerful) poem by Dana Rohrabacher that David Friedman cites at the beginning of his Machinery of Freedom:

            Why can’t you see?
            We just want to be free
            To have our homes and families
            And live our lives as we please.

            I can’t see any of this delivered in an aggressive Hitleresque style.

          • Aapje says:

            I recently saw this video and considered it a very good use of rhetoric to break down resistance to really listening to members of the outgroup.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            https://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/tag/ruud

            Analysis of Nazi and other dictatorial rhetoric, and a comparison to Limbaugh, who has many but not all of the crucial features.

            I haven’t looked at this recently, so I don’t have a detailed comparison to more recent political speech.

            I do think Trump tries to do elevation (rhetoric about the ideal state) and fails, but I don’t like him. In any, elevation is a category of political speech which is worth keeping an eye on.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @Nancy Lebovitz

            How about “Hope and Change” and “Yes We Can?”

            “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

            Sounds pretty elevated to me. I’m not sold that “elevation rhetoric” is bad at the meta level. I think it very much depends on the sort of state the rhetorician considers “ideal.”

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            The point (and I probably didn’t make this clear) was that Hitler had an excellent command of elevation rhetoric, not that elevation rhetoric is always bad.

  11. kipling_sapling says:

    If I wanted to take an IQ test, what would be the best way to do that?

    • Nornagest says:

      Well, why do you want to do it? If it’s just for recreation, there’s plenty of more-or-less sketchy IQ tests online; if you have some specific door in mind that a high IQ will open for you, its gatekeepers probably have their own criteria for what passes as a “real” one, and you should ask them.

    • Brad says:

      The best is probably to google WAIS-IV *your city here* and find a psychologist that administers it.

      A cheaper and still decent option is to contact your local Mensa chapter and take their admission test.

      Other than for trying to avoid the death penalty, helping to diagnose certain psychological disorders, and being obnoxious on the internet, I can’t think of much reason to take one though.

    • Urstoff says:

      Just use your SAT score as a good approximation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Look up Mensa. They have cheap professional tests.

    • Well... says:

      I can administer one to you right now:

      1. Are you Jewish?
      A) Wait, are you asking me?
      B) No, I’m fully a Jew
      C) No, I’m not a Jew
      D) Yes but I think the Talmud is where we really got it right
      E) Yes and I long for the day when I can bring my sacrificial beasts to the Temple

      2. Do you think Disturbed is a good band?
      A) Yes, and I don’t change the station or throw up when their cover of that Simon and Garfunkel song comes on the radio
      B) Yes, but I don’t find them all that disturbing
      C) I wouldn’t admit a thing like that
      D) No, they’re not a good band
      E) No, but they’ve inspired me to teach my dog how to play guitar because if they can get a record deal anyone can

      3. The latest outrageous thing Trump said on Twitter made you feel…
      A) Outraged, of course
      B) Proud and validated
      C) Amused
      D) I don’t pay attention to what Trump says on Twitter
      E) Why is the President sitting in front of a computer playing around on Twitter.com?

      4. Do you eat meat?
      A) No, killing animals is wrong
      B) No, meat is unhealthy for you
      C) I only eat meat
      D) Yes, when I can afford to
      E) Vegetables are simply the meat of organisms without legs or faces and it is just as immoral to kill and eat them as it is to kill and eat animals. Yes, I eat meat all the damn time.

      5. Is circumcision genital mutilation?
      A) Yes, and I’m a feminist
      B) Yes
      C) No, the foreskin is not a genital
      D) Yes but if that’s what God wants then that’s what God wants
      E) No. Smegma. Next question.

      6. Do you have any tattoos?
      A) I need a skin graft so I can have more space to put them
      B) Yeah, and I want to get this very meaningful one but I can’t afford it yet
      C) No but I think they’re cool
      D) No but I’m OK with it if you do
      E) No. Tattoos are elective skin disorders

      7. Do you want to visit other planets?
      A) In my mind I’ve already checked out
      B) Yes, please sign me up
      C) Yes, as long as I can bring my cats
      D) No, but I’ll change my mind if Disturbed puts out another album
      E) No, space is cool but I like having bone density

      8. How close do you live to an interstate highway? (The 405 specifically.)
      A) Less than 50 miles or more than 8000 miles or fewer than 50 miles
      B) It doesn’t matter because I huff paint
      C) More than 50 miles but fewer than 1000 miles
      D) I have mentally erased all knowledge of the 405 and cannot answer this question
      E) More than 1000 miles but fewer than 8000 miles

      9. What comes next in this pattern: FX16; FJ; F250; ___?
      A) I don’t know what any of those could possibly relate to
      B) F350
      C) Denali
      D) That’s easy: F-22; YF-35A
      E) Shouldn’t there be something between the first two? Or could you just not think of anything?

      10. How many kids do you have?
      A) Eew, kids are weird/scary/etc.
      B) None, nobody of the opposite sex will talk to me
      C) None anymore, and the government says I can’t have them back any time soon
      D) 1
      E) Not nearly enough to offset all those Kardashians, but by God I’m trying

      11. Mama don’t allow no…
      A) Michigan gear around here (O-H!)
      B) I don’t get it
      C) Five-string banjo pickin’ around here
      D) Dark roast or flavored coffee around here
      E) Omission of the Oxford comma around here

      12. Do you walk up escalators?
      A) No, I stand there like an idiot on an amusement park ride
      B) No, I stand there like a closeted invalid who’s finally been given an excuse to be honest with himself
      C) Only if it’s a down escalator
      D) Yes, because that gets me to the top faster
      E) Yes, because not walking up stairs when there are stairs in front of me is excruciating

      13. What do these words have in common: grout; gravel; spackle; shellac
      A) They all have to do with boxing
      B) They’ve all been muttered by clench-toothed old men with either Lancaster or Boston accents
      C) They all have two or more syllables
      D) They are all Excellent words
      E) B and D and there are no other possible similarities.

      14. Johnny has 2 guns and leaves his house traveling west at 9:13 in the morning. Juanita has 1 gun and leaves her house traveling east at 2:38 in the afternoon. How do you feel about Disturbed fans owning guns?
      A) I’m fine with it
      B) As long as the barrels point backwards…
      C) There aren’t really Disturbed fans, are there?
      D) We really need to get mental health sorted out in this country before we can talk about guns
      E) Disturbed fans don’t actually own any guns, they only have guns tattooed on their chubby, pimply thighs

      For each…
      A = give yourself 50 points
      B = give yourself 75 points
      C = give yourself 100 points
      D = give yourself 125 points
      E = give yourself 150 points

      Then average it. That’s your official IQ score. Put it on your resume.

      [Edit: more questions added, for increased scientific validity.]

      • Montfort says:

        How many dogs / significant others / family members of yours have members of Disturbed stolen from you or wronged?
        A. 0-2
        B. 3+
        C. I refuse to answer pending ongoing litigation against Mr. Draiman and his cohorts
        D. Who?
        E. Sorry, my unrelated personal opinions are much more interesting and important than your sincere request for advice

        • Is “cohort” a synonym for “colleague”?

          A What’s a synonym?
          B Yes.
          C No.
          D It soon will be.
          E This is the kind of pedantry up with which I shall not put.

          • rahien.din says:

            If two priests are going down the street in their canoe and one of the wheels falls off, how many flapjacks does it take to cover a doghouse?
            A. What?
            B. What?
            C. What?
            D. What?
            E. Five, ’cause ice cream ain’t got no bones.

      • Deiseach says:

        For question 2, you omitted option F:

        F) I am too old/foreign to know who these people are

        I scored an IQ of 118 by this test, which is about as accurate as any of the other online ones I’ve done, so you have my endorsement for its use! 😀

  12. Eli says:

    Yo. Request for help and advice.

    I have a BSc and MSc in computer-science, and have read far too much philosophy-of-mind, as well as too much computational cognitive science and theoretical neuroscience. I want to prepare for and enter a PhD program in computational cognitive science. I have been out of academia since 2015, but have managed to pick up a minor publication (2016) and two years of Program Committee service (invited to the same conference in 2017 and 2018 as a referee).

    I’ve tried applying to research assistantships in the labs I want to work in, but they seem to keep closing their worker-searchers without hiring anyone at all. In fact, some of their job openings look pretty clearly designed for members of their sister labs.

    What do?

    (Second post to activate email-upon-reply.)

    • hoghoghoghoghog says:

      Maybe you should simply apply to a PhD program? In some fields (like econ) you are expected to work as an RA first, but I don’t think this is so typical.

  13. Tibor says:

    What is the most natural sleeping rhythm? I guess people in the past would simply go to bed short after nightfall and wake up with sunrise, so they’d sleep more during winter than during summer. That does not seem to be very compatible with modern society though (unless you live close to the equator where it is the same all year round anyway).

    I am currently trying to wake up at the same time (7 am) every day (including weekends) and I am planning to ignore the daylight saving time, so in fact I will be (or I am already) waking up at 6am every day, going to bed at 10. I enjoy the extra daylight in the afternoon (I found out I am much more likely to motivate myself to do something after coming home when there is still light outside) as well as the fact that I am the only one around at work in the early morning (I hate people until about 2 hours after waking up :-)) ) but I suspect waking up so early will be fairly challenging during winter*. My plan is to buy some lights which simulate daylight as closely as possible and which can be programmed to turn themselves on at a given time…that way I wake up more naturally during winter as well. Can anybody recommend anything like that?

    Another issue is social life. I like dancing salsa and bachatta and salsa parties typically start at around 10-11pm. During summer this is still ok, but in winter even if I go to bed at 1am, which is not all that late, I will only get 5 hours of sleep if I want to wake up according to schedule. I haven’t yet found a satisfactory workaround, one option is waking up late after a night out but that is what I want to avoid. Another option is to go to bed earlier the next day. That sounds better but I am not sure if one can “borrow and return” sleep hours like that. I guess it still works better than sleeping longer at the weekends.

    *the sun rises at about 8am in December in central Europe and sets a few minutes after 4pm. That means that if you wake up at 8 and work 9-5 you wake up when it is still mostly dark and then you go home when it is dark again. Were it not for Christmas, I’d hate Decembers :-)) It would be a lot better closer to the equator (like in the US) and while the extremely long summer days (the sun now sets around 10 pm and rises before 5am) are nice but not really all that necessary, I’d gladly trade them for longer winter days…but anyway.

    • I have seen the claim that the natural pattern is to sleep through part of the night, then be up for a while, then sleep again–see, for instance, the reference to “the waking hours of the night” early in the 1001 Nights. Does anyone here know what the evidence is for that view?

      • Well... says:

        Lots of parents of infants are basically forced to sleep this way until their kids are sleep trained. As far as I know, none of them (including me) report that it helps them feel more rested.

    • HeelBearCub says:

      A couple of thoughts:

      1) It used to be common to sleep in two halves of the night, with a period of wakefulness between.

      2) I found this wearable light to be very helpful treating my Seasonal Affective Disorder. Side note, SAD treatment should start about September 1st, as days start to gett shorter.

      • Tibor says:

        Thanks but that seems to be something else than what I am thinking about. I basically want to have a fake sunrise in my apartment a couple of minutes before the alarm rings and as close as possible to the natural morning light.

        • HeelBearCub says:

          @Tibor:
          Sure, that would be nice. But in addition to that, exposure to high intensity light in the early morning after waking will help you keep your biological clock oriented the way you want. Low intensity natural light won’t do that.

        • Aapje says:

          @Tibor

          Philips seems to make a decent one.

          It supposedly is best to have it light up 20 – 40 minutes before you want to wake up. Isn’t the idea of these things that you wake up at a more natural moment in your sleep pattern and/or your brain changes the pattern slowly, rather than being forcefully interrupted in the middle of a pattern?

    • Schibes says:

      What is the most natural sleeping rhythm?

      For me it’s whatever allows me to schedule my sleep in 165 minute long chunks as that is the exact, never-changing (for the last 10+ years) length of my brain’s REM cycle. So 2:45 of sleep is just as good (that is to say, not all that good) as, say, 4 hours. 5:30 of sleep is just as good as 6 or even 7 hours and is the amount I get on most work nights. 8:15 is ideal although if I’ve built up a large sleep debt from too many 2:45 and 5:30 nights I will usually need an 11 hour night to reset. I’m sure this inconsistency is “unhealthy” on some level but since I’ve given up most of my other bad habits I can rationalize not doing anything about it.

      • Tibor says:

        How can you reliably measure the length of your REM phase? Also, how can you make sure that you sleep the right amount of sleep? Unless I am extremely tired, it takes me between a couple of minutes to half an hour to fall asleep, even when I am not stressed or when nothing else makes falling asleep more difficult. If you set your alarm clock based on when you go to bed instead of when you fall asleep (which you can’t really do), you’ll be off.

        • Schibes says:

          How can you reliably measure the length of your REM phase?

          In my case, it came from a period of unemployment 10 years ago several months in length. As I was single at the time and living alone, pretty much instantly I stopped setting an alarm every night. After a few weeks of idleness on the dole I began noticing that I always slept around 5, 8, or 11 hours each night even though I was no longer using an alarm clock. It had gotten to the point where when well-rested, my body would just randomly sleep for 5:30 or 8:15 every night (5:30 with a full bladder, 8:15 without). When I rejoined the workforce a few months later I went back on the alarm clock and quickly found that 6:30 was no more restful than 5:30, etc. etc.

          I don’t count the time it takes for me to fall asleep in my calculations. As I’m usually running on some level of sleep deficit most days (including today) it almost never takes me longer than 5 minutes to fall asleep.

  14. WashedOut says:

    I’m interested in experimental literature, and my latest foray is Dhalgren, the epic SF novel by Samuel Delany that plays with multistable perception.

    1. Has anyone read this book that would like to give some of their thoughts?

    2. What else might you encourage me to read?

    • Anatoly says:

      2.

      Robert Coover’s Pricksongs and Descants, a collection of short stories that play with narrative and metanarrative and just generally mess with your brain.

      Thomas Bernhard’s The Loser isn’t really experimental in terms of plot, but is startlingly effective in its very unusual stylistic choices.

  15. telotortium says:

    Long-time lurker. I got tired of trying to scan past all the comments in the open threads for new comments, so I made a bookmarklet to collapse all comments except for comments posted since the last time you’ve visited the page. Just create a bookmark with the text in that Gist, put the bookmark in your bookmark toolbar, and click it to use it.

  16. bintchaos says:

    Have any SSC commenters seen Rakka— Blomkamp’s new short form film?
    I love it– I’m so ready for repulsive reptilian overlords crushing white ppl insurgency.
    Full film here– http://www.slashfilm.com/rakka-short-film/
    FYI Rakka means “falling” in Japanese.
    Revenge of the Crawfish.
    Except I thought that was going to be the theme of District 9 : 2…
    Rakka was released on Steam…I know this commentariat despises gamer culture– I already got fragged for using the lingua franca.
    Best Blomkamp quote evah– (ok, so far)

    “There are many secrets in District 9”

    • Virbie says:

      > I know this commentariat despises gamer culture– I already got fragged for using the lingua franca.

      Do they? I’ve been around here a long time and I’ve never noticed this. Though that’s perhaps explained by the fact that gamer culture doesn’t get expressed very often either.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        No, not really, depending on what is meant by gamer culture. Way more “pro gamers” here than anti gamers” (with plenty of “gamer neutral” people too).

        But, gamer language, memes, etc. isn’t used here because it isn’t the culture of SSC.

        If you come here expecting a re-run of online arguments in Dota, you are going to have a bad time.

        • bintchaos says:

          That’s true I suppose…but if Esperanto is revered why not leetspk?
          I just thought Blomkamp is trying an original marketing strat by releasing Rakka on the Steam gaming platform.
          I’m trying to refrain from my usual patois here and be a better commenter.
          How many SSC commenters have Steam accounts? can I ask that?

          • Nornagest says:

            if Esperanto is revered why not leetspk

            Well, at the moment Esperanto is just a step above Klingon as a status marker as far as I can tell (it used to be higher-status, to the point of its founder being worshiped as a god in certain corners of the world, but that was a long time ago). But it’s still a language, and learning any language takes a lot of time and effort: Esperanto signals that you’re a language nerd, but at least a serious language nerd. We like serious nerds around here, but we’re not gonna be putting up shrines or anything.

            Leetspeak isn’t a language, it’s at best a register, and more commonly a cheap means of obfuscation — comparable to Pig Latin. Does that answer your question?

          • Zodiac says:

            How many SSC commenters have Steam accounts? can I ask that?

            You might want to set up a survey somewhere for that question and put the link in a top-level comment. That will not lead to a comment spam and you’ll probably get a better response rate.
            I have one, btw.

          • bean says:

            I’m trying to refrain from my usual patois here and be a better commenter.

            And it’s appreciated. I will second HBC that we’re not anti-gamer, so much as just non-gamers in the cultural sense. I’d guess most of us play video games, but the types are rather different from those you normally see among ‘gamers’.

            How many SSC commenters have Steam accounts? can I ask that?

            It’s definitely less weird than writing 1-2k words a week about battleships for the last four months, and it’s not likely to start a culture war fight. So go ahead.
            I have one, and I’d guess a significant majority of the commentariat do. Based on the meetups I’ve been to, at least, it looks a lot like a grad school. That may make John Schilling the resident professor, come to think of it.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Nornagest
            One of my favorite books– Cavalli-Sforza– Genes, Languages and Peoples.
            People gladly learn Dothraki or Belter Cant– its just a cultural marker for intertribal communications. “Insider baseball”.
            A lot of the problems US has understanding the islamic world are really about arabic I think.
            Just a hypothesis.
            But its one reason US cant rewrite/reinterpret Quran to be more friendly to global capitalism and Israel.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @bintchaos:
            What I have never seen here is people making their first post here in Esperanto or Klingon. That wouldn’t get as negative a reaction, but most here would update towards “That person does not understand this community well”.

            (Roughly speaking) the highest status act here is expressing something so accurately and clearly, that it actually change’s someone’s opinion. The more important the topic, the higher the status. The better the counter arguments presented, the higher the status. This means that precise language that is well modulated to the “ear” of the overall community is highly favored.

          • Deiseach says:

            How many SSC commenters have Steam accounts? can I ask that?

            Yes you can, and yes I do.

            I mainly play about three games, though; one from a Russian indie company (which has not updated in forever – grrr!), one from a Ukrainian indie games company (which has a nice series of games based on the Sherlock Holmes stories and is currently in the throes of creating its newest game, one based on Lovecraftian themes) and one from a small, one-man band indie developer (who is currently in the throes of developing his next game).

          • Protagoras says:

            I have a steam account. Mostly play various role-playing games (Fallout series, Elder Scrolls, that sort of thing) and Paradox games (haven’t yet decided whether HOI4 sacrifices too much of what was good in HOI3 in its effort to fix what wasn’t good in HOI3. Maybe further DLC will decide the issue).

          • hlynkacg says:

            I have a steam account, and have been playing Team Fortress (Medic/Heavy mains) since it was simply “Team Fortress”. *Shakes cane and shouts something about “those damn kids and thier hats”*

          • Chevalier Mal Fet says:

            I have Steam.

            I play TF2 (Medic/Engy main), Paradox’s various titles, plus whatever catches my fancy – usually various RPGs or strategy games.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            I leech off my son’s Steam account to play the pinnacle of computer gaming:

            Worms: Armageddon

            “See ya!”

            “It’s a present!”

    • Loquat says:

      I have a Steam account! But I haven’t made use of it in a while, so I missed their expansion into video, and upon browsing their video section I don’t see much that I’d be interested in.

      Anyway, Rakka seems more like an extended trailer than a film; it sets up the evil aliens, the resistance, etc, but that’s about all it does. I’d be willing to watch his followups, assuming he plans to actually tell a story here.

      • bintchaos says:

        Rakka seems more like an extended trailer than a film;


        I think its more of teaser– Blomkamp is going to charge for the next part if theres enough interest.
        I just thought conservatives would like it more, given that its the photonegative of the epically wonderful District 9– Hideous yet fantastically powerful mindcontrolling aliens (with seductive memes) brutally oppressing the indigenous (human & largely white) natives to near extinction.
        😉
        Maybe Kevin C. should try it.

        • Deiseach says:

          You don’t understand the conservative mindset.

          Pacific Rim is much better – when the hideously powerful aliens attack, and the world government decides protecting the rich inland elites is more important than funding the military, we get in the goddamn giant robot and kick alien monster ass because we’re willing to sacrifice for the greater good and the noble cause.

          You do as I say because I’m your commanding officer, not because we have heartfelt talks about our feelings 🙂

          • bintchaos says:

            Thats interesting.
            The kaiju eiga (monster movies) that so inspired del Toro are supposed to represent collective psychic catharsis for Japan after Hiroshima, Nagasaki and losing the war.
            So are Pacific Rim and the latest Godzilla attempts at American catharsis after 911 and Horrorshow Iraq? I deeply resented the last Godzilla because the kaiju skipped all his deveopmental layered and nuanced interactions with mankind and went straight to being “man’s friend.”
            Blomkamp himself said District 9 was modelled on SA Apartheid.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @bintchaos – “So are Pacific Rim and the latest Godzilla attempts at American catharsis after 911 and Horrorshow Iraq?”

            I sorta doubt it. Much like post-apocalypse and zombie genres, I think it has more to do with a sort of generalized hunger for adversity, an overwhelming external threat to push us out of atomic individualism and into community and on which we can expend our rage and frustration safely.

            As for District 9, I think Most Conservatives loved it because it was an amazing sci-fi movie with incredibly awesome guns. If you really want to dig down into the message, though, I think it’s a hell of a lot less friendly to progressive ideology than people let on. Comparing black South Africans to the Prawns is not doing the Black South Africans any favors; The prawns actually do seem to be significantly more stupid, violent, and a hell of a lot more dangerous than humans, and Wikus in all likelihood has doomed humanity by “freeing” them. Comparisons to, say, Rhodesia and in fact South Africa itself are left as an exercise for the reader.

            It’s sort of the same thing for Elysium, where the heroic victory is only maintained by dropping the curtain right then, rather than showing what the world looks like two or three months later. It’s the Urinetown ending all over again. This in turn suggests something I’ve wondered about generally. In the 60s or 70s, you could make a Star Trek where triumphant socialist utopia reigns supreme. But the utopia just stubbornly refuses to manifest, and with the left having spent something like a generation or two enjoying complete cultural dominance, they’re starting to run out of believable explanations why… and so the stories start shifting the other way, back toward the old virtues we used to scorn.

          • bintchaos says:

            The prawns actually do seem to be significantly more stupid, violent, and a hell of a lot more dangerous than humans

            Wow…triggered my empathy gap right there– the Prawns have strict genetic castes– Christopher Johnson is an engineer–his son is an engineer– the lower caste prawns are laborers– not even remotely capable of engineering tasks.

            the stories start shifting the other way


            have you read Diamond Age? I think you would appreciate the “Vickies”.
            😉

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Bintchaos – “Wow…triggered my empathy gap right there”

            Eh?

            “the Prawns have strict genetic castes– Christopher Johnson is an engineer–his son is an engineer– the lower caste prawns are laborers– not even remotely capable of engineering tasks.”

            I wasn’t sure if that was ever made explicit in the movie. Obviously CJ and his kiddo were a lot different than the rest of the Prawns, but how exactly does that superiority work? What were the “engineers” doing when the ship arrived, and why did they leave the rest of the Prawns starving in a dead ship? Did they make any attempt to reveal themselves to humanity, and if not why not?

            In any case, CJ himself didn’t seem as smart or conscientious as a normal human, though it’s hard to say since he’s obviously operating in a profoundly alien environment. Still, he seemed impulsive, distractable, careless with his strength, and generally someone you wouldn’t want wandering down the street of your local suburb. And again, I don’t think a species with “a few good ones” and a vast majority of violent, impulsive genetically-predetermined untermensch maps pleasantly onto our existing racial situation.

            “have you read Diamond Age? I think you would appreciate the “Vickies”.”

            Haven’t gotten around to Stephenson yet. Who’re the Vickies?

          • bintchaos says:

            Vickies–> return to to Victorian culture and mores.

            Nell did not imagine that Constable Moore wanted to get into a detailed discussion of recent events, so she changed the subject. “I think I have finally worked out what you were trying to tell me, years ago, about being intelligent,” she said.
            The Constable brightened all at once. “Pleased to hear it.”
            The Vickys have an elaborate code of morals and conduct. It grew out of the moral squalor of an earlier generation, just as the original Victorians were preceded by the Georgians and the Regency. The old guard believe in that code because they came to it the hard way. They raise their children to believe in that code– but their children believe it for entirely different reasons.”
            They believe it,” the Constable said, “because they have been indoctrinated to believe it.”
            Yes. Some of them never challenge it– they grow up to be smallminded people, who can tell you what they believe but not why they believe it. Others become disillusioned by the hypocrisy of the society and rebel– as did Elizabeth Finkle-McGraw.”
            Which path do you intend to take, Nell?” said the Constable, sounding very interested. “Conformity or rebellion?”
            Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded– they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.”
            ― Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer


            Interestingly Diamond Age has a UBI model– a nanotech 3D printer in every house. The poor can print their own food, whatever they want.

            I don’t know where to start with District 9– joint project btwn Blomkamp, New Zealand, and South Africa.
            The starship is in NLS collapse at the start of movie– we dont know what happened– a plague, a cascading space accident, or generation ship entropy, and no one is really interested– the big corporation just wants profit, weapons systems, exploratory autopsies, technological secrets extracted by force, torture and vivisection.

            You caught me…havent read any Corriea, and I never will– the puppies cheated with an internet campaign to stack the ballots– and then they used the Ann Coulter defense– the liberals made us do it.
            /spit

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Bintchaos – “The Vickys have an elaborate code of morals and conduct.”

            Well, that rules me out.

            “Which path do you intend to take, Nell?” said the Constable, sounding very interested. “Conformity or rebellion?”
            “Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded– they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.”

            Seems like a meaningless question. Whether Conformity or Rebellion are a virtue or a vice depends on the current state of the social system you’re in, right? So the question isn’t which is better on the whole, it’s which we need more or less of, and where, at the current moment.

            “The starship is in NLS collapse at the start of movie– we dont know what happened– a plague, a cascading space accident, or generation ship entropy, and no one is really interested– the big corporation just wants profit, weapons systems, exploratory autopsies, technological secrets extracted by force, torture and vivisection.”

            Sure. But the Corps have to do all that stuff in secret, because humanity wouldn’t stand for it otherwise. And humanity stands for as much as they do because they only see dumb bugs, not smart ones. Why can’t the smart bugs get a message out to anyone to try and negotiate a better situation? But either way, most of the bugs are dumb, violent and destructive, so kumbiyah isn’t gonna cut it.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            @bintchaos:

            The kaiju eiga (monster movies) that so inspired del Toro are supposed to represent collective psychic catharsis for Japan after Hiroshima, Nagasaki and losing the war.
            So are Pacific Rim and the latest Godzilla attempts at American catharsis after 911 and Horrorshow Iraq?

            Speaking as a fairly typical male product of 1970s America, Godzilla primarily represents giant fucking MONSTERS, which is awesome. Plus dismantling Tokyo is probably vicarious catharsis for having to clean my room.

            I wonder how much Cloverfield depends on the audience having been raised (as J. J. Abrams was) on Godzilla and Mothra and Mech-Babura on Saturday afternoons. It seems to resonate with me much more than a bald description of the plot would suggest.

            Of course, destroying New York (a city I’m familiar with and kind of attached to) rather than Tokyo (or a cardboard facsimile thereof) raises the emotional stakes a bit.

            And if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Godzilla movies in the last twenty years, it’s:

            Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Let Americans Make Them!

            This has been a public-service announcement.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            And if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Godzilla movies in the last twenty years, it’s:

            Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Let Americans Make Them!

            …unless the American is Gareth Edwards.

            (Seriously, the 2014 remake was fun, true to the original, and widely praised.)

    • HeelBearCub says:

      Avid player of Rocket League.

      Noob Overwatch player.

      I’ll probably pick up Player Unkown’s Battleground at some point.

      Love the Dark Souls series (and if you like that and haven’t played Salt and Santuary you really should).

    • FacelessCraven says:

      Steam account here, plus I make games for a living with a small indie studio.

      Factorio is currently the only game I play, the only game that even needs to exist.

      • Iain says:

        I just started playing Factorio a couple weeks ago.

        Last Friday night I looked up and it was 3:30 Saturday morning.

        It is a dangerous game.

        • FacelessCraven says:

          …Have you tried mods yet?

          I remember the first day with mods… I played something like 18 hours straight. Eyes were itching and watering, finally decided I had to go to bed. I lay in bed, wide awake, planning an ore processing pattern I’d just unlocked for about an hour and a half, before finally giving up and admitting I wasn’t going to be able to sleep anyway, so I might as well get up and play another 18 hours.

      • bean says:

        I don’t play factorio any more. It’s far too dangerous.

        • Aapje says:

          They should have called it Basilisk.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            What worries me is, games seem to be getting better and better at simulating achievement. Vanilla factorio was VERY good at this, and the modded versions are the closest thing I’ve encountered to a genuine, no-shit super-stimulus. If games keep getting more and more sophisticated at this, it could legitimately get to be a serious problem, and one we have no framework for dealing with.

          • Zodiac says:

            I find that very interesting. I felt little to no sense of achievement from playing Factorio.
            Whenever something was done there was already the next part of the factory that needed fine tuning or needed to be expanded and almost none of my constructions felt like they were optimally efficient. With guarantee I could just google for two seconds and find a more elegant version of what I just build.
            I binge-played it anyway but it really just turned into an endless grind with no great satisfaction in sight. I’ll probably get back to it anyway at some point.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Zodiac – did you turn the Alien settings up? All the games I’ve played so far have had the alien settings nearly maxed, which makes for a real death-world experience and a very real possibility of game failure. My first game had very limited copper available, with the nearest copper patch deep within a solid wall of alien hives. The whole game was a constant fight to keep my defenses ahead of the constantly worsening alien threat.

          • Zodiac says:

            No, I didn’t.
            I was introduced to the game by a friend, he instructed me to leave everything on default except for turning off the aliens expansion. Making the game more about combat might “fix” the game for me.
            Did you play multi- or singleplayer? I can see this becoming quite overwhelming when alone.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            Singleplayer exclusively; I’ve made a couple abortive tries at multiplayer, but I don’t want to build our factory, I want to build MY factory. It very rarely got “overwhelming”; the techs you unlock, especially the blueprinting and robot constructors, make building absurdly complex layouts much easier, offsetting the increased complexity as the game goes on. Bussing and similar strategies help keep things managable; sooner or later you learn to stop making pure spaghetti.

            Turning up the alien settings and allowing alien expansion makes the aliens a very, very serious threat, with a whole lot of knock-on effects; pollution becomes a massive problem, because the smog plume triggers attacks constantly. in vanilla, this means a constant pressure between teching up, expanding factory output, expanding to new resources through the enemy swarm, and defending what you’ve already got. You really need the tank for expanding. You really need the laser turrets and solar power, or else your defenses are going to starve you out. You need trains because the base sizes get huge.

            And with mods, it’s all a hundred thousand times better/more complex/more rewarding.

    • rahien.din says:

      I have a steam account. For me, it’s kind of a time machine that lets me go back and play games from my college days, in their slightly-upgraded versions. I use it for Sid Meier’s Pirates! and for Warhammer 40k Soulstorm.

      However, I most often play a heavily modded version of Madden 2008 ( the last one to hit PC). I have several defensive and offensive playbooks that I have continuously developed over the past 15 years! And that are pretty well-respected in the community of Madden PC modders. One of those even anticipated a prominent adaptation to the spread offense run game, by about 8 or 10 years.

  17. Well... says:

    Suppose someone was a senior level user experience consultant in the IT industry but his bachelor’s degree was in the humanities and he had no other degrees. What kind of jobs could he get in civil engineering (or working closely with civil engineers) if he’s interested in roadways/traffic/etc. and willing/able to learn quickly?

  18. Atlas says:

    Just a random thought about terrorism:

    Whenever there’s an Islamic terrorist attack, liberals are triggered by right wing people pointing out, hey, what a zany coincidence that this attacker also belonged to a certain religion of peace, isn’t it funny how, even though terrorism is just a risk that we all have to accept and live with and keep calm and carry on through, you never hear about these kinds of bombings/shootings/stabbings happening in countries like Poland and Hungary for some reason, etc.

    But then conservatives get triggered by liberals pointing out that, objectively speaking, terrorism causes fewer—far fewer—fatalities than many other risks that don’t receive anywhere near as much media coverage, so why is it such a big deal? And there’s really no good answer to this—one tack seems to be one I saw Douglas Murray try in a YouTube video, namely that the fact that terrorists intend to cause harm, which someone makes it more important. This makes no sense to me—are the victims of terrorism more dead, do their loved ones suffer more, than victims of drug overdoses/car accidents/heart disease? Run of the mill homicides are also intentional, and don’t receive anywhere near as much media coverage.

    But there’s a different justification for worrying about terrorism that some, notably Nassim Taleb, have vocally propounded, and which Scott discussed in “Terrorism and Chairs: an Outlier Story.” The argument is that terrorism is fat-tailed, so, even though a small number of people die in terrorist attacks compared to other things every year, there’s a chance that terrorists could use a biological/nuclear weapon of some kind to inflict mass casualties, as opposed to thin-tailed risks like falling deaths that remain relatively constant, so wipe that smug grin off of your face liberals.

    This just seems like a really, really weak argument—indeed, a self-defeating one— to me. It may be the case that there is a significant risk from terrorists acquiring WMD, though that seems like it would be very difficult and expensive, and considering how much difficulty terrorists have pulling off relatively small operations like the 2010 Times Square attempted bombing I kind of have a hard time believing that terrorists would be able to just build, transport to and detonate a nuclear device in the middle of NYC or something without a drone strike/the NSA/the want of a nail ruining the entire plan at some point.

    But ok, let’s accept this for the sake of argument. If true, it seems like “terrorism” is really two separate things: the thin-tailed risk from bombings/stabbings/shootings that are what we see in the real world provoke hysteria and media coverage—it’s not like terrorists will be able to stab/shoot 15,000 people to death in one year—-, and the hypothesized fat-tailed risk from WMD. Maybe the hypothesized fat-tailed risk of WMD is comparable to the number of fatalities from auto accidents, but if so it just means that there’s yet another risk that is more important but receives far less coverage than the small-scale terrorist attacks with guns/knives/bombs. I guess you could argue that the ability of a lone wolf terrorist to acquire a gun at Walmart and kill a dozen or so people before being stopped makes it more likely that a terrorist network could assemble a nuclear device, transport it to a major population center and successfully detonate it before being foiled, so therefore we should worry about actually observable terrorist attacks because they could show an increased chance of fat-tailed ones. (Though, again, those seem like almost two separate phenomena to me.)

    But no one on the right (e.g. Stefan Molyneux) ever responds to a terrorist attack like that. They point to the actually dead victims and wring their hands about how long will it take people to wake up. So all in all I think that the liberal point about victims of terrorism being less than victims of car accidents/drug overdoses/homicides/suicides handily survives the fat-tailed distribution challenge. I would further note that it seems suspiciously like many of the people who make this argument are making an isolated demand for rigor, in that they’re willing to worry about fat-tailed risks and call for drastic measures when it comes to Islamic terrorism, but not so much for A.I. risk or ecoterrorism or giant asteroid strikes or any of the many other hard to predict but possibly devastating risks one could imagine.

    • hls2003 says:

      That wasn’t what I took from Scott’s piece. I thought the key point was that terrorism differs from bathtubs because the former is committed by actors with agency, whose behavior can be affected by the reaction of the victimized, whereas bathtubs (unless the Internet of Things has slipped up on me more quickly than I thought) don’t much care whether you bomb them, appease them, or convert to Bathtubianity.

      That would also be the link to the fat tail issue. Since terrorism is committed by conscious agents, potentially the wrong response can encourage/inspire/allow/otherwise increase the chance for terrorists to commit the fat tail attack. Our reaction to bathtubs cannot possibly be “wrong” in that way.

      • Virbie says:

        @hls2003

        > I thought the key point was that terrorism differs from bathtubs because the former is committed by actors with agency, whose behavior can be affected by the reaction of the victimized, whereas bathtubs (unless the Internet of Things has slipped up on me more quickly than I thought) don’t much care whether you bomb them, appease them, or convert to Bathtubianity.

        This doesn’t make much sense to me. You took a leap from “bathtubs have no moral agency” (true, but devoid of implication) to “the danger level of bathtubs is not within our control”, which helps make your point but is decidedly untrue. If we took a minuscule fraction of the amount of money we’ve justified spending due to terrorism and spent it on making every bathtub in every house in America incredibly safe, we absolutely could. The claim these people are making is that we’ve decided as a society that the level of risk/expense that current bathtubs offer is fine, but for terrorism our brains have short-circuited and the calculation is wildly out of proportion.

        I’m varying degrees of sympathetic to the other arguments for why people are so irrationally terrified of terrorism, but the “moral agents” argument is empty of merit.

        • HeelBearCub says:

          This is an interesting point.

          On the one hand, it implies that spending on safer bathtubs is more justified, because bathtubs can’t change their behavior, and therefore interventions are more likely to successful in lowering risk.

          On the other hand, bath tub risk is to some extent the result of personal choices, where certain functions trade-off vs. bathtub safety. This is true in a way that is not true of terrorist risk, because whatever my choices, the terrorists will still be looking to kill me.

          I think the “moral” part of “moral agency” here is a red herring. It’s really the agency that matters. We have to use different mitigation strategies vs. risk factors that have agency and those that do not.

          • Virbie says:

            Sure I agree, the “moral” part is just a distraction. I’m saying that I don’t see why the concept of agency should change the calculation much.

            > This is true in a way that is not true of terrorist risk, because whatever my choices, the terrorists will still be looking to kill me.

            I think the idea is generally not that we should completely ignore the existence of people who want to kill us: it’s that we should work on longer-term solutions to “making people not want to kill us” without hysterically overreacting and shooting ourselves in the foot with short-term reactions to the ones that do manage to kill us, at rates lower than bathtubs.

            It’s fundamentally an argument against the kind of Code Red, emergency-action-over-careful-consideration thinking that has characterized the political discussion around terrorism in the recent past.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            The response I usually have to this touches on the point hls2003 and others are making:

            If I announce that I will spend no more than $1M next year addressing lightning strikes, lightning will not plan to strike people in ways that get around my expenditures. If I announce that I will spend no more than $1M next year addressing terrorism, terrorists will plan attacks that bypass my expenditures.

            That terrorists possess agency is absolutely key, particularly when the manner of addressing the threat is complex enough that the primary indication of impact ends up being how much you’re spending on it.

            This has failure modes, of course. I could spend $1M on lightning strikes one year and $2M the next, and have lesser effect because I spent that $2M foolishly. So money spent ends up being a placeholder for assessing effect, only because we don’t know or don’t understand how it’s being spent.

            Agency is key in how you spend that money, too. As hls2003 points out, you don’t have to worry about whether some of your money should be spent on deterring lightning; you know that’s useless*, so you focus on fewer measures. With terrorism, however, you might get more effect by focusing on physical measures like you would for lightning or bathtubs, or you might get more from psy-ops, propaganda, foreign aid, etc.; moreover, you now have to consider spending resources on figuring out which method is most likely to be most effective.

            *as of 1750 AD or so

          • Kevin C. says:

            @HeelBearCub

            This is true in a way that is not true of terrorist risk, because whatever my choices, the terrorists will still be looking to kill me.

            I’m not sure that the “whatever your choices” bit is true, because you could choose to convert to Islam, after all.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Kevin C:
            And that is going to stop me from being killed by an Islamic terrorist how?

            Is suppose if I converted to Islam and then moved to their territory and joined their jihadi group it might lower the odds of being killed at their hands (although I kind of doubt it), but it would significantly raise the probability that I was killed due to their actions.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @HeelBearCub

            And that is going to stop me from being killed by an Islamic terrorist how?

            Well, you said that they’d “still be looking to kill you” regardless of your choices. I pointed out a choice that would get them to stop looking to kill you. Whether you might end up “collateral damage” instead is a different matter.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Kevin C:
            Being Muslim doesn’t untarget me.

            If I am Muslim and in the line of fire of the terrorist attack, I’m still just as targeted and still just as dead. Because they are targeting random people in the target country.

          • Anonymous says:

            If I am Muslim and in the line of fire of the terrorist attack, I’m still just as targeted and still just as dead. Because they are targeting random people in the target country.

            Well, maybe if you put on Arabic Muslim attire, grow a long beard, they will hesitate before pulling the trigger.

          • Bintchaos keeps talking about the importance of Ibn Taymiyyah. One of his controversial views was support for jihad against other Muslims.

          • AnonYEmous says:

            Yeah, pretty much.

            I’m all for safer bathtubs and so forth, by the way. But I don’t know how much you can really do in that area. One big innovation is those little mats, but they’re sold separately and not everyone has them. I guess you could make them a mandatory inclusion, but they’re kind of painful to stand on; I didn’t really respect them until I fell in the bath myself (luckily I was fine, as I grabbed onto a railing. Said railing had to be re-drilled into the wall, but oh well).

            So that’s a lot of personal stories but the point is: terrorism seems like one of those things you can actually do something about. I accept the risk of falling over in a bathtub, as a risk of taking baths. Ditto for car accidents, as a risk of having cars. What I see a lot of people arguing is that you should accept the risk of terrorism, as a risk of living in a big city (I think Sadiq Khan has said something similar to this, so hopefully I’m not making that up). You can also make your own argument that you should accept the risk of terrorism, as a risk of living with a lot of Muslims – blaming it on US foreign policy optional. But the first argument is kind of BS, and the second argument seems to lead to a lot of people saying “well I don’t want to accept that risk, so I don’t want to live with a lot of Muslims”, which is not exactly what the users of this argument are going for.

          • Aapje says:

            You could simply ban/heavily tax tubs, to make people use showers, which are safer and use less water.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @AnonYEmous:

            But I don’t know how much you can really do in that area

            A hard surface, which becomes slick when wet and soapy, is not level, with lots of hard edges which requires traversing a high lip to exit? You don’t think a different design could make that much safer?

            Now, of course there are trade-offs, consumer choice, etc. But, the market perhaps has built a better mouse trap.

          • AnonYEmous says:

            A hard surface, which becomes slick when wet and soapy, is not level, with lots of hard edges which requires traversing a high lip to exit? You don’t think a different design could make that much safer?

            Yeah, that’s a fair point, and now that I think one of my house’s showers has a very similar design. But obviously that design is only practical for showering – I think the article is trying to sell it as a design for bathing, but I’m extremely skeptical of that. At the very least it should take a lot more time and water to fill up, and besides you don’t have much risk of falling in a bath. Then again, most people don’t take baths these days, so there is some room for improvement I guess.

          • beleester says:

            @AnonYEmous: My bathtub has a rough, grippy surface on the bottom of the tub so you don’t need to use a bath mat – the bath mat is basically part of the bottom of the tub. It’s a pretty elegant solution.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            I feel like if the barbarians are through the gates, and blowing you up, and your response is to fixate on your bathroom, or Nerfing IKEA…

            …maybe your civilization deserves to be destroyed.

            (Hey, what do we know about Roman baths in the first half of the fifth century? Were there any changes to their bathtub-related liability law (lex solium)? David Freidman, I’m looking at you.)

        • hls2003 says:

          First, I didn’t say bathtubs have no “moral” agency. I said they have no agency. I agree that “moral” agency would not be relevant to this discussion – which is why I never said it.

          Bathtubs are not conscious. They do not strategize. They cannot be deterred, frightened, encouraged, convinced, or coerced. They do not change tactics in response to defenses. Terrorists, on the other hand, are agents for whom all the above are true.

          That difference is why they are treated differently. In extremis if you decide that you will no longer spend any resources combating terrorism – zero intelligence, security, military, or financial resources – then you could rationally expect (or at least would not be surprised) if your deaths from terrorism increased significantly year-over-year, and perhaps at an accelerating clip as terrorists are emboldened by success. If, on the other hand, you decide that you will no longer spend any resources combating bathtub deaths, you would expect perhaps a very small one-time increase in deaths (maybe cutting PSAs to old folks and mandatory shower bars collectively increase deaths by, say, 10%), which then stabilizes at a new normal. There is no chance of feedback effects with bathtubs. There is with terrorism.

          We can argue about whether the resources spent on terrorism are excessive, or whether the chosen methods are efficient. I happen to think there is room for improvement in both fields. But arguing that terrorism is the same type of risk as bathtubs is wrong. They are separate types of risk because terrorism is responsive and bathtubs are not. It is rational to treat them differently.

    • Gobbobobble says:

      But then conservatives get triggered by liberals pointing out that, objectively speaking, terrorism causes fewer—far fewer—fatalities than many other risks that don’t receive anywhere near as much media coverage, so why is it such a big deal?

      IMO, one counter to this is that for most of Other Risk X (e.g., chairs, cars, anything found on r/OSHA), one can internally accommodate for it with “Just Don’t Be Stupid”. If I’m careful on my chair, drive safely, and follow the guidelines then I don’t have to worry about X.

      (This is admittedly naive in several cases, driving being a prime example. But it’s still psychologically effective. It lets folk rationalize it away as “Well I’m not Florida Man, so it won’t happen to me”.)

      With terrorism, the whole point is to make people paranoid about everyday activities. Its goal is to be the proverbial Spanish Inquisition so that it can’t be preaccounted for. You can’t exactly say “Well I’m not stupid, so I won’t get suicide bombed”. The lack of individual agency in prevention contributes to its effectiveness. (Constant Vigilance is pretty high cognitive load, prone to stereotyping, and degrades (or at least is indicative of degraded) societal trust levels so I don’t really think the concealed carry badass solution is a good one.)

      • Brad says:

        Why can being killed by a drunk driver plowing into a crowded sidewalk be rationalized as stupid victims, but being killed by an Islamic terrorist plowing into a crowded sidewalk, not?

        • John Schilling says:

          It can’t, which is why drunk driving has provoked a large-scale societal response complete with government intervention, punitive sanctions, hamfisted social interventions, and general stupidity of the sort often seen with e.g. responses to terrorism. Fortunately, there’s no particular ethnic group we can pin as being responsible for most drunk driving, so the “us vs. them” aspect isn’t as bad as it is w/re terrorism.

          • Virbie says:

            There’s no ethnic group, but it is a little odd that the behavior of drinking, or drinking heavily, hasn’t been demonized more (given that the Temperance movement predates the heyday of drunk-driving fervor by many decades). It’s not like there isn’t precedent for doing so with other things: try telling someone in polite society that you tried (the far safer) LSD, or that you smoked weed (if it was 10 years ago and outside of CA).

            I drink fairly often socially, but I’m not really a fan of it as a drug, and if there were substantially more social pressure around the act of drinking I’d probably rarely drink; much like the fact that weed would definitely appeal to a LOT more people if it weren’t for the stigma around it applying constant gentle pressure in the other direction.

          • hlynkacg says:

            I blame college kids and boomers who don’t want to give up their “sex drugs and rock and roll”.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Virbie:
            I think that, like sex, there is both encouragement to, and simultaneous pressure not to, drink heavily.

            For example, not being able to “handle” drinking heavily is treated with a fair amount of social disapprobation. You are supposed to be able to drink a lot, but not be “sloppy” drunk.

          • Virbie says:

            @HeelBearCub

            Oh absolutely. I used to drink like crazy in college, when I was more susceptible to those kind of social forces. The fact that I have a high tolerance only reinforced my willingness to participate in getting some easy social status.

            To get back to the point, I don’t think that what you’re describing is exogenous to what I’m talking about. The fact that there’s a culture around drinking that normalizes and even lionizes it is dependent on the fact that it’s not demonized. You can see the same thing with weed in the places where subcultures that accepted it were allowed to grow big enough. I was born and raised in CA so this is something I have experience with too: it’s never even occurred to me that I might get in trouble for smoking weed, including in public parks etc.

          • John Schilling says:

            There’s no ethnic group, but it is a little odd that the behavior of drinking, or drinking heavily, hasn’t been demonized more (given that the Temperance movement predates the heyday of drunk-driving fervor by many decades).

            The Temperance movement was also allowed to demonize the behavior of drinking to the point of making it illegal. This is perceived to have ended Very Badly, and not in an “OK, we wen’t just a little too far” sense.

            Until this is forgotten, the “correct” level of demonization for heavy drinking in the United States is going to be roughly midway between pre-MADD three-martini lunches and Prohibition.

            The War on Drugs not being regarded as so obviously a failure as Prohibition, there’s no upper limit to the acceptable demonization of non-alcohol-and-tobacco drug use.

      • Kevin C. says:

        You can’t exactly say “Well I’m not stupid, so I won’t get suicide bombed”.

        True, but I would note that suicide bombers aren’t exactly indiscriminate in their choice of targets. I recall an exchange in the comments at Rod Dreher’s where one commenter said “Islamic Terrorists would never try this in blue collar or rural Ohio, Michigan or Pennsylvania” (of course, meaning this in terms of terrorists willingness to face “tough, manly, Real American Men™” versus “effete urban liberal Pajama Boys”), and Ken’ichi replied with “Perhaps, but more likely because not much in the way of the sort of highly-visible targets they like.” One can choose to live and work in areas that are devoid of the sort of big, showy targets suicide bombers prefer, and greatly minimize one’s risk. (In fact, since several of my fellow right-wingers have pointed out that it’s primarily more our folk living in the “low targeting risk” areas, and lefty folk concentrated near likely targets, I’ve considered adjusting my positions on Muslim immigration and “terrorism is just a risk that we all have to accept and live with”.)

        • The Nybbler says:

          I’ve considered adjusting my positions on Muslim immigration and “terrorism is just a risk that we all have to accept and live with”

          Hey, I’m working in Times Square.

        • Matt M says:

          I’ve always been amazed that this never works in reverse. i.e. 9/11 didn’t really lead to any significant amount of New Yorkers suddenly converting to red tribe (even if only for foreign policy purposes).

          Like, the people who are most plausibly likely to benefit from things like “extreme vetting” or other measures designed to reduce terrorism are the people living in Manhattan and Washington, DC. In other words, the people who voted against Trump 10:1.

          • Virbie says:

            It seems facile to me to say that those people are somehow more principled on average or something; Does anyone have an alternative explanation?

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            I have a couple, hopefully in line with your urge to not be facile.

            One is good ol’ institutional inertia; people tend to vote the way their parents voted, and even terrorism won’t flip that generational trend. This isn’t for nothing; people vote the way their parents do because of several supporting arguments shared among their family, and those arguments don’t just go away because of one incident.

            Another is that it did flip a few New Yorkers even so. I recall numerous stories of people joining the armed forces on 9/12, for example. And the most common definition I’ve heard for “neocon” is “liberal who’d been mugged by 9/11”.

          • Brad says:

            @Paul Brinkley

            And the most common definition I’ve heard for “neocon” is “liberal who’d been mugged by 9/11”.

            That’s pretty anachronistic.

            @Matt M

            Like, the people who are most plausibly likely to benefit from things like “extreme vetting” or other measures designed to reduce terrorism are the people living in Manhattan and Washington, DC. In other words, the people who voted against Trump 10:1.

            I think it is much more plausible to expect to see a shift in the political positions of the tribe than a mass exodus to the other tribe. The politics aren’t fundamental to the tribe identity, they are contingent.

            And indeed you did see some of that. The NYPD has been pretty aggressive in anti-terrorism tactics, and gotten relatively little pushback. Not none, the ACLU keeps litigating, but not too much. On the national level there were lots of Democrats that supported the Patriot Act.

            As for extreme vetting and Trump you are begging the question.

          • Nornagest says:

            On the national level there were lots of Democrats that supported the Patriot Act.

            I think this stumbles on the timing of that particular bit of tribalization. On 10 September 2001, terrorism wasn’t really on the national agenda — it happened, it made the news, there were people trying to stop it, but doing so was an operational question within the global security space, kinda like how who exactly gets to give a speech on campus was, two years ago, an operational question within the academic space. On 12 September 2001, everyone wanted to stop terrorism but there was little clarity on how to do so.

            It’s easy to forget now that we’re all tired of the wars he started, but George W. Bush was a hugely popular guy when the Patriot Act passed. There was certainly some pushback from a few people further out on the left and the libertarian right, but not a lot; there was a real prospect of the changes it started becoming part of the new normal of politics, as indeed they did in Britain. I think the only reason they didn’t is because the Iraq War was sold largely on counterterrorism grounds, and so counterterrorism tactics — any counterterrorism tactics — were tarred by association.

          • hls2003 says:

            It strikes me that an interesting thought experiment would be an executive order abolishing travel restrictions, refugee restrictions, and “vetting” (whether extreme or not) but barring any entrants under the new order from settling in any city with a population density less than 10,000 per square mile. Who loses? Urban areas are blue islands, who presumably would welcome the relaxed restrictions; Trump supporters opposing the newcomers reside very predominantly outside urban areas. Even the Red Stater argument that potential terrorists might strike outside their neighborhoods doesn’t do much; terrorism as a tactic only works well in areas of concentrated population. The London Bridge or Nice attacks don’t work on a country road.

          • Nornagest says:

            Impossible to enforce without draconian internal travel restrictions.

          • The obvious explanation is that they don’t believe that those policies make terrorism significantly less likely.

    • hlynkacg says:

      I think the huge glaring difference that the “Terrorism vs Chairs” comparison misses is that furniture isn’t going to up it’s game after failing to kill you the first time around. This makes it easy to judge the cost/benefit of defending against chair related deaths. If you’re worried about earthquakes, you build sturdier buildings. It’s not like a fault-line isn’t going shift tactics or move to a new location with softer targets.

      Terrorists on the other hand, if denied the opportunity to blow up parliament, will happily settle for blowing up a rock concert. That makes them a lot scarier than furniture or fault-lines.

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        But what reason is the to believe that the terrorists can up their game? Disregarding frequency, the scale of terrorism in the West seems to be decreasing, not increasing.

        • Nornagest says:

          Not sure. There’s been nothing on the scale of 9/11, but that was such an outlier in so many ways that it invites overfitting just by existing.

          I think the Madrid bombings were the most lethal attack in the West since, but the 2015 Paris attacks were within spitting distance of those.

        • hlynkacg says:

          what reason is the to believe that the terrorists can up their game?

          Terrorists have upped thier game in the past and I see no reason to believe that they wont be able to do so in the future. Terrorists are human and humans have a demonstrated knack for adaptation and creativity.

          Heck, I’m reasonably confident I could wreak considerable havoc if I were so inclined with the modest resources I have on hand, never mind a few reliable accomplices and a wealthy patron.

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            I think people smart enough to kill more than 20 people and dumb enough to do it are quite rare. Certainly I am neither.

        • Aapje says:

          But what reason is the to believe that the terrorists can up their game?

          1. Muslims are radicalizing world wide.
          2. The number of Muslims in the West is increasing.

          One would logically expect more attacks in the future unless we change these trends.

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            This is going to sound like PC special pleading but… citation needed for number 1. I know it’s obvious, but is it true? Particularly since 2 cuts against it.

          • Aapje says:

            At the very least, we can see that many Muslim countries were far less orthodox in say, the 70’s. We also have surveys that show substantial negative changes in Indonesia (see page 94).

            Also, 2 doesn’t really matter much here, since the number of Muslims in the West is just a fraction of the total number of Muslims.

    • bintchaos says:

      Dr. Taleb also said that IS is anti fragile.
      And then deleted the tweet. 🙂

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      Hate crimes kill extremely few people. I mean, what are the chances of a black man being lynched in modern day America? Therefore, if a black man is lynched, we should ignore it because I mean, come on your chances of being lynched are way, way, way less than your chances of dying from a lightening strike. Who cares if there’s a random black man swinging by his neck from a tree? That’s just part and parcel of living in a modern society.

      We treat both hate crimes and terrorism differently from other crimes because the target is not just the victim, but the society itself. If your neighbor is killed by his business partner over a business dispute, well that sucks, but it’s not any threat to you. You’re not in business with that guy. The murderer is in jail and what’s done is done.

      If your neighbor is killed indiscriminately because of his race, that’s a big problem for you. Even if you’re not of his same race, because the kind of people who would kill him for his race are the same kinds of people who would kill you for being opposed to the killing of people of your neighbor’s race.

      Terrorism is not just an attack on the people who are killed. It’s an attack on the entire society they inhabit. It destroys trust between members of that society.

      • Virbie says:

        > Hate crimes kill extremely few people. I mean, what are the chances of a black man being lynched in modern day America? Therefore, if a black man is lynched, we should ignore it because I mean, come on your chances of being lynched are way, way, way less than your chances of dying from a lightening strike. Who cares if there’s a random black man swinging by his neck from a tree? That’s just part and parcel of living in a modern society.

        Meh, this analogy would make sense if lynching and hate crimes were rare occurrences coincided with complete equality of treatment for black Americans overall. Lynching was one of the most monstrous forms of the same phenomenon manifesting all the way down the spectrum of severity (i.e, all of the rest of the ways that black Americans were treated).

        Alternatively, if terrorists were doing everything from large attacks to beating up individuals to moving your furniture so you stub your toe, with correspondingly increasing frequency respectively, then yea, the average person _should_ be worried, since the probability of some sort of victimization would be so much higher (not to mention the unavoidable secondary effects on everyday life, as with the hate crimes example).

      • pontifex says:

        I was going to post exactly this. If there was a school shooting and I posted about how chairs kill more high schoolers than school shootings every year, people would look at me like I was a monster. And yet we give the same rhetoric a free pass when people wave it around regarding terrorism.

        Terrorism always has a goal of persuading people to do something (not publish cartoons of Mohammed, not admit to being gay, etc. etc.). It’s worth spending a lot to minimize terrorism to avoid the chilling effects that terrorism is designed to create. It’s not about an insurance-company style calculation of deaths over time.

        • rlms says:

          “people would look at me like I was a monster.”
          Would they? The swimming pool meme is pretty common.

    • Well... says:

      And there’s really no good answer to this

      Sure there is. You sort of hinted at it.

      Think about all that other bad stuff we’re mockingly told is more deadly than terrorism: car accidents, shark attacks, cancer, etc. Any sure step the US could take to drastically reduce these things–starting tomorrow–would instantly lead to potential run-ins with the Constitution and our national ethics:

      -Want to drastically reduce car accidents? Make the driver’s test so hard that only 1% of the very best drivers can pass it, and beef penalties for moving violations way up.
      -Want to drastically reduce shark attacks? Make swimming in US-controlled ocean waters illegal.
      -Want to drastically reduce death from cancer? Make cancer screenings mandatory, punishable with jail time.

      But to reduce what appears to be Islamic terrorism, just cut way back on immigration and visas by people from Islamic countries.* America is well within its rights to do something like that. Nobody is owed the right to come here.

      It’s the “if you find yourself in a hole stop digging” principle.

      *Yes, I know Islamic terrorism is often committed by people who were born here, but we can prevent the next wave by keeping out their parents.

      • Wrong Species says:

        Right. If you accept two statements as true:

        1. For every additional Muslim, there is a higher chance of terrorism

        2. No one has a right to immigrate to the US

        Then reducing the number of Muslim migrants is just common sense. No one’s rights are being trampled on, we reduce the risk of terrorism and we can even give the spot to some other person who is significantly less likely to cause us harm. If we don’t discriminate against Muslims now, then we could put ourself in a position in the future where we do have to make difficult decisions.

        • Well... says:

          Yes, I accept both statements as true.

          If we don’t discriminate against Muslims now, then we could put ourself in a position in the future where we do have to make difficult decisions.

          Yes. This is something very important not many people understand. There is a pattern to how societies and cultures develop when they’re subjected to continually higher threats from terrorism. The direction of that development is not what the typical pro-immigration person would probably like.

          I’m very low on epistemic certainty lately and this has pushed me toward the center in many ways, but this is one issue where I think one whole side of the debate is dead wrong and being terribly short-sighted about it.

          • Aapje says:

            Exactly.

            The irony is that my rights are being hollowed out to fight terrorism, while I’m being told that preventing terrorism in the first place is violating human rights.

          • There is a pattern to how societies and cultures develop when they’re subjected to continually higher threats from terrorism.

            There is a depressing but well written alternate history series by S.M. Stirling in which a high functioning slave society starts in southern Africa and eventually conquers the world. At one point, it controls Eurasia, America is free. The U.S. has a more innovative, flexible society, which the bad guys recognize as an advantage. So they harass it in ways that push it into defending itself in ways that make it a more closed, less innovative society.

            I am reluctant to recommend the books–the first one is Marching Through Georgia–because I found a convincing portrayal of an evil society that worked well depressing. But that’s my fault, not the author’s.

            Peshawar Lancers, on the other hand, by the same author, was great fun. Alternate history with implied references to Burroughs’ Mars novels, Kim, Flashman, … .

          • Well... says:

            @David Friedman,

            We’re often told that the terrorists’ goal is to get us to clam up and be less free, and that when we do things like restrict Muslim immigration into our lands we are playing into their strategy.

            Can you explain why you find this argument convincing? I used to believe it but no longer do.

            (PS. To echo Wrong Species, below, I also want to point out that I don’t support a complete Muslim ban–but not for the same reasons as him. I do support greater restriction on immigration across the board though. It’s one of the few issues anymore where I have a strong position on one side or the other.)

          • Jiro says:

            The argument is sophistry and is another case of “you should do something (stop fighting terrorism) that straightforwardly seems like it would harm you and help me”, which is usually motivated reasoning or concern trolling.

            Terrorists’ goal is to take away specific types of freedom from us, not to “take away freedom” in general. The freedom you lose from anti-terrorism measures is not the same type of freedom that the terrorists are trying to take away (unless you’re fighting terrorism by banning criticism of Islam, forcing women to wear burqas, etc.)

          • We’re often told that the terrorists’ goal is to get us to clam up and be less free, and that when we do things like restrict Muslim immigration into our lands we are playing into their strategy.

            Can you explain why you find this argument convincing? I used to believe it but no longer do.

            I made no claim about the motives of the terrorists. For the argument to work in the form you offered it, one would have to assume that the terrorists believe that being free is a strength, hence want us to stop it.

            The version of the argument I have seen is that if western countries are hostile to Islam, that will reduce the tendency of Muslim immigrants to acculturate into western values, and the terrorists see that, naturally enough, as a good thing. That seems plausible enough, but I don’t know if it is true.

          • Well... says:

            @David Friedman:

            I’m unfamiliar with that version of the argument, but it doesn’t seem plausible anyway. Terrorist recruiting appears to be pretty strong in Western countries that put lots of effort into not being hostile to Muslim immigrants. The Wikipedia list of Islamist terrorist attacks, if you mentally filter out non-Western countries and Israel, includes lots of entries from France, Germany, the UK, and some from the US and Scandinavia. There are a few from Russia, but aside from that I don’t see any from Western countries known to be relatively hostile to Muslim immigrants, such as Poland or the Czech Republic.

            It’s not a perfect data set, I know–Canada is pretty welcoming and only has 2 entries, so population size is probably a factor–but the argument as you’ve stated it still seems unlikely to be true.

          • rlms says:

            @Well…
            What is your point about population size?

          • Well... says:

            @rims:

            Basically that it’s a confound. (Along with geographic location, which I should also have mentioned.) So for example, Iceland is a small, fairly socially liberal country whose attitude toward Muslim immigrants is likely to be much more welcoming than, say, Russia’s. Yet Russia has suffered more Islamic terrorism because there are simply way more Muslims who wind up in Russia, due to Russia’s size and its proximity–and connectedness by land–to Muslim countries.

          • rlms says:

            @Well…
            But Canada has a large population (and a reasonable proportion of Muslims), yet few terrorist attacks.

          • Well... says:

            @rims:

            Is Canada an outlier? Seems like it to me.

          • rlms says:

            @Well…
            Maybe, but an outlier in a sample size this small is significant. But I don’t think it actually is an outlier. Canada has experienced two small attacks, one of which falls towards the mental illness side of the mental-illness/ideology spectrum. But Sweden has also only had two, and the population sizes aren’t that different.

            More pertinently, Norway and Austria haven’t had any Islamist terrorist attacks (even though Austria is 7% Muslim), and Spain has only had one (despite having almost twice as many Muslims as Canada). I think a better model is that Western countries have similar proportions of Islamists. Poland and the Czech Republic have an order of magnitude fewer Muslims than any of the countries that have experienced attacks, so we would expect an order of magnitude fewer attacks (an amount which is basically zero on a timescale of decades). The only outlier is France, which has loads.

          • dndnrsn says:

            You can’t compare the Muslim populations of Canada and the US to Muslim populations in Europe. For one thing, selection is completely different. For another, Canada and the US are markedly better at integrating immigrants than European countries.

            Further, compared to the US, Canada is not Target #1 as the US would be (eg, 9/11), and for stuff akin to the Pulse shooting, that’s harder in Canada, because our firearms restrictions are much stronger.

          • rlms says:

            @dndnrsn
            Statistically you can. Here are figures of terrorist attacks since 9/11 per 100,000 Muslims in a variety of countries (figures from that Wikipedia page and pages titled “Islam in [x]”):

            Canada: 0.20
            US: 0.33
            UK: 0.18
            Sweden: 0.33
            Germany: 0.11
            Spain: 0.05
            Denmark: 0.4
            Belgium: 0.1
            France: 0.34
            (contrary to the impression I had before, France don’t actually have a particularly high rate of attacks)

            So the US and Canada are well within the normal range, and actually towards the high end.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @rlms

            That 0.2 number has more to do with Canada’s relatively small number of Muslims than any serious threat of Muslim terrorism in Canada. There have been two attacks, which have caused two fatalities and four injuries, not including the perpetrator of one of the attacks. One attack was committed by a Quebecois convert, the other by a half-Libyan half-Quebecois convert – so it’s barely even to do with immigration.

            Number of dead is a better indicator of threat than number of attacks, because it helps separate the kind of attacks Canada has seen from well-organized, supported, high-body-count attacks.

            Would you say that the UK has a smaller problem with Muslim radical terrorism than Canada does?

          • rlms says:

            @dndnrsn
            I agree that number of attacks can be misleading, but using number of deaths can be too, as it places basically no weight on small attacks. Canada might have less of a terrorist problem than France, but I don’t think it is 25 times better as number of deaths would suggest. Using that metric also suggests Spain is twice as bad as France, which I don’t think is correct. It is also very sensitive to whether attacks succeed or fail, due to how infrequent they are. If the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu attack had been similarly successful as other car ramming attacks, it would have killed several times as many people and Canada’s figure would be a lot higher. The same applies to the 2010 Stockholm bombings, but the opposite applies to attacks that kill a lot of people.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @rlms:

            Overall, though, Canada doesn’t seem to have a problem of anything like the sort some European countries do. There have been foiled terror plots here, but I think it’s notable that the two attacks there have been, have been lone self-radicalized guys, neither raised Muslim. It’s also interesting that both seemed to have targeted military personnel, over attempting to maximize casualties by attacking civilian targets. Terrorism against Muslims has a higher death count than terrorism by Muslims as far as Canada is concerned.

          • John Schilling says:

            Terrorism is a strategy people resort to when they(*) don’t think they can win their wars by more conventional means. We may imagine that the Islamists imagine their armies eventually conquering the whole of the Earth, and that’s probably true of some of them, but the invasion of e.g. Canada is I think way, way down on their to-do list.

            The wars Islamists are having trouble winning today are basically, A: kicking the Jews out of “Palestine”, B: kicking the Hindus out of Jammu and Kashmir, and C: not getting kicked out of what bits of Syria and Iraq they still hold. So the targets of Islamic terrorism are going to be a weighted average of A: whoever is seen as waging war against Islam in Palestine, India, Syria, and Iraq and B: whatever is convenient to Islamic wannabe terrorists.

            By virtue of their liberal immigration and asylum policies, Canada and Sweden are convenient to lots of Islamic wannabe terrorists, but they are only weakly involved in waging any war Islamists care about. The US, UK, and France, are the ones bombing ISIS in I and S, and the US in particular has been seen as Israel’s protector for generations. So, Islamic terrorism even if it’s not quite as convenient. Also in Russia and India, but meh, nobody here much cares about those two.

            * Or more precisely the armies and insurgents they see as fighting on their behalf, as it usually isn’t the same individual persons pursuing the different strategies.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @John Schilling:

            Are Canada’s immigration and refugee policies that liberal? Most immigrants get in by a pretty demanding points system, and the rest are either family reunification or refugees, and the refugee system is a weird public/private hybrid that seems to select for people who would do OK in Canada anyway.

          • rlms says:

            @John Schilling
            There are two overlapping clusters: terrorism as a strategy, and terrorism as an activity for young male often-mentally-ill petty criminals who have been influenced by propaganda. I think that a lot of attacks by Western Islamists currently fall more in the second cluster. That means they will happen in proportion to the number of people who fit that profile in a country, rather based on each country’s foreign policy. Countries with anti-Islamist foreign policy should have more large organised attacks. I don’t know the extent to which that happens. It definitely applies to the UK, but the post-9/11 large attacks in the US (Boston bombings, Pulse shooting) weren’t very political, France is a mixed bag, and Spain had a very large organised attack without foreign policy to trigger it.

          • Aapje says:

            @rlms

            The UK has/had a pro-Islamist policy.

            UK policy is/was that Islamist extremists could openly do their thing, as long as they didn’t attack the UK or its allies.

          • John Schilling says:

            UK policy is/was that Islamist extremists could openly do their thing, as long as they didn’t attack the UK or its allies.

            Cite?

        • Wrong Species says:

          I should point out that I actually don’t support a Muslim ban. The main reason is that I do take the idea of duties towards refugees seriously. If we let in 10,000 refugees, that could raise our chances of a terrorist attack but that’s also 10,000 people who’s lives are measurablely better off. And 10,000 people is not a large number compared to the population of the US.

          There’s also the issue of uncertainty. I do believe that terrorism and Islam are connected right now but it’s not like it’s a guarantee. Islamic terrorism only became an issue in the 80’s and only started ramping up in the last couple decades. Who’s to say the issue won’t go away 20 years from now?

          • Kevin C. says:

            Islamic terrorism only became an issue in the 80’s and only started ramping up in the last couple decades. Who’s to say the issue won’t go away 20 years from now?

            “Terrorism”, perhaps, but are you familiar with, say, the Barbary Wars? “The shores of Tripoli”? Or how about the Fall of Constantinople? The Umayyad conquest of Hispania? As one infamous far-Rightist has repeatedly put it:

            For well over a thousand years many kingdoms, nations, peoples, cultures, religions, tribes, and armed religions, have sought to coexist with Islam. None have succeeded. We will not be the first.

          • For well over a thousand years many kingdoms, nations, peoples, cultures, religions, tribes, and armed religions, have sought to coexist with Islam. None have succeeded. We will not be the first.

            That simply isn’t true. Judaism is a religion and a culture, and it coexisted with Islam for more than a thousand years. There were some conflicts at the beginning and at the very end, but on the whole Islam was more tolerant of Jews than Christianity. Consider the contrast between Muslim Spain and Christian Spain.

          • rlms says:

            @Kevin C.
            David Friedman has provided some counterexamples. For more, see modern-day Albania, Senegal, and several of the *stans; and the Mughal Empire historically. Those meet the standard of being more tolerant than comparable non-Muslim countries (Albania hasn’t had a Srebrenica). If you just want the standard of as tolerant as comparable non-Muslim countries, the examples you give meet it! If we’re going to judge the peacefulness of Christianity based on religious violence in 16th/17th century, it won’t look very good either.

          • Aapje says:

            @Wrong Species

            If we let in 10,000 refugees, that could raise our chances of a terrorist attack but that’s also 10,000 people who’s lives are measurablely better off. And 10,000 people is not a large number compared to the population of the US.

            10,000 people is also not a major number compared to the total number of Syrian refugees (UNHCR registered 4,863,684).

            That 10,000 is not even close to making any real impact, so it’s pure virtue signalling.

            Islamic terrorism only became an issue in the 80’s and only started ramping up in the last couple decades. Who’s to say the issue won’t go away 20 years from now?

            Salafism is on the rise world wide. Do you have a plan to reduce this or are you simply hoping that the trend reverses? If it doesn’t, then what do you do?

          • bintchaos says:

            Do you see the logic flaw in all your muslim ban arguments?
            Lets suppose there is a muslim ban, and also all muslims are deported– down to 3rd or 4th generation. Outlaw Islam, make Quran illegal, etc.
            So what happens to US overseas interests and allies that are still exposed to attacks in situ?
            Any crack-down on US muslims will destabilize our pals al Salool (House Saud) and Sisi and King Abdullah.
            So your muslim ban might reduce terror events in US (much like RU genocide of ~250,000 chechan muslims did temporarily) but the energy will get pushed off to MENA and Africa into attacks on US allies and interests.
            mw there are ~23 million refugees, half of which are children. There are a projected 1 billion youth in Africa by 2050, mostly Sunni muslim. A depthless pool of recruits for emergent Islamic insurgencies.

            Also, how do you stop recruitment of non-muslim US youth by conversion to Islam? its impossible to reduce US terror events to 0. Did you know US has given up on CVE? there is no counter-narrative under the initial condition of US interventionism and injustice. “secular democracy” is not competitive in dar ul Islam.

          • The Nybbler says:

            So what happens to US overseas interests and allies that are still exposed to attacks in situ?

            They either expel their Muslims too, or are subject to attacks. Note that this is true _regardless_ of whether the US expels its Muslims, so it’s not an argument against expulsion.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Nybbler

            They either expel their Muslims too


            There would be no one left in KSA…whole country is muslim.
            Actually KSA has exported terrorists for 30 years…redirecting them to attack the West and funding them.
            And now this is what is KSA is doing–
            Destabilizing Indonesia

          • Wrong Species says:

            @Aapje

            That 10,000 is not even close to making any real impact,

            It does for those 10,000. It’s not all or nothing. As far as hoping the trend reverses, I’m not exactly counting on it but it’s more about uncertainty than completely changing my opinion. It probably won’t happen but considering how new Islamic terrorism is, it’s a factor we should consider.

            @Kevin C.

            I do think you’re right, although I’m not as fatalistic. Just because we solve the terrorism problem doesn’t mean everything is ok. I’m not convinced that Muslims can assimilate easy but that’s not that big of a problem as long as you keep their numbers as a percentage of the population small.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Wrong Species

            I’m not convinced that Muslims can assimilate easy but that’s not that big of a problem as long as you keep their numbers as a percentage of the population small.

            Two words: differential fertility.

            Also, what about when your country keeps them small as a percentage of its population, but a country next door becomes Muslim majority? And some sizeable chunk of that majority decides it’s time to once again expand the Dār al-Islam into the Dār al-Ḥarb? (Paging Charles the Hammer…)

          • Wrong Species says:

            @Kevin

            Pew estimates that Muslims will make up 2% of the population in the US by 2050. Of course, these are just projections which means they could be wrong but I think it’s more likely that fertility falls down than rises. Fertility in the Middle East has been falling for a few decades now and Muslims in the US are more susceptible to those trends. Of course, there’s the possibility that America gives up on its borders and people around the world just flood in. I do worry about that but it’s quite different than a population ballooning up to 10% despite minimal migration through high fertility rates.

          • biblicalsausage says:

            I’m sort of baffled by the idea that seems to be floating around that even a small Muslim population will eventually take over because Muslims are somehow culturally more fertile than non-Muslims.

            The total fertility rate for MENA was 5.96 in 1984 and 2.85 in 2014. That’s a drop of just over 2 kids per woman in a single generation. To put it in bintchaotic terms, we’re neglecting to discuss the decreasing fitness of Islamic ideology in the 21st century.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’m sort of baffled by the idea that seems to be floating around that even a small Muslim population will eventually take over because Muslims are somehow culturally more fertile than non-Muslims.

            Because they are.

            The total fertility rate for MENA was 5.96 in 1984 and 2.85 in 2014. That’s a drop of just over 2 kids per woman in a single generation. To put it in bintchaotic terms, we’re neglecting to discuss the decreasing fitness of Islamic ideology in the 21st century.

            We’re not talking about Muslims in their homelands. We’re talking about Muslims in our lands.

          • Aapje says:

            Muslim fertility rates are dropping in Europe pretty fast. They won’t take over unless you have large scale migration.

          • Aapje says:

            @Wrong Species

            It does for those 10,000.

            Syrians can generally find safety in the vicinity of Syria, though. So the only thing that you are doing is taking a small group of third/second worlders and making them lottery winners.

            The main reason why the Syrians are not content to live in Turkey is because they were used to pretty decent living conditions and they lost a lot of that. However, they still tend to be better off than large groups of other people.

            You would probably do a lot more good if you were to take in 10,000 Dalit…

            And you won’t have a percentage of those Dalit commit terrorist acts.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Biblicalsausage

            the decreasing fitness of Islamic ideology in the 21st century.


            But that’s not true.

          • Wrong Species says:

            @Aapje

            The entire country has the potential to become a war zone. Would you feel safe in the “safe” parts of Syria? As far as Turkey, the more other countries take in, the less Turkey has to do. If no one offered help, they would just refuse any more refugees after a certain point.

            However, we could make a deal with places like Saudi Arabia to take in refugees in exchange for some goodies.

          • Aapje says:

            @Wrong Species

            I favor paying the countries in the region (more) for taking in the refugees.

            I never talked about areas within Syria, so I’m not doing to defend what I didn’t claim.

          • Wrong Species says:

            @Aapje

            For some reason, I read “vicinity” as the area within Syria, so that was my misunderstanding.

        • Nancy Lebovitz says:

          Wrong Species,

          what’s left out of your argument is possible costs. A high proportion of potential Muslim immigrants are harmless, productive people, and their children will be, too. (Citation needed, and may be more true in the US than Europe.)

          Not having these people adding to your society is a loss.

          And border constraints aren’t free.

          • Anonymous says:

            Not having these people adding to your society is a loss.

            You’re assuming they’re adding, not subtracting, or that they’re part of the native society in any appreciable sense.

          • The Nybbler says:

            what’s left out of your argument is possible costs. A high proportion of potential Muslim immigrants are harmless, productive people, and their children will be, too.

            But can we distinguish well enough (perhaps with “extreme vetting”) so that Muslim immigration will be a net benefit to the country? If not, then it doesn’t matter that a blanket ban shuts out some good people; on the net, the ban is as good as we can get.

          • Anonymous says:

            But can we distinguish well enough (perhaps with “extreme vetting”) so that Muslim immigration will be a net benefit to the country?

            Probably not. Japan already admits next to no-one, and monitors all its Muslim residents, and things like this still happen.

          • Randy M says:

            Thing is, though, we can make our own people.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thing is, though, we can make our own people.

            We’re sort of shit at it right now, though. (But that’s no reason to import alien replacements.)

          • But can we distinguish well enough (perhaps with “extreme vetting”) so that Muslim immigration will be a net benefit to the country?

            One point that hasn’t been introduced is the effect of generous subsidies to refugees/immigrants, as in the case of Germany.

            The simplest way of reducing the problems associated with Muslim immigration, especially in Europe, is what I believe is the Czech approach. Make immigration easy but provide no significant welfare benefits to the immigrants. People who want to come to work still come, become productive members of the society, and most put their energy into supporting themselves and their families, not blowing things up. Desperate refugees will still come–begging in Berlin is better than being massacred in Libya. But there is no longer a reason for people to come with the intention of living off of, and possibly subverting, the host society.

            During the period just before and after WWI, the U.S. was absorbing about a million immigrants a year into a population a third its present size. Under essentially those rules.

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            Moreover, the Muslims themselves are morally considerable. Keeping out Muslim immigrants would damage the interests of those potential immigrants.

      • But to reduce what appears to be Islamic terrorism, just cut way back on immigration and visas by people from Islamic countries.

        That might reduce the amount of terrorism by amateur do-it-yourself terrorists. I don’t think it would have much effect on terrorism by competent terrorist groups, such as the 9/11 attack.

        The U.S. hosts over 70 million foreign tourists each year. How hard can it be for an organization with resources to slip a few of its operatives into that flood? Stolen passports from respectable western countries, including the U.S., sell for a few thousand dollars, so even if the U.S. refused to issue any visas at all terrorists could get in disguised as citizens.

        • John Schilling says:

          Stolen passports from respectable western countries, including the U.S., sell for a few thousand dollars, so even if the U.S. refused to issue any visas at all terrorists could get in disguised as citizens.

          Not by using stolen passports, they couldn’t. Have you noticed in your recent travels that US border guards don’t just look at the blue pamphlet and wave you past any more, they machine-read it? And then take your fingerprint?

          If the passport has been reported stolen, then when you try to cross the US border with it, the only part of the United States you get to see is the inside of a jail or prison. Same deal if your fingerprints don’t match the ones linked to the passport. And this is now true of most first-world nations.

          Stolen passports still have some uses, but illicitly entering first-world nations isn’t generally one of them.

          • Nornagest says:

            I wonder how accurate their fingerprint readers are. The ones I have experience with have an error rate of about 1 in 10,000, which sounds high for this application.

          • I had not noticed that. Interesting. But I still don’t see how, as a practical matter, you can keep a serious terrorist organization from getting a few operatives into the U.S.

          • bean says:

            I wonder how accurate their fingerprint readers are. The ones I have experience with have an error rate of about 1 in 10,000, which sounds high for this application.

            What sort of error? False rejects are fairly easily dealt with by re-scanning, and if necessary bringing in the CBP people to double-check. False accepts are a potential problem, but at 1 in 10,000 not a huge one. I certainly wouldn’t base a plan on those odds.

          • John Schilling says:

            @Nornagest: A false reject leads to secondary screening, where e.g. one border agent asks you detailed questions about your trip and a second calls the home and/or office of the person you are claiming to be. One per 10,000 isn’t too high for that.

            @David: Inserting NOC agents who can move freely in developed countries in the 21st century is hard enough that even Mossad can’t do it reliably without e.g. asking sympathetic foreign Jews for the temporary loan of their passports. There are obvious vulnerabilities in the United States, due to our economic addiction to illegal immigrant labor, but if the US goes Full Trump, then it does become genuinely hard for Al Qaeda to insert useful operatives.

          • Inserting NOC agents who can move freely in developed countries in the 21st century is hard enough that even Mossad can’t do it reliably without e.g. asking sympathetic foreign Jews for the temporary loan of their passports.

            This involves two problems–getting into the country and moving around in it. So far as the first is concerned, quite a lot illegal immigrants without the resources of al Quaeda or the equivalent manage it.

            So far as the second, I can not remember ever being asked for any ID more secure than a driving license while traveling within the U.S.. I don’t know how thorough the check of drivers’ licenses is for flying, but the random motel just looks at it, so the use of forged or stolen ones should be easy.

            So once you get into the U.S. with a reasonable amount of money, or a credit card, what keeps you from moving around freely?

          • Nornagest says:

            What sort of error?

            It’d be a false accept in this kind of scenario, or a misidentification if you’re comparing against multiple templates. False rejects are far more common (usually caused by fingers too dry or too wet; if it’s really severe the device will notice and refuse to generate a template, but it can also produce a bad one), and can usually be handled by wiping off the offending finger (if too wet) or rubbing it on something mildly oily like your forehead (if too dry) and trying again. You can reduce the false accept rate by looking for a closer match, but this quickly increases the false reject rate to levels that make it unusable in edge cases — it’s basically your average precision/recall tradeoff.

            Fingerprint readers really aren’t very good, although they’re way better than face recognition, which had something like a 1% misidentification rate when I was working around it. But if they’re being used as one element of a defense-in-depth strategy like John Schilling describes, they’re probably good enough.

            (Iris scanning is a lot more accurate, and it could actually be made cheaper — all you really need is a cellphone camera with an IR filter, and a few LEDs in the right spectrum for illumination. Not even a good cellphone camera. I don’t know why it hasn’t taken off outside the intelligence community — there was talk about using it for border security, years ago, but nothing’s come of it that I know of. Maybe it’s too cyberpunk-dystopian for people.)

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @David Friedman

            Remember that something like 2/3rds of illegal immigrants are Visa Overstays, which means they didn’t have to defeat any of our immigration and border security measures.

            Of the remainder, I know that as of the time I was getting out of the military/intelligence field (~2005) there was actually a fair amount of concern over the possibility of terrorists attempting to sneak over the mexican border, enough so that there was sufficient non-classified articles and such to generate plenty of lurid book and movie plots using just that conceit.

            I would be very surprised if the border patrol is not very aware of that particular threat, even if it’s relatively tough to control. However, exploiting that in order to launch a coordinated large-scale attack (getting, say, 15-30 jihadis with good enough fake IDs to pass muster for casual hotel purchases and the like, vehicles with plates that won’t get them pulled over, etc, etc) is the province of organized networks that have time to plan and practice and coordinate.

            As pointed out before, one of the things we’ve gotten pretty good at doing is using drones, SOF, and cooperation with other countries’ LE and Military assets to keep those networks disrupted. Mind you, I think if we took in, say, 500,000 refugees over the next few years, we would absolutely start having to worry about coordinated attacks again, at least for awhile, but that’s more a feature of deliberate bad actors rather than anything intrinsic to Islam.

            This is why I am sympathetic to the anti-refugee-immigration position while still arguing that more Muslim immigration in the context of our normal visa process is relatively safe (or at least incurs a manageable increase in the risk of lone wolf attacks).

          • Matt M says:

            However, exploiting that in order to launch a coordinated large-scale attack (getting, say, 15-30 jihadis with good enough fake IDs to pass muster for casual hotel purchases and the like, vehicles with plates that won’t get them pulled over, etc, etc) is the province of organized networks that have time to plan and practice and coordinate.

            You don’t need any of that if you have sympathetic co-conspirators already on the inside. They can stay in the radical imam’s basement. He can buy their groceries so they don’t have to go out. Whatever.

      • Anonymous says:

        *Yes, I know Islamic terrorism is often committed by people who were born here, but we can prevent the next wave by keeping out their parents.

        Those can also be dealt with by some combination of revoking citizenships, removing ius soli in favor of ius sanguinis, exile as a judicial punishment and expulsions.

        • tmk says:

          Revoking correctly granted citizenships, and exiling your own citizens is rather frowned upon in the modern world. Mostly because it creates a bunch of stateless people that you expect other countries to deal with. What would you think if Mexico declared some people no longer Mexican citizens and threw them in inflatables on the Rio Grande?

          • Anonymous says:

            Carry on as usual? It’s not like there are plenty of illegal migrants coming from over there already.

      • Yakimi says:

        But to reduce what appears to be Islamic terrorism, just cut way back on immigration and visas by people from Islamic countries.* America is well within its rights to do something like that. Nobody is owed the right to come here.

        It’s endlessly fascinating to me how this elegant and peaceful solution of keeping out populations known to produce hostile insurgents is far more horrifying to leftists, liberals, and conservatives alike than the option of invading and bombing same those populations in their own countries. Imagine all the lives that could have been saved, all the waste that could have been prevented, had the West simply filtered immigrants by religious origin after 9/11 instead of trying to turn Iraq into Switzerland.

        Yet this solution was never even on the table. Why?

        • Jugemu says:

          I think a lot of it is driven by the belief in the “Proposition Nation” – that nations are most fundamentally built on ideas, not people. That is, once the Constitution has declared various rights, and We The People have declared we believe in this and that, all we have to do is to get others to agree and then they will be just like us. This even sort of worked for different European groups immigrating to the US, but even there you can still find significant differences between the descendants of Borderers/Puritans/Quakers/etc (as pointed out in previous posts here). However, this doesn’t seem to be effective for all groups. Blacks still aren’t quite “assimilated” in the way that the Irish or Italians are. Muslims are still a bit up in the air in the US but aren’t doing well in Europe which seems like a bad sign.

          Also, because the US is already so ethnically mixed already, it’s difficult to exclude any particular group without opening up a can of worms about whether the existing mix is ideal or not.

        • rlms says:

          All the lives that could have been saved by filtering immigrants instead of invading Iraq come from second part. Deaths from terrorism are a rounding error in comparison to deaths from war, and deaths from Muslim immigrants to the US who arrived post-9/11 are even fewer (Orlando still happens, as do Fort Hood, half of San Bernardino, and the Beltway sniper attacks if you count them; these account for the majority of post-9/11 deaths from Islamist terrorism in the US). I don’t think you’ll find many leftists or liberals who oppose the Iraq part of your solution.

        • tmk says:

          Leftists and liberals liberals have criticizes foreign wars, bombings, etc. plenty. Conservatives who support said wars presumably think they prevented even more deaths that would have resulted from not intervening.

          • Yakimi says:

            I’m not saying liberals and leftists aren’t critical of military action. What I’m saying is that they are less critical of military action than they are of a discriminatory immigration ban, even though the harm incurred by the latter is far smaller than the former. In other words, the set of all progressives who supported the wars in the Middle East is larger than than the set of all progressives who would support an immigration ban. Many of the pundits and publications which came out in opposition to Trump’s temporary half-measure had been supporters of the Iraq War and would welcome his strike on Syria.

            I’ve tried discussing this disparity with leftists (not liberals) and they don’t really have an answer for it.

            Conservatives who support said wars presumably think they prevented even more deaths that would have resulted from not intervening.

            Right, but my point is that they didn’t think to consider calculating the effects of an immigration ban into their definition of “not intervening”.

          • 1soru1 says:

            > I’m saying is that they are less critical of military action than they are of a discriminatory immigration ban

            Those liberals (more leftists, really) who were supportive (or not totally opposed) to the invasion of Iraq did so under the belief that it might well be a net humanitarian benefit (and looking at Syria, that view is less obviously wrong than it seemed 10 years ago).

            If there was a semi-plausible claim that an Muslim immigration ban could save the lives of a million Muslims, and there were lots of prominent Muslims figures pleading for it to be put in place, then I’d imagine the politics would be similarly different.

      • rlms says:

        You are not accounting for the costs. Even if we take a selfish (and arguably evil) view that we don’t value Muslim immigrants at all, there are problems. A blanket ban on Muslims has economic costs, since you are losing all the Muslims with above average economic productivity. It plays into the hands of terrorists in supporting their narrative of an inevitable clash between Islam and the West. Even if you don’t regard that as intrinsically bad, it has negative effects: it increases the probability of both existing US Muslims and US non-Muslims committing terrorist attacks, and of non-US terrorist organisations trying to harm the US.

        • Anonymous says:

          A blanket ban on Muslims has economic costs, since you are losing all the Muslims with above average economic productivity.

          Is their sum total contribution positive or negative? If you use money into-budget/out-of-budget from Norway as a proxy, it doesn’t look all that good.

          Furthermore, is unemployment higher than friction? In which case a reduction of the workforce would be good for the natives.

          It plays into the hands of terrorists in supporting their narrative of an inevitable clash between Islam and the West.

          I would *hope* it’s inevitable, because the other option is becoming Muslims ourselves.

          Even if you don’t regard that as intrinsically bad, it has negative effects: it increases the probability of both existing US Muslims and US non-Muslims committing terrorist attacks, and of non-US terrorist organisations trying to harm the US.

          Which is only a problem if they are *able* to do harm. The current state is already that they are both able and willing. A change to willing but unable seems greatly better. (Never mind that reprisals of sufficient strength might actually reduce willingness.)

          • rlms says:

            The net contribution is irrelevant. The point is that with a blanket ban you remove the possibility of getting high quality immigrants. I think your table is irrelevant, regardless of whether it is about government income/expenditure or immigrants sending money back home. The former isn’t connected to economic value, and the latter is just another form of consumption.

            “I would *hope* it’s inevitable, because the other option is becoming Muslims ourselves.”
            Don’t be obtuse. The vast majority of interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims in Western countries are friendly and involve neither conversion nor violence. There is no sign of a trend away from this in most countries.

            “A change to willing but unable seems greatly better.”
            I presume you are talking about the latter part of my statement, because a Muslim ban has no effect on the former.

            Presumably you are saying that non-US terrorists have the ability to harm the US because they can immigrate. But preventing immigration doesn’t prevent ability to attack. A determined terrorist organisation can either get around an immigration ban in the same way as other illegal immigrants, focus their efforts on recruiting existing US citizens, or send people who can pretend to be non-Muslim to immigrate.

            “Never mind that reprisals of sufficient strength might actually reduce willingness.”
            Elaborate please.

          • Anonymous says:

            The net contribution is irrelevant.

            Why? “We have these four guys who are up to spec, but if you hire them, you must also hire six guys who don’t work and cause trouble.” sounds like a poor deal.

            Don’t be obtuse. The vast majority of interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims in Western countries are friendly and involve neither conversion nor violence. There is no sign of a trend away from this in most countries.

            Just wait until they’re the majority.

            I presume you are talking about the latter part of my statement, because a Muslim ban has no effect on the former.

            Yes, if that means only “no more Muslims”, rather than “no Muslims”.

            Presumably you are saying that non-US terrorists have the ability to harm the US because they can immigrate. But preventing immigration doesn’t prevent ability to attack. A determined terrorist organisation can either get around an immigration ban in the same way as other illegal immigrants, focus their efforts on recruiting existing US citizens, or send people who can pretend to be non-Muslim to immigrate.

            Can they make as many, as easily? A reduction of attacks to a small fraction of the original frequency sounds like a good, realistic goal to hope for. Most of the attacks in the news these days happened because they were easy to carry out.

            Elaborate please.

            Have you heard what the Soviets did to the Hezbollah when they kidnapped some of their diplomats?

          • rlms says:

            @Anonymous
            I phrased that badly. My point is that a blanket ban does have the cost of removing access to high quality Muslims, and Well… isn’t considering it. Note that a more targeted ban doesn’t have this problem.

            “Just wait until they’re the majority.”
            That will happen when and how, exactly? And what are your examples of countries where a small majority of Muslims persecutes a large minority of non-Muslims?

            “Yes, if that means only “no more Muslims”, rather than “no Muslims”.”
            No, I meant that your comment was only applicable to attacks by actors from outside the US. A Muslim ban has no effect on the ability of people within the US to be terrorists (and that group is responsible for the majority of deaths from Islamist terrorism since 9/11).

            “Can they make as many, as easily?”
            The current rate of attacks on the US by outsiders is pretty much zero. As far as I know, all attacks since 9/11 have been somewhere on the spectrum from lone wolf to inspired by ISIS or similar. That doesn’t diminish the culpability of ISIS, but it does mean that the risk from outside attacks is largely based on the possibility of another large scale attack like 9/11. Either sneaking some people over the Mexican border, finding some perpetrators without Muslim backgrounds, or recruiting existing US citizens will not add much logistical difficulty.

            “Have you heard what the Soviets did to the Hezbollah when they kidnapped some of their diplomats?”
            Sure, if terrorist attacks take the form of kidnapping we can consider torturing and killing relatives of the kidnappers to persuade them to release hostages. That tactic isn’t applicable to current terrorist MO. But in any case (regardless of what you are retaliating against relatives for), if you target innocent people in the US you will start a civil war, and if you kill innocent foreigners you are basically continuing existing policy.

          • Randy M says:

            My point is that a blanket ban does have the cost of removing access to high quality Muslims, and Well… isn’t considering it.

            Because it’s only worth considering if the net results of Muslim immigration is greater than that of other groups of potential immigrants that we could draw from. People aren’t exactly fungible, but there’s plenty of wells to draw from if we are thirsty; no reason to go searching for the pure water in the contaminated well.

          • Anonymous says:

            I phrased that badly. My point is that a blanket ban does have the cost of removing access to high quality Muslims, and Well… isn’t considering it. Note that a more targeted ban doesn’t have this problem.

            Why do you need high-quality Muslims? Isn’t it a little selfish to poach them, and leave the low-quality Muslims in their own countries?

            That will happen when and how, exactly? And what are your examples of countries where a small majority of Muslims persecutes a large minority of non-Muslims?

            Egypt (Copts), which you should be aware of. Iran (Zoroastrians), which is largely historical, because there aren’t very many Zoroastrians anymore. Turkey (Armenians), which should be familiar, because the Turks invented modern genocide there. And that’s not even mentioning the Islamic State, which is country-enough to have parking tickets and taxes.

            The current rate of attacks on the US by outsiders is pretty much zero. As far as I know, all attacks since 9/11 have been somewhere on the spectrum from lone wolf to inspired by ISIS or similar. That doesn’t diminish the culpability of ISIS, but it does mean that the risk from outside attacks is largely based on the possibility of another large scale attack like 9/11. Either sneaking some people over the Mexican border, finding some perpetrators without Muslim backgrounds, or recruiting existing US citizens will not add much logistical difficulty.

            Which is why we should import more of them continuously. Or, when in a pit – continue digging.

            Sure, if terrorist attacks take the form of kidnapping we can consider torturing and killing relatives of the kidnappers to persuade them to release hostages. That tactic isn’t applicable to current terrorist MO. But in any case (regardless of what you are retaliating against relatives for), if you target innocent people in the US you will start a civil war, and if you kill innocent foreigners you are basically continuing existing policy.

            How about expelling the usual suspects? No genocide, domestic Islamic terrorism rate drops to Poland levels.

          • rlms says:

            @Anonymous
            “Isn’t it a little selfish to poach them, and leave the low-quality Muslims in their own countries?”
            This is a fully general argument against all high-quality immigration. Would you support that?

            “Egypt (Copts), which you should be aware of”
            You didn’t read my question carefully enough. 90% Muslim is not a “small majority”. If you think that terrible things will happen when the population is 51% Muslim, I want to see examples. Otherwise, I want to see a model for how any Western country could end up 90% Muslim.

            “How about expelling the usual suspects?”
            Who are “the usual suspects”? Where do you plan to expel them to?

          • Anonymous says:

            This is a fully general argument against all high-quality immigration. Would you support that?

            Yes.

            You didn’t read my question carefully enough. 90% Muslim is not a “small majority”. If you think that terrible things will happen when the population is 51% Muslim, I want to see examples.

            Terrible things are already happening. But you are right, I didn’t catch the full meaning of your demand.

            Going over the list of countries by percentage of Muslims, and selecting those hovering in the 40-60% Muslim range, I can provide:
            – Nigeria, home of the Boko Haram.
            – Israel/Palestine (since their borders and/or autonomy are in constant dispute and frequently change), which should be obvious.
            – Lebanon, see their civil war.
            – Malaysia, if you believe the HuffPo article about “religious tyranny” there.

            Otherwise, I want to see a model for how any Western country could end up 90% Muslim.

            1. Differential fertility. Tends to drop subsequently, but:
            2. Continuous importation of new, high-fertility Muslims.
            3. Civil war when the kaffirs realize they’re about to become dhimmi.
            4. Kaffirs lose war because they’re mostly old women, and are genocided and/or expelled.

            This could be stopped at any point with appropriate policy. It would normally take whole centuries, but our birth rates are just so horrible it might well happen in our lifetime somewhere.

            Who are “the usual suspects”?

            Muslims.

            Where do you plan to expel them to?

            That’s not how expulsion works.

          • BBA says:

            …how do you think expulsion works?

            If what you’re saying is “don’t let them in to begin with” you’re a few decades late for that.

          • Anonymous says:

            …how do you think expulsion works?

            I’m not sure why, but many people I talk about this are concerned with the destination of the expelled. I mean, that’s not even what “deportation” means, if one pattern matches it to that. The point of expulsion is that they subjects are expelled FROM somewhere; where they go is not.

            In practice, it’s not even an issue. All of the Middle East uses jus sanguinis, which means that the expelled would always be citizens of some other place. (Or at least CLAIM to be citizens of somewhere else, if they arrived without any papers – in which case the destination is clear.)

            If what you’re saying is “don’t let them in to begin with” you’re a few decades late for that.

            Well, it’s not too late for *everyone*, but that’s not what I mean here. Of course, ceasing to dig once you’re in a hole is also a good idea.

          • rlms says:

            @Anonymous
            “Yes.”
            Your selfless attitude towards foreign countries is interesting (although it does seem to contradict the opinions I presume you hold about refugees). I think will we will have to agree to differ here.

            “Going over the list of countries by percentage of Muslims, and selecting those hovering in the 40-60% Muslim range, I can provide:
            – Nigeria, home of the Boko Haram.
            – Israel/Palestine (since their borders and/or autonomy are in constant dispute and frequently change), which should be obvious.
            – Lebanon, see their civil war.
            – Malaysia, if you believe the HuffPo article about “religious tyranny” there.”
            Nigeria doesn’t have a majority of Muslims, but it does meet the spirit of what I was asking for. However, Israel/Palestine obviously isn’t a single country, the Lebanese civil war was 30 years ago and cannot be blamed on the existence of Muslims, and I do not believe the HuffPo article about religious tyranny in Malaysia.

            “1. Differential fertility. Tends to drop subsequently, but:
            2. Continuous importation of new, high-fertility Muslims.
            our birth rates are just so horrible it might well happen in our lifetime somewhere.”
            Pew predicts that the proportion of Muslims in the US will rise to the dizzying heights of 2.1% by 2050, that is to say the same as the UK in the 90s (extrapolating from census data). That suggests it might reach the even dizzier heights of the current UK proportion (5%) within our lifetime (well my lifetime at least, I don’t know how old you are). I cannot see how it might reach above 15% in my lifetime.

            “Muslims.”
            So you plan to target the existing Muslim population as a whole, including the vast majority who have no connection to terrorism whatsoever? I can’t see that going down well with either the law or the vast majority of the population who will be reminded of Hitler. But if you are taking that approach, you should also logically round up the users of the sites Elliot Rodger frequented. Unless there are hundreds of thousands of them, they are an order of magnitude more terroristy than US Muslims (even assuming Elliot Rodger is the only one).

            “That’s not how expulsion works.”
            Yes it is. If you make someone leave a place, they must necessarily arrive somewhere else.

          • Anonymous says:

            Your selfless attitude towards foreign countries is interesting (although it does seem to contradict the opinions I presume you hold about refugees).

            1. Just because (some of them) are the best that a particular group has, does not mean that they’re good in relation to the natives of wherever they’re going.
            2. I don’t want my elites poached by more prosperous countries either.

            the Lebanese civil war was 30 years ago and cannot be blamed on the existence of Muslims

            Given that the war was in part caused by the demographic shift in favor of Muslims, I beg to differ.

            Pew predicts that the proportion of Muslims in the US will rise to the dizzying heights of 2.1% by 2050, that is to say the same as the UK in the 90s (extrapolating from census data). That suggests it might reach the even dizzier heights of the current UK proportion (5%) within our lifetime (well my lifetime at least, I don’t know how old you are). I cannot see how it might reach above 15% in my lifetime.

            The places I was thinking of were the ones with already large amounts of Muslims (like France, which conveniently does not gather relevant data), and small populations versus large amounts of immigration (like the Netherlands or Sweden). I’m not 100% positive, but Pew appears to be presenting a technically true, but useless analysis where there’s no more waves of illegal migrants.

            So you plan to target the existing Muslim population as a whole, including the vast majority who have no connection to terrorism whatsoever? I can’t see that going down well with either the law or the vast majority of the population who will be reminded of Hitler.

            “Faintly reminiscent of Hitler now” or “actual Hitler down the road” is exactly the choice we are facing right now.

            But if you are taking that approach, you should also logically round up the users of the sites Elliot Rodger frequented. Unless there are hundreds of thousands of them, they are an order of magnitude more terroristy than US Muslims (even assuming Elliot Rodger is the only one).

            Assuming I don’t consider native Elliot Rodgerses our own problem, to be dealt with internally. Not against exile for native criminals, though, or profiling of likely criminals.

            Yes it is. If you make someone leave a place, they must necessarily arrive somewhere else.

            But we don’t have to care where, or how. Just punish those who fail to succeed.

          • rlms says:

            “But we don’t have to care where, or how.”
            Um, yes you do. If details are irrelevant you might as well just say “solve terrorism by stopping terrorists”.

          • Montfort says:

            It’s true that you don’t have to have a destination in mind for the expelled population when you expel them, it just seems like something you might want to think about.
            Because these days, if you’re “expelling” some population from your country, then either:
            a) they manage to emigrate to some country that will take them
            b) they still hang around inside your country, except now maybe you’re putting them in prison or moving them to Guam or somewhere for not leaving.
            c) you put them on a boat and they tour around the oceans begging countries to let them in, probably eventually returning to your country or dying.
            d) you start dumping people in other nations by force or stealth, ignoring their right to control their own borders.

            Now, maybe mostly everyone falls under (a) (less likely if you’re expelling US citizens). But (b) through (d) all have significant downsides. Even (a) could have downsides if their likely destination is, to take an extreme example, ISIS training camps – I don’t think it is, but the question of where they’ll go is worth thinking about for a few minutes so you can at least have the peace of mind of knowing most of them are going back to be dentists in relatively-stable countries (or whatever).

        • Wrong Species says:

          Islamic terrorism is a statistical thing. The more Muslims you have, the higher the probability of an attack. You may marginally raise the chances of a single Muslim committing an attack(and I think that’s far from proven) but that gets overwhelmed by the reduction in absolute numbers of potential terrorists.

          • bintchaos says:

            The problem is, in a globalized world, you cannot just count the muslims in US as your proto-terrorist pool.
            Reducing attacks in US will just shift energy to places where there are a lot more muslims.

          • Anonymous says:

            globalized world

            Found the problem!

          • The Nybbler says:

            Reducing attacks in US will just shift energy to places where there are a lot more muslims.

            I’m not seeing the downside.

          • bintchaos says:

            If KSA falls then IS (or whatever comes next) gets an airforce.
            If Jordan falls then IS gets an airforce and a border with Israel.
            The one thing all muslims will unite on is hatred of Israel.
            Imagine how different the ME would look today if IS had an airforce.

          • Anonymous says:

            Imagine how different the ME would look today if IS had an airforce.

            Like it looked after the Six Day War?

          • Wrong Species says:

            Do you think there is some kind of conservation of terrorism where reducing it in the US automatically increases it in other countries? I’m not buying it. Either way, it’s not the problem of the US government to fix terrorism in Saudi Arabia. And you seriously overestimate the ability of ISIS to overthrow a stable government. Saudi Arabia isn’t Syria.

          • bintchaos says:

            As long the initial conditions that spawn islamic insurgencies are unchanged, new insurgencies will emerge…and evolve to more radical and virulent forms. Socio-physics conservation of energy and chaos theory.
            Islamic government is demographically inevitable in MENA and sub-sahara.
            Dr Atran says eventually there will be nuclear weps in the hands of terrorists. There is no counter-narrative to salafi-jihadism– US has dumped CVE as useless. Did you read what KSA is doing in Indonesia? US has been trying to make “moderate muslims” for decades…KSA is pushing Indonesian “moderate muslims” hard right with an invasive cultural transmission strategy.

          • Anonymous says:

            As long the initial conditions that spawn islamic insurgencies are unchanged, new insurgencies will emerge…and evolve to more radical and virulent forms.

            I agree. As long as Islam exists, it will cause trouble.

          • Anonymous says:

            @bintchaos

            We shall see.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Anonymous
            *shrug*
            Why do you think IS wants the global confrontation so bad?
            Because they know they will win.

          • Anonymous says:

            @bintchaos

            We’ll win, provided we actually start fighting this century. I don’t think we have time to wait the customary five centuries before retaliating.

          • bean says:

            If KSA falls then IS (or whatever comes next) gets an airforce.
            If Jordan falls then IS gets an airforce and a border with Israel.
            The one thing all muslims will unite on is hatred of Israel.
            Imagine how different the ME would look today if IS had an airforce.

            You’re totally failing to distinguish between ‘has airplanes’ and ‘has an air force’. These are not remotely the same thing. Operating modern, high-performance aircraft well is not easy, and it requires a lot of experience. Unless IS manages to somehow ideologically convert every member of those air forces, they’re not going to get that. They’ll get, in a best case, a bunch of planes, parts, and manuals. But they won’t know the tricks of maintaining them, and that’s hard, particularly when the manufacturer is no longer willing to answer your calls.
            Also, airplanes are easy to move. If the KSA falls, I expect that most of the pilots (who are pretty westernized, and IIRC trained in the US) to take their planes and go elsewhere. It happened to the Iraqi AF, and they didn’t have anywhere nearly as nice to go.
            Lastly, airplanes are a really good target for the sort of war the US is good at. If they captured a bunch of air bases, those bases would soon disappear under a hail of Tomahawks and JDAMs.
            (This is all pretty obvious to anyone who has a passing familiarity with defense matters. Are you sure you have a security clearance?)

          • Wrong Species says:

            @bintchaos

            Socio-physics conservation of energy

            You’re going to have to explain what this is, why I should believe it and why you think it proves your point.

          • bintchaos says:

            @bean
            wow, that is incredibly naive.
            You think asymmetrical warfare doesn’t scale into an airwar?
            Tell that to the 911 group.
            If KSA falls Israel is going down– and they are paranoid enough to pull the trigger on the Samson option.
            Remember how rapidly the Eastern Bloc collapsed?
            How fast the Arab Spring spread?
            Collapse of large non-equilibrium systems is my jam.
            Its what I study.

          • Anonymous says:

            You think asymmetrical warfare doesn’t scale into an airwar?
            Tell that to the 911 group.

            Hijacking civilian airliners once when people weren’t expecting it is not quite an “air war”.

            If KSA falls Israel is going down– and they are paranoid enough to pull the trigger on the Samson option.

            Why is Israel going down, in your opinion? And why do you think the Israelis are paranoid?

            Remember how rapidly the Eastern Bloc collapsed?

            What’s that got to do with anything?

            How fast the Arab Spring spread?

            With copious aid from the idiots in the Blue Empire?

            Collapse of large non-equilibrium systems is my jam.
            Its what I study.

            Meaning, you’re as young as your writing skills indicate?

          • bean says:

            wow, that is incredibly naive.
            You think asymmetrical warfare doesn’t scale into an airwar?

            Uhh…. No. No it does not, for two reasons. First, unless you’re Sweden, your air force is designed to operate from large bases with big runways and lots of parts. Last I checked, the RSAF does not operate Swedish aircraft. They are not structured to conduct an asymmetrical war, and you can’t create that kind of structure overnight.
            Second, modern C4ISR systems make this impossible. An E-3 can keep track of where every airplane is while it’s in the air. If it lands, you know pretty precisely where it is. Send a U-2 or a Global Hawk over, find it, and kill it (not with the U-2, obviously). Or just wait for it to show up again, then shoot it down. It can’t move without you seeing it.

            Tell that to the 911 group.

            Wait. That’s your example? That’s what you’re going to use to justify the statement that if the Saudis or Jordanians fall, ISIS gets an air force, and that AF will be useful? If you seriously think that, then there’s no point in my answering the rest of your points.

            Collapse of large non-equilibrium systems is my jam.
            Its what I study.

            Whatever you study, it clearly isn’t air warfare.

          • Why do you think IS wants the global confrontation so bad?
            Because they know they will win.

            Why do you assume their view of the matter is correct? Hitler thought he would win. Communists knew theirs was the wave of the future.

            Also, while I may be mistaken, I thought the ISIS view was that they would first lose, then get victory back by divine intervention. Am I mistaken? If not, are you arguing that that view is correct?

          • John Schilling says:

            If KSA falls then IS (or whatever comes next) gets an airforce.

            The IS has already has an air force; ex-Syrian L-39 attack trainers, MiG-21 and MiG-23 fighters. The L-39s may have flown a few combat missions, but not enough to matter.

            Modern combat aircraft – even old Soviet designs but especially the latest Western ones – require a large team of technicians with highly specialized skills and equipment to support, or they stop working after one or two flights. In the KSA, the pilots are mostly princelings who are about the least likely Saudis to sign on with the IS, and too many of the technicians are western contractors who are even less so. And Boeing isn’t going to sell F-15 spare parts to the IS.

            Also, when the United States sells modern combat aircraft to all but its very closest allies (not KSA), they don’t get the source code to the software running the plane’s weapons systems, and they get a different version of the software than ours. I don’t actually know what happens if a Saudi F-15 tries to fire an AMRAAM at a US or Israeli F-15, but I’d pay good money for dashcam footage of the first IS pilot in a stolen F-15 to try and find out.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            First, unless you’re Sweden, your air force is designed to operate from large bases with big runways and lots of parts.

            If it’s not jacking the thread too much, I’d be interested in some expansion on what the Swedish Air Force does differently. The best I could glean from their wiki is “…maybe they use a lot of helicopters?” but that doesn’t really change the asymmetry calculus (does it?)

            @Anonymous

            Meaning, you’re as young as your writing skills indicate?

            Come on, dude. As obnoxious as the constant memespeak is, this really is not appropriate.

          • Brad says:

            Hey, I actually know the answer to one of these military things! The Gripen was specifically designed to be able to use rough, short runways. Swedish air force doctrine is that the national highway system can double as landing strips.

          • bean says:

            If it’s not jacking the thread too much, I’d be interested in some expansion on what the Swedish Air Force does differently. The best I could glean from their wiki is “…maybe they use a lot of helicopters?” but that doesn’t really change the asymmetry calculus (does it?)

            Brad is right, although it’s more than just the ability to use rough runways/highways. The airplanes are designed to be serviced quickly, using mostly low-skilled conscripts working from trucks parked next to a highway. In theory, this gives them the capability to wage a sort of aerial guerilla war, because the Russians (or whoever else might be invading Sweden) can’t possible shut down every potential base by bombing, and the base is gone before the enemy can find it. In modern practice, improved computers and radars mean this won’t work any more, although it probably would have been quite effective up through the 70s or 80s.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            Interesting, thanks Brad (ETA: also bean the ninja)! That does sound useful for asymmetric. Which I guess they expected to need if they ever had to fight the Soviets.

          • Anonymous says:

            @Gobbobobble

            Come on, dude. As obnoxious as the constant memespeak is, this really is not appropriate.

            I’m objecting as much to the quality of his arguments as to the quality of the form he presents them in.

            But you’re right, my bad to be trolled.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ John Schilling
            Forget modern aircraft, even comparatively primitive military aircraft or an armed GA fleet would be a massive force multiplier.

            The fact that we don’t see many Cessnas or Robinsons with dishkas and RPGs bolted to the side providing CAS is evidence that ISIL lacks the pilots and general organization it would need to field a useful air force even if they did have the planes and the parts to maintain them.

          • Nornagest says:

            Has anyone done that? I remember hearing about the Tamil Tigers having an air force a while back, but they’re the only insurgency I can think of that did.

          • psmith says:

            Has anyone done that?

            The Biafrans by way of Count von Rosen.

          • bean says:

            @hlynkacg

            The fact that we don’t see any Cessnas or Robinsons with dishkas and RPGs bolted to the side providing CAS is a strong evidence that ISIL lacks the pilots and general organization it would need to field a useful air force.

            Light airplanes like that are hideously vulnerable to ground fire, even from rifle-caliber machine guns. If you can hit them with the RPG, they can hit back with an RPG (or, more accurately, an SA-7), and they have a much better platform to aim from. To be even marginally useful, you need something along the lines of a Super Tucano, and ISIS has the problem that they can’t run around at high altitude because of the Russians.

            @Nornagest

            Has anyone done that? I remember hearing about the Tamil Tigers having an air force a while back, but they’re the only insurgency I can think of that did.

            Probably not. Air defense is one of the things that governments are generally pretty good at.

          • bintchaos says:

            @all
            sorry I didn’t make this clear.
            911 was a tech exploit in evolving adaptive asymmetrical warfighting. IS would not ever attempt a conventional airwar.
            If IS gets control of the Land of the Two Holy Sites you simply aren’t going to able to bomb them out of there (bombing from air cav is the only way that IS has been dislodged from acquired territory so far) without starting WWIII.
            Remember that is what they want.
            Also IS just has to land one good punch on Israel to draw them into the conflict. Again, a winning strategy. Just because they haven’t been able to accomplish this so far doesnt mean they won’t ever be able to.
            Some tech exploits I can think of are drone hacking, suicide commandos in light glider aircraft or parasails, cyber-attacks on control/sensor systems…for example I think of smart cars as a car bomb in every garage.
            They aren’t going to fight a conventional airwar– it will be exploits, it will be evolutionary and adaptive.

            @DavidFriedman
            You are describing the Prophetic Methodology I think?
            Have you read Jean-Pierre Filiu? His book is really good.
            Apocalypse in Islam.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Nornagest
            The Tamil Tigers are probably the most recent example, but you’ll also find a fair bit of it in Latin America with the drug cartels. and if there’s any truth to some of my friend’s stories Africa is rife with it.

          • bean says:

            sorry I didn’t make this clear.
            911 was a tech exploit in evolving adaptive asymmetrical warfighting. IS would not ever attempt a conventional airwar.

            First, you specifically tied a Jordanian or Saudi fall into ISIS getting an air force. ‘Evolving asymmetrical warfighting’ isn’t really a defense of that position. What, concretely, would the Saudis falling give ISIS that would help them in the air? All of the planes are gone, as is everyone who knows how to make them work.

            If IS gets control of the Land of the Two Holy Sites you simply aren’t going to able to bomb them out of there without starting WWIII.
            Remember that is what they want.

            Personally, I don’t care about the Two Holy Sites, so long as they don’t make too much trouble. And an air campaign with modern weapons is perfectly capable of returning them to the 18th century economically, without scratching a single sacred site.

            Also IS just has to land one good punch on Israel to draw them into the conflict. Again, a winning strategy. Just because they haven’t been able to accomplish this so far doesnt mean they won’t ever be able to.

            The Israelis aren’t completely stupid. Saddam tried to do the exact same thing in 1991. He failed. I don’t think that Israel going after ISIS would actually lead to WWIII. Most Muslims don’t seem to like ISIS, either.

            Some tech exploits I can think of are drone hacking, suicide commandos in light glider aircraft or parasails, cyber-attacks on control/sensor systems…for example I think of smart cars as a car bomb in every garage.

            All of these are things they can work on today. Taking over KSA/Jordan would be only a very marginal improvement in their ability to do so, coming from greater prestige and ability to recruit people, combined with slightly better access to material. You specifically linked those conquests to a major improvement in their air capabilities. None of these things are really air war. They will not be able to challenge air superiority with them. A drone, hacked or not, isn’t that different from a rocket, which the Palestinians have been using for years without that being called ‘air war’.
            (Also, how are smart cars car bombs? The manufacturers are not stupid, and making exploding cars is generally considered a bad thing.)

            They aren’t going to fight a conventional airwar– it will be exploits, it will be evolutionary and adaptive.

            Substitutions of buzzwords for actual thought. Maybe you do work for the DoD.

          • Nornagest says:

            ISIS captured a number of ex-Iraqi airfields a few years ago, back in the early stages of the war when it was marching more or less unopposed across northwestern Iraq. I don’t know how many aircraft the Iraqi government managed to get out before they arrived, but ISIS has managed to field a few Abrams tanks, which suggests to me that the government didn’t do a very good job of protecting their military assets.

            Still, we haven’t seen anything in the air, so I don’t think a theoretical expansion into Jordan or Saudi Arabia would help much — they don’t add anything to the table that the Iraqis didn’t have.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Bean

            Light airplanes like that are hideously vulnerable to ground fire, even from rifle-caliber machine guns.

            “Hideously vulnerable” by the standards of a modern, highly risk averse, Air Force that spends millions of dollars and several years training each of it’s pilots? Yes. “Hideously vulnerable” by the standards of someone who’s alternative is an open topped truck? Not even close.

            As far as troops on the ground are concerned enfilade fire from a heavy machine gun is enfilade fire from a heavy machine gun regardless of whether that gun is mounted on a Super Tucano or a Piper Cub.

          • bintchaos says:

            Most Muslims don’t seem to like ISIS, either.
            I think I’m getting a glimmer of understanding here…conservatives don’t really understand or care about complexity science.
            One thing IS gets from taking KSA airforce is that they aren’t a part of the coalition anymore. Remind me why Israel has never been a part of the coalition again, and why US has 2 airbases in Qatar and zero in KSA?
            Muslims may not “like” IS but they frickin’ hate Israel.
            I guess thats why Trump’s horrifying foreign policy choices dont bother conservatives.
            Interesting.

            And KSA falling will spread sandpile collapse to neighboring states– Dhar Burning Algorithm effect.
            That’s my new Game Theory question– why would you play a game you know you can’t win?

          • bean says:

            @hlynkacg

            “Hideously vulnerable” by the standards of a modern, highly risk averse, Air Force that spends millions of dollars and several years training each of it’s pilots? Yes. “Hideously vulnerable” by the standards of someone who’s alternative is driving around in an open topped truck? Not even close.

            I still disagree. Even a light airplane is both more vulnerable and more expensive than a truck. And when it goes down, you can’t bail out nearly as easily.

            As far as troops on the ground are concerned enfilade fire from a heavy machine gun is enfilade fire from a heavy machine gun regardless of whether that gun is mounted on a Super Tucano or a Piper Cub.

            True. But you usually don’t use the Tucano as a platform for strafing (and if you do, you give it a heavier gun), and it usually is fitted with countermeasures to keep the SA-7s away. Low altitude is deadly these days.

            @bintchaos

            I think I’m getting a glimmer of understanding here…conservatives don’t really understand or care about complexity science.

            No, I just don’t think that your understanding of complexity science means that you’re more qualified than me to understand politics in the Middle East.

            One thing IS gets from taking KSA airforce is that they aren’t a part of the coalition anymore.

            This is obvious.

            Remind me why Israel has never been a part of the coalition again, and why US has 2 airbases in Qatar and zero in KSA?

            Politics. Politics can change.

            Muslims may not “like” IS but they frickin’ hate Israel.

            And yet they don’t all go to war with Israel every time the Israelis get into feud with the Palestinians. In 1991, Israel had to be kept out of the Coalition against Saddam, because the ME members couldn’t be seen fighting alongside them. The last major Arab-Israel war was 1973, 18 years before. That was 26 years ago, and relations have improved during that time. Also, serious threats have a way of making allies. If ISIS gets bad enough, the Israelis will join the coalition, and it won’t be a big deal.

            And KSA falling will spread sandpile collapse to neighboring states– Dhar Burning Algorithm effect.

            Would you care to explain what Dhar’s Burning Algorithm is, and why it applies here? Your ‘I know complexity theory, and you should thus listen to me’ shtick is getting kind of old.

          • Protagoras says:

            @bean, Why don’t more countries try to do what Sweden did with the Gripen? A plane that is cheaper and easier to maintain seems to have huge advantages, not least that you can do more training flights and give your pilots more experience actually flying the planes for less money.

          • bintchaos says:

            @bean

            No, I just don’t think that your understanding of complexity science means that you’re more qualified than me to understand politics in the Middle East.


            I never said that.
            I am just offering that the solutions conservative commenters are proposing here are very US centric, very linear, and seem to lack understanding of interaction effects.
            According to what I know about complex adaptive systems theory your solutions will fail. Obviously you have some other theoretical structure that is supporting your POV that they wont fail.
            Dhar burning algorithm postulates a sandpile landscape where sandpile collapse on one grid can influence other adjacent sandpiles. Its a toppling matrix.
            On observation conservative commenters don’t seem to care about Trump’s foreign policy blunders…that leads me to the conclusion that conservatives aren’t really interested in interaction terms, preferring to think of America as standalone system perfectly capable of imposing its collective will on the rest of the world by force.
            That view is just kind of basically incompatible with CAS theory.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Bean
            I feel you’re so focused on specific means than you’re neglecting the ends. The point is not to replace Tucanos with Piper Cubs the point is to put guns on targets. Bolting a couple of HMGs to GA aircraft is an exceptionally cheap way to do that and while low altitude is deadly these days, it’s not all that more deadly than being a front-line gunslinger in an insurgent army.

            @ Protagoras
            It’s not as sexy, means accepting higher loss rates, and in the case of the US Air Force they have sufficient money and established infrastructure to not worry about it.

          • Nornagest says:

            There are a lot more semi-qualified gunslingers than semi-qualified pilots, and it’s easier to attract more after the first batch have been blown up. And if you want to keep it up past the first couple sorties, you don’t just need semi-qualified pilots; you also need fully qualified aircraft mechanics, a steady supply of aviation fuel, and a bunch of other stuff. Those don’t just grow on trees.

          • cassander says:

            @Protagoras says:

            @bean, Why don’t more countries try to do what Sweden did with the Gripen? A plane that is cheaper and easier to maintain seems to have huge advantages, not least that you can do more training flights and give your pilots more experience actually flying the planes for less money.

            it’s hard to say exactly because the swedes are very tight lipped about releasing actual figures, but most estimates say that the gripen isn’t actually all that much cheaper than, say, an F-16.

          • bean says:

            @Protagoras

            Why don’t more countries try to do what Sweden did with the Gripen? A plane that is cheaper and easier to maintain seems to have huge advantages, not least that you can do more training flights and give your pilots more experience actually flying the planes for less money.

            It’s not that simple. The Gripen is easy to re-arm and re-fuel on the side of the road. But there’s a big difference between that and the plane being cheaper and easier to maintain overall. I’ve heard good things about the Gripen’s serviceablility, but every manufacturer of advanced combat aircraft claims theirs is the cheapest to run overall. (Except LockMart and the JSF, who sell on other things.) Unfortunately, I’m a naval guy, and I don’t know enough to disentangle the results.
            One other aspect may be the Swedish concept of operations being rather different from that of the US. They’re looking primarily at short-range, small-group strike missions on little notice. “There’s a Soviet brigade landing on Gotland. Here’s the grid. Go kill them.” The US plans large, elaborate missions, with lots of airplanes. At some point, the ability to brief the pilots starts to limit you rather than the ability to turn the planes. The A-10 is the US plane that comes closest to the Swedish ConOps, and it had pretty much the same capabilities in terms of field arming and service.
            See here for a very good, if rather long, discussion of aircraft sortie rates.

            @bintchaos
            Look. I’m not sure what the best solution to the Middle East is. I’m not an expert in the region by any means. But I’d say that ISIS seems like the sort of thing that might happen when an unstable system collapses, and it hasn’t swarmed everything under yet.

            Dhar burning algorithm postulates a sandpile landscape where sandpile collapse on one grid can influence other adjacent sandpiles. Its a toppling matrix.

            There’s a rather old term in foreign relations for this, the domino theory. The fact that you referred to some algorithm that doesn’t even show up on wikipedia instead does not increase my confidence that you are trying to communicate clearly. (You may be right about dominoes, although the level of grassroots support for ISIS seems rather low in the UAE and such.)

            @hlynkacg
            Basically what Nornagest said. Planes and pilots are expensive. If the cost of getting the plane up exceeds the value you get from it, then you don’t bother to try. Because of the danger, the benefit is low.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Nornagest
            I think “fully qualified” is carrying a lot of water there.

            @ Brad
            Planes are cheap unless you’re buying them from Lockheed. Parts too if you don’t really care where they come from. It is pilots (and capable spotters) that are the limiting factor, which is the point I’ve been to make this whole time.

            The fact that we don’t see many Cessnas or Robinsons with dishkas and RPGs bolted to the side providing CAS is evidence that ISIL lacks the pilots and general organization it would need to field a useful air force even if they did have the planes and the parts to maintain them.

            Trying to argue against this by pointing out the inferiority of modified GA aircraft to military aircraft completely misses the point.

          • John Schilling says:

            Light airplanes like that are hideously vulnerable to ground fire, even from rifle-caliber machine guns.

            I’m going to have to disagree with that one. There are plenty of examples of light aircraft being adequately survivable above battlefields without modern air defenses. Of particular relevance was a study I recall of USMC vs Army helicopter operations in the first(?) Gulf War, where USMC doctrine required pilots keep their speed up at all times and Army didn’t. Neither side was taking heavy casualties because Apaches are nigh-bulletproof, but the Marines weren’t even getting hit very often. There was, IIRC, a threshold at about 90 knots (160 km/h) where manually-aimed(*) automatic weapons stop being effective.

            In a guerilla-vs-3rd-world-government scenario, there would be real value to the guerillas having armed light aircraft if they could support them – as historically the Tamils and Biafrans did. If the US or even Russian air force is working with the government, as in Iraq and Syria, the armed Cessnas are going to be tracked back to their bases and in very short order plane, pilot, support team, and enthusiasm for continuing this strategy are all going to die horribly.

            * Without dedicated AAA sights, at least.

          • bean says:

            @John
            Perhaps I should have been more clear in my assumptions. In Iraq and Syria right now, there is no way ISIS will be able to operate above the level of danger from ground fire. If they go fast enough low down, they may or may not have too much to fear, depending on the armament and training of their targets. (The AH-1s may not have taken many bullet hits, but 90 kts doesn’t protect you from SA-7s.)
            But you’re a pilot. Try strafing someone with one or maybe two machine guns at 90 kts, knowing that they may be calling in a MiG.
            Basically, yes, in some situations you may be able to make light aircraft work for you as an insurgency. Syria today isn’t one of them.

          • bintchaos says:

            @bean

            Look. I’m not sure what the best solution to the Middle East is. I’m not an expert in the region by any means. But I’d say that ISIS seems like the sort of thing that might happen when an unstable system collapses


            well yah…look, complexity science is pretty new, but heres a good start from Nautilus– not exactly the same as the domino theory, but close.
            Think of a domino in the middle of a box structure of 4 dominos that spreads energy in four directions in stead of 1 direction, the direction of fall. And you are correct, large complex non-equilibrium systems are vulnerable to collapse.
            Heres a good intro paper from Dr. Berenger.
            Dhar just extended the mathematics from the original Bak-Tang-Wiesenthal sandpiles.
            Google BTW sandpiles or Abelian sandpiles– I’m sure thats there.
            I just think…the conservative approach seems to be unilateral brute force military power… some situs are not solvable by those means…complex non-linear systems especially.
            Like Dr. S’s sandbags and the unstoppable flood…

          • Protagoras says:

            According to Wikipedia, the Gripen costs $4700/hr to keep in the air, the cheapest F-16 variant costs $7000/hr. Not orders of magnitude, obviously, but definitely not chump change. Is there reason to be suspicious of the numbers Wikipedia cites, or is the F-16 so much better than the Gripen that it’s worth spending 50% more per hour in the air? Or are people being irrational in not buying Gripens or trying similar approaches with their own planes?

          • bean says:

            @Protagoras
            Numbers like that are stupidly complicated to analyze. I wasn’t really joking when I said that Boeing (Super Hornet), Saab, Dassalt, Eurofighter, and probably the Russians all claim to have the cheapest fighter to operate. It depends on what you count and where, and there’s enough degrees of freedom to allow you to prove anything. Anecdotally, the Gripen has good serviceability, and is probably relatively cheap to fly. But I don’t know what that means in a 1 to 1 comparison against an F-16.
            Edit: Cassander does a much better job of explaining this below.

          • nimim.k.m. says:

            @Protagoras

            The decision which fighter aircraft to buy is always a very political one. I’ve seen some arguments on these OTs why continuing with F35 might be a good idea for the US (mostly because there’s nothing better in sight and starting anew would be even more expensive), but elsewhere I’ve seen also discussion does it really make sense for not-US countries to buy it because training flight hours, maintenance, etc will be freakishly expensive compared to (for example) next gen Gripen.

            But surprise or not, majority of the US allies are ordering JSF.

          • cassander says:

            @Protagoras

            According to Wikipedia, the Gripen costs $4700/hr to keep in the air, the cheapest F-16 variant costs $7000/hr. Not orders of magnitude, obviously, but definitely not chump change. Is there reason to be suspicious of the numbers Wikipedia cites, or is the F-16 so much better than the Gripen that it’s worth spending 50% more per hour in the air? Or are people being irrational in not buying Gripens or trying similar approaches with their own planes?

            Well, to start with, both of those numbers are far too low, at least for a developed country with relatively high wages for mechanics. The US military officially charges about 20k per flight hour for its F-16Cs, which is not far off from what the swedish military admits it pays for maintaining the grippen. Both of those figures are on the high end, but both aircraft also have much lower figures for aircraft in service with cheaper countries. The two aircraft are roughly similar in cost. My source for both of these figures is Aviation Week’s annual MRO forecast, which seeks to calculate exactly these numbers.

            Wikipedia is very good at some things for aircraft, and not so good on others. Variant information (e.g. if you want know what difference was between the UH-1H and UH-1N) it’s actually very good. Specifications, they’re hit or miss depending on their source. Fleet numbers, ballpark figures at best. But cost per flight hour? definitely wouldn’t trust them. there is so much that can go into those figures that you need to work very hard to make sure you’re doing an apples to apples comparison, and wikipedia’s model doesn’t really allow for that. It’s not so much that their numbers are wrong, but that there’s nothing ensuring that the number on one page has been gotten by the same methodology as one on a different page.

          • Controls Freak says:

            @bintchaos

            domino theory… Dhar burning algorithm…

            Given that these models may have very different underlying dynamics than the systems you’re trying to map them onto, why should I believe them? Perhaps I could construct a simple collapse model of how the accuracy of collapse models collapses.

        • bintchaos says:

          You aren’t accounting for costs at all.
          Do you see the logic flaw in all your muslim ban arguments?
          Lets suppose there is a muslim ban, and also all muslims are deported– down to 3rd or 4th generation. Outlaw Islam, make Quran illegal, etc.
          So what happens to US overseas interests and allies that are still exposed to attacks in situ?
          Any crack-down on US muslims will destabilize our pals al Salool (House Saud) and Sisi and King Abdullah.
          So your muslim ban might reduce terror events in US (much like RU genocide of ~250,000 chechan muslims did temporarily) but the energy will get pushed off to MENA and Africa into attacks on US allies and interests.
          mw there are ~23 million refugees, half of which are children. There are a projected 1 billion youth in Africa by 2050, mostly Sunni muslim. A depthless pool of recruits for emergent Islamic insurgencies.

          Also, how do you stop recruitment of non-muslim US youth by conversion to Islam? its impossible to reduce US terror events to 0. Did you know US has given up on CVE? there is no counter-narrative under the initial condition of US interventionism and injustice. “secular democracy” is not competitive in dar ul Islam.

          • A conservative is someone who believes actions have consequences…except in international politics.

          • bintchaos says:

            @AncientGreek
            Thank-you.
            That explains a lot.
            Not to mention what this would do to Israel’s prospects.
            There are only 8.8 million jews in Israel– demographic doom if they cant learn to get along with their neighbors.

          • bintchaos says:

            @AncientGreek
            You would probably know this…does that mean conservatives are Aristotelean frogs only concerned with their local mud hole and liberals are Platonic birds concerned with the wider world?

          • qwints says:

            What’s an Aristotelean frog or a Platonic bird? Is it an Aristophanes reference?

        • A blanket ban on Muslims has economic costs, since you are losing all the Muslims with above average economic productivity.

          Why is above average the relevant criterion? Is your maximand something like per capita income? That’s a fallacy of composition, as should be obvious, one that it implies that a change that makes everyone better off can still be a loss.

          The relative criterion is positive productivity. The simple way of filtering immigrants for that is to offer no subsidy/welfare to new immigrants.

          • Anonymous says:

            The relative criterion is positive productivity. The simple way of filtering immigrants for that is to offer no subsidy/welfare to new immigrants.

            I would add a requirement for a citizen to be legally responsible for the immigrant’s actions. If they commit a crime, they get deported and the responsible citizen goes to jail.

          • rlms says:

            I agree that the average isn’t a cutoff point. But I think that relatively unproductive workers are easier to replace than highly productive ones. If we magically banned all Muslim immigrants who would end up earning minimum wage, it would be easy to replace them by allowing e.g. more Mexicans in. But banning a highly skilled Muslim immigrant would cause them to be replaced by someone less effective.

        • biblicalsausage says:

          “A blanket ban on Muslims has economic costs, since you are losing all the Muslims with above average economic productivity.”

          There are some worthwhile arguments in favor of Muslim immigration, but this is not one of them. If we’re already stipulating that the US can pick and choose what kind of immigrants, it wants, there’s an easy work-around for this one.

          You’d just estimate how many highly-qualified Muslims you’re excluding and replace them with equally-qualified Chinese. Since we’re bringing in only about 130,000 Muslims per year, and only some of them will fall into the “above average” category, I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to find enough Chinese takers to compensate.

          • Matt M says:

            Every year we forcibly kick out tens of thousands of Chinese and Indians who have just completed educational studies in American universities and who strongly desire to stay.

            They’re educated and skilled, by our very own standards, speak English, and have already had 1-4 years to start assimilating.

            Yeah, this wouldn’t be a problem.

          • rlms says:

            “You’d just estimate how many highly-qualified Muslims you’re excluding and replace them with equally-qualified Chinese.”
            That only works for qualifications where the US currently rejects some people who apply with them. You can only accept more Chinese immigrants, you can’t just kidnap talented Chinese people. But there are some qualifications (brilliant academic, CEO of a major company etc.) where everyone with them who wants to come to the US is allowed to. So, assuming an efficient market, you will be replacing Muslims in those roles with inferior candidates.

          • biblicalsausage says:

            @rims.

            So we’re looking at a country with 330 million inhabitants, and 130 thousand Muslim immigrants per year. Out of that 130 thousand, some are presumably so awesome that we could never replace them because we already accept 100% of people that awesome who want to come to the US.

            I wish there was some way to quantify this irreplaceable group’s current contributions, so we can decide whether the US can afford to lose these folks. Are there a dozen of them a year? A hundred? A thousand?

            Are there even ten Muslims in the US who wouldn’t be essentially replaceable economically if we decided to replace them? I don’t know. But I’d bet the economic cost of stopping all Muslim migration would be low, or even a net economic win.

            From where I stand, the only interesting arguments for continuing to let Muslims in the country are arguments about fairness, relations with the Muslim world, and so on. I don’t buy the idea that anyone is actually defending Muslim immigration because they’ve done an economic cost-benefit analysis and decided that Muslims are fulfilling some vital economic role in American society.

          • I don’t buy the idea that anyone is actually defending Muslim immigration because they’ve done an economic cost-benefit analysis and decided that Muslims are fulfilling some vital economic role in American society.

            “Vital economic role” is a straw man. Some of us have concluded, on the basis of economic theory, that as long as immigrants are not subsidized their net effect on the existing population is positive.

          • biblicalsausage says:

            @DavidFriedman,

            And I’m sure it’s perfectly reasonable to suggest that, in a world where immigrants don’t have access to a social safety net, their presence is probably going to be a net positive for the natives. Fine. I won’t argue that.

            But, in a world where we do heavily subsidize people, and where we have various limits that keep the number of immigrants far lower than a free market in labor would provide, we’re in a somewhat different situation.

            In this world, is there anything, economically, that our current 130,000 Muslim immigrants each year do for us that could not be easily replaced (and at lower governmental costs) by taking in 130,000 immigrants from somewhere else instead? I don’t see any reason to think so.

          • Matt M says:

            Not to mention that when it comes to skilled immigration, my understanding is that a whole lot of this is decided by a simple lottery system, rather than a close examination and ranking of candidates by various desirable factors.

            In other words, there’s no way to guarantee that if we displaced the 130,000 Muslims who won the lottery with 130,000 Chinese and Indians who didn’t win the lottery that, even on strictly economic terms (without considering terrorism or assimilation or any of that), we wouldn’t actually be getting even better people than we were before.

          • rlms says:

            @biblicalsausage
            The idea isn’t that there are people who literally can’t be replaced, rather that there are people who will be replaced by worse workers (and for important jobs even a small decrease in quality can have a significant cost). There are certainly more than ten very high value Muslims in the US: this non-exhaustive list alone has more than 10 CEOs, and doesn’t include e.g. the ex-CEO of Coca-Cola.

      • Brad says:

        @Well…

        Any sure step the US could take to drastically reduce these things–starting tomorrow–would instantly lead to potential run-ins with the Constitution and our national ethics:

        -Want to drastically reduce car accidents? Make the driver’s test so hard that only 1% of the very best drivers can pass it, and beef penalties for moving violations way up.

        I don’t think this is a very good example. We could drastically reduce traffic deaths and injuries without offending the constitution or any sort of ethics. We currently mandate that cars have certain saftey and pollution control devices. These rules are enforced by inspection requirements and criminal penalties for willful evasion. There’s no legal or ethical reason that a similar rule couldn’t be put in place that mandated governors limiting vehicles to 50 miles an hour. Such a rule would drastically reduce traffic deaths and injuries.

        We don’t do such a thing because whether we admit or not we are okay with trading off lives, including innocent lives, versus other things.

        It’s one thing to say terrorism is different because of cognitive biases A, B, and C. It’s another to cheerlead for these cognitive biases.

      • Virbie says:

        > -Want to drastically reduce death from cancer? Make cancer screenings mandatory, punishable with jail time.

        This is _incredibly_ disingenuous. You intentionally skipped right over solutions like “make cancer screenings free”, “spend tons of money tagging and tracking every shark possible”, etc. None of your solutions are inherently the only possible steps we could take; you just cherry-picked absurd examples that would be unduly coercive and then with a straight face claimed that they’re the only steps we could take to reduce these risks.

        The real reason we don’t do more about these risks isn’t because they’d be too coercive[1]; it’s because we’ve decided that we’re at roughly the right spot on the risk/cost curve, a calculation which our collective brains have short-circuited for terrorism.

        [1] Obligatory caveat that yes, any gov’t spending funded by taxation can be considered coercive but that’s the case for spending on terrorism as well.

        • Well... says:

          @Virbie, I’m answering both you and Brad at the same time since you made similar arguments (hopefully he searches the page for his handle):

          You’re probably right that the costs of plausible methods of preventing cancer or car accidents would be mainly felt in places other than our Constitutional rights. I thought up those examples rather hastily and was probably trying to be more parallel than was necessary.

          My point is that whatever Americans do to combat cancer or car accidents will have significant costs to Americans. But the cost of preventing Islamist terrorism in America by greatly reducing immigration by Muslims is very low for Americans.

    • Anonymous says:

      But then conservatives get triggered by liberals pointing out that, objectively speaking, terrorism causes fewer—far fewer—fatalities than many other risks that don’t receive anywhere near as much media coverage, so why is it such a big deal?

      The difference, as I see it, is that the risk of chair-related fatalities is outweighed by the usefulness of chairs. Whereas, as far as I can see, Muslim immigration is a net loss even if they didn’t commit any terrorist attacks. The terrorist attacks are just an insult in addition to the injury of welfare state abuse, increased crime, lowered social cohesion/trust, change in voting patterns and risk of civil war down the road.

      • onyomi says:

        I think this is a key point, and another reason I hate the concept of “cultural appropriation” with a fiery passion. I mean, really, what benefit is there to the majority population of having more foreigners around, other than the sort of benefit which could be replicated by the host population simply having more babies (and therefore having more labor, etc.; though I’m aware in many cases they seem not to want to do this; we also don’t seem to be suffering a labor shortage in the developed world)?

        To my mind, the only real benefit of diversity per se, from the perspective of the host population, is getting introduced to new technologies, new ways of thinking, new arts, new foods, new languages, etc. which can, at least in some cases, enrich one’s own world. But now if host group does this with too much gusto, it’s somehow abusive and evil.

        So the message is: “diversity is great! …but if you try to enjoy it, you’re evil.” In other words, as suspected, diversity is actually a kind of religious penance. If you get too into self-flagellation, you’re just being kinky/missing the point.

        • tmk says:

          > simply having more babies
          Not so simple, as Japan and others have found out.

          There is also the economic advantage of people moving to where their skills are more valuable. On average, someone who is an expert in field X is more likely to migrate to a country with many companies working in field X.

          • biblicalsausage says:

            In the case of Japan, if you have a country so densely populated that a 1,000-square foot house costs an average of about $350,000, I have some sympathy for the not-baby-having.

    • bintchaos says:

      Dr Taleb has himself said that IS is anti-fragile. In situ US and Russia are indeed hitting IS with “ALL they have”. Russia killed ~250k muslims in the Chechan rebellion attempting to “wipe out” internal terrorism.
      But the long term prospects for ending terrorism require changing the initial conditions that create it.
      I think terrorism is a strat in a complex adaptive game, and until initial conditions are changed new fractal instances of islamic insurgency will just evolve in response to environment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, killing terrorists theoretically works *eventually*. Just so long as you are killing them faster than they are reproducing. Which isn’t quite likely.

      • But the long term prospects for ending terrorism require changing the initial conditions that create it.

        And you believe those conditions are? And can be changed how?

        One condition might be oppressive governments in Islamic countries, but it isn’t clear how one could change that and our attempts so far have not turned out well.

        Another is a world where the West is obviously much richer and more successful than the Islamic world. Changing that requires that Islamic societies have the sort of institutions that promote economic growth, and it isn’t clear how one gets that to happen. And it would still take a while.

        Other candidates? Even if Israel vanished, Islamic societies have lots of reasons to fight each other, starting with Shia vs Sunni. One of the minority positions of your friend Ibn Taymiyyah was that Jihad was legitimate against other Muslims, and ISIS appears to agree.

        • rlms says:

          “Changing that requires that Islamic societies have the sort of institutions that promote economic growth”
          Is that not the case? Does e.g. Indonesia have vicious anti-market policies?

          • Gobbobobble says:

            What proportion of Islamic terrorism does Indonesia produce?

          • bintchaos says:

            @Gobbobobble
            Not much so far– but thats about to change
            This is really a brilliant adaptive strategy for invasive cultural transmission.

          • rlms says:

            @Gobbobobble
            Not much, but I assumed we were talking about oppressive Islamist governments in general, not just ones that produce terrorism (although Indonesia was still not a great example for that). But the same applies to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan etc. as far as I know.

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        > In situ US and Russia are indeed hitting IS with “ALL they have”.

        If the US and Russia were hitting IS with “ALL they have” Raqqa would have been flattened on the third day of the war. Despite all the posturing from Obama and Trump about how aggressively we’re battling the grave threat of the Islamic State we are not even remotely taking this seriously.

    • dndnrsn says:

      You can see this elsewhere in this thread: people will use concerns as standins for other concerns.

      Take someone who is right-wing enough (I assume there are some on the left who have this concern, but it is mostly a right-wing thing, and not especially centre-right either) to worry about long-term demographic change. Move more towards the centre, and “chronic” crime becomes more of a concern. Some crimes are more “loaded” than others (sex crimes create more outrage than muggings, but invite the riposte “you’re just playing into old stereotypes of shady foreigners who want to defile women” because of this). Move more towards the centre, and “acute” crime like terrorism becomes the concern. It’s more acceptable, more within the Overton Window, to worry about Manchester than muggings, and more acceptable to worry about muggings than Rotherham, so to speak. But it’s still more acceptable to worry about Rotherham than demographics.

      You can see the same pattern with discussion of illegal immigration in the US. “Look at how voting patterns in California have changed” is to the right of complaining that sanctuary cities make it harder to prosecute minor crimes is to the right of pointing out a few highly nonrepresentative cases of lurid murders committed by guys who should have been deported but weren’t.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s a pretty good analysis. I’m not sure I understand your point, though.

        • dndnrsn says:

          That one answer to the question “why are right-wingers so upset about terrorism?” is “they’re not just worried about terrorism, but terrorism is the thing that it’s most socially acceptable for them to be worried about.” It’s a proxy for something else; worries about terrorism are in effect fighting a proxy war. Similarly, the same thing explains why some left-wingers point out after every terrorist attack that terrorism is less of a threat than heart disease, or whatever – it’s a proxy.

          The discussion about terrorism – or, at least, about terrorism by radical Muslims – is about a lot of unspoken stuff, a lot of stuff that’s below the surface. The cycle of “Muslim radical terrorist attack, right wing shouts about terrorist attack, left wing says it’s no big deal because look how dangerous falling in the shower is” makes little sense if you think that the conversation is 100% about the attacks – for one thing, it causes a lot of people on the left and right to hold positions different from what they usually do (“terrorism kills very few people” is of a similar form to “very few people shot dead are shot by police”, for example, and right-wingers in the US at least tend take a different stance on “lone nut with AR-15” than they do “radical Muslim with suicide bomb”; and watch what happens when it’s a racist terrorist, like that guy in Quebec who went into the mosque with a gun killing people).

          • Wrong Species says:

            I do think this is part of it but not all. Conservatives do care about terrorism. The issue is one of values. When it comes to gun control for instance, conservatives are opposed because they believe it’s a right and progressives don’t think much about the second amendment. To ban guns for a conservative is taking away essential freedoms while it’s common sense to a progressive. Terrorism is similar. Conservatives don’t see anyone as having a right to immigrate to the US. Banning people who could be a threat is common sense. But for progressives, that’s religious discrimination. It’s something that we don’t practice inside our country and is really just a callback to a more regressive time. Telling people they can’t come to our country because they are Muslim is wrong and it’s an unacceptable price to pay to marginally reduce the risks of terrorism.

            So the question is how do these two groups talk to each other? Both have different values that can’t be easily reconciled. And even agreeing to the same facts wouldn’t change that.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Wrong Species

            So the question is how do these two groups talk to each other?

            They don’t. They’re fundamentally incompatable within a single polity. (And given that one views themselves as the “Universal Culture” toward whom the Arc of History bends…)

          • Nornagest says:

            And given that one views themselves as the “Universal Culture” toward whom the Arc of History bends…

            Arguably both do, it’s just that only one uses it as a talking point.

            See e.g. “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Nornagest

            Arguably both do, it’s just that only one uses it as a talking point.

            Does the Right really see ourselves as “Universal”, as not only the way things should be done in our own families and nation, but as the One Right Way for All People, Everywhere? The more actively-evangelizing Christian portions, perhaps. But these days, I find much more “tall fences make good neighbors” attitudes here on the Right than on the Left. And when it comes to zeal at “converting the heathen” and forbidding him to practice his vile, barbaric folkways even in his own lands (for his own good, of course), I see that far more on the Left; don’t you? (Again, with the limited exception — for now — of Muslims.)

          • Nornagest says:

            Does the Right really see ourselves as “Universal”, as not only the way things should be done in our own families and nation, but as the One Right Way for All People, Everywhere?

            Yes. The difference is that the left thinks the One Right Way is the One Right Way for ethical reasons that need to be fought for. They also think it’s inevitable because the arc of the moral universe etc. etc., but this is an inevitability mediated by people fighting against injustice.

            The right (except for the religious right, which holds an analogue of the above views modulo some vocabulary) thinks the One Right Way is the One Right Way for practical reasons that need to be maintained, and that it isn’t necessarily inevitable — only that all the alternatives are worse.

            These One Right Ways don’t all cover the same territory — each leaves latitude the other doesn’t. So both have a claim (more or less strained depending on how authoritarian the speaker is) to being on the side of freedom.

            There was some historical fondness on the Right for the idea that different ways work for different peoples, but that’s out of fashion, even among the euphemism right. These days the euphemisms just think other peoples aren’t as good at it.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Wrong Species

            I’m not necessarily talking about the US, though. Plenty of places (including nice places) have less strong protections for guns and speech. The right-wingers there still have a similar reaction to/narrative of terrorism.

          • Aapje says:

            @dndnrsn

            What I see is that a group feels that their needs are sacrificed for the needs of others.

            Generally, you see that the right is perfectly willing to accept risk of death or other downsides if they feel that there is a strong upside for themselves. Generally, that upside revolves around jobs/better pay.

            The perception is now that migrants cause unemployment, lower pay, destruction of their culture AND terrorism. The latter is the poison cherry on top of the shit cake that they feel they are forced to eat.

            PS. Many Geert Wilders voters came from the left and in surveys, many show very left-wing economic beliefs. So you have to be very careful with the claim that anti-Muslim beliefs are strictly right wing.

          • PS. Many Geert Wilders voters came from the left and in surveys, many show very left-wing economic beliefs.

            Hostility to immigration, terrorism aside, seems to fit the left wing view of the world better than the right. Free market economics, which has traditionally been part of the right wing package, suggests that immigrants produce net benefits for those already here via gains from trade. The intuitive mistaken view in which there is a fixed pool of jobs and the immigrants are taking some of them goes along much better with leftish views of the economy.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Aapje:

            But you’ll see more right-wingers, and more mainstream right-wingers, say “terrorism” when asked “what’s bad.” “Destruction of our culture” is a bit of a lurch to the right. Nobody likes terrorism, but saying “we need to keep our culture” marks you as a certain sort of person.

            And, yes, there’s economic-left immigration restrictionism – there’s a whole lot of money being left on the table, so to speak, in the shortage of left-wing anti-globalist parties – and there’s what I think of as Fortuynism (the pitch of which is “hey, you like sex drugs and rock’n’roll? THE MUSLIMS WILL TAKE THAT AWAY”). But they’re relatively minority tastes.

            @DavidFriedman

            The “bundles” of opinions that make up left and right in different places, or labour vs liberal vs conservative, or whatever, are often wildly incoherent, and frequently the result of historical accidents. There’s probably a timeline where environmentalism is the domain of nudist neo-pagan ethno-nationalists, for example. In this timeline, believing that immigration is good is usually found on the left, and while the most coherent open borders argument is anarchist, and probably ancap, the most common open borders argument is a left-wing-but-statist (and in my view rather less coherent) one.

          • Tibor says:

            @David: This is why I think the terms left and right are hopelessly confusing today. Le Pen is considered right wing, so is Trump. I consider both of them to be leftist based on their economic policy. To make it even more confusing, in Germany “die Rechte”, i.e. “the rightwingers” is used pretty much synonymously with “the Nazis”. A free market-friendly(ish) party is going to be considered centrist (except by radical leftists who will lump in together nazis and “neoliberals” into one “rightist” group). I think the best response to this mess is it is to stop using right and left altogether, particularly for liberals/libertarians who don’t fit into the way the left-right scale is understood by most very well.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Tibor:

            How is Trump a leftist?

          • Aapje says:

            @dndnrsn

            Nobody likes terrorism, but saying “we need to keep our culture” marks you as a certain sort of person.

            But not as one specific sort of person and not necessarily on the right.

            ‘Cultural appropriation’ is also a ‘keep your hands of our culture, because you will damage it’ argument.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Aapje:

            Yes, cultural appropriation is left-coded, the majority (in a Western country, at least) saying “we need to keep our culture” is right-coded.

          • nimim.k.m. says:

            @DavidFriedman and others

            re: right-wing vs left-wing. Everyone knows the history of the terminology that goes back to the French revolution and the order at the representatives sat in the parliament. However, as far the modern usage of the word goes, it makes sense only in the framework of the Great World Wars of the 20th century, where left-wing = the political movement(s) that either used to be called socialism or was ideologically affiliated enough to look like it at a distance; this often included demands for radical societal change for the benefit of the working class. In agrarian societies, the land reform; in industrialized countries, unions. Everywhere: demands for 8-hour working day, better working conditions, anything perceived as a “more fair deal”, participation in political activity ranging from founding co-operatives to radical revolutionarism.

            The right consisted of everyone signaling their opposition to the all described above. It may include proponents of free markets, but it also might as well include aristocrats who did not update their beliefs from mercantilism, and it does include everybody who were willing to support the societal status quo than “socialism”, not giginv much thought about to economy.

            Regarding the hostility of immigration and work: The economically uneducated might talk about the effects like the immigrants were stealing their fixed number of jobs. However, the traditional steelmanned argument about jobs in Europe goes like this: they do also perceive that immigrant from 3rd world country is willing to work for much lower pay, which introduces competition. Moreover, business owner often finds it easier circumvent taxes, social security payments, and other mandatory payments by using illegal immigrant workforce (and if they choose not, they are out-competed by businesses that are willing to do so), making the immigrant workforce even cheaper to hire over the locals. The locals have more difficult time circumventing taxes (they exist in the system: the tax authority has their files and bank account information; they might even respect the law just because that’s what they have been taught to do); they also are used to the lifestyle of their parents that resulted from the great 20th century social democratic compromise, and thus draw social security / unemployment benefits than work at same salary as the migrant.

          • Tibor says:

            @dndnrsn: He seems to be quite the opposite of laissez faire in his policies, which makes him leftist of you view the left-right scale as mainly about the degree of government interference. By that measure you have anarcho-capitalists on the far right, communists and nazis on the far left and everyone else somewhere in between. I am not sure about socialist anarchists. While they reject the state which would put them on the far right, they also seem to assume a whole lot of things about what everyone would have to do and that would need to be enforced by something that is a state in all but name (that or they’d need massive changes in human psychology which is unrealistic), so I’d put them on the left.

          • Tibor says:

            @nimim.k.m.: The trouble is that liberals (classical liberals in Americanese) would be routinely considered as the left-wing in the 19th century. I’m not sure when free market began to be considered as a right-wing thing but I guess that it in the US it wasn’t before Roosevelt?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Tibor:
            Remember, left and right wing are just coalitions. Don’t be confused by the fact coalitions are not immutable. Comparing, say, the left-wing of today to that of 100 years ago is interesting, but doesn’t say much about ideological consistency.

            And conservative has many meanings and implications. Conservative viewpoints can cut against each other in odd ways. The standard liberal American rip on this is “Government so small it can fit into your uterus.”

            My point being simply that “laisez fair economics” isn’t the end all and be all of conservatism, and even many economic conservatives aren’t actually all that interested in removing government supports for industry.

            ETA:
            As far as Trump being “left wing” that’s sort of a non-sequitur. He ran as a nativist populist, which cuts across the existing coalitions. He isn’t consistent enough, nor detail oriented enough, to be counted to do anything in much of a coherent fashion, but he has governed mostly as a firmly right-wing leader, with a few merely rhetorical forays towards populism. The actual policies he proposes or champions are to do either with nativism, increase military spending , reduce any other spending or reduce the various top marginal tax rates.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @DavidFriedman

            Free market economics, which has traditionally been part of the right wing package

            Was it “part of the right wing package” when “right wing” was defined during the French Revolution? Was it “part of the right wing package” for G.K Chesterton? Carlyle? Or for a good portion of the “Religious Right”? I’d call that too recent to really make “tradionally” an appropriate adverb (and also very much an American thing, and America is, from it’s founding, fundamentally a liberal, Whig country).

            @dndnrsn

            There’s probably a timeline where environmentalism is the domain of nudist neo-pagan ethno-nationalists

            I understand there actually was a fair bit of that sort of thing among the Nazis (I recall that Steve Sailer has written a little about this).

          • 1soru1 says:

            > I’m not sure when free market began to be considered as a right-wing thing

            The more interesting question is when it will stop being considered so.

            I understand it takes times to update priors. If, back in the 70s, a certain sports-ball team had a reputation for a passing game, then to people only paying the vaguest attention they will still have that reputation. Even if they have passed a ball twice in the last in 3 years, once when the other team knocked the ball out of their hands.

            About the most basic free-market position is that ‘it is ok for corporations to produce advertising aimed at people who have money to spend on their goods’. Is there a single Republican politician in the country who would be prepared to openly back such a radical leftist position?

            In absolute terms, a free market is the position in the middle between ‘we are justified in killing them and taking their stuff’ and ‘they would be justified in killing us etc.’ It says ‘lets use a neutral set of rules, and what happens happens’. This explains how groups such as Hamas have a contradictory nature, in that their actual supporters are best considered as right wing, but their foreign sympathizers, those who think it might make sense to negotiate with them, are leftists.

            As of the last 5 years; the location of the free market position on the US political spectrum is unambiguously outside the borders of the Republican party. While it is possible to imagine a person with such views voting Republican, it is not possible to imagine a situation in which they are correct to do so.

          • Tibor says:

            @HBC: I think you misunderstand me (or you did not read the whole thread in which case it is easy to misunderstand me). I am not saying that Trump is left. I am saying that if you adopt the view that right-wing means laissez-faire and left-wing means everything else, then Trump is left. This way of seeing what is right and what is left-wing is admittedly not common among the general population (I think) but it is more or less standard among libertarians/(classical) liberals.

            This is why David Friedman considers himself a right-winger. I am sympathetic to this view of the left-right scale but the problem is that it clashes with what most other people see as left and right. As you said yourself, most people don’t find laissez faire to be the most important thing in politics, libertarians do (not because they are only interested in money but because they believe laissez fair to be the best way to secure individual liberty in general – and also prosperity as a free bonus).

            In other words, I can’t call myself right-wing since nowadays I am likely going to be confused with socialists and I can’t call myself left-wing for the same reason. Maybe even the word socialist is used a bit differently among libertarians. For instance increasing military spending means more state expenses means more state means more socialism, similarly with other things you mentioned (including regulating abortions – what else could it be when the government tells you what you can or cannot do?). I remember an article from the CATO institute from a while back which criticized both G.W.Bush and Obama for being too socialist and finds Bill Clinton better (i.e. less socialist) than either of them. I’m not sure if that would be the way these three are viewed by most people.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Kevin C

            Yeah, there were certain tendencies present in the Nazis; certain strains at least. We’re in a timeline where environmentalism and nudism are coded left, and neopaganism is too unless it’s got tremolo picking and indecipherable raspy screeching.

            But in the timeline where Nazi Germany beat the Soviets in late ’41, never declared war on the US, and took the place of the USSR (bad guys in cold war who eventually collapse for economic reasons), perhaps instead of university Marxists there are university Nazis (with Strasserists taking the place of the Trotskyites)… Etc.

            There’s no reason the ideological packages we ended up with were predestined.

          • Tibor says:

            @1soru1: Are you sure? Ron and Rand Paul seem to be more pro free market than any Democrat as far as I can say (I don’t pay as much attention to the details of US politics). Gary Johnson was a member of the Republican Party still less then 5 years ago, wasn’t he?

            Of course, Trump is not a free-marketer but he and his supporters aren’t the only Republicans. Who would you say is the most laissez-faire friendly politician among the Democrats?

          • @DavidFriedman

            Free market economics, which has traditionally been part of the right wing package

            Was it “part of the right wing package” when “right wing” was defined during the French Revolution? Was it “part of the right wing package” for G.K Chesterton?

            No to both. I was speaking in the context of U.S. post WWII politics.

          • 1soru1 says:

            @Tibor

            Rand Paul is an interesting edge case, presumably due to his father’s legacy. Note that he is not exactly in favour of conventional free market economics, but an alternate version with no Federal Reserve. Crudely that might be called ‘returning to the gold standard’, though that’s presumably not _literally_ true.

            And that’s hardly an incidental quirk; his central policy platform is reducing taxation levels to the point a fiat currency would no longer be viable.

            There are a whole range of right-associated political views (bimetallism, mercantilism, etc.) that do, I suppose, technically count as variants on the theme of a free market. But they are hardly central to the idea of ‘free markets’, any more than the ‘market communism’ of old Yugoslavia does.

            There is a reason that corporations who trade on the free market donate Democrat, and those billionaires who gained their money via non-market means (mainly inheritance, with some gangsterism) donate Republican.

            Of course, a strict two-party system means free marketeers, social democrats and even some actual socialists have to share a platform, even if the only thing they can agree on is ‘Trump bad’.

          • Matt M says:

            Crudely that might be called ‘returning to the gold standard’, though that’s presumably not _literally_ true.

            Well it was literally true for his father. Whether he agrees on that is up for debate. Then again, after his initial introduction to the media in the form of “radical tea party guys says we should repeal the civil rights act!” I think he’s been much more careful with letting his true feelings slip…

          • Note that he is not exactly in favour of conventional free market economics, but an alternate version with no Federal Reserve.

            Why is that inconsistent with conventional free market economics?

            And that’s hardly an incidental quirk; his central policy platform is reducing taxation levels to the point a fiat currency would no longer be viable.

            Why would a fiat currency depend on a high level of taxation? Bitcoin is, in effect, a private fiat currency with no function in paying taxes, but nonetheless has value.

          • Nornagest says:

            Why would a fiat currency depend on a high level of taxation?

            [Posting for my own edification; this is outside my wheelhouse and I’m probably wrong.]

            Because demanding taxes in your fiat currency forces that amount of value to be transferred in it, thus creating demand for it?

          • Tibor says:

            @1soru1: Huh? How is mercantilism broadly a part of the “free market”? It is like saying that Eichmann was broadly speaking a Zionist.

            Corporations donate money to people who believe will give them special treatment, be it tax loopholes, tailored regulation which helps them limit competition or anything else. As Milton Friedman put it, corporations like the free market for everyone but themselves, so I would not make any conclusions based on that. Big business is usually a friend of big government (which is where I believe the people on the left who dislike big business are making a tragic mistake viewing the big government as its opponent). Plus, I’d expect most large companies to donate money to both Democrats and Republicans, giving more to those whom they expect to win in a particular election.

            But while I might be missing a lot in US politics, the Democratic party does not seem to be much about reducing the scope and size of the government. The Republican party seems to be neither, they talk the talk (well, now with Trump they maybe don’t even do that) but they don’t seem to walk the walk very often. Still, there seem to be a few among them who would like the walk the walk and I don’t know any Democrats who even talk the talk.

          • John Schilling says:

            Because demanding taxes in your fiat currency forces that amount of value to be transferred in it, thus creating demand for it?

            That is a source of demand for a fiat currency, and a particularly useful one if you are a government trying to bootstrap a fiat currency out of nothing.

            Bitcoin is a fiat currency which AFIK no government anywhere accepts for tax payments. There is still demand for it.

            And when the United States introduced a new $100 bill in 1996, the Russian government asked for – and got – a visit from the US Secretary of the Treasury, appearing on Russian television to assure the audience that US banks would still honor the old-style bills indefinitely, for fear that the Russian economy would otherwise collapse. This I do not believe was because of the great number of post-Soviet Russian capitalists who were terribly worried about their ability to pay taxes to the United States Government.

            There are many sources of demand for a currency, and the United States Dollar has been well and thoroughly bootstrapped into something lots of people want really badly for non-tax-related reasons.

    • Nancy Lebovitz says:

      My assumption is that the big risk from terrorism is more from infrastructure attacks and making use of stored energy (I’m not going to be more specific) than from weapons of mass destruction.

      It’s possible that terrorists aren’t quite as smart as I am– I’m been worried about car attacks ever since 9/11– so I’m not helping them out.

    • cuthbertstephenson says:

      You write, “terrorism causes fewer—far fewer—fatalities than many other risks that don’t receive anywhere near as much media coverage, so why is it such a big deal? And there’s really no good answer to this.”

      You will pardon my being blunt. Let me rephrase your statment so you can see exactly how fatuous it really is.

      From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. Of these people that were lynched 3,446 were black. That is on average 39.6 black people per annum. For the sake of argument, since black folks are about 10% of the population but tend on average to be poorer, let us assume that black people are 5% of US automotive fatalities. That means that since 1910 more black people were killed in car acidents than in lynchings and after 1911 it was more than twice as many. Should therefore the New York Times not have launched its campaign against lynching, instead concentrating on automotive safety?

      You will pardon my saying that to ask the question is to answer it.

      Lynching and Terrorist attacks are different in kind from deaths by accident and even common murder, because they are have a different motive. The purpose of lynching was (largely) to systematically deprive black people of their political, social, and economic rights. The purpose of jihadist terror attacks is to systematically deprive non Muslims of their political, social, and economic rights. In contrast the purpose of deaths by accident is to allow people to have fun and live their lives as they like.

  19. Kevin C. says:

    One of those things I see brought up from time to time is Medieval animal trials. And pretty much every time, it’s in the vein of “look at how silly and ignorant people were back then”. But I’d like to ask people to consider the perspective of animal rights. As one of the few works I’ve seen to defend it, this Slate article, puts it:

    While these explanations go partway toward elucidating animal trials, none of them fully clarify the practice. They hardly explain why citizens went to great pains to create space for humans to judge animals for their actions. Correcting hierarchical order or sending a stern message to animal owners could have been accomplished much more easily and cheaply with summary execution. What the trials strongly suggest is that pre-industrial citizens deemed the animals among them worthy of human justice primarily because they had, like humans, the free will to make basic choices.

    What are we to make of this evidence that our ancestors imputed to animals a sense of moral agency? Contemporary responses have been either to mock them as pre-enlightenment rubes (“artifacts of a superstitious and ritualistic culture,” as legal scholar Katie Sykes summarizes this stance) or to dismiss them as sinister masochists who enjoyed watching animals dangle from the gallows because they had, as historian Edward P. Evans put it in 1906, “a childish disposition to punish irrational creatures.” Overlooked by these interpretations is something that, as we increasingly remove animals from public view, becomes harder to appreciate: These people saw aspects of animal behavior that we don’t see anymore. In this sense, these seemingly odd trials have much to teach us about how fundamentally our relationship with animals has changed over time and how, more poignantly, we’ve lost the ability to empathize with them as sentient beings.

    While that article blames industrialization and the reduction in contact with animals that came with the shift away from pre-modern agriculture, I’d argue that the “modern view” — wherein moral agency is solely a property of human persons — is at least partially due to Cartesian Dualism and associated developments of the Enlightenment. To quote the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s article on “Animal Consciousness”:

    Descartes himself practiced and advocated vivisection (Descartes, Letter to Plempius, Feb 15 1638), and wrote in correspondence that the mechanical understanding of animals absolved people of any guilt for killing and eating animals. Mechanists who followed him (e.g. Malebranche) used Descartes’ denial of reason and a soul to animals as a rationale for their belief that animals were incapable of suffering or emotion, and did not deserve moral consideration — justifying vivisection and other brutal treatment (see Olson 1990, p. 39–40, for support of this claim).

    (And one cannot miss the work the RSPCA did in its early days to combat vivisection and cruelty in animal experiments.) So, if one is trying to move past believing in “the Ghost in the Machine”, and to recognizing that (at least some) animals have non-zero moral worth, then perhaps one might admit non-zero moral agency as well. Note, that this non-zero moral agency can still be much, much, much less than human moral agency, as moral agency is not binary (we admit that children have less than adults, especially the younger they are; similarly with various mental imparements). And I’m not exactly calling for restoration of animal trials. I’m just saying that, given that the “only humans morally matter” legacy of Dualism seems to be weakening, perhaps those who make that rejection should stop seeing the Medieval attitudes here as entirely silly and stupid, but, while not correct, at least more morally reasonable than the vivisectionists and such of the early Enlightenment.

  20. J Mann says:

    Ok, one more Charles Murray question, in a few parts:

    1) Are the genetic tests offered by Ancestry.com, 23andMe, etc. generally reliable regarding amount of ancestry from different areas?

    2) If so, is it possible to find a reasonably big data set of people who identify as wholly caucasian but actually have some African ancestry?

    3) If so, can we compare IQ and IQ proxies of the group in #2 with people who also believe they are white and who have less African ancestry?

    4) If so, has anyone ever done that?

    That seems to be a good way of checking how much effect racism might have as an environmental variable, subject to some caveats. You would have people who grew up believing they were white, so you could control for other environmental variables like wealth and see what happened.

    • Well... says:

      The experimental design is cool, but it doesn’t test the hypothesis. The hypothesis is about race, and race typically isn’t about genetics-as-detectable-in-DNA, but rather genetics-as-visible-at-100-yards.

      • J Mann says:

        I think it has the potential to challenge some hypotheses.

        1) For example, if IQ didn’t vary between people who believe they are fully Caucasian but are in fact of partial sub-Saharan-African ancestry, and people who believe they are fully Caucasian and are, that would cause me to reduce my internal probability of there being a substantial genetic competent to the group IQ difference.

        1.1) Another possibility would be that the differences in ancestry weren’t large enough to produce a statistically significant effect, but that’s an issue that can be addressed with larger samples and good math.

        1.2) Another possibility would be that intelligence is relevantly linked to the same genes that produce appearance changes, but given the number of genes we believe affect intelligence, that seems unlikely.

        2) On the other hand, if IQ varied as predicted based on continent of ancestry, even among people brought up in white families believing they were white, I think that would lower the probability of the “group differences are caused by racism” hypothesis, as well as the culture hypothesis.

        2.1) Another possibility would be that the identified group still varies from the typical white appearance in some what that exposes them to discrimination that affects their IQ.

  21. J Mann says:

    Latest discussion in the Vox/Murray dispute. The discussion is getting deeper into the details, and therefore IMHO more interesting.

    https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/6/15/15797120/race-black-white-iq-response-critics

    • Virbie says:

      Wow that’s fascinating. I’ve never seen that level of clarity and intellectual honesty from Vox. I suppose their authors intentionally dumb down most of their work, which can have the effect of making it seem intellectually dishonest. They should be challenged this heavily more often and maybe we’ll start seeing a higher proportion of quality work out of them!

      • I agree that it is more intellectually viable than most of what we’ve seen before, but I still find it somewhat disingenuous about the question of how much of the Black/White IQ difference is genetic.

        Nisbett makes the strongest case, although I can’t judge whether his statistics are cherry picking studies to find what he wants. But the studies he quotes seem to say that the Black/White IQ difference has halved in the last couple of decades, indicating that there is a large environmental component. However, he doesn’t mention that Murray has never claimed that the difference is 100% genetic. In The Bell Curve, the two authors state that the Black/White environments in the US aren’t different enough to account for a full standard deviation difference in IQ. Even if Nisbett is correct that the gap has shrunk by half, it doesn’t mean that the remaining difference isn’t genetic.

        Harden essentially fights the straw man that Murray believes the entire difference is genetic. And he claims that race cannot be defined clearly. This is true, but does not negate the statistics about those we have defined as Black and White.

        Turkheimer admits that Murray does not claim the differences are fully genetic. The other two authors should read what Turkheimer says. But Turkheimer claims it is immoral to have a theory that there is a genetic component to IQ without proof. This is the worst argument, in my opinion, because he is basically arguing in favor of politics over science in a question that is clearly a scientific one. At one point he claims the issue itself is irredeemably scientific. In my opinion it is only Turkheimer that is unscientific.

        These opinions are only slightly better than the trash talking Murray has gotten on The Bell Curve since the book came out. At least now the critics have given in on the actual science in The Bell Curve — namely that IQ is a real thing that has real life consequences, and that there is a Black/White difference in IQ, however it occurred. It is good that the discussion has moved to areas that are truly up for debate.

  22. johan_larson says:

    Google is riding high right now. They are expanding rapidly and planning to open several campuses for new hires. But how does all of this end?

    Let’s suppose Google follows the trajectory of an earlier darling of the computer industry, DEC. DEC’s big thing was minicomputers; they built some really famous ones like the PDP-8, the PDP-11, and the VAX line. They were started in 1957, and had a good run for about a generation until they were done in by a market shift away from minis to workstations and PCs. The last dregs of DEC were sold to Compaq 41 years later in 1998.

    So, if Google follows the same trajectory, having started in 1998, they will flame out in 2039, done in by the next big thing in the industry. What might that be?

    • Paul Zrimsek says:

      I don’t know, but when DOJ brings a monumentally drawn-out and expensive antitrust suit against the company, that will be a good sign that its irrelevance is at hand.

      • WashedOut says:

        Filing a “monumentally drawn-out and expensive antitrust suit against a company” seems to contraindicate “irrelevance”, by definition.

        I think it more likely that Google will get so big that it becomes part of the technological infrastructure that underpins the developed world. It will effectively transition from “corporate entity” to “technological substrate”. Try suing that.

    • Brad says:

      Microsoft and Apple were started in 1975 and 76 respectively — 41 and 42 years ago. And they are still riding very, very high.

      • johan_larson says:

        Oh, sure. I’m not saying DEC’s is the only possible story. Some companies die younger, some older. But I’d push back a bit against the claim that Microsoft is riding very high. Though it caught a second wind after Nadella stepped up, it’s not the kingpin of the industry any more, but it certainly was back in the nineties. Within the industry, it just isn’t spoken of in a breath with Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. It’s a big, old, second-tier company, like Oracle, say.

        Apple’s story is even more interesting. It’s not often you see a Second Coming played out in real life.

        • Brad says:

          Microsoft may not be as sexy as those companies, but it is more valuable than Amazon and Facebook, and has a PE ratio considerably higher than Apple and about the same as Alphabet (nee Google).

        • Virbie says:

          > Within the industry, it just isn’t spoken of in a breath with Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. It’s a big, old, second-tier company, like Oracle, say.

          This is only true at the consumer-level. People who know what they’re talking about disagree. While I was at Google (during some of Microsoft’s shittiest years), Eric Schmidt would constantly hammer home the point that you should never, ever underestimate Microsoft (I believe he’s said as much publicly too), and Google’s management lives by this as well.

          As just one example, even through their absolute worst years, Microsoft had one of the best research labs of its kind on the planet. The fact that their company culture was so necrotic that nothing good ever made it to market is exactly the kind of thing that can be turned around in a relatively-not-that-long period of time and then you’d expect to see a discontinuity in unleashed potential.

          • johan_larson says:

            Paul Graham is certainly within the industry, and as one of the founders of a top startup accelerator (Y Combinator), he knows what he is talking about. And he wrote Microsoft is Dead.

          • rlms says:

            @johan_larson
            Paul Graham (understandably) cares about the capacity of companies to threaten startups. But even if we assume that Microsoft is dead in that somewhat ill-defined way, it’s still pretty alive in the sense of wealth. I’d be happy to be assessed as dead by Paul Graham if I could be stinking rich simultaneously.

          • Virbie says:

            @johan_larson

            I’m very familiar with Paul Graham, like him a lot, and appreciate his propensity for thinking hard about a lot of things, but I wouldn’t say he knows what he’s talking about.

            Less snarkily: Paul’s bar for publishing things that he’s thinking about is a lot lower than you’d expect; things that he’s sort of thinking about end up being published and often have tons of rough edges and unwarranted conclusions. I enjoy this about him because it means you get to read his (often very good) musings about many different things, but putting as much confidence into any given essay of his as you are right now is doing yourself a disservice.

            Looking at it from another angle, it should be pretty obvious which data point is higher-quality:

            1) the billions-of-dollars-at-stake actually-implemented strategies of large companies that compete directly with Microsoft

            vs

            2) a single essay written by a guy whose incentive is to attract talent to smaller companies. Even if he’s 100% correct and 100% confident about his assessment of Microsoft, you’re assuming that he’d share that 100% honestly with the public.

            Like I said, I really like pg, but your entire understanding of Microsoft seems to be based on the fact that you read Paul Graham’s essay before other perspectives and you’re hesitant to update your model.

          • pontifex says:

            I enjoy reading Paul Graham’s essays, but you have to keep in mind that he’s kind of the crazy old uncle of the VC community.

            He got rich in the original dotcom bubble of 1999 selling a doomed startup to Yahoo for a silly amount of money. If he had waited a bit longer to sell, or if he had come to the Valley a little bit later, he would just be a drone at AmaGooFaceSoft now.

            Since we live in one of the realities where he didn’t, he’s now expounding on how Lisp is responsible for all his success (wat?), big companies are dinosaurs, etc. etc. “It’s easy to find gold in them thar hills! All you do is swing your pickaxe! And make sure it’s the purple one.”

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      The last dregs of DEC were sold to Compaq 41 years later in 1998.

      Digital Semiconductor was sold to Intel; the rest of the company went to Compaq. I don’t think either part actually qualified as “dregs”; remember that AltaVista was part of what Compaq got, and the billion-dollar Fab Six went to Intel.

      The company had grown a hell of a bureaucracy, though, and wasn’t effective or fast enough at getting good ideas from the Western Research Lab to market.

      I wrote my first program on a PDP-11/7A, running RSTS/E.

    • pontifex says:

      Prediction: If Google falls, it will be because of some huge scandal. They store and process highly personal data from millions of people around the world. If they have a “Snowden moment” where they’re found to have done something awful with the data, there could be enough public outrage to trigger the government to break up the company. Basically it would be AT&T or Standard Oil all over again.

      I can’t imagine them falling any other way. At this point, they have enough money that they could just put millions of dollars in a trash barrel every year and burn it. They’d still live like kings off the interest from the rest. They have more than 40 billion dollars in cash alone, not including any other assets.

    • shakeddown says:

      This is basically the German tank problem – see here https://what-if.xkcd.com/65/

  23. Virbie says:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/15/seven-percent-of-americans-think-chocolate-milk-comes-from-brown-cows-and-thats-not-even-the-scary-part/

    The Washington Post apparently hasn’t heard of Lizardman’s Constant, taking the news that 7% of Americans think that chocolate milk comes from brown cows as a Very Serious Warning (TM) of how poorly-educated on nutrition Americans are.

    No disagreements on the actual claim, it’s just funny that the lede is so dramatic and so trivial.

    • Deiseach says:

      Well, apparently you can tell the colour of a hen’s eggs by the colour of her earlobes 🙂

    • biblicalsausage says:

      I, for one, am shocked and saddened that only 93% of Americans given an earnest, correct answer when asked a stupid question. The correct answer, no doubt, is to restructure our educational system to include more information about agriculture, along with mandatory expulsions for anyone who gives sarcastic responses. Chocolate milk is no joking matter.

      • Zodiac says:

        You say that as a joke, yet I know a few people who say that with complete conviction.

  24. Kevin C. says:

    Two particularly interesting paragraphs from Michael Power’s thought-provoking Financial Times articleHas Western-style democracy become too expensive for capitalism?

    The central reason why Western democracy is in decline is that its capitalist bedfellow can no longer afford the financial demands that full-blown democracy is placing upon it. History has shown that capitalism can adapt, consorting with a variety of political systems in the past 5,000 years. Looking ahead, it will probably find another political host to aid its survival. Democracy — capitalism’s host over the past century — is far more brittle.

    Democracy’s political demands have productively cohabited with the economics of capitalism for a century because the economic largesse that this arrangement produced was partially redistributed via the tax-the-winners and spend-on-the-falling-behinds mechanisms of social democracy. This persuaded those whose livelihoods required subsidisation to support this marriage of convenience. The rise of populism, the deepening divide between generations and the growth of anti-establishment political movements on both extremes of the political spectrum suggest this grand bargain may be losing its attraction. This cohabitation is threatened because the economic surpluses generated can no longer cover the level of political demands for subsidisation.

    The article touches on the rise of China, automation-driven inequality and job loss, youth unemployment, rising protectionist sentiments, and labor productivity, and I think is well worth a read.

    • pontifex says:

      Whoa. Have Death-Eaters infiltrated the Financial Times?

      Unfortunately, I can’t read the article to find out since I don’t have a subscription to the FT.

  25. I have just webbed the latest draft of my not yet published book, Legal Systems Very Different from Ours. Comments welcome.

    • biblicalsausage says:

      I’ve read the chapters 1-6, 11-12, 15-17. As someone who first read anarcho-capitalist thought via Rothbard, and grew somewhat disillusioned with some of his idealism and hyper-theoretical approach (if that makes any sense), I’ve greatly enjoyed looking into your work, which seems a bit more empirically grounded and sober.

      I would come away from Rothbard thinking, “Fine. This is elegant. But would any of it actually work in practice.” Your latest book goes into pretty deep detail as to what alternative legal practices have in fact worked, at least well enough that they were used to structure a society. This seems to fill a major gap for me in what I’ve read so far.

    • ADifferentAnonymous says:

      I read an earlier version, so I’m more likely to read now if you can give me some patch notes.

      But I mainly come in to recommend this to others, especially anyone who thinks big sociological debates could use more empirical data.

      And it’s a fun read. You might not expect that part.

      • I’m afraid I didn’t keep patch notes. Most of the changes since the previous webbed version are minor ones, largely in response to my editor daughter’s pointing out problems. I think my substantial rewrite of the chapter on the problem of error, however, was done after I webbed the previous version.

  26. I have just webbed the v0.1 version of my latest project, a collection of short works of literature that contain interesting economics. It’s a web page with links, taking advantage of the fact that most of the things I want are already online. The final version would presumably be a printed book and a kindle, which would require copyright permission for those works not in the public domain.

    Comments welcome, especially suggestions of other things to include. Also of a better title.

    Embedded Economics v0.1

    Blog post explaining the project

    • Well... says:

      I wonder if you’re familiar with any of the People of Helm stories…I last read them as a kid so it’s been a while and my memory’s hazy, but I’d bet a few of those had some econ lessons.

    • Incurian says:

      Some suggestions, in ROT13,

      Urvayrva pbhyqa’g znxr vg guebhtu n puncgre jvgubhg univat bar punenpgre orng nabgure bire gur urnq jvgu fbzr aba-vaghvgvir rkcynangvba bs rpbabzvp npgvivgl, ohg urer ner fbzr rknzcyrf V pna guvax bs bss gur gbc bs zl urnq.

      Gvzr Rabhtu sbe Ybir vf n pbyyrpgvba bs fgbevrf (cyhf n senzvat qrivpr naq na rkgraqrq rcvybthr). Bar bs gur fgbevrf vf nobhg sebagvre yvsr va n arj pbybal, jurer gur cebgntbavfg npgf n onaxre oevrsyl. Gur pbybavfgf varivgnoyl qrpvqr gb “angvbanyvmr” gur onax, naq gurl ner fhecevfrq gb svaq gung ur unf ab zbarl va erfreir naq unf pbzcyrgryl nagvpvcngrq gurve zbir. Ur tbrf ba gb rkcynva jul ur qvq vg naq jul onaxvat naq pheerapl ner zber pbzcyvpngrq guna gurl fhfcrpg. Va bar bs gur rneyvre fgbevrf gurer vf fbzr gnyx bs gbkvp vapragvirf naq gur tbireazrag cnlvat snezref abg gb tebj nalguvat.

      Va Sbe Hf, Gur Yvivat, gurer vf na rkgraqrq qvfphffvba nobhg artngvir vapbzr gnk, nf jryy nf n ahzore bs jrveq rpbabzvp guvatf V pna’g erpnyy.

      Gur Zbba Vf N Unefu Zvfgerff snzbhfyl cbchynevmrq GNAFGNNSY. Gur genqr orgjrra snezref, nyy pvgvmraf, gur nqzvavfgengvba, naq gur uhatel cbchyngvba ba Rnegu ner xvaq bs na vagrerfgvat svpgvbany pnfr fghql nobhg pbybavnyvfz znlor.

      Va Gur Png Jub Jnyxrq Guebhtu Jnyyf, gurer ner n srj oevrs rknzcyrf. Gur znantrzrag bs Tbyqra Ehyr ubyqvat qrcbfvgf jvgubhg vagrerfg naq znxvat n xvyyvat bss bs vg, GNAFGNNSY ntnva ba gur zbba ertneqvat oernguvat nve naq rzretrapl erfphr perjf punetvat sbe gurve freivprf.

      Arny Fgrcurafba unf fbzr cerggl terng naq boivbhf rknzcyrf. Va Qvnzbaq Ntr, gurer vf fbzr fcrphyngvba ba n oneryl cbfg-fpnepvgl fbpvrgl. Va Fabj Penfu, gur vagryyvtrapr znexrg vf xvaq bs vagrerfgvat. Va gur Onebdhr Plpyr, vg rkcyvpvgyl qrfpevorf gur perngvba bs n ybg bs zbqrea onaxvat naq svanapvny vafgvghgvbaf. Ernzqr unf n cerggl vagrerfgvat qvfphffvba ba iveghny pheerapl, nf qbrf Pelcgbabzvpba (ohg va qvssrerag jnlf).

      • As I explained at my second link, I’m looking for things short enough so that I can produce a book containing lots of them. Novels don’t qualify. An excerpt from a novel only qualifies if it works on its own as a story. Your Time Enough for Love example might–I’ll have to reread it–but I don’t think the others do.

        I want to produce a collection of things people would read for their own sake, not excerpts chosen to demonstrate that literature sometimes contains economics. The latter would be unlikely to be read by anyone other than a professor looking for ideas for lectures or students reading it because it was assigned.

        • Incurian says:

          Of course, I should have rtfm.

          Actually I did at one point, as I was writing my reply I thought, “why didn’t I mention this when I saw it on the blog?” Whoops.

    • Alex Zavoluk says:

      Are you familiar with the Marshall Jevons books? I had to read The Fatal Equilibrium for my intro econ class, and it was pretty reasonable.

      • I reviewed the first of them, not very favorably. One of the later ones is better.

        Those are novels written by two economists to make economic points. I’m trying to put together a single book containing short works of literature that have interesting economics, works good enough so people read them for their own sake. A novel is too long and an excerpt from a novel is usually something that you would only read because you have been told it has economics in it, not because it is actually worth reading for itself.

        I go into some of this at the second link in my initial post.

  27. I want to expand on an issue I raised in a recent comment–desert vs entitlement as moral visions.

    One intuition is that people should get what they deserve. Good people should end up with good lives, bad people with bad lives. I think of that as the God’s eye view of morality. God, if he exists, knows what is good or bad, knows who did what why, and has unlimited resources with which to reward the good.

    The other intuition is that people should get what they are entitled to. Consider, as a simple example, a lottery. Nobody thinks the winner deserves to win–the result depended on random chance, not moral worth. But almost everyone thinks he is entitled to win, given that everyone involved agreed on the rules they are playing by.

    I think of that as the human eye view. We have no way of agreeing on what people deserve, since, all other problems aside, we have no way of determining what counts as good or bad. But we do, usually, know the rules of the game we are playing, and we can say whether an outcome is according to the rules–whether someone bought his TV or stole it, did or didn’t cheat in the poker game, … .

    We have both intuitions, but the desert intuition seems to get a lot more attention. In my view that is a mistake, because there are massive problems with trying to organize or judge a society on that basis. They include:

    Things happen independent of desert. Someone is struck by lightning and requires expensive medical care to survive. He didn’t do anything to deserve to be struck by lightning. But then, other people didn’t do anything to deserve to have to pay for his medical care–the lightning wasn’t a result of their sins either. The way I usually put this is that God does not have a budget constraint, we do. When costs appear, someone has to bear them, whether or not anyone deserves to.

    The desert view is massively inconsistent not only with how the world works but with how almost everyone wants it to work. As I pointed out in another thread, the difference between the opportunities available to someone born in the third world and someone born in America is massively greater than the difference between an American white and an American black. Yet few of the people who want to change America to give blacks the same outcomes as white make any serious effort to argue either for free immigration or for revenue maximizing taxation of all Americans, rich and poor, for the benefit of people in poor countries.

    Implementing the desert vision requires someone with the power to judge everyone else, in order to decide what people deserve. Absent a God, that isn’t an attractive picture.

    A final problem, which occasionally shows up here, is the difficulty in defining desert. It’s tempting to say that someone who is very productive deserves a high income or that someone who goes around robbing and murdering people deserves to be punished. But all such judgements are vulnerable to the argument that the person did not deserve the characteristics that let him produce a high income, did not deserve to be the sort of person who went around robbing and murdering. Push the argument far enough back along the causal change and nobody deserves to be anything, hence nobody deserves anything.

    People who argue along these lines generally conclude that everyone deserves the same outcome, but that doesn’t actually follow. If nobody deserves anything, then I don’t deserve to be richer than you, poorer than you, or have the same income as you. Or have a higher income than an ant. Or a rock.

    The implication is not egalitarianism, it’s moral nihilism.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      If nobody deserves anything, then I don’t deserve to be richer than you, poorer than you, or have the same income as you. Or have a higher income than an ant. Or a rock.

      This why I pray for mercy, and never justice. Justice means getting what you deserve. Nobody deserves that.

      • Matt M says:

        One of my all time favorite movie quotes is from The Unforgiven.

        “Deserve’s got nuthin to do with it!”

        • FacelessCraven says:

          Also, “We all got it coming.”

          And Chesterton: “For children are innocent and love justice, while most of us are wicked and naturally prefer mercy.”

    • biblicalsausage says:

      It’s true that there is a problem with trying to run a society where everyone gets their just deserts, because we can’t reach widespread agreement on who deserves what. But that argument can potentially cut both ways. There is also a difficulty in producing a society where everyone gets what they’re entitled to, because we can’t get widespread agreement on who is entitled to what.

      In the game of lottery, your example, there is general consensus that everyone who plays the game agrees to the rules and therefore there’s no problem when someone wins. Okay. But in the game of life, the rules are non-consensual. All of us, no matter where we are born, are born into some system of rules for allocating resource, rules which we never consented to in the first place.

    • rahien.din says:

      You contrast two ideas as mutually exclusive: people get exactly what they deserve versus people get what the rules of society entitle them to.

      But you don’t really explain the latter. If we are forbidden from invoking desert, what do we use for the basis of our societal entitlements (using your words)?

      • My point is that we have two sets of moral intuitions of a strikingly different structure. Neither structure, by itself, describes the whole intuition. Believe in outcome by desert is consistent with different views of what make someone good and so deserving–but nobody believes that the winner of a bet deserves to win it in that sense, only that he is entitled to receive the winnings. Belief in outcome by entitlement is consistent with different views of what fair rules of the game are–but playing by the rules isn’t the same thing as getting an outcome because you are good.

        I am a libertarian, so libertarian rules of the game feel right to me, but even within that there are parts that are quite unclear, such as the justification for ownership of property or what is the just remedy for violation of the rules. People who are not libertarians will have different intuitions about what the rules are. My point wasn’t that I could show some set of rules was right, only that entitlement and desert are fundamentally different intuitions.

        • rahien.din says:

          Thanks! I think I understand you better now.

          Merely a suggestion: maybe instead of “playing by the rules” we could say “interacting with the rules”? One can break the rules in a calculated way as a form of a bet. Driving over the speed limit is a kind of bet, but it isn’t playing by the rules. A desert-based account might be that people who drive too fast do not deserve to get to their destination sooner. An entitlement-based account might be that speeders are betting they won’t encounter or cause some trouble, and are thus entitled to the outcome of their actions.

          The other situation that occurs to me is sport. One might deliberately break the rules (even knowing one will be caught) in order to increase the chance of winning. Consider the Polish defense and the punt protection strategies of the Baltimore Ravens. These would be prohibited by desert-based accounts but not by entitlement-based accounts.

          Am I applying your idea correctly? CMWIW

  28. Wrong Species says:

    I’m probably going to take a philosophy of mind class for my minor, does anyone know how long they spend talking about non-physicalist theories? I think the subject is fascinating but I can’t take any kind of dualism or idealistic monism seriously.

    • Protagoras says:

      Depends heavily on who’s teaching it, and what exactly the class is (even if it’s just called “philosophy of mind,” what role it has in the program may be different depending on what level it is at and what other classes are also offered by that department). I mostly studied philosophy of mind with Jaegwon Kim, who largely ignored Cartesian dualism and idealism, but who spent a lot of time on various kinds of “non-reductive” materialism as well as Chalmers-style views. But he’s retired and you’re probably not at Brown, so that doesn’t help. You should ask the instructor for a syllabus or something; no random person on the internet is going to know.

    • Urstoff says:

      You’ll read Descartes, but probably not any other serious dualists or idealists (because they are few and far between and the major debates have little to do with dualism). John Foster and Howard Robinson are both idealists of a sort, so if you’re interested in that, I’d seek out their work. E.J. Lowe was a major recent dualist (he died in 2014) that was more philosophically rigorous than the stuff that comes out of the Christian apologetics camp (e.g., Richard Swinburne). Kripke has an important argument against the identity theory, and is sometimes called a “neo-dualist”, but he hasn’t really said much aside from a few paragraphs here and there. Brie Gertler is a “naturalistic dualist”, but really just isn’t a strict physicalist (note that dualism and physicalism are not exhaustive of the possible metaphysical positions). The 2010 anthology “The Waning of Materialism” has some interesting stuff in there, but again most of the arguments are negative.

    • skef says:

      How do you feel about subjective eliminativism?

      I would think most contemporary courses will at least discuss dualism, sometimes only to criticize it. Idealism seems to be an optional topic. I taught it early on to establish a sort of “space” of potential theories, and towards the end of the course assigned the Bostrom simulation paper and pointed out that the simulation hypothesis is form of neo-idealism.

      If you’re going to bother with philosophy at all, I strongly suggest prying open a larger space for yourself between “agreeing with” and “taking seriously”.

      • Wrong Species says:

        Let’s say you take an evolutionary biology class and you realize half of the time will be spent discussing creationism. Now maybe you will change your mind but probably not. I’m not saying that I won’t change my mind but I would rather discuss theories that I believe have a higher chance of being right. My prior is that dualism is about the same level as vitalism.

        • skef says:

          Probably best to stay away from philosophy entirely, then.

          • Wrong Species says:

            You’re being incredibly uncharitable. Just because I would rather study things I think have a chance of being true rather than things I think have little chance of being true doesn’t mean I’m unfit to learn philosophy. Would you rather study Aristotlian physics or contemporary philosophy of science? Don’t be a prick.

          • skef says:

            Aristotlian physics is more proto-science than philosophy of science, so that’s kind of apples and oranges.

            Why “unfit” rather than “disinterested”? I’m not trying to imply anything about your abilities. Someone who can accurately judge for themselves that they are not interested in different conceptions of dualism is probably not going to be very happy with identity theory or proto-panpsychism. The views face difficult objections for which there is no clear answer. Just because a view is in your ballpark doesn’t mean you won’t feel it’s a waste of your time.

            I can easily imagine taking a philosophy of biology course in which half the time is spent discussing creationism, or more likely Intelligent Design. Probably not intro. The ways in which ID fails as a good scientific theory although it was devised to have that shape likely make it a good illustrative case.

  29. Kevin C. says:

    So, I have two related questions, essentially one meta-level and one object level. Going for the meta-level question, consider a two-party conflict or confrontation (one with duration/repetition and no distinct time limit). And that one party, call them A, eschews certain tactics as “dishonorable”, “immoral”, etc., while side B engages in at least some of those tactics, and finds them effective. Sure, one needs to avoid engaging in a tactic or technique to make a credible moral claim that such tactics should be off limits, but this requires that A can effectively persuade B to stop using these tactics despite their effectiveness. But when this persuasion fails, and B seems determined to continue beat A with tactics A finds “dishonorable”, doesn’t A continuing to “take the high road” become, at some point, a recipe for defeat? Choosing “cooperate” against DefectBot? At what point does one, in A’s position, switch from “the high road” to a more “tit-for-tat” strategy?

    • biblicalsausage says:

      If there are only two parties, and if there are effective “dishonorable tactics”, and if the party willing to use the dishonorable tactics is not capable of being persuaded by moral arguments, and if the two parties are otherwise evenly matched, and if the honorable side has no honorable way to punish the dishonorable side’s honorable behavior, the dishonorable side will tend to win by cheating. That’s true.

      But those idealized assumptions may not be much of an approximation of the real world in many cases. Often, there are enough different parties out there, and enough of a sense of social shame on the “dishonorable” side, that loudly voiced disapproval can pull the dishonorable side into line, sometimes. In a political struggle, being publicly identified as the “bad guys” might be fatal in the long run.

      • Kevin C. says:

        Often, there are enough different parties out there, and enough of a sense of social shame on the “dishonorable” side, that loudly voiced disapproval can pull the dishonorable side into line, sometimes.

        I think the key word there is that “sometimes” at the end. And for the “sometimes” that “loudly voiced disapproval” doesn’t pull them into line?

        And on the equally-matching condition, I see how if A is, barring the “dishonorable” tactics, stronger than B, “taking the high road” might be valid. But what if instead B has an advantage over A even without the dishonorable tactics (but still prefers to win faster with them than slower without them)?

        In a political struggle, being publicly identified as the “bad guys” might be fatal in the long run.

        And if “A” is already becoming “identified as the “bad guys”” even with “taking the high ground”?

        • biblicalsausage says:

          Well, there are endless possible permutations. It would all depend on what the dynamics of the situation look like and what specific kinds of “dishonorable tactics” we’re talking about. In the real world, “dirty tricks” sometimes do work, and sometimes they don’t.

          And sometimes, even if side A wants to use the same “dirty tactics,” it cannot, because the playing field is asymmetrical. It’s a complicated world.

          • Kevin C. says:

            Well, there are endless possible permutations. It would all depend on what the dynamics of the situation look like and what specific kinds of “dishonorable tactics” we’re talking about.

            So this a case where discussion should stick to the object level, then?

          • biblicalsausage says:

            Well, someone better than me at thinking about abstract game theory could probably have a lot of interesting things to say about this on a hypothetical level. But I run out of ideas pretty quick if it’s all hypothetical.

        • Nancy Lebovitz says:

          Hypothesis: honorable tactics are a mixture of effective long-run strategies and status displays. Even the status displays aren’t necessarily a complete loss– they’re successful strategies for maintaining a status symbols.

          Success might consist in part of having good judgement about which standards of behavior are worth maintaining and which are pretty much a loss for you.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            “maintaining a status symbols” should have been “maintaining a status hierarchy”.

            I can’t even blame a computer– I meant to type status system, and was bushwacked by a finger macro.

          • albatross11 says:

            One important feature here is that sometimes how I play the game can influence what the rules of the game will be going forward. For example, both big political parties are willing to play every legal game to win, including redistricting and changing polling place hours to screw the other side. But neither side is actually into sending thugs to disrupt the other side’s rallies or get out the vote efforts. One plausible reason for this is that both parties would lose if clashes of gangs of thugs became a regular part of elections.

          • The Nybbler says:

            But neither side is actually into sending thugs to disrupt the other side’s rallies or get out the vote efforts.

            You are mistaken.

          • albatross11 says:

            There are riots in a few places, such as college campuses. Those are bad, but they’re quite distinct from having the Democratic party dispatch a gang of thugs to rough up the guys at the local Republican Party office. I would be very surprised to see such tactics happen, and I expect that if they are tried, the local authorities will land like a ton of bricks on the thugs.

          • Matt M says:

            I think there’s plenty of reason to suggest that some of the Trump-related riots in Chicago and SoCal were funded by major Democrat donors.

            Particularly given that they stopped almost immediately once they started getting press coverage and photos of attractive women with bloody noses started circulating, and they realized it would do more harm than good.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      Jesus said that when a man strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him your left. He didn’t say what to do if he clocks you again.

    • Jordan D. says:

      Maybe, but also not necessarily?

      First, of course, this only makes sense in a true two-party ecosystem; if there is a third party or parties, it is possible that A’s insistence on honorable conduct is tactically sound because it will help convince C to his side, or at least not to side with the despicable B. A related issue- if A and B are conglomerate or inchoate entities, it could be that A becoming more like B will cause A to lose membership, and grow weaker than the forbidden tactics can account for.

      Assuming true two-party status, one has to consider the level of effectiveness. In the traditional prisoner’s dilemma, if A cooperates and B defects, B wins massively and A loses massively every time. But what if A and B are *almost* exactly matched, and B’s immoral tactics only make getting victory slightly more likely? Then it could actually be worse for A to switch, because the gain from using the immoral tactic might not be greater than the disutility from A’s own revulsion to such dishonorable stuff. If A and B are regularly battling, for example, over who gets to ride shotgun in a car, maybe victory isn’t worth any amount of shame?

      It’s also possible that A’s use of the tactic will be less effective against B for similar reasons. If B’s secret tactic is shouting ‘Look behind you!’ and bonking A in the noggin when he turns, doing the same thing to B might not even work.

      So it seems to me that in any given conflict where there are only two relevant parties, A and B, and there is a disreputable tactic that A dislikes and B will use, A should weigh the subjective ‘badness’ of the tactic versus its effectiveness for A in particular and the stakes of the game, and the lower the former and higher the latter, A should be more willing to relinquish the high ground.

      • Kevin C. says:

        But what if A and B are *almost* exactly matched, and B’s immoral tactics only make getting victory slightly more likely?

        Like I asked biblicalsausage above, what if A and B, without the immoral tactics, are not exactly matched, in B’s favor?

        If A and B are regularly battling, for example, over who gets to ride shotgun in a car, maybe victory isn’t worth any amount of shame?

        But if A and B’s battle is existential, or nearly so?

        It’s also possible that A’s use of the tactic will be less effective against B for similar reasons. If B’s secret tactic is shouting ‘Look behind you!’ and bonking A in the noggin when he turns, doing the same thing to B might not even work.

        Okay, but what should A do in that situation?

        • Jordan D. says:

          >What if everything is in B’s favor?

          I don’t see how this changes anything. A weighs how much the use of the tactic is likely to help it versus harm it, but accepts that they’ll probably lose anyway. Hey, at least in theory it could be most tactically effective to become a martyr rather than die a hypocrite!

          >If the battle is existential

          Assuming the battle is existential- two people dueling to the death, perhaps- you weigh that factor in favor of adopting the immoral tactic, since even a small chance of averting a huge cost could be worth considering. But without object-level detail, I don’t think you can naively assume that it’s always better to do evil than to die.

          >What should A do?

          Observe that adopting the tactic will probably not work and therefore lower accordingly his desire to compromise and use it.

          ~

          I think part of the thing here is that you want to stick to the meta level, but I really think the simple “how much will this really help me versus how much does it hurt me to do this” balance covers the general question completely. The (literal?) devil is in the details here; why does A find the tactic immoral, how effective will it be, what are the consequences of use vs. disuse, how existential is the conflict, etc.

          Like, look. Obviously if two people are playing an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma, Prisoner A should pick tit-for-tat rather than be a cooperate bot. But the Prisoner’s Dilemma is the spherical cow in a vacuum of decision-theory exercises.

          If this is two people dueling and A knows that B plans to spin around and fire early, then it seems like A has a good argument for breaching the rules himself.

          But what if it’s the same situation, but A lives by an old-timey honor code that would drive him to commit suicide from the shame of cheating anyway? Well, now it’s better not to cheat, since A has a chance of surviving the first shot and winning honestly, but A will never escape himself if he cheats.

          If representatives of two companies are having meetings to negotiate deals and Company B keeps threatening the families of Company A to get better terms, maybe Company A lacks the power to do the same and is better off staying quiet until they can get an FBI investigation or something.

          If we have two churches feuding, and Church B starts sending people in the night to vandalize the property of Church A, maybe adopting those same tactics will cause Church A to lose horrified parishioners, and end up weakening them more than a loss would.

          If you have a civil rights leader A who is trying to overthrow an apartheid regime led by B, maybe you’re entirely outgunned and adopting violent tactics has only a tiny chance of succeeding, and it’s actually better to martyr yourself and be a symbol.

          Or maybe you’re in the same situation but the adoption of violent tactics has a much higher chance of succeeding, and riots in the streets are the way to go.

          ~

          So I think that’s my answer. There’s a simple balancing test, but the factors can be very complex.

          • albatross11 says:

            I think a lot of tactics have the property that they mess up your internal cohesion. My impression is that this happened with the US torture policy (leading to people refusing to have anything to do with it) and later with US surveillance policy (leading to a lot of leaks/whistleblowers).

          • hlynkacg says:

            This is one of the things the US Military emphasizes in command training (and that fiction almost always fucks up) If you’re in the business of giving orders don’t give an order that wont be followed.

    • Jiro says:

      It is possible that A precommitted to not use those tactics because doing so creates better incentives. If it’s a true precommitment, A then won’t use them even when using them would work better. Because of the incentives, A benefits from this averaged over all possible worlds even though A is harmed when you consider only the current situation. But A can only benefit like this if the precommitment is credible.

      Genuinely believing that certain tactics are dishonorable is a way to credibly precommit to not using them.

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        Yeah, but since genuine pre-committment is impossible for un-augmented humans, there’s still the question of when to abandon your (false) pre-committments.

        • Jiro says:

          Genuine precommitment is impossible for unaugmented humans and arbitrary precommitments. But in certain specific cases, unaugmented humans are able to precommit. My point is that when humans “irrationally” refuse to use dishonorable tactics, that’s because their “irrational” refusal is just a precommitment.

          If you were in his position, you might be able to abandon the precommitment, but you’re not in his position; he is, and he has a different mental makeup than you. His actions are constrained by his “irrationality”, which prevents him from abandoning his precommitments.

          • albatross11 says:

            Humans commit all the time. We use contracts, laws, and reputations; we hire external services to do the expensive punishment at a profit so we won’t be dissuaded from punishing defection by the cost; we structure our organizations so that some commitments are super hard to break. (Try getting the US military or secret service to go along with a coup. Their commitment to not doing so is built into their selection and training of personnel and their instutitional culture.)

        • Yeah, but since genuine pre-committment is impossible for un-augmented humans

          Other species manage it. How else would you explain territorial behavior?

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            1) Animals mostly don’t have theory of mind in the first place, so I don’t see what role precomittment could play? 2) Even if they did, you don’t need to appeal to precomittment to explain territoriality, since territorial predators are defending an immediate interest: an interloper might eat food that would otherwise be theirs. 3) animals are dumb, which could confer an advantage in the precomittment department.

        • 1soru1 says:

          Impossible for human _individuals_, but the topic is human _organisations_.

      • Kevin C. says:

        Because of the incentives, A benefits from this averaged over all possible worlds even though A is harmed when you consider only the current situation.

        Except we don’t live in “all possible worlds”, but only “the current situation”. How much should the A’s care that they would have benefited on net for “taking the high rode” in some alternate histories, if, in the sole real one, B is succeeding in working to the goal of A’s utter extiction?

    • Brad says:

      Did you read Niceness, Community and Civilization as well as Be Nice, At Least Until You Can Coordinate Meanness?

      • albatross11 says:

        These sound like books written by Thomas Schelling, and only available in Lucien’s library in Morpheus’ realm.

    • hoghoghoghoghog says:

      Why would you ever choose the high road over tit-for-tat in the first place? If we stick to two players, the main reason is signal error: it is hard to tell when the other player is cooperating, so tit-for-tat players can get stuck in a paranoid cycle of retaliation.

      So the answer is “abandon the high road if the rate of signal error goes down enough.”

      • Kevin C. says:

        Why would you ever choose the high road over tit-for-tat in the first place?

        Because part of how Party A distinguishes themselves from Party B is as the Party Who Does Not Do Such Things?

        You know, the whole, well-worn “he who hunts monsters”, “if you kill him, you’ll be as bad as him” tropes.

        • hoghoghoghoghog says:

          “if you kill him you’ll be as bad as him” illustrates my point. We virtuously kill people all the time. But this is only unambiguously virtuous when we have made sure there is very little chance of erroneously interpreting those people’s actions (for example, we try to only kill people after a fair trial).

      • bintchaos says:

        @5hog

        Why would you ever choose the high road over tit-for-tat in the first place?


        Because in Sinner v Saint iterated TfT the Sinner always wins.
        At least Sinner v Sinner is a CAT game. (nobody wins)

        • hoghoghoghoghog says:

          Would you please repeat with fewer abbreviations? “CAT game” is ungooglable.

          • The Nybbler says:

            It’s not an abbreviation at all. It’s “cat game” or “cat’s game”, a tie in tic-tac-toe, though the origin of the expression is unknown.

            Prisoner’s Dilemma isn’t even the same kind of game as tic-tac-toe. Tic Tac Toe is a combinatorial partisan game; prisoner’s dilemma is a simultaneous game.

          • bintchaos says:

            oh, sorry…
            that was too simplistic–in iterated (repeated) Tit-for-Tat the combinations are Saint v Saint (max Payoff for both players) Sinner v Saint (Sinner always beats Saint) and Sinner v Sinner (no Payoff for either payer, a CAT game or a draw) Nybbler is correct, and I don’t why we always capitalized it in school.
            In TfT both players start as Saints. Becoming a Sinner means breaking the rules of play (cheating). TfT means a play is in response to other player– Optimal strat is Saint v Saint– reciprocal altruism from evo theory of cooperation.
            The Iterated PD (Prisoner’s Dilemma) is a special instance of TfT involving cheater detection and defection.
            Reciprocal altruism is the simplest game structure, model used as a teaching model.
            Evolutionary games, Cooperation Competition Paradigm and complex adaptive games are more sophisticated models.

            Why would you ever choose the “high road” over TfT in the first place


            A Superrational player would always choose the high road. But its unclear that Superrational players ever exist.
            In a CCP or evolutionary game the “high road” may yield more payoff than the reciprocal move.

    • Well... says:

      Here are two reasons you might want to stick to the high road:

      1. It may look like tit-for-tat is more effective now, but the high road might take you to victory in the end–even if you don’t see it in your lifetime. The high road has that reputation exactly because it contains old wisdom and has withstood many tests against tit-for-tat-ism in the past.

      2. The high road is better in some non-material way. If you believe in any kind of morality, the high road is the moral alternative, and there is more at stake based on your taking it than whether or not you win some conflict against the tit-for-tat-ists.

      At first when I wrote these I thought they were mutually exclusive but thinking more about it I’ve realized they are not.

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        The high road may be immoral. John Brown took the lowest road available, but it’s not obvious that he was morally in the wrong. As did Nat Turner.

      • Kevin C. says:

        2. The high road is better in some non-material way. If you believe in any kind of morality, the high road is the moral alternative, and there is more at stake based on your taking it than whether or not you win some conflict against the tit-for-tat-ists.

        But what if the long-term conflict is an existential one? Is there really more at stake then? “Yes, we’re going to be utterly wiped from the face of the Earth, but at least we kept our morals!”?

        • The Nybbler says:

          “Yes, we’re going to be utterly wiped from the face of the Earth, but at least we kept our morals!”?

          You probably know the saying “The Constitution is not a suicide pact”; there’s a similar saying about the Torah (it is to live by, not to die by). So, if your moral code is going to result in your extinction, you’re probably right to break it. Though I’d add that if your moral code keeps putting you in that situation, perhaps it needs to be rethought.

          • Deiseach says:

            Some people may choose to die rather than break their code. “I could not live if I were that sort of person”. It’s the “if someone holds a gun to your head and tells you they’ll pull the trigger unless (you convert to Pastafarianism/rape that twelve year old/something else you may find abhorrent)” question: do you do that or not?

            For some people, it may be as simple as ‘if I give in to this, then anyone can threaten me to get their ends and I’ll give in. I’d rather die than be constantly at the beck and call of a bully’. For others, it may be a moral principle. Or “a fate worse than death”. Or the martyrs who did not give in to the pressure of the State and the implorings of their loved ones, versus those who did give in (see the whole Donatism debate).

        • Well... says:

          But what if the long-term conflict is an existential one?

          Then things could be different. But in the vast majority of large-scale two-party conflicts neither side is threatened with being “utterly wiped from the face of the Earth.” And in intra-US large-scale two-party conflicts, none are.

          • Kevin C. says:

            neither side is threatened with being “utterly wiped from the face of the Earth.”

            Do you mean this in terms of being “wiped out” as individual humans, or “wiped out” as a culture/tribe. Are there still Sumerians? Does our present-day world hold any Scythians? But were the Sumerians or Scythians, as individual human beings, subjected to mass slaughter? A party, a culture, a tribe, a nation can be lost forever without having to literally slaughter its members, yes? The Sumerians and Scythians and countless other peoples are still quite extinct as cultures, as nations, as peoples, even if faint traces of their bloodlines remain mixed into some present people, right?

          • LHN says:

            Did the Sumerians or Scythians die out because they were too high-minded to undertake the dirty necessities of surviving?

            Have many peoples in recorded history been faced with such a choice where it’s plausible that taking the low road would have saved them, or taking the high road would have prevented their survival?

            There are, historically, many, many more predicted doomsdays than dooms. And the record of response to those predictions doesn’t necessarily suggest that responding to the next prophet of doom with extreme action is the way to go.

          • Well... says:

            Do you mean this in terms of being “wiped out” as individual humans, or “wiped out” as a culture/tribe.

            Both, with qualifications on the latter:

            A) Isn’t the “tribe” a collection of individual humans? If you meant tribe in more of an identity umbrella sense, then it’s redundant.

            B) You have to be really careful to confirm that what you’re talking about is a culture being wiped out, and not just facing outside pressures or in the process of changing at a natural pace.

            For example, if I’m an Amishman elder, and a bunch of the kids come home from their jungspringe with cell phones and insist they ought to be allowed to keep them and use them freely, at the meeting where we elders discuss the ordnung I might say our church is threatened with being wiped out by these kids and their cell phones, or else I might say that these kids are merely trying to make our church embrace some change that is unwelcome or too fast. If I make the former argument, then I have to explain how my own use of the community telephone booth didn’t wipe out but merely incrementally changed the church I grew up in, in which the acceptance of that booth was hotly contested.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Well…

            Isn’t the “tribe” a collection of individual humans?

            Yes, but not an arbitrary collection; there’s ties of blood and history, of common mores and rites and values and life modes and all the things that make up what we call a culture.

            So, where, in our present-day world, are the Sumerians? Since, according to you, cultures can only be “wiped out” by literal genocidal extermination of the constituent humans, and no such mass slaughter of Sumerians occured (if I’m remembering my ancient history correctly), then clearly, by this position of yours, the Sumerian culture was never “wiped out”, and merely underwent “the process of changing at a natural pace” across the millenia, and thus must still exist in some changed form. So which of our present-day cultures is the Sumerians?

            And also, were Native Americans under these “Americanization” policies “just facing outside pressures”? Is Macaulayism nothing more that “outside pressure”? I guess these are no big deal, since you seem to imply, by the contrast, that mere “outside pressure” does not threaten to wipe out a culture?

            Plus, you miss the possibility of the death of a culture by total assimilation. Where are the Agawam? The Pensacola? Or, where are the Tangut — of the Western Xia/Tangut Empire — now? The Tocharians? The Sogdians? The Wuhuan? The Xiongnu? The Jurchen? The Zhangzhung? How much of the Xianbei culture has survived after nearly two millenia of “sinicization”? How is the culture of the Taokas people doing? Do I have to go on?

          • skef says:

            Do I have to go on?

            Why not? It would be illuminating to your point, which can be made far more acute. It seems safe to add in Homo Erectus, for example. That’s not merely a culture, but a whole species that’s been wiped out.

            History is certainly littered with terrible events. To embrace your metaphysics is to call every ending a tragedy, whether it resulted from a pile of corpses or a big party where two groups decide they like each other and start trading recipes. The most ardent Jews today are dressed for the 19th century, not 1270 BCE.

            There’s a vacuous way of reading “Cthulhu always swims left”: If the right is conservative, and therefore in some sense trying to preserve aspects of the past, then “the world is drifting to the left” will be true in any world that changes. There are more substantive readings of the criticism of that phrase, but you seem to be tied to the vacuous one.

            Shit changes. If you view change itself as a tragedy, there’s some decent, if imperfect, cognitive tech for lowering the anxiety of people who find themselves with that attitude. Ask your local Buddhist.

          • albatross11 says:

            Also, if its a war of extermination (loser gets wiped out) then there’s not really much room for any kind of subtle coordination, because the end results are always that at least one side loses everything. For less dire conflicts, though, you can decide not to use gas because that way the other side won’t use gas, or decide not to start nuking the other guy’s cities in hopes that he won’t nuke yours.

          • Well... says:

            @Kevin C:

            I didn’t say it’s impossible that a tribe or culture can be wiped out, only that you have to be careful about using that term. “Wiped out” connotes something different from “changing beyond recognition” and implies a different set of appropriate responses if your goal is to “save” that tribe or culture.

    • skef says:

      Keep in mind that none of the advice you’re trying to prompt from this thread actually applies if you’re just mistaken about the “object level”, whatever it is, involving a “(nearly) existential long-term conflict”. An artificial ratcheting up of stakes doesn’t vindicate an actual ratcheting up of tactics.

    • Kevin C. says:

      Okay, proceeding to the object level question, if that is okay.

      Basically, why isn’t the Right willing to even try to fight the Left with their own tactics? Why aren’t we matching “punching Nazis” with “punching Stalinists” or such? There’s racistsgettingfired.tumblr.com, but no “SJWs getting fired”; if Lefties are going to work to purge people from the institutions they control for being insufficiently “woke”, why aren’t we trying to get lefties fired or purged from institutions we control? (The one case I know of where something like that occurred, it was met with a lot of condemnation here on the Right.) Every time some lone nut goes on a killing spree, and the targets are such that it can be portrayed as a right-wing attack on the Left (everyone seems to forget Republican-appointed Judge John McCarthy Roll), it gets paraded around as the fault of “dangerous right-wing rhetoric” that needs silenced — even to this day, the New York Times is still claiming that Jared Lee Loughner’s rampage was Sarah Palin’s fault. Or how “PUAs” and “MRAs” still get blamed for Elliot Rodger. Now, you can sort of see the Right doing similar blame on the influences of a Muslim attacker, but even then with the usual Dubya-style “these people are not proper Muslims, but have perverted the ‘Religion of Peace” to twisted ends” disclaimers. But can anyone seriously picture Republicans doing the same with a non-Muslim lefty lone nut attack that injured or killed one of ours; calling on the “dangerous talk” on the left (of which one could find plenty just searching Tumblr or Twitter for a few minutes) as being responsible for motivating and directing this attack, as the Left does with the likes of Loughner, ? Or would you see only calls for “unity” and the like? Lefties like to “dox” us; why aren’t we “doxing” back?

      Now, I might accept the argument that these strategies just work better for the Left than the Right. But then, as I asked Jordan D, how should we fight then? Because “taking the high road” clearly isn’t working. So if “going tit-for-tat” won’t work either, what will? What strategies work better for the Right than the Left, if any? (Or are we on the Right just spitting futile defiance at the invincible eldrich entity summoned from beyond the void and unstoppably devouring the world, and we should just lie down and accept defeat because there is no hope? — You know, the view I’ve been forbidden from endorsing by hlynkacg, Well… and Deiseach, under penalty of being denounced as a perdiferous traitor.)

      • Randy M says:

        But can anyone seriously picture Republicans doing the same with a non-Muslim lefty lone nut attack that injured or killed one of ours; calling on the “dangerous talk” on the left

        Yes, here’s one example, although he does specify it as a “fringe” leftist.

      • Randy M says:

        But can anyone seriously picture Republicans doing the same with a non-Muslim lefty lone nut attack that injured or killed one of ours; calling on the “dangerous talk” on the left (of which one could find plenty just searching Tumblr or Twitter for a few minutes) as being responsible for motivating and directing this attack, as the Left does with the likes of Loughner,

        Yes, for example see Ace of spades yesterday, although he qualified the violence as “fringe”.

        • Kevin C. says:

          And just how prominent is Ace? How does his readership compare to that of the NYT? And doesn’t that also further make my point? If the “moderate, mainstream” Left isn’t going to “police” their “lunatic fringe” — and perhaps even “contextualize” and make excuses for them — why should we on the Right bother policing ours?

          To quote from Daniel Greenfield at FrontPage Mag:

          Congressman John Lewis claimed that the repeal would kill. Congressman Ruben Gallego insisted that he didn’t have to be civil to Republicans because their “policies that are going to kill people”.

          So where are the Republican politicians saying we don’t have to be civil to Democrats because their policies “are going to kill people”?

          Edit 2: I also agree whole-heartedly with Ace’s final line on that post: “When you have one part of the country calling for the death of the other part of the country, you don’t have a country any longer.”

          • skef says:

            Erick Erickson is prominent.

            In recent decades, statements from the right about how you don’t have to be civil to Democrats have tended to include “the troops”.

      • Iain says:

        Or maybe you’re just not looking in the right places.

        Here is an article from the NYT, full of phrases like “The suspect in the shooting in Virginia put a new spotlight on the rage buried in some corners of the progressive left.”

        Here is a Vox article that unambiguously rejects the notion of blaming Palin for the Giffords shooting.

        Here’s an incident in which Andrew Breitbart deliberately got a government employee fired using a misleadingly edited video.

        • HeelBearCub says:

          Ed Kilgore

          What happened in Alexandria this morning was not an exercise in “Trump-hatred” or progressive political protest, but an act that violates the most basic norms of a constitutional democracy governed by the rule of law. Left-of-center people — a group that includes myself — need to examine their consciences and their words to ensure that we in no way give even the slightest sense that violence against political opponents might ever be justified.

          • Jiro says:

            That ‘s partly condemnation, and partly No True Scotsmanning the attackers. Of course it was an exercise in Trump-hatred. “Trump-hatred” means hating Trump. It doesn’t mean “ways of hating Trump that I wish to be associated with”.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Jiro:
            Did you actually click through and read the whole thing?

            But what the moment really calls for is something more specific and meaningful: a mutual denunciation of political violence and the potential incitement of political violence by Democrats and Republicans, the right and the left.

            Kilgore isn’t saying “no true Democrat” or “no true progressive” but rather saying “Hey, let’s make sure that we denounce violence and incentment to violence even when the people doing it are in your camp.”

            To requote the original:

            Left-of-center people — a group that includes myself — need to examine their consciences and their words to ensure that we in no way give even the slightest sense that violence against political opponents might ever be justified.

            How is that not an implicit admission that some rhetoric has crossed this line?

            He isn’t denying that the shooter was a liberal, but rather saying that we should examine ourselves for any role that we had in inciting this liberal to violence and recommit and reiterate our condemnation of violence as a means to a political end.

          • hlynkacg says:

            Sorry Jiro, I’m backing HBC on this one.

        • Kevin C. says:

          Here is a Vox article that unambiguously rejects the notion of blaming Palin for the Giffords shooting.

          Sure, now. But where were these authors back when the shooting and the blaming the Right first happened? And, of course, this will be “memory-holed” the next time the Left can blame a lone nut on the Right, with explanations as to how this time, it really is totally the fault of dangerous right wing rhetoric clearly beyond the bounds of “free speech”. It’s a consistent pattern, wherein the Left freely uses a tactic, then all of a sudden just happens to note its immorality at the particular moment when the Right starts using it… and then forget the denunciations and go right back to using it once it serves them to do so. Wash, rinse, repeat. And this Vox article looks like just another piece of this. (Try taking a look at this other Vox article, and just count all the “fnords” toward the Right.)

          • Iain says:

            But where were these authors back when the shooting and the blaming the Right first happened?

            Giffords shooting: 2011.
            Founding of Vox Media: 2014.
            Fiendishly clever of them, really.

            It’s a consistent pattern, wherein the Left freely uses a tactic, then all of a sudden just happens to note its immorality at the particular moment when the Right starts using it… and then forget the denunciations and go right back to using it once it serves them to do so.

            Well, clearly your side is morally superior and never politicizes events, unlike those scurrilous wretches who oppose you. So I’m sure you have lots of parallel examples lined up from the Gabby Giffords shooting, right? Where a bunch of prominent right-wing pundits lined up to dutifully consider whether conservative rhetoric was responsible for encouraging the shooter?

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            Giffords shooting: 2011.
            Founding of Vox Media: 2014.

            He did say authors, not publications.

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        Yep, this is plausibly signalling error – your impression is based on what “everyone” says, anecdotes, and interpretations of tone. Extremely suspect. Of course you might be perfectly correct, but this is nowhere near the certainty you’d need.

      • The Nybbler says:

        Explicity-rightist institutions DO purge leftists. The right doesn’t control much in the way of nominally-neutral institutions.

        • random832 says:

          Well, the tactic seems to mostly consist of controlling controversy-averse organizations from the outside by threatening boycotts/protests if they don’t fire the person. It’s not clear why the right wouldn’t be able to replicate it.

      • qwints says:

        I’m on “the Left”, but there are definitely people doing exactly the things you’re talking about on “the Right.” I don’t think these tactics have been effective for either side on a systemic level, although they have caused a great deal of harm to a maybe a couple dozen individuals.

        *The “Proud Boys” and “DIY Division” have engaged in street fights with antifa. There was video of a man hitting a woman during a melee at a rally in Berkeley that got a lot of praise from some on the right. The Oath Keepers regularly show up armed to protests, as do other smaller groups.

        *SJW List may be the one you’re thinking of that was criticized, but it’s an explicit attempt to get people on the left fired. There’s also a long history of the right trying to get professors fired for being too leftist, most recently the professor who tweeted about white genocide (e.g. the firing of Ward Churchill or David Horowitz’s “The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America”).

        *As others have pointed out, there absolutely have been voices on the Right linking Hodgkinson to the Left. Similarly, the Left has been blamed for Micah Johnson (Dallas police shooting) and Kendrex White (UT stabbing)

        *There are organized efforts to dox Leftists. You don’t have to look hard to find people on the Right talking about pulling off antifa masks and taking pictures, which may have contributed to Eric Clanton (the bike lock wielding antifa at Berkeley) facing criminal charges . At the last protest I went to, a guy wearing a Breitbart shirt walked around and took pictures of all the protestors on our side.

        • Matt M says:

          You don’t have to look hard to find people on the Right talking about pulling off antifa masks and taking pictures

          Which serves to place the two sides on even footing.

          Antifa shows up in masks, Proud Boys don’t. Proud Boys have to take their own video of antifa, because CNN will be there taking video of them to decry “right wing violence”

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            Videoing protests is good but I feel the need to defend CNN here. If, hypothetically, CNN gave perfectly proportional coverage to left and right wing immorality, would you be able to tell? It is always totally clear that the idiots on your side are peripheral, while the idiots on the other side are the essential reality of the movement.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Matt M

            Antifa shows up in masks, Proud Boys don’t.

            Yes, because there are laws against the sort of mask-wearing the “Antifas” are doing, originally written to target the KKK. And while no one seems able or willing to enforce them against the Left, you can bank on them coming down with full force on any Right-winger who dares to do so.

            Proud Boys have to take their own video of antifa, because CNN will be there taking video of them to decry “right wing violence”

            Yeah, when CNN isn’t too busy staging “moderate” Muslim anti-terror protests.

            Note how when it comes to us pointing out examples on the Left, we can point to established institutions, politicians, and noteworthy individuals, but when it comes to the Lefties giving “but the Right really does do it too” examples, it’s pretty much Internet randos?

          • qwints says:

            The claim that the police aren’t willing to enforce laws against “the Left” is easily disproven. To take the latest high profile example: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/local/public-safety/prosecutors-file-additional-charges-against-inauguration-protesters/2017/04/27/2c7eca62-2b96-11e7-a616-d7c8a68c1a66_story.html

          • AnonYEmous says:

            Yeah, a bunch of protesters starting a literal riot on inauguration day and injuring policemen isn’t the best example. How many people have suffered legal consequences for the Milo riots? The Charles Murray riots?

        • Kevin C. says:

          There’s also a long history of the right trying to get professors fired for being too leftist, most recently the professor who tweeted about white genocide (e.g. the firing of Ward Churchill or David Horowitz’s “The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America”).

          And just how effective has that been, versus the Left getting Righties pushed out of Academia? Have you ever been to Haidt and co.’s Heterodox Academy?

          • qwints says:

            Off the top of my head, the right got Churchill and Click fired. The left got McAdams fired, Wolfe to resign and Christakis to step down from a position. A quick google search suggests that people being forced out from academia is quite uncommon.

            The under representation of the Right in academia, which Haidt is concerted about, is a very different phenomenon which probably isn’t explained by overt, dishonorable tactics. It seems to be much more akin to the underrepresentation of women in tech.

          • lvlln says:

            Wait, did the right get Melissa Click fired? I had thought she had gotten herself fired by committing assault on camera. Or is there another Click I hadn’t heard of?

          • qwints says:

            That’s to whom I was referring.

          • Matt M says:

            I had thought she had gotten herself fired by committing assault on camera

            Heh, I do like the (almost certainly correct) implication that she would have totally gotten away with the on-camera assault had the right not complained about it.

          • Deiseach says:

            As to Melissa Click, I had forgotten about her until I Googled the name. But not to worry, in 2016 a Jesuit university gave her a job (I don’t know if that’s something to praise as an act of charity or one more thing to worry about in regard to universities ‘in the Jesuit tradition’).

            I really can’t shed tears over Ward Churchill; a guy who was a prime example of cultural appropriation (“yeah I’m totally one-sixteenth* indigenous people, how dare you question my background?”) making an academic living off white-bashing, finally got bounced because he hadn’t the common sense of a doorknob to keep his trap shut in the immediate wake of 9/11** (never mind that he was also insulting all the non-white, non-Western workers in the World Trade Center who died), and who has now relocated to Atlanta where he does not appear to be living on the side of the road fighting with raccoons over food scraps, but has the time and money to work on finishing his book(s).

            *Literally:

            In 2003, Churchill stated, “I am myself of Muscogee and Creek descent on my father’s side, Cherokee on my mother’s, and am an enrolled member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.” In 1992, Churchill wrote elsewhere that he is one-eighth Creek and one-sixteenth Cherokee. In 1993, Churchill told the Colorado Daily that “he was one-sixteenth Creek and Cherokee.” Churchill told the Denver Post in February 2005 that he is three-sixteenths Cherokee.

            **Critique capitalism and interventionism all you like! But at least wait until the bodies are cold, okay?

        • Machina ex Deus says:

          @qwints:

          There are organized efforts to dox Leftists. You don’t have to look hard to find people on the Right talking about pulling off antifa masks and taking pictures, which may have contributed to Eric Clanton (the bike lock wielding antifa at Berkeley) facing criminal charges .

          Revealing the face of someone who is in the middle of committing felony assault is a very, very non-central example of doxxing.

          • qwints says:

            I disagree It went way beyond pulling off his mask. People established his identity and published everything they could find about him. Publishing a person’s otherwise unknown personal information (name, job, social media and address in the Clanton case) is what I understand doxing to mean. Most of the high profile doxings I remember involve people who had done despiscable things.

          • Matt M says:

            Cracking someone over the skull with a piece of steel isn’t a really despicable thing?

          • qwints says:

            It is. Which is why publishing the identity of someone who did it is a fairly central example of doxing to me.

        • AnonYEmous says:

          *The “Proud Boys” and “DIY Division” have engaged in street fights with antifa.

          There’s a difference between fighting back against groups who openly argue for fighting against you, and actually attacking peaceful protesters. Have the groups you name done the latter? Maybe they have, but I bet they haven’t.

          There was video of a man hitting a woman during a melee at a rally in Berkeley that got a lot of praise from some on the right.

          Yeah, probably because she could be found on Facebook declaring her desire for Nazi scalps, and found on video using glass bottles as weapons. Or maybe just because entering a melee while part of one of the two sides marks you out as a target, same as any other.

          The Oath Keepers regularly show up armed to protests, as do other smaller groups.

          I have heard things about the Oath Keepers but do not know what to believe. However, what I have heard is that they are meant to keep the peace and constitutionalists. I also haven’t heard of them shooting anyone or getting arrested for armed battery. So this seems like a moot point.

          *SJW List may be the one you’re thinking of that was criticized, but it’s an explicit attempt to get people on the left fired.

          More like, not employed in the first place. I would argue that specifically the point of such is to not hire political partisans which will then use whatever you give them to further the cause, but honestly I don’t mess around with Vox Day’s work these days, so you can have this one.

          There’s also a long history of the right trying to get professors fired for being too leftist, most recently the professor who tweeted about white genocide (e.g. the firing of Ward Churchill or David Horowitz’s “The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America”).

          Yeah, but the recent example is a pretty egregious one. Not that I’m in favor of firing, but I think he was pretty unironically in favor of killing white people. Yes, the tweets he made weren’t entirely serious, but I don’t think his desire for dead white people was the part he wasn’t being serious about.

          *There are organized efforts to dox Leftists. You don’t have to look hard to find people on the Right talking about pulling off antifa masks and taking pictures

          Because antifa masks are part of a tactic to commit crimes and get away with it. I mean:

          which may have contributed to Eric Clanton (the bike lock wielding antifa at Berkeley) facing criminal charges

          Look, obviously this is a partisan action, but if your political opponent commits crimes it benefits everyone for them to be arrested. It’s not like these people are being doxed to be harassed; their criminal acts are being documented.

          At the last protest I went to, a guy wearing a Breitbart shirt walked around and took pictures of all the protestors on our side.

          Now this is more like doxing. Unfortunate, indeed.

      • Conrad Honcho says:

        To be honest, my plan is to wait them out. They’re in the process of destroying themselves. Structurally, the left controls…nothing. Republicans have 2/3 of state legislatures and governor’s mansions and federally Republicans, led by Trump, control all three branches of government.

        The left only has social control, and they squandered their social capital by forcing insane purity spirals in their own ranks, and cutting off anyone on the right. You can’t enforce social rules if you refuse to even engage socially.

        They have nothing to offer voters, and nothing to offer socially.

        Largely this is a result of following an invented rather than discovered memeplex. At this point we dive off into evo psych or theology and I’d just direct you to Jordan Peterson’s videos. The right is generally following individual modes of behavior that in the long run result in prosperous outcomes. The left has thrown evolved tradition out and replaced it with their own untested and unworkable ideas, and will inevitably fail. See the tower of Babel, or Seeing Like a State.

        Have faith.

        • Kevin C. says:

          @Conrad Honcho

          They’re in the process of destroying themselves.

          [Citation needed]

          Structurally, the left controls…nothing.

          Except Moldbug’s “Cathedral”: the Federal bureaucracy (a.k.a. “the swamp”), the Mass Media, and Academia. Toss in a lot of the courts. The cultural commanding heights.

          Republicans have 2/3 of state legislatures and governor’s mansions

          And how much power do they really have? If a state bordering Mexico wants a border wall…? How about abortion? Gay marriage? No-fault divorce?

          federally Republicans, led by Trump, control all three branches of government.

          On paper, sure. But in practice? Does the president really control the Executive Branch bureaucracies? And just how much power does Congress really have anymore? For example, in theory the House has “the power of the purse” and can shut various other parts of the government down by cutting off their funding. And yet, look at how little actually shuts down in any “government shut down” (versus how much should according to “power of the purse” theory). And as for the third branch, you mean the judiciary that folks across the spectrum describe as in revolt against Trump? And before you mention Gorsuch, I remember the liberal columnists writing about how their more hysterical fellows needed to calm down because he was no extreme right-winger but a moderate, with examples and ennumerations how. And the phenomenon of right-leaning SCOTUS appointees consistently drifting left — I think someone here once posted a link to a paper that theorized about the mechanism behind this — as seen most readily in Chief Justice John “Schrödinger’s Tax” Roberts.

          The left only has social control

          Then why did the Berkeley police stand by? Then why aren’t the anti-KKK mask laws enforced against the masked Antifas? They seem to have control over the folks who give the orders to the rank-and-file of our law enforcement agencies.

          You can’t enforce social rules if you refuse to even engage socially.

          Sure you can, via firings, blacklistings, economic pressure, mobs, “selective leaking”, and so on. Not to mention control of the Federal bureaucracies, as mentioned above.

          They have nothing to offer voters

          Except “gibs”, as it’s said. And “affirmative action” or other preferences and set-asides for you and your identity group, so long as you’re not a straight white male. And never forget the willingness of people to “feed the crocodile, in hopes of being eaten last”.

          The left has thrown evolved tradition out and replaced it with their own untested and unworkable ideas, and will inevitably fail.

          I agree, I’m just not sanguine, to say the least, about that inevitable fall. The market can stay irrational, lot of ruin in a nation, et cetera, et cetera. Like Venezuela spending the oil infrastructure maintenance funds on socialist redistribution, an ultimately unworkable project can be propped up for quite some time by consuming civilizational “seed corn”. I recall a commenter over at Unz (I think on one of Pat Buchanan’s recent columns) outlining a “Snow Crash”/fall of Rome scenario where DC still claims, but cannot enforce, control over a US that has become a fractious, violent 3rd-world landscape of warlords, Mexican drug cartels, PMCs, and Chinese businesses, because they’ve abandoned every function except the left-leaning welfare state, with all the taxes they can manage to collect handed out to poor non-Asian minorities. I think this is too optimistic. As I’ve said here before, while I think the collapse of the Left is inevitable, I think said collapse is pretty much guaranteed to permanently destroy industrial civilization beyond all repair (and has non-trivial odds of people of European ancestry being rendered pretty much extinct by the rest of the world, either during the catastrophe, or in the great conflicts and migrations to follow in its post-apocalyptic wake).

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            [Citation needed]

            The by-county electoral map? The utter mockery they receive on a daily basis while the rest of us red staters go about our daily business? I work my job, my wife raises our adorable children, we go to church on Sundays and the guns in my and my neighbors’ closets mean none of that leftist insanity will ever come to my neighborhood? They’re all sound and fury signifying nothing.

            Except Moldbug’s “Cathedral”: the Federal bureaucracy (a.k.a. “the swamp”), the Mass Media, and Academia. Toss in a lot of the courts. The cultural commanding heights.

            Does anyone respect any of that? The emperor has no clothes. We all know that. The emperor and his subjects haven’t caught on that we’re all just giggling is all.

            And how much power do they really have? If a state bordering Mexico wants a border wall…? How about abortion? Gay marriage? No-fault divorce?

            Border wall is coming. Only those who vote leftist are murdering their kids, marrying dudes. These are all long-term losing strategies.

            But in practice?

            Patience is a virtue. The battle is unfolding before your eyes.

            They seem to have control over the folks who give the orders to the rank-and-file of our law enforcement agencies.

            In few, isolated municipalities. There is a reason all the riots happen in blue counties. Munch your popcorn and watch the lefties burn their own cities. Of course, pray they open their eyes and leave, but they’re really just destroying themselves.

            I agree, I’m just not sanguine, to say the least, about that inevitable fall.

            I’ll snip your other segments and pick up here because it’s the same answer. Prepare, act rightly and wait. Serve truth and you and yours (and ours) will be fine.

            I’m Catholic, so I take a 2,000 year long-term view of these things. We’ve seen way worse. I wish I had the Polandball meme of everyone who opposed the Church and lost. “How many divisions does the Pope have?” Not really a relevant question now, is it Stalin? We always win not because God is with us but because we are with God.

            We align ourselves with Truth, while our enemies align themselves with Power, but in the end Truth always wins. It’s slow and it’s awful and there is much suffering, but this is the only option.

            We’ve already read the end of the book, man. You can go read it yourself. We win.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @Conrad Honcho

            The by-county electoral map?

            So what? You seem to be laboring under the delusion that those sort of elections actually matter to any significant degree.

            The utter mockery they receive on a daily basis

            And just where, outside our tiny internet spaces, is this “daily utter mockery” occuring? Because I don’t see it anywhere else. Where is it on TV? In the newspapers?

            I work my job, my wife raises our adorable children, we go to church on Sundays

            For now…

            the guns in my and my neighbors’ closets mean none of that leftist insanity will ever come to my neighborhood

            I’m sorry to disagree, but I really don’t think that when (not if, when) “that leftist insanity” comes to your neighborhood (or your workplace, or your church, or…), that those guns are going to do much to stop it. Sure, you might be able to shoot a few raging Antifa types. So? There’s plenty more where they came from, and in the meantime you’ll be charged for your “right-wing hate crime”, and will probably find yourself having the rest of your life to get intimately aquainted with your large, muscular cellmate.

            Does anyone respect any of that?

            Plenty. I know a lot of people who do so. It looks to me like a majority of urbanites do. And the police do seem to be taking orders from people who respect “all that.”

            Border wall is coming.

            So people keep saying. But how’s getting the funds from the Congress we supposedly control going? I’ll believe it when I see it.

            Only those who vote leftist are murdering their kids, marrying dudes. These are all long-term losing strategies.

            Except they more than make up for the lack of their own children by a combination of importing foreign allies and converting our tribe’s offspring. Memetic propagation over genetic. And I recall reading somewhere that the Imbangala of Africa managed to persist for centuries with high infanticide rates offset by the (child-soldier-style) induction of captured young men from neighboring peoples.

            Patience is a virtue.

            Again, they’ve been slowly winning for 500+ years.

            Munch your popcorn and watch the lefties burn their own cities.

            At which point they move to ours. Recall the “Californication” of Colorado and elsewhere. Or when the Feds decide your neighborhood needs more “diversity” and mandates some Section 8 housing be opened up for some vibrancy?

            I’m Catholic, so I take a 2,000 year long-term view of these things.

            And I’ve never seen any evidence strong enough to shake my belief in metaphysical naturalism (the rejection of any “supernaturalism”, also known historically as “materialism”) and atheism. There is no God for us to be with. There is no “end of the book”, there is no guarantee of victory, and we, the Red Tribe, the West, indeed can be utterly wiped forever from this Earth as a culture (and probably will).

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Kevin C – What’s the point of life, in your view? What does a good life consist of?

          • Kevin C. says:

            @FacelessCraven

            What’s the point of life, in your view?

            At the base, for most living species, to see that one’s genes are passed on (either by oneself or by kin who also carry them). For humans, this expands to also passing on one’s memes/culture, particularly to the extent those memes are useful at the task of passing on one’s genes, at the levels of individual, family, or (ethnic) tribe.

            What does a good life consist of?

            I can’t really say; is there really such a thing for most human beings? Life’s a b*tch and then you die. Entropy wins. (I think Camus is right about “the one really serious philosophical problem”, but I don’t think anyone’s given a sufficiently solid showing as to the standard answer, which has also served as one of my criticisms of the “Rationalist movement”: what if, when we overcome all the cognitive biases and irrationalities installed by Darwinian evolution, and become truly rational, we discover that in fact, life really isn’t worth living?)

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Kevin C. – “For humans, this expands to also passing on one’s memes/culture, particularly to the extent those memes are useful at the task of passing on one’s genes, at the levels of individual, family, or (ethnic) tribe.”

            “I can’t really say; is there really such a thing for most human beings?”

            When I was an Atheist, my life mainly consisted of hate and fear. Now that I am a Christian, the hate and fear are pretty much gone, and what little remains seems to be diminishing. I’m not sure I’d say I’m living the Good Life right now, but members of my immediate family definately are, and I’m a lot closer than I was before. I’m not sure that the Christianity is 100% necessary for the change, but letting go of the hate and fear definately was, and Christianity helped with that a very great deal.

            In any case, yes, I think it is definately possible to live a good life. I recommend it. Wisdom that leaves you irretrievably miserable is not wisdom at all.

            “Life’s a b*tch and then you die. Entropy wins.”

            If this is indeed the way things are, why not go full hedonist and/or suicide?

          • Kevin C. says:

            If this is indeed the way things are, why not go full hedonist and/or suicide?

            For the former, two things: because even with my medications, my depression tends to leave me a bit anhedonic; and because I have yet to figure out how to stop caring and attain ZFG. For the latter, because when I previously tried, I failed, and I found the subsequent psychiatric hospitalizations a sufficiently unpleasant enough experience as to deter me from another attempt due to the risk of another failure.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Kevin, please consider this post written with all the love one can give to a stranger.

            I understand you have great disdain for the left. That is, it’s completely obvious to you that the left is wrong, wrong about human nature, wrong about the relationships between people and between man and state and ends in destruction. On this we are in complete agreement.

            However, I also get the impression that while you know what’s wrong with the Blue Tribe, you cannot say what is right in the Red Tribe. Preferable, sure, but not True. This is expressed as lack of belief.

            Do you want to believe? I mean, are you sitting there saying, “I totally wish I could be down with all this Jesus and church and family and community stuff but I just can’t because science?” If you don’t want to believe, or you actively disbelieve, then just stop reading here. There’s no point going on. If you want to believe and just can’t then I think I can help, buy giving you a process to go from “want to believe but don’t” to “believes so easily the thought of not believing is a non-issue.” I think that might appeal to you, given what I know of you from reading your posts for six or eight months now.

            Okay, so if you’re open to believing, try this process.

            1) Admit you want to believe.

            2) Dive in to understanding the metaphors of the Christian faith. I highly, highly, highly recommend watching Jordan Peterson’s videos. His Biblical series is still in progress, and I don’t know if I’d start there just because he’s still working out the kinks in the presentation. Maybe just watch the Maps of Meaning videos. At this point you should understand the wisdom of Christianity as a memeplex of proper ways to live for you now, you in the future, your family, your community, and eventually the world.

            2a) This sounds a lot like Kierkegaard’s Leap of Faith. “This is good, can’t prove it, take a leap of faith and just believe anyway.” This sounds too difficult, like you’re intentionally blinding yourself and just “hoping.” I’d come at it from the other side. So:

            3) The goal here is to be at a point where you understand the necessity and importance of acting as if you believe the stories are literally true, even though you understand them as metaphors. Note I said “acting.” You have to actually act out the rituals in order to achieve the desired results. That is, pray, understanding that even if no one is listening to the prayers you’re getting the benefit of meditating on what you’re grateful for, what you want to improve in your life, etc. Go to church, even if you don’t “believe,” because it’s good to connect to your community, and the way to bring about peace in the world starts with turning to your neighbor in church, putting out your hand and saying “peace be with you.” Fast during Lent because it’s good in this time of plenty to remember what it’s like to not have.

            4) Do this for awhile and see the positive changes in your life. At this point you’re acting as if you’re a Christian even though you don’t really believe it. That is, you’re LARPing.

            5) Stop LARPing and actually believe all the things you already believe because you’re acting every day as if you believe them.

            That’s how I’d go about it. I think if you give this a try you might well cough up that blackpill that’s choking you. Good luck and God bless.

            “Bad times, hard times, this is what people keep saying; but let us live well, and times shall be good. We are the times: Such as we are, such are the times.”
            ―Saint Augustine

            P.S. When you decide to convert, pick Catholic because you get to call people heretics and it’s awesome.

          • skef says:

            At this point you should understand the wisdom of Christianity as a memeplex of proper ways to live for you now, you in the future, your family, your community, and eventually the world.

            By the fake-it-till-you-make-it standard, Buddhism has a lot more going for it.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @skef

            By the fake-it-till-you-make-it standard, Buddhism has a lot more going for it.

            How do you expect to preserve western culture and traditions by adopting an eastern religion?

          • skef says:

            How do you expect to preserve western culture and traditions by adopting an eastern religion?

            That’s a different discussion.

            Anyway, you’re using a pitch tuned to attract a depressed nihilist. Whatever else might be said about @Kevin C., he’s not lacking a sense of what is right and what is wrong. More specifically, he doesn’t lack a sense of what’s right in Red Tribe (as you put it), he thinks that Red Tribe has also tilted away from the good (as he’s made clear in past posts).

            So, convenient as it is to throw all the Euthyphro problems out the window, I don’t see that working in this case.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @skef

            Kevin can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure he has “preservation of western civilization” as a terminal value. Therefore pitching him an eastern religion is not at all going to work. Paraphrasing Rep. King, you can’t save western civilization with somebody else’s religion.

          • skef says:

            Right, so pitch him with that if anything, rather than taking a nihilism-based approach. Anyone who doesn’t currently believe but does have a sense of right and wrong is likely to find that dumb and offensive.

            My comment had more to do with the relationship of your argument to Christianity in particular than to it’s application in this instance. I will say that, in general, an atheist who is looking to get back into religion and was exposed to a particular one in their youth will probably have the most luck with that one, even if they never believed. But I’m not certain of @Kevin C’s background in that respect.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @skef

            I will say that, in general, an atheist who is looking to get back into religion and was exposed to a particular one in their youth will probably have the most luck with that one, even if they never believed. But I’m not certain of @Kevin C’s background in that respect.

            Yeah, that doesn’t apply in my case because I’m completely unchurched. The sort of “cultural Christianity” that means gifts and a tree on Christmas, and a big dinner (and dyed eggs as a kid) on Easter is as close to “religious” as it gets. As I’ve frequently put it, I descend from a line of men too antisocial for organized religion.

            (This is also part of why I often cite Xunzi as an example of compatibility of traditionalism and emphasis upon “rites” with a lack of religious belief. And why I also point to the example of religion in Japan.)

        • FacelessCraven says:

          @Kevin C – “Then why did the Berkeley police stand by?”

          Budget and/or political influence. But it didn’t stop the right-wingers from kicking Antifa’s asses, running them off, and walking away free and clear afterward.

          “Then why aren’t the anti-KKK mask laws enforced against the masked Antifas?”

          Budget and/or political influence. But Mr. Bikelock is staring down three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and Based Stick Man is still free and clear.

          Your model did not predict those outcomes, which indicates it’s not a very good model.

          “I recall a commenter over at Unz (I think on one of Pat Buchanan’s recent columns) outlining a “Snow Crash”/fall of Rome scenario… …I think this is too optimistic.”

          Okay. So when does the crash arrive? What’s your timeline? At what date, if we’re still muddling along more or less as normal, do you reassess your priors?

          • Kevin C. says:

            Budget and/or political influence.

            I’d say the latter, and that that “political influence” — i.e. the bosses who give the orders being totally on the side of the Antifas — isn’t going away.

            and walking away free and clear afterward.

            For now…

            But Mr. Bikelock is staring down three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon

            Odds he’ll be acquitted? Or conviction overturned on a technicality on appeal after he gets high-priced lawyers brought in via lefty crowdfunding (or deep pockets like Soros, or by lefty lawyers doing it pro-bono)?

            Okay. So when does the crash arrive?

            I figure we’ve got at least a century or more. A century or more of further floods of immigration and a shrinking white demographic. A century or more of further economic pressure and decline for the Red Tribe (with increasing credentialism, and requirements to graduate from Progressive-Orthodoxy-dominated Academia, as just one of the tools). A century or more of them finding ways to spread the “vibrant diversity” into our communities. A century or more for them to follow European countries like Germany and restrict or ban homeschooling. A century or more for them to mess with zoning, housing policies, and the like to make “family formation” increasingly difficult and expensive for us (see Steve Sailer). A century or more to ever-more-broadly redefine “child abuse” so as to remove more and more children from right-wing homes? A century or more for our tribe to continue becoming a smaller fraction of the electorate, so that the Republican Party is forced to move ever Left to “peel off” some faction of the Democrat electorate, as is the usual mechanism under Duverger’s Law (for example, they can keep trying the outreach to consistently-socialist-voting non-Cuban Hispanics, until the future two-party system is between the roughly evenly-matched “take Whitey’s stuff and give it to the Blacks” party and the “take Whitey’s stuff and give it to the Hispanics” party). A century or more of dysgenics pushing us toward Idiocracy. A century or more of them propagandizing and indoctrinating and otherwise spreading their perniciously virulent memetic contageon everywhere with the Mass Media Megaphone and the educational institutions. A century or more of telling the Third World that their poverty and dysfunction are entirely and solely the white man’s fault (so guess where they’re going to look to “get theirs back” in mass numbers when civilization finally collapses under the weight of Leftist insanity and they’ve finally run out of the last dregs of civilizational seed corn — until, like Venezuela, they’ve drained dry every last bit of money needed to maintain the basic energy infrastructure needed to maintain industrial-age civilization — and we no longer have the technological advantage to counter their numbers). A century or more of “secularization”. A century or more to spread their ideas to other countries. A century or more to work to make the Chinese “woke”. A century or more of “flight from white”. A century or more of Pope Benedicts being replaced by Pope Francises. A century or more of more and more lesbian “clergy”. A century or more to overturn Wisconsin v. Yoder and begin pushing back against the Amish. A century or more of improving surveillance technologies, until we’re all potential Donald Sterlings. A century or more of people being rendered unemployed — or unemployable — by witchhunting Twitter and Tumblr mobs. A century or more for military technology advancements to make our civilian arms even less relevant to effective warfare. A century or more of “if you object to making gay wedding cakes, don’t run a bakery for a living” expanding to more and more job fields. A century or more of “your religion ends at the church door”; you can say whatever you want about the morality of X inside your church, but in “public society” you better act in total accordance with “nondiscrimination” rules, or else. A century or more to improve fMRI brain reading to sniff out “unconscious” or “covert bigots” for some necessary “sensitivity training”. A century or more of “more women in the military”, women in combat roles, more LGBT in the military, and more and more people in the military command hierarchy who owe their presence and rank to left-wing politics and thus whose loyalty to the left-wing power structure can be relied upon if or when things go “hot”. A century or more of Cthulhu swimming left, a century more of the eldrich horror that is “Universal culture” going all “om nom nom” on the entire planet.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            Kevin C. – “I’d say the latter, and that that “political influence” — i.e. the bosses who give the orders being totally on the side of the Antifas — isn’t going away.”

            I think you’re underestimating the budget angle. And again, if they’d wanted to arrest the right-wingers, they had every opportunity.

            “For now…”

            When do you predict this will change?

            “Odds he’ll be acquitted?”

            Poor, I should think. They’ve got him dead to rights.

            “I figure we’ve got at least a century or more.”

            Scott seems pretty sure CelestAI eats us about that point. I’d be sort of amazed if we don’t have a serious pandemic by then. Isn’t the Yellowstone supercaldera overdue as well? Any threat a century out is no threat at all.

            You list too much to address point by point, and at too long a timescale for either of us to see anyway. I counter by predicting how I think the next ten years are going to go: Social Justice breaks and recedes, systems our society is built on are rendered obsolescent and replaced, and the world looks different and better than anyone expected.

            Do you think universities are even going to exist twenty years from now? Without them, how much of these problems just go away? Do you think American Blacks are going to be happy living in squalor for another fifty years? Things that can’t go on forever, don’t.

          • Kevin C. says:

            @FacelessCraven

            When do you predict this will change?

            Most likely, the next time there’s a Democrat in the White House.

            Edit: In fact, that’s my answer whenever anyone points to a supposed Trump “victory”: what makes you think the next Democrat President won’t undo them all (and push further left besides). Suppose Trump somehow, miraculously manages to get the wall completed. What then prevents the next president from simply withdrawing all guards, maintenance, funding, etc. and standing by as the Mexicans tear holes through it? Nobody has provided my convincing evidence that these victories are lasting, rather than temporary blips in the overall Leftward movement of the past half-millennium.

            Poor, I should think. They’ve got him dead to rights.

            Doesn’t it depend on the twelve dimwits in the jury box and what the mass media has crammed into their skulls? The prosecution can put on the best possible case, and the jury can still acquit if they agree that Professor Clanton was perfectly justified in swinging that bike lock at one of those evil, murderous fascists their TV is always warning them about. Not to mention there’s plenty a lefty judge can do to “put his finger on the scales”, yes? And while a conviction can be appealed, an acquital cannot (no matter how blatant the misdeeds of the judge).

            I counter by predicting how I think the next ten years are going to go: Social Justice breaks and recedes

            Social Justice gets larger and stronger.

            systems our society is built on are rendered obsolescent and replaced

            Systems our society is built on decay, with no one who is both able and willing to repair or replace them.

            the world looks different and better than anyone expected

            The world looks worse for at least straight white men (and probably marriage-and-motherhood-inclined straight white women), with the limited exception of tech-toy distractions and VR pacification.

            Do you think universities are even going to exist twenty years from now?

            Barring the Endwar kicking off in that time period, yes. HYP and the Ivies have too much history, institutional capital, reputation, and inertia to simply go away that soon. In fact, I predict the number of jobs that require degrees — and not any sort of test or other “unaccredited” substitute (it’s the diploma, not the learning, that matters) — to go up.

            Without them, how much of these problems just go away?

            At least a few, which is why I’ve expressed favor toward a “dissolution of the monasteries“-style forced dissolution, dispossession, and appropriation to remove them. I just don’t think such a thing can be achieved.

            Do you think American Blacks are going to be happy living in squalor for another fifty years?

            Of course not. But with all “respectable” voices affirming that that “squalor” is solely the fault of white people’s Evil Eye “systemic racism”, and anyone who says otherwise is a horrible, Charles Murray-level racist who deserves to die, they’ll express that unhappiness by trying to “take back” what Whitey “stole” from them. By demands for reparations, by demands for further ethnic set-asides, by pushing expansion of the welfare state, by shooting “race soldier” cops, by theft, by increased “polar bear hunting”, or whatever other means, licit or illicit, they decide to pay back “the racists keeping them down”.

            Things that can’t go on forever, don’t.

            But they can last quite long, and do a lot of permanent damage both as they go on and when they end. “Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.” “There’s a lot of ruin in a nation.”

            And even if we do last the next ten to twenty years, that still doesn’t mean the Red Tribe won’t subsequently, through a mix of assimilation/absorption/conversion and deaths both natural and not, be destroyed as a culture by the Blues.

          • Matt M says:

            Odds he’ll be acquitted? Or conviction overturned on a technicality on appeal after he gets high-priced lawyers brought in via lefty crowdfunding (or deep pockets like Soros, or by lefty lawyers doing it pro-bono)?

            Next to zero. Although I don’t think it means much in the long term. I think this guy is unfortunate and he’s going to be the symbolic figure of “see, the police are fair and really do crack down on both sides equally” even if they only arrest 1 leftist for every 99 rightists they round up in these rallies.

            Bike lock dude needs to have the book thrown at him so they can plausibly claim neutrality.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Kevin C. – “Most likely, the next time there’s a Democrat in the White House.”

            If we get another democrat, they serve their term, and then we get another republican, and things at that point are no worse than they are now or even have improved some, would you reconsider your priors?

            “Social Justice gets larger and stronger…”

            If, at the end of the ten years, social justice is weaker, society is stronger, and things look better for white males and reproductively-inclined females, will you reconsider your priors?

            “Barring the Endwar kicking off in that time period, yes.”

            See, that boggles me. The higher education system is so obviously a massive, wasteful scam that I can’t imagine it lasting another two decades. I mean, I imagine Harvard will exist indefinitely, but the university system as a whole can’t possibly survive what the internet is and does that long. The alternatives are too ripe.

            “Of course not. But with all “respectable” voices affirming that that “squalor” is solely the fault of white people’s Evil Eye “systemic racism”…”

            We are watching this consensus break down right now, which is one of the big reasons I don’t see Social Justice as having much in the way of legs. Look at the pushback and the edits to that Vox article on Murray in the links thread.

            “By demands for reparations, by demands for further ethnic set-asides, by pushing expansion of the welfare state, by shooting “race soldier” cops, by theft, by increased “polar bear hunting”, or whatever other means, licit or illicit, they decide to pay back “the racists keeping them down”.”

            My hope would be that once “institutional racism” stops being the sole acceptable explanation for every problem at every level of society, that might free us up to find actual solutions to the immiseration of Black America. Didn’t France do a fair job of integrating blacks into their society without making them a wretched underclass back in the day?

            “And even if we do last the next ten to twenty years, that still doesn’t mean the Red Tribe won’t subsequently, through a mix of assimilation/absorption/conversion and deaths both natural and not, be destroyed as a culture by the Blues.”

            Nothing lasts forever, under your preferred materialist framework. You, as you are now, are already antithetical to the Red Tribe of a hundred years ago, whose propagation this whole discussion is about. Is that not so? If being as you are is good, than how can a further-drifted Red Triber of a hundred years hence be bad?

            What is it we’re actually looking to preserve here, is my question?

        • Matt M says:

          They have nothing to offer voters

          How about “the last guy kinda sucked and it’s our turn now.” (aka, occam’s razor for why Trump won)

          No party has won more than three consecutive Presidential elections since the 1940s.

          The masses are ignorant and impatient and every President promises utopia. Then they fail to deliver utopia, so the other side gets a turn.

          I see no particular reason to think this cannot continue indefinitely…

          • bintchaos says:

            I see no particular reason to think this cannot continue indefinitely…


            You had better hope it does…because you just described America as a periodic equilibrium and large non-equilibrium systems are vulnerable to collapse.
            If I am correct in my predictions that the demographic timer and educational attainment will eventually deliver a permanent liberal majority what happens next?
            Civil war? A putsch?

          • CatCube says:

            I don’t see any reason to believe that you’re any more correct than the people predicting a permanent conservative majority roundabout 2004, due to the new import of national security in the aftermath of 9/11. Then in 2012, Obama was supposed to usher in the dawning of the permanent liberal era. Now the Republicans hold all three branches of government.

            Nobody engages your hypotheses on this because you’re not saying anything novel. Every comment you’ve made on this issue has been said better by smarter people a long time ago. The arrogant claim that the left has a near-monopoly on all the smarties is something I first heard around 15 years ago, and it wasn’t any less stupid then. That you apparently think you’re the first to try to convey this to us benighted righties is one of the reasons that Deiseach mocks you.

            You’ve not said anything to convince me that the left’s stranglehold on higher education is due to some sort of inherent capability gap, as opposed to competing explanations. One such is that the administration drifted to the left beginning in the 60s and actively maintains this stranglehold via hostile environment, rather like how the lack of Jews in white-shoe law firms in the middle of last century wasn’t due to the lack of Jews more than capable of doing the work.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @bintchaos – “If I am correct in my predictions that the demographic timer and educational attainment will eventually deliver a permanent liberal majority what happens next?”

            Either the liberal majority ushers in the Golden Age, or sooner or later (probably sooner) they split over various issues and we’re back to two parties again. If they’re reasonably congruent with reality, things probably go okay. If they’re not, things fall apart and we have a crisis.

            Life goes on, in any case.

          • Paul Zrimsek says:

            If I am correct in my predictions that the demographic timer and educational attainment will eventually deliver a permanent liberal majority what happens next?

            The seas turn to lemonade, and the friendly anti-lions and anti-tigers evolve.

          • Matt M says:

            Can we please just stop feeding the obvious troll?

          • Kevin C. says:

            @FacelessCraven

            Either the liberal majority ushers in the Golden Age, or sooner or later (probably sooner) they split over various issues and we’re back to two parties again.

            But there’s nothing that says that “split” back into two parties means that one party will be anything as right-wing as present Repubs, does it? For example, they could split on, say, Black vs. Hispanic, with both sides agreeing on “screw those straight white males”. Or any other splits on the coalition of the fringes that still leave the Red Tribe minority without any but the most token of offerings from one side (even worse than what gets alt-Righties to compare current “establisment Republicans” to victims of nest parasitism).

            If they’re not, things fall apart and we have a crisis.

            And how big can the crisis get? Civilization-ending? Mass deployment of engineered bioweapons bad? Greater than 90% global fatality rates, with concentration in the “developed” nations?

            Life goes on, in any case.

            Until the day it doesn’t. Extinction does happen (in fact, it’s the long-run historical norm), and extinction is forever.