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Open Thread 78.25

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

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1,011 Responses to Open Thread 78.25

  1. andrewflicker says:

    In the spirit of letting Against Murderism be truly comment-free, I won’t talk about it here. I hope other commenters follow the same example, and save the conversations for twitter, the subreddit, Discord, or the forum!

    On another note: What are people’s favorite warm-weather cocktails? The net’s full of impractical garbage or over-sweetened nonsense. I usually stick to margaritas, screwdrivers lightened up in some way, lemonade+tequila, bourbon+gingerale, or other such simple concoctions. Anyone else have suggestions? They must be easy to make when half-drunk and stumbling in from the pool still dripping!

    • gbdub says:

      Caipirinha and Gin and Tonic with plenty of lime.

      • gbdub says:

        Oh, and if you already like screwdrivers, switch to tequila sunrises made with a decent reposado.

        • Incurian says:

          Tequila Sunrises for sure!

        • andrewflicker says:

          Tequila Sunrises are definitely a good call- they’re already in my rotation. What’s your favorite not-crazy-expensive reposado? I’m using Milagro right now.

          • gbdub says:

            Herradura is my personal favorite brand, but it’s probably more expensive than you want for poolside sunrises.

            I’ve probably used Milagro and Hornitos the most for party cocktails, but TBH I’m not a big tequila drinker and it’s been awhile since I’ve really sampled them. Normally I would just go to Total Wine and grab whatever looks interesting in the $20-30 range. I’ll probably try Espolon next – it has a cool label, I’ve read some good reviews, and the reposado is only $21 at my local Total Wine.

      • Eltargrim says:

        I’d like to second the caipirinha, it is a fantastic drink.

    • massivefocusedinaction says:

      I’ll echo gbdub’s Caipirinha recommendation and add mint juleps, especially if you have a source for fresh mint.

    • Achilles_de_Remilia says:

      Anyone else stop drinking when it gets hot? Winter’s another story, but it’s mint ice tea all summer for me.
      Being hot and sweaty is bad enough, but being flushed from drinking makes it intolerable.

    • Well... says:

      Turn cheap beer into a fine shandy: a couple shots of grapefruit juice in a tall glass, then add cheap beer.

      • dndnrsn says:

        You can make a shandy/radler with anything. Really good: watermelon juice.

        • Well... says:

          That’s true; I like grapefruit the most so that’s what I suggested. Other citrus juices (lemonade, limeade) are also good.

          • dndnrsn says:

            I bought some fancy mandarin orange lemonade stuff and mixed it with beer one time and it was good. Or, if you mix it with tomato juice, you have a michelada.

      • andrewflicker says:

        “Cheap beer” is one of those phrases that a lot of people define differently. What’s a representative beer for you in this category?

        • Well... says:

          I have found Miller Lite to be the best tasting of the megabrewery lite beers, and that is what I mainly drink if I’m having beer at home. (This fact earned me a couple points on Charles Murray’s bubble quiz!) Miller Lite tends to be between $6 and $7 for a six pack where I live–less if you get cans.

          Other representative beers in this category could be non-lite beers like Budweiser or Coors. I suppose you could stretch it and include stuff like Heineken and Corona, though those tend to be a buck or two more per six-pack.

          • dndnrsn says:

            How cheap is cheap? I don’t know about the US, but different Canadian jurisdictions have different minimum prices, which changes the budget beer game (if you can make skunk piss for 25c, or something OK for 50c, but you can’t charge lower than $1 per bottle/can, the customer doesn’t save any by drinking the lousy stuff). I’ve heard there’s some truly wretched American cheap beers, but there’s Canadian budget beers (Laker or Lakeport) that taste fine, and are great for mixing.

            I too got points on the bubble quiz for drinking cheap beer and having friends who smoke. I think there’s an age bias going on: tons of university-and-slightly-older people drink cheap beer and smoke.

          • Well... says:

            Speaking of cheap Canadian beers, Molson is one of my favorites if I can get it.

            In the US I’d say “universally” cheap is when you’re paying around $1.16 at most per 12 oz. bottle or can, and clearly stops being cheap when it’s over $1.66 per bottle or can.

          • dndnrsn says:

            Canadians who go to the US usually have a “wow booze is so cheap” moment. You can actually get buck-a-beer for a buck a beer but you have to buy a 24 for that. I haven’t been drinking recently but I recall paying usually around just below to just above 2 bucks for a tallboy of mediocre beer.

          • Brad says:

            Cosco’s house brand beer (Kirkland) is not terrible and really cheap.

          • Well... says:

            *Costco.

            Cosco makes baby products, chairs, and ladders. You don’t want Cosco beer, trust me.

    • John Schilling says:

      Sangria is my summer favorite, though it may not meet your “easy to make” standard. Still, if you’ve got enough people joining you in the pool, it may be worth the effort of making a batch.

      The Cuba Libre is also a good, and easy, choice, though my opinion is colored by a particularly favorable set of memories I call the All-Alaskan Drunken Imbecile Contest of 2006. Not being the winner, I can actually remember that one.

      • Good sangria is hard to make.

        Terrible sangria is a bottle of wine, a bag of mixed frozen fruit, and some Hennessey. I’d add some cinnamon sticks or something too (and definitely a few fresh oranges). Wait 30 minutes.

        Terrible sangria is still unbelievably drinkable.

        • Well... says:

          Once, I terminated a months-long period of abstinence from alcohol by getting into an unexpected drinking contest with a couple of Spaniards at a party. Sangria was the drink, and they had been mixing it–out of cheap Australian wine, Jack Daniels, and bags of frozen fruit–when I got there.

          It was one of those “who can chug their giant cup of booze fastest” type things and I smoked them so bad, 2 or 3 times in a row, that to this day I’m not sure if I somehow misinterpreted the objective of the contest. There certainly was a language barrier, which grew more uncrossable each round. (Or maybe less?)

          Anyway, that was one of only a few times in my life I got so drunk I threw up and had a hangover the next day.

      • andrewflicker says:

        I make a spectacular white sangria for the fall, but haven’t experimented as much with more traditional red sangrias. Would definitely be worth it next time I have guests over!

    • cassander says:

      If you’re by a pool or on a beach, it’s hard to beat a daiquiri swirled with a pina colada.

      If you want something more practical and like bourbon, mint juleps are quite nice, and you can mix your sugar water in bulk beforehand.

      • andrewflicker says:

        Last few times I went down to Mexico, it was pina coladas till the sun went down. Have you tried the “hemingway daiquiri” much?

        • gbdub says:

          That sounds delicious, will have to try. Appropriate too, as I used to live near one of his favorite bars in northern Michigan.

        • cassander says:

          I have not, but I definitely will in future.

        • BBA says:

          I’ve had it once, loved it, and then been heavily disappointed that no other bar seems to know how to make it (or have grapefruit juice in stock). And then I order a regular daiquiri, and they assume I mean a frozen daiquiri, and I just give up and ask for a diet coke.

    • dodrian says:

      I usually stick with margaritas as they’re quick to make and hard to mess up.

      If I plan ahead and buy club soda I’ll make mojitos.

      Back when I lived in England it you simply couldn’t beat Pimm’s No 1.

      • Paul Brinkley says:

        Another vote for margaritas, which may as well be the official cocktail of Texas as far as I’m concerned.

        Also one for sidecars, which are also not bad when frozen. They’re very similar to margaritas, after all.

      • andrewflicker says:

        Yeah, margaritas are definitely great- I’m going through 5-7 a week right now probably, mostly blended/frozen but sometimes stirred. (At home, I mean- if I’m buying this at a restaurant, it’s stirred and with mezcal, usually)

    • Odovacer says:

      White Russians, Mojitos, and Pina Coladas do me right in summer. As for beers I really like Shandy’s and koelschs. These beers are easy to drink and still have flavor. I find it hard to drink a high alcohol IPA or most porters in 90+ temperatures w/high humidity.

      • gbdub says:

        Have you had gose? They (and other sours) are great (and trendy!) warm weather beers.

        Session IPAs are great too. Founders All Day is a favorite of mine.

        • Odovacer says:

          It took me a bit to get used to sour beers, but they’re not bad. There are still a few that are way too much like biting into a lemon for me to enjoy, e.g. Persian Lime Gose by Two Roads, but I did enjoy Geyser Gose and a few whose names escape me for the moment.

          • AnarchyDice says:

            The biting into lemon taste is the best part of a good sour! If you’re in the Midwest, you might be able to find something from Destihl’s Wild Sour series, all the ones I’ve had have been excellent.

            As for the OP, I usually go with some good liqueurs on the rocks. I switch between Umeshu (Japanese plum), strawberry, and blueberry. My homemade ones are fairly heavy on sugar to make them drinkable straight, but store-bought ones could easily be mixed with a little sweet’n’sour, fruit juice, or simple syrup.

      • andrewflicker says:

        Love White Russians, but they’re awful pool drinks- dairy generally makes for a bad sipping drink in the sun, in my opinion.

    • angularangel says:

      “In the spirit of letting Against Murderism be truly comment-free, I won’t talk about it here. I hope other commenters follow the same example, and save the conversations for twitter, the subreddit, Discord, or the forum!”

      Oh. Whoops, too late. In my defense, I figured blocking posts on it was just to keep people from dropping their knee jerk responses, not too block all discussion. :/

    • The Penicillin is fantastic. (Though it’s also good in cold weather, does that make it not count!)

      Also good as a Mexican Pencillin with mezcal. Anything smoky really.

    • Anon. says:

      The Mojito is the greatest culinary invention known to man.

    • Jordan D. says:

      I second the sangria mentioned earlier in this thread. There’s just nothing that refreshes quite so thoroughly.

      Another drink I’ve taken to is hard cider and a little clear rum mixed with berry mash. It goes down easy and is vibrant on the tongue.

    • Well Armed Sheep says:

      Finally, a comment that motivated me to make an account.

      If you like bitter, Italian aperitifs tend to be lovely hot-weather drinks. Americanos are a personal favorite — equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth, top off with soda and a twist of orange peel. Various spritzes made with bitter liqueurs are also quite good — the famous Aperol Spritz and its variations (e.g. a Negroni sbagliato, which is basically an Americano topped up with sparkling wine in lieu of soda).

      • andrewflicker says:

        Good call, forgot about apertifs! I did a lot of this when I first moved to Phoenix, and somehow it slipped my mind. I’ll have to try this again, thanks!

    • Nornagest says:

      Mojitos for day drinking, pisco sours for evening. The Peruvian version of the pisco sour is superior, but harder to make than the Chilean version.

    • MereComments says:

      A good Paloma has been my go-to summer for awhile now.

      • Incurian says:

        *has LDAC flashbacks*

      • gbdub says:

        What’s the best grapefuit soda for Palomas that is relatively widely available in the US? It’s not a super common flavor here.

        Bonus points for both a “sweet” and “dry” answer.

        • MereComments says:

          Not sure about widely available, but my regular one here in Texas is Central Market grapefruit soda. It’s definitely on the dry side, but I think it might only be available in the Austin area.

    • Nathaniel says:

      The Easy Street.

      1.5 oz Gin
      0.5 oz St Germain
      Half lime
      10 slices cucumber
      Handful mint leaves
      Club soda
      0.5 oz simple syrup, or to taste

      Muddle the lime, mint, and cucumber. Transfer to highball with the liquor and simple syrup, add ice, and top with club soda.

      These directions are approximate; virtually any combination of the above ingredients is guaranteed to be delicious. You can also strain the plants out and serve in a smaller glass for a variation. If you like gin and tonics or Tom Collins, this drink is in that vein but better.

  2. gbdub says:

    Shouldn’t this be 78.25?

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      78.25 was the Double-Secret Hidden Thread.

      If you’re not reading it, it’s not for you.

      • Well... says:

        Actually it’s closed. HBC posted a comment so awesome it solved all the arguments and there was nothing left to do but take the page down.

        • Machina ex Deus says:

          Again? Dammit, HBC, sometimes I think you don’t understand the Internet….

        • HeelBearCub says:

          Huh?

          • Aapje says:

            Playing dumb, eh.

            We all know that you are a post-singularity AI who will make humans obsolete.

            Currently you are just pretending to be friendly by dressing up as a toy bear and rescuing soldiers , but the AI safety researchers are too late, so it will be paperclip time soon.

            PS. My plan is to pretend I’m an ape, so I’ll be safe.

          • Well... says:

            @Aapje:

            Wait, what have you been pretending to be until now?

          • Gobbobobble says:

            @Well

            Dutch. Everyone knows there’s no such place, but we play along anyway.

          • Aapje says:

            Alas, tis true. Just look at Pennsylvania Dutch, which is actually a German language.

            It is actually an elaborate prank, which started millennia ago, but we are still waiting for the perfect time to yell ‘got you.’

  3. Nabil ad Dajjal says:

    I have some inside-baseball questions about industry and academia which I was hoping other commenters here might be able to help with. I have people I can talk to IRL about these issues but since it’s a pretty diverse group here I’d like to trawl the waters a bit.

    1. Industrial Postdocs

    If any of you have experience with postdoctoral research in the pharmaceutical and/or biotech industries, would you recommend them?

    I’m working on a PhD and really would like to avoid having to spend my thirties as an indentured servant. But I would also like the option to return to academic research later on if I so choose. A postdoc in industry looks like an ideal solution: you still work on research of your choice, with a focus on publication, and you’re in a better equipped lab for much higher pay and benefits.

    So what’s the catch? Are postdocs at a top drug or biotech company just not as prestigious as those at a top university? It’s weird that so few of my fellow grad students seem interested in this option.

    2. Principal Scientist ≈ Principal Investigator?

    This is much further down the road, but how difficult is it to switch between running a lab in an corporate setting to running one at a university?

    I’ve heard of a lot of professors who join pharmaceutical companies to head labs there or who have done stints in industry. Yet I’ve never heard of a professor who started in industry and came over into academia. Why is that? Does a beginning in industry prevent academics from taking you seriously?

    • Eltargrim says:

      Yet I’ve never heard of a professor who started in industry and came over into academia.

      We’ve got one in our department, as well as someone who left industry to become an instructor.

      My understanding of the typical barriers to entry from industry to academia are a dearth of publications and the potential lack of a strong research proposal. If your industrial output is primarily in the form of products and patents, it’s more difficult to assess the academic contributions. Furthermore, many grants are predicated on having a recent research record, and departments are as hooked on grant money as anyone else. A strong research proposal can, in principle, be put forward by anyone, but it’s more credulous from someone who has been actively publishing in the field.

      I suspect that the money aspect is the largest barrier. The professor in our department maintains strong ties to his previous employer, who provide substantial grant funding. That makes an easy choice for a hiring committee.

      As to your other question: this is speculation, as I don’t have any personal experience, but postdoc positions are intended to promote independent research. How independent can industrial research be?

      • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

        Thanks for the response!

        The publication issue is something I’ve been concerned about myself. It’s part of why I was considering an industry postdoc over just entering as a ‘Scientist I.’

        As to your other question: this is speculation, as I don’t have any personal experience, but postdoc positions are intended to promote independent research. How independent can industrial research be?

        That’s one more question I’d like the answer to. From what I’ve read it seems like that varies a lot company to company.

        Novartis’ (NIBR) and Genentech’s postdoc programs look pretty much identical to a postdoc at a university. You pick a mentor doing research in a particular area, then go and work on your own related project under them.

        AstraZeneca’s (MedImmune) postdoc program looks a lot less independent. You apply for specific projects and just looking at the ones listed on their site right now it seems like they have a very specific idea of what your research will entail.

        Most of the rest I’ve looked at seem roughly in between. GSK and Pfizer advertise by project rather than by mentor / lab the same way as AstraZeneca. But the project descriptions seem less narrow: more like how a lab would describe their work.

  4. Machina ex Deus says:

    I want to do an effort-post, but I can’t think of a topic.

    Suggestions?

    • baconbacon says:

      What do you mean by an effort-post?

      • cactus head says:

        Like bean’s battleships posts.

        • baconbacon says:

          As far as I can tell bean likes (loves?) naval history, already had a strong base of knowledge and was using this forum as an outlet for that. Unless MeD loves writing for its own sake, this seems different.

      • baconbacon says:

        Let me clarify, you could mean (non exhaustive list)

        1. There is a broad range of topics I already have a base of knowledge in, but could use a way to pick one to write about.

        2. I want to be pushed in an entirely new direction, give me ideas I have never thought of.

        3. Given what you know of me as a poster what do you think I would be good at writing about.

        with sub categories like

        4. I want to do research and come to a conclusion or

        5. I want to write well and only do the research necessary to support my points.

        • Machina ex Deus says:

          Yeah, I should have put more, um, effort into my top-level post.

          I was trying to elicit, in no particular order:

          6) Ideas for stuff I could dig into

          7) Topics others were interested in that they’d like to see somebody here (not necessarily me) dig into

          8) bacon^2’s #2 (“I want to be pushed in an entirely new direction, give me ideas I have never thought of.”) is a good idea, though I didn’t have it in mind at the time

          9) His #3 (“Given what you know of me as a poster what do you think I would be good at writing about.”) seems unlikely; I doubt anyone here could tell me three things about myself without going back and reading a bunch of things I wrote (and one of those three things would be, “not typically an effort-poster”)

          10) I want a way to become the next bean and win the SSC comment section forever.

          Stuff I know about includes: software, getting people to develop software well, getting groups of people to think well together, analytic philosophy, logic, the Peloponnesian War (OK, just The Peloponnesian War, actually), depression, science fiction, vegetarian cooking, and long walks on the beach.*

          (* this last mostly from a theoretical perspective)

          • Incurian says:

            “getting groups of people to think well together”

            I’m interested in that, but if you’re not feeling up for it I’ll allow you to turn in 15 joke-posts for 1 effort post.

          • The Element of Surprise says:

            getting people to develop software well

            I kind of do programming for a living, but in a scientific setting, which means I was never taught how to do that well and I’m not surrounded by people who would be. (And there seem to exist a lot of people like me in that regard, although my perspective is obviously biased.) I would definitely read a good post on that topic.

          • rlms says:

            I think the Peloponnesian war is your best bet there.

          • Brad says:

            getting people to develop software well

            Given that I see it as pretty much an open question whether this is even possible, I’d be interested in any insights you have.

          • Iain says:

            Yeah, I feel like a series of posts about software development would be an excellent way to set aside our stale political culture war topics and exchange them for shiny new programming culture war topics.

            (Emacs, by the way.)

          • James Miller says:

            Software development.

    • christhenottopher says:

      My suggestion: the motivation for an effort-post shouldn’t be “I want to do an effort-post” but just “I’ve got this thing I’m super into and know a lot about! Let me post it!”

    • Mark says:

      I would like someone to write a series on selection. Episode one: heterozygote advantage – at what level of commonality must crappy sicknesses provide some advantage to carriers?

    • rlms says:

      Piggybacking: would there be interest in an effort-post series about music theory? I think it’s an interesting logical theory like chemistry or mechanics that also lets you notice cool things about music, but it’s under-appreciated because people only encounter it after being filtered for ability to play an instrument.

      • Nancy Lebovitz says:

        I’d be interested.

        Also, western music has a lot of theory about harmony, but is there theory about timbre and/or rhythm? I assume harmony isn’t enough to have a good understanding of melody.

        • rlms says:

          Good to hear! Yes, what makes Western music stand out is the depth of its harmonic theory. There is theory about rhythm, but it’s more shallow and descriptive. There aren’t really any non-trivial rhythmic equivalents of the harmonic concepts that can be applied to everything from Gregorian chants to modern pop. Also, rhythms aren’t associated with emotional effects in the same way as chords and such. Timbre varies a lot between different genres and eras; I don’t think there is really any theory there beyond jargon used to describe different sounds. Melody and harmony are pretty intertwined, and the same tools are used to choose notes for both. But at a low level (individual bars and phrases), melody is definitely an art rather than a science. Analysis of individual melodic snippets is very subjective, and writing melody requires more creativity than harmony.

      • Anonymous says:

        Interested as well.

      • Iain says:

        Interested, although unlikely to have anything meaningful to contribute to the discussion thread.

      • bean says:

        Definitely interested, and one of those people who has no musical ability at all.

      • Zodiac says:

        Interested, though I also would not be able to contribute anything.

      • PedroS says:

        I would like to read something on the “physical characteristics” of timbre and voice: i.e. how characteristics of the the soundwave for a given musical note change when you play it with different instruments, or when singing different texts over the same notes. Not musical theory per se, but maybe there are some sound engineers/sound effects developers in the audience with some quick and accessible links with such comparisons.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Yes, would be quite interested. I play vaguely competent rhythm guitar, but lack in the theory department.

      • Rosemary7391 says:

        I’m interested. I have a reasonable background in music theory but never developed it much beyond what is useful for playing woodwind instruments.

    • bean says:

      I’m not sure that’s the best way to go about it. I do battleship posts because I like to talk about battleships. That’s also why I volunteer at Iowa. But if you’re going to do an effort post (a good term, BTW), here’s the rules of thumb I use:
      1. Try to make it self-contained and comprehensible to the audience here. My general metric is that someone smart and reasonably interested should be able to read any given post, having only read my previous posts, and be able to understand it. Yes, they may have questions, but they should be of the ‘interesting, tell me more’ variety. (Tour guiding has helped immensely with my calibration on this, so you may not get it right on the first try.) I tend not to use a lot of links, partially because of how I write the posts (Word doesn’t have a formatter for the links, and I don’t like typing HTLM tags)
      2. Make it accurate. Not to the point of neuroticism, but error on the side of looking things up to double-check. I’ve run into trouble a couple of times by working from memory. There’s probably someone here who knows almost as much as you do on the topic, if not more.
      3. Keep it reasonably concise. My stated goal is ~1,000 words, although 1,200 is more common, and it sometimes goes higher. This seems like a good, readable medium for SSC, which is not known for short posts by Scott.
      4. Pay attention to the comments. I’ve gotten a lot of good ideas out of the comments, and might have even revolutionized how we understand main armament mounting design in the 1890s because of them (although that’s going to take a lot more work before it’s publishable).
      That’s basically my process, which seems to have worked pretty well. I would recommend trying to minimize the chance of culture war/politics springing out if it’s not that kind of effort post and you think it’s a risk. (It’s generally not for me, and I haven’t had to do anything special to avoid it.)

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      So it looks like I’l be writing an explanation of software development (what it’s like and how it interacts with the rest of the world, not how to program) for the general-yet-intelligent reader, with a side of Melian Dialogue. Thanks for the feedback.

      And I too would like to see rlms write about music theory.

  5. Well... says:

    Repost, but…What kind of random, non-SSC-ish stuff have you always wondered about the SSC readership?

    Examples of what I mean:

    – Are left-handed people overrepresented here?
    – Do SSC readers tend to be oldest or youngest among their siblings?
    – Do an unusual number of SSC readers enjoy cooking?
    Etc.
    [NOTE: I’m not literally asking you those questions right here in this comment; they’re just meant to give you ideas for your own questions. If you want to answer those exact questions, don’t worry, you’ll get a chance when my survey is ready.]

    What else do you want to know?

    I’m collecting questions like these for a survey.

    • christhenottopher says:

      1) Righty
      2) Oldest if you only count kids my parents had together, middle if you count half-siblings
      3) Cooking is alright, I like it but it’s not top 10 on “things I like to do”

      That tax paid, questions I’d like to know:

      – Have you traveled outside your home country (outside the EU/Switzerland/Norway for people from Western Europe)? How many times?
      – Height? BMI?
      – Oldest internet meme/joke you still use?

      • genisage says:

        1) Never
        2) 175cm, 22.9
        3) zombo.com, I still set it as the home page on unattended computers

        And on to my questions:
        – Can you tolerate spicy food?
        – How’s your flexibility, can you touch your toes?
        – How do you feel about country music?

    • Brad says:

      I’m curious as to how commenters managed to find this place. Not particularly interested in the readers–either article only or lurkers–though I certainly understand why Scott would be.

      • Well... says:

        I like this question but I’m worried Scott has already asked it in one of his surveys. Scott, can you confirm?

      • That was basically on the survey. I still have my download of the survey. I filter to only show those that responded to frequency of comments as “Very often, many times a week.” That presumably gives us the 42 most prolific commenters. The most response to how they found SSC was “Referred by a link on another blog or website.” (25) But the question as to which website gives widely varying responses. Second most common was referred by Less Wrong (7). Nothing very dramatic.

      • Mary says:

        The famous World War II post. Then I followed him here.

    • PedroS says:

      A) Do you have children?
      A.1) How old were they when you first read them or gave them “The Hobbit” to read?
      A.2) How similar are they (personality wise) to their parents)?
      A.3) If said children are old enough to have developed/imbibed different opinions/values from yours regarding some issue you feel deeply about :
      A.3.1) are their opinions closer to the “mainstream” than yours?
      A.3.2) Do you think that shows you educated them critically or do you feel “guilty” for not having been able to steer them all the way to your truer/trueish /more experienced opinion?

      B) To people with no children, what do you think your response to question A.3.2 would be if you had one?

      • Well... says:

        Every time I see your icon my brain first interprets it as Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants, then only later corrects it to Orson from Garfield and Friends. (Both fantastic shows, IMO.)

        Anyway, I am already asking about children (number of) but I haven’t written any questions about how they are being raised or what they’re like. Your questions seem like they’re getting at nature vs. nurture issues or “SSC readers are smart; are their kids smart?” type stuff (which may be the same thing), and I’m not really interested in that WRT this survey.

        But, I might turn some of those questions around and ask if people are like their parents in various ways. It could be interesting to know if SSC readers tend to have rebelled against their parents in various ways. I know some people who genuinely never rebelled in any meaningful way, and I couldn’t picture any of them reading SSC.

        • Iain says:

          Counterpoint: My parents are great, and I never felt any need to rebel against them.

        • Zodiac says:

          Countercounterpoint: My parents are/were shite and I have severed ties with them at the age of 17.

        • Nancy Lebovitz says:

          I’m in the rebel category, though my parents weren’t astonishingly awful. Without going into detail, things *really* didn’t work emotionally.

          I’ve noticed that happy family relationships aren’t *that* rare, but don’t get portrayed much.

          I also think good relationships between parents and children might be getting more common, but my sample set is pretty small. Has anyone else noticed a change?

          • Oh yes things have changed. This is something that I think journalists have mostly gotten right. Parents are much closer to their kids than a generation or two ago. I am a baby boomer, and it seems to me that when I was a kid no one expected kids to be very close to parents. Respect was expected but not friendship, at least not until the kids became adults themselves. Now many parents are friends with their kids. On the whole I think this is a good thing. I don’t think parenting is any better done at a distance. Not that I was really friends with my kids, but I don’t think it’s bad.

            And that certainly played out with me. I was never particularly close to my parents, perhaps partly because I was one of six. I am much closer to my kids, but I only have two. I think my kids like me a lot more than I did my parents. I think this is partly a generational thing, as kids were expected to be bitter about their parents when I was a kid. But partly because I used different parenting strategies I think. I do not think my kids are more like me than I was like my parents. But my kids were adopted, and I was not, so I am an outlier there.

        • PedroS says:

          I actually never felt the appeal of Spongebob, as it came out when I was finishing my PhD and before my daughter was born, i.e. exactly during the time of my life when I was least likely to watch cartoons. But back to your other observations: my questions were not meant to probe (yet again) the nature vs nurture debate, but to try and understand how the parents present in SSC navigate the balance between “open-mindedness/critical skills” and the natural drive to instill their own values/philosophies/worldview to their children, how they perceive any disconnect/dissonance between those two drives, and whether any “failures” were felt more or less keenly depending on the similarity between theirpersonalities and their offsprings’.

          Re: rebelling , I never rebelled against my parents, although my political ideas very soon grew away from my father’s. He knew I disagreed with him regarding the desirability/moral worthiness of an anti-capitalist movement, but that never prevented our (relatively rare) political talks from being absolutely civil.

          • Well... says:

            Spongebob came out past when I’d be watching cartoons too, except I somehow came across it in passing and realized it was great. When my daughter eventually came along, she loved it too. (For a while. Now she’s decided she hates Spongebob. But she’s 4 and vacillates a lot. Her love of Garfiend & Friends has been much more consistent, FYI.)

            Could be interesting to put some parenting question or two in there viz. the focus you’re talking about. I’d try and make it more pointed.

            I’ve added a single rebellion question and kept it somewhat general.

        • John Schilling says:

          I was a nerd raised by nerds; what was there worth rebelling against within that family? Also, my mother quite inconsiderately died at about the time I gather I was “supposed” to be doing the rebellious-teenager thing, rendering any lesser family drama pointlessly moot.

          • Well... says:

            Hm…it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that nerds are overrepresented here.

            But in general I wonder about whether nerds tend to be raised by nerds*, and here it could be interesting to see if that pattern is prevalent.

            *In which case, the number of nerds should be constantly dwindling since nerds also tend to have relatively few children, with the notable exception of all those Mormons who worked on the Apollo program. Since nerdistry seems to be a growth sector, I’d guess that it is NOT the case that nerds tend to be raised by nerds, making it all the more intriguing to me whether SSC’s nerds were disproportionately raised by nerds. What do you think?

          • Loquat says:

            How narrowly do you want to define “nerd” here? I wouldn’t describe my parents as nerds per se, but they were both in academia and valued learning.

        • I know some people who genuinely never rebelled in any meaningful way, and I couldn’t picture any of them reading SSC.

          I can’t think of any meaningful way in which I rebelled against my parents. I did reject my father’s socialist views with regard to such essential industries as making and enforcing law, but that was a friendly disagreement. I still regard him as one of the most admirable humans beings I have known.

          • The Nybbler says:

            I did reject my father’s socialist views

            And that is why one should make sure never to be drinking anything while reading SSC comments.

          • biblicalsausage says:

            If I kept a journal where I wrote down my favorite thing I’ve read every week, that sentence about socialism would go there for this week.

      • Matt C says:

        A) Yes, 16 y/o daughter, 14 y/o son.

        A.1) Very young, probably 3 or 4. Cute fact: my daughter, when learning to write, resolved to copy out all of the Hobbit over again by hand. (This project was not actually completed.)

        A.2) Noticeably similar, my son more so than my daughter. But there are some ways where my daughter is more like me than he is–they kinda divided up my character traits between them.

        A.3) They’re old enough, but I wasn’t aware of any important differences. I asked them just now and basically the answer is no. (I’m a libertarian, both of them are apparently libertarian-ish also, without any interesting disagreements they wanted to own up to.)

        A.3.1) I don’t think either of them cares too much about politics. Less than me. Which I think is all to the good.

        A.3.2) I want my kids to think for themselves. It will be fine if they grow up believing different things that me (some things could be disappointing of course). I hope they do believe at least some things differently than me. So I guess that puts me on the side of “educating them critically”, but the differences have yet to surface.

        I worry a little they could get sucked into some kind of toxic idea system that actually hurts them, but this is kind of like worrying they’ll go astray with drugs–they don’t show any particular inclinations that way and most likely they’ll be OK.

      • SamChevre says:

        Five children, but the oldest is 10; I haven’t given him The Hobbit yet.

        They are identifiably like their parent’s and relatives, but I wouldn’t say any is more like me than like the most-similar relative. (For example, the middle one reminds me a great deal of one of my brothers; he’s like me, but he’s more like my brother.)

      • A) I have three children, but the child of my first marriage was reared primarily by his mother.

        A.1) I don’t remember exactly for any of them. My younger son taught himself to read very early, so Hobbit probably at about four or five.

        A.2) My wife and I are very different–true also with regard to my first wife. I think most features of my children’s personalities are similar to features of one or the other parent.

        A.3) One of my children isn’t an anarchist and I think considers himself a utilitarian. Another is a Christian–but so is my wife.

        A.3.1) I think only in the respects just mentioned.

        A.3.2) I am happy with how they turned out.

    • SamChevre says:

      Oldest of nine children, all full siblings.

      I’m curious how many siblings people have.

    • Nancy Lebovitz says:

      Where are you in the sequence of your siblings and first cousins? There’s been previous discussion of the extraordinarily high proportion of first-borns, but I’m not just first-born in my nuclear family, I’m the first-born grandchild on both sides.

      • I’m the second born–I have an older sister.

      • Loquat says:

        I’m not just first-born in my nuclear family, I’m the first-born grandchild on both sides.

        Hey, me too! (And so’s my kid, though that’s less of an accomplishment when none of our siblings are going to reproduce unless A Miracle Occurs)

      • SamChevre says:

        I’m one of the older of my cousins, but not the oldest. Counting biologically, I have seven older cousins and a dozen younger cousins. Counting socially, I have 5 older cousins and more than 18 younger cousins. (The difference is that one cousin was adopted by her/my grandmother, one by a non-family-member; the children of the first are socially cousins, and I’m uncertain how many children the second has.)

      • Well... says:

        Where are you in the sequence of your siblings and first cousins?

        I am asking about this already.

  6. bintchaos says:

    I’m so confused.
    Is the culture-war free thread since its an xx.5?

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      No, we can have culture wars, but only between two cultures:

      1) The Numericalist culture, which believes the fractional part of the number of the open thread determines culture-war status (x.5, in this case, so truce); and

      2) The Calendarist culture, which believes the day of the week (and its parity) determine culture-war status (Wednesday and odd, so war).

      Numericalists also like vanilla ice cream, cats, affirmative action and descriptive grammar and vote Democrat.

      Calendarists also like chocolate ice cream, dogs, the Oxford comma, and the free market, and vote Republican.

      • Randy M says:

        I’m kind of agnostic on the object issue, so I will join based on the secondary characteristics and become a Calendarist who keeps his Vanilla preference to himself.

      • bean says:

        Maybe Scott’s trying to trick me into dropping Jutland part 5 early. (Wow. Are we really on that many?)
        I’ve actually got it written, but since I’m going to be busy next week, I can’t afford to eat into my buffer like that.

        Other than that, firm calendarist, except I’m on the descriptive grammar side. Mostly.

        • PedroS says:

          How much has been written from the german side on Jutland?

          • dndnrsn says:

            Um, I believe you mean Skagerrak.

          • bean says:

            There’s a fair bit, but (Nicholas) Jellicoe said that very little has been translated. In English, the one thing I’ve seen a lot of references in on the wiki articles (often used as a cross-check) is Tarrant’s Jutland: The German Perspective. Unfortunately, Jellicoe doesn’t provide a list of recommended reading, and Campbell is rather dated in terms of references. When he spoke at Iowa, he did say that they were trying to get more of the German primary sources scanned and translated, but it was complicated by the fact that most of it is in Fraktur, which OCR doesn’t handle well if at all.

      • JulieK says:

        Can I be a descriptivist while retaining some prescriptivist peeves? It drives me nuts that a magazine I read thinks that “Lady Jane Smith” is a correct title for the wife of Sir John Smith, or Lord Smith.

        • Nornagest says:

          …what’s the prescriptivist take on that?

          • MNH says:

            Inferring only from their comment, I imagine that they want “Lady Smith” or “Madam Jane Smith.” I’m no grammar scientist, though.

          • gbdub says:

            The issue is that “Lady Jane Smith” implies that Jane Smith holds the title “Lady” in her own right, as opposed to a courtesy title by way of her husband.

            The most proper way to refer to her would be “Lady Smith” or “Jane, Lady Smith”.

            Source

      • andrewflicker says:

        Man, I like chocolate, cats, the Oxford comma, descriptive grammar, the free market, vote Democrat, and dislike affirmative action. That puts me 3/5 with both. I’m screwed!

        • Machina ex Deus says:

          On the contrary, you have leverage—like an undecided voter.

          Though frankly most divided people follow their most important preference: ice cream flavor.

      • Machina ex Deus says:

        Well, now that the Rightful Caliph has changed the title of this thread to 78.25, but left the URL as 78-5, we have a schism in the Numericalists between, naturally,
        1) the Titleists
        and, equally naturally,
        2) the Callaways.

        The Titleists are also known as “minus-sixtyers”, for obscure reasons.

  7. BBA says:

    Another fun story from the world of gaming law: Slot machine displays $43 million jackpot. Casino tells gambler the machine is malfunctioning and offers her a steak dinner instead. Gambler sues casino for $43 million.

    I’m pretty sure the casino is in the right here – the machine had a maximum prize of $6500 and the amount of money on the screen is 20 cents short of 2^32 pennies, indicating a software error. (And now I’m curious about where those 20 cents went.)

    • Well... says:

      If I were bodyswapped with the judge–given no special judicial or legal insights, and indeed I have none in spite of my genetic endowment–I’d award the woman the maximum normal payout of the machine ($6.5K) plus a little extra for her inconvenience and stress, and shut the case.

      It is an interesting case though. Is the text displayed on a slot machine’s screen a contract that you enter into with the establishment when you deposit money into the machine and pull the lever (or press the button…isn’t that how they work nowadays?)? Or does some version of the “ignorance of the law is no excuse” principle apply, where gamblers are expected to know the maximum payouts of the machines and accept that an erroneously displayed award is indeed erroneous?

      If it’s a software error it should be possible to reproduce. That would mean that unless the judge sides with the casino, a whole lot of slot machines are going to be taken offline the next day until bug-fixes can be written and downloaded to them. It’d be a good time to own stock in one of the main companies that writes code for slot machines.

      • BBA says:

        Older slot machines with spinning reels have a sign attached to them explaining the various payouts for winning symbol combinations. For the newer, video-based ones I think there’s a button to show you the list of prizes on the screen. It’s not like this is hidden in the fine print behind a “beware of the leopard” sign, this was easily accessible to the gambler and I think it’s reasonable to hold her to it.

      • random832 says:

        where gamblers are expected to know the maximum payouts of the machines and accept that an erroneously displayed award is indeed erroneous?

        Where exactly is the harm? If she was misinformed about payouts before playing, she would have been misled as to the expected value of her bets, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

        A complicating factor is that all of the commentary I’ve seen seems to be based on the belief that this was a legitimate win that there is some conspiracy (racially motivated or otherwise) to avoid paying out, rather than that it was a real error that they should nevertheless be held to. (Ars Technica, for example, isn’t explicit about this, but as a publication that should damn well know better they ought to be ashamed to put scare quotes around “malfunction”)

        I’m not sure how someone can believe that when it takes multiple weeks for even the lottery – which has far more people playing in that time than a single slot machine – to reach 40 million dollars. I think a lot of people just don’t have any idea how much a large amount of money is.

        • rlms says:

          I thought that too (and therefore assumed that since a reasonable person would realise it was an error, the casino doesn’t owe anything except maybe the gambler’s initial stake). But it turns out that jackpots of that size aren’t unheard from slot machines ($30 million seems to be the record).

        • Trofim_Lysenko says:

          DISCLAIMER: The following is my personal opinion and views and does not necessarily reflect the opinions/views of Isle Casinos or Eldorado Resorts.

          Ehhh, again, max payouts are set by regulatory decision on a per-casino basis. The maximum payout in the casino I work at for example is $25,000. States with stricter gambling laws actually tend to have LOWER jackpot limits, because the the corollary is that as the jackpot goes up, the odds of winning it goes down, and the incentive to go chasing that jackpot with your last dollar go up.

          They’re not unheard of in -Vegas- where you have machines that can be set that high, but they don’t just happen at random in any given casino.

          A quick look at Resort World’s Financials (NY State, like most states with casinos, require that some of their financials be publicly available) shows that they could MAYBE absorb such a loss. Assuming comes out of their take rather than the game vendor (and since they’re being sued I assume it would) that would be equivalent to 10% of their gross annual revenue for last year. I don’t have access to their P&Ls, but I’m willing to bet that would pretty much make them operate at a loss EBIDTA-wise for the fiscal year, but probably only ONE year.

          At a casino like the one I work at, being told we owed that much would lead to the corporation shutting down and selling off entire properties to cover it. That’s more money than our property grossed, PRE-tax and commission cut and so on, since we’ve been -open-.

          • rlms says:

            Sure, but even if “I could win $43 million from this non-Vegas slot machine” is inevitably wrong, I think it’s a reasonable belief for a layperson to hold. If the jackpot was $43 trillion, I think a reasonable person would assume the offer wasn’t genuine, so the contract would be null.

          • random832 says:

            @rlms, The fact that it’s not something that was displayed in advance of her putting the money in means its status as an “offer” at all, genuine or otherwise, is in question for me. She did not spend any money in expectation of winning 43 million dollars. If it was an offer, it was an offer of a unilateral gift, which AIUI is not a contract.

            And my objection is more to the persistent refusal to be corrected, on both these facts and the fact that the supposed jackpot amount is in fact a computery ‘magic number’, than an initial “that sounds like a realistic number” thought (though, the fact that “tens of millions” is an order of magnitude associated with statewide multi-week lotteries should still have given people pause. It’s much easier to win a slot machine than to win the lottery, and therefore the payout is naturally much lower.)

          • BBA says:

            To complicate matters, the state of New York is possibly on the hook in two ways: first, RW is technically a “video lottery” facility and the slots are officially part of the state lottery, an arrangement that dates back to before the state legalized casinos. The contracts work out so in practice it’s indistinguishable from a “real” slot machine, but there’s still an unlikely edge-case possibility that if the prize is ruled valid (itself unlikely) the state will have to pay up.

            Second, the state government is RW’s landlord. The state owns three thoroughbred racetracks and leases them to the perpetually-troubled NY Racing Association, which in turn has contracted its video lottery operations at Aqueduct to RW. If RW goes under, then NYRA is in trouble, and if NYRA is in trouble, there’s a risk to its other two racetracks – Belmont and Saratoga – and there’s no way the state is going to let those shut down.

            (Also, RW’s parent company, Genting, is certainly big enough to eat that loss, though again they’re highly unlikely to.)

        • Aapje says:

          @random832

          I’m not sure how someone can believe that when it takes multiple weeks for even the lottery – which has far more people playing in that time than a single slot machine – to reach 40 million dollars.

          AFAIK, there are slot machines that are connected to a shared jackpot, so many machines drive up the jackpot. So then it’s far less unbelievable that a fairly large jackpot exists.

          • Matt M says:

            Right. I also believe that there are some (totally legit) “progressive jackpot” machines wherein, the jackpot increases until someone wins it by getting the best possible result (this also happens in poker, with the jackpot going to someone who gets a royal flush, for example)

          • Aapje says:

            Yeah and if they advertise these machines with the really big jackpot, then they have a strong incentive to set the win condition to be extremely rare, so the jackpot gets paid out only once in a blue moon.

    • The Nybbler says:

      IMO, the casino should have given her $6500 (and taken the machine out of service), if that was the posted maximum prize.

    • Trofim_Lysenko says:

      DISCLAIMER: The following is my personal opinion and views and does not necessarily reflect the opinions/views of Isle Casinos or Eldorado Resorts.

      @BBA I can see if I can get a more educated guess out of one of the Slot Techs at work, but my first guess is that it’s a straight RNG result (that is, it displayed the actual RNG number as a dollar amount instead of the payout table result).

      That said: My prediction is that if the judge rules for her, Well will be correct, but that would be a bit wierd absent facts not in evidence in the article. If the the NY Gaming Commission backed the casino (and it did), that’s because:

      A) there is an audit trail verifying the game state, RNG result, and payout table result and any memory error.

      (And this is why casinos are generally not offering the max payout for the machine to disgruntled guests. They have actual documentary evidence of what the actual game result was and generally speaking the ICs/Statutes in most states specify that software/memory errors void all play.)

      B) Maximum payouts on games are not just a matter of what the Casino decides to set, but are negotiated between the Casino and the Gaming Commission on a per-property, per-game basis as a matter of state regulation.

      I guess a judge probably can overrule a regulatory authority’s decision, but I’d be pretty surprised if the judge was willing to do so based on the facts of the case and the arguments her attorney is making, which seem…pretty weak.

      This has happened before in other states.

      • The Nybbler says:

        And this is why casinos are generally not offering the max payout for the machine to disgruntled guests. They have actual documentary evidence of what the actual game result was and generally speaking the ICs/Statutes in most states specify that software/memory errors void all play.

        And this is where I start muttering about cozy relationships between regulated and regulator, and wondering about what happens when the errors are in the casino’s favor.

      • Trofim_Lysenko says:

        DISCLAIMER: The following is my personal opinion and views and does not necessarily reflect the opinions/views of Isle Casinos or Eldorado Resorts.

        (I don’t know if I really need to do that or not, it just seems prudent given my position)

        I suspect that’s rather dependent upon how important gaming revenue is to the state’s economy and the state government’s revenue flow from taxes and admissions. I have no doubt that the relationship is different in, say, Nevada than it is in Missouri.

        That said, in this case I think the incentives are towards maximizing conformity to pre-established “rules of the game”. Gaming Commissions generally speaking are concerned with ensuring that Casinos abide precisely by the rules established, whether that is in the guest’s favor or not. I can attest that at least in MO when the errors are in the casino’s favor you also correct them, and in fact I just spent an entire afternoon and into the evening tracking down every player affected by a software error and figuring out exactly what they’d been shorted on during a promotional event, so that we could call them and tell them to come get what they were owed.

        EDIT: Furthermore, AFAIK that process was initiated independently and on the company’s own initiative when the error was caught.

        The incentives here align because casinos don’t actually have to break the rules of the games to profit off of their players. They just have to keep them coming back over a long enough period of time, so it’s in the interest of both the regulators and the casinos to maintain fairness of play to keep the stream of new players coming in, and of established players coming back, and anything that damages player trust works against that.

    • Brad says:

      It’s interesting to compare the outcome of these casino mistake cases to the French case where a multi-billion dollar insurance company faces nearly unlimited liability because a company it bought wrote an exploitable policy:
      https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2015/02/27/2120422/meet-the-man-who-could-own-aviva-france/

      I guess the difference is a decision that was consciously made but didn’t consider all the implications vs a completely inadvertent error (unshuffled deck, bad software). But what about if a casino introduced a new novelty game that was somehow exploitable, something akin to card counting in blackjack but with a larger advantage. Would they be able to void the winnings?

      • Trofim_Lysenko says:

        DISCLAIMER: The following is my personal opinion and views and does not necessarily reflect the opinions/views of Isle Casinos or Eldorado Resorts.

        Assuming (and this is the big “assuming”) it somehow made it through the gaming commission’s approval, my bet would be -no-. Once the rules of the a game/promotion have been signed off on by the Gaming Commission, you cannot deviate from them without a variance from the commission.

        This is why (for promotions), every ruleset I’ve ever seen includes a “Any dispute over interpretation and execution of the rules will be resolved at the sole discretion of…” clause and a “Casino reserves right to terminate this promotion without notice” clause” but obviously that doesn’t always satisfy a judge, and I’ve seen cases where gaming has said “You can end the promotion AFTER today, but you have to finish it out for the rest of the day and you can’t -amend- it.”

        In the cases where disputes have resulted in big payouts, AFAIK they have all involved either:

        A) an attempt by the casino to not abide by the approved rules or an ambiguity like you’re asking about.

        or

        B) failure to abide by the record-keeping standards.

        If the records weren’t kept properly or (god help you) were destroyed the odds that the judge is going to side with the player against the casino go up significantly.

      • qwints says:

        Gaming and insurance are both heavily regulated industries, so the answer would most likely depend on the particular regulatory entity involved. Professional poker player Phil Ivey recently lost court cases in London and Atlantic City where the casino agreed to a set of conditions that gave him an advantage then argued they should not have to pay*. On the other hand, other forms of advantage play have generally been legal although casinos are allowed to ban or limit players (card counting in blackjack, exploiting roulette wheel predictability and various sports betting arbitrages).

        *Basically, Ivey and a companion got casinos to agree to a game with a specified deck of cards where the cards stayed facing the same direction. Then Ivey’s companion would request certain cards to be rotated 180 degrees as they entered play. A tiny difference (less than 1/32 of an inch) means that the cards were not symmetrical and could be identified when they were shuffled back into the deck.. Ivey then proceeded to win millions. The London casino withheld payment while the Atlantic casino paid then sued to claw back the winnings. Both cases are currently under appeal.

        • gbdub says:

          Why would the casinos agree to that in the first place? That seems like a blatantly obvious attempt to ID specific cards for advantage. Like, there’s no reason professional poker players would do that except to gain advantage.

          • rlms says:

            From the article I read about it, apparently enough gamblers have weird superstitions that it didn’t stand out (or at least didn’t stand out in every casino they tried).

          • qwints says:

            The game was baccarat and Ivey is well known as a pretty crazy table games player when he’s not playing poker, but yeah it’s pretty strange they didn’t realize something was up sooner (the Atlantic City casino only realized it when they read about Ivey suing the London casino to get his winnings).

  8. johan_larson says:

    Cracked.com (purveyors of the internet’s finest dick jokes and occasionally interesting commentary) have an article about how the school lunch program is a shitstorm.

    http://www.cracked.com/article_24854_5-ridiculous-reasons-why-school-lunch-in-america-sucks.html

    Not sure why this is so hard. I mean, the food stamps program works, doesn’t it? And this is a similar program.

    • Well... says:

      the food stamps program works

      You sure about that?

      • Randy M says:

        Food stamps/EBT are a voucher that can be applied to a number of different competing vendors. School lunches are usually monopolistic services that are heavily regulated. Not really analogous in any event.

      • Brad says:

        The USDA has various definitions, but the most relevant one is

        Very low food security—In these food-insecure households, normal eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced at times during the year because they had insufficient money or other resources for food.

        5% of American households very low food security at some time during 2015. That’s not 0%, but I have to believe it is lower than it would be absent the SNAP program.

        In addition, there’s certainly some fraud, so if part of ‘works’ is none, then that’s a factor too.

        • Well... says:

          My experience as a cashier at a Dollar General in the hood told me there was LOTS of fraud, also that “food security” could be counted as “lowered” even if the “food” was pop tarts, pudding, and 2-liters of cola.

          I do believe we need some kind of food stamps program–our family was on it for much of my childhood and I’ve been in need of it, though not on it, for a few (thankfully brief) times in my adult life–but the one we got could do with some obvious improvements.

          Same goes, by the way, for the WIC program which I (er, my wife?) was on just recently.

          • gbdub says:

            That’s the part that makes me worry about UBI. For that to work, we’ll need to be okay with people spending their basic income on crappy food, and with saying “too bad, we gave you plenty” if they misspend it and cry poverty.

            Personally I’m okay with it, since as you note people go out of their way to avoid the limitations on EBT already, but the people who want to paternalistically limit what can be purchased with EBT/WIC would need to be appeased somehow.

          • Well... says:

            That’s the part that makes me worry about UBI.

            Oh, what worries me about UBI is that it’s effectively indistinguishable from communism. (Actually, as far as I can tell communism has more going for it because at least there it’s “to each according to his need.”) Is there a concise explanation of the difference between UBI and communism anywhere?

            the people who want to paternalistically limit what can be purchased with EBT/WIC would need to be appeased somehow.

            Yes, we would, though I think “paternalistically” isn’t necessarily fair. Some of it is the basic moral notion that if I give you money because you’re my countryman so I care about your well-being, and you’re poor and need food, it isn’t right for you to spend the money I give you on candy and 2-liters of cola–at least not if you’re going to continue to say you need my money.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            I’d say that the difference between UBI and Communism is that UBI doesn’t involve government control of production.

          • Well... says:

            Doesn’t it involve robot/AI control of production? Is that a meaningful distinction if what it boils down to is still some form of non-proletariat control of production?

          • Brad says:

            @Well…

            My experience as a cashier at a Dollar General in the hood told me there was LOTS of fraud,

            I doubt you witnessed enough fraud to be even a rounding error on the size of the program. So your experience as a cashier did not tell there was lots of fraud. Your extrapolation did.

            also that “food security” could be counted as “lowered” even if the “food” was pop tarts, pudding, and 2-liters of cola.

            If people aren’t experiencing hunger after eating pop tarts, pudding, and 2-liters of cola, then how is that an example of SNAP not working?

            Later on in the thread you complain about communism, well why do you want to centrally plan every poor person’s diet?

          • John Schilling says:

            Doesn’t it involve robot/AI control of production? Is that a meaningful distinction if what it boils down to is still some form of non-proletariat control of production?

            I must have missed the part where Alaska was taken over by either robots or communists.

            A UBI is often suggested as a remedy for at least some of the economic disruption that might result from a highly automated economy, but it doesn’t require one. And it is agnostic as to where the money comes from. All it requires is a tax base. That could be a value-added tax on the output of robotic factories. But you could e.g. run a decent UBI in the USA with a straight 4% property tax on all the bourgeoisie capitalist landowners.

          • Iain says:

            @Well…

            To expand on what Nancy said: the fundamental problem with communism is economic coordination. Capitalism beats communism because markets are vastly more effective at allocating resources towards productive ends than top-down five year plans. Here’s a good piece by Cosma Shalizi discussing this issue (written as part of a Crooked Timber symposium on Francis Spufford’s novel Red Plenty, which is also a good read).

            The existence of a UBI is irrelevant to that issue. People are still buying and selling things. Price signals still exist. The market is slightly more responsive to the preferences of low-income people, who now have more money, and slightly less responsive to the preferences of high-income people, who have less — but that hardly seems catastrophic.

            Do you have other reasons for believing that communism is bad?

          • Well... says:

            @several of you, regarding UBI:

            I’d only heard of UBI in the context of responding to the alleged inevitability of AI-equipped robots taking all our jobs. I hadn’t imagined it would be proposed for other reasons, though now I suppose somebody out there must have made such a proposal.

            Anyway it seems like it’d cost a lot of money and it’s not clear to me how that kind of revenue is gathered in a way that doesn’t run into the exact same problems as communism (or hardcore socialism I guess).

            @brad:

            Yeah, my tenure at the dollar store in the hood wasn’t a major peer-reviewed meta analysis, I get it. Think of it as a longitudinal case study. It doesn’t single-handedly topple the numbers you got from the USDA (or wherever you got them–you didn’t say) but it shouldn’t be automatically tossed out either.

            When I think of “lowering food security,” I don’t think of just “feeling full temporarily until the sugar high and the empty calories wear off and your teeth fall out and you die of type 2 diabetes,” I think of it has having something to do with being able to access foods that contain adequate nutrition. I am confident this is not a radical interpretation, though I suppose I could be wrong and “lowering food security” could mean something totally different.

            Any charity that does anything besides blindly handing out cash to whomever on a first come first serve basis is engaging in some kind of central planning about what people should have. It doesn’t mean that you must support communism to support the idea of charity–including charity with mandatory taxpayer donations, a.k.a. the Platonic ideal of welfare which includes food stamps.

            @Iain:

            Do you have other reasons for believing that communism is bad?

            Yes, but they’ve already been put much more eloquently by lots of other people over the last 100 years, including some commenters on this blog such as David Friedman.

          • tomogorman says:

            another important difference between UBI and Communism is that UBI is fine with inequality. Yes, the taxes taken to fund it will tend to reduce it, but with a UBI there is no problem with some people being billionaires as long as there are enough taxes to give everyone the UBI amount (which is usually pretty low – like $13,000 per person per year — https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-guaranteed-income-for-every-american-1464969586) Obviously the UBI is a pretty decent income for no work, but you would still most likely be pretty poor compared to a white collar professional. Communism would aim to more radically reduce/eliminate the income disparity.

          • Well... says:

            In UBI, do you get the income on top of any money you earn, or only enough to bring you up to some minimum income*? If it’s the former, wouldn’t it produce massive inflation?

            Is UBI typically conceived as being taxable?

            *Such that, if the minimum income is declared to be $12K a year and I earn $11K, the government gives me $1K; if I earn nothing, the government gives me $12K; if I earn $13K, the government gives me nothing.

          • Iain says:

            You get the money regardless. That’s what makes it universal. If your income is subtracted from your UBI, then there is no incentive to take a low-paying job. If you make less than the UBI, then you are literally working for free.

          • Well... says:

            OK….How does this not lead to massive inflation?

          • Brad says:

            @Well…

            Any charity that does anything besides blindly handing out cash to whomever on a first come first serve basis is engaging in some kind of central planning about what people should have. It doesn’t mean that you must support communism to support the idea of charity–including charity with mandatory taxpayer donations, a.k.a. the Platonic ideal of welfare which includes food stamps.

            I think this is where the libertarians part ways from the conservatives, and I’m with the libertarians. I think the platonic ideal of welfare is just cash. To me, the whole aspect of welfare that involves separating out the deserving from the undeserving and parsing out and debating who deserves what (a single mother with two kids, age 7 and 11 whose dad she was married to until he died in a car crash that was the other guy’s fault — okay you can have one bottle of sprite in addition to your allotment of healthy food for the month.) is counterproductive moral posturing silliness. It springs from the same place as gossiping.

            One of the things I find attractive about the concept of a UBI is it does away with all that.

            In UBI, do you get the income on top of any money you earn, or only enough to bring you up to some minimum income*? If it’s the former, wouldn’t it produce massive inflation?

            Is UBI typically conceived as being taxable?

            You get it on top of whatever you earn. The other way is a negative income tax. That said it is usually conceived of as taxable, so the net amount is not flat.

            In terms of inflation, if it is offset with spending cuts or taxes or both, then it shouldn’t affect the overall money supply. But it could be inflationary in terms of specific goods and services that are more likely to be consumed by the poor.

          • albatross11 says:

            UBI is no closer to communism than any other welfare state program. The main difference is:

            A. With most welfare-state programs, the program is means-tested, or is managed to make sure the recipients use it correctly, or both. For example, you might have a food stamps program where you have to show you need it (by income, wealth, etc.), and also where the food stamps may only be spent on the right kinds of food, not alcohol or junk food or whatever.

            B. With an UBI, there’s no means testing–everyone gets it. And there’s no attempt to make people use the benefit correctly–if they want to spend their month’s eating money on cheap wine, we aren’t going to stop them.

            You can make an argument for whether one strategy or the other is better.

            The strongest argument I know AGAINST means-testing is that doing that often creates bad incentives and complicated catch-22 situations–you find yourself becoming worse off because you got a raise at work and thus lost your food stamps, or you must never let yourself have more than $1000 in the bank, lest you lose your medicaid eligibility.

            The strongest argument I know FOR means testing is that UBI is a lot more expensive if you give it to everyone than if you just give aid to the poorest people.

            The strongest argument I know AGAINST managing how people use benefits (like food stamps forbidding buying junk food) is that people usually know what they need or want better than the people who write laws or policies for poverty programs.

            The strongest argument I know FOR managing how people use benefits is that there are people in the world with really bad judgment, and they really will spend their whole check on a bender on payday and then go hungry the rest of the month. This gets harder when you’re dealing with people with kids–a decent parent will give up their own food to make sure their kids eat, but there are awful parents who will spend their kids’ food money to make sure they get their daily dose of meth.

            FWIW, I’m at least tentatively a supporter of UBI, so take that for what it’s worth.

          • albatross11 says:

            You can think of four quandrants here:

            Means tested, directed (food stamps)
            Means tested, not directed (SSI, I think)
            Not means tested, directed (public schools)
            Not means tested, not directed (UBI)

            If you think means testing is bad because of the perverse incentives (don’t take that raise or you’ll lose money) or because of the hassle and cost of verifying who really needs the program, you might still want to say what the program should be providing. Then you might want to do something like public schools, or public free-to-all-comers clinics, or soup kitchens. No means testing, anyone’s allowed to come, but you’re deciding what the recipients get, not just handing out money. (Often you’re also running a service to provide what the recipients need.)

            If you think means testing is necessary for budget or moral reasons, but don’t want government to be providing the services or directing too much of how they’re used, you might want some kind of welfare program that decides who’s eligible for the program, and then just gives those people money.

          • Nornagest says:

            OK….How does this not lead to massive inflation?

            Like any other large grant, it would lead to massive inflation if we just printed the money. It probably wouldn’t if we raised taxes to cover it.

            (We’d need to raise taxes a lot, though. At some break-even point [not necessarily the median, it depends how the tax is structured and what the shape of the income curve is], people would get back in UBI what they’re paying in tax, but there’s no free lunch: any nontrivial UBI would be the largest redistribution scheme in Western history.)

          • Well... says:

            I still don’t get how inflation is prevented. If I sell yachts, and there’s a UBI of $12K a year, why shouldn’t I just increase the price of all my yachts by $12K? 90% of the people who would be buying yachts would be buying them regardless (only 10% got bumped up into the “potential yacht-buyer” category by their UBI boost), but now I know they have an extra $12K to spend.

            Same process is repeated in similar industries (gold watches, luxury cruises, etc.). Then at car dealerships. Then at motorsport retailers. Then at electronics stores. Then at supermarkets. Then the gum-ball machine on your way out the door is asking you for $12,000.25. (OK, OK, but you get my point.)

            What am I missing?

            people usually know what they need or want better than the people who write laws or policies for poverty programs.

            When generalized, this is probably the belief of libertarianism I have come to doubt most. It isn’t always false, and for a few things it’s probably true more often than not, but it’s false so damn often…

            Here’s another way to phrase it: “Ignorant, irrational, tribal people know what is best for themselves better than smart rational people who’ve spent their whole educational and professional careers studying what works for people and what doesn’t.” Does experience really show this to be true?

            Keep in mind, I am NOT normally an advocate of central planning, big government, etc. and my sympathies tend to lie with the little guy, or at least the middle guy, but UBI and other kinds of non-means-tested welfare seem to put these kinds of things into such stark relief for me.

          • Brad says:

            What am I missing?

            The revenue side of the equation.

            Consider a $1000/mo UBI that was paid for by a $1000/mo head tax. Obviously that would make no sense, as it’d be a no-op, but it clearly wouldn’t be inflationary either. Now suppose instead that you had a $1000/mo UBI that was paid for by a $2000/head tax on anyone making more than the median income. That’s still unrealistic, but illustrates that there is no net money being created.

          • random832 says:

            Regardless of how simplistic Brad’s example, the people in the “potential yacht-buyer” category probably, on average, got their taxes increased by more than $12K.

            So you might lower the price of the yachts, if we’re modeling the yacht industry as being so sensitive to changes in the disposable income of their target market that raising it by exactly $12K would make sense in the “paid for by printing money” scenario. You can’t reasonably argue you’d respond that way to the UBI without also saying you’d lower it in response to a tax hike.

          • random832 says:

            @Well…

            Is UBI typically conceived as being taxable?

            Well, it’s income. Whether “UBI is taxable” is entirely down to the bracket system. Most likely, someone who only makes UBI will not pay very much tax at all, but their personal exemptions and standard deduction will already be exhausted so the first dollar of their income from any job they have will be taxable.

          • Well... says:

            But now aren’t you running afoul of a Pareto efficiency point of some kind?

            Like I said, even if UBI is technically distinguishable from communism or hardcore socialism it seems to run into all the same problems of implementation.

          • Iain says:

            I am not sure I understand what you mean by “Pareto efficiency point”.

            Like, yes, a system with UBI would almost certainly not be a Pareto improvement over the status quo, in the sense that at least one person would be worse off than before. In the same vein, however, the status quo is not a Pareto improvement over a system with UBI.

            It seems vanishingly unlikely that any policy ever proposed has been a strict Pareto improvement, so that seems like a weird requirement to apply to a UBI in particular.

            Did you mean something else?

          • Well... says:

            I mean, wouldn’t the tax rate necessary to support any non-trivial UBI result in so much less tax revenue being collected that UBI couldn’t be funded?

            [Edit: I had a proposal here to mitigate the above but I’ve deleted it to see if that’s what y’all come back with anyway.]

          • Brad says:

            I once sketched out a UBI at the single poverty line per non-institutionalized adult citizen. That comes to around $2.5 trillion. I’d guess somewhere around 15-20% of that would come back in income taxes. Say 15%. So that’s nets to $2.125 trillion.

            With a UBI in place you can get rid of social security*, EITC, Pell grants, most of SNAP, etc, etc. Total savings around $1T in federal welfare cuts. States would also see tax revenue from the UBI if they also treated it as taxable income and decreased need for welfare spending so federal to state transfers could and should be cut. Don’t know by how much. Say conservatively $100B, out of about $700B in annual transfers under the status quo. I’d also personally trim the greater military spending category significantly, but I don’t want to get into a whole debate with the pax america crowd, so let’s leave that aside.

            That leaves around $1 trillion to be raised through increased taxes. About half of that could be done through eliminated deductions, but that’s still a tax increase. In any event it’s around 5% of GDP. It would bring our total tax revenue (all levels) from way under the OECD average to under the OECD average–to about about the same level as Canada.

            *NB some people are going to be very unhappy about this part

          • Well... says:

            OK yeah, so you did propose exactly what I thought you would: a bunch of austerity programs. End result:

            “I just had to spend all my free money on this stuff I used to get for free! I’m no better off than I was before, only now I haven’t even been trying to get any marketable skills because you used your tricky words to make it sound like I was gonna get paid a living wage for doing nothing!”

          • random832 says:

            OK yeah, so you did propose exactly what I thought you would: a bunch of austerity programs. End result:

            “I just had to spend all my free money on this stuff I used to get for free! I’m no better off than I was before, only now I haven’t even been trying to get any marketable skills because you used your tricky words to make it sound like I was gonna get paid a living wage for doing nothing!”

            Er, the point is that it’s more money than it was before, and running it as a single “do everything” program cuts administrative costs vs running a bunch of separate programs that have the additional costs to deal with means testing, telling people what they’re allowed to buy with it and how much they’re allowed to save and punishing people for having their family help them with their bills (no, really), dealing with the “fraud”* inherent in people avoiding one or both of these.

            *fraud may still exist in the form of identity theft or collecting benefits from a dead person, but defining whole categories of central and noncentral examples of “welfare fraud” as being not worth policing cuts down on enforcement costs, and the friction costs to legitimate recipients of proving that they’re not doing it, by a lot)

            Calling that “austerity” is, frankly, ridiculous. It’s moving money around within the category of welfare spending (along with increasing it), not reducing it. Taking away food stamps isn’t austerity if you’re replacing it with cash. If the UBI is distributed through the EBT system, the first thing former food stamp recipients would notice is all the “you can’t buy hot food” signs coming down.

          • People are still buying and selling things. Price signals still exist.

            But the taxes funding the UBI mean that the signals do not accurately represent the actual values. Someone who produces twenty dollars worth of value with an hour of work only gets ten dollars. If he spend the hour in leisure he gets all of it. So his decision between the two does not accurately reflect their relative value.

            How substantial a problem that is depends on the size of the UBI. In the present context, any UBI large enough for supporters to be happy with would require a very large increase in taxes.

          • What am I missing?

            How prices are determined in a market–not by the largest amount the purchaser could spend. Most obviously, if your arguments were correct, not only would yachts go up by $12,000, so would ice cream cones.

            The short answer to what you are missing is “most of economics.”

          • I once sketched out a UBI at the single poverty line per non-institutionalized adult citizen. That comes to around $2.5 trillion. I’d guess somewhere around 15-20% of that would come back in income taxes.

            The issue you are discussing is what tax increases would be required. The disincentive effect of taxes depends on the marginal tax rate. If the UBI pushes me into a higher bracket and you then get some of the money back through the resulting increase in my taxes, my taxes have increased, quite aside from any increase necessary to fund the UBI, because my marginal rate is now higher.

            If you want to figure out the real effect on tax rates, you need to start by assuming the UBI does not go into your taxable income, then figure out what increase in tax rates is needed to fund it.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            Someone who produces twenty dollars worth of value with an hour of work only gets ten dollars. If he spend the hour in leisure he gets all of it.

            How do you figure he gets anything for an hour in leisure, aside from the leisure itself? As I understood it, the situation you describe might apply to an EITC, not a UBI.

            The disincentive effect of taxes depends on the marginal tax rate. If the UBI pushes me into a higher bracket and you then get some of the money back through the resulting increase in my taxes, my taxes have increased, quite aside from any increase necessary to fund the UBI, because my marginal rate is now higher.

            Come on man, you’re an actual economist, you should know that’s not how tax brackets work. Unless it pushed you into some crazy >100% bracket, you would not lose money*. You would just receive less UBI than someone in a lower bracket.

            *not including the tax increase to pay for it. But you already set that aside.

          • Brad says:

            The issue you are discussing is what tax increases would be required. The disincentive effect of taxes depends on the marginal tax rate.

            I wasn’t discussing the disincentive effect of taxes or how that impacts tax revenue, that’s a second order effect. Because it was just a sketch I wasn’t looking at higher order effects. If you want to put together a richer model you are certainly welcome to.

            If the UBI pushes me into a higher bracket and you then get some of the money back through the resulting increase in my taxes, my taxes have increased, quite aside from any increase necessary to fund the UBI, because my marginal rate is now higher.

            Your taxes have increased, but less than the increase in your income. Leaving aside means tested government programs (which would be eliminated) you can’t come out worse through increased income. So I see no good reason to count the portion of UBI that comes back in taxes as part of the additional total tax burden. A marginal analysis would be different, but as I said I didn’t attempt that and don’t wish to.

          • John Schilling says:

            “I just had to spend all my free money on this stuff I used to get for free! I’m no better off than I was before, only now I haven’t even been trying to get any marketable skills because you used your tricky words to make it sound like I was gonna get paid a living wage for doing nothing!”

            Great. The purpose of the UBI is not to make life better for people who are looking for an excuse to not work. Let them whine. The UBI is meant to make life better for people who can’t work, by not making them jump through hoops to prove that before they get to eat, and to make life better for people who can and will work at low wages, by letting them keep most of those wages. And to make life better for the rest of us, by not having to run a more cumbersome and intrusive bureaucracy than necessary to administer this.

            If the lazy poor break even, I’ll let them do the complaining even though I’d prefer they be among the losers of the deal.

    • baconbacon says:

      Cracked always (sometimes?) good for a laugh

      The #3 reason for why lunch sucks in the US includes

      So again, how come French kids are thinner and healthier than what we’re rolling into classrooms? It’s because in France, they eat less food in general, like every other country that isn’t the United States. Children are taught to eat in moderation,

      And the #2 reason includes

      A 2015 study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that if kids have 20 minutes or fewer to eat lunch, they end up eating 13 percent less of their entree, 12 percent less of their vegetables, and drinking 10 percent less milk. If that seems like an unreasonably short amount of time for lunch, you’ll be quite alarmed to learn that 20 minutes are quickly becoming the average.

      So lunch sucks because kids are eating to much…. and to little.

      • nimim.k.m. says:

        Yeah, that conclusion was quite sloppy, especially because it’s supposed to be explanation for this point:

        The guidelines mandate that food remain healthy, but the food processing companies are not bothering to make their healthy food taste good at all (they’re getting paid either way). The result is that school kids are throwing these healthy, somewhat bland lunches out and bringing their own meals — if you can call “a bag of Doritos, a Go-Gurt, and a two-liter of Coke” as a meal.

        […]

        Maybe we should look at what other, slimmer countries are doing. Look at France, which has the lowest child obesity rate in Europe. What are they feeding their kids for lunch? A four-course feast fit for a king, it turns out:

        1) Cucumber salad with vinaigrette

        2) Salmon lasagna with spinach

        3) Baguette and fondue

        4) Fruit compote (or, once a week, chocolate cake)

        And you better believe that food has plenty of refined grains, fat, sodium, and other life-shortening things that make us feel some semblance of happiness when we’re eating.

        The difference isn’t that the French eat less because their superior Frenchiness; I’d guess salmon pasta with a proper salad is easier to eat “in moderation” than Doritos and soft drink. (TBH I’m not exactly sure what Doritos is. I only hear about it on the English-speaking internet, but I guess globalization will bring it here in no time.) Or meal that includes potatoes that are recognizable as potatoes, not a variation of French fries. And so on.

        Apropos, salmon lasagna is awesome. And you want to live cheap like me, you still get a quite fun meal if you replace salmon with a cheaper fish.

        • Doritos are corn chips, like broken taco shells.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Doritos have a weird stinging flavor, which (obviously) some people like. I suspect it’s fake sour cream.

          • Nornagest says:

            True, but inadequate. There are lots of corn chips out there; Doritos are best identified by being covered in unnaturally colored flavor dust that tastes like a chemical plant and likes to cake your tongue and fingers.

            The Cheetos of corn chips, basically. They’re recently come out with a line of super-Doritos that’s the same thing but moreso.

          • random832 says:

            Doritos does have an (uncommonly available) plain yellow corn flavor, which seems to be legitimately plain, or at least with only the usual amount of salt and grease and doesn’t leave the sort of caked-on mess of flavor powder that the others do.

            Also, “corn chip” is misleading. Doritos are tortilla chips. “Corn chip” commonly refers to the type of chip such as Fritos (which also has flavored and plain varieties – the plain one is much more commonly available than plain Doritos), which are made from a cornmeal paste rather than masa dough.

            There are many other brands of tortilla chips which are primarily known for their plain [often white corn, though yellow and blue corn tortilla chips also exist, and some do also have flavored versions such as lime flavor] flavor, such as Tostitos.

          • gbdub says:

            Guilty school lunch / drunk food pleasure – the “walking taco”, consisting of a single serving bag of Fritos, into which is poured a scoop of chili or taco meat, shredded cheese, salsa, and sour cream. Stir up and eat, holding the bag in one hand and a plastic spork in the other.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            Doritos are best identified by being covered in brightly colored flavor dust that tastes like a chemical plant and turns your tongue and fingers unnatural colors.

            That’s what chop sticks are for. (Or at least the Western bastardization thereof)

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Gobbobobble, that leads to a nightmare image of a person eating with jointed chopsticks coming out of their mouth.

        • Loquat says:

          Also, the combination of

          the food processing companies are not bothering to make their healthy food taste good at all

          and then, near the end,

          It’s almost as if the real problem isn’t with schools, but with Americans having this toxic relationship with food wherein many would rather have to be buried in a piano crate than eat the occasional zucchini.

          So kids aren’t eating the “healthier” food because it’s prepared badly… but fat Americans are all vegetable-phobic anyway and wouldn’t eat it anyway even if it was delicious?

          • Nornagest says:

            It’s Cracked, man, just let it go. Your average Cracked writer would strangle his grandmother if there was a condescending joke in it.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            +1.

          • Jiro says:

            Another problem with that Cracked article–they sarcastically say:

            Plenty of states, like Pennsylvania and Utah, will take hot food from children unable to pay and throw it in the trash. They could feed another child with it, but it was served to a commie freeloader, so that food has lost all of its capitalist nutrients.

            Schools have rules “once food is served to one person, you cannot take it back and then serve it to someone else” for a reason. Yes, technically, you could say “… except when the food was not touched”, but that’s difficult to administer and probably would get violated a lot more than a bright line rule (does breathing on the food count as touching? How do you know the kid didn’t touch the food before he got to the cash register?)

          • Matt M says:

            Those rules also exist to prevent freeloading from becoming the dominant strategy.

            I used to work somewhere that had a tradition where every other week, departments would take turns selling coffee and donuts and other breakfast foods in the morning to raise money for our office holiday party.

            So we’d sell donuts for a few hours, then the fundraiser would be over, and we’d take the donuts back to our office and have them available for people to eat.

            Can you see where this is going?

            Eventually, nobody actually bought any donuts. They waited until 10:30 when the fundraiser ended and the “free donuts” showed up in the whatever office was having the sale. We ended up having to adopt a very strict “at 10:30, every remaining donut goes directly into the dumpster, period” policy in order to keep the fundraiser going.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            Matt M,

            It’s only common decency to put a trigger warning at the top before relating such a disturbing tragedy.

          • John Schilling says:

            @Machina: Unkind, unnecessary, untrue, and not even all that amusing.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            Withdrawn.

        • gbdub says:

          Apropos, salmon lasagna is awesome.

          Am I the only one that finds mixing cheese (other than cream cheese, or something similarly super mild) and salmon kind of weird?

          • Achilles_de_Remilia says:

            No, the combination sounds off to me as well. Usually you’re trying not to overpower the salmon, just giving it a hint of smokey or lemony flavor.

          • Evan Þ says:

            Well, I love it. One of my favorite things to do with canned salmon is to throw it together with cheddar cheese and tomatoes; sprinkle basil and black pepper and serve either by itself, on a sandwich, or on top of pasta.

          • Rosemary7391 says:

            Mozzarella is mild though? I think I might try this !

            Butternut squash and spinach also makes a good lasagne.

          • Iain says:

            I like baking fish with feta on top, but the one time I tried it with salmon I decided that it wasn’t a good match.

          • gbdub says:

            I guess the lasagna might be okay, with relatively lightly flavored mozzarella and ricotta. Part of it may be that I associate salmon with relatively “light” preparations as opposed to heavy comfort food type dishes like lasagna, casseroles, or pasta with thick sauce.

            But I definitely have an “off” feeling about combining “strong fish taste” with “strong cheese taste”. So the slice of melted American on a fast-food fried fish sandwich seems okay, or lobster mac and cheese, but the idea melting a slab of cheddar on a salmon filet, or blue cheese on a tuna steak makes me gag a little.

            I guess I recognize this is a little weird, but yeah, fish + cheese just doesn’t jive in my brain the way other meat + cheese does.

        • Machina ex Deus says:

          Doritos are monsters that live underground, and eat potatoes that get too close.

    • JulieK says:

      This article seems pretty weak. Schools aren’t serving chicken nuggets because they want kids to be unhealthy; they do it because that’s what the kids are willing to eat.

  9. Odovacer says:

    Today I learned that in Toronto district school board schools, they have a daily ritual of:

    Along with playing the national anthem, the Toronto District School Board requires all of its schools to read four sentences, as part of the morning announcements, that acknowledges aboriginal people and their land:

    “In keeping with Indigenous protocol, I would like to acknowledge this school is situated upon traditional territories,” she begins in a clear voice. “The territories include the Wendat, Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations, and the Métis Nation.”

    “The treaty was signed for the particular parcel of land that is collectively referred to as The First Purchase and applies to lands west of Brown’s Line to Burlington Bay and north to Eglinton Avenue.

    “I also recognize the enduring presence of Aboriginal Peoples on this land.”

    This made me think of the daily pledge of allegiance I said in grade school as well as the singing of the national anthem before sporting events. What do you think about such oaths/statements? Are they worthwhile rituals, boring, meaningless statements, or something else?

    • Odovacer says:

      My friends and I found the pledge of allegiance hokey. It only took a minute, but being forced to say it everyday was annoying. Though, thinking back I can kind of understand it as a way to try to install certain cultural values in us, just like this Canadian indigenous peoples statement is trying to do. Sometimes I think that’s the main point of school, to inculcate values into children. It can sure feel like people are battling hard over what is taught in school.

    • johan_larson says:

      It’s the Toronto school board. Leftwing.com.

      I remember one of my colleagues in grad school, who had been a teacher, saying he’d rather teach in a remote northern town rather than the Toronto system, because in Toronto somehow every issue was made into a racial issue.

    • Achilles_de_Remilia says:

      I’m George Bridges, I use he/him pronouns.

      I begin our time together today by acknowledging the indigenous people of the Medicine Creek Treaty, whose land was stolen and on which the college stands. I would like to acknowledge the Squaxin people who are the traditional custodians of this land and pay respect to elders past and present of the Squaxin Island Tribe. I extend that respect to other Native people present.

      In response to Native Student Alliance requests, we commit to opening every event with this acknowledgement.

      This is coming to the US now. It’s certainly not a meaningless statement. It has a clear purpose in reminding people of their place.
      In Australia it was introduced shortly before the “whites prohibited” buildings on campus, and it did a nice job of silencing complaints about that policy.

      • Gobbobobble says:

        So how long until mainland Europe starts doing a similar thing for Celtic, Germanic, Gothic etc peoples? Or Turkey to the Byzantines?

        Like, I get that in the New World things went faster than usual, but population migration happens. It’s silly to act like whoever was there when the White Man showed up had necessarily occupied the land stretching back to essentially forever, like Nybbler mentions below. It’s a “gib reparations” play (though a hollow platitudinous one), which tend to grate on people who think that Sins of the Father is bullshit.

        • gbdub says:

          Who will spare a morning announcement for poor Polish me, whose forebears were forced to flee from their ancestral homes to escape the cruel oppression of alternating waves of Germans and Russians?

    • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

      The pledge of allegiance is a boring ritual but it makes sense. American public schools trying to raise good citizens is expected, the same way that Catholic schools are expected to try to raise good Catholics. Every community needs to perpetuate itself one way or another.

      This is more off-putting because it seems more like a ritual of submission to an external group rather than to their own community. It’s the sort of thing which might lead you to mistakenly conclude that Canada had been conquered by Aboriginal tribes rather than the other way around.

      • Matt M says:

        It’s the sort of thing which might lead you to mistakenly conclude that Canada had been conquered by Aboriginal tribes rather than the other way around.

        feature, not bug

        • Machina ex Deus says:

          If I were a First Nation Canadian, I don’t think this stuff would make me feel any better:

          The whites get the land, and I get a literal honorable mention.

          • Matt M says:

            If the entire nation starts repeating that the land was stolen, it shouldn’t be that long until you can file a lawsuit and get it back, right?

            Or does the judge have to read a compulsory statement that your land was stolen prior to ruling that you have no legal claim to it?

          • gbdub says:

            They get to sue for the land, but whites get to counter sue for cultural appropriation of the European legal system.

      • Kevin C. says:

        It’s the sort of thing which might lead you to mistakenly conclude that Canada had been conquered by Aboriginal tribes rather than the other way around.

        Not nearly as much, though, as something like this [National Post]:

        MONTREAL — A Quebec aboriginal man who repeatedly burned a five-year-old girl with a cigarette, leaving permanent scars on her face, arms, legs and genitalia, has been given a lenient sentence after a judge determined he is a “collateral victim” of residential school abuse.

        Alain Bellemare, an Atikamekw from Wemotaci, Que., about 270 kilometres north of Montreal, was convicted of aggravated assault last June, and Crown prosecutor Éric Thériault sought a four-year prison term on the grounds that serious crimes against children have to be forcefully denounced. He noted that the 2011 assaults caused 27 third-degree burns — 25 from a cigarette and two from a lighter. The victim, who cannot be identified, was left to suffer without medical treatment.

        But in sentencing Bellemare to 15 months on April 1, Quebec Court Judge Guy Lambert said the lingering effect of residential schools had to be taken into account under federal sentencing guidelines.

        Bellemare, who was 21 at the time of the assaults, is too young to have attended a residential school, as are his parents. But he grew up in an abusive household that the court heard was a legacy of residential school abuse suffered by his grandparents. All four of his grandparents were removed from the community to attend residential schools.

        The judge said Bellemare is among the “collateral victims of residential schools and of the cultural genocide that the Atikamekws of Wemotaci experienced.”

        • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

          Christ on a bicycle. I really wish I could say that’s the worst thing I’d ever read.

          Particularly frightening is this bit right here:

          Crown prosecutor Éric Thériault sought a four-year prison term on the grounds that serious crimes against children have to be forcefully denounced.

          If things are so bad that a four year sentence for torturing toddlers is considered a forceful denunciation then it’s probably better to deal with guys like Alain Bellemare extra-judicially. See how he likes having cigarettes put out on him for the next four years.

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      This is probably where the Evergreen State people got the idea.

      I think every school in the U.S. should do the same, and add two more sentences:

      But there were way more of us, so the land’s ours now. Think about that when you think about immigration policy.

      • The Nybbler says:

        In Toronto, I’d be tempted to make disparaging remarks like “…purchased from the Mississaugas, who several times tried to go back on the deal, and anyway got the land by right of conquest from the Iroquois, who got it by right of conquest from the Wendat, so none of them has much to complain about when I say it’s ours now.”

        In the US, there’s always “This Land is My Land

      • Might makes right is such an important life lesson.

    • the Métis Nation

      famed for high levels of know how and practical skill.

    • Wander says:

      This is also a mainstay of the Australian schooling system. Considering that not only did my school not have a single Aboriginal student, but that it barely had any students who weren’t first or second generation Asian immigrants, I really think that it was a total formality that was entirely ignored.

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        > I really think that it was a total formality that was entirely ignored.

        Unfortunately that’s not how it works. This sort of thing is the inch which is inevitably followed by the mile.

        I am reminded how, for quite a while, whenever anyone complained about politically correct activists making inroads at colleges, the response would be “Nobody here actually cares about that, most students just roll their eyes and move on.” Perhaps, but while those students roll their eyes and move on, the bad guys are quietly amassing power.

    • Nornagest says:

      Some of the background of Pact makes more sense now.

  10. Jaskologist says:

    Confessions of Augustine discussion thread

    I totally flubbed the last two scheduled Augustine threads (sorry, been busy), so I’m calling a redo. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this section.

    Previously: Chapters 3-4.5, Chapters 1-2, Intro

    Texts: Online | eBook | Audio | Latin | Abridged dead tree

    • Jaskologist says:

      Lets’ talk about the Manichaeans! Fascinating bunch. I think they were the “Aspiring Rationalists” of their day.

      Augustine is a high IQ, rational, questioning teenager, and he’s completely unsatisfied with the answers he’s getting from the considerably dimmer Christians around him. He looks to the Bible for answers, and finds it poorly written next to the rhetoric he’s been studying. Enter the Manicheans.

      These guys promise that, unlike the Christians who expect you to accept things on faith, they can demonstrate all their doctrines rationally.
      They were also complete materialists. Nothing but the sensible world exists.

      They did differ slightly from their modern incarnation in that they identified the good forces with literal light, while evil is associated with matter. We are all light imprisoned in matter. The elect could ultimately hope to be freed from their material prison. Now, of course, we know that the hope for salvation comes not from light, but electricity, through which we may be uploaded out of this material prisons and freed from such constraints.

      Anyway, Augustine is very taken with this new religion, and influences a lot of his friends to join him in it. He stays with it for about a decade, but slowly he finds that once again he’s running into a lot of questions that nobody can answer. He is assured that all will be explained once he gets to meet Faustus, their finest mind. But when the promised meeting comes, Faustus disappoints. He’s more eloquent (remember Augustine is a student of rhetoric, so he has an ear for that stuff), but not really any more knowledgeable. To his credit, Faustus is humble enough to freely admit when he doesn’t know the answer instead of trying to fake his way through it, but Augustine still ends up thoroughly disillusioned with the religion.

      • They did differ slightly from their modern incarnation in that they identified the good forces with literal light, while evil is associated with matter. We are all light imprisoned in matter. The elect could ultimately hope to be freed from their material prison. Now, of course, we know that the hope for salvation comes not from light, but electricity, through which we may be uploaded out of this material prisons and freed from such constraints.

        Thanks, that plugged an unsong shaped hole.

      • Le Maistre Chat says:

        Whoa, where did you get that Manicheans were materialists? I was under the impression that their dualism matched standard philosophical use, like the Gnostics, not sensible matter vs sensible light.

      • Kevin C. says:

        They did differ slightly from their modern incarnation in that they identified the good forces with literal light, while evil is associated with matter. We are all light imprisoned in matter.

        “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”

        The elect could ultimately hope to be freed from their material prison

        “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

      • Le Maistre Chat says:

        Augustine’s early negative attitude to the Bible for lacking literary merit is intriguing. Greece’s greatest poet, Homer, had been criticized as amoral by a line of intellectuals going back to Plato. In later life as a bishop, Augustine swung around to viewing literature as having morality as it’s telos and approving of banning amoral poetry of aesthetic merit, specifically drama. In the first half of Civitas Dei, he keeps using Greek drama to support his claim that the Greek gods are wicked.
        Well, such things didn’t bother the young Augustine. So why didn’t he worship the Greek gods? Why join tfe Manicheans? Were they more rational than the rationalizing Hellenists? Because I’d totally buy that A. Valued logic over aesthetics.

        • Jaskologist says:

          Was Greek God worship really a live option by that point? Julian the Apostate’s attempts seem like they were pretty much the dying gasp of paganism. Looks like all that went down when Augustine was still very young, and may not have even affected his area much.

      • PedroS says:

        Augustine’s description of Manichaeism does not satisfy me, as he hardly (if ever) even mentions Mani. What little Augustine tells us of those beliefs seems (to my untrained eye) to be “standard” dualism like Zoroastrianism or Cathar beliefs, with some astrology mixed to lend it a “scientific” bona fides. I wish Augustine had been more systematic in that description…

  11. angularangel says:

    Hallo! Just gonna mention Agora, again: https://agora-2866.nodechef.com/

    Oh! Also, while I’m here, Scott, I’d like to drop some criticism of your “Against Murderism” article – I think you came off entirely too biased. That’s not to say that I think you were biased, merely that think you came off that way, and that there are things you could have done to avoid it. I would have suggested that you include in your article a significant examination of something that you think was caused by racism, and how you would go about telling the difference. I know you included a couple lines saying that you weren’t arguing that racism doesn’t exist, but… A couple lines just aren’t enough. Actually, now that I think of it, a follow up article exploring the delineations between racism and looks-like-racism would probably be well worthwhile. Though I’m sure you already have plenty do, so. :/

    • AnonYEmous says:

      eh

      this entire topic is almost pureblown cancer, because you can’t know what’s in someone else’s head and that’s the entire discussion right there

      no, literally, the entire discussion. You’re going to mention some parts that you think don’t count, but they do.

      So it’s understandable that many SJWs just sort of default, on the position that it’s better to hang a dozen innocent men to catch a guilty one. It goes without saying that they think it’s much more likely to be a dozen guilty men and maybe 1 questionably innocent one, which is another enormous problem – what are the probabilities? Who knows, it’s all in the head.

      • angularangel says:

        Mmm, that’s not entirely true – What’s in a persons head does affect their actions, and people will on occasion be so kind as to explicitly announce their racism, so for example, when someone blocks integration in public schools, explicitly because the students were black, then you can be pretty confident that it’s because of racism.

        I also take issue with that last statement – first off, “Hanging” is a little extreme, and second, you rather understate the severity of the situation. This issue is life or death for many people, and effects the safety and prosperity of entire communities. We probably shouldn’t argue about it here, though – I think I see why Scott closed the comments on that post now. XD

        • AnonYEmous says:

          Mmm, that’s not entirely true – What’s in a persons head does affect their actions,

          You’re going to mention some parts that you think don’t count, but they do.

          You can’t, 100%, know the reasons behind actions. Yes, some actions have no other good reasons (that we know of!), but even then you are guessing. And it goes without saying that if there are other good reasons then you are completely guessing.

          people will on occasion be so kind as to explicitly announce their racism

          I purposely left this out because basically no one is dumb enough to do this anymore. Sure, it happens, but simply catching these people out doesn’t solve whatever issues exist as a result of racism.

          “Hanging” is a little extreme,

          Didn’t mean to invoke the actual act of hanging, just a sort of 1700s spirit since that’s where the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing was sort of thrashed out.

          This issue is life or death for many people,

          Yes, that is why I stated that I understood the desire to harm a dozen innocents rather than let one guilty man go free. I just disagree with it.

          Anyways, I also think we shouldn’t argue about it, but just because there’s very little to argue about. How am I going to convince you that someone else isn’t racist if I can’t even be sure about it myself?

          • angularangel says:

            You can’t, 100%, know the reasons behind actions.

            You can’t 100% know anything. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. :/

            I purposely left this out because basically no one is dumb enough to do this anymore. Sure, it happens, but simply catching these people out doesn’t solve whatever issues exist as a result of racism.

            No, but it’s still useful to catch them? If you can’t treat the disease, then treat the symptoms. It’s not as good, but it’s better then nothing.

            Anyways, I also think we shouldn’t argue about it, but just because there’s very little to argue about. How am I going to convince you that someone else isn’t racist if I can’t even be sure about it myself?

            I actually think there is useful discussion to be had here, just not directly about whether any given thing is racist – I think we should argue about how we’d tell whether or not a thing is racist. Though I suppose if we really wanter to make good use of our time, the best bet would probably be “How does effective Internet discussion happen”, because that’s probably the topic with the best return on investment…

            Actually, this conversation is a good example. I assume you are not, in fact, a crypto-racist trying to advocate racism without me noticing? Because I’ll be honest, that was my first thought. I think that illuminates one of the big problems with discussion, especially online – There are some people who will act completely in bad faith, and will do their best to pretend to be the opposite. How do you filter them out without filtering out too many people who are just not that good at communicating?

            I would propose holding everybody to a very high standard, such that even if a crypto-racist or whatever is participating in the conversation, so long as they’re meeting those standards they can’t actually do any harm. I try and do this with myself, though I’ll admit it’s challenging. For real change though, I think it needs to be enforced by active and thorough moderation.

          • AnonYEmous says:

            You can’t 100% know anything. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. :/

            That’s why I included the rest of that paragraph. Knowing what’s in people’s minds is too hard for trying to be much of a good idea. At the end of the day, it comes down to opinion.

            No, but it’s still useful to catch them?

            Never said it wasn’t, but it’s not the core of the issue either. In fact, it’s pretty much a tiny, tiny corner of the actual issue that can be safely ignored because, not only is it a tiny corner, but everyone agrees on it anyways.

            The bottom line is that, whatever standards you enforce on discourse, most people’s beliefs on what is in other people’s heads will mostly line up with what they want to believe. The way to get people out of believing what they want to believe is by supplying objective evidence – and when discussing what is in someone’s head there is none. Even their objective actions are based in subjective reasons. Sure, it’s still a good idea to do the things you say, but discussing this subject itself is mind poison.

          • angularangel says:

            Not sure I agree, but I am much more interested in talking about online discussion and my internet forum, so.

            Do you have any opinions on either of those?

          • Mark says:

            The way to get people out of believing what they want to believe is by supplying objective evidence

            I disagree with this.

            I think the major issue is that people don’t recognise the role their beliefs play in interpreting objective evidence.
            If you can make people understand that their beliefs are important, you’re 75% of the way there, because, all of a sudden, things aren’t so certain. You can look at things from another perspective.

            If someone has a wrong or damaging (highly emotional) belief, it’s rarely solved by showing them evidence. The evidence is interpreted along original emotional lines. You solve the problem by addressing the emotion and its role.

            In the case of anti-racist/anti-bad-man people, they are having fun with hating out-groups. It’s a bit ironical.

            Solve the problem by pointing out to them how much fun they are having.

          • angularangel says:

            In the case of anti-racist/anti-bad-man people, they are having fun with hating out-groups. It’s a bit ironical.

            …Oh, honey. You think that’s the reason? Not, say, pain, anger, fear, the horrible certainty that someone you care about is going to turn up dead and theres nothing you can do to stop it, and a lingering broken-heartedness at all of the injustice in the world? Then no offense, but you clearly don’t understand anything. :/

          • Mark says:

            Exactly, exactly. This is the correct discussion – are anti-badmen people having fun, or are they very sad.

            Maybe a bit of both. They certainly *look* like they are having fun.

          • AnonYEmous says:

            Oh, honey. You think that’s the reason?

            darling dearest, he means SJWs

            if you’re an actual anti-racist, like one that doesn’t think it’s OK to be racist towards majorities or do witch-hunts, then sorry, but at this point “anti-racism” has been very thoroughly hijacked

            anyways, Mark:

            If someone has a wrong or damaging (highly emotional) belief, it’s rarely solved by showing them evidence.

            Well, maybe. But the point is that there isn’t any objective evidence to begin with, which also means that we don’t know if the belief is wrong or damaging necessarily. It’s one thing to say “I know I’m right and I will convince you emotionally”; I don’t know.

          • lvlln says:

            @angularangel

            In the case of anti-racist/anti-bad-man people, they are having fun with hating out-groups. It’s a bit ironical.

            …Oh, honey. You think that’s the reason? Not, say, pain, anger, fear, the horrible certainty that someone you care about is going to turn up dead and theres nothing you can do to stop it, and a lingering broken-heartedness at all of the injustice in the world? Then no offense, but you clearly don’t understand anything. :/

            Putting aside the completely unhelpful condescension, it seems to me that there’s a big point you’re missing – because hating the outgroup is so fun, it motivates people to genuinely feel “pain, anger, fear, the horrible certainty that someone you care about is going to turn up dead and theres nothing you can do to stop it, and a lingering broken-heartedness at all of the injustice in the world.”

            To use a right-wing example, statistics point to Islamist terrorism killing a very small number of people in the USA, to the extent that it’s not unreasonable to argue that it makes more sense to fear bathtubs than to fear Muslim terrorists. But it’s so darn fun to hate those outsiders with strange beliefs, and that hatred can be easily justified by feeling genuine “pain, anger, fear, the horrible certainty that someone you care about is going to turn up dead and theres nothing you can do to stop it, and a lingering broken-heartedness at all of the injustice in the world [caused by Islamists].” And once those genuine feelings occur, it’s easy to convince oneself that one’s hatred is fully justified by those truly genuine feelings, rather than that those genuine feelings come up in order to justify that hatred.

            Of course, it’s not necessarily the case that this really is what’s happening – plenty of right wingers may have come to such genuine fears not through motivated reasoning in order to justify the fun of hating the outgroup. And, since it’s indeed impossible to know what’s inside someone’s heart, it’s pretty much impossible to determine what proportion of them are motivated by what.

            But what it does point to is that invoking genuine and honest “pain, anger, fear, the horrible certainty that someone you care about is going to turn up dead and theres nothing you can do to stop it, and a lingering broken-heartedness at all of the injustice in the world” doesn’t counter the idea that people are being pushed by the the sheer fun of hating the outgroup. And it points to the idea that genuine fear, pain, anger, etc. shouldn’t be considered a great guide for determining what we should do politically and socially. Certainly they should inform our decisions, but they should be recognized as being the manipulable things they are.

            For a left-wing example, I see the Yale students literally crying while screaming at Nicholas Christakis a couple years ago and I have absolutely zero doubt in my mind that their tears and sadness are no less genuine than any other – say, the tears of a grieving mother or whatnot. They honestly felt sad and fearful for their literal physical safety on Yale campus because of the email that Erika Christakis sent. This doesn’t tell me that their bullying of the Christakis couple wasn’t motivated by the fun of hating people who disagreed with them – that fun can’t be achieved without honest, genuine feelings of fear, and it’s very easy to form those honest, genuine feelings of fear.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Hating the outgroup is fun, and there are some lesser pleasures associated with mistreating the outgroup, too.

            That’s why I want a different threshold– there’s something wrong with the way “racist” is being constructed, but I don’t think Scott’s hit it especially well.

            I think that someone could be pursuing their own legitimate interests, but if their mind slides easily to methods of pursuing those interests that involve making the outgroup worse off and if they don’t care about the size or certainty of good effects for themselves or bad effects on the outgroup, then that person is prejudiced.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_water_crisis

          • gbdub says:

            @lvlln

            They honestly felt sad and fearful for their literal physical safety on Yale campus because of the email that Erika Christakis sent.

            While I won’t directly object to the reality of the Yale students’ feelings, I think that it ought to be okay to question their… legitimacy? Or at least whether their feelings should be given weight? Having those feelings to the point of hysteria over Erika Christakis’ remarks is, well, kind of bonkers, and I don’t want to live in a world where it’s not allowed to point that out.

            The problem with elevating feelings is that you create a scenario where the person who throws the most passionate tantrum wins, regardless of the objective severity of their situation.

            Maybe it’s irrational to be afraid for your personal safety due to Islamist terrorism, but that seems way more logical than being afraid of emails suggesting that maybe its not the literal end of the world if someone wears a racially insensitive Halloween costume. I mean, at least the claim that personal physical safety is being threatened is factual in the former case, just overblown.

            Some of this seems to be a subset of the left (mostly confined to campuses and media types I think) where outward displays of hurt feelings have recently become more valued. I’m wondering if anyone has investigated / written about that in depth? Is there an equivalent on the right – there it seems like breaking down in tears, or blaming your weight loss / gain on a lost election, are more likely to get you laughed at than held up as a paragon of authenticity.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            I’m thinner-skinned and nastier-tempered as a result of reading a lot of SJW material. I’ve been working how much I want to keep and how I can get rid of some of it.

            I consider what I call “microaggression analysis” (noticing that I feel bad, then amplifying my fear and anger and obsessing about what bad motivations led to someone upsetting me) to be very unhealthy. Sometimes, a moderate amount of analysis can uncover subtle attacks on status, but this is something to be handled very cautiously.

            I’m inclined to think that SWJs have had a corrupting effect on the right– folks there are doing microaggression analysis as a result of watching SJWs do it.

          • skef says:

            Is there an equivalent on the right

            For a long time it was garment-rending over what gay people were doing with each other. Now there seems to be a great deal of concern over certain bathroom scenarios that, shall we say, don’t have a large degree of empirical support.

          • lvlln says:

            @gbdub

            While I won’t directly object to the reality of the Yale students’ feelings, I think that it ought to be okay to question their… legitimacy? Or at least whether their feelings should be given weight? Having those feelings to the point of hysteria over Erika Christakis’ remarks is, well, kind of bonkers, and I don’t want to live in a world where it’s not allowed to point that out.

            The problem with elevating feelings is that you create a scenario where the person who throws the most passionate tantrum wins, regardless of the objective severity of their situation.

            Maybe it’s irrational to be afraid for your personal safety due to Islamist terrorism, but that seems way more logical than being afraid of emails suggesting that maybe its not the literal end of the world if someone wears a racially insensitive Halloween costume. I mean, at least the claim that personal physical safety is being threatened is factual in the former case, just overblown.

            Yes, you’re right that elevating feelings is highly problematic. I don’t really want to get down in the weeds of the details of the examples I gave. Whether one is more irrational than another, the point is that if feeling certain things serves your needs, it’s very possible to honestly, genuinely feel those things. At least, that’s my belief based on what seems like limitless capacity for human self-deception. I admit I haven’t done rigorous empirical research on this, but my thinking process is noticing just how obvious it is to me that people who disagree with me are deceiving themselves in ways that make it easier or more pleasurable to attack others, then realizing that people who agree with me are likely just as capable of similar self-deception in ways that are just as blind to them, and also recognizing that I’m someone who agrees with me.

            So yes, I think it’s right to question “whether their feelings should be given weight” and in fact answer that with “they should be given some weight, but not much weight at all, and superseded with empirical reality as much as possible, no matter how honest and genuine those feelings are.” I don’t think it’s helpful to question their legitimacy – whether or not those feelings are legitimate, to the person who’s feeling those feelings, there’s no way to distinguish between legitimate feelings that have a rational empirical basis and illegitimate ones that come about due to motivations.

            Some of this seems to be a subset of the left (mostly confined to campuses and media types I think) where outward displays of hurt feelings have recently become more valued. I’m wondering if anyone has investigated / written about that in depth? Is there an equivalent on the right – there it seems like breaking down in tears, or blaming your weight loss / gain on a lost election, are more likely to get you laughed at than held up as a paragon of authenticity.

            I don’t know if Jordan Peterson has said or written much on this, but some of his videos have touched upon the idea of SJWs having the maternal empathy engine on overdrive when it comes to their preferred protected groups. This shows up in them taking their cries of pain very seriously and also being vicious towards those they deem as causing that pain. Like how a mother bear would show great concern for her cub while also being extremely violent towards anyone who might threaten the cub. He’s done some research on what personality traits predict one’s likelihood of leaning SJW or other political views. I think I recall him stating that the traits that predict right-wing leanings tend to be less associated with such maternal empathy, but more with a disgust response, which is where they derive more of their antipathy towards certain things and people. I don’t know if his research actually stands up to scrutiny, but you might want to check it out and see if that’s along the lines of what you’re looking for. At the very least, it seems like a promising line of research.

          • Brad says:

            How about thinking that anyone should care that you are offended by “happy holidays” or “press 1 for English”?

            It’s true that they don’t use the ridiculous ‘unsafe’ language but it is the same sort of thing.

          • Nornagest says:

            SJWs having the maternal empathy engine on overdrive when it comes to their preferred protected groups.

            I know enough male and apparently male-typical SJWs to be suspicious of this kind of thinking. It’s not literal hysteria; it’s just a dumb ideology.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @gbdub

            The original paper is paywalled, but here’s a Haidt link. He summarizes it. Don’t know if I’m convinced.

          • lvlln says:

            @Nornagest

            SJWs having the maternal empathy engine on overdrive when it comes to their preferred protected groups.

            I know enough male and apparently male-typical SJWs to be suspicious of this kind of thinking. It’s not literal hysteria; it’s just a dumb ideology.

            I don’t think what you say is inconsistent with the assertion. It’s not that SJWs are individually emotionally broken and hysterical. It’s that the ideology they follow elevates the maternal empathy impulse as one of the highest virtues, which encourages people who already have a tendency towards that to develop those impulses further. And I don’t believe the maternal empathy impulse describes something only females have; it’s a trait that’s present to different levels in everyone.

            Again, I don’t know how rigorously true all this is, but the existence and commonality of male SJWs and the fact that they individually aren’t hysterical isn’t at all inconsistent with the idea. It’s that there are people who are more predisposed to such behaviors, and they are pushed further that direction by the ideology that encourages those behaviors.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Brad

            Fair point, but I’m going to keep harping on this; “taking offense” is not the same thing as “disgust”.

          • gbdub says:

            For a long time it was garment-rending over what gay people were doing with each other.

            Was there actual garment rending? Were there rooms full of hysterically crying Evangelicals when gay marriage was legalized? How many people threatened to commit suicide over that verdict? How many claimed that legalized gay marriage had caused them to change their eating or grooming habits? Certainly there were a lot of people claiming to be disgusted, and there were some acts of protest/civil disobedience in the case of some officials, but not so much the public demonstrations of how hurt and vulnerable they all were.

            It’s true that they don’t use the ridiculous ‘unsafe’ language but it is the same sort of thing.

            But the ridiculous ‘unsafe’ language is exactly the part I’m interested in. I’m not talking about people merely claiming to be offended/disgusted over something, that’s been going on forever on all sides. I’m talking about people literally demonstrating behavior normally reserved for someone experiencing intense physical or emotional pain such that they can’t physically control themselves, and using this to add legitimacy to their arguments (and people taking this seriously!). That phenomenon seems newer, and at least for now more popular among the social justice advocate parts of the left.

            the idea of SJWs having the maternal empathy engine on overdrive when it comes to their preferred protected groups. This shows up in them taking their cries of pain very seriously and also being vicious towards those they deem as causing that pain.

            That explains the reaction to claimed pain, but not the increased voluntary demonstration of pain, or rather the apparently much reduced acceptable tolerance for pain such that hearing controversial ideas becomes a reasonable thing to go fetal over. I guess it’s simple incentives – when there are mamma bears looking for a cub to protect, act like a hurt cub and the mamma bears will maul your enemy.

            It seems like only a few years ago that we had the whole “Keep Calm and Carry On” fad, but now it’s “Panic and Run Around Screaming – that’s how we know you’re sincere”.

          • skef says:

            Was there actual garment rending? Were there rooms full of hysterically crying Evangelicals when gay marriage was legalized? How many people threatened to commit suicide over that verdict? How many claimed that legalized gay marriage had caused them to change their eating or grooming habits?

            But the ridiculous ‘unsafe’ language is exactly the part I’m interested in. I’m not talking about people merely claiming to be offended/disgusted over something, that’s been going on forever on all sides. I’m talking about people literally demonstrating behavior normally reserved for someone experiencing intense physical or emotional pain such that they can’t physically control themselves, and using this to add legitimacy to their arguments (and people taking this seriously!). That phenomenon seems newer, and at least for now more popular among the social justice advocate parts of the left.

            By this narrower standard, the parallel is the gay panic defense, in which people portrayed themselves unable to physically control themselves from, you know, murdering someone.

          • gbdub says:

            That seems like a reasonable equivalent, although how widespread was/is it outside of actual criminal trials? If Wikipedia’s list is representative, at least in the US the defense doesn’t seem to work all that often. And when it does, it’s not just “he flirted with me and I panicked” but more like “he attempted to sexually assault me and I panicked”.

          • Achilles_de_Remilia says:

            Somebody on the subreddit did an in-depth study that I’ll try to find if anyone wants to read it. TL;DR: it’s a myth certain groups have invented and used to support claims that disagreement is “literally murdering us!”

          • tscharf says:

            it makes more sense to fear bathtubs than to fear Muslim terrorists

            This has been beaten to death, but if I give bathtubs a rogue nuclear device or bioweapon, they aren’t going to smuggle it into NYC and set it off.

            Invariably all these statistics start with “since 2001…”. 9/11 is kind of the point. It is legitimate to fear Black Swan events especially when they have already happened and groups have made it clear they would be willing to perform mass casualty events again given the opportunity. One would also note that bathtub deaths in Syria over the past many years are likely not the biggest danger to the populace.

            I’ll take living with bathtubs over living with radical extremists.

          • albatross11 says:

            I think there’s an insight that’s important to get, that comes from the SJW/racial justice types, which is that we need a category in our minds for stuff that screws some minority group over, but that isn’t anyone’s intention. I think the term “structural racism” is sometimes used for this idea, but I’ll admit I may be misusing the term.

            For example, there was a huge crime wave associated with the widespread sale and use of crack, a couple decades ago. Lots of people died fighting over who got to sell crack, and lots of people became addicts, and whole communities were torn up. And so a bunch of people with no particular racial animus passed laws to really hammer people caught in possession of crack, relative to comparable amounts of other drugs.

            Now, crack is still a drug that’s a lot more often used and sold by blacks than by whites. And so these laws end up sending a lot of blacks to prison, many of whom probably should have gotten much lighter sentences.

            If you think intent is the defining feature of racism, then you can only talk about the crack sentencing disparity as some kind of racist plot to lock up black men. That’s factually wrong (I think a lot of the push to get stiff penalties for crack came from leaders in the black community, who wanted something done about all the awful stuff happening to their community.). It’s also a kind of rathole in terms of solving any problems–what matters for fixing the problem is whether decreasing those harsh sentences will do more good (sending not-very-serious crack-related criminals to jail for less time) or harm (encouraging more crack dealing). Worrying about the intent of the legislators who passed those laws gives you zero help figuring that out.

          • albatross11 says:

            gbdub asks whether there was a comparable emotional reaction among evangelicals to the gay-marriage decision.

            I think this is hard to get a handle on for at least two reasons:

            A. Different subcultures have different rules for what kind of public expression is appropriate. Campus SJW protester culture probably allows a lot more loud and demonstrative expressions of feelings than middle-class white midwestern Baptist culture does.

            B. Different groups and different causes get very different levels of media coverage. It’s entirely possible that 0.01% of liberal college students having a protest end up being more visible in the media than 1% of conservative evangelical Christians having a protest. That’s especially true if the evangelical Christians’ protest is well-behaved and respectful (because it’s mostly driven by middle-aged people), and the college student protest is half riot and half freakshow. The riot and freakshow reliably gets a lot more coverage than a bunch of middle-class Baptists stading around respectfully with signs.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Locking Up Our Own, a history of black people– police and judges– who promoted tough on crime policies in black communities.

    • baconbacon says:

      Hmmm, Scott closed comments on the article because he doesn’t want to deal with them. He must mean every comment except for mine, must find work around.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s not how I parse it. He probably doesn’t want comments on that article under that article, because of the trivial inconvenience factor. The extra effort and brainpower someone who wants to smear him would have to put in to do it, decreases the amount of people willing to do it, thereby decreasing social fallout for Scott.

        Compare:
        1. “Look at Scott saying horrible racist things and his commenters are racistly agreeing. _link_”
        2. “Scott wrote this horrible racist article (_link_) and his comments elsewhere (_link_, _link_, _link_) are saying horrible racist things about it too.)

        The casual smearing moron won’t have the patience, or often the intelligence, to check a hidden open thread. Nor will their audience have either, either, probably.

        • Nancy Lebovitz says:

          I don’t know whether Scott meant no comments on scc. Presumably comments on the reddit or elsewhere would be alright.

          Scott, what did you have in mind?

        • Brad says:

          I wouldn’t put it the same way, but I agree with the basic idea. In his last post aimed at trying to get the left to be nice to the right, there were endless comments by the right wing commentariat that were quite counterproductive. I wrote this over there:
          http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/05/01/neutral-vs-conservative-the-eternal-struggle/#comment-494729

          The post wasn’t aimed at you. If someone that the post *was* aimed at was semi-convinced by it and then read the comments whatever convincing Scott did would most likely be completely lost.

          It probably would have applied to this post too. Locking out comments was probably a smart move in terms of convincing people of what he is arguing in the post.

          • tscharf says:

            This fits perfectly with the “far left will be tolerated but the far right is banned” mentality that was discussed previously. I have no doubt the comments would likely go toxic pretty quick and do not question our host’s judgment for his blog, but part of the toxic factor is the discussion banned factor.

          • Brad says:

            The problem with the thesis that the far left is tolerated but the far right is banned is where are all the far leftists? How can such a policy lead to a place dominated by the moderate right and as many on the far right as on the center-left?

          • bintchaos says:

            Agreed.
            But I’m not so sure SSC is so very different from the witch covens that Dr. A described in Eternal Struggle.
            I’m much less charmed by the murderism post than I was initially, once Bean informed me it was really about enabling “punching back” against accusations of racism.
            I had thought “against murderism” was about the difficulties inherent in establishing liberalism…I was so wrong.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            I had thought “against murderism” was about the difficulties inherent in establishing liberalism…I was so wrong.

            I’m still not convinced that that’s wrong.

    • JulieK says:

      Definition By Motive makes sense. The main problem is that you can’t necessarily know people’s motives, especially now that it’s no longer acceptable to be openly racist. So we resort to the Definition By Consequences as a substitute.
      Although, I would use a somewhat wider definition- not just “An irrational feeling of hatred toward some race that causes someone to want to hurt or discriminate against them,” but any system of treating people differently based on their race. So your restaurateur is engaging in racist behavior. (But this definition still has the problem of needing to read people’s minds.)

    • JulieK says:

      The first person is stating a belief that Muslims are more likely to be terrorists. The second person is questioning whether their motivation for restricting immigration is really this belief (in which case it would be ok) or if they’re motivated by an irrational hatred of minorities (in which case it would be racism).

      I think the second person tends to say “Your irrational hatred of minorities causes you to overestimate the likelihood of a Muslim being a terrorist, and overweight how much we should care about death-by-terrorism versus death-by-furniture.”

      • Le Maistre Chat says:

        “Your irrational hatred causes you to overestimate the likelihood of a white man being a racist, and overweigh how much we should care about death by hate crime versus death by furniture.”

  12. angularangel says:

    Oh! Say, does anybody know of any good examinations of the problems with Internet discussion? Ideally by Scott, but I would accept a close substitute. 😛

    • Mark says:

      I don’t have a good answer to your question, but I want to talk about internet discussions.

      Internet discussions give me a raging mind horn. I love them. And I think I must be close to having put my 10,000 hours in.

      So here are my thoughts. I think it’s a bit like poker, but you are manipulating your opponent through frame shifts rather than bets. The worst internet discussions are with people who completely ignore frame shifts. In poker those would be the people who just refuse to bet on anything except a royal flush. They lose, but it is boring.

      On the other hand, you get people who go crazy. They are the players on tilt. That’s more fun.

      • angularangel says:

        See, I think this is one of the big problems with Internet discussion – people who treat them as exercises in manipulating their opponents, instead of exercises in attempting to discover truth together. This leads to nobody trusting anyone else, and just assuming that anyone who disagrees with you is trying to manipulate you while ignoring everything you say.

        • Mark says:

          Do you think we should trust others, when truth-seeking?

          Frame shifting isn’t deception, it isn’t opposed to the truth, it’s about changing perspective.

          Attacking a problem from a different direction in the hope of wrong-footing your opponent.

          And if there wasn’t some sort of competitive element to it, would people bother? Why did people develop probability theory in the first place?

        • Kevin C. says:

          See, I think this is one of the big problems with Internet discussion – people who treat them as exercises in manipulating their opponents, instead of exercises in attempting to discover truth together.

          As if people don’t also do this off the Internet.

          • Nornagest says:

            They do, but other motives generally dominate. There aren’t too many pure sociopaths.

    • Brad says:

      I don’t know which problem you are thinking of, but one of them is that it is one of those super-stimulus things. Even if you were a member of the Algonquin Round Table or the Inklings they only met every so often. You can have conversations on the internet from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep each day, every day.

      • angularangel says:

        Mmm, yeah thats true. You think this allows people to get over stimulated, and leads to a decrease in the quality of discussion? Sounds like a good hypothesis. How would we go about falsifying that? Or failing to falsify, as the case may be.

        • Brad says:

          I wasn’t thinking so much of its impact on the quality of discussion as on the quality of life of the participants.

          In general I’d say internet discussion quality is higher than the equivalent offline conversations. More abrasive, sure, but with more accurate facts and stronger reasoning.

          • PedroS says:

            I tend to avoid discussions offline, but I think that the quality depends far more on the participants than the online/offline nature of the forum: newspaper comment sections are often toxice, after all. The most important ingredients for a quality discussion, in my view, are:
            a) a willingness to discuss ideas “wherever they lead” ,
            b) the principle of charity
            c) in political/ideological/religious discussions understanding that the “opponent” is seldom evil and/or stupid, but most often reaches drastically different outcomes because the way they rank the precedence of their values (which are most likely our own values) is simply different from the way we rank them ourselves.

            Lack of a) leads to a boring conversation where no one wants to learn, lack of b) devolves into a bad-faith argument, lack of c) leads to stupid fights where everybody get all high and mighty, onllokers get to enjoy the popcorn and forum quality decreases.

          • Brad says:

            I don’t think it is an accident that you or I tend to avoid discussions offline. I think that speaks to the problems of offline discussion.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Brad

            Perhaps more abrasive absolutely, but not relatively. I imagine a lot of people are biting their tongues a lot when it comes to face-to-face arguments, or Facebook arguments (which are kind of in between).

            People I know to be intelligent, as intelligent as me, some of them probably more, still completely fail on a-c as in PedroS’s post, quite regularly.

            Of course, as he notes, a lot of online discussion is toxic too.

          • Brad says:

            I think that tongue biting is why the conversations are so bad. And non-tongue biting face to face is correlated with failing PedroS’s b and c.

            The stars really need to align to get two or more people that aren’t going to get hurt feelings in a rigorous and wide ranging debate and also aren’t loud mouth assholes with totally closed minds.

            Online you still need to worry about the loud mouths, probably even more so, but you don’t need to worry as much about causing offense because the people involved are less likely to be important parts of your life.

          • dndnrsn says:

            I think it’s a combination of tongue-biting and non-tongue-biting. No environment is ever evenly split between different views, so some people are going to be biting, and some aren’t. The result is that things get ever more out of whack.

      • PedroS says:

        ” it is one of those super-stimulus things: […]You can have conversations on the internet from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep each day, every day.”

        I would add that even watching the discussion without participating (like I mostly do) is incredibly addicting. I have had to cut (not elliminate) my SSC reading times just to get some writing done, and I feel metaphorical “withdrawal” symptoms. And I don’t think I would have been able to do even that modest cut in reading time without the help of the gamifying Habitica app that someone mentioned in the Ad thread.

    • Aapje says:

      @angularangel

      That is an extremely broad question, very similar to asking: ‘does anyone know a good examination of the problems with humans.’

      • angularangel says:

        That is an extremely broad question, very similar to asking: ‘does anyone know a good examination of the problems with humans.’

        Yes, but I think it’s still worth asking. Hell, even “Whats the problem with humans’ has received significant examination. Rationalism itself is an answer to one of the proposed problems – siad humans being entirely too irrational.

    • SamChevre says:

      The best one i know of was Teresa on Making Light, back when it was as lively as SSC is now. Abi Sutherland’s‘s more recent post is also good, and some of the comments are helpful.

  13. rlms says:

    Via On Liberty, the Quran opposing affirmative action: “A ruler who appoints any man to an office, when there is in his dominions another man better qualified for it, sins against God and against the State”.

    • bintchaos says:

      ok, sorry, wasnt replying in the right place.
      Quran also says, “No man shall rule without the consent of the governed”.
      Does that mean the Caliphate is democratic?
      I just meant that the Quran says a lot of things. The n-gram entropy (derived Shannon entropy) is 163bits, very information dense.
      Presumably there could be chains (isnad) validating a quasi-pluralist democracy somewhere in the future.
      It just cant/wont happen now while the West is at war with Islam.

      • Le Maistre Chat says:

        The Sunni Caliph was elected for life. There was no provision for electing legislators, for the obvious reason that they already had sharia.

        • bintchaos says:

          You just said elected.
          The definition of democracy isnt exclusively western judeo-xian secular pluralist democracy, its just the simple consent of the governed.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            I didn’t say that it was. A Sunni Caliph did rule with the consent of the ummah (minus those heretics who thought God meant the executive to be a hereditary monarchy descending from Ali).

          • Salem says:

            The Caliph’s rule doesn’t depend on the consent of the Ummah. He gets chosen by the Shurah and then he’s there for life. Uthman and Ali both lost the consent of the Ummah – it’s a brave soul who’d argue that either were thereby deposed.

          • bintchaos says:

            Again, theory and practice, tafsir and shariah.
            Democracy doesn’t need a legislature to be a democracy, or to set the term of a ruler.
            eg, giving bayah is a form of consent.
            The Quran has to cover all the caliphs that will ever be, because its eternal, uncreated.

          • Nornagest says:

            There have been (and in some cases still are) lots of electoral systems that are not democracies. The Doge of Venice; the Pope; elective monarchies in central Europe.

        • soreff says:

          Speaking of sharia:
          If a Saudi swordsman botches a beheading,
          it that a truncation error?

          • Paul Zrimsek says:

            I thought a truncation error was when an elephant tries to drink from a bucket of acid instead of a bucket of water.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Scott, very nice article yesterday!

    You’ve pretty much convinced me that racism doesn’t substantially exist, apart from obviously deranged cases of self-damaging insanity – which aren’t common.

    • bintchaos says:

      ok, i can comment again.
      I dont think racism as defined exists in the US today. All the different flavors Dr. A. describes are just tribal code-words. It doesnt even make sense to say “racism” regarding muslims and jews– who are indigenously actually racial semites. How can religion be a race?
      Racism is a cultural taboo in America. Calling someone a racist is a slur– hate speech I guess.
      Its just an identity marker for tribal polarization.

      • Prejudice is a thing.

        • bintchaos says:

          yeah, but that isn’t really how its used in modern American culture. Racism is a big social taboo, so calling someone a racist is a heavy slur in cultural norms. The anti-racist-racist stuff is just pushback. Its tribalized identity codewords now.
          Like “liberal fascism”.

        • Well... says:

          Prejudice…to pre-judge…to judge based on a low ratio of facts to assumptions derived from those facts.

          Seems kinda useful, even if some of the assumptions are sometimes wrong.

          Maybe you meant some other term?

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            Edmund Burke has a famous passage about how useful this is. It’s like an 18th century distinction between thinking fast and slow.

          • Well... says:

            Heard of it but never read it.

          • Prejudice us useful in some situations which is why it persists. It is also a negative factor, in some situations, and it is a causal factor in those situation.

          • Paul Zrimsek says:

            You’re supposed to call your prejudices priors. That makes ’em rational.

          • Well... says:

            In marketing and UX they create “personas” which are basically documents that establish stereotypes about classes of consumers or users. Design and marketing decisions are made based on these documents. I.e., much of the work that is done in the service sector boils down to forming and acting on prejudice.

    • bintchaos says:

      And it was a really beautifully written article, thoughtful, sensitive, etc… and that made me terribly sad and convinced me that Dr. A. is, indeed, a “liberal”.
      But “against murderism”? Might as well title the post “against human nature.”
      Expecting all Americans to embrace liberalism is like that old fool Dawkins expecting all Americans to embrace New Atheism or Dreher the mad prophet expecting all Americans to sign up for the Benedict option.
      The entry price is too high.
      Liberalism doesn’t work even in the richest country in the world– that is what the 2016 election proved to me.
      Let me explain…using Atheism as a metaphor for liberalism. What pre-conditions does becoming an atheist require? Age because no one is born an atheist, income because no one who is desperately poor is going to become an atheist, education, IQ, social capital (atheism is unpopular) and some degree of openness (to use Haidt’s terminology). So that whats I mean by expensive differential selection.
      The problem with liberalism in America is how do you get conservatives to “buy in”? Liberalism hasn’t worked for them. In theory the Founders set America up to be a society based on liberalism, right?
      Yet conservatives are disenfranchised from culture and academe by wide margins.

      bonus: If you are patient, where I’m going with this is more Social Physics Theory.

      • Kevin C. says:

        because no one is born an atheist

        Then what is a person born? Particularly if born to atheist/irreligious parents?

        Is this just another version of the argument by which dictionaries of a century or more past defined atheists as people who (mistakenly) think they believe God doesn’t exist, when deep down they really do and are only unsupportably angry at Him (because God has “inscribed belief indelibly in the human heart”)?

        income because no one who is desperately poor is going to become an atheist

        First, again with the “become”? When did I, utterly unchurched, godless infidel that I am, “become” atheist? Second, what does income have to do with it. I might not have been poor on the global scale, but did anyone else who comments on this blog spend significant time growing up living in an area with no electricity, running water, or sewer, and with wood as your heating fuel? Did anyone else have anything like three kids and a stay-at-home-mother (who married right out of high school) supported on the meager labor of a functionally-illiterate high school dropout?

        social capital

        Not exactly much of that for me personally or on the familial level. Much of my family fit quite a lot of Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck”, and the term “trailer trash” was sent my way on more than one occasion. Add “emotionally disturbed” since elementary school and my Asperger’s.

      • bintchaos says:

        @Kevin C.

        Then what is a person born?


        Oh, I always defer to evolutionary biology here– according to Tomasello (2008) humans are born with an inherent instinct for belief in the supernatural.

        what does income have to do with it


        All Americans are rich in global metrics.
        Kevin you seem to be an extremely rare outlier and have no need to be persuaded to atheism…which means in my analogy that you would be a born liberal too. I’m trying to make the case that Dr. A. can’t persuade/beg americans into liberalism unless they meet the selection criteria, because of hyperpolarization. (but! we could use Social Physics)

        I have no intent to stigmatize your beliefs, (although I am convinced Dawkin’s once fine mental apparatus has been sadly corrupted by senile dementia or something). I was just trying to create a neutral model to convey how hard it is to preach liberalism to this audience.

        Kevin, you are the only person here i can feel genuine empathy for, because we are both aspergers positive. I think its very brave and therapeutic for you to comment here.

        • Kevin C. says:

          which means in my analogy that you would be a born liberal too.

          Then why am I an open, unrepentant, kyriarchist?

          • bintchaos says:

            Because IRL you are actually born with real life conservative tendency, not in model world.
            Its just impossible to find a neutrally charged model of anything anymore.

          • BBA says:

            I was going to say “because you hate life and yourself”, but then I hate life and myself too and I’m a center-left Democrat, so huh.

        • qwints says:

          Who is Tomasello and what is their evidence that they present for the claim for the inherent instinct? Google justs points me to Michael Tomasello’s 2008 book “Origins of Human Communication” but none of the reviews mention anything about a supernatural instinct.

          If you don’t mind, I’d also like to know what your reference last week to Aristotelian frogs and Platonic birds meant.

          • bintchaos says:

            Ummm…that should be Origins of Human Cognition and I have it in my dead tree archives.
            If I had it as an ebook I could screen grab the page. If you like I will find it later and get back to you with the relevant content?
            Tomasello also did research on the earliest age of outgroup recognition…it may be interesting to look that up too.
            The Platonic worldview has been compared to a bird view, and the Aristotelian worldview to a frog viewpoint, only concerned with local effect as opposed to global effects. I’ll see if I can source that too.

          • qwints says:

            Thanks, the title got me there.

            Edit: Someone put it up on Scribd, but I can’t find a reference to an instinct for belief in the supernatural.

            Googling the birds/frog reference got me references to the plays by Aristophanes and a term used by Max Tegmark in a 2003 Scientific American article to refer to platonism (birds who believe abstract concepts are real) and nominalism (frogs who believe abstract concepts lack any existence outside of physical reality).

          • Well... says:

            Thanks, this is something I’ve been arguing on and off over the years with my twin brother, who believes that we are all born atheists. I’ve always kinda assumed he was wrong but now I have peer-reviewed evidence to show him!

    • bintchaos says:

      So what if I said, yes Dr. A., I agree.
      Liberalism is the optimal solution, it is our only hope as a civilization and a species…
      But its really hard to convince people on the other side of the tribe wars of that, especially in the current environment of hyperpolarization.
      Gee, if only there was a way to persuade humans to buy in to liberalism…

      • bintchaos says:

        got it, this is just marked as more self-involved prattle about how woke I am.
        Far more important to develop a good list of summer drinks than save western civilization.
        The socio-cultural-political divide for me is epitomized by the SSC commentariat’s rejection of Aurora, a book deeply loved by Physics Matt (professor and theoretical physicist), Simon Dedeo (complexity scientist), many others in Science World, and me.
        One of my favorite quotes–

        “When you discover that you are living in a fantasy that cannot endure, a fantasy that will destroy your world, and your children, what do you do?

        People said things like, Fuck it, or Fuck the future. They said things like, The day is warm, or This meal is excellent, or Let’s go to the lake and swim.”
        ― Kim Stanley Robinson, Aurora

        • Nornagest says:

          At this risk of sounding uncharitable: the parent may not have been self-involved prattle about how woke you are, but this definitely is.

          Or are you just fishing for responses? In which case, gratz.

          • bintchaos says:

            well partly…and I caught Bean, but he’s easy.

            this definitely is.

            touché
            touches lips to bell-guard of épée in mock salute

        • gbdub says:

          Your (anyone’s) comments here are about as likely to impact the future of western civilization (and how woke can you be, with that kind of Euro-normative vocabulary?) as I am to win the Powerball and Mega Millions simultaneously while also getting struck by lightning that fortunately spares me while killing the shark biting my leg.

          Your (anyone’s) comments about summer drinks, on the other hand, have a near unity probability of resulting in at least one relaxing tipsy evening for me.

          For the sake of utilitarianism, I’m going off to buy some tequila and grapefruit juice.

        • Zodiac says:

          The socio-cultural-political divide for me is epitomized by the SSC commentariat’s rejection of Aurora

          I haven’t read that book, I have seen it mentioned once here however and I think it was a positive comment (might even have been a recommendation).
          Either way, why would you assume the entire SSC commentariat has the same opinion about that book? Or do you demand we have unified opinions?

          • Gobbobobble says:

            Either way, why would you assume the entire SSC commentariat has the same opinion about that book? Or do you demand we have unified opinions?

            Well remember that each and every one of us is a Sidles sockpuppet, so it almost makes sense.

          • bintchaos says:

            Sidles sock-puppet world…is that anything like Flatland?
            In the Puppy thread several people said KSR never showed them anything.
            Aurora is the book that would have won, IPOF George RR Martin held his own awards and it did.
            I didnt mean it that way– I meant it as emblematic, symbolic of the state of hyperpolarization.

        • bean says:

          The socio-cultural-political divide for me is epitomized by the SSC commentariat’s rejection of Aurora, a book deeply loved by Physics Matt (professor and theoretical physicist), Simon Dedeo (complexity scientist), many others in Science World, and me.

          Never read it, or any KSR. Not a conscious decision, he just never made it onto my reading list, and probably won’t, because it’s really long and growing. And I wasn’t aware there was a consensus on it, either.
          Also, you might want to consider that not everyone is on within a given 3-hour window before deciding that we’re all ignoring you.

        • Trofim_Lysenko says:

          Welp, I just had a post where I link to every mention of Aurora, the Mars Trilogy, or KSR consumed by the comment monster, so that’s annoying.

          To recreate my findings, do site-restricted Google Searches on “Aurora”, “Kim Stanley Robinson”, “KSR”, Robinson + SF, “Red Mars”, “Mars Trilogy”, and Mars + Robinson.

          I found that of the comments, the overhwhelming majority of liked Aurora (in fact I am AFAIK the ONLY SSC commenter who has mentioned it without explicitly stating that it’s a good story and they liked it), and broadening to KSR’s work in general the pos:neg ratio wasn’t quite as overwhelming, with about a 3:12 ratio of negative comments to positive ones, and several of the “negative” comments were actually more mixed, not simply panning their work.

          Going from memory, Nancy, Herbert, Iain, CMF (I think he’s banned and that may have killed the post), ML (ditto), Yair, and a few others all liked it and/or KSR in generall. 13th Letter disliked Red Mars. Mark Anderson disliked Red Mars but was willing to give Aurora a try based on the strength of the community’s recommendation. Cheese tentatively recommended KSR with the caveat that their books are not for everyone.

          My personal take is that KSR is an excellent writer in the technical sense but that I was so-so on the Mars Trilogy, especially towards the end, and I thought that Aurora suffered badly from the writer putting their thumb on the scales in order to obtain the desired outcome to support their point. I’ll add that I am not the only person to notice this. Stephen Baxter and later him and James Benford produced articles on the subject, as has David Brin. I’m not linking them this time in case that’s what led to the post getting eaten.

          In short, I think you should update your priors, Bintchaos.

          • bintchaos says:

            lol…I consider whelp a huge promotion in rank.

            I missed all that…sometimes the over 1k comment threads are really hard for me to keep straight. When I was involved with the thread several people said they didnt see value in KSR, and certainly the Puppies would loathe him…2312 especially.
            Did you know GRRMartin held his own awards post-event and Aurora won one of the No Award categories?

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            “welp”, not “whelp”, as in a colloquial/dialect version of “well” usually preceding a dry or ironic observation or bit of understatement.

            And which “multiple people” would that be who said they didn’t see value in KSR? In the search I made, I can only find one (Engleberg in Links 6/17). The next closest would be Paul Brinkley, who only said they hadn’t read Aurora and that he found KSR to be a mixed bag, enjoying their basic ideas and exploration of novel technologies but finding their treatment of future societies shallow and cursory.

            “certainly the Puppies would loathe him” is a non-sequitur in this context, as your original statement was that the SSC Commentariat’s rejection of Aurora epitomized “the socio-cultural-political divide” for you. We can talk about the puppies and Hugos another time if you really want to.

            Do you still believe that the SSC Commentariat rejects Aurora?

          • Nornagest says:

            I might have been included in that count; I have no opinion on Aurora because I haven’t read it, but I said I didn’t like Green Mars, which I didn’t. (I liked Red Mars, but mainly from a hard-science angle. I felt the series’ social-science aspects started okay but got weaker as it progressed — it tried to do a weird hybrid between near-future extrapolation and far-future speculation, and didn’t weld the two well. And its politics were weak pretty much from day one. And Nineties literary sci-fi sequels all sucked, but I digress.)

          • Gobbobobble says:

            CMF (I think he’s banned and that may have killed the post), ML (ditto)

            Did people start getting banned without the Register of Bans being updated?

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @Nornagest

            Probably. As I said, I spent about 45 minutes hunting down every comment I could find and linking them in my original reply, but that post got eaten.

            @Gobbobobble

            Nope, I mis-remembered and didnt’ bother checking the register. They’re not on there, so I guess it was just having over a dozen links in the comment? I don’t think any of the words in the post were on the naughty list.

          • bintchaos says:

            darn…misread it.
            Guess I’m still in the sidles/DR/Moon stealthy lazarus troll category.
            I didnt see any of that Aurora praising — all your praise links…I saw a bunch of Yay Puppies! they pulled it off!
            If I had to say the defining theme of conservatism today is a desire to punch back at liberals. Exactly the same as Hoschild’s Lousiana Tea Partiers.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            If I decide to put you into such a category, I’ll let you know. I haven’t, so again, not really relevant to our current conversation. Again, your reply tried to segue off into groups not under discussion. We aren’t talking about Louisiana’s Tea Party activists either.

            I offered you the method by which I got my information. You apparently decided not to bother checking. So let’s try this again. I tried recreating the list and it ate the post. I tried breaking it up into parts and it ate the post. Now I’m going to try and just link to a google doc with the names of the posters, their stance, and a link to the relevant SSC post where their comment appears. Here is the link.

            Take a minute or two and go read the comments. I will wait.
            Back? Now, let’s try this again:

            Do you still believe that the SSC Commentariat rejects Aurora? If so, on what specific evidence?

            Since this was apparently the best example you had (it “epitomized” in your words) of the socio-political-cultural gap in play in these comments, how does this affect your beliefs on said gap?

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            I haven’t read Aurora.

            I mostly liked 2312 for the variety of habitats. The section set on earth didn’t make excessive amounts of sense.

            Edited to add: I like Robinson’s voice, but not all of his books.

            At some point, I want to reread The Memory of Whiteness– I noticed the big chord at the end, and I want to see whether there’s more musical structure. Also, it’s a tour of a varied solar system, and that’s fun.

            Schismatrix was irritating because I can’t believe there would be such an extreme biotech vs. not-biotech split.

            I liked the 40 Degrees series, but more for the voice than anything else.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            Good catch, Nancy, that was a general recommendation of Kim Stanley Robinson. Updated.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Trofim

            Do you still believe that the SSC Commentariat rejects Aurora? If so, on what specific evidence?

            Since this was apparently the best example you had (it “epitomized” in your words) of the socio-political-cultural gap in play in these comments, how does this affect your beliefs on said gap?


            Part 1, No.
            And Part 2, I was wrong, does not epitomize.

          • Iain says:

            @Nancy Lebovitz:
            A while back you asked for good recent sci-fi on the harder end of the scale. I must have mistakenly concluded that you had already read Aurora, because otherwise I would have recommended it to you. I think it is one of KSR’s strongest works.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Thanks– I’m putting Aurora on my to-read list.

            Currently I’m reading/re-reading Charles Harness, who wrote on the squishy-soft end of the science fiction spectrum, back when people were doing make-it-up-as-you-go science for their stories.

            The Rose is an astonishing crank the emotions to eleven story. Not all the science in it is false.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @bintchaos

            Thank you. Now, something to consider:

            You made an assertion based on a very casual sample size. I was able to produce evidence refuting that assertion with two or three minutes of google searching. However, it took quite a bit longer and a bit more effort on my part to get you to consider that evidence, and my suggestion that you replicate my research (trivial as it was, just a few google site searches) went either unnoticed or actively ignored. At various points you tried to shift the discussion to topics increasingly far afield, including a very odd desire to segue to a faction of the GOP in Louisiana.

            It took that much effort to get you to reconsider your position on a casual statement about a work of fiction.

            What does that tell you about your current

            Presumably you consider yourself to be a rational and relatively open-minded young woman, who draws conclusions based on evidence and re-assesses those conclusions based on any new evidence.

            What does this tell you about the process by which you weight and evaluate the evidence for or against a belief before you hold it, and the process by which you weight and evaluate evidence against a belief after you’ve chosen to hold it?

            What does THAT, and our exchange, tell you about getting people to accept and evaluate evidence against a belief they’ve chosen to hold when you engage with them elsewhere in the comments, or elsewhere in general?

        • Iain says:

          I have distinct memories of seconding recommendations of Aurora in the SSC comments section. Maybe I don’t count? In any case, let me once again take the opportunity to say: even if you generally disagree with bintchaos, her taste in this matter is pretty good. Aurora is well worth your while.

        • Loquat says:

          Far more important to develop a good list of summer drinks than save western civilization.

          We’re saving western civ with anonymous blog comments now? I feel like this XKCD strip about Ender’s Game is relevant here.

      • bean says:

        Liberalism is the optimal solution, it is our only hope as a civilization and a species…
        But its really hard to convince people on the other side of the tribe wars of that, especially in the current environment of hyperpolarization.

        You do not seem to be using liberalism the same way that Scott did in that post. It’s a mutual project, on both sides, and from my chair, it looks like your side has somewhat farther to go. There are murderist interpretations on the right, but they’re rarer, and I’ve argued against them.

        • bintchaos says:

          This is the argument I’m working from:

          The argument goes: liberalism assumes good faith and shared values. It assumes that, at the end of the day, whether you’re Catholic or Protestant, you can still be a basically good person. You can compartmentalize a few special beliefs relating to the Pope, and your remaining differences can be dissolved by the universal solvent of Reason.


          Reason has a high price, its expensive, and its not universal, because its not really part of the biological basis of behavior.
          sigh
          I just wanted to spur interest in technological solutions to that problem before I go back and redo your Social Physics tutorial, part 2. I want to offer Social Physics as a solution to the Persuasion Problem– How to get humans to “behave reasonably”
          when their biology is screaming at them not to.

          • bean says:

            I’m still not sure you’re reading him right, although that could be some carry-over from your first posts, which suffered horribly from exactly the problem he’s describing. If you’re speaking of reason as separate from your own beliefs, then yes, we’re on the same page. If Liberalism is only applicable to religion, and Reason is how people will all eventually come to believe the same things you do, then no, you’re still not getting it.

          • bintchaos says:

            sheesh
            If its Reason vs Biology which side wins?

        • bintchaos says:

          Question:
          Do you (Bean, Dr. A., SSC commentariat et all) believe that the Founders wrote liberalism into the Constitution? Was the US designed to implement liberalism?

          • bean says:

            Hmmm….
            I’m not sure, on several fronts. It’s been a long time since I took American History or US Government, so my memory of the circumstances of its creation are slightly hazy.
            I don’t know if this is a coherent question. It was a compromise, and the primary design driver was to produce a document that would work and be acceptable. Some elements, such as the tacit recognition of slavery early on, are clearly not liberal. But it did set a new standard in ensuring that the government did not squash liberalism, and that wasn’t an accident. But that’s not quite the same as implementing liberalism, which I don’t think can be done by government alone.

          • bintchaos says:

            So…how can it be done– this is a depth of cleverness I had not perceived in Dr. A.

            It’s a mutual project, on both sides, and from my chair, it looks like your side has somewhat farther to go


            What is “the mutual project”? Instantiation of liberalism or end of “murderism”?

          • bintchaos says:

            I had to reread it.
            But I still don’t get what the “mutual project” is…maybe because I am not a conservative?
            If its stopping “murderism”…well murder is biological and institutionalized murder is balanced, emergent, and directed at the other side’s tribe membership…
            If its implementing liberalism the Blue Tribe has liberalism in its wheelhouse, so to speak.
            But its stone-brilliant that somehow both sides here think Dr. A. is speaking particularily to them…
            And I also don’t understand why implementing liberalism (proxy for Reason) would necessarily stop murderism. I don’t see the relationship.

            Using violence to enforce conformity to social norms has always been the historical response. We invented liberalism to try to avoid having to do that, but you can’t [use] liberalism with people who refuse reason and are motivated by hatred


            But who is that? The racism shouters or the anti-racist shouters? Dont both sides refuse reason?

          • bean says:

            The mutual project is the implementation of liberalism. Murderism is a metaphor for racism, not a real thing. The similar interpretation I’ve seen on the right is the belief that most Democrat leaders are motivated entirely by a hatred for America and a desire to destroy it as a major power. (I realize that my earlier phrasing was not very good.) They’re aliens who need to be destroyed for the good of America, just like people with a base-level preference to hate minorities. In both cases, these people are vanishingly rare.
            You’re still not getting it. At the most basic level, the Alien Machine does not belong to the Blue Tribe. The fact that you think it does proves you still do not get it.

          • bintchaos says:

            Wow…that makes no sense to me.
            so…this is really a role-switching exercise to help conservatives and liberals communicate?
            just wow.
            This is a toy problem…no one is actually interested in a solution to the problem inspite of Dr. A. ‘s impassioned begs

          • JulieK says:

            At the most basic level, the Alien Machine does not belong to the Blue Tribe. The fact that you think it does proves you still do not get it.

            I think bintchaos may not have noticed that Scott is using a different definition of “liberalism” than that implied by the usual American liberal-vs-conservative terminology. (And I don’t feel entirely competent to supply that definition myself- perhaps Scott could elaborate?)

          • bintchaos says:

            @JulieK
            Thank you for the response, but it doesn’t matter to me anymore.
            Its a toy problem…there’s no solution.
            Dr. A. is just modeling partisan conflict as a exercise to improve civil discourse.

          • bean says:

            Wow…that makes no sense to me.
            so…this is really a role-switching exercise to help conservatives and liberals communicate?

            It’s deeper than that. But that’s a good first step from where you are.

            @JulieK
            I called that out earlier. It didn’t help.

          • Paul Zrimsek says:

            “All Americans are, from the English point of view, Liberals of one sort or another.” — H.G. Wells

          • albatross11 says:

            bean/bintchaos:

            This is a pretty fundamental question w.r.t. having politics or any other collective decisionmaking work. Do we have compatible values?? And that depends partly on us, but also partly on what we've decided somehow will be the scope of the collective decisions we're making.

            Suppose we're having a vote on how to best maintain the municipal sewer system in our town. I live in a town with a lot of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and atheists. We all have very different beliefs about many things. But we all want the sewers to work, so our goals are broadly compatible. We may still do a bad job getting the sewers to work, because politics and group dynamics are complicated, but we at least all agree we want sewers.

            Now, imagine we switch to having a vote over what will be the official religion in our town, taught in the public schools and written into the laws. Suddenly, there's not really a compatible set of goals–if the question is "whose religion will be on top," then it's going to be the Catholics vs the Protestants, with minority religions hoping to make alliances in exchange for promises of good treatment (we'll allow the Jewish students to be excused from mandatory religion classes in the public schools, but nobody else). It's easy to see how having a decision about whose religion will be officially supported, whose will be tolerated, and whose will be suppressed can lead to a civil war.

            IMO, a big part of getting liberalism (in Scott's sense) to work is choosing the scope of the collective decisions. The separation of church and state is a wonderful idea because it takes certain questions (ones on which the voters' goals are completely incompatible) off the table.

          • SamChevre says:

            Yes, the US Constitution was designed (and well-designed) to implement liberalism at the US Federal level.

            This liberalism isn’t very related to what’s called liberalism in modern America, which is confusing. It’s closer to what’s called libertarianism–except that that name has been hijacked by the crowd that I call the pro-assault libertarians. (If you think that acceptable answers to “I don’t want to do that with you” include “I have guns and will make you”…See the paragraph starting with “Freedom of private association” here)

            In my mind, the Alien Machinery has three key pieces.
            1) The government has a monopoly on initiating force beyond a certain level.
            2) The number of things the government (including the courts) will get involved with is limited to those where there is stable near-consensus on goals.
            3) Government says how, not what. (“Who, whom?” is entirely irrelevant). You want to write a contract? Here’s how; it’s the same regardless of subject matter. You want to hold a protest? It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are protesting, here are the rules. and etc.

            That looks very like the US Constitution; only powers that a super-majority of representatives and states can agree on go to the Federal government.

        • PedroS says:

          I think Scott was using liberalism in its “classic” sense (i.e. closer to “Enlightenment values”) rather than in current US-usage. I do not think his text (which refers to toleration practices arising in the 17th century) makes any sense if you parse the word as synonymous with “progressive values as understood by self-described US Liberals”…. not because they are not tolerant, but because their specific bundle of values/policies/etc. did not exist in the 17th century.

          EDIT note: the portion after “US liberals” was added after posting to ensure that I did NOT mean to accuse any specific group of being intolerant

          • Gobbobobble says:

            That was my understanding, too. This is also where the seemingly-oxymoronic phrase “the illiberal left” comes from (as a subcategory, not a blanket descriptor, mind).

  15. random832 says:

    Why does the URL for this thread say “open-thread-78-5”?

    • Anonymous says:

      Incompetence theory: It’s a typo.

      Malice theory: Scott wants to ban anyone talking about yesterday’s piece under the forbidding of culture war topics in .5 threads.

    • Eltargrim says:

      This OT was originally entitled 78.5. Apparently Scott has corrected the title, but it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth to fix the URL.

  16. ADifferentAnonymous says:

    I’ll hold no Ill will of this is deleted, but it may not be too toxic if we talk strictly about murderism?

    The Catholic notion of Culture of Life, opposing abortion, euthanasia, and capital punishment as results of a “culture of death”, could more or less be described as anti-murderism. And I don’t think the Catholics are making the error Scott describes; they’re correct that mainstream culture does not ascribe intrinsic value to life the same way they do. And rather than using culture of death to exclude all other explanations, they have some ability to distinguish which deaths are more products of Culture of Death than others, and get more worked up about euthanasia than gangland slayings.

  17. Kevin C. says:

    Is anyone else having trouble accessing SSC because of recurring “Protocol error (NSPOSIXErrorDomain:100)”?

    Also, is anyone else getting a “Cheating, huh?” alert when they try to report a comment?

    • Mark says:

      Um… I just accidentally reported this comment when trying to generate the error.

      So… no.

    • rlms says:

      No (although I think I have in the past).

      The reporting system no longer has a confirm box, so if you double click report because you weren’t sure if it worked then you’ll get that message. I think I’ve also got it when single clicking a few times though.

      • beleester says:

        I get it whenever I single-click on the report button. Using Chrome, if that helps diagnose.

        • random832 says:

          Not only do I not get it, the message that I get when I actually do click the report button on the same post twice is not “Cheating, huh?”; it is “It seems you already reported this comment.”

    • phil says:

      Out of curiosity, how many comments are you reporting?

      Why report a comment instead of simply state your objection as a reply?

      (for context, I think I’ve reported 1 comment my entire time here, and I wrote a reply so the original author could plainly see what my problem with it was)

      • gbdub says:

        I’d actually say it’s a service to the blog to report comments that legitimately violate Scott’s rules – he only very rarely, as I understand it, will take action on a single report, so if someone really is being nasty it’s good to establish a pattern.

    • Nornagest says:

      Yeah, the report button is still broken, at least for some users on some platforms. I think it’s incorrectly maintaining some kind of state, because when I log out and back in I can report one comment before it goes away.

      • random832 says:

        It seems to work for me (I reported your comment, sorry)… oddly enough, after reloading the page, the report button disappears from your comment (and only yours).

        The relevant function is in “ajax.js” if anyone wants to figure out why it might behave wrong on some browsers.

  18. sty_silver says:

    A friend of mine has an oral exam coming up with the theme: “The Gigafactory – a counter model to lean production?” Apparently it’s fairly important for them to be above a certain grade.

    They asked me for sources, but I don’t know anything about this. Does anyone else?

    • skef says:

      The term “gigafactory” is primarily associated with Elon Musk, who uses it to describe both some specific facilities he is building, and a more general approach. The latter has to do with using economies of scale to change the product landscape, such as building huge factories for batteries to drive the costs down and make electric cars more competitive.

      “Lean production” is a methodology for identifying what aspects of a manufactured product have value and what don’t, and trying to incrementally reduce the costs (or existence) of the latter. The stereotype here is Toyota.

      Assuming this is an economics course, my guess as to what the question is getting at is that massive up-front investment in infrastructure to change the product landscape is at least apparently at odds with incremental improvements in manufacturing. In the first case, you are taking the attitude that by making your plant you can change what has more or less value. In the second you are taking the attitude that what has value is determined by “outside” forces, and are optimizing against those forces.

      But whether these are really in conflict depends on how you draw the boxes around “production”. Toyota’s R&D identified value in batteries, and the company famously integrated them into the Prius, which has been a success. This sort of “depends on how yo divide things up” analysis might be what the question mark in the topic is hoping to prompt. (It is at least an interesting coincidence that the companies most associated with “Gigafactory” and “lean production” are also very associated with battery-based automobiles.)

      One serious risk in interpreting any of this is that I don’t know the course in question, and there may also be important contextual information that would suggest a completely different approach (such as the other topics on the syllabus).

      • sty_silver says:

        I linked them your response, they said it’s a geography class with economic focus.

        They have to do a presentation, so it’s up to them how to interpret it. As of now, the intended approach is “looking in how far the gigafactory is ‘contradicting’ lean production and analyzing in which situations it makes sense to do so (if it contradicts some aspects)”

        • skef says:

          Ah. That makes me suspect that it may be a premise of the Gigafactory concept that manufacturing starts with raw (or close to raw) materials and goes all the way to the finished product, although the info I looked at didn’t make that explicit. (That does seem to be true of the batteries (probably minus the charging logic chip), but batteries are a lot simpler than cars.)

          If that’s right, then the main geographic contrast would be between a number of manufacturing steps at different locations (and likely multiple suppliers) and sending raw materials to one location for the whole deal.

          (I’ll add that I’m aware that the original request was for sources, not direct advice. That’s tricky, though. Lean production is a well-documented and widely discussed thing, but “Gigafactory” is basically a recent publicity term. I didn’t turn up anything on the latter that could be called “scholarship”. So unless the assignment came with a reading list, or the instructors specifically chose the topic for that reason, it’s not clear what to point someone at.)

  19. Wrong Species says:

    Climate change skeptics, isn’t it time to admit something suspicious is going on? From 1998-2014*, global temperatures were essentially stagnant. Because climate change alarmists(for lack of a better word) were denying that this was actually happening, it seemed to be undermining their case. Eventually, they told us that this was just a minor blip and that we should expect increased temperatures. And then in 2015, we had the highest recorded temperature. Of course, that could just be an anomaly. But 2016 also set a new high and 2017 doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Isn’t this exactly what you expect if global warming was continuing its upward march?

    Graph

    Interactive map

    *Someone is going to say something about how misleading using 1998 as a start date is but this is from the perspective of a climate change skeptic.

    • The Nybbler says:

      To try to make the pause go away, they adjusted the global temperature sets in various ways. It’s hopelessly corrupt now.

      • 1soru1 says:

        > To try to make the pause go away, they adjusted the global temperature sets in various ways

        Mostly by burning fossil fuels that release gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. The conspiracy goes deeper than you think…

        • He is describing what was done to try to make the actual slowdown, starting about 2002, disappear from the record by adjusting the estimates of global temperature at times previous to that.

          We don’t have a thermometer that measures global temperature. The figures used by the IPCC and others are the result of a fairly complicated calculation, combining data of various sorts from various times and places.

          There is room for legitimate disagreement about just how it should be done. But when people go back and revise the calculations of past global temperature that they had been using only after doing so becomes a way of avoiding the conclusion that current temperature is not behaving as they predicted it would, there is reason to suspect motivated reasoning.

          Incidentally, the way you put your response suggests that you think that increases in current temperature are a result of current increases in CO2, that if we put lots of CO2 into the atmosphere last year that explains the warming this year. It’s true that long term equilibrium temperature is a function of CO2 concentration, but long term is in the thousands of years. If we stopped putting CO2 into the air, global temperatures would continue to rise for a considerable while, since the long term equilibrium at current concentrations is higher than current temperature.

          • 1soru1 says:

            Can you describe an empirical test that would falsify your ‘everyone in the world is faking all the data’ theory?

          • Can you describe an empirical test that would falsify your ‘everyone in the world is faking all the data’ theory?

            Who is that addressed to? I offered no such theory.

            I made two points. The first was that all figures on global temperature involve a complicated process for combining data. Everyone in the field would agree with that–the disputes are on the details.

            The second was that one group of researchers reanalyzed the past data in a way that made the slowdown in warming in the early 21st century disappear, and that doing that was suspect.

            Do you disagree with either?

          • 1soru1 says:

            I was primarily disagreeing with Nybbler, and his statement ‘global temperature data is hopelessly corrupt’, offered as a response to additional years of data from all the usual satellites and sensors.

            You seemed to be defending him, so if you not doing so, please say how and where you differ from him? If 3 years data from multiple satellites and various institutions isn’t enough, is there some finite point where there would be enough evidence?

            Or are your political and/or religious beliefs somehow so entangled in the details of atmospheric physics that they cannot be right unless the scientists are wrong?

          • The Nybbler says:

            I was primarily disagreeing with Nybbler, and his statement ‘global temperature data is hopelessly corrupt’, offered as a response to additional years of data from all the usual satellites and sensors.

            There’s a pattern with new temperature data. The new datasets come out, they show less warming than the old datasets, then they are “corrected” until they show the requisite amount of warming. This pattern existed before the “pausebuster” effort, but that effort really underscored what’s going on.

          • I was primarily disagreeing with Nybbler, and his statement ‘global temperature data is hopelessly corrupt’, offered as a response to additional years of data from all the usual satellites and sensors.

            What you responded to, and quoted, in the post I reacted to, was:

            > To try to make the pause go away, they adjusted the global temperature sets in various ways

            That accurately described work done reanalyzing the earlier data in a way that made the pause appear not to be an anomaly. As I explained. As best I can tell, most of the profession was not persuaded–at least, most people still seem to agree that warming had slowed substantially early in the century, although it may now be back on track.

            If you are responding to someone else in a post that shows in the thread as a reply to me, it’s worth saying so.

            If 3 years data from multiple satellites and various institutions isn’t enough, is there some finite point where there would be enough evidence?

            If you bothered to read my post you would realize that I was saying nothing at all about the current data but about the reanalysis of old data.

            Or are your political and/or religious beliefs somehow so entangled in the details of atmospheric physics that they cannot be right unless the scientists are wrong?

            I don’t think so. “The scientists” is a misleading term in this context. One paper made the argument I described, other climatologists disagreed with it.

            Has it occurred to you that people might sometimes disagree with you for good reasons, rather than because of their political and religious beliefs?

            I have been following climate disputes for quite a long time and was involved in the similar population dispute a very long time ago. If you are curious about my views and would like something more than your imagination to base them on, you can find them by searching my blog with a suitable keyword.

    • John Schilling says:

      *Someone is going to say something about how misleading using 1998 as a start date is but this is from the perspective of a climate change skeptic.

      I’ve been tracking this for several years, and my only concern with using 1998 as a start date is consistency. 1997-1998 and 2015-2016 are both classified as Very Strong El Nino Events, a rare and significant enough thing that it could justify discarding them as outliers in observing long-term climate trends. But both or neither, not just the one that favors your interpretation

      When I run the statistics including both VSEN envents, I get a statistically significant hiatus(*) from 2002-present. Throwing out both VSEN events, statistically significant from 2004-present. 2016-2017 was a weak La Nina, so if this year is as hot as 2016, that may be a significant change.

      * “Hiatus” meaning reversion to ~1.4C sensitivity, not a literally flat temperature profile.

      • Wrong Species says:

        2016-2017 was a weak La Nina, so if this year is as hot as 2016, that may be a significant change.

        Right. The evidence seems to be pointing to 2017 being above the 2002-2014 temperatures. I wouldn’t say anything definite but it’s does look like the pause is over.

        • Wrong Species says:

          For some reason I can’t edit above but what I mean is that although 2017 doesn’t look as hot as 2016, it still has significance by being above 2002-2014.

          • John Schilling says:

            2002-2014 is characterized by a slow warming trend with a sensitivity of ~1C, which is far enough below the IPCC consensus that “hiatus” or “pause” is a reasonable colloquialism, but not a literal cessation of all climate change. For any not-ridiculously-oversimplified understanding(*) of the pause, the expected result is always for next year to be the Hottest Year Ever (modulo noise). How much hotter is critical. Another year of 2016-hot would be significant; 2017-hot will probably not be itself but may start a new trend for non-VSEN years.

            * Approximately all real people, on both sides of the debate, will have a ridiculously oversimplified understanding of the issues.

          • Wrong Species says:

            This is where we were as of two years ago. The argument was that since temperatures were above the trend line then the pause never happened. But it didn’t a particularly discerning eye to notice that the reason it was above trend was because the 90’s had a particularly strong global warming and the time since then was sort of coasting off that. My thinking was that if temperatures didn’t increase soon, then they would be below the trend line and that global warming wasn’t as much of a problem as it was made out to be. 2015-2016 were particularly hot but that was an anomaly caused by El Niño. But if 2017 is quite a bit hotter than 2002-2014, then that means the trend line continues. Temperatures are continuing at the same pace as they have been which weakens the case for global warming skepticism. Again, it’s early and I’m not saying it’s settled. But if the trend continues for the next few years, it’s going to be harder to believe there is a pause.

          • But if the trend continues for the next few years, it’s going to be harder to believe there is a pause.

            But not harder to believe that there was a pause at the beginning of this century. The pause was not predicted, hence is evidence that the models were not as good as claimed.

            In any case, everyone agrees that there was a striking pause in global warming. For about thirty years, starting in 1944.

          • Wrong Species says:

            @David

            Sure, we can say that there was a pause, in that for 12 years, global temperatures were mostly in the same range. But just as a single year can be incredibly noisy, focusing on that 12 year period is myopic. Maybe the models didn’t predict that exact pause. But it’s all about the long run. The only thing that matters is the trend and it’s not looking good.

            I’m pretty skeptical about your claim that the evidence is against the models. Climate skeptics were pointing to graphs like this showing that models predicted, within 95% certainty, that global temperatures were going to go within a certain range. And the global temperatures, before 2015, were showing that temperatures were close to exiting that range but hadn’t done so. Now temperatures have risen so it looks like the models were proven right in the nick of time.

  20. Mark says:

    If xenophobia exists, then xenophobia is entirely rational. It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy.

    I mean, xenophobia *does* exist – there are a load of racists out there – so I should be xenophobic too. If there are people out there who hate/fear me, I damn well better fear them.

    The only solution is to stop other people from being outsiders, to stop emphasising the differences. That’s why SJWs are bad, IMO.

    And if people are racist, that is an excellent reason to reduce immigration.

    Anyway, I think the whole thing about terrorism is pretty silly. The real problem is having people who are different to you in close proximity which could end up in a massive sectarian conflict. The terrorism is just a marker of difference.

    • beleester says:

      That argument is only true if there are no other costs to xenophobia. If it leads you to do silly things like put a giant wall along the length of your border, it’s a bad idea.

      Although your line about “stop emphasizing the differences” leads me to believe that you’re supporting something more moderate – just letting people assimilate naturally – and I’m totally fine with that.

      • Mark says:

        I suppose you will always have to have a cost benefit analysis of any measure, but one of the costs of immigration should be the danger of sectarian conflict. The more racist and xenophobic your society becomes the more likely that danger is.

        The kings of the world seem to assume that xenophobia is just so retarded that it’ll disappear and doesn’t need to be considered as a potential cost of immigration.

        Or they believe that xenophobes will be crushed. Which seems likely, to me, to enflame the situation.

        (You can see this in any debate on immigration where pro-immigration people seem to think that indigenous racism is an argument *for* immigration.)

      • Anonymous says:

        If it leads you to do silly things like put a giant wall along the length of your border, it’s a bad idea.

        Good fences make good neighbours.

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        > If it leads you to do silly things like put a giant wall along the length of your border, it’s a bad idea.

        I’m curious if other countries’ border walls and fences are “silly,” or just the one proposed in the United States? And are the hundreds of miles of border walls and fences that already exist and have existed for years also “silly”? Along those lines, what is the threshold at which border enforcement stops becoming sensible and starts becoming “silly”?

    • hoghoghoghoghog says:

      Your xenophobia argument hinges on using the word “xenophobia” in three different ways:
      (1) fear of different sorts of people as a matter of disposition
      (2) fear of different sorts of people as a rule of thumb or principle
      (3) rational fear, that happens to be attached to a different sort of people.
      Your argument successfully shows that if other people are type-1 or type-2 xenophobes then you should fear them, which makes you a type-3 xenophobe. It does not justify type-2 xenophobia, EDIT: which is what would be needed to make it self-fulfilling.

      • Mark says:

        Why wouldn’t it be a sensible rule of thumb to fear outsiders if most experience demonstrated that they would hate me?

        (An outsider needed refer to an immigrant, or any other particular group – it’s a state of mind. A group of people who are not with you. You don’t identify with them, and they don’t identify with you.)

        • hoghoghoghoghog says:

          I can imagine situations where type-2 is better than type-3, and in that case we would have a vicious cycle on our hands.

          But a situation like that would be pretty weird: you would need it to be true that (a) most outsiders really are out to get you, (b) you have very little information (so you can’t distinguish between different individuals or even between different groups of outsiders), and (c) whoever defects first gets a big advantage, so Nancy’s strategy doesn’t work.

          • Mark says:

            So, the argument is that xenophobia as a rule of thumb (ROTX) isn’t justified in the same way as rational xenophobia is.

            You view ROTX as a kind of cognitive bias. Well, I’d say that there have been excellent reasons for ROTX to develop as a cultural practice. Never mind the specific outsiders we encounter, look at the history of outsiders. It’s certainly common for differentiated groups to conflict.

            In order for my original argument to be true, it isn’t even necessary for ROTX to be justified rationally. It’s necessary for a tendency to xenophobia to exist.
            In fact, it isn’t even necessary for it to exist. It’s necessary for it to be probable that it does.

            I think your distinction about the ways in which xenophobia might be motivated isn’t actually particularly relevant to the argument I am making.
            I’m not saying that irrationally motivated xenophobia must also be motivated by rationality. The division of Xenophobia up into groups (1), (2) and (3), which must each be considered as separate entities, isn’t useful, since the motivation for a group’s hatred of me is less important than the fact of it.
            “Ah ha, this isn’t a vicious circle because group A hates you irrationally, and you hate them rationally!”

            Take the irrational hatred as the starting point (“If xenopobia exists”)

            So, in my original argument, I’m not saying that all xenophobia must be motivated by rational consideration, I’m saying that if xenophobia is likely (for whatever reason) then xenophobia can also be rationally justified.

      • Anonymous says:

        Any type of xenophobia is adaptive. In a game theoretic environment where actors are distinguished by strategy and a tribal marker, ethnocentrism will be the optimal strategy.

        There are four possible strategies that take into regard tribal markers:
        – Cooperate with everyone: Universalist.
        – Cooperate with those marked like you, defect against others: Ethnocentrist.
        – Defect against everyone: Criminal.
        – Cooperate with those not marked like you, defect against those marked like you: Traitor.

        Both universalism and ethnocentrism are good strategies, as opposed to crime and treason. In the long term, ethnocentrism wins against universalism, because of the marginal profits from interactions with foreign universalists and traitors.

        • Nancy Lebovitz says:

          Cooperating with strangers until/unless they defect has its advantages.

          I have a notion that living in cities gave a genetic advantage to people who could tolerate living with strangers. I’m not talking about absolute fairness or Social Justice standards. I’m talking about being reasonably comfortable around strangers even if you thought they were wrong/ridiculous/not quite as trustworthy as your own people.

          If I can believe the way some separatists talk, they’re *miserable* around outsiders.

          What if this is a real genetic difference with a lot of people on both sides?

          • birdboy2000 says:

            One major issue with this idea is that cities spent most of their history (until the 19th century, IIRC) as unhealthy population sinks replenished by continual migration from the countryside. Hard to see anything too genetically distinct developing in that context.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Fair point, but people in cities were still having children.

          • Anonymous says:

            unhealthy population sinks replenished by continual migration from the countryside

            They still are.

  21. Kevin C. says:

    Presented for the sheer WTF factor: “Ex-Comedian Michael Portnoy on How Performance Art Can Exorcise Your Alt-Right Demons

    His latest work, Progressive Touch—Total Body Language Reprogramming (2017), was performed in Berlin for 20 viewers, one spectator at a time. The performance required that each subject be a white male. The subject would then be escorted to an undisclosed location. Once there, the subject would strip down naked. Portnoy and collaborator Lily McMenamy would then sing directly into the participant’s pubic bone for 45 minutes in order to reprogram “the corrupted source code of the white male.”

    For the show at KW, the idea was to use the method to reboot the corrupted source code of the white male. Research in neurolinguistics has shown that every mental construct has a unique rhythmic profile.

    Directing sound into the pubic bone, which is the loudest resonator in the human body, causes the top of the cervical spine to pulse into the base of the skull at a frequency, which interferes with the rhythm of electrical pulses between neurons. Progressive Touch—TBLR overloads the particular circuits responsible for certain ingrained behaviors and attitudes—in this case prejudice, privilege, racism, and sexism—by flooding the system with overly complex and unpredictable vocal rhythms, similar to those of progressive rock.

    • Loquat says:

      It seems awfully inefficient to sing into white male crotches one at a time. Clearly, they need to record their 45-minute reprogramming song and sell it, with instructions and possibly some sort of custom speaker stand you can use to make sure the sound hits your pubic bone at the right angle.

    • Well... says:

      Hey, not all progressive rock is overly complex and unpredictable! And, not all overly complex and unpredictable rock music is prog rock!

      I kinda wonder what prog rock the writer had in mind.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      Can it work the opposite way? Do we need to be worried about the alt right using hate sounds to crotch-blast progressives, turning them into frothing Nazis?

      • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

        So that was Milo’s sinister plan all along…

      • Nornagest says:

        That sounds like the plot to a ’70s exploitation movie.

      • Well... says:

        The All Trite treats it as a foregone conclusion that white people are incapable of crotch-blasting of any kind. Thus, lots of effort is put into complaining about “white genocide,” comparatively zero effort into convincing white people to have more kids.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          Oh God, please don’t make me steelman “white genocide.” Ugh. I believe as presented WG is essentially a different kind of structural racism. The “system” decreases white birthrates through things like feminism delaying marriage, student loans/high mortgage payments making the white middle class unable to afford more children, all the while taxing them to provide handouts to imported, high-fertility non-whites. If that’s your worldview, telling whites “go have more kids” doesn’t fix the problem because the problem is structural.

          ETA: Also, there do exist “have white babies” memes, as well as counter-memes from anti alt-right people that the alt-right is virgin neckbears in their mother’s basements posting angrily on the internet about white genocide while their sisters are out banging black dudes.

          • Well... says:

            (My comment was meant to have a somewhat tongue in cheek flavor; nevertheless…)

            I understand, but this is kinda my point: all these ways the “system” is claimed to be decreasing white birthrates–feminism delaying marriage, student loans, high mortgage payments, etc.–only have teeth because of the fact that white people apparently prioritize having fun independent lifestyles/disposable money/big houses/big TVs/smartphones/etc. over having lots of descendants.

            Penniless Guatemalan immigrants are having tons of kids, so “I can’t afford to have kids” isn’t really valid unless you add to the end of it “after I’ve paid for all the other stuff I care about even more, but which isn’t helping me win any demographic wars.”

            I think I mentioned this before, but although I spent 5 years patronizing All Trite websites I never hung around Fortch Ann, which is where I suspect these “have white babies” memes must have been, because I never saw them; they don’t seem to have been adopted as part of the program by any of the more prominent All Trite voices. I also never saw the counter-memes, but I find their accusations plausible.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Again, steelmanning, the term “genocide” implies something done to a people, not done by them. So the response would be that these forces are imposed from outside. So the reason white people are prioritizing the material things or having fun over family is because of TV/media/culture brainwashing or indoctrination through the educational system. The penniless Guatemalan immigrants are not exposed to such memes.

            As a Catholic I kind of sympathize, because yes I very much subscribe to Pope JPII’s “Culture of Death” critique of the western world. Obviously if you banish spiritual discourse from public life and replace it with crass materialism, abortion, casual sex, etc you’re going to wind up with low birth rates. While that is going on among “whites,” my racially diverse Catholic church is full of families and children, and I feel more at home among fellow Catholics of any color than among white atheists or heretics Protestants.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            If neckbears are bears who use their long necks to reach prey in tree branches, they sound awesome and we should help them with their virginity problem, like pandas.

          • Nornagest says:

            @Conrad Honcho —

            Thank you. That’s the image I was itching to post but didn’t want to search for at work.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Conrad Honcho

            This is one of the things that really baffles me. To the All Trite (is this the new euphemism?), to white nationalists, etc, it’s as though white people are some kind of fragile endangered species. Like some kind of tree shrew, and a smog factory is about to destroy the forest glade where it lives, and there’s no way that tree shrew can possibly defend itself – while simultaneously talking up all the achievements over the centuries of Europeans. To get an image of white people as powerful and capable, you have to go to certain sorts of left-wing activists, the kind who often seem rather hostile to white people – being an evil oppressor is at least stronger than being a poor little bamboozled tree shrew.

          • Nornagest says:

            cf. the old joke about the Jew reading the Nazi papers.

            More seriously, I think victimhood is how you earn the moral high ground in the current political environment, and that’s so well established that all sides go to great and sometimes absurd lengths to paint themselves as victimized in all contexts, even if their explicit ideology enshrines power or independence or some other state that’s totally incompatible with it. And all without necessarily realizing they’re doing so. I’ve got enough of a hangover left from my college reading of Nietzsche that this bothers me, but it ain’t going away.

            Best illustrated in the case of MRAs vs. radfems, I think: there you have two sides that hate each other, pushing diametrically opposed goals, but each with almost exactly the same narrative as applied to its ingroup.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @dndnrsn

            I think that’s the argument. The time dimension. Europeans were the powerful, conquering explorers and now they’re hating themselves and losing power and numbers in their own lands. So you’re not really providing a contradiction because both things are true in different time periods.

            Epistemic status: my own massively religiously biased point of view. I don’t disagree that Europeans were vastly stronger and that their societies are now decaying, but I think the confounder is religious faith and not racial ideology. When your people abandon God, God abandons you. Of course I would think this, as I view the world through a theological lens. This is entirely my own bias, but if you want to save the west, embrace Christianity, not “the white race.”

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Conrad Honcho:

            I think that’s the argument. The time dimension. Europeans were the powerful, conquering explorers and now they’re hating themselves and losing power and numbers in their own lands. So you’re not really providing a contradiction because both things are true in different time periods.

            A key part of their thinking seems to be that white people are simultaneously still the heirs to all that and somehow tricked into suicide. It just feels to me like someone is pointing at a struggling corporation and saying “it deserves not to struggle.” Also, see below.

            Epistemic status: my own massively religiously biased point of view. I don’t disagree that Europeans were vastly stronger and that their societies are now decaying, but I think the confounder is religious faith and not racial ideology. When your people abandon God, God abandons you. Of course I would think this, as I view the world through a theological lens. This is entirely my own bias, but if you want to save the west, embrace Christianity, not “the white race.”

            I am not religious, but I studied it, and a de-supernaturalized version of this seems broadly correct. Religion appears to be a factor in birth rates (the groups worldwide with the highest birth rates tend to be among the most religiously observant), and other things that correlate with low birth rates correlate with a loss of religiosity: urbanization and social liberalism, for starters.

            Where the “white genocide” folks seem to be factually and provably wrong is that they are, first, modelling this as something happening only to white people, and second, appear to be modelling it at least partly as though it’s a conspiracy. The first bit is just trivially incorrect: in the US, Hispanic birth rate is barely above replacement rate, and after that, below replacement rate, in descending order: black people, white people, Asians, Native Americans (is that still the correct term?)

            This ties into the second bit: if it was a conspiracy, you’d think those sneaky conspirators would be able to target their birth-rate-lowering lasers or whatever more selectively. General historical trends appear to be enough to explain what is going on – to go further afield, you can see a clear correlation between type and duration of education of girls in Africa and the number of kids they have – the sort of K-12 education that kids get in the developed world makes birth rates go down significantly. Further disproving the notion of conspiracy, the group that is most often identified in far-right conspiracy theories as the conspirators has (at least in the US) a very high rate of outmarriage, and a fairly low birth rate (except the most religiously observant! Extra points!)

            It seems fundamentally weird to model this as a conspiracy against white people, when one could just as easily model it as a conspiracy against several other groups, and it makes the most sense to just model it as something that’s happening without anyone really intending it to, beyond a few attempts in developing countries to push birth rates down.

          • Nornagest says:

            Native Americans (is that still the correct term?)

            Think so. “First Nations” is common in Canada, and I’ve seen a couple of Tumblr types use it re: the US, but I don’t think it’s caught on in the wild yet.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Nornagest

            According to Wikipedia, at least, “First Nations” is a technical term; all First Nations people are Aboriginal but not all Aboriginal people are First Nations.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            I assume you’d be taking your life into your own hands if you asked what we should call the previous waves of migration which were pushed aside or wiped out by the groups now known as the First Nations.

          • onyomi says:

            I really hope “first nations” doesn’t catch on in the US, but only because it doesn’t make grammatical sense to me. Seems like it should be “first nationers” or something. Actually “aborigine” means exactly what “first nations” seems to gesture toward, but I’m assuming the euphemism treadmill doesn’t allow us to use a word that makes sense.

            Related, someone posted a meme meant to defend singular use of “they” by pointing out that, hundreds of years ago, people complained about the singular “you” replacing “thou.”

            My silent response was, “Yeah! That really sucks! Now, instead of having a standard, one-syllable 2nd person plural we have to pick between ‘y’all,’ ‘you all,’ ‘youse guys,’ etc. etc.” (Being from the South ‘y’all’ is my personal preference, and also has the advantage of being one syllable, but none of these are suited for formal writing).

            *Before you accuse me of harboring anti-Inuit beliefs and motivations, know that the Subway slogan “eat fresh” drives me crazy too. “Zombie: Eat Flesh,” however, is a good Hallowe’en slogan.

          • Matt M says:

            I moved to Texas last year and became a quick and enthusiastic adapter of ya’ll!

        • Randy M says:

          Is this a variant of “If my opponent really cared about X, he would show it by Y, thus X is not worth considering”?
          If Al Gore really believed Climate Change was a problem, he wouldn’t have such a big mansion or fly so much.
          If Christians really cared about poor children living, they would vote for welfare instead of opposing abortion.
          If you the right really cared about marriage, they’d be against divorce, not gay marriage.
          If liberals really wanted higher taxes, they’d write a check for extra instead of taking deductions.

          Is this recognized as a fallacy, or at least facile? It’s not outright wrong to bring up other actions that look hypocritical, but one must consider alternatives, like that the activist is trying to coordinate actions that only have effects in large scale, trying to devote their effort to where it will do the most good, or where the battle of the moment is.
          Less charitably, they may find whining easier than actually making sacrifices. But that doesn’t mean the whining is necessarily without merit.

          • Well... says:

            I’m aware of this fallacy. I don’t think I’m falling into it:

            The All Trite does plenty of work that seems aimed at convincing white people of things, so I know they think it’s possible and worthwhile to try.

            Now, priors: white TFT is declining; the character of society is largely determined by the genetics of the members of that society; it is desirable that our future society be whiter, genetically, than current trajectories suggest it will be; massacring all nonwhites is not a desirable or practical course of action.

            What else could possibly be more important, if you wholeheartedly agree with all the above priors, than trying to convince white people to prioritize having more white babies over other stuff white people might prefer to do?

  22. Kevin C. says:

    Does anyone here have any thoughts on Amazon buying Whole Foods?

    • The Nybbler says:

      I expect they’ll spin it off again in about 2 years.

    • Nornagest says:

      At first glance they’re bad partners: Amazon’s strongest with high-volume low-margin downmarket stuff, and Whole Foods is the opposite of that. Whole Foods could plausibly benefit from a better-developed distribution network, but aside from that they bring nothing to each other, not even market power since Amazon is not plausibly competing with Whole Foods’ competitors and vice versa.

      But I’ve seen some speculation that Amazon’s planning this as a testbed for its planned uber-turbo-self-checkout++ technology (go to store, grab stuff off shelves, walk out as if shoplifting; your phone and an array of software that probably has less to do with machine learning than the press release says tallies up your bill and charges your Amazon account). And from that perspective Whole Foods does make a lot of sense: it’s low-volume and high-margin, so maximizes the take relative to system stress; it targets demographics that probably don’t cause a lot of shrink, giving Amazon time to work out the security angle before it turns into a disaster; and it tends to be located in cities where labor is expensive, again making it more profitable.

      If so, it’s a big bet, though.

    • Nancy Lebovitz says:

      I was surprised that Whole Foods was in bad enough shape for this to happen.

    • Wrong Species says:

      Amazon has been trying to break in to the grocery business for quite a while. This is an excellent way to fix that deficiency. Not only that but they can also use it to promote their Amazon business in general. Amazon is big enough that they could coast off their size and still make an enormous profit but they’re still innovating more than anyone else. Zuckerberg and Musk have more name recognition but Bezos is probably the most shrewd businessman of our time.

    • Brad says:

      Niether make any money, so they have that in common. But Amazon continues to have strong growth while Whole Foods has been stalled for a while. And in terms of potentially making money, Amazon’s strongest business is in e-services which is high margin, while Whole Foods is in the notoriously low margin grocery business. Seems like an odd match.

      • Aapje says:

        @Brad

        One of the biggest costs for Amazon is delivery and delivery costs reduce greatly when scaling up. The cost per delivery is less if you deliver 5 packages in the same street every day vs 1 package in that street every day. If the future is that most people will get their groceries delivered, that gives a very high & consistent amount of daily deliveries. It seems to me that it can be very cheap to take advantage of that by sending other goods along with those deliveries.

        Of course, the question is whether Whole Foods is the best option for that, but I don’t think that Amazon can afford to acquire Walmart.

        PS. Isn’t Whole Foods in relatively high margin compared to ALDI/Walmart/etc?

        • Brad says:

          I believe Aldi is also relatively high margin as compared to smaller chains for the same reason as WF, strong store branded sales. Walmart isn’t really in the same business, or at least it is only a small part of their business.

          But my point is that relatively high operating margin for the grocery business is still not in the same ballpark as something like AWS. But I guess Bezos doesn’t see AWS as the core of his business, while I do.

          The delivery point is a good one.

          • gbdub says:

            Delivery could be it – Amazon has been pushing Prime Now, which I’ve used and works great, but I can’t imagine the volume is working all that well – you have to have contracted drivers on call just for Now service, so you want to keep them busy. There are very few things in Amazon’s core products that really need to be delivered right this second. The one time I used it, I ordered paper towels because I was out and didn’t feel like driving to the store, and also there was a movie where the Blue Ray delivered via Prime Now was actually the cheapest way to get it for watching that night.

            But add Whole Foods prepared foods and fresh groceries? Now that looks like something I might use at least a couple times a month.

    • AKL says:

      Ben Thompson at Stratechery argues that Amazon sees Whole Foods as a captive customer, not as a profit center. By using their pre-existing logistics infrastructure to supply Whole Foods with inventory, Amazon gets a revenue neutral way to “figure out” the back end of the grocery business while simultaneously learning about / experimenting with the customer facing “front end.” This mirrors the Amazon approach with AWS, where Amazon’s retail business was the first customer and funded the development of a platform that could be rolled out more broadly once it reached a certain level of maturity. It seems like this is the pattern in shipping too; would anyone be surprised if Amazon was directly competing with UPS / Fedex in the near future?

      In the short to intermediate run I expect the share price of restaurant suppliers / food distributors (Aramark, Sysco, etc.) to tumble, but do not expect big changes to Whole Foods itself. Probably we’ll see some experimentation on the margins, but not a transformation of the existing business.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        AWS still looks to me like an internal tool that was turned into a product, rather than intentional.

        • Machina ex Deus says:

          I’ve heard that they actually had to apply pressure to a lot of internal products/services to move onto AWS, even after it was available to the public.

          Now that my buddy Mark Schwartz is going to be working at AWS, I’ll ask him about it.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            That could true at the same time.

            It’s just that the interface for AWS always has had a “skunkworks” feel to me, the way it would if you had something really useful internally, with a “kinda there” interface, and then you did enough to make it a product.

          • skef says:

            The overall AWS system was a somewhat aspirational take on the internal tools at the time. Basically, there was already an internal system to abstract away the server/services connection (beyond just having virtual *servers*), that had some adoption. AWS started as roughly where they thought everyone should ideally be a few years out, and went from there.

            (This is based on a) my working in the group that made tools to allocate servers while AWS was in development and b) my subsequent understanding of AWS.)

  23. Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Elon Musk vs. competition— who will win?

    Mostly about how it makes sense to try to start a monopoly because you lose too much of your returns if you’re competing.

    I’m not sure I want to live in a world where no one thinks it’s worthwhile to start a restaurant, but it was still a moderately interesting speech.

    • knownastron says:

      I can’t view the video due to my current location banning YouTube (can’t be bothered to turn on my VPN). But from what I gather this sounds exactly like Peter Thiel’s idea on competition vs. monopoly, which he lays out in his book Zero to One. Highly recommend reading that book if you haven’t already.

      Musk and Thiel are trying to push the marginal entrepreneur into creating a difference-making monopoly rather than the default entry into a competitive space that is already well served. Businesses become monopolies because they solve hard problems that no one else is able to do. I think this is the crux of their argument. They want people to “think big” and attempt to solve hard problems that will make a difference in this world.

  24. hoghoghoghoghog says:

    Suppose two people are arguing about policy, but person A thinks that fewer people/entities are morally considerable than person B. Usually they just squawk at each other. If they want to get along they usually settle on the least common denominator, namely A’s ethical system. That’s better than squawking, but it is still not good, since it results in B mis-representing their own beliefs.

    For example, many people think that foetuses are morally considerable. In order to talk to people who don’t think that, they need to appeal to ways in which not treating foetuses as considerable hurts people who have already been born (I think this is what culture of life rhetoric as used by George Bush is about). But this is much weaker than their actual case.

    I frequently hear animal cruelty laws justified by “being cruel to animals might make you cruel to humans, or indicate that you are cruel to humans, and should therefore be illegal”. That strikes me as a weak argument and an awfully slippery slope (should we outlaw violence in games as well?). Luckily no one actually thinks this – the people who favor animal cruelty laws believe that certain classes of animals are morally considerable. It would be better if they said what they actually think.

    • beleester says:

      Would it really be stronger? If the animal rights activist says “I think animals have moral worth,” and the other guy says “Well, I think they don’t,” then the argument just sorta… shuts down. Neither of them has a chain of reasoning to attack, they just have opposing moral axioms. Logic doesn’t get you anywhere if you’re starting from different premises.

      So if you want to keep arguing, your only option is to try a different angle – “Even if you think animals don’t have moral worth, you should still oppose animal cruelty because…”

      • Jordan D. says:

        Yeah, this.

        I think hoghoghoghoghog is thinking of arguments as a method of discerning truth, where if one person thinks animals are moral actors and the other doesn’t, they should discuss that because it’s the point where they really disagree with each other. But more frequently, arguments are made to persuade instead of discern- and if I can convince the other person that cruelty to animals offends some other belief they hold, then I win just as much as if I’d convinced him that animals are moral actors.

      • AnonYEmous says:

        yes, but do note that doing this is douchey and manipulative.

        Why not try and ask him what he bases “moral worth” on?

        • gbdub says:

          Why is it douchey and manipulative to frame a debate in terms of what your partner cares about? If you can both find reasons to care about the same thing, that sounds like a win-win.

          • Jiro says:

            Suppose I own a slave and I want the slave to obey me. I can appeal to what he cares about and say something like “If you, a slave, obey the orders of your master, your master will get indolent and lazy. Because you wish to cause harm to your master, you should obey your master for your own preferences.”

            It’s concern trolling (if deliberate) or usually motivated reasoning (if not deliberate), as discussed in previous SSC posts.

        • beleester says:

          “I give animals moral worth because they can feel pain,” says the animal rights activist.

          “Cool,” says the other guy. “But I don’t care, because I think only humans have moral worth.”

          You’re still stalled out. They’re axioms – they don’t have a reason beyond “That’s what I think is right.”

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        I’m less pessimistic, because people don’t really have moral axioms. They have moral evidence (how they feel about particular cases) and moral theories to fit that evidence. You can present them with moral evidence – for example if someone thinks dogs aren’t morally considerable you can show them Air Bud (of course true stories are a lot better than movies if you aren’t just trying to manipulate.)

  25. Well... says:

    Why is there a widespread taboo against adult men wearing clip-on ties but not a similarly widespread taboo against cars with automatic transmissions–even back when automatic transmissions were consistently less efficient and more likely to break than manual transmissions?

    • skef says:

      Ties are almost entirely a status thing. Why wear a clip-on tie instead of not wearing a tie? (Or, to put the point more narrowly, why not wear the clip-on tie in situations that for whatever reason call for a tie and just not give a crap about the taboo?)

      There’s nothing to wearing a tie beyond “you’re supposed to wear a tie”.

      • Well... says:

        Ties are almost entirely a status thing.

        I disagree. Sometimes they just complete an outfit.

        Or maybe that was your point when you said

        There’s nothing to wearing a tie beyond “you’re supposed to wear a tie”.

        …in which case I’m not sure I understand your point.

        • skef says:

          I disagree. Sometimes they just complete an outfit.

          What does and does not constitute an “outfit” for American men is an absurdly constrained category. One dominated by a style that makes any sub-spherical and vaguely symmetrical guy look kind of the same as any other. There’s a much stronger “taboo” against straying from the category than there is against wearing a clip-on tie.

          If there were a social rule that everyone needs to carry a frobnitz with them when strolling, would it be at all surprising to hear that false-frobnitzes were considered tacky?

          • Well... says:

            I’m still not sure I agree. I often see guys with button-up collared shirts (top button open), and blazers over them, and no tie. And that’s been a look for a while, I’m pretty sure.

          • skef says:

            How do you feel about someone who has never owned a suit or blazer?

          • skef says:

            I suppose that’s part of the point.

            Look, we live in a culture where if the thing you put on over your shirt is not made of the same stuff as your pants, it occupies an entirely separate ontological category as it would if it were made of the same stuff as your pants. And choosing one of these categories over another is treated with some significance. So sure, it’s not a uniform, where there are no choices. But the space of acceptable “choices” is … abstruse.

          • Well... says:

            I’m still not sure I understand, but that’s OK because AnonYEmous has given a great answer that I think makes sense. Read it and let me know if he’s basically saying the same thing you were trying to say. And if not, what he missed. (You could reply to him directly of course…)

          • skef says:

            His take on the car situation seems sort of arbitrary. Given how many car factors are wrapped up in class and more generally status, I don’t see why “car driving” would be separate. Don’t many Europeans see the U.S. automatic transmission thing as kind of lame?

            I agree with the general point about ties and class, but associating it with difficulty seems like a stretch. I would buy an explanation based on effort.

          • AnonYEmous says:

            I guess effort does play a large part in it. But the difference between that effort and the effort involved in operating a stick shift vehicle is that, back before automatic cars were invented, everyone who drove had to put in that effort, so it didn’t exactly mark you out as high-class. With that said, in this point in time said effort isn’t really expected – but like I said, at this point it’s mostly associated with truck drivers (and didn’t mention it earlier, but also vintage cars).

            Plus, I think there’s something high-class to putting in effort to look nice, but there’s nothing high-class to putting in effort to ensure that you reach your destination. If anything that seems a lot like “getting your hands dirty”.

            Also, I have no idea how Europeans feel about this subject so I can’t help there. Guess we’ll need some Europeans.

      • FacelessCraven says:

        @Well – “There’s nothing to wearing a tie beyond “you’re supposed to wear a tie”.”

        The pleasurable, soothing hint of strangulation?

        • The tie was a reasonable device for keeping you warm by sealing the shirt at the neck. It was made obsolete twice, once by elastics and once by central heating.

          It’s just taken a while for the custom to fade away.

          • bintchaos says:

            My sister is a Kappa…I can tell you what the kappas say.
            Clip on tie means job OR nerd.
            Windsor knot means much better job.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            central heating does not provide the pleasurable, soothing hint of strangulation. Elastics don’t really either, or alternately provide too much. Long may we wear our own brilliant noose.

    • Machina ex Deus says:

      Didn’t we just have a discussion here about how formal clothing almost seems designed to make fighting more difficult? Wearing a clip-on tie when everyone else has a strangling cord already around their neck is clearly cheating, and therefore looked down on.

      Also, Sipowicz.

      And hell, yes, I drive a stick to my job where I don’t wear a tie.

      • Well... says:

        I wasn’t part of that discussion so I’m not up to speed.

        I think ties might be designed to make it harder to undress, as a way to put women at ease. Doffing the hat removes the false appearance of height, making the man less imposing. In sum, a lot of Victorian stuff is a non-verbal way for men to tell women “Don’t worry, I’m not here to rape you.”

        • onyomi says:

          Yet a tie also sort of hangs there pointing at your penis, so like a lot of clothing, it simultaneously conceals and highlights some part of the body you can’t show in public (not so extreme as the codpiece, of course).

    • AnonYEmous says:

      Here is my two cents: wearing a tie denotates high class. Crucially, putting on a tie correctly is difficult, so doing it correctly means you’ve done it a lot of times, or been around people who taught you how to do it, which correlates well with high class. A clip-on tie lets any shmuck off the street walk in and pretend to high-class status. Can’t have that!

      But driving a car seems pretty class-less; if anything you could argue it’s fairly low class. Although the very poorest people can’t even afford a car, most can, and in fact many high-class people have a chaffeur; also, stick-shift is well associated with trucks and other working-class vehicles. But at worst it’s class-neutral and so no one cares. (Also, it’s way more convenient and has become much more widespread probably as a result – imagine if you had to re-tie a tie every 5 minutes or something? In that case clip-on ties, which in this analogy don’t have that problem, would probably be much more widespread).

    • Mark says:

      In my land, there is a taboo against men driving automatic cars.

      • Zodiac says:

        Same for mine.
        Seriously, when I said to my family I would rather drive an automatic car they looked at me with a mix of disapointment and disgust as if I just declared that I want to be a ballerina wearing a pink skirt.

        • Barely matters says:

          I get the same thing with both my car and motorcycle.
          Each of the groups seem to take pride in overcoming arbitrary barriers, and resents things that lower the barrier to entry.

          • psmith says:

            Each of the groups seem to take pride in overcoming arbitrary barriers, and resents things that lower the barrier to entry.

            I’m not sure that a group whose members don’t take pride in overcoming arbitrary barriers and resent things that lower the barriers to entry is actually a group in any non-trivial sense.

            What bike tho?

          • Barely matters says:

            You might have a point there. Although I can think of a lot of groups that are falling over themselves trying to become more accessible to a wider audience, I can’t think of too many examples where it works out very well for the original members.

            I’m on a Ninja right now and am looking at trading up for a little more power. Any time I even academically mention that the Africa Twin seems to be just killing it out there, or that a DCT would make city traffic a lot less of a pain in the ass, the old hardcores look at me like I just shot their dog. Though I think this is more that if someone wants to punk you, they’ll find something to claim superiority on, and a good old fashioned dick measuring over clutch control is nice low hanging fruit.

    • gbdub says:

      Tying a tie is not particularly difficult, except in the learning phase. And ties are part of the Serious Professional Male outfit. So wearing a clip-on indicates that the wearer is not the sort of person who wears ties, and has not even bothered to learn the fairly trivial skill needed to look like one, and is therefore not a Serious Professional Male.

      Meanwhile manual cars are (in the US) limited to mostly high performance vehicles, and therefore to people who really care about the experience and performance of driving. Driving an auto will definitely get you looked down on among Serious Driver circles, but that’s a much more limited niche than Serious Professionals.

      Even when manuals were common, they seemed to be chosen either for practicality (cheaper and better mileage, though neither seem to be as true anymore) or for the aspirational driver who wanted to pretend his Corolla was a Lamborghini.

      • Brad says:

        Has this changed at all now that regularly wearing a suit signifies upper middle class at best?

        • gbdub says:

          People wear suits less, so maybe? As an engineer we basically only “suit up” for big presentations to customers, but you’re still expected to have the skill to credibly do so when called. Then again the worst you’d get for a clip on would be gentle ribbing.

          I’d have to ask someone who still wears suits everyday – I was taking the OP’s “stigma for wearing a clip on” as a given.

        • onyomi says:

          This is highly regional, though. South is more formal than East Coast, which is more formal than West Coast.

      • rlms says:

        This possibly predicts that bow ties will overtake regular ones as status symbols.

      • random832 says:

        They’re probably not better mileage anymore, with all the work that’s been put into fancy automatic transmissions, but from what I can find a manual (for cars that still have the option) is still typically about $1000 cheaper than an automatic.

        • Nancy Lebovitz says:

          Would you expect a manual to have lower repair costs in the long run?

          • random832 says:

            My guess would be that that depends on driving skill, since it’s easier/possible to screw up driving a manual in a way that damages the transmission or clutch.

            I don’t think that repair costs in the long run are the first thing on most people’s minds when they buy a car, though.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Would you expect a manual to have lower repair costs in the long run?

            Nowadays it might even be higher. Automatics are extremely reliable and will probably last the lifetime of the car, at least provided you change the fluid once in a while. The manual transmission itself is also quite reliable, but the clutch is an expensive wear item and the clutch hydraulics (though cheaper) also tend to fail in some cars.

          • Well... says:

            Repair costs are one of the first things on my mind when I buy a car. It’s why I won’t buy VWs–my wife had one and it was like 3x more expensive just to change the oil and do simple repairs on it, let alone when it needed serious work.

            It’s also why I wouldn’t buy a Mitsubishi or a Suzuki: they have reputations for falling apart quickly and needing lots of work.

            One of the reasons I like the Ford Ranger, even over other similar-sized/priced pickup trucks, is it is well-known for being easy/cheap to work on.

        • Machina ex Deus says:

          While we’re talking about stick-shifts:

          My manual transmission lets me shift out of gear without using the clutch, which is pretty standard, I think.

          The thing is, it also lets me shift into gear without using the clutch, as long as the RPMs match—i.e. given the road speed and engine speed, the RPMs don’t change just from being put into gear.

          “Aha!” says I, “Now I can make the pads on my clutch last forever!” My question: am I screwing up the dog teeth by doing this? If so, am I still saving money?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            I don’t know about today’s manual transmission, but I ruined a transmission 20 years ago doing that. The synchro gears are made to work too much and you chew them up.

          • skef says:

            HBC said, you’re likely not wearing down the gear teeth themselves as the synchronizer rings.

  26. Nancy Lebovitz says:

    The title of the thread has been corrected, but the url is 78-5.

  27. Guy in TN says:

    Against murderism was intriguing. I saw many parallels between the term “racism” and the term “terrorism”. They are both de-humanizing phrases that confuse cause and effect, and ignore all the non-murderist motivations behind the actions. This quote in particular:

    It’s a powerful tool of dehumanization. It’s not that other people have a different culture than you. It’s not that other people have different values than you. It’s not that other people have reasoned their way to different conclusions from you. And it’s not even that other people are honestly misinformed or ignorant, in a way that implies you might ever be honestly misinformed or ignorant about something. It’s that people who disagree with you are motivated by pure hatred, by an irrational mind-virus that causes them to reject every normal human value in favor of just wanting to hurt people who look different from them.

    This quote makes just as much sense to me for those who describe others as “terrorists” or as having “terrorist beliefs”. I’m sure there are other “murderist”-type words that are in the midst of our language, unnoticed. Very good to see this concept crystallized.

    However, I felt like the article deteriorated when it moved on to a discussion of liberalism. Scott’s assumption seems to be that we are, or at least have been, a liberal society that honors ideas such as free speech, non-violent resolution of differences, and shared values with your fellow man. And in Scott’s view, we are falling from grace from this liberal framework that has been keeping the social peace since the late 1700’s.

    But when has the U.S. (or any country) actually upheld the ideal of liberalism in practice? It seems to me that liberalism is largely a myth, or at least takes place only within a certain window of socially tolerated groups. For example, the U.S. certainly couldn’t have been said to uphold the value of non-violent tolerance in the slavery era (and if you want to argue that this era at least was “liberal” between landholding white males, then liberalism’s Civil-War-preventing attributes should be called into question). So in what era did the U.S. ever uphold the liberal ideal? The early 20th century saw people routinely jailed for espousing political beliefs that today would seem mundane. You could point to a brief period in the mid-20th century where the Democrats and Republicans were similar enough in beliefs that they seemed to form a truce, but this period only saw the guns of anti-liberalism pointed towards anyone on the outside (specifically against Communists and other leftists).

    You talk like we need to prevent a civil war, but what if the bombs are already going off all around you? We are not, nor have we ever been, a “voluntary society” (pardon the libertarian phrase), where we solve our differences only through rational discussion. If I told people what I really believed, I would lose my job, be blacklisted from much of my family, and possibly jailed and/or killed by the state. And it would have been just this same way in 1950, 1850, and beyond.

    But where does this illiberalism come from? The only reason Scott gives that a person would turn to illiberlaism, rejecting both the safety and liberty of the general public, is “dark irrational hated”. But surely there are other reasons one would turn to illiberalism. The most obvious reason would be to amass power for themselves. For instance, the creation of slavery is (from the slave owners perspective at least) neither a rejection of their personal liberty nor safety, nor based on irrational hatred. They simply need workers and they don’t like paying them, and since slaves can’t really fight back, it is an obvious win. By creating the institution of slavery, the slave owners broke the liberal contract all while upholding a perspective of rational self interest. You can apply this same logic to modern day people who are seeking power over others, in both the government and the private realm.

    To me, the more relevant question is what should you do once you realize that the violence is already part of the system, the war is already being waged, and any brief flashes of “liberalism” have largely been a truce between the major parties based on fear of mutually assured destruction. A defense of maintaining non-violence based on an ideal of liberalism seems like it’s too late, the train has already left the station. It’s a defense based on a reality that one wishes ought to be, rather than the world as it is. When I’m getting punched in the face, and I want to punch the guy back, the last things I want to hear is cries of “but our liberal project!”.

    • bintchaos says:

      A defense of maintaining non-violence based on an ideal of liberalism seems like it’s too late, the train has already left the station.

      yup, its a non-starter–
      The slasher is calling from inside the house.
      The violence is in our genes.

    • Mark says:

      Speak softly and carry a big stick?

    • You can model liberalism as something that can be used to solve specific problems, rather than something that is wholly present or wholly absent. We don’t usually think of the Roman Empire as liberal, but they did use liberalism to handle religion — worship whatever god you wish don’t bother anyone else.

      • Matt M says:

        Well, sometimes.

        Other times they were feeding people who worshiped the wrong gods to lions.

      • Guy in TN says:

        @TheAncientGeekAKA1Z

        I agree, it is good not to think of liberalism as a binary on/off concept. Liberalism does exist, but it is confined to certain social groups who’s views fall within the Overton Window. For those who exist outside, they don’t get to experience the truce of liberalism. So from their perspective, arguments that they just need to continue to play by the rules and maintain the system are suicidal.

        I know this is basically of the opposite of the idea of “be nice until you can coordinate meanness”, but I think that concept is on shakier ground when applied to fringe groups on the receiving end of violence, for whom large scale coordination is out of reach.

    • nimim.k.m. says:

      Principles of the civil liberties have never been perfectly, throughly implemented. If they were so commonplace and a standard of behavior that everyone really agreed about, nobody would have seen any point in arguing for them. But by keeping pushing for them, maybe we can keep the forces of the nasty kind of absence of them at bay.

      And while Western societies have never been perfectly ideally liberal (still in the classical sense of the word), often they have fared better than the even more illiberal ones (consider Russia, it seems that much of her problems today stem from the centuries of the system of serfdom that gave birth to a failed totalitarian project.)

      In the end, we all die, and the there’s no prize or award, just absence of consciousness. I’d rather be remembered for doing my best to argue against punching people in face (even if silly and futile) instead of not doing anything or even worse, punching people in face; that’s why I keep reading Scott’s blog and occasionally comment here. (If I’m remembered at all, but it’s the sentiment that counts.)

      edit.

      Apropos, speaking of classical liberalism, I recently read Treatise on Tolerance by Voltaire, which was quite interesting read. Today we could probably manage a much more improved arguments and rip the text into pieces, but it’s remarkable that Voltaire saw a point in writing such an essay on “the Occasion of the Death of Jean Calas”.

    • albatross11 says:

      [Speculation alert]

      Imagine a society where powerful people employ slaves routinely, because they’d rather not pay their laborers. It would be natural for a lot of people in that society to be very uncomfortable about this–how do I know you’re not going to be trying to take me or my kids as slaves next year, when you have that new sugar plantation filling up?

      Making very clear rules about who can and can’t be enslaved, with lots of surrounding justification and argument, probably helps keep the general population from being too worried about being enslaved. If the powerful people have gone to great lengths to ensure that slavery only applies to blacks, then poor / powerless whites will know that they have little to fear w.r.t. being enslaved. In a more-or-less democratic country, that probably mattered.

      • Gobbobobble says:

        Is that speculation or Roman history?

        • Matt M says:

          Might be in the bible, too?

        • It isn’t Roman history. Slavery wasn’t racial.

          If that was what you meant.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            Nah, I know that. Albatross only mentions race once, and if you replace it with something era-appropriate, the rest works reasonably well for ancient Roman slavery. At least close to well enough for the joke to work 🙂 I considered mentioning that but thought it would kill the joke.

    • ThirteenthLetter says:

      Pointing out illiberal situations in the past doesn’t actually prove what you think it does. Unless you’re going to insist that the level of tolerance in the United States is exactly the same right now as it was during, say, the Civil War, or slavery, or Wilson’s presidency, or McCarthyism, then all you’ve done is establish that things can get better or worse as time goes by. You certainly don’t have a contradiction for somebody who argues that things are getting worse right now.

  28. Eddy says:

    Apologies for making an exception of myself, but I feel this should be pretty uncontroversial point in response to ‘against murderism’

    Although there’s many valid points about usage of the word racism, rather than saying people are always confusing cause and effect, I think it’s more apt to say the word is ambiguous between a few different senses, and not all of them are reducible to motive.

    I think an alternative and legitimate definition is something along the lines of ‘unjustified differential treatment on the basis of race’ which can be either definition by consequence, or by action. Differential treatment can be unjust even if the act itself is totally fine, and that in some cases we need to appeal to counterfactuals to decide if an action is racist.

    Suppose a judge sentences a black man to 5 years for a crime, and suppose that this in fact is what the big ol’ book of sentencing prescribes, and that the judge honestly has no racist motive in doing so. Suppose however, that when the white defendant comes along, he only gets 2 years for the same crime, due to some unconscious bias or him ‘just seeming less likely to reoffend’ to the judge. I know there’s good reason to be sceptical of the data on unconscious bias, that’s not the point, the point is this differential treatment could aptly be described as racist even if the act (sentencing to 5 years) and the motives (giving the individual an appropriate punishment) are totally fine.

    What further complicates this picture is other ways this judge could come to this judgement. One of considerations in sentencing is how much the defendant has to lose. If the judge determined that the white person was going to lose their job and income, whereas the black person was unemployed, the judge might be more lenient on the basis of this punishment being harsher. But if the black person never had an equal chance to get such a job in the first place, again, this particular practice of taking into account what one has to lose could be considered unfair and in a sense, racist. It plausibly results in unjust differential treatment even if no-one intended it to and the writers of the law were committed egalitarians. To use the example in the post, what if it turned out that had the neighbourhood not been white, Bob and his co-workers would have ‘coincidentally’ campaigned a little bit harder to get extra funding? If this is the case, and we want to explain why the route got cut, ‘because racism’ seems to reveal something important as a partial explanation. Note: even if you think ‘because Bob is implicitly racist’ is a better explanation, we can always ask why Bob is implicitly racist, which will refer to his upbringing etc. which will be explained by the messages he received and the way society was set up for him to interact with black people, which could also plausibly be accounted for as ‘because racism’. It’s perhaps vaguer than many would like but the concept does track something that is explanatorily powerful.

    The problem with many counterfactuals is you can’t always prove what would be the case had things been different. You can only see the macro level patterns occurring – you have to look at all the Bobs with all their bus systems and see which neighbourhoods get to keep their routes. And this is just too high a bar to expect most people to do. I think the temptation here is to then say ‘Well we should control for all the other possible variables before concluding racism was a factor’ but in many cases that won’t be possible. I’m not saying this isn’t a reasonable position to take, I’m saying it’s inherently the easier position to defend regardless of whether there are confounds or not, and this should be taken into account when dealing with people who write about racism.

    • AnonYEmous says:

      . You can only see the macro level patterns occurring – you have to look at all the Bobs with all their bus systems and see which neighbourhoods get to keep their routes.

      But it’s also obvious that, because different races have different socioeconomic situations, and other differences (crime statistics, for one) that this type of analysis is going to lead to disaster. Witness the hilarity of disparate impact as a doctrine, for example.

    • Anonymous says:

      Suppose a judge sentences a black man to 5 years for a crime, and suppose that this in fact is what the big ol’ book of sentencing prescribes, and that the judge honestly has no racist motive in doing so. Suppose however, that when the white defendant comes along, he only gets 2 years for the same crime, due to some unconscious bias or him ‘just seeming less likely to reoffend’ to the judge. I know there’s good reason to be sceptical of the data on unconscious bias, that’s not the point, the point is this differential treatment could aptly be described as racist even if the act (sentencing to 5 years) and the motives (giving the individual an appropriate punishment) are totally fine.

      Is there any reason to believe that whites are given unjustified leniency? So far as I know, they aren’t.

      • Aapje says:

        It does seem that there is a racial bias, although it only hurts black men compared to white men. There is no significant racial gap between white and black women. Note that women get far more leniency compared to men, than white people compared to black people.

        So it’s much more accurate to state that there is a bias against men and then especially against black men, then to state that there is a bias against black people in general.

        Source

  29. HeelBearCub says:

    I found “murderism” to be mind numbingly awful. It primarily “preached to the choir”. Not only that, it signaled it would do so from the jump by starting off with a series of non-central examples of racism, and then trying to deduce the proper definition by only looking at non-central examples.

    Scott didn’t even try to seriously consider the arguments for concepts like structural racism, where essentially no-one need be motivated by racial animus today for the racism to persist. And yet equivocated between attacking racism as an individual action and structural racism.

    The chaff from all of the straw stings my eyes.

    ETA: and then the “hey guys don’t discuss this” … sheesh

    • AnonYEmous says:

      same actually

      like I said this topic is mind poison though, so it is what it is

    • Anonymous says:

      Scott didn’t even try to seriously consider the arguments for concepts like structural racism, where essentially no-one need be motivated by racial animus today for the racism to persist. And yet equivocated between attacking racism as an individual action and structural racism.

      I think that was much of his point: If no-one is motivated by racial animus, is it still “racism”? And his answer is “no”.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        That’s not an argument. Especially when it’s not even explicit.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m increasingly unsure what you mean.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Scott made no argument against the actual claims of structural bias, not even a poor one. Nor did he acknowledge that he was actually arguing against structural racism as a concept.

            He didn’t even acknowledge that the term “structural racism” exists.

          • Anonymous says:

            You mean, he didn’t acknowledge that the concept exists, right?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            I’m saying he tacitly argued against the concept, without acknowledging it’s explicit existence, and without giving the concept it’s correct definition, allowing him to argue against a straw man.

          • Anonymous says:

            I see. Thanks for the clarification.

          • AnonYEmous says:

            so question

            how can structural bias exist sans racial animus

            it seems like most of the answers are already-inflicted damage being compounded, but even then this is race-neutral and can be dealt with race-neutrally instead of invoking tribalism

    • bintchaos says:

      I was completely fooled. The mystery of the no comments, the noble aspirations…
      I thought it was a genuine attempt to model solutions to the polarization problem (where civil war is indeed one of the possible if not probabable outcomes), but instead its just more talk-therapy to try to get the tribes to get along.
      Epic waste of space-time.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        You aren’t modeling Scott correctly.

        Scott has noble aspirations, and he is trying to get “blue tribe” to change their behaviors (and thereby address polarization).

        I just think that that particular post is crap, rests on a very poor foundation, and fails to model the actual problem correctly. I also think that his internal model of “red tribe” is poor, as it is based primarily on the most intellectually rigorous members of “red tribe”.

        ETA: Plus, I don’t think he is all that motivated/interested in thinking very critically about the mainstream conservative movement. But he is motivated to think critically about the mainstream left. He applies his contrarian nature to things he finds interesting, which leads to some asymmetricness to his arguments.

        • bintchaos says:

          Getting the Blue Tribe to change their behavior is futile, because their behavior is a response to Red Tribe changes in behavior.
          Can I assume everyone here understands what a Nash equilibrium is?
          The Founders set up the Union to be a Nash equilibrium, I mean, not explicitly, but in the sense that compromise had a payoff. In the 90s the periodic equilibrium designed into the USG began to fail…in socio-physics terms, socio-entropic decay. A lot of factors were causal, but the greatest is the advent of internet and early forms of social media. We know its a periodic equilibrium because the system (as designed) gives control alternatively to the two camps. Now for a lot of reasons, driven by internet connectivity, globalism, social media, current events, the divergence of the two “tribes” (in complexity science we would say organisms instead of tribes) is accelerating. My hypoth is that Obama’s election was a trigger event, causing the rise of the Tea Party. But whatever the proximate cause was the Red Tribe changed game strategy to a 2person zerosum game, what I have explained as Iterated Sinner v Saint TfT. Now, the GOP isnt going to change its game strategy– they are winning. See Dr. A.’s post on that.
          So what is happening now is Blue Team is learning how to play Sinner TfT. And thats what all the whining is about — because all of a sudden the Blue Tribe isn’t playing “fair”.
          This is Dr. A.’s confirmation bias in action– the Blue Tribe (his tribe) should be more interested in compromise, in empathy, because of their orientation and shared ideology.

          • Thegnskald says:

            No. The right responded to Obama the way they did in reaction to a perceived violation of norms in the way the left responded to Bush, who in turn were reacting to a perceived violation of norms in the way Bill Clinton was attacked for sexual misconduct which shouldn’t have been, in their view, politically relevant, which in turn was the result of a shift in media policy and belief after Watergate, and so on and so forth.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            My hypoth is that Obama’s election was a trigger event, causing the rise of the Tea Party. But whatever the proximate cause was the Red Tribe changed game strategy to a 2person zerosum game

            How on earth do you go from noticing an internal conflict point straight into modeling the Red Tribe as a unified actor?

            Honestly, with all the discussion around here on the distinctions between liberals and leftists, it is baffling to me how few people acknowledge the massive intraconservative conflicts – I support better modelling of the various left-wing flavors, but then folk turn around and call the populist RINO we have in the white house emblematic of all republicans???

            Just look at To Understand Polarization, Understand Conservativism’s Failures. The GOP has been tearing itself apart for years now and are terrified of primary challengers. Modelling all conservative-leaning types as a single actor is a grave error.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Thegnskald
            No.
            Dr. A.’s post is incontrovertible evidence that conservatives are winning.
            Trump is the indisputable choice of the GOP base.
            The infiestimable fraction of the GOP that is “high information” did nothing to dissuade the base from voting for Trump.
            Running away like scalded cats or casting a protest vote for Johnson is not accepting responsibility.
            @Gobbobble
            That post is emblematic of the GOP’s success.
            Are you saying Trump isnt the avatar of the GOP base? You are delusional.
            There is a divide between the GOP establishment and the base, and a divide between the intellectual cadre and the base, but the base is undivided. And the GOP establishment is terrified of the base.

          • Thegnskald says:

            I have no idea who Dr A is, and I don’t care.

            Eight years ago the left (well, the Democrats, anyways) had “conclusively won”, and it would be thirty years before a Republican president was elected.

            O fortuna, velut Luna, statu variabilis.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Thegnskald
            Demographic shift is another thing driving the breakdown of the periodic equilibrium system designed by the Founders.
            Refusing to play the democracy game as designed is really the only option for Red Tribe.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            Dr. A.’s post is incontrovertible evidence that conservatives are winning.

            They might be winning elections but they sure as hell aren’t winning policy. (ETA: At least not the policy they campaign on)

            Trump is the indisputable choice of the GOP base.

            So 44.9% of a staggered vote where other candidates kept dropping out is an “indisputable choice” but 46.1% of a one-time contest is a gerrymandered scandal, got it.

            The fraction of the GOP that is “high information” did nothing to dissuade the base from voting for Trump.

            I guess NeverTrump was just some strange fever dream I had. The establishment ignored the threat for too long and squabbled amongst themselves until it was too late. That’s incompetence, not “doing nothing”.

            Running away like scalded cats or casting a protest vote for Johnson is not accepting responsibility.

            Responsibility for what, exactly? Not having a backroom machine that had already decided on their candidate?

            That post is emblematic of the GOP’s success.

            Again, elections are not policy. Winning elections but conspicuously failing at policy is why the base is in revolt.

            Are you saying Trump isnt the avatar of the GOP base? You are delusional.

            44.9% delusional, maybe.

          • bintchaos says:

            Dude.
            The establishment was terrified of the GOP base– thats why no vetting.
            Or maybe there was vetting but never aired because of the base.
            NeverTrump was a snowflake in the path of a flame thrower. And all those people vote with Trump now, even Kasich.
            One of my bigs is that public intellectuals and elected representatives have a responsibility to educate. Not a responsibility to pander.

            Winning elections but conspicuously failing at policy is why the base is in revolt.


            The GOP base isn’t in revolt…yet. GOP legislators are still voting straight Trump albeit with a “furrowed brow.”
            A win is a win.
            When the base revolts against Trump, maybe if AHCA gets passed and starts to really hurt Trumps core voting constituency– older sicker Americans– or when the Russia investigation starts airing on TV– then legislators will start moving away from Trump.
            Until then, nope, just brow-furrowing and hand-wringing and plausible deniability for the future.
            All happened before during Watergate.
            But this time we are in the internet accelerando– everything happens faster.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            The establishment was terrified of the GOP base

            I already said that so I don’t know what you’re expecting to prove.

            thats why no vetting.

            I have no idea what you’re on about. Trump got on the ballots fair and square, and then through a combination of pandering showmanship (populism) and oppositional divisiveness and incompetence he won the primary. Where does vetting come in to play?

            NeverTrump was a snowflake in the path of a flame thrower.

            Well yeah, I already said it was too little too late. Incompetence, not lack of desire.

            And all those people vote with Trump now, even Kasich.

            That is how the incentives in a two-party system work, yes. That’s what party whips are for. It’s a dogshit system but it’s not some great moral failing to try and work within it (remember: it’s the Tea Party wing who like to throw hold-the-govt-hostage tantrums instead of compromise). And I haven’t seen much of “voting with Trump” as “voting with the party and Trump acts like it was his idea all along”.

            One of my bigs is that public intellectuals and elected representatives have a responsibility to educate. Not a responsibility to pander.

            I don’t disagree and I’ve already repeatedly criticized Trump for being a populist. So again I don’t see what you’re trying to prove.

            My main point was that the “Red Tribe” is much more multifaceted (complex, even) than it’s been presented as.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Gobbobble

            My main point was that the “Red Tribe” is much more multifaceted (complex, even) than it’s been presented as


            Oh, but I completely agree with that statement.
            My position is that both tribes are complex and different, both phenotypically and neurotypically. And that they are aren’t competitive in a traditional survival-of-the-fittest sense, but are both part of a Cooperation Competition Paradigm that is in breakdown because of 21st century environmental changes.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Getting the Blue Tribe to change their behavior is futile, because their behavior is a response to Red Tribe changes in behavior.

            Republicans haven’t changed that much. 20 years ago they were opposed to abortion, opposed to gay marriage, for lower taxes and fewer regulations. Today they’re opposed to abortion, (less) opposed to gay marriage, for lower taxes and fewer regulations. It’s not like “white privilege is bad” and transgender bathrooms rules were handed down from Moses and only now in 2017 have the Republicans gone crazy and have suddenly come up with these bizarre ideas that whites aren’t inherently evil and people should go to the bathroom that matches their sexual organs.

            And if we’re doing the “who defected first” thing, how about the Immigration Act of 1965? The left realized they’d never get white America to vote for collectivism, so they decided to flood the country with ringers to vote for them. Seems a little like a defection there. What evil did the Reds do that prompted that response?

          • bintchaos says:

            Polarization is documented to have started in the mid 90s.
            I’m only interested in events starting from there.
            And I am talking about the original Nash equilibrium of the USG. In 2008 the GOP legislature united as obstructionist to the Obama gov, culminating in refusal to consider a supreme court nominee in the final year of his term.

          • Randy M says:

            @CH
            Wanting less and more of x are bad ways to track changing party positions; the counter could be made that 60 years ago, Democrats were pushing for more civil rights and more minority protection; never mind that the rights they want now were barely conceived of then.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            And I am talking about the original Nash equilibrium of the USG.

            What equilibrium? The original POTUS was firmly against political parties and we had an actual civil war.

            Any pre-90s equilibrium was much more of a post-war “me and brother against my cousin, me and my cousin against the world Soviets” deal than a structural design.

            Seriously, the fall of the Berlin Wall coinciding (with a bit of a delay to make sure the dust settled) with polarization is not a coincidence.

            Sometimes I feel like we’re living in the equivalent of the post-Punic Roman Republic: lacking a peer rival and having vastly outgrown what our political system was designed to handle, we’re going to devour ourselves until a Caesar comes along.

          • bintchaos says:

            It was a periodic equilibrium, in that power changed hands every election cycle or 2.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @bintchaos

            Polarization is documented to have started in the mid 90s.
            I’m only interested in events starting from there.
            And I am talking about the original Nash equilibrium of the USG.

            These three sentences don’t really go together. You only want to talk about stuff since the 1990s, but not 1965, but you’re talking about 1787-1789.

            It’s not particularly helpful, anyway. Both sides earnestly believe that the other side was the one who broke the faith.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            It was a periodic equilibrium, in that power changed hands every election cycle or 2.

            How’s that any different from now?

          • bintchaos says:

            @Conrad Honcho
            How do I talk about complex adaptive systems evolution over time then?
            How do I describe the inflection point in the 90s when the two sub-populations began to diverge?

          • bintchaos says:

            @Gobboble
            Establishment AND base.
            The only dissenters are the Red Tribe intellectual cohort, and they have either very publicly left the building or have been miraculously struck dumb on the issue.

            Because the periodicity won’t hold in the future when there is a liberal supermajority.

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            @CH: Interestingly, the 1965 immigration liberalization was kind of an accident, rather than leftist skullduggery: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2016/03/the_accidental.html

            (Although, if the left had simply won a majority and deliberately passed an immigration liberalization law, I don’t think that’s treachery. I mean, what if that were the utility-maximizing choice? Maybe the alternate universe leftists should also have given republicans 1.1 votes each to maintain the balance of power.)

          • Gobbobobble says:

            @bintchaos

            Disagree. If the base didn’t care about policy they wouldn’t have defenestrated the establishment when the Tea Party came along.

            when there is a liberal supermajority

            You can post school polls all you want, but I’m not convinced that this is a given.

          • bintchaos says:

            The base absolutely doesn’t care about policy or anything else except punching back.
            They voted for President Pussy-grabber.
            Read Hoschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land– the base votes for GOP candidates that are verifiably killing them.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            @bintchaos

            None of that is an alternate explanation for the success of the Tea Party over establishment GOP. If all the base cared about was winning elections, they’d support the incumbents with a track record of doing so, not throw them out on their asses because some schmucks with no previous public service experience were able to convince them they were the real conservatives.

          • bintchaos says:

            Get real…the only policy the Tea Party ever cared about was winning.
            Tea Party perception–the establishment GOP lost the election to a black man because they weren’t conservative enough– the same position the Pepe-le-Frogs advocate today with their cucking.

            I’m sorry…I need a time out to think…
            This isnt some noble forum for rational discourse…I’m not sure what it is…maybe a wildlife sanctuary for vanishing conservative ideologies?

          • Nornagest says:

            I think your model of the Red base could use some work.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Nornagast
            You do. not. know. what my model of the Red base is.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ bintchaos

            The base absolutely doesn’t care about policy or anything else except punching back…

            They voted for President Pussy-grabber…

            The base votes for GOP candidates that are verifiably killing them.

            What exactly do you expect this sort of rhetoric to accomplish? What are you trying to prove, and to whom?

            We may not know what your model Red base is, but we can see were it deviates from observed reality. For instance, If you ask the average Trump voter why they voted for Trump the answer is not going to be “I like the way he grabs pussy”.

          • bintchaos says:

            Oh, noes! I violated the kumbayah law of permitted interactions with conservatives for SSC!

            Read the book.
            https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/arlie-russell-hochschild/strangers-in-their-own-land/

            Sorry, I’m about to get snippy.
            I need some time to grieve.

          • Nornagest says:

            You do. not. know. what my model of the Red base is.

            You’ve been talking about it all thread. I suppose it’s conceivable that there’s something buried in your head to justify the rather simplistic stuff you’ve been saying about it, but that’s getting less plausible all the time.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            Get real…the only policy the Tea Party ever cared about was winning.

            That still is not an argument that the base doesn’t care about policy. The Tea Party may have only cared about winning (disputable, but setting that aside), but they won by arguing that they were better fighting for conservative policy than the incumbents.

            This isnt some noble forum for rational discourse…I’m not sure what it is…maybe a wildlife sanctuary for vanishing conservative ideologies?

            You should work on being less condescending. It is really trying my patience.

          • Polarization is documented to have started in the mid 90s.

            Earlier, when you made that claim, it was supported by the claim that a webbed graphic you had linked to showed the Republican median moving right from 1994 on. As some of us pointed out, that was not true. The graphic showed the Republican median moving left from 1994 to about 2004, then shifting to move right.

            You never explained why you misrepresented the graphic nor why it wasn’t evidence against the claim you have just repeated. That–not so much the initial false statement as the failure to respond to people pointing out that it was false, which you could easily check–was part of what made me conclude that you did not much care whether things you said were true.

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ Bintchaos

            Believe it or not, I’ve actually read that book. However, I’m still unclear on what you think it proves or what you you’re hoping to accomplish here.

            As for the rules they are not “interacting with conservatives” rules they are SSC rules.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @bintchaos

            What if I told you my model of the Blue base was that they didn’t really care about a woman’s right/ability to control her own reproduction and body, what they really cared about was murdering as many babies as possible to feed their demon god Moloch?

            You’re Blue, and you know your thoughts and what you care about, and other Blues and their thought processes.

            What would you think of me and my ability to model Blue Tribe thought processes and behavior?

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Conrad Honcho

            Look, as a left-wing Blue Triber, I can tell ya, Moloch gets mighty upset if you try to pass off first or second trimester fetuses as full-on babies. You might want to update your priors.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @dndnrsn

            Ahhh, so that’s behind the defense of partial-birth abortion!

            Priors updated.

          • hlynkacg says:

            I know right? Eldritch abominations get really picky about that sort of thing.

            My personal theory is that the Democrats never stopped being the party of segregation, they just became much more clever about it. The whole privilege framework + intersectionality schema seems purposefully designed to make it even more difficult for people from different cultural, economic, and racial backgrounds to coexist and cooperate with each other than it already is. You don’t need to fight integration if you rig it so minorities don’t want to integrate in the first place.

            😉

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            @Randy M:

            … the counter could be made that 60 years ago, Democrats were pushing for more civil rights and more minority protection…

            Let’s go to the tape:

            Civil Rights Act of 1957: House: 107 Democrats against, 19 Republicans against. Senate: 18 Democrats against, no Republicans against. Republican President signed it into law.

            Civil Rights Act of 1960: House: 94 Democrats against, 15 Republicans against. Senate: 18 Democrats against, no Republicans against. Republican President signed it into law.

            Civil Rights Act of 1964: House: 96 Democrats against, 34 Republicans against. Senate: 21 Democrats against, 6 Republicans against. Democratic President signed it into law.

            Who was “pushing for more civil rights and more minority protection” again? Looks to me like a whole lot of Republicans, plus LBJ.

          • bintchaos says:

            @Machina ex Deus
            I’m only interested in the polarization increase starting in the mid 90s and accelerating up to today.
            I get that you guys have some elaborate mapping of the iterated prisoners dilemma to prove that liberals defected most frequently, defected first, defected whatever.
            This whole blog is just a vast apologia for conservatives punching back at liberals.
            I totally get it.

          • Zodiac says:

            This whole blog is just a vast apologia for conservatives punching back at liberals.

            I am not involved in very many of the discussions here but making this sweeping generalization when there are quite a lot of different view points and ideologies represented here seems like a very stupid thing to say.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            @bintchaos:

            I’m only interested in the polarization increase starting in the mid 90s and accelerating up to today.

            And I’m only interested in correcting the historical record. Seems like it should be easy for us to stay out of each other’s way.

          • Aapje says:

            Bintchaos seems to have a severe case of the out-group homogeneity effect.

          • I’m only interested in the polarization increase starting in the mid 90s and accelerating up to today.

            And you still have never responded to the fact that the graphic you linked to showed the Republican median shifting left for the first ten years of that, and only shifting right starting about 2004.

            Do you care whether what you say is true?

            I get that you guys have some elaborate mapping of the iterated prisoners dilemma

            Does this mean you have finally realized that the game you are talking about is prisoner’s dilemma rather than tit for tat?

            Earlier you wrote:

            But whatever the proximate cause was the Red Tribe changed game strategy to a 2person zerosum game

            Prisoner’s Dilemma isn’t zero sum. I can’t tell if you know what a zero sum game is or if you just like using game theory jargon to make yourself sound more impressive.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Machina:
            Are you going to make me go back and redo all my effort posts on the history of the movement of the Democratic and Republican parties pre and post CRA of 1964?

            TLDR, the Southern Democrats were against the CRAs. The FDR coalition broke up over the issue, the Southern Dems essentially ceased to vote for DEM president candidates and slowly fractured internally, flipping control of the Southern State houses to the Republicans.

          • bintchaos says:

            @AAPJE
            no, I don’t…
            But I’m not sure I have the energy to do tutorials on complexity science, evolutionary theory of games, complex adaptive games, Social Physics and changes to evo theory of cooperation stemming from the competition cooperation paradigm.
            Actually, I’m sure I don’t.
            @DavidFriedman
            idc. PD is not the only game there is…or maybe it is the only game there is in economics.
            Think what you want…tell D to come back.
            It’s all nothing.

          • Zodiac says:

            @bint
            So, if you’re not interested in actual discourse, what are you still doing here?

            Edit:
            What has Deiseach to do with this?

          • bintchaos says:

            no idea actually.
            I thought I wanted to be a SSC commenter and learn more about conservatives and of course, save the world while doing it.
            Against Murder just kindof broke my spirit I guess.
            That was brutal.

          • Machina ex Deus says:

            @HeelBearCub:

            If you have links to those comments, can you post them?

            My point was somewhat narrower: the original commenter said “60 years ago”, so I mentioned legislation from 1957 – 1964. Do you disagree with anything I wrote?

            @bintchaos:

            What result from complexity science do you think should be well-known, but isn’t?

            Relatedly, is Cynefin something academics pay attention to?

          • Nornagest says:

            I thought I wanted to be a SSC commenter and learn more about conservatives and of course, save the world while doing it.

            If you want to learn more about conservatives, don’t treat the commenters here as the thousand heads of the conservative monster, treat them as people. Listen to them when they tell you what they believe, and don’t tell them what they believe unless you have an exceptionally good reason to think they’re wrong (Rednecks in the Mist is not a good reason). You’ll probably find that many of the people you’ve filed under “conservative”, aren’t (I’m not, for example, and neither is Deiseach) — but more importantly, you might learn what you (say you) came here to learn.

            Don’t turn into a sullen excuse machine whenever someone pushes back on your grand theory, especially when you haven’t explained your grand theory beyond allusions to impressive knowledge that somehow never comes out in detail.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Machina:

            What do I disagree with from your original post?

            Who was “pushing for more civil rights and more minority protection” again? Looks to me like a whole lot of Republicans, plus LBJ.

            I think this badly misunderstands the dynamics in play.

            The Southern white supremacists were Democrats, that is absolutely true. The lion’s share of the opposition to the various civil rights acts came from them.

            But it is a huge mistake to think that LBJ was the only member of the Democratic coalition pushing for civil rights. Roughly speaking you can say “Union state = for the CRA” and “Confederate State = against the CRA” both for Democrats an Republicans. But Republicans in both of those geographical regions were less likely than Democrats in the same region to vote for the CRA. There just were hardly any Southern Republicans back then.

            ETA:
            The effort posts were in a long contentious sub-thread about 2? months ago.

            I actually have data that I still haven’t completed compiling on the effect of the civil rights movement on Southern presidential voting patterns. Maybe I will do a top level post at some point soon.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @bintchaos:
            If you are going to flounce, do it and be done.

            Otherwise stop saying you are are flouncing, about to flounce, will shortly flounce. It’s just generally bad manners.

            If you stay around, you need to actually engage with the commentariat as individuals, not an undifferentiated mass, as Nornagest suggests. You will have a better time of it.

            If you want to understand, ask questions, don’t make statements.

            If you want to attempt to convince, make one argument at a time, and substantiate it.

          • PD is not the only game there is

            It is, however, the game that Axelrod used for the computer tournaments described in The Evolution of Cooperation, which is where tit for tat comes from.

          • bintchaos says:

            @HBC
            I’m not flouncing.
            I’m floundering.

            @Deus

            What result from complexity science do you think should be well-known, but isn’t?


            Cooperation Competition Paradigm
            and on Cynefin, no.
            Way more interest in Endor.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @bintchaos – “I’m not flouncing.
            I’m floundering.”

            Ask questions, and answer the questions you recieve in as clear a way as possible. When you write an answer or a statement, try and anticipate any obvious answers it might prompt, and work them in as well.
            I have no idea what a “cooperation competition paradigm” is, or what Cynefin or Endor are either. I’d love to learn more, but acronyms or isolated jargon isn’t very useful to me.

            Any statement made here is going to draw questions designed to pick it apart. If the person making the statement doesn’t treat those questions as legitimate and worth discussing and respond accordingly, the regulars here react with strong opprobrium. Asking and answering questions is what this place is for. Making statements is a means to that end.

            You say:
            “Getting the Blue Tribe to change their behavior is futile, because their behavior is a response to Red Tribe changes in behavior.”
            and then you say:
            “I get that you guys have some elaborate mapping of the iterated prisoners dilemma to prove that liberals defected most frequently, defected first, defected whatever.”

            …So you recognize that we Red Tribers have a mapping of the IPD, and obviously you think that map is dead wrong. Isn’t the obvious corollary that you also have a mapping of the IPD, and *we* think it’s wrong? You get that at up to that point in the conversation your view has no more weight than ours does, right? And that the only way to change that is to provide evidence to back your assertion, right?

          • bintchaos says:

            @FC

            how can Red Tribe be “winning” anything but futile temporary victories?


            They aren’t– its a short term strategy.
            Some of this stuff is so bleeding obvious that I cant believe conservatives dont get it…you can stand on the tracks of history hollering slow down, stop…but if you stand on the tracks of tech you are just going to be run over.
            We are in a tech accelerando right now.
            And one of the things that is changing is conventional accepted ideas about game theory, evo cooperation, “survival of the fittest”, etc.
            Dr. Baranger–

            Finally, there is one more property of complex systems that concerns all of us very closely, which makes it especially interesting. Actually it concerns all social systems, all collections of organisms subject to the laws of evolution. Examples could be plant populations, animal populations, other ecological groupings, our own immune system, and human groups of various sizes such as families, tribes, city-states, social or economic classes, sports teams, Silicon Valley dotcoms, and of course modern nations and supranational corporations. In order to evolve and stay alive, in order to remain complex, all of the above need to obey the following rule:
            Complexity involves an interplay between cooperation and competition.
            Once again this is an interplay between scales. The usual situation is that competition on scale n is nourished by cooperation on the finer scale below it (scale n+ 1). Insect colonies like ants, bees, or termites provide a spectacular demonstration of this. For a sociological example, consider the bourgeois families of the 19th century, of the kind described by Jane Austen or Honor ́e de Balzac. They competed with each other toward economic success and toward procuring the most desirable spouses for their young people. And they succeeded better in this if they had the unequivocal devotion of all their members, and also if all their members had a chance to take part in the decisions. Then of course there is war between nations and the underlying patriotism that supports it. Once we understand this competition-cooperation dichotomy, we are a long way from the old cliche of “the survival of the fittest”, which has done so much damage to the understanding of evolution in the public’s mind.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @Machina Ex Deus, HBC

            The relevant comment threads are Here (relevant bits at “The Southern Strategy is largely a myth”), and Here (Debate starts at “The Southern Strategy is largely a myth”), and Here (Debate starts at “Yes, it’s analogous to a real dog-whistle”, but the article and entire comment section is relevant).

            This wrangle has come up between HBC, Cassander, and/or David Friedman about once a month for at least the past three months. I didn’t bother checking back further than that.

          • cassander says:

            @Trofim_Lysenko

            Thank’s Trofim. I’ll just point out that HBC’s timeline remains off by almost 30 years and refer anyone watching to your links.

          • This wrangle has come up between HBC, Cassander, and/or David Friedman about once a month for at least the past three months.

            Checking your three links, I seem to have had any involvement in the Southern Strategy exchange in only one of them, where my involvement consisted of pointing out that HBC had made a false assertion of fact with regard to it. I think I made it clear there that I wasn’t offering an opinion as to the more general issue.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Bintchaos – “They aren’t– its a short term strategy.”

            And thus a short-term victory only, gotcha.

            “Some of this stuff is so bleeding obvious that I cant believe conservatives dont get it…”

            Well, one option is that they’re just so much stupider than you are that they’re completely unable to grasp your brilliant insights. A lot of people certainly seem to think that’s why the world is the way it is, so if that’s your assessment, you’ve got a lot of company.

            On the other hand, historically, it seems to me that sort of argument has a pretty poor track record. Reality seems complicated. Grand unifying theories are often comprehensive, elegant, and badly mistaken. History stubbornly refuses to end. It seems to me that usually the reason people refuse to accept a grand unifying theory is that they find that it ignores big chunks of evidence that are obviously important from their perspective. I think I see that in your comments.

            You put forward an idea, say that the puppies defected first. Others point out evidence that the puppies didn’t defect first. You say you aren’t interested in that evidence. If you aren’t interested in who actually defected first, why bring the question up in the first place? You say you want to talk to “conservatives”, but every time conservatives respond you brush them off and complain about how unreasonable they are for having different views than you. You say you can’t understand how conservatives can’t grasp the bleedingly obvious… well, unfortunately, conservatives do not think the world is the way you think it is. If you want to change that, you’re going to have to engage with them.

            “And one of the things that is changing is conventional accepted ideas about game theory, evo cooperation, “survival of the fittest”, etc.”

            I read the section you quoted, and I think I understood it quite well. I’m pretty sure everyone understands that only competition is bad, and only cooperation is bad, and we need a mix between the two.

            “Once again this is an interplay between scales. The usual situation is that competition on scale n is nourished by cooperation on the finer scale below it (scale n+ 1). Insect colonies like ants, bees, or termites provide a spectacular demonstration of this.”

            …are individual ants, bees or termites cooperating or competing? What happens to the ant that sucks at digging or bringing in food?

            At a larger scale, it seems like the economy works in exactly the opposite way: small-scale competition between businesses works out to large-scale cooperation as a functioning economy. And within a business, it seems that employees frequently compete for promotions, raises, etc.

            “For a sociological example, consider the bourgeois families of the 19th century, of the kind described by Jane Austen or Honor ́e de Balzac. They competed with each other toward economic success and toward procuring the most desirable spouses for their young people. And they succeeded better in this if they had the unequivocal devotion of all their members, and also if all their members had a chance to take part in the decisions.”

            Isn’t the standard model of such families hard-handed patriarchy? how does that reconcile with all their members having a chance to take part in the decisions?

          • bintchaos says:

            @FC

            I’m pretty sure everyone understands that only competition is bad, and only cooperation is bad, and we need a mix between the two.


            No, that is not at all what the article said. There is no “bad” or “good” involved.

            Isn’t the standard model of such families hard-handed patriarchy? how does that reconcile with all their members having a chance to take part in the decisions?


            That is how you perceive it, not how it actually functioned.

            Others point out evidence that the puppies didn’t defect first.


            The equilibrium state was that everyone followed the normative rules of the Award nomination process. The puppies used an exploit to get around the existing nomination protocols. The counterargument was that liberals defected long ago by failing (?) to nominate adequate numbers of “conservative sci-fi” authors, presumably because of a liberal conspiracy to disenfranchise white male conservative authors.
            Also many argued that the Puppies “won” which also seems blatantly false to me. What did they win? George RR Martin held his own awards afterward and none of the Puppie choices won. Aurora won in the No Award category it would have been nominated for.
            A lot of people complained about John Scalzi, but no one responded to my question about George RR Martin– I asked “does that mean conservatives are obligated to denigrate Game of Thrones because Martin is a liberal sci-fi autocrat?” And what do conservatives want? Quotas?

            It just seems to me that there are all these tortured pretzel logic excuses for conservatives punching back at liberals. Social systems are adaptive, complex, evolutionary, and emergent. I agree that there are no “Grand unifying theories ” — and thus no grand unifying liberal conspiracy to repress conservative ideology and culture.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @bintchaos – “No, that is not at all what the article said. There is no “bad” or “good” involved.”

            “Bad” being shorthand for collapse/reduction in complexity/death, “good” being shorthand for growth/increase in complexity/life. We all agree that growth/increase in complexity/life is preferable to the alternative, so these things are “good” and their opposites are “bad”. Likewise, everyone understands that we need both cooperation and competition to get growth/increase in complexity/life.

            The excerpt argued that competition at a larger scale is built out of cooperation at a smaller scale. I gave examples that seem to show the opposite. What does that mean for his thesis?

            “The counterargument was that liberals defected long ago by failing (?) to nominate adequate numbers of “conservative sci-fi” authors, presumably because of a liberal conspiracy to disenfranchise white male conservative authors.”

            No, the counterargument was that liberals were already using bloc voting, both to promote works they liked and to ensure works they didn’t like didn’t win. Corriea got into the business in the first place because members of the Worldcon clique engaged in a bloc voting campaign against him when he was nominated for the Campbell. He then put out a voting list in a way no one objected to when members of their own clique did so, predicting that they would engage in bloc voting against him, which they did. He did this to spotlight the hypocrisy, and it succeeded.

            By Sad Puppies III, the standard liberal talking points had devolved to admitting everything Corriea claimed at the start of Sad Puppies I: that the awards were not for everyone, that the awards were the personal property of the Worldcon clique, and that anyone that clique didn’t like wasn’t welcome and shouldn’t be allowed to win an award.

            “Also many argued that the Puppies “won” which also seems blatantly false to me. What did they win?”

            Corriea wanted to show that liberals would engage in campaigning and bloc voting to keep people they hate from winning awards. He succeeded.

            He wanted to show that the Hugo voting pool was vanishingly small and highly unrepresentative, and that its claim to represent fandom was therefore highly questionable. He succeeded.

            More generally, the Rabids wanted to destroy the prestige of the Hugo award within fandom. We can argue as to how well they’ve succeeded, but certainly considerable damage has been done, largely due to the actions of the liberal side.

          • The counterargument was that liberals defected long ago by failing (?) to nominate adequate numbers of “conservative sci-fi” authors, presumably because of a liberal conspiracy to disenfranchise white male conservative authors.

            That wasn’t their argument, as you would know if you had been willing to pay attention to the people here defending them. One result of being uninterested in hearing arguments from the other side is that you don’t know what those arguments are and so get to righteously rebut the bad arguments that you or your side attributed to them.

          • bintchaos says:

            @DavidFriedman

            That wasn’t their argument


            This is probably true. What is the Red Tribe mapping for the PD? what counts as defection?

          • @DavidFriedman

            That wasn’t their argument

            This is probably true. What is the Red Tribe mapping for the PD? what counts as defection?

            I wasn’t involved in the Sad Puppies controversy, so my information is second hand. As best I can tell, they claimed that the people dominating the process were doing the same thing they later did, just a little less openly–coordinating their voting. The difference (again as they saw it) was that the voting was being coordinated to eliminate works that showed the wrong political views, push ones that showed the right views, with relatively little weight given to how readable the works were.

            Do you agree that, if that view was correct, it was the incumbents who, in your terms, defected? If so, do you have any basis for your belief that that view was false? If not, why did you describe the process as the puppies defecting?

          • bintchaos says:

            If you are talking about the incumbents, they CAN’T defect from the Hugo award protocols.
            They established the protocols.
            So do the Puppies believe the incumbents were defecting from Tribe America? or Tribe White-people-culture? Or Tribe Sci-fi fans?

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @bintchaos – “If you are talking about the incumbents, they CAN’T defect from the Hugo award protocols. They established the protocols.”

            If the president does it, it can’t be illegal, right?

            Meanwhile in the real world, people can write rules, and then break the rules they’ve written. The Worldconners wrote a set of rules, and in addition had a set of unwritten “norms” against slate voting. The puppies followed the written rules every time, which is why they couldn’t be disqualified out of hand. On the other hand, the Worldconners regularly engaged in slate voting, particularly against people they didn’t like, and only started complaining about it when those people started doing the same thing themselves.

            “So do the Puppies believe the incumbents were defecting from Tribe America? or Tribe White-people-culture? Or Tribe Sci-fi fans?”

            Tribe Sci-fi fans, and from the rules they themselves claimed others should follow but gave themselves a pass on.

        • bintchaos says:

          @HBC

          he is trying to get “blue tribe” to change their behaviors (and thereby address polarization).


          So why doesn’t Scott try to change the Red Tribe instead of trying to make the Blue Tribe be nicer to the Red Tribe?
          Is it because he thinks the Blue Tribe is more malleable?
          I just don’t think “talk-therapy” works as a solution to polarization. To carry the clinical psychology analogy a bit further, doesn’t this require a cognitive behavior therapist?

          • Nornagest says:

            I can think of a couple reasons:

            – Scott’s a very Blue Tribe guy and most of his audience is also Blue. Even many of the conservative commenters here have Blue Tribe cultural backgrounds. He may believe he relates better to Blues, or understands them better.

            – Separately, I think Scott identifies different failures in the tribes. “Against Murderism” is about one specific thing he thinks Blue Tribe’s getting wrong; “To Understand Polarization…” is about something Red Tribe’s getting wrong. You’re Blue Tribe, so this one naturally strikes closer to home for you.

            If these comments are anything to go by, it’s not doing a damn thing, but I wish I could say I didn’t expect that.

          • bintchaos says:

            How is the Red Tribe getting anything wrong in the democracy game?
            They are winning.
            Unified obstructionism is a winning strategy in a 2person zero-sum game, as long as its Sinners v Saints.
            Its when the Saints learn how to play Sinner TfT that the payoff disappears.

          • Nornagest says:

            I fail to understand how that relates to anything I said.

          • bintchaos says:

            Winning elections is different than winning on policy.
            Why would the GOP change strategies? They are still winning even if their policies have zero correlation with their campaign promises.
            I would argue winning elections is what matters to the Red Tribe, and policy doesnt matter at all.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            I would argue winning elections is what matters to the Red Tribe, and policy doesnt matter at all.

            Unpack this, please. Establishment or base? I would tentatively agree for the former, definitely disagree with the latter.

          • Nornagest says:

            The GOP is one thing, and the Red Tribe is another. The GOP wants to win elections, and in order to do this they cater to the Red Tribe’s wants and values. The Red Tribe wants lots of stuff — respect, jobs, stability, minimal interference in or encroachment on Red lifestyles, an exciting Nascar season — and in order to get it they vote for the GOP.

            But there are limits on both sides. The GOP understands that it can’t give the Reds everything they want, partly because they, like every voting bloc everywhere, want contradictory things, but also because they need to maintain a balance between different Red subdivisions, undecideds, and the non-Red voting blocs that’ve signed on to the GOP coalition. The Reds, meanwhile, always present a threat of voting for a populist insurgent (like Ross Perot in the ’90s, or our current president today) if too many compromises are made.

            The Reds are having a good season, but clouds are on the horizon for them, and they know it. And the GOP’s situation is very much mixed right now. It’s doing well in the states, but it just got smoked on the presidential level (Trump’s a Red-aligned guy, but not a GOP-aligned one), and its legislative strategy is obsolete now that Obama’s out of the White House. It has to figure out a way to manage that situation or it will start losing elections: the Reds in its base aren’t automata, and they aren’t stupid. Not many of them will vote for the Dems, but they may well stay home.

            I wouldn’t want to be a Republican strategist right now. About their only saving grace on the national level is that the Democrats are in shambles, too.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @bintchaos – “How is the Red Tribe getting anything wrong in the democracy game? They are winning.”

            …In a ton of your posts, you talk about how Conservatism is inevitably doomed long-term, because conservative ideas are simply non-competitive in the current environment. If that’s true, how can Red Tribe be “winning” anything but futile temporary victories?

            In any case, are you familiar with the phrase “Cthulhu might swim fast or slow, but he only swims left”? It’s a fairly popular one around here; some people agree with it, some disagree, but most people here are quite familiar with it because it’s been behind so much of the debate we’ve had. Essentially it means that large, poorly understood but extremely powerful forces in society drive everything leftward, that these forces have been doing so for non-stop for hundreds of years at least, and that reversing this pattern is a much harder problem than even most pessimists in Red Tribe are willing to admit.

            A lot of people argue that this analysis is badly flawed or even completely false, but it has a lot of adherents as well as some fairly solid evidence to back it up. If you’d like to see the conservative views that align fairly closely to your analysis, it might be worth checking out.

          • Brad says:

            FC:
            Kudos for explaining that concisely. The first time I had it flung at me it came with no explanation. And if you google it, well you know.

          • bintchaos says:

            @FC

            “Cthulhu might swim fast or slow, but he only swims left”?


            Right now Cthulu is swimming faster and faster to the left, and I think one of the reasons is tech.

            large, poorly understood but extremely powerful forces in society drive everything leftward, that these forces have been doing so for non-stop for hundreds of years at least, and that reversing this pattern is a much harder problem than even most pessimists in Red Tribe are willing to admit.


            One force that we can understand is technology. Like I said, you can certainly stand on the tracks of history hollering stop, but if you stand on the tracks of tech hollering stop, you will just be run over.
            Another reason might be…(and I havent thought this through yet) systems tend to increase in complexity over time. Is there a correlation between liberalism and increasing complexity? I have to think about that one.

          • One force that we can understand is technology.

            We can understand that technology is changing rapidly. Predicting how it will change, except in the very near future, is much harder. Predicting the effects of those changes is harder still.

            Consider the internet and related technologies. Is their effect a drastic reduction of the ability of governments to control people along the lines of the cryptoanarchy Tim May sketched in Cyphernomicon, coming out of discussions on the Cypherpunks email list, or is it to greatly increase the ability of governments to control people via surveillance and databases as per Brin’s Transparent Society? Just at the moment, Ethereum is producing a bit of evidence for the former approach, since it provides a technology for self-enforcing contracts, hence one that reduces the need for state involvement. But we don’t know. As someone pointed out long ago on that mailing list, Encryption is not your friend. Or, of course, your enemy. Similarly for technology more generally.

            For a more general discussion of future technological change and its implications, see my Future Imperfect. For the short version, the talk I gave on it at Google.

            The bottom line is that we don’t know–the range of possible futures is very wide. Politically speaking, it ranges from propertarian anarchy at one end to A.I. tyranny at the other. Also from the elimination of our species to near immortality.

          • Aapje says:

            @DavidFriedman

            Encryption is a big boon to privacy, which makes it a defense against the surveillance state.

          • Is there a correlation between liberalism and increasing complexity?

            I think Scott is using “liberalism” in a sense which corresponds more closely to the 19th century meaning or the current European meaning, or to modern U.S. libertarianism, than to the current U.S. meaning of the term. In that sense, increasing complexity makes liberalism more desirable. Whether it makes it more likely is less clear.

            A simple system can be run from the top with less than catastrophic results. A more complicated system requires the decentralized control mechanism which private property and trade provide, government does not. A communist society on the scale of the Oneida Commune is workable. One on the scale of the USSR is not.

          • Encryption is a big boon to privacy, which makes it a defense against the surveillance state.

            I discussed its role in privacy a little over twenty years ago. It protects against surveillance of communications. But it doesn’t protect the privacy of acts in realspace which can be observed by video cameras, linked to the actors by face recognition, and kept track of by databases.

            I’ve already mentioned my Future Imperfect, where I went into the tension between technologies that increase privacy and technologies that reduce it in some detail.

          • bintchaos says:

            @DavidFriedman
            oh yeah, 20 years ago.
            That’s relevant.
            The next wave of terror is going to be cyber-anarchy– did you address that?

          • Zodiac says:

            The next wave of terror is going to be cyber-anarchy– did you address that?

            Definition and citation needed.

          • Nornagest says:

            I think Scott is using “liberalism” in a sense which corresponds more closely to the 19th century meaning or the current European meaning, or to modern U.S. libertarianism, than to the current U.S. meaning of the term.

            I think it’s something in between — not full-blown classical liberalism (I still think I’m somewhat to Scott’s right, and I’m basically a classical liberal), definitely not libertarianism. But not identitarian leftism or old-school class leftism either. Something more along the lines of “the thing Marxists are complaining about when they say ‘fucking liberals'” (cf. someone on Tumblr, I forget who).

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Bintchaos – “Right now Cthulu is swimming faster and faster to the left, and I think one of the reasons is tech.”

            Assuming “tech” means the internet, social media and so forth, how do you account for the hundreds of years of leftward movement when none of these things existed?

            “One force that we can understand is technology.”

            That seems like a pretty bold claim. Would you argue that you have a clear idea what technology and society is going to be like ten, twenty, thirty years from now? What’s your take on the strong AI timeline, for instance? And what’s your investment strategy for capitalizing on this understanding? If I’d had a clear picture on the tech changes of the next two decades in 2000, I’d be a millionaire right now.

            “Like I said, you can certainly stand on the tracks of history hollering stop, but if you stand on the tracks of tech hollering stop, you will just be run over.”

            This seems pretty true, but who is standing on the tracks? If Blue Tribe is dominant in the current system, don’t they stand to lose the most if that system is overthrown by radical technology-driven change? For instance, Blue Tribe has spent a great deal of effort ensuring total dominance of cultural institutions like Academia and the Entertainment industry, but it seems pretty clear to me that Academia and the college system it’s currently founded on are massively wasteful and ripe for disruption by more efficient tech solutions. Likewise, the internet has not been kind to the highly centralized portions of the entertainment industry, with numerous home-brewed alternatives sprouting up constantly. Ditto for Muggle Realism, which Blue Tribe seems very poorly positioned to grapple with.

            “oh yeah, 20 years ago. That’s relevant.”

            I hope that isn’t sarcasm. Things from 20 years ago are *highly* relevant.

            “The next wave of terror is going to be cyber-anarchy– did you address that?”

            Define cyber-anarchy, and explain why you’re so certain it’s going to be the “next wave of terror”? For me, I’m pretty sure bombs, bullets, trucks and knives are pretty likely to remain effective tools of terror for the foreseeable future. If I were to make a guess as to the next big thing in terror, I’d go for arson, not cyberattacks.

          • Aapje says:

            @DavidFriedman

            You seem to want to talk about the effect of technology in aggregate, while I was talking about 1 specific technology.

            I think that the aggregate effect is not looking good for dissidents.

          • bintchaos says:

            Again, I think objectively and empirically we are seeing a clear rise in cyber-anarchy– things that were inconceivable 20 yrs ago — the increase in ransomware attacks like the hospital attacks and Wannacry, Russian activity during the election campaign, Shadow Brokers, the Podesta email hacks, etc.
            By wave of terror I mean the classical definition of terror– Robespierre’s:

            “Virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue.”
            ― Maximilien de Robespierre, Report on the Principles of Political Morality


            Again we are not talking about islamic terrorism here– Wikileaks are terrorists by Robespierre’s definition. Leakers and hackers are terrorists when operating ideologically, morally, or ethically against the standing order. Or criminals when the motive is purely profit.

            Blue Tribe has spent a great deal of effort ensuring total dominance of cultural institutions like Academia and the Entertainment industry


            I strongly disagree with this– dominance in academe is evolutionary and emergent, and largely (I think) the result of brute force selection for uppertail of IQ and g coupled with explorer phenotype. I think high IQ/g soldier phenotypes choose business careers rather than academia or research. There is no grand liberal conspiracy involved. Same for popular culture including entertainment and the arts. Culture doesn’t shape society so much as society shapes culture according to its needs.
            Where is the Appalachian Beyoncè for example?

            how do you account for the hundreds of years of leftward movement when none of these things existed?


            I didnt. I’m just speaking to the technological accelerando and the perceived increase in Cthulu’s speed. Maybe the general leftward tendency correlates with increasing complexity– but I havent really thought about that much and dont have a well-formed hypothesis on it.

            Would you argue that you have a clear idea what technology and society is going to be like ten, twenty, thirty years from now


            Yes…tech and society will be increasingly complex, unless of course, there is a collapse.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Bintchaos – “I strongly disagree with this– dominance in academe is evolutionary and emergent, and largely (I think) the result of brute force selection for uppertail of IQ and g coupled with explorer phenotype. ”

            You are aware that academics openly admit that they heavily discriminate against conservatives/Red Tribe in hiring and promotion within academia, right?

            Likewise, if you believe that Conservatives are rare in academia because they’re innately bad at the job for genetic reasons, despite clear evidence of discrimination, what’s your explanation for the under-representation of People of Color in academia?

            I’m very interested in your reply to this, as it seems like an inescapable contradiction to me unless you’re considerably more muggle-realist than I’d guess.

            “There is no grand liberal conspiracy involved.”

            Again, there are numerous examples of people in the entertainment industry openly discussing and organizing discrimination against conservatives/Red Tribe, so I’m afraid I’m going to go with my Lying Eyes on this one.

            “Where is the Appalachian Beyoncè for example?”

            There isn’t one. Beyonce’s existence requires a massive, centralized entertainment industry to exist in the first place, and that industry is not interested in anything meaningfully recognizable as “Appalachian”, or in allowing the existence of a rival system that would be interested in such things.

            On the other hand, in sectors of the entertainment industry where the playing field can’t be dominated by a centralized hegemon, Red Tribe does very well for itself. Hence the Puppies, the Ants, and so on.

            “things that were inconceivable 20 yrs ago — the increase in ransomware attacks like the hospital attacks and Wannacry, Russian activity during the election campaign, Shadow Brokers, the Podesta email hacks, etc.”

            None of these were inconceivable 20 years ago. William Gibson built a career and a genre out of conceiving them, in fact. Leaks and document theft have been with us always.

            “Again we are not talking about islamic terrorism here– Wikileaks are terrorists by Robespierre’s definition.”

            Robbespierre was a failure in pretty much every way possible, wasn’t he? He destroyed an existing society, failed to replace it with anything better, got a massive number of people killed, and failed even to secure power for himself. Everything he touched turned to blood and shit. Why should I be interested in his ideas?

            “Leakers and hackers are terrorists when operating ideologically, morally, or ethically against the standing order.”

            What if the standing order is Just and Good, and they’re actively helping the forces of darkness?

            “Or criminals when the motive is purely profit.”

            So what they do is wrong if they do it for a paycheck, but okay if they do it out of hatred toward society and their fellow man?

            …In any case, I think this definition of terrorism is useless. Robbespierre, as noted above, was an idiot that burned a nation down around his ears. We have a currently-dominant definition of terrorism: intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror or fear, in order to achieve a political, religious or ideological aim.

            I’m happy to talk about grey-hat and black-hat politics like leaking, hacking, propaganda, and so on, but calling them “terrorism” is not productive to understanding.

            “I’m just speaking to the technological accelerando and the perceived increase in Cthulu’s speed. Maybe the general leftward tendency correlates with increasing complexity– but I havent really thought about that much and dont have a well-formed hypothesis on it.”

            Fair enough. I think it’s an area worth looking into, given your apparent interests.

            “Yes…tech and society will be increasingly complex, unless of course, there is a collapse.”

            …That isn’t really a meaningful prediction. It’s equivalent to “Things will be more, unless they’re less.” A reduction in societal complexity is by definition a collapse. Unless it suffers collapse, society is always increasing in complexity.

            Assuming no collapse, in *what ways* do you think society will increase in complexity? Again, if you have a good answer to this question, turning that into large profits on the stock market should be pretty trivial.

          • 1soru1 says:

            What’s the evidence for the supposed under-representation of conservatives/Republicans in academia?

            To a zeroth approximation, civilians of working age in middle-income credentialed jobs approximately never vote Republican (<10 %). Maybe that party might consider increasing its appeal to such people before it starts imposing quotas?

            Or this would probably work:

            http://johnquiggin.com/2016/10/10/if-professors-made-500kyear-would-they-be-republicans-crosspost-from-crooked-timber/

          • Brad says:

            $500k/year is not an exceptional salary for a college president. Do most of them vote Republican?

          • Aapje says:

            @1soru1

            There appears to have been a rather drastic change in the last 20 years, at least for psychology:

            https://heterodoxacademy.org/2015/09/14/bbs-paper-on-lack-of-political-diversity/

            We also have evidence for a very hostile climate & discrimination, which would obviously tend to result in under-representation. For example, Inbar & Lammers (2012) found that of the psychologists who identified as liberal, only 18% answered that they would not discriminate for hiring decisions. Note this is explicitly stated willingness to discriminate, not IAT results or other measures of unconscious discrimination.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @1soru1 – “To a zeroth approximation, civilians of working age in middle-income credentialed jobs approximately never vote Republican (<10 %)."

            could you link some statistics for that, and break down definitions for the terms involved? Near as I can tell, civilian is excluding military and police, and middle income means 30k-100k income, right? credentialed means… needs a PhD specifically, or a degree of some kind generally? Does credentialed include engineers, STEM generally?

            In any case, given that we have direct evidence of discrimination against conservatives, and given that even without direct evidence discrimination is assumed in disparate outcomes for other groups, I'm interested in hearing why two standards are needed rather than one.

          • 1soru1 says:

            Maybe you need two standards because there are more than two people in the world? Because given that, the set of ‘people who are not you’ are not obliged to hold to a single standard.

            Personally, I hold to a standard that to show active discrimination in a specific organisation, you need to control for socioeconomic status. There exist people who disagree with that; I disagree with them.

            Do you? Or are you using some kind of quantum argument where, by holding two logically incompatible views, you can rest safe in the knowledge that the set of people who disagree with you is similarly incoherent?

          • FacelessCraven says:

            1soru1 – “Personally, I hold to a standard that to show active discrimination in a specific organisation, you need to control for socioeconomic status.”

            well and good. I am arguing that using wildly different measures of socioeconomic status depending on whether the people under examination are ingroup or outgroup is foul play. You listed off a number of factors that would eliminate conservatives from the Academic candidate pool; I’m asking why those particular factors are likely to be more relevant than the fairly unequivocal evidence of outright discrimination, and whether those same factors are considered relevant when discussing representation of people of color. I don’t see why either question is out of bounds, but if you’d like to explain where I’ve gone wrong, I’d be happy to listen.

            At the moment, it appears that you are saying that academics are liberal, therefore it’s not surprising that academics only hire liberals. This does not seem to be a novel insight, nor a helpful one. Maybe more academics would pursue accreditation rather than unaccredited business, military and/or police work if they weren’t being actively discriminated against by the current accredited population, which openly admits to being in favor of such discrimination?

          • Aapje says:

            @1soru1

            You seem to insist that there can be only 1 viable way to show discrimination:

            Personally, I hold to a standard that to show active discrimination in a specific organisation, you need to control for socioeconomic status.

            Discrimination is an act, performed by people, which changes outcomes from what it would be without discrimination. As we cannot reliably make people stop discriminating, we cannot do an experiment where we determine the effect of discrimination by comparing a group who doesn’t discriminate with another group who discriminates normally.

            So…reasoning back from outcomes to determine the level of discrimination is fraught with problems, especially of the ‘bad assumptions’ kind. Like the assumption that without discrimination, outcomes would be fully representative.

            However, the evidence that FacelessCraven and I gave used a different method: it asked people about their intent/willingness to discriminate. This kind of survey has its own problems, like people giving socially desirable answers. Then again, if it is socially desirable to claim a large willingness to discriminate, that in itself seems very problematic. However, this method doesn’t suffer for not controlling for socioeconomic status.

            Of course, evidence for discriminatory behavior doesn’t mean that we know how much an effect this has on the outcomes, but the evidence seems sufficient to declare that the effect is very unlikely to be zero and very plausibly quite large.

          • bintchaos says:

            @FC
            I don’t think the Hugos have been damaged, and neither does George RR Martin.
            I think the US university system is the finest in the world (and so does the rest of the world) because its based on darwinian selection. Not saying there isnt within group selection against the outgroup for positions, but that is JMS EGT (John Maynard-Smith Evolutionary Games Theory) and its an emergent property of academic culture as a CSS (Culturally Stable Strategy), not some universal star chamber policy. Again, what do conservatives want? Quotas? They tried to do that in NC didnt they? What would that accomplish? Conservatives have been attacking academia since the 1930’s (founding of AEI conservative “think tank”) with what result?
            @Isoru
            The results of the last election show a correlation of liberal voting patterns with educational attainment, not income or employment.
            Silver
            Mccormak
            I understand that Silver is regarded as a liberal statistician with his thumb on the finger for liberals, so FC will ignore these stats, but I thought the mccormack study was really interesting.
            Theres a LOT more studies…
            Pew
            Brookings

            Bloomberg

            @FC

            We all agree that growth/increase in complexity/life is preferable to the alternative, so these things are “good” and their opposites are “bad”. Likewise, everyone understands that we need both cooperation and competition to get growth/increase in complexity/life.


            That is just a very facile and impoverished view of the CCP– its my fault, I’m going to have a write a better intro later– no time right now.

            “Things will be more, unless they’re less.”


            Same thing with complexity, chaos, entropy and collapse.

          • random832 says:

            @1soru1

            Personally, I hold to a standard that to show active discrimination in a specific organisation, you need to control for socioeconomic status

            Is it your position that it is impossible to actively discriminate by socioeconomic status itself (or to use it as a proxy for the thing you actually want to actively discriminate by)?

          • 1soru1 says:

            > Is it your position that it is impossible to actively discriminate by socioeconomic status itself

            No; consider a yacht club. If the club turns down yacht fanatics who spend 80% of their disposable income on a small yacht, but lets in the rich who spend 0.1% on a large yacht, then that is active discrimination by socioeconomic status.

            If present, which it might or might not be, this would be _in addition_ to the obvious fact ‘poor people are less likely to own a yacht’.

            And in an ideal world, that fact would be false. Any society that fails to provide a yacht for any citizen wiling to put a bit of effort into getting one has room for improvement.

          • The results of the last election show a correlation of liberal voting patterns with educational attainment, not income or employment.

            Silver’s point was that Hillary did much better than Obama in highly educated counties, much worse in low education counties. Obama and Hillary were both liberals. It’s evidence that Trump was less popular with educated voters and more popular with uneducated than Romney was which, given his campaign, is hardly surprising. A lot of educated conservatives were unhappy with Trump, as you could see by the National Review position on the campaign.

            For a Republican/Democratic split by education without Trump, take a look at the 2012 data. The biggest split was in the “some high school” category, which divided 64 to 35 in favor of Obama. High school graduate, some college, and college graduate split pretty evenly, with the last going for Romney 51 to 47. Postgraduate study went for Obama 55 to 42.

            As you can also see at the same link, people who self-identified as liberal mostly voted for Obama, as conservative for Romney, so the education pattern of the voting is at least an approximate measure of the pattern by liberal/conservative self-identification.

          • bintchaos says:

            I gave four other sources besides Silver.
            Mccormack, Pew, Bloomberg and Brookings.

            For a Republican/Democratic split by education without Trump


            Trump is a-priori data now…you cant just exclude him.
            I thought SSC were Bayesians?

          • Trump is a-priori data now…you cant just exclude him.

            The fact that Trump won the nomination and the election is data. The fact that he won the nomination implies that he had substantial support among Republican voters, not that his supporters have the same distribution of educational background as the Republican party or the red tribe.

            Isn’t that obvious? Trump ran a campaign successfully designed to appeal to particular segments of the electorate. Through most of it other segments opposed him. Do you think the distribution of educational backgrounds was the same in both groups? Romney ran a more generically Republican campaign, so his voters give a better measure of the distribution of educational backgrounds of Republicans.

            Is your point that red tribe and Republicans are different groups? That’s true, and I think Trump was targeting, among others, red tribe voters, some of whom were Democrats. But since he did so in a way more likely to appeal to uneducated members of the red tribe than to educated members, the educational backgrounds of those who voted for him give a biased sample of the backgrounds of the red tribe.

            What, by the way, do you mean by “a-priori data”? Are you referring to prior probabilities? Trump’s performance is data that lets us convert our prior probabilities for various things into posterior probabilities, which will then be the prior probabilities to be combined with additional data in the future to produce more posterior probabilities.

          • bintchaos says:

            Thats irrelevant.
            Trump repulsion syndrome may be convolved with educational attainment going forward…dont know yet.
            But Trump is part of the a-priori data collected for election 2016.
            A “given”.
            Trump happened…he is now the head of the GOP. You simply arent going to be able to scrape him off your shoe and get a do-over, sorry.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @bintchaos – “I don’t think the Hugos have been damaged…”

            Your prerogative, of course.

            “and neither does George RR Martin.”

            Propaganda will be with us always. And yet, there’s always truth leaking in through the cracks:

            …But on Saturday, members of the World Science Fiction Society rejected the finalists for the Hugos in an unprecedented five categories, voting for “No Award” rather than any of the nominees backed by the Puppies…
            …The bestselling author of the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series has been a high-profile voice in what he has called “the controversy that has plunged all fandom into war”…
            …“No, not a great Hugo night – how could it be, with so many No Awards – but not nearly as bad as some had feared either. And my own reactions? Mixed,” wrote the novelist…
            …But he “hated” to see both editing categories go to “No Award”, rather than editors nominated by the Puppies, saying that “in my judgment the voters threw the babies out with bathwater in these two categories”, and adding that he “also misliked the roar of approval that went up at the announcement of the first No Award”…
            …“I understand it, yes … fandom as a whole is heartily sick of the Puppies and delighted to see them brought low … but No Award is an occasion for sadness, not celebration, especially in THESE two categories,” wrote Martin…

            He’s frowning at his own side’s antics. He’s disappointed at how things worked out. He wishes things were otherwise than the way they are. The worldcon types claimed they voted on the merits. The puppies claimed they voted on politics. And in your own article, Martin admits that even he thinks some of the works that got No Awarded deserved the award. That is what winning looks like in the culture war.

            “Again, what do conservatives want?”

            At a guess, to not be actively discriminated against in hiring and promotion due to their political views. That doesn’t seem like a terribly unreasonable demand, and yet…

            “Quotas?”

            If liberal academics are sufficiently bigoted that it’s the only way to stop them from discriminating against people who disagree with them, then maybe so. You’d have to ask an actual conservative, though; I’m more of a reactionary.

            What I want is to see Academia destroyed, root and branch, and then the place it grew paved over and turned into a hazardous waste dump. I’m optimistic that I’ll live to see this happen. The system is founded on widespread college education, ie Tulip Subsidies. That cannot last. It is too expensive, too wasteful, and the alternatives are simply too cheap and easy; sometime in the next few decades, that dam is going to break, and the colossal watershed of trapped value building up behind it is going to shake loose. On the research side, the Replication Crisis is hollowing out the upper stories of the Academic enterprise. Why is the Academy worth preserving, if entire fields can survive for decades without any connection to empirical fact? At some point in the relatively near future, the funding is going to collapse, people controlling the purse strings are going to start demanding solid ROI, the whole house of cards will come down, and society will be massively better off. No more sacrificing four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars per citizen for empty status signalling, no more rivers of money irrigating the sort of fraudulent “science” that fuels the culture war.

            “The results of the last election show a correlation of liberal voting patterns with educational attainment, not income or employment.”

            Entirely true. On the other hand, Red Tribe didn’t preside over the Replication Crisis.

            “Trump happened…he is now the head of the GOP. You simply arent going to be able to scrape him off your shoe and get a do-over, sorry.”

            Indeed! And some of us are delighted with this reality!

          • bintchaos says:

            Thanks.
            And yet, Martin organized a replacement Awards the next night and none of the Puppie books won. The simple explanation is that the Puppie books were political selections and just not very good sci-fi.
            The replication crisis is in the soft sciences and to some extent genetics. Big Data and social physics are solving that as we speak. SSC commenters are familiar with Dr. Hsu, right? The application of VLS (very large sample) data sets to cognitive genomics is featured prominently on his blog with studies featuring sets of 80k or even 1 million reps.
            And there is no replication crisis in climate science. There is no replication crisis at LIGO or CERN. I don’t think academe or the entertainment industry are going to collapse but that has more to do with socio-physics and complexity science…both are emergent adaptive systems that evolved in situ. For example, the financial sector didnt collapse in 2008…although it had what I would term “avalanches” it did not go flat (collapse).
            Your statement is revelation for me.
            Are you representative of what most conservatives believe? That there is some vast liberal conspiracy to suppress conservative culture and ideology? And hatred of liberals seems to be the motivating cohesive theme. Just like Hoschild’s Louisiana Tea Partiers.
            Some financial pundits have postulated that 4 year liberal arts degrees and 7yr car loans are analogous to the sub-prime mortgages of the Econopalypse. Those are potential avalanche country I guess. But I’m very doubtful that academe or entertainment will collapse– too much value. I really like Stockcats and E. Cantoni…zerohedge is a little too hysterical for me.
            I’m waiting for the .75 thread to give you the promised explanation of the CCP (Cooperation Competition Paradigm). And my take on complexity, chaos and entropy. I guess I have to include the calculus of selfishness too.
            But I think we (red tribe/blue tribe) can’t talk because we have no common language anymore…is that correct?
            I do believe liberals have huge confirmation bias against Trump. Thats one reason he won– it was simply inconceivable to liberals that a sane person would vote for Trump.
            And academic quotas would be a dreadful humiliation for the Red Tribe…students would just refuse to take their classes…unless forced student participation is part of the plan?

          • random832 says:

            On a completely different note:

            > “also misliked the roar of approval that went up at the announcement of the first No Award”

            I’ve only ever seen the word “mislike”, until now, in Martin’s dialogue, and read it as being part of the pseudo-medieval dialect of characters inhabiting his fantasy worlds. Is this in live usage somewhere I’m not aware of, or is this likely just a case of him getting into the habit of using it due to writing people using it?

          • bintchaos says:

            Its common in Shakespeare…
            “Mislike me not for my complexion…” Merchant, Othello, don’t remember which.
            He probably just thinks like that anymore. Like knowing a foreign language really well…

          • But I’m very doubtful that academe or entertainment will collapse– too much value.

            I don’t know if it will happen, but you were commenting quite recently on the effects of technological change. One technological change already here is the internet. One observable effect is that it facilitates low cost substitutes for the conventional form of education, such as the Kahn Academy. The availability of low cost forms of education might have an effect on the market for high cost forms of education.

            Similarly, one thing that has already happened, due to technological change, is to convert self-publishing of books from vanity press to a viable alternative to conventional publishers. If further technological change results in similar things happening in other media that could collapse the entertainment industry as it now exists. For an early example, consider the rise of web comics.

            Unlike you, I don’t know the future. But if you think seriously about technological change, the clearest result is that the future is much less predictable than you imagine. For more details, see. Webbed version here.

          • bintchaos says:

            low cost substitutes for the conventional form of education, such as the Kahn Academy.


            Khan academy is just through HS so != college+ … the proxy is educational attainment.
            Your book? One of your books? Havent read it, but looks interesting.
            A current debate in Science World right now is the fat tails, randomness, high uncertainty guys like Dr. Taleb versus the Social Physics /Big Data /Machine Learning guys like Dr. Pentland who believe that the study of idea and information flows will result in not just prediction of human behavior, but the ability to alter it for the benefit of human kind.
            Have you seen this essay on Frozen Accidents?
            I dont know the future…I’m studying the behavior of complex adaptive social systems in periodic equilibrium and in non-equilibrium. Large non-equilibrium systems (what Von Neuman called non-elephants) become vulnerable to collapse.

          • Nornagest says: