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Links 8/19

[Epistemic status: I have not independently verified each link. On average, about two of the links in each links post end up to be wrong or misleading, as found by commenters. I correct these as I see them, but can’t guarantee I will have caught them all by the time you read this.]

Hell’s bells are real and located 100 feet under the surface of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Before we had the austere classical goddess Columbia, personifications of the Americas including a tradition of portraying the continent as a naked woman riding an alligator.

Sarah Constantin and Noah Smith are the latest people to review the Tabarrok and Helland book on cost disease; Smith agrees with some of my wage criticisms.

New malaria control plan: genetically engineer a fungus to kill mosquitoes.

An underappreciated perspective: separating immigrant families at the border is actually really bad.

Related: regardless of your position on immigration, detaining suspected illegal immigrants until their trial is not a necessary part of the system and suffers from the same considerations as bail in general. Most actionable option for individuals is to help pay immigrants’ bail – if you want to donate money, you can support the org making it happen or contribute to the a bail fund directly.

Ken Gillman argues that our concept of the MAOI diet is outdated, because food products have much less tyramine now than in the 1960s.

One medical finding you don’t want showing up in your lab results: death crystals. Yes, they are green and mysterious.

r/TheMotte book reviews: First Blood, aka Rambo.

A good overview of the debate around in what sense algorithms are or aren’t racially biased. Article concludes both positions are true in a sense, but I think it underemphasizes that it’s impossible to create an unbiased algorithm by these definitions.

How are changes in the entertainment industry causing both the Golden Age Of TV and the Dark Age Of Unoriginal Movies?

In 1835, the UK banned bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and a-bunch-of-other-animals-baiting. But, crucially, not rats. Thus the inevitable rise of rat-baiting, where spectators placed bets on how quickly a dog could kill rats, if thrown into a rat-filled ring. The sport’s greatest champion: Tiny The Wonder, a 5.5 lb terrier who was able to kill 200 rats in one hour.

Kevin Drum on the millennial debt crisis and the millennial housing crisis (original, update)

BoingBoing: “One of the arguments against hate-speech laws is that once the state starts dividing expression into ‘allowed’ and ‘prohibited,’ the ‘prohibited’ category tends to grow…” – proposed French hate speech law now bans “stigmatizing agricultural activities”, ie criticizing factory farming.

Palm Pilot founder turned neuroscience researcher Jeff Hawkins has a good explanation on the grid cell system brains use to represent space, a claim that abstract ideas are represented by a grid cell system in conceptspace, and very optimistic predictions about neuromorphic AI.

Worried about the effect of air travel on climate change? Most carriers will soon be carbon-offsetting their flights [EDIT: maybe partially offsetting? Unclear].

Pablo Escobar’s brother claims Elon Musk stole his flamethrower design, says that he planned to use flamethrower to set stacks of money on fire to rub in how rich he is. “He” meaning Pablo Escobar’s brother, not Elon Musk. But only because Elon Musk didn’t think of it.

Genetics study: Anorexia not just a psychiatric disorder, it is also metabolic. I’ve been saying this must be true for years (1, 2).

New study of 5,000 students finds no impact of growth mindset. I want credit for predicting this one too.

Prevalence-induced concept change in human judgment – somebody linked this as the scientific-study version of Against Lie Inflation and The Whole City Is Center.

Can a smart benevolent dictator make an outsized positive impact in their country’s economy? Little evidence for this: new study finds that the economy goes up during a dictators’ regime only as often as chance, but goes down during regimes much more often.

Very large study of gender transition, including almost 7000 people presenting to a gender clinic in the Netherlands, finds various interesting things – including that fewer than 1% of people who get gonadectomy end up regretting it.

Stephan Guyenet challenges the pop nutrition idea of “carb cravings”, points to studies showing people are more likely to feel cravings for fatty than for sugary foods.

Related: OurWorldInData on per capita caloric intake through the ages.

Rosalind Arden: “Personal statements do not predict performance at university [and] should be dropped.” I had a brief feeling of confusion at seeing someone hold non-SAT college admission factors to standards anywhere near the ones we hold the SAT to.

Related: Charles Murray wants to abolish the SAT I

How to automatically and objectively detect gerrymandering – one possibility is to see whether a real districting scheme produces outcomes way at the tails of a set of randomly generated districting schemes.

Did you know: Ross Perot’s son was the first person to circumnavigate the world by helicopter.

Some of the best-known scientists on both sides of the innate gender differences debate, including Cordelia Fine and Marco del Giudice, debate on Psychology Today (link goes to the latest anti-innate-differences piece, click through to get context and the other side). Didn’t find it very helpful, in that both sides mostly agree on the evidence, but still plan to pitch it to the public in opposite ways. I know who I think is being more honest, but I don’t think this kind of debate will shed much extra light for most people who already get the basic dynamic.

Related: survey of gender stereotypes over time. Divides them into “communal” (eg caring), “agentic” (eg ambitious), and “competent” (eg intelligent). Usual stereotype that women are more communal and men more agentic is increasing. People believed men were more competent in the 1940s, reached parity about 1960, and now women are winning by a 4:1 ratio.

New study argues e-cigarettes increase heart attack risk; Reason writes about a letter from concerned scientists and statisticians who find the study is so badly done that it unintentionally claims vaping defies the laws of time and space – ie using an e-cigarette increases your past heart attack risk just as much as it increases your future risk. Imagine a world where this kind of thing gets caught by the Journal Of The American Heart Association before they publish a paper, rather than having to get signal-boosted by a random webzine.

Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister of Britain, so let’s celebrate by revisiting his greatest moment: this interview last month where the interviewer asked what he does to relax, and Johnson replies that he paints old wooden crates to look like buses. Is this a real hobby, a bizarre lie, or a 12-dimensional chess move?

Paige Harden: how does childhood adversity cause health problems later in life? Probably not through cortisol.

The GAO has released a report on causes of cost overruns in infrastructure. The infrastructure cost overrun blogosphere is not impressed. Eric Goldwyn and Alon Levy are doing their own research project and looking for sponsors.

The Costs Of Reliability. Why is it easier to do things for fun than for a job, and what are the implications?

A group on Open Psychometrics have gotten 50,000+ people to take some birth-order related questions; they match most of the rest of the literature (but not me) in reporting real but very small birth effects in favor of more independence and intellectual curiosity from firstborns. No word yet as to whether they find it resets after seven years.

Did you know: the Knights Hospitaller, a chivalric order who crusaded beside the Knights Templar, were briefly a major 20th century European air power.

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516 Responses to Links 8/19

  1. Tom Chivers says:

    Re the Boing Boing story about French hate speech laws: I don’t know whether this has happened since the Boing Boing story came out (I think before: it has the date 28 June, whereas BB story was 10 July, although that may have been date of proposal rather than vote), but the amendment has now got REJETÉ at the top so I think it’s been voted down. No idea how close it was or how seriously it was taken.

  2. GSanders says:

    Just read something relevant to adversarial collaboration, namely a Washington Post interview round up by Radley Balko including discussion of “hot-tubbing” of expert witnesses in courtroom proceedings:

    The term “hot-tubbing” was coined in Australia for the process of making the experts hired by the two sides of a case enter into dialogue to expose their points of agreement and disagreement. There are a number of approaches to the details of the process, but it is a more practical possibility than court-appointed experts. Still, there are problems. It is not clear that a criminal defendant can be forced into submitting their expert to a “hot-tubbing” experience. More substantively, there is some reason to believe that, just as the views of the more aggressively smooth and confident expert may be accepted by the jury independent of their tenability or weight upon rational reflection, that same witness may be able to sway the hot-tubbing dynamic in favor of his or her employer. So while I believe that properly structured “hot-tubbing” can be of use, it is not a panacea. Nor do I know of any other panaceas.

  3. rtypeinhell says:

    Hi Scott! Although I have come to have a great deal of respect for the level of research done in your posts, I’m beginning to question that after seeing you refer to First Blood as “Rambo”, the title of First Blood Part II.

  4. deciusbrutus says:

    On the subject of having not-gerrymandering:

    Would it be computationally feasible to generate all possible districting plans, and then select the median one (or at least one in the middle quintile, without favoring either party)?

    I feel like it’s plausible politically, simply because one party in each state has an incentive to push that through using populist means (constitutional amendment, ballot initiative, or the like), and it could be made to sound attractive enough that they could swing enough voters to adopt it (especially once it became clear that the people opposing the anti-gerrymander action could only possibly be motivated by a desire to gerrymander it for themselves, and “everybody” “agrees” that is wrong)

    • ordogaud says:

      But what criterion are you using to determine a median value? Most congruous?

      • deciusbrutus says:

        Favorableness to the two credible parties.

        • EchoChaos says:

          That is a very bad thing to select for. “Balance” isn’t a republican virtue, nor should it be.

          • deciusbrutus says:

            Okay, is that one voice for “Gerrymandering is the republic working as intended.”?

            Would you support non-deterministic elections; e.g. select one ballot at random for each decision, and be bound by it?

          • EchoChaos says:

            @deciusbrutus

            Okay, is that one voice for “Gerrymandering is the republic working as intended.”?

            Yes. The borders of the districts are inherently political and should be determined by politically elected officials. If the people don’t like them, they can elect new officials. This has happened before, many times.

            Would you support non-deterministic elections; e.g. select one ballot at random for each decision, and be bound by it?

            No. I’m not sure how that follows.

          • AG says:

            If the people don’t like them, they can elect new officials.

            The point is that gerrymandering makes it so that they can’t.

          • EchoChaos says:

            @AG

            It hasn’t in practice. Democrats gerrymandered heavily in 1990 and it didn’t prevent them from getting wiped out in 1994. Republicans gerrymandered in 2010 and they got nuked in 2018.

          • beleester says:

            “It’s not literally unbeatable” isn’t a good argument that a game is fair or balanced.

            Gerrymandering has a tendency to collapse all at once – if you make a bunch of districts that are 5% in your favor to claim as many districts as possible, then you’ll sweep the state even if the popular vote is 4% in your opponent’s favor. But if the margin creeps up to 6%, then all those districts are likely to flip at once, and that results in a sudden swing that you could point to if you wanted to say “gerrymandering doesn’t make a difference!” But that doesn’t prove gerrymandering is useless – it just means you can’t maximize the number of seats you control and the safety of those seats at the same time.

            Getting back to the original topic, “balance” may not be a republican virtue, but how about “representation”? As in, “if more people voted for Republican candidates, that should be represented by a larger number of Republicans in the legislature?”

    • Lambert says:

      There’s an uncountable infinity of districting plans.
      Good luck with percentiles.

      • deciusbrutus says:

        You math is trivially wrong, since there are a finite number of people, a finite number of districts, and each person must be in exactly one district. There are additional constraints already, and adding some more (like: ‘No line segment with endpoints in one district may pass through two other districts’, a weaker form of ‘convexness’.)

        • Lambert says:

          It depends whether a district is fundementally a shape, or a set of people.

          The first part of your comment supposes the former; the second part the latter.

    • Two McMillion says:

      You would need more constraints on the possible redistricting plans, otherwise you’d have an infinite number of plans. “Every possible redistricting plan that produces districts of equal population and whose borders correspond to preexisting county/municipality borders” is probably a finite amount, but then you’d run into the problem of, “Who decides what’s balanced?”

      • deciusbrutus says:

        I was going to start with “Every set of districts of contiguous census tracts such that they are within one census tract of average district population”, and provide zero weight to existing country and municipality border.

        My first idea for finding the median was to allow each party alternate striking 15% of the remaining possible plans, and trust each party to find the ones least favorable to them; that incentive structure points toward the median, but has to explicitly ignore the non-credible parties, and it’s not impossible for the two parties in the system to be different in a particular district. In states where the two parties are the moderates and the radicals, giving half of the vetoes to the (moderates and radicals) and the other half to a non-credible party would not work out well.

        My current thought is to allow each candidate in the last House election or their designee (who need not be unique) the ability to strike 30/V % of the remaining district possibilities, where V is the percentage of eligible votes that they received in the last election. That avoids having to explicitly acknowledge that non-credible parties have a seat, and also avoids having to identify who the credible parties actually are; as a downside, rather than select the median gerrymander, it will select one which is weighted towards the majority party. But not nearly as much as the current system; currently if a party controls a slim majority of voters for the state legislature, the districts will be maximally favorable to them. To get such a plan selected under the proportional vetoes model, they would need to have enough voters that the districts themselves are largely irrelevant.

        • eric23 says:

          I would start with “Each district must include only whole counties, plus parts of at most one county. Within that county, the district must include only whole municipalities, plus parts of at most one municipality. The perimeter of the county-portion (or municipality-portion) which is within the district must be less than the perimeter of the county (or municipality) itself.”

    • Paul Zrimsek says:

      I don’t have any fatal objections but I’d describe the scheme as gerrymandering-for-balance rather than not-gerrymandering, since it’s every bit as outcome-oriented as the gerrymandering we’ve already got.

    • eric23 says:

      No, technically speaking, because you don’t know ahead of time which people will vote for which party.

      You could use the data from the last election, which is probably “close enough”. Keep in mind that granularity is limited to the level of polling places, each of which has maybe 2000 (?) voters. It should not be a computational challenge to assign a few thousand such polling places to districts in an equitable manner.

      But keep in mind the dangers of election law privileging specific parties (in this case, the two big ones) over any others. To avoid heading down this path, it might be better to assign districts based on geographical compactness, with no relation to past election results.

    • Chris Hibbert says:

      My biggest complaint (I’m a libertarian, so neither of the major parties has my interests at heart) is that gerrymandering is a mechanism by which politicians choose their electors. In states where neither of the major parties has a strong majority, the two parties conspire to ensure that the most powerful of the sitting politicians in both parties all have safe seats. This means no competitions for incumbents, and no chance for moderate voices to have any influence on elections.

      All the metrics in the paper don’t do anything to prevent this kind of hijinks. The end result is still that the two parties get representatives proportional to their population, but there’s no chance for different voices to push the parties in a new direction.

      • Nornagest says:

        I’m starting to warm to the idea of proportional representation in the House, at least on a per-state level, although it’ll probably never happen.

        • Anthony says:

          I would like to see multi-member districts where each voter gets one vote.

          The problem with most multi-member districts (or multi-member at-large) is that voters get as many votes as there are seats, and then one party or slate ends up taking all the seats. By allowing only one vote (this can be a transferable vote), large minorities are pretty much guaranteed representation.

  5. deciusbrutus says:

    How does the economy go up at base rates but go down at greater than base rates during dictators’ regimes? Do they have more economies than non-dictators?

  6. nkurz says:

    @ordogaud:

    I might be misinterpreting you, but I think you are missing that the “2 tons” number has already divided the fuel usage by the number of passengers. Intercontinental flights generate *lots* of emissions.

    Here’s some numbers: https://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/flight/modern/question192.htm.

    Two 7 hour flights (round trip) with a 747 might burn 50,000 gallons of fuel to transport 500 passengers back-and-forth from NYC to LON. Each gallon produces about 20 lbs of CO2 (combines with oxygen in the air). 1,000,000 lbs of CO2 / 500 passengers = 2000 lbs of CO2 per passenger.

    Which, to be fair, is only 1 ton rather than 2 tons. I think the discrepancy is that many flight calculator sites apply a corrective factor 2 for the Defra “radiative forcing”, supposedly to account for the high altitude emissions in addition just the CO2 itself. See the section “Radiative Forcing” here: https://www.carbonindependent.org/22.html.

    Edit: It looks like the comment I was replying to disappeared while I was figuring out these numbers, and thus my reply got put here at the bottom. But I’ll leave this comment up in case it’s useful to someone else. I was surprised by the 1 million pounds of emissions!

  7. Tenacious D says:

    Why is it easier to do things for fun than for a job, and what are the implications?

    I found this essay pretty insightful.

  8. Tenacious D says:

    I was expecting the fungus engineered to kill mosquitoes to be cordyceps.

  9. jstr says:

    I recommend the BBC satirical comedy quiz “Have I Got News For You” for some hilarious Boris Johnson bits. For example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LEmdYEZgvk and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohJeG9nnNPE.

    Bonus hilarity: BRIAN!!! BLESSED!!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yif3FM6PQtw

  10. Don_Flamingo says:

    re: some idle thoughts on anorexia

    Does a focus on building muscle work? I mean…. instead of telling them that they need to gain weight, you tell them to do Tabathas, squats, bench-presses, deadlifts and guzzle those protein shakes after their workouts?
    If it is fundamentally a setpoint issue and a focus on “just eat more, to get more weight” does not work….
    Well, you can’t fail to put on muscle, if you do the things mentioned, I reckon.
    Perhaps they don’t feel hunge in general, but do anorexics not feel hunger after a weightlifting workout?
    Any studies on that? I’m really curious.
    Are there any famous body builders, who used to be anorexic?
    Also I’m curious if there are morbidly obese people who’ve been anorexic in their past.
    And if so, how did they manage to do that?

    Study design:
    Pay a bunch of anorexic patients 10 dollars for each big meal replacement shake, they’re drinking.
    But only pay out at the end of the day, if they’re drinking enough of them to gain significant weight back.
    Meal replacement shakes can be consumed very quickly. There’s already smart waterbottles, so the study doesn’t have be done in a controlled environment, if one uses a bit of creativity.
    Can the prospect of easy money and minimizing the food exposure time overcome the aversion?

    Presumably eating costs a some amount of willpower. Which Baumeister says is a limited resource.
    But your brain can’t count calories and there’s only so much willpower you can drain per unit of time.
    Thus the more time a patient spends eating, the more they’re draining themselves and the less likely they’re gonna gain weight back.
    So minimizing the time required for getting the calories in is probably the first thing they’re doing in anorexia treatment.

    • Red-s says:

      I’m not an expert (just a long-time sufferer), but my sense is that your idea would not work. Here is my thinking…

      First, “tell them to guzzle those protein shakes after their workouts” probably wouldn’t work. I always had high hopes for being able to eat more if I ran / worked out enough, but inevitably it wouldn’t work. I thought “if I run 9 miles, then I’ll be able to have a hearty lunch.” But I would do that, and lunchtime would come, and I wouldn’t be able to eat more than the usual minimal amount. (I didn’t feel hunger in the usual sense, to answer that question)

      Second, anorexics probably wouldn’t put on much weight or muscle. Coming out of chronic starvation/semi-starvation often induces a “hyper-metabolic” phase that’s sort of poorly understood. Meaning, one can be eating, say 5000 kcal a day for weeks, and gain very little weight. My own experience wasn’t this extreme, but I’ve talked to people who were in this phase for a while.

      Third, there’s some evidence that for those vulnerable to anorexia, the signal to go into starvation mode is “depleted fat stores,” not “depleted total body weight.” Meaning: adding muscle isn’t going to help with switching back into normal mode.

      • Don_Flamingo says:

        @Red-s
        Some assumptions I’m making:
        Anorexics don’t eat, because they’re experiencing a strong aversion not to. But their ability to digest calories is not directly impaired. So no nausea, vomitting, diarhea is necessarily invovled.

        I might be off-base here, but do please humor me. I am somewhat skinny and don’t feel hunger in the normal sense either, cause I do loads of intermittent fasting cause I’m lazy, and on most days take Modafinil. Though I’m not anorexic, I’m mildly worried that I might end up stumbling into it somehow.
        I never had body image issues. I mildly resent that I don’t look like a fitness model, when looking in the mirror, but it’s not an obsession of mine.

        re first:
        9 miles? That’s a rather unsustainable distance for anybody.
        Couldn’t imagine wanting to do that with any regularity and I’m not anorexic. (though I really do hate running in general)
        Not to mention that it’s so incredibly boring that it would be hard to stay with for most people.
        Working out doesn’t have to take a long time either. Going with a High Intensity program à la Occam’s workout from Tim Ferris’ “4 Hour Body” gives you the most bang for your buck.
        I’d suspect that any plan that involves a lot of time invested is too fragile to actually work.

        re: wouldn’t be able to eat more than usual at lunchtime
        Why would you wait for lunchtime?
        You already strongly expect that eating normal lunch does not work, so you’d have to run against prior conditioning. Doing it immediately after finishing your last set at the gym you’re probably feelinig energized and excited. Feeling the pump. That’s a different context and an intense feeling. And you can only feel so many things at the same time, so consuming all your calories within five minutes? Seems doable to me.
        Why would you still bother with trying to eat your calories?
        Just drink them. It’s faster, so the time spent suffering is minimized. You can listlessly and sadly pick at your food, but you can’t pick at your protein shake and/or your Huel.

        re second and third:
        Normally when trying to gain muscle and eating the corresponding calories for it, you don’t get pure muscle. Gains are never perfectly lean, much to the chagrin of bodybuilders. And the more muscle you get, the fat-gain percentage increases. There’s no bodybuilder who weighs more than 200kg. You can’t be 250kg and be at 10% bodyfat (AFAIK). Though returns of effort per muscle kg rise very quickly for everybody. The first 10kg of extra muscle are much easier than the following 10kg. The very few select people who ever manage to crack 100kg with low bf % do this with years of targeted effort and specialized diets. And probably have to have the right genes for it, as well.

        I was thinking about Tabatas or HIIT. Something you’re done with in 15 to 20 minutes to maximize the HGH-production (and whatever else that does). Can be easily done on an exercise bike. HIIT seems to reliably do the Human Growth Hormone-secretion thing.
        Can the body maintain this “starvation mode” and have HGH in the system, as well?

        https://www.scienceofeds.org/2014/05/07/hypermetabolism-in-anorexia-nervosa/

        Never heard of the hypermetabolic phase. Fascinating!
        The source here thinks it’s due to increased heat generation. So they’re like Wim Hof without ever bothering with ice baths and breathing techniques?

        Assuming that’s true, it would be worthwhile to turn up the heating and go to the sauna as much as possible. Make the environment so hot, that body is forced to cool itself down instead.
        Do that often enough and the body/immune system/whatever unlearns the behaviour/downregulates the hormones to do that nifty trick.
        I’m assuming that if the anorexic body could stubbornly create a fever and thus kill itself…. but I’d think we’d have heard about this before. The biological programming could not be that stupid, could it?

        • Red-s says:

          For me, a short amount of exercise didn’t do what I needed it to do: give me relief from the constant harranguing of the eating disorder voice.

          “Why would you wait for lunchtime?” – because if I didn’t stick to a rigid meal schedule, I wouldn’t be able to function normally.

          I’ve been in active recovery for about 8 months, so thankfully I’m in a much better place than this time last year. If I were you, I’d be mildly concerned about the lack of hunger signals and doing lots of intermittent fasting. Do you think you’d be able to pause that for a while and see if things normalize?

          • Don_Flamingo says:

            I mean…. I am midly concerned already.
            Though I am mildly concerned about a lot of things.

            I can definitely pause that and regularly do. During Christmas holidays and whenever I spend some extended time with my family, it’s back to three square meals a day + tea time snacks. Often restaurant visits.
            I usually complain that I never get around to doing anything, cause there’s always some meal just around the corner. But stuff’s delicous.
            But I notice that I slow down. And with all those bready carbs I tend to get bloated and gassy. It’s obviosly not good for me long-term (this way of eating), but I don’t mind.

            I never function normally, so this doesn’t apply to me. That’s cause ADHD makes me mostly be “unconscious” in some sense. Only when my medication just works right and I use some meditation and/or rationality techniques, can I coax out an internal “voice”, if I’m exceedingly lucky and/or really go really heavy on the Modafinil, I can get two. My internal experience is less of a voice, more of a…. log. I’m pretty much a happy and contented animal most of the time. Something between a human and a P-zombie, I guess.

          • Don_Flamingo says:

            @Red-S
            Though I’m 26 now.
            Can you even get anorexia this old?
            It usually starts in the teens, right?
            And from the Self-starvation-cycle post it would require voluntary starvation, anyway?
            No possible reason to starve myself. At most I’d do something silly like carnivore and would restrict myself inadverntly, cause I’m too lazy for all the frying and chewy eating. That has happened. But that resulted in me giving up on carnivore, instead.

          • Red-s says:

            A few thoughts…

            Re: age, it seems like adolescence is the time where most people develop symptoms. However, I had issues as early as 5 or 6, and I’ve talked to a guy who didn’t develop problems until 40.

            Re: self-starvation, I’m not sure if we know that it’s required to develop symptoms. My current model is that you can either have high or low genetic risk to developing anorexia, and high or low environmental pressure.

            I had high genetic risk (I have family with issues), but little environmental risk (I’m a guy, I wasn’t in a weight-sensitive sport, etc.). Others might have lower genetic risk, but higher environmental risk (think the adolescent ballerina who is pressured to be thin).

    • niko says:

      There are people with overweight and obesity who used to have anorexia. Either at an underweight BMI, or “atypical anorexia” which is really the same but when present at a higher weight. Someone can be currently overweight and have anorexia, if their set point weight is high.
      There are plenty of instagram fitness women who “used to have anorexia”. Either they kind of fake-recovered and got obsessive about lifting instead, or they really did recover and got into fitness in a healthy way. You probably can’t build muscle directly from a starved state though… the body really does not want to do that, and probably shouldn’t, if there’s heart or bone loss, or amenorrhea.
      I think obsessive muscle building in bodybuilders may be the same pathopsychology as anorexia, induced by very low body fat. They certainly have obsessive food behaviors, and lots of accounts of body dysmorphia.

      • Don_Flamingo says:

        @niko
        You’d not want to lift without giving taking enough protein and calories. Preferably directly after the workout.
        Are most anorexic sufferers at any given time in such a bad condition already?
        I mean…. you can’t do weighted squats, when you’re two days out of the hospital bed.
        But from what I understand is, that if they’re not gonna be in a great state at any given point. They’re mostly always going to be starved to some degree, but you can always lower the weight to compensate for it.
        If building muscle were a way out of anroexia, then that would explain why there’s more women suffering from it. Testosterone helps with buidling muscle.

        Making a prediction without looking it up first:
        Boys/Men who suffer from anorexia have a higher likelihood of being somewhere on the trans and/or genderqueer spectrum, as well.

        I think you badly misunderstand bodybuilders. It’s a hobby. For some it’s a lifestyle or part of their identity. That does not make it automatically unhealthy.
        If you get serious about bodybuilding, you’ll notice that to make progress, you absolutely have to get “obsessive” about food and “obsessively” looking at your body.
        Cause the more you do it, the harder it gets to make progress.
        I’d assume that getting into bodybuilding isn’t causing body dysmorphia, but that body dysmorphia might be getting you into bodybuilding?

        Most people don’t have “enough” muscle and carry too much fat around. Are too soft. Aren’t strong enough. I’m including myself here.
        Taking care of your body is something that improves your “body image”. Well…. it improves your body. Not really sure if “body image” is a relevant term unless you’re suffering from something psychologically.

      • Red-s says:

        I think obsessive muscle building in bodybuilders may be the same pathopsychology as anorexia, induced by very low body fat. They certainly have obsessive food behaviors, and lots of accounts of body dysmorphia.

        I think you’re right about this, at least for some fraction of bodybuilders. I’ve heard about it from both ends: someone with anorexic tendencies gravitates to bodybuilding, because it’s a socially acceptable way to be rigid about food and exercise. And from the other end, somebody getting into bodybuilding and triggering a pre-existing vulnerability to anorexia.

        P.S. Your comments on this older post were really valuable to me at the time. Thanks!

        • niko says:

          wow, thank you! i’ve seen your blog and your way of describing it all rings very true to me. I did a lot of journaling during recovery and thought about putting it up somewhere, but i’m really bad at following through on things like that. actually, can I email you some things/links to consider adding to it?

    • Icedcoffee says:

      Anecdotally, I think there’s something to this.

      As someone who is mildly fitness obsessed, and who spends a lot of time watching the fitness world, there are definitely a lot of formerly (and often still) eating-disordered people. (I know of at least a few female fitness models who are openly recovering anorexics/bulimics, and I have my suspicions about several men.) There’s something to be said for switching from “obsessively controls food intake to be as minimal as possible” to “obsessively controls food intake to be exactly what I need to accomplish XYZ fitness goal.” And that’s not to mention the people who switch from “never eating” to “only eating very specific types of food,” (i.e. orthorexia), which is rampant.

      Side note, I’ve heard a major confounder with studying anorexia is that anorexics are known to lie about hunger, how much they’ve eaten, and their current relationship with their body. While I was never anorexic, I’ve dabbled in my share of disordered eating, and there’s definitely a lot of deception used to justify it (including self-deception.) E.g. “I don’t really like dessert that much.”

  11. The original Mr. X says:

    Does the Second Amendment actually do a good job of protecting US citizens from an overbearing government? I’m open to correction on the point, but it seems that American cops are more trigger-happy than their European counterparts, and the consequences for a cop shooting an unarmed citizen in the US don’t seem to be any worse than the consequences a European policeman would face for the same action. And one of the arguments I always see come up in such cases is “Well, sure, this guy was unarmed, but for all the officer knew, he might have been a dangerous lunatic with a gun!”, so in at least some cases it seems that having an armed citizenry makes people more willing to tolerate abuses of power by state officials rather than less willing. Add to this proposals for filling US state schools with armed guards, and I’m really not convinced that US gun culture does much to safeguard people’s liberty against the government.

    • Nornagest says:

      Three-day rule.

      • Machine Interface says:

        There have been more than 250 mass shootings in the US since the beginning of 2019 — more than one per day. If apply the three day rule literally we can never talk about this.

        • Nornagest says:

          I’m tempted to say “good”, but instead I’ll say “use your good judgment”. You know perfectly well what this is inspired by, and you also know perfectly well how often similar events are in the national news. This isn’t hard.

          There are other criticisms I could raise, but they would constitute politicizing a tragedy.

      • Which in practice means never talking about it because everyone moves on. Great if you’re satisfied with the status quo, not so great if you’re not.

        • Nornagest says:

          Empirically that hasn’t stopped us, but if that’s not good enough for you, take it up with Scott. Nobody ever politicizes a tragedy if they’re satisfied with the status quo.

        • Paul Zrimsek says:

          That would make firearms policy, or white nationalism, or whatever other aspect you want to talk about, only one of the many social issues that effectively come without convenient news pegs. People who want to talk about all those other things seem to manage somehow.

        • EchoChaos says:

          Last time I tried to talk about an incident after the time period had passed I got banned, so I just avoid the topic.

        • Paul Brinkley says:

          Which in practice means never talking about it because everyone moves on. Great if you’re satisfied with the status quo, not so great if you’re not.

          Three days still permits people to talk about it while it’s recent; it’s just not so recent that everyone’s emotions are raw. A three-week rule would skew things to the status quo. A three-minute rule would have the Overton window forever jerking in the direction of mob emotion. Three days is the compromise.

      • The original Mr. X says:

        Sorry, I’d lost count. I’ll repost on the next open thread.

    • Machine Interface says:

      Yeah the whole “but what if we have an insurrection” argument always struck me as irrational.

      Having guns didn’t prevent the south from losing their slaves, from being forced to desegregate, from being forced to legalize abortion. The revolting against those change 1) was allowed to take place because the local enforcement agencies turned a blind eye or were even openly complicit, not because well armed citizens intimidated the feds and 2) failled.

      Having a lot of guns is also no insurrance that the population will actually revolt against a tyrannical government (see Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Turkey), and not having a lot of guns is no insurrance of a quiet and complacent population (see Tunisia, Algeria, Burkina Faso).

      • shakeddown says:

        I’m morbidly curious what happens if Trump loses the next election, claims it was rigged by illegal voters controlled by Hillary Clinton, and refuses to concede. I can see a case where Republicans having more guns translates to him staying in power.

        • BBA says:

          I’ve thought through this a lot. My guess is that the Senate will refuse to certify the Electoral College results and/or enough state election authorities will refuse to certify their own results to keep the Democrat from reaching 270. Then it goes to the archaic Congressional tie-breaker (one state, one vote) which I’m pretty sure will go Republican regardless. So there’s no need to bring the Second Amendment into play.

          I still think it far more likely that Trump wins legitimately than any other possibility.

          • Don P. says:

            I have been told that to challenge the electoral votes of any state in the Congression count, you need get get both houses to challenge, in which case you’d need to have the Dem win the EC but not Congress (this happens under the new Congress), which seems unlikely but not impossible. I think this linked law backs that up, but it’s pretty dense:

            https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/provisions.html

            “[…]and no electoral vote or votes from any State which shall have been regularly given by electors whose appointment has been lawfully certified to according to section 6 of this title from which but one return has been received shall be rejected, but the two Houses concurrently may reject the vote or votes when they agree that such vote or votes have not been so regularly given by electors whose appointment has been so certified.”

            This seems to require a certification controversy at the state level.

        • John Schilling says:

          I’m morbidly curious what happens if Trump loses the next election, claims it was rigged by illegal voters controlled by Hillary Clinton, and refuses to concede.

          Pretty much the same thing that would have happened if he’d (been officially reported as having) lost the 2016 election, and tried to pull the same stunt. Being POTUS gives one no legal and very little moral authority to nullify election results, and there’s a reason no US president has ever tried this.

          If someone ever does try this, then to actually pull it off they will need the loyalty and respect of the Federal bureaucracy and the military officer corps, which Trump does not have, and the ability to turn an obvious lie into something even vaguely convincing to moderates and apolitical professionals, which Trump definitely does not have.

          I can see a case where Republicans having more guns translates to him staying in power.

          If the plan is to call on his masses of followers with AR-15s to march on Washington because the Army has turned against him, then no, that just results in a few morons getting shot. Trump might have an Army’s worth of “loyalists” who would polish their AR-15s and say “If this turns into a real thing, I’m in” while waiting to see if it turns into a real thing. He has maybe a few Charlestons’ worth of loyalists willing to show up on day one and make it a real thing, and he’s not the man with the organizational skill to turn that into the spearhead of an autocoup.

        • ordogaud says:

          I don’t think Trump would ever encourage a violent insurrection even if it were possible (almost definitely isn’t). Trump and his family are fantastically wealthy, destabilizing the country to the point of potential collapse would cost him and his family more than it would be worth, even in the context of him possibly facing prosecution for obstruction of Justice once leaving office.

      • Two McMillion says:

        Venezuela and Turkey have heavy legal restrictions on firearm ownership. I’m not sure about Saudi Arabia.

      • RalMirrorAd says:

        It’s a matter of determination. In the 1st case you’re dealing with a situation where faith and authority was placed in a government whose army was defeated in a conventional war against a superior foe. A lot of the terrorism that occured after that war did suceed in undoing a lot of the reconstruction. The other cases you mention, armed resistance simply did not materialize.

        *sufficiently determined* citizens can override the will of an unsufficiently determined government, with the firepower of each side acting as a force multiplier, however the distribution of weapons [especially small arms] probably affects how timid/bold the other side will be, so it’s not independent of the ‘determination’ factor either.

        I’ll talk about US police and how that fits into my thinking above.

    • Two McMillion says:

      The second amendment does not, in practice, provide much protection against government. However, this is mostly due to the moral failings of US citizens rather then any problem with the amendment.

    • gbdub says:

      The overbearing government defended against by the second amendment was not intended to be exclusively domestic – the ideal of the citizen soldier / minuteman goes way back. In the 20th century, the Civilian Markmanship Program had the express purpose of familiarizing citizens with military rifles so that they could more rapidly integrate into the Army if drafted. The poor farmboy who is a crack shot from his years putting meat on the table is a classic trope. Then you’ve got your Red Dawn scenarios.

      I think the focus has shifted onto “defend against domestic tyranny” because we don’t really value the citizen soldier called to war and then going home ideal anymore, we have a permanent professional military, and any reference to that old trope will get you a snarky “go join the army if you like guns so much” reply.

      I think our willingness to accept (or our expectation for) a more violent, militaristic police force… well, there’s a lot going on there, only tangentially related to our acceptance of legally armed citizens.

    • John Schilling says:

      Once again, the obligatory reminder that the first line of defense provided by an armed citizenry is the ability to say “no thank you; we’ve got this covered” when the government proposes to raise everyone’s taxes to hire legions of stormtroopers to protect them against Superpredator Criminals, Islamic Terrorists, MS-13 Thugs Masquerading as Refugees, or whatever.

      • The original Mr. X says:

        But is this how things actually pan out in the real world? The US police seems more militarised than its counterparts in the rest of the first world. I wouldn’t be surprised if this had something to do with US gun culture (since the more firepower criminals can access, the more firepower the police need to counter them), but even if it doesn’t, the Second Amendment doesn’t seem to be having a noticeable positive effect in this regard either.

        • Nornagest says:

          Police militarization is relatively new. Gun culture isn’t. If anything, I’d say the most intense period of police militarization fell smack in the middle of our most restrictive period of federal-level gun control, the 1994-2004 assault weapons ban — though the two probably share a common cause in the crime wave of the 1980s and early ’90s.

          (This is however a matter of perception. The ’90s saw the popularization of SWAT and its attendant changes in police culture, which I personally think is the more important turning point, but the police didn’t start buying things like MRAPs and military rifles en masse, which are probably more visible to the average civilian, until post-9/11 and especially post-Iraq.)

          • John Schilling says:

            The ’90s also saw American gun culture push back fairly hard against the militarization of law enforcement at the federal level, to good and substantial effect. The FBI et al still have SWAT teams, of course, because they legitimately need them, but were much less aggressive or abusive in deploying them and have refined their rules of engagement to turn bloody shootouts into boring sieges.

            There was no parallel push against militarization of local police at that time, in part because the high-profile trigger incidents of that decade mostly were at the Federal level. Also, I think, because both gun culture and local law enforcement are stereotypically red tribe where the FBI seems pretty blue by comparison.

          • Jaskologist says:

            I wouldn’t assume police militarization is evenly distributed. The most militarized ones are probably the urban ones. Rural police departments are unlikely to have have tanks.

  12. Senessence says:

    About your gerrymandering paper, they don’t seem to have done a good job citing previous work. Gerrymandering’s wikipedia page mentions MCMC with a reference from 2015. I know of https://mggg.org.

    • arabaga says:

      They do in fact cite that paper:

      The strength of this approach, as we will show later, is that as the number of steps in the Markov Chain increases our sampling gets closer and closer to a random sample of all contiguous districts of the same size. This approach was introduced in 2014 by Fifield, Higgins, Imai, and Tarr [6]. However, their approach uses geographical compactness and other subjective factors. Our approach is far simpler because the only constraints on our model are the objective factors of equal size and contiguity. In our model, districts only must have roughly equal populations and connected interiors.

  13. Mwncsc says:

    How are changes in the entertainment industry causing both the Golden Age Of TV and the Dark Age Of Unoriginal Movies?

    It’s hard for me to articulate precisely what I find wrong about this post. I suppose I could summarize it as, “the mid-80s was the time when Hollywood worked? Really?” My understanding about the movie industry was that it has always been a mostly bloated, corrupt, dehumanizing institution that we tolerate because we all like movies.

    Sure, present circumstances aren’t perfect for anyone, but there’s a greater variety of content available to more people at a lower price point that at any time in the history of film or TV. I’m not convinced that the franchise bubble will last forever, so the arguable temporary loss of the quality, original blockbuster doesn’t seem like too great a sacrifice for what we have. As for Netflix, despite the author’s concerns about monopoly, all I’ve heard are dire predictions about the service’s future, from upper limits of subscribers, increasing costs of content production, and the loss of its core catalog to rivals.

    Reading some of the author’s other work, particularly a piece about private equity and Toys R Us, he seems to see nefarious monopolistic financiers behind many moribund businesses. It seems to me that technology, whether streaming or online shopping, is the real source of disruption.

  14. Pattern says:

    New study argues e-cigarettes increase heart attack risk; Reason writes about a letter from concerned scientists and statisticians who find the study is so badly done that it unintentionally claims vaping defies the laws of time and space – ie using an e-cigarette increases your past heart attack risk just as much as it increases your future risk. Imagine a world where this kind of thing gets caught by the Journal Of The American Heart Association before they publish a paper, rather than having to get signal-boosted by a random webzine.

    So heart attacks cause vaping?
    Reminds me of: https://xkcd.com/925/.

    • nkurz says:

      > So heart attacks cause vaping?

      It seems quite possible this is true, at least for the previous smokers. Consider this just-so-story: Smokers are more likely to have heart attacks. After they have a heart attack, they are told they desperately need to quit smoking. But they are addicted to nicotine. So they start vaping, telling themselves that it’s at least it’s slightly safer than smoking.

      I don’t know how large this effect would be, but it seems plausible to me that smokers who have had heart attacks would be more likely to switch to e-cigarettes than those who have not had a heart attack. By contrast, it seems very unlikely that lifetime non-smokers who have recently experienced a heart attack would take up either smoking or e-cigarettes.

      • acymetric says:

        I mean, is it even necessary that they had a heart attack? Smoke, raise your risk of heart disease. Switch to vaping, possibly still at risk for heart disease?

        I don’t know if the study controlled for people with a previous history of smoking (it doesn’t sound promising, but maybe).

        • benjdenny says:

          Scratch all this. I’m looking at a different glantz article.

          So it’s really bad. What they do is first not take into account when the heart attack happened relative to when the person started vaping, even though they have data in place to do this.

          They then calculate the relative risk of heart attack for someone who quit smoking and vapes every day as (risk of a former smoker) * (risk of a daily vaper) / (risk of a daily smoker), and get 1.09.

          Since they ignore when the heart attack happens, this lets them double-count the risk. The vast majority of the vapers (92%) they looked at were former or current smokers. So if I was a former smoker and had a heart attack before I ever vaped, they then said “he’s a former smoker who had a heart attack” and then multiplied that with “he’s a vaper who had a heart attack” as if there were two separate cardiac events.

          Imagine if I did this with electric cars. I look at people who had ever been injured in a crash in their whole lives; I say “I have former gas car drivers, and current electric-only drivers who no longer drive gas. James got in a crash in a conventional car twice; as a person in an electric car, he has no electric car crashes, but still two historic car crashes. Bob only drives gas vehicles and has been in two car crashes. Our study shows that since 2 crashes(james in gas car) + 2 crashes(james having crashed any type of car, now driving electric) / 2 crashes(bob’s two crashes) comes out to 2, that means our data indicates electric cars double your risk for car crashes.”

  15. Lambert says:

    So that’s why there’s ambulance services called St Johns/ Die Johaniter/ Malteser with Maltese crosses as their logos.

  16. A really striking thing about reading coverage in conservative media is that I don’t think this has occurred to them. There’s this very strong background assumption that liberals are pretending to be upset about the camps so that we can push for open borders, as opposed to ‘being made more liberal on immigration by the bedrock conviction that any policy that results in atrocities like this is an unjust one’. There’s this equally strong background assumption that the only reason anyone posts about immigration or the camps is to impress all their liberal friends with how sad they are.

    I would believe the sincerity if the left had any kind of coherent position on immigration. If you are an all-out open borders advocate and you cry about how bad detention centers are, I believe you. But if you compare detaining illegal immigrants to the Holocaust while insisting that you don’t support open borders, you don’t get the moral high ground and talking about how really, really sad you are doesn’t change that.

    If you want a good example of why we doubt their sincerity, look at the anti-war movement in the oughts when Bush was President. They insisted that they were truly, deeply sad about all the brown people killed up until the moment that Obama became President. Is it shocking that us conservatives our now skeptical about their intentions?

    • Oscar Sebastian says:

      We don’t compare detaining illegal immigrants to the Holocaust. We compare detaining them in overcrowded camps, separating children from their families, and denying them basic necessities of life like hygiene to the policies of Nazi Germany that directly precipitated the Holocaust. Quit misrepresenting the outgroup’s position just because you can’t acknowledge your ingroup’s moral turpitude.

      • Conrad Honcho says:

        Great, can we have more money for the detention facilities so we can make them more comfortable, and can we expedite deportations for “asylum seekers” with no reasonable claim of asylum? Also, it would be wonderful if the Democrats would stop encouraging people to come by offering them protection in “sanctuary cities” and spouting rhetoric about how “no person is illegal” and “we’re a nation of immigrants?” Also, can we have some money for a wall and border agents to make it harder for them to get here and discourage them from trying? I mean, since we’re just as evil as the Nazis, it kind of sounds like they’re telling Jews in the 1930s to flood Germany. It seems like a poor idea to encourage south Americans to come to the US just before Cheeto Hitler starts up the Cholocaust.

        • Oscar Sebastian says:

          Great, can we have more money for the detention facilities so we can make them more comfortable, and can we expedite deportations for “asylum seekers” with no reasonable claim of asylum?

          I dunno, is Moscow Mitch gonna let any bills be passed this year?

          Also, it would be wonderful if the Democrats would stop encouraging people to come by offering them protection in “sanctuary cities” and spouting rhetoric about how “no person is illegal” and “we’re a nation of immigrants?”

          Mmmm… no. How about some immigration reform?

          Also, can we have some money for a wall and border agents to make it harder for them to get here and discourage them from trying?

          Well, the wall is pretty useless since all the obvious places are fenced off and the rest is generally horrific desert. It’s a boondoggle at best. As for the border agents, until 50% of them aren’t part of racist internet groups, no I think we need fewer asshats in government, not more.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Okay, so the US is Nazis, but you don’t want to do anything to alleviate the Nazism. Which makes me doubt you honestly believe the US is Nazis.

          • Oscar Sebastian says:

            @CH: Yep, that sure is how to interpret my response. “I don’t think the Senate’s current configuration will make passing any such bills possible,” “Our problems with immigration are bigger than what your bugaboos are doing,” and, “Your idea about a wall has been shown time and time again by anyone with the least understanding of engineering, finance, and migration to be a complete waste of time,” all are actually doublespeak for, “I don’t wanna!”

          • cassander says:

            I dunno, is Moscow Mitch gonna let any bills be passed this year?

            I don’t know where the idea that majority leaders controlling the flow of legislation is bad or unusual came from but it’s patently silly. Controlling the flow of legislation is literally the purpose of leadership in any parliamentary body. And why on earth would you assume that Mcconnell wouldn’t allow legislation he and his caucus support to pass?

            Mmmm… no. How about some immigration reform?

            What does this even mean? Be specific. What do you want to reform and, assuming your position isn’t “no more borders” what exactly do you propose to do with the people who violate the new rules you’re suggesting. Because while shouting “this is bad” certainly works politically (see, e.g., the republican party from 2010 to 2016) it’s not actually a policy proposal, or even an intellectually defensible position.

      • This is truly bizarre that you think me misrepresenting the left is not the whole Nazi comparison thing but the distinction made between “the Holocaust” and “events leading to the Holocaust”. It should be obvious that when you call us Nazi’s for supporting policies that you were perfectly fine with under Obama, we don’t really care about your moral grandstanding. Talking about our “moral turpitude” doesn’t mean anything to me and it’s weird that you act like it would.

        • Oscar Sebastian says:

          There’s a very big distinction between, “The government is killing millions of people,” and, “the government is rounding up more people than it knows what to do with into overcrowded camps and we have some firsthand experience of where that goes unchecked.” The government is not, to my knowledge, killing millions of people in the border camps. I can’t rule it out, of course (the Nazis didn’t exactly advertise the Holocaust), but it seems we’re still several steps removed. Because of the sheer gulf between these two policy statements, conflating the reasonable one (because, again, the camps are still inexcusably inhumane and your refusal to face that head on is exactly why you need to confront your in-group’s problems if you want to be a good person) with the unreasonable one is a distraction to avoid confronting the fact that this shouldn’t be happening at all.

          • The words you use to describe the detention camps don’t actually change the reality of the situation so no, the distinction doesn’t really matter. There are countless numbers of examples of people being confined to a location that doesn’t involve them being massacred but I suspect that doesn’t mean much to you. Whether it’s a direct comparison to the Holocaust or the events leading up to the Holocaust with the vague insinuation that it will lead to the Holocaust, the goal is to paint conservatives as Nazis. Unsurprisingly, we don’t accept your framing and certainly don’t care about whatever distinctions you claim are really important. If you want to make an argument about policy, do that. Don’t make these Nazi arguments that are transparently based on emotional, irrational appeals.

          • gbdub says:

            “The government is rounding up people…”

            This is where calling them “concentration camps” elides a very important distinction.

            ICE is not going to Honduras and Guatemala and dragging people out of their homes to put them in these detention centers. They are coming here of their own volition, mostly knowing they are doing so illegally.

            That’s a big difference from “rounding up” undesirable citizens in your own country and packing them off to a camp”.

            “I can’t rule it out, of course…”

            Oh please.

      • EchoChaos says:

        “We’re not comparing them to the Holocaust, we’re comparing them to the EARLY Holocaust” isn’t exactly the talking point you might think it is.

    • xq says:

      The left does not have a “coherent” position on immigration, or war, or anything else, because it’s composed of lots of different people with different perspectives and beliefs. Plenty of people on the left were, and are, deeply critical of Obama’s military activities. Others are not opposed to military intervention as a rule, but still thought the Iraq invasion was a disaster; it’s quite reasonable to judge Bush more harshly than Obama on the invading other countries issue. If you notice individual instances of hypocrisy, point it out, but we’re not obliged to agree on everything just to make it simpler for you to keep track.

      • Of course, there are individuals who dissent but there are still notable tendencies. It is perfectly reasonable to say something about a group without it being universal. If I said that Republicans in 2009 opposed Obamacare, that’s a valid statement even if there are registered Republicans who supported it. In the same way, saying that Democrats cared a lot more about being anti-war in 2005 than 2015 is valid.

        But for immigration, we are talking about individuals. When I accuse Democrats of being incoherent, I’m not talking about the different perspectives in the party. I’m talking about how prominent figures like Elizabeth Warren say that basically any enforcement of immigration policy is bad but they also insist that they don’t support open borders. That is textbook incoherence and it’s not only conservatives who notice.

        • xq says:

          The US had withdrawn from Iraq before 2015. Obviously Democrats cared more about war when it was ongoing.

          People do have partisan biases and I’m sure you could come up with good examples of Democrats exhibiting them, but this is just never going to be a good one because Obama never did anything like Iraq. The leftists with broader concerns about US militarism were critical of Obama.

          On Warren: Open borders would mean like what we have between US states or European countries under Schengen–you can pass the border freely with no border controls. Nothing in Warren’s plan is proposing eliminating border control so I can’t see how it is open borders. This seems very clear and unambiguous to me and I genuinely do not understand the opposite position, including Drum’s. Can you explain precisely what you are claiming here?

          “We should have weak border controls, focus on criminal activity, and not deport undocumented immigrants here peacefully” is a coherent position and distinct from open borders.

          • focus on criminal activity

            All illegal immigration is criminal activity.

            It’s weak border controls and no one gets deported unless they commit a felony. How is that not de-facto open borders? I guess there’s the difference that you can’t literally drive your car on a major road or take a plane in to the country but that’s easily worked around. Under Elizabeth Warren, an illegal immigrant can simply hire someone to take them around our existing barrier to the US, and once they’re in, that’s that. It’s open borders with extra steps. That’s assuming that she doesn’t try to defund border patrol or even go full Beto O’Rourke and start demanding that we tear down the barriers we do have.

          • xq says:

            It’s not open borders, “de facto” or otherwise, because the movement of people and goods across the border will remain regulated by government officials. Seems pretty simple.

            an illegal immigrant can simply hire someone to smuggle them in the US, and that’s that

            If you have to hire someone to smuggle you over the border that is very obviously not open borders. I don’t have to hire a smuggler to get between US states. This isn’t a trivial difference!

          • That’s why we say “de-facto” because it’s technically illegal but barely enforced.

            Illegal immigrants obviously don’t have to pay smugglers. It just makes it easier.

            Regardless of whether you want to use the word “open borders”, the outcome is similar. Thousands of people will realize how simple it is for them to get across the border and without fear of punishment once they get here, they will do so. That’s just basic incentives at work. Do you think under Elizabeth Warren less Central Americans will try to come here?

          • xq says:

            It would be “de facto” open borders if the US had laws regulating who could come through but had no officials at the border actually controlling access. That is not what Warren is proposing. It would still be difficult to cross the border without permission, as you acknowledge.

            I have no interest in debating policy. You said Warren’s position was incoherent. It isn’t. You just disagree with it.

          • What exactly do you think would happen if Elizabeth Warren does what she says? Because it’s going to look a lot like a policy of open borders whether it involves them simply crossing through a major road or they take a detour.

            Let’s stop talking about the word “open borders”, because we’re obviously not getting anywhere. Can you not even imagine why a conservative would think, with some reason even if they are wrong, Warren’s policies are functionally equivalent to open borders? Because if not, then I don’t know what else to say.

          • xq says:

            You said Warren’s position is incoherent because she rejects the claim from the right that her plan amounts to open borders. You have now more-or-less acknowledged that this claim is a lie (i.e., you’ve said that the easiest way to cross would be to pay a smuggler to take you over, which no reasonable person could describe as “open borders”). But Warren accurately rejecting the lie is proof of her incoherence.

            Do I understand your position here? I think so? You believe there’s some deeper truth revealed by the lie about open borders; the people making the false claim are really the honest ones because they get at the essence of the issue, while the people refuting it are in denial, though literally correct, because they are just distracting from the core issue. So while it’s undeniably true that Warren’s plan differs from “open borders” in many ways, it is close enough along the axis you care about that even bringing up these distinctions is missing the point.

            The problem is: there is no consensus what the important issues are. People have all sorts of different concerns about the border and immigration in general. You can’t just assume that everyone in this conversation shares your perspective about which aspects of border policy matter. If you want people who don’t share your perspective to take your arguments seriously, you should restrict yourself to narrower, more literal claims, like that Warren’s policy would
            incentivize illegal immigration, rather than claims that are false but feel emotionally true.

          • EchoChaos says:

            @xq

            Marijuana is still illegal federally, but has been legalized in several states. This has some substantial knock-on effects like the fact that dispensaries cannot use the banking system because they are trafficking in goods that are still federally banned.

            I think we can agree that if someone says “Marijuana is legal in Washington”, he’s making a mostly true statement despite the substantial limitations.

            A response of “Well, dispensaries actually have to deal entirely in cash so marijuana isn’t REALLY legal in Washington” would be seen as dodging the point and legalistic.

            It sounds to me as if Elizabeth Warren is proposing the marijuana legalization of border crossing. That seems to me to be “legalizing open borders”. In fact, to me it is actually worse. Just as marijuana legalization has created a substantial robbery risk for dispensaries because they are forced to deal in cash, likewise decriminalization on the border makes things worse because you have the negatives of both open borders and coyotes smuggling people.

          • xq says:

            This gets at the discussion of “de facto” we had earlier. Like, I agree, there is some level of nonenforcement of de jure border policy that would be equivalent to “open borders”; I even agree that that level is not zero. But it’s completely absurd to say that a heavily patrolled border where people have to get coyotes to smuggle them over is consistent with a level of nonenforcement that could be called “open borders.”

            I feel like you want to be making a different argument–about the legal status of unauthorized immigrants. When you say “It sounds to me as if Elizabeth Warren is proposing the marijuana legalization of border crossing” that is closer to something reasonable (it’s more like marijuana decriminalization than legalization). But the openness of the border and the status of border crossers are different policy issues. You could have a very secure border nearly impossible to cross, and still not deport people who did manage it; that would not be an “open borders” policy in any sense.

          • EchoChaos says:

            @xq

            Perhaps I am misunderstanding her plan, but I am reading it from the Mother Jones article.

            She is proposing that the border patrol no longer apprehend people at the border but instead focus on “homeland security efforts like screening cargo, identifying counterfeit goods, and preventing smuggling and trafficking.”

            So she is in fact proposing a reduction in border security and no penalties for those who get in. Your hypothetical is certainly possible, but that’s not Warren’s plan, which is far closer to what Wrong Species and I are describing.

            This is the “marijuana legalization” of Open Borders. As long as you’re not trafficking someone or smuggling goods, the Border Patrol isn’t stopping you and nobody is going to enforce anything once you get in.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @xp

            heavily patrolled border

            It’s my understanding that under her proposal it will not be heavily patrolled. From the article:

            As near as I can tell, CBP will be retasked away from patrolling the border looking for illegal crossings; if border officers happen to apprehend someone, they’ll be released almost immediately; if they bother to show up for their court date, they’ll have a lawyer appointed for them; and employers will have no particular reason to fear giving them a job.

            Is this accurate? This sounds like de facto open borders. If the only enforcement will be done at official crossings, and there is no wall…all you have to do is walk across somewhere else. You really won’t even need coyotes anymore if there’s no patrols looking for crossers.

            Saying that calling this “de facto open borders” is a lie sounds false. That’s what “de facto” means rather than “de jure.” Technically it’s illegal, but is so easily and frequently done that for all intents and purposes it might as well be legal.

          • xq says:

            @EchoChaos
            I’m confused. Last post you said there would still be a need for coyotes under Warren’s plan. That was your interpretation and what I was responding to. If there is still demand for coyotes, the border is in no sense “open.” Did you change your interpretation of the plan between posts, or is your position really that there’s no substantive difference between a border where you need to hire coyotes to cross and the border between CA and OR?

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            I think EC was wrong about the need for coyotes, but that only strengthens the rest of his points. If under her plan the only thing border patrol agents are looking for is contraband and smuggling, then having a cartel member with your migrant group would make things more difficult, not easier.

            Either walk away from the official crossing and cross in some place with no barrier or with one of those 3 feet tall vehicle barriers and no enforcement action will be taken against you, or go to the official crossing, claim asylum and then fail to show up for your asylum hearing and no action will be taken against you. This sounds very much like de facto open borders.

          • EchoChaos says:

            @xq

            There is not a need for coyotes to cross the American border, but most of our immigrants are from Central America, and pay coyotes for transport across Mexico, which is where most of the violence, rape and other assorted bad stuff that happens to people making that migration occurs.

            Making it to America, even if you are caught by CBP now, is safety relative to that journey.

            This proposal massively incentivizes paying for coyotes to travel across Mexico. In a true open borders proposal, they could just fly or take a legal bus to the United States and travel in safety. Warren’s proposal is actually worse than open borders.

          • John Schilling says:

            I’m confused. Last post you said there would still be a need for coyotes under Warren’s plan.

            If “coyote” just means “guy with a pickup truck who knows the back roads, willing to commit statutory violations that nobody gets arrested for”, then that’s at least on the fuzzy gray edge of “de facto open borders”. It’s not like most of these people are walking all the way from Guatemala or wherever; paying specialists for transportation has traditionally been a part of the American immigration experience.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Oh, okay. I thought you were talking about coyotes for the US/Mex border. I don’t know much about the travel through Mexico. But, I also don’t think President Warren would be putting much pressure on Central and South American countries to stop migrant traffic within their borders.

          • xq says:

            @Echo: OK, I understand now. You are describing a substantial, highly consequential difference between Warren’s plan and open borders. How is this a defense of the claim that Warren’s plan amounts to open borders?

          • EchoChaos says:

            @xq

            No, I am describing a consequence of open borders WITH ONLY MEXICO, which is what Warren is proposing.

            This is like saying that you can’t describe the relationship between France and Germany as open borders because Greece guards its border. Warren is proposing de facto open borders with Mexico. I am arguing that not only is she proposing de facto open borders with Mexico, but that what she is proposing is substantially worse than genuine open borders in its consequences.

            Just as our current system of legalized marijuana is substantially worse than true legalization, but saying “Washington doesn’t actually have legal marijuana” is false because de facto they do.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Do we have an “open border” with Canada?

          • xq says:

            @Echo:
            You said that under open borders you could take a legal bus between Central America and the US, but not under Warren’s plan. There is no way to take a bus between Guatemala and the US except through the US Southern border. That implies control on movement through the US-Mexican border is not merely de jure, but substantial and meaningfully influential on people’s behavior. This is all clearly correct, in my view, but now you seem to want to say that this is all consistent with the US actually having open borders with Mexico, which makes no sense.

            You can walk into a store in WA and just buy marijuana. If it were that easy to cross the border with Mexico I would agree that is de facto open borders.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Do we have an “open border” with Canada?

            De jure, no, de facto (under President Warren) yes? It’s an unpatrolled border, so nobody would stop a Canadian who crossed some place that wasn’t a checkpoint. I googled for “are canadians deported to canada” and found this article about a Canadian with a minor drug offense being deported under Trump, but from the framing of the article it sounds like this sort of enforcement is a new development. I’m assuming President Warren would not have deported this individual.

            So, yes, we have a de facto open border with Canada, but the Canadians are generally too polite to cross it unannounced.

            ETA:

            You can walk into a store in WA and just buy marijuana. If it were that easy to cross the border with Mexico I would agree that is de facto open borders.

            But under President Warren it would be, right? You could just…walk across the border someplace without a checkpoint and nobody would bother you so long as you’re not smuggling contraband. And just like with marijuana in Washington, sure, technically DEA agents could lay hands on you but they don’t, technically ICE could lay hands on the illegal immigrant but they won’t.

          • EchoChaos says:

            @xq

            Under your definition US states don’t have open borders. There are checkpoints for trucks taking goods into California, for example.

            So very well, I concede that Elizabeth Warren’s plan is not “Open Borders”. It’s just indistinguishable for the thing that I care about, which is substantial movement of people.

          • xq says:

            But under President Warren it would be, right? You could just…walk across the border someplace without a checkpoint and nobody would bother you so long as you’re not smuggling contraband.

            But that’s not how buying mj in states that have legalized it works. You don’t have to do anything shady or evasive; you just walk into a store like any other store and buy drugs like you would any other good. A regulation being possible to evade with effort isn’t the same as the state no longer imposing that regulation.

            The policy details of Warren’s plan are not totally clear–I think you are reading a lot into her claim that she will refocus the priority of the border agencies to combat trafficking and smuggling. But what is clear is that her plan presupposes the existence of armed guards at the border regulating movement across it, which is not consistent with open borders. “Enforcement will be weaker than I like” does not make it open borders.

            Under your definition US states don’t have open borders. There are checkpoints for trucks taking goods into California, for example.

            Huh? We’re both talking about people, not goods.

          • xq says:

            A question for everyone saying Warren’s plan is open borders.

            One of the great things about the US is the lack of travel restrictions between states. It’s very easy to cross state lines for vacation, or employment, or to shop, or to visit people, or to move long-term. That’s what it means to have open borders. But let’s suppose a US state decided to control its border. It declared that crossing into the state without permission was illegal. It built barriers over much of its border, including all roads and all parts near inhabited areas. It enforced these barriers with thousands of armed police. Most people who wanted to cross state lines would not be allowed through; only a small number given permission to enter, after showing appropriate documentation at designated crossing points. Would it be reasonable to say: essentially nothing is changed. The state’s claim to border enforcement is merely de jure. The border is still open, because you can sneak through somewhere in the wilderness, and no one will send you back if they catch you after.

          • It built barriers over much of its border, including all roads and all parts near inhabited areas. It enforced these barriers with thousands of armed police.

            This is where your confusion comes from. The United States border does not have barriers over its entirety. The barriers it does have are often inadequate to prevent anyone coming over. Border Patrol is understaffed to carry out its mission, which is not going to receive increased funding. If anything we’ll see the opposite.

            So yes, there will probably still be a token force near El Paso and San Diego keeping everyone on the Mexican side jumping the border all at once. But that’s not equivalent to vigorous enforcement. Just like I think the fact that California has checkpoints is trivial in the point about open borders between states, the checkpoints on the Mexican border don’t invalidate the de-fact open borders claim.

          • xq says:

            The part you are quoting says “much of its border”, not “entirety.” And I said people could cross over illicitly at isolated places with no barriers, and there would be no consequences for doing so. It’s not “vigorous enforcement” in the way you mean it. So, with that cleared up, your answer is yes, the scenario I described is basically open borders? A trivial change from what we have between states today?

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            The border is still open, because you can sneak through somewhere in the wilderness, and no one will send you back if they catch you after.

            Yes, I would call that de facto open borders. You have a law that no one enforces. The law exists de jure but does not exist de facto.

            Are we just unclear what “de jure” and “de facto” means?

          • xq says:

            You used to be able to freely drive on the highway across the state border from one state to another. Now (in my hypothetical), if you try that, you have to stop at a border crossing, a guard demands to see proof you have permission to cross, and if you don’t, you can’t go through.

            How is that not enforcing the law? How is that not an impediment on freedom of movement across the border, and thus a violation of “open borders”? A law that exists “de jure” but not “de facto” is one that is written on the books, but might as well not be; it would be “de facto” open borders if there were no guards at the border regulating movement. But that’s not the case here. There are guards. Their enforcement is meaningful. They make it much more costly to cross the border. Think of the effect, for example, on people who commute across state lines.

            What you seem to be saying is: it’s “de facto” open borders if the law isn’t enforced to the maximal extent possible. But that’s an absurd position: no law is enforced to the maximal extent possible, so this leads you to the conclusion that law enforcement doesn’t exist at all. A law can be enforced meaningfully and consequentially without being enforced maximally.

          • Ghillie Dhu says:

            @xq,

            From the sidelines, it seems to me that the US-Mexico border Conrad Honcho is describing would be more analogous to having guard shacks where an interstate highway crosses the State border, but not where lesser roads do, and certainly nothing where there is no road.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @xq

            if you try that, you have to stop at a border crossing, a guard demands to see proof you have permission to cross, and if you don’t, you can’t go through.

            And then you say, “oh, I’m actually allowed to be here, I’m fleeing bad people.” The guard says “okay you can come on in but you’ll have to show up at a hearing in a year or so to prove that to a judge. If you don’t show up for the hearing no one will check up on you and nothing bad will happen to you.” And then you go through. Why even bother with the checkpoint? Just let them through. There is no difference.

            A law can be enforced meaningfully and consequentially without being enforced maximally.

            And I’m saying “de facto” means “is trivially enforced without consequence.” Not “is not enforced maximally.” Since we’re doing analogies now, how do you feel about background checks for gun buyers? Right now if I go buy a gun, the dealer will send my name to a state computer system and see whether or not I’m a felon, if I am, no sale.

            I am in favor of strong background checks. Absolutely. Let no one ever accuse me of not being in favor of strong background checks. But man, sometimes these databases are wrong, and people do have a right to self-defense, so how about we make it so if a felon tries to buy a gun, and the system says “denied,” he can say the magic words “no, actually I’m totes allowed to have a gun” and the dealer will then sell him a gun, and he walks out the store with the gun and a notice to show up to prove that to a judge in a year. Also, if he doesn’t show up for the hearing in a year, no police officer will come to his door and seize the weapon, or make him prove his claim or anything, really.

            Now remember, the law’s on the books! We’re doing background checks! No felon should have guns! Would you agree we still have “strong gun control?” Or would you maybe say we have de facto no gun control because there’s essentially no difference in gun purchases by felons in the universe where we have the law and the universe where we don’t? If I proposed such a law, would you believe me when I claim I’m not actually in favor of felons having guns?

          • xq says:

            @Ghillie Dhu
            But that’s not at all an accurate description of the Mexican border. We spend massive amounts of resources to secure it. People die all the time trying to cross. It’s not a trivial thing. And nothing in Warren’s plan indicates it would become trivial were she to implement it.

            But even if your description were accurate–purely hypothetically, it does not describe current reality or any Democratic plan–that’s still not open borders. Open borders means you don’t restrict movement of people across the border. Restricting movement of people on the main roads is restricting movement of people. One of the really annoying things about this conversation is conservatives feel free to make false claims that proposals are open borders when what they really mean is that the proposal does not address their specific issues with open borders.

            @Conrad:
            You’re changing the argument. Last post your claim was that people coming in illegally through holes in border security that were insufficiently protected, and then not being sent back, implied open borders. My post responded to that argument. Now you’ve ignored that response, and you’re instead talking about people coming in legally, with our permission, and then not leaving. Those are different issues.

            Every country allows people to come in who have obtained permission through some sort of process; that doesn’t make the border open. You think this process is too liberal. OK. Why not express it as a policy disagreement instead of making some awkward argument that it somehow implies open borders?

            You go on an extended analogy to make a point I think we already agree on–what matters is whether enforcement is consequential. Yes. I I think I gave a pretty good argument in my last post that enforcement under the scenario I proposed (which you said was an example of open borders) would be highly consequential. It would severely curtail movement through state borders. If a background check law substantially reduced gun purchasing rates, I would call that meaningful enforcement even if there were some remaining loopholes.

          • Clutzy says:

            XQ

            That is because “open borders” is shorthand for no enforcement of immigration controls at the border or within. I don’t think I’ve seen even the greatest extremists want to eliminate checkpoints at ports and the like. People don’t want Russians to be able to smuggle nukes into DC.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            @xq

            I didn’t ignore your argument, I gave yet another way in which the rules of your analogy (which I assume was supposed to mirror the US/Mexico border) are easily circumvented. That there are even more ways to defeat your non-enforcement makes your case weaker, not stronger.

            Great, put up the checkpoints. You can circumvent them easily by either staying off the road and crossing through the unpatrolled wilderness or by falsely claiming asylum. Nothing will happen once you’re on the other side of the border having crossed by either method. The rules are so trivially violated and trivially enforced you might as well not bother with the rules. Rules de jure, no rules de facto because there is practically no difference in crossings between the world with the rules and the world without the rules.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            One of the really annoying things about this conversation is conservatives feel free to make false claims that proposals are open borders

            It’s not just conservatives. It’s people like Andrew Sullivan and Kevin Drum.

            https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/07/are-democrats-now-the-party-of-open-borders/

            I have previously criticized Republicans who accused liberals of wanting “open borders.” President Trump tweets about this endlessly. But I have to admit that it’s hard to see much daylight between Warren’s plan and de facto open borders.

    • albatross11 says:

      Some of us remained opposed to dumbass Middle-Eastern wars under the Obama administration, too, FWIW.

  17. AllAmericanBreakfast says:

    I’m a music teacher for small children. Having the privilege of teaching individual lessons to the same kids for years, I’ve been able to find ways of teaching growth mindset that actually work. When I talk with my students about how it’s taught in school, it’s usually in the context of assemblies where the concept is simply explained. They always get this frown on their faces when they tell me about it.

    I use two methods. For some kids, I frame each thing they learn as “planting a seed,” and each time they practice it as “watering the seed/shining the sun down/putting down fertilizer.” I have them show me “how big they think the plant is” as they practice. I also remind them periodically that this is all a metaphor for forming memories in their brains.

    For other kids, I explain specifically that practice creates and strengthens memories in the brain. I explain that the brain is like a library with no catalogues: if you stay at the book you just put on the shelf, taking it down and putting it back, you won’t learn where it is. You have to wander away to practice finding your way back.

    I also use a diagram that describes practice as setting small goals (accomplished in less than a minute). (Small goal) points to (Yay!), which I explain means you celebrate what you just did (maybe by smiling, thinking “good job” to yourself, or raising your arms up and saying “yes, I did it!”). (Yay) points back to (Small goal). And (Small goal) also points to (Adjust) in case they made one that’s too big.

    The results have been the most consistently successful, transformative intervention I’ve ever implemented. I have some students with serious anxiety and negative self talk, as well as kids with lots of normal distractibility. Applying one or the other method has improved their work habits as well as the joy and pride they take in their work.

    So my guess is that the problem is one of implementation.

    • Matt M says:

      Technically speaking, I don’t think what you are doing is really growth mindset, although I can see how it seems superficially similar.

      Growth mindset is NOT something akin to “practice helps you improve.” The basic logic that the more you do something and the harder you try at it, the better you get, remains true and is wholly uncontroversial.

      Growth mindset is more akin to “practice is the ONLY determining factor in success” Which is clearly and obviously not true. And the growth mindset people themselves know this, but they believe that lying to children about it and telling them that it is true will make the children perform better.

      • acymetric says:

        So, I have a pretty limited understanding, but I get the impression that “growth mindset” is just the new hot phrase to describe telling kids “you can do anything you put your mind to”.

        Is that loosely accurate?

        • Matt M says:

          I’m not an expert, but that’s my understanding, yes.

          Although I think it includes the absolute insistence that you mean this completely literally, even in cases where even children can identify that it seems pretty implausible (i.e. the only difference between you and the kid who is dominating you on the basketball court is that he practices more, and if you practice more you can be just as good as him, the fact that he’s a foot taller than you is incidental and not relevant, trust me, I’m an adult)

          • acymetric says:

            I’m sure people more knowledgeable about child development and whatnot have already had this discussion, but it seems to me there are a few almost certain outcomes from that approach (unclear the magnitude of each).

            Improved outcomes for kids who wouldn’t have tried to do something because they thought they couldn’t do it, but this approach convinced them to try and it turned out that had a good aptitude for it.

            Slightly worse outcomes for kids that end up focusing on something they aren’t as good at because they were told if the worked hard enough they could do it, at the expense of doing something they actually would have excelled at.

            Worse outcomes for kids who end up focusing on something they simply were never going to be good at, who become despondent because obviously they must not be working hard enough or something must be wrong with them because after hours/days/years they still aren’t good enough at X activity/endeavor.

            In other words, it seems like it just shuffles people around on the distribution, moving some people from the lower tail to the middle or upper tail, people from the middle both up to the upper tail and down to the lower tail, and people from the top both down to the middle tail and down to the lower tail. Of course some people end up staying the same because they had aptitude for more than one thing or whatever.

          • AllAmericanBreakfast says:

            I don’t think teaching GM will result in a reshuffling. Let’s say a successful pro-GM intervention also had the deleterious side effect of promoting an unhealthy “transcendental” mindset. The next phase in the research project would then be to figure out how to address that problem.

            I think it’s realistic that we’ll eventually have programs that reliably nudge kids and teachers away from fixed or transcendental extremes, toward the virtuous mean of growth mindset.

      • AllAmericanBreakfast says:

        The top Google hit for “what is growth mindset” is here: https://www.mindsetworks.com/science/

        It describes GM as “the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.”

        My point is you can’t change people’s beliefs about their innate ability to get smarter by explaining a concept. You have to synthesize theory and practice, and explain the concept in a way that’s genuinely engaging. When moments of practice are validated not only as “you’re getting better,” but “you’re physically changing your brain and building new memories,” that’s growth mindset.

        Edit: and Dweck herself defines it as “Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset.”

        Source: http://thebusinessleadership.academy/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/What-Having-a-Growth-Mindset-Means.pdf

        So I wonder if you’re strawmanning this? Or maybe you’ve encountered a motte/bailey somewhere?

        • Matt M says:

          Edit: and Dweck herself defines it as “Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset.”

          I’m not aware of a single individual on Earth who does not believe that their talents can be developed.

          Therefore, this describes a universal human belief, and is therefore not noteworthy or interesting in the slightest.

          • JustToSay says:

            I’ve had middle school students tell me casually, “Oh, I get Ds in science.” I try to point out that this is their second science class ever, and that in fact, getting a D that one time in Earth Science is not the same thing as getting a D in every science class forever as part of your identity (and that until two weeks ago, they had a B in this class!), but they don’t believe me.

            They really think that they’re a person who gets Ds in science. Or they think Ds in science is a thing that just happens to them, without them having any control over the situation. It’s not the prevailing attitude, but there are definitely kids who think this way.

            Growth Mindset can get stupid, but in its basic form, this is what it’s trying to deal with.

          • acymetric says:

            I try to point out that this is their second science class ever,

            This is only kind of true…at least where I was in school we took science in elementary school as well, and got separate grades for Math/Science/History/etc. on our report cards. We even rotated teachers for some subjects (specifically science/math) so that the science and math oriented teachers taught those subjects for other students’ classes. This was just your run of the mill public school so I can’t imagine this was unusual.

            So they very well may have been getting D’s in science for years.

            In any case, I certainly believe that students have that mindset. I guess I’m just confused because what you’re describing in attempt to fix the situation is just “what good teachers who motivate their students have always done” and not some new revolutionary concept that must be spread from sea to shining sea to revolutionize education.

          • JustToSay says:

            I was just responding to @Matt M’s observation that he didn’t know of anyone who actually thought that way.

            And that’s where I think the idea has value. People who’ve always known they have some control over their performance may not realize that there are kids who just don’t think that way. I think it’s worth pointing out to teachers so they can take that into account. (It was called “Locus of Control” in my day.)

            Good teachers will figure that out intuitively or with experience, yes. Given that teachers are going to take education classes anyway, I’m happy to spend some of that time on pointing this out, especially if it’s in the context of discussing strategies like what @AllAmericanBreakfast is using, because they sound like they’ve got some good ideas that are working well.

            So to the extent that I’m offering a defense of growth mindset, it’s limited to the fact that I think it’s an idea that has merit and can be used helpfully.

            Of course, yes, it’s also, predictably and frustratingly, being treated as “some revolutionary concept that must be spread from sea to shining sea to revolutionize education.” I’m not going to defend that.

            I mean, I thought most of my education theory classes were painfully and sort of embarrassingly stupid, and I occasionally get myself into trouble when I’m talking to a true believer, because I tend to assume nobody took any of that seriously…and then I say things like “true believer,” which is condescending, so… let’s say I’m not the biggest advocate of education as an academic branch, political engine, or industry.

            But babies and bathwater.

          • AllAmericanBreakfast says:

            There’s a difference between a teacher’s abstract beliefs about GM, their ability to identify its relevance in specific circumstances with actual students, and the method they use to communicate it. You might be surprised at how poorly even experienced teachers do in one or more of these categories, especially if you yourself were a top student and rarely needed help.

            Formalizing an “obvious” concept is useful in many circumstances. In fact, that ought to be a Bayesian’s starting point: the obvious is the prior.

            The non-obvious (yet plausible), and valuable piece of GM is the idea that many teachers and students do not effectively grasp this fundamental concept, that this is a significant factor in student achievement, and that there might be cost-effective solutions to this problem. Dweck’s work is to gather evidence on whether this is true, and figure out ways to communicate it effectively both from researchers to teachers, and from teachers to students.

            As I said, finding methods that really work has been transformative for my teaching practice. It wasn’t easy, it took almost a decade of iterated testing of my own ideas before I hit on generalizable and reliable methods. I’ve taught adult group music classes, and I think that it might take years more to figure out to translate methods that work for individual children to groups of adults. I also expect this problem is harder than the individual case.

            Just finding one study that shows a few particular methods don’t work doesn’t invalidate the importance of growth mindset. All it does is map some dead-ends. If I was to throw a number out there, I would say that we should probably invest up to $10 billion and 400 person-years of research into this topic before we conclude that it’s irrelevant or intractable. We’re not even close to that. So in my opinion, Dweck should just keep trying. I still have strong expectations that this is a problem where we can make significant progress.

  18. Ninety-Three says:

    detaining suspected illegal immigrants until their trial is not a necessary part of the system

    Counterpoint: This sources to an article showing that the rate of skipping trial has been going up, and in 2016 (last year with data listed), it was 39%.

    Maybe you can still make some other argument that it isn’t necessary, but a failure rate like that seems like compelling evidence against your policy.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      In a statement before congress about a month or two ago, the acting director of DHS said the no-show rate for the arrivals in the recent surge is 90%. I can find a link if anyone cares.

      Edit: Link.

  19. TheRationalDebt says:

    For 48 hours the media was talking about a domestic fight at Boris Johnson’s house. It seemed possible that could prevent him from becoming prime minister.
    The bus interview came out and coverage of the argument stopped. It’s clear he benefited hugely from the bus interview, even without the google assist.

    • Douglas Knight says:

      That makes a lot more sense than the complicated attack on the bus meme.

      But I think what people find suspicious about the interview is how many false starts Johnson made in the interview. It’s like he’s going to tell the old story about paining cheese boxes, for the reason you give, but then he pauses to figure out how to improve the story, either to make it more viral, or to achieve an additional goal as well.
      (Listening again I see that he does mention his involvement with buses as mayor.)

  20. Nicholas says:

    Reason isn’t a ‘random webzine’, they publish honest-to-goodness dead tree editions every month and have been since well before the internet, qualifying them (I assume) as a full fledged “magazine”. I’m a subscriber and can attest to their physicality, will send pics on request.

    They even win awards and whatnot.

  21. g says:

    On the trans regret thing: Others have already pointed out (1) that the Dutch medical system (in common with most others, I assume) tries hard to make sure that people only transition if they’re not going to regret it and (2) that there’s substantial attrition in the survey which might or might not correlate with regret. I think a more important caveat is (3) that “regret” is defined very narrowly: they are counting people who started hormone treatment to move them in the direction of the gender they were initially assigned.

    I don’t actually think #1 is a caveat at all; analogously, if there’s controversy over whether some surgery is a good idea and someone says “only 0.01% of patients die as a result of it” it would be pretty silly to say “yeah, but that’s only because you take a lot of care to avoid patients dying. Gotcha!” in response.

    Whether #2 is an important caveat depends on whether regretful patients are substantially more likely than not-regretful ones to have stopped attending the clinic, which is totally unobvious to me. (My guess is probably not, especially by the sort of ratio that would be needed to reverse the finding that scarcely any patients “regretted” transition.)

    But #3 seems like it might be a big deal. What fraction of people who transition and then regret it (in the usual sense of wishing they hadn’t done it) seek hormone therapy in the other direction?

    • Aapje says:

      It seems to me that #1 is a caveat when there are also places where treatment is very easy and/or people are self-medicating and/or people are advocating lowering the barriers to treatment a lot. AFAIK, all of these are the case.

      Note that the study seems to have found a much lowered barrier to visiting the clinic. In 1980, almost 90% of those who visited the clinic started on hormone therapy within 5 years, versus 65% in 2010. This suggests that those who visited in 1980 had mostly waited to seek out the clinic until they were already very sure, but that this is far less true for 2010 visitors (and probably far less true today).

      There is a risk that the very change in societal opinions that lowers the barrier to visit the clinics also results in lowering the barrier to treatment, causing two things to happen simultaneously that create a large number of people with regret, while that doesn’t happen when either or both of these things are true:
      – a high barrier to seek treatment
      – a high barrier by doctors to give treatment

      But #3 seems like it might be a big deal. What fraction of people who transition and then regret it (in the usual sense of wishing they hadn’t done it) seek hormone therapy in the other direction?

      My understanding is that gonadectomy is relatively quite rare, with many trans people never having a gonadectomy or when they do, often waiting a very long time after starting hormone therapy.

      So I’d think that regret would occur far more in people who are on hormones, which AFAIK can still have permanent effects, especially if taken at a young age, which is something that is being advocated by some activists.

    • J Mann says:

      I can see #1 mattering. In particular you would want to know the criteria the Dutch medical system used, so that you were aware that you didn’t have data on whether people who don’t meet the DMS criteria are likely to regret the decision.

      (Well, you’d have a potential argument from expertise against those people transitioning, but that’s obviously not nearly as good as data.)

    • Grek says:

      Regarding #3, once you’ve had a gonadectomy done, you need to have -some- sort of hormone replacement therapy in order to prevent osteoporosis. So comparing the number of people who take the hormones for their birth-assigned sex to the number of people who take the hormones for their transitioned-to sex (and ignoring those who, against medical advice, fail to take either form of hormones) is more reasonable than it would sound on first blush.

    • Ozy Frantz says:

      As far as I’m aware, there is no research consensus on what factors are correlated with regretting transition, in part because the regret rate is so low. So attempts to screen out regretters are based on clinical judgment. Clinical judgment can, of course, be reliable, and some things that should be screened out are pretty unambiguous (even an informed consent clinic won’t give hormones to a psychotic person with a delusion of being a different gender). On the other hand, clinical judgment can also be biased or prejudiced, clinicians rarely see their patients years or decades after transition, and there are few regretters on which clinicians can train their regretter-recognizing powers. In the US, transition letters are often written by therapists who don’t specialize in trans issues, and sometimes ones who have never had a trans patient before.

      A more serious criticism is that trans people in places with heavy screening fairly routinely lie to their doctors to get hormones, from the relatively small not-even-lies (for example, a trans woman wearing a dress and lipstick to the doctor’s, when she usually wears blue jeans and no makeup) to fairly serious lies (for example, in many areas, trans lesbians and gay men will routinely claim to be heterosexual). Of course, that doesn’t mean that screening is ineffective: for example, perhaps screening filters out trans people who don’t have enough connections in the trans community to know which lies to tell, and thus makes sure trans people who transition have a supportive community, which ought to be correlated with lack of regret.

  22. Kuiperdolin says:

    *-baiting, in my opinion, does not hold a candle to the best animal-based blood sport : *-tossing.

    I very much would like to read or write a novel (working title : The greatest tosser in all Europe) based on that historical event : “Augustus II the Strong, the King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, held a famous tossing contest in Dresden at which 647 foxes, 533 hares, 34 badgers and 21 wildcats were tossed and killed.[3] Augustus himself participated, reportedly demonstrating his strength by holding the end of his sling by just one finger, with two of the strongest men in his court on the other end. Other rulers also participated in the sport.” It would certainly beat the boring history we’ve all read about a thousand times.

    The glory days of animal abuse as entertainment are gone and may never come back. Another casualty, for its ease and simplicity (you can do it at home) is Ferret legging, prancing around with angry ferrets trapped in your pants. ” The sport is said to involve very little “native skill”,[7] simply an ability to “have your tool bitten and not care” “. Hopefully Brexit can revive it.

    • Aapje says:

      Not impressed by the tossers, to be honest.

      Various countries practiced goose pulling, where a live goose was hung upside down and it’s head and neck greased. Then a horse-rider would attempt to pull off its head (probably NSFW). This was hard as the goose would try to evade the attack and even if caught, would often slip out of the hand.

      It seems to have originated in 12th century Spain and then spread, perhaps also by Spanish soldiers, to the Low Countries, Germany, the UK. In the US it was introduced by Dutch settlers, which resulted in a ban in New Amsterdam (New York).

      Nowadays it is still practiced in a few rural places in Germany and The Netherlands, but with dead geese.

  23. Erusian says:

    Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister of Britain, so let’s celebrate by revisiting his greatest moment: this interview last month where the interviewer asked what he does to relax, and Johnson replies that he paints old wooden crates to look like buses. Is this a real hobby, a bizarre lie, or a 12-dimensional chess move?

    Maybe bringing up busses specifically is a 12D chess move but painting crates is common enough. That sort of thing is the origin of that trendy urban deco furniture stuff that Crate and Barrel or Restoration Hardware does. I could absolutely see his artist mother encouraging him to do that as a child and him carrying it forward.

    On the other hand, politicians lie. But there’d be a pretty obvious way to figure it out. Just ask him to show us one.

  24. Frederic Mari says:

    “An underappreciated perspective: separating immigrant families at the border is actually really bad”.

    Anyone who feel so strongly and so personally about this stuff is such a better person than I, it’s scary…

    Beyond the obvious issue that emotions aren’t a good tool for reasoning about policies affecting whole populations, the main problem is that we can’t tell when our political opponents are genuinely in grief from when they just are pretending in order to get the upper hand.

    The example about abortion is an excellent one. I have no doubt that, now, some conservatives are truly unhappy with abortions for the best of reasons. Yet it doesn’t change the historical fact that this issue was drummed up as a wedge issue initially for political gains (not even b/c the original operators really hated women, AFAIK. They just wanted to mobilize the base and increase tribalism. Success!) and that religious people were fine with abortions for a long time. It also doesn’t change the fact that it’s odd to be so upset about abortions (or kids in cages) but not about all the other horrible stuff that happens. As I said, emotions are pretty useless when designing institutions for 300+M people.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8274866

    “This occurred because Republican analysts saw that the Democratic New Deal coalition was cracking, the traditionally conservative south and west began to control more seats in the House of Representatives (…) Efforts were made to bring social conservatives, especially pro-lifers, into the Republican party with scare tactics used in the wording of direct mailings. In the late 1970s, fundamentalist Christians became outraged by Supreme Court decisions banning school prayer and legalizing abortion and by Jimmy Carter’s decision to withdraw tax-exempt status from segregated church schools. This group was mobilized by radio and television preachers, especially televangelist Jerry Falwell who also used scare tactics to promote his Moral Majority”.

    • eric23 says:

      That doesn’t sound like people started opposing abortion for political reasons, but rather that the Republican Party started being anti-abortion to capture those people’s votes.

      • Frederic Mari says:

        Right. But the R operators didn’t really care, they just wanted the vote and, initially, the anti-abortion stance was mostly a Catholic one i.e. it didn’t get much play with Protestants, Evangelicals et all. To get there was a deliberate (and, to some extent, cynical) play for tribalism and political power.

        But, as I said, I don’t doubt that, now, some Evangelicals truly believe in their anti-abortion rhetoric and do so for moral reasons.

        It’s just that people emote too much to make them good at policy design.

      • Jaskologist says:

        When I’ve dug into these claims in the past, the actual historical basis seems to boil down to one event: the Southern Baptists passing a resolution allowing for abortion under certain conditions.

        What’s left out is that they then spent the next decade clawing that back (passing new resolutions narrowing it down almost every year thereafter). Where you see nefarious manipulation by R operators, I see a church leadership that was over-anxious to embrace the latest social innovation, and got called to account by their parishioners.

    • eyeballfrog says:

      If people were so fine with abortions, why did it need to be legalized at all? Abortion bans go back to the 19th century, so clearly it has been an issue long before the late 70s.

      • There’s a really common and annoying mistake I see people make all the time that if people aren’t talking about an issue, it means they don’t care about it or tacitly support it. I’m not a supporter of cannibalism but its not something I talk about because I assume everyone else opposes it too. If a major political party started talking about the right to eat people, I would probably support the other party taking a stand against it. It’s pretty obvious why the Republican party wasn’t the anti-abortion party until after Roe vs Wade.

        • Frederic Mari says:

          If Roe v. Wade was the threshold, why were Catholics so concerned about abortions prior to it?

          “Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, a movement to liberalize abortion laws gained momentum due in part to the second-wave feminist movement and to a number of high-profile therapeutic abortion cases, such as that of Sherri Finkbine.[7] In 1965, a Supreme Court decision in Griswold v. Connecticut set a precedent for an expansive right to privacy in the area of reproductive healthcare. In the late 1960s, in response to nationwide abortion-rights efforts, a number of organizations were formed to mobilize opinion against the legalization of abortion.[8] Most of these were led by Catholic institutions and communities; most evangelical Christian groups did not see abortion as a clear-cut or priority issue at the time. The first major U.S. organization in the modern anti-abortion movement, the National Right to Life Committee, was formed out of the United States Catholic Conference in 1967”.

          • I didn’t say that Roe vs Wade was the threshold. It’s that it increased the magnitude of the issue dramatically. If you want to ban abortion, you now have to make it a federal issue. Your link just supports my broader point that social conservatives became vocally anti-abortion as a reaction to its legalization.

      • Frederic Mari says:

        Bans go back to mid to late 19C i.e. it certainly isn’t a permanent taboo like cannibalism, the way Wrong Species suggest. And saying it was illegal “as far back as the 19c” is both an exaggeration and overweighting the recent past. Our traditions go back a lot further than that…

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10297561

        “During the colonial period, the legality of abortion varied from colony to colony and reflected the attitude of the European country which controlled the specific colony. In the British colonies abortions were legal if they were performed prior to quickening”.

        Another source, clearly a pro-choice one but not necessarily inaccurate, says:

        “When US states did begin banning abortion in the 19th century, doctors seeking to drive out traditional healers, or in their words, quacks, often led the way. They had help from nativists who were concerned about women’s growing independence and the country’s growing diversity.

        Contemplating the colonization of the West and South in 1868, anti-abortion campaigner Dr. Horatio R. Storer asked if these frontiers would be “be filled by our own children or by those of aliens? This is a question our women must answer; upon their loins depends the future destiny of the nation.” Who would control those loins, and indeed whose childbearing is considered desirable, lay at the heart of regulations on abortion and contraception across the centuries.

        The laws every state passed by 1880 banned abortions in all cases but for “therapeutic reasons” that were largely left up to the medical practice and the legal system to determine. In practice, that meant wealthier women with better access to doctors had abortions, while other women bled”.

        • I wasn’t suggesting that abortion is a permanent taboo. It was an example of something that is currently taboo but isn’t usually vocalized.

        • eyeballfrog says:

          There’s something that confuses me. If herbal remedies are so effective, why don’t women do that now? Red cedar and black root are reasonably common and aren’t illegal to grow. I would think that pro-choice organizations would be spreading the word about that if they worked.

  25. drethelin says:

    To what extent is paying bails for criminals actually just putting them back on the street to victimize more people?

    The stat commonly cited to justify ending cash bail and stuff is that most of them end up never being prosecuted, but given how costly and onerous our court system is, especially for the poor who are most of the victims of crime, this is not in fact great evidence that they’re innocent.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I don’t think it’s that they never end up being prosecuted (I think you have to be prosecuted for bail to be a concern) but that they’re found innocent at their trial. Obviously there’s some risk an actually-guilty person is found innocent, but if you don’t like the threshold there I think changing the way courts work is better than making it harder for people to have fair trials.

      According to the DC stats, once they eliminated bail, 88% of the people involved never reoffended, and 98% of the people involved didn’t violently reoffend (people at risk of violent reoffense shouldn’t be offered bail and are not released even in a no-bail system). This is just a cursory look at the program’s own advertising-y statistics, and I would want better ones if I were really evaluating the program, but these numbers sound consistent with it mostly being good.

      • Buttle says:

        Very few of those digested by the US criminal justice system ever go to trial, most of them plead guilty in return for a lesser charge, or a lighter punishment than they might receive if they chose to go to trial. Many of those jailed for lack of cash bail plead guilty just because it gets them out of jail in a reasonably predictable time.

        The threat of jail awaiting trial, with its dire effects on employment and family life, is a tool for coercing plea deals. As I understand it, the main idea behind providing charitable cash bail is to enable accused people to plead not guilty, to confer with their lawyers outside of jail, and consider their plea deals under a bit less pressure.

        • albatross11 says:

          +1

          I don’t claim much understanding of the US criminal justice system, but having 90% of cases resolved by plea bargains seems like a bad idea, and many of the ways they’re negotiated (piling on charges to increase the threat if you don’t take the plea deal, keeping you in jail for months while you lose your job and house) seem like pretty obviously horrible policies.

    • Garrett says:

      As I understand it, the idea of cash bail/bond is designed to ensure appearance at trial, not necessarily to prevent further lawbreaking. So someone who faces significant financial hardship if they don’t appear is likely to appear.

      This may be true, but the ultimate question is whether the bail/bond actually increases the rates of appearance. If no, then it only adds significant overhead. Or, perhaps, it only makes sense to do for a limited set of people (out-of-country visitors, for example).

  26. skybrian says:

    Perhaps I’m spoiled by GiveWell, but I’m wondering if there is any news on how the bailing immigrants out of jail thing is going? Have they got a lot of funding so far? How many people have they bailed out? Are there organizations with different approaches? Is money the bottleneck or something else?

    (I did a cursory web search and didn’t find any news along these lines.)

  27. Rand says:

    Worried about the effect of air travel on climate change? Most carriers will soon be 100% carbon-offsetting their flights.

    Here’s the relevant quote from that article:

    By 2021, airlines that fly internationally will have to offset any extra emissions under a UN agreement (called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, agreed on in 2018 in Montreal, Canada) so carriers are no longer relying on individuals to tick that box.

    What exactly are extra emissions and is Wired accurately representing the CORSIA agreement?

    Here’s a summary from CORSIA’s FAQ (https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/CORSIA/Documents/CORSIA_FAQs_February%202019_clean_rev.pdf):

    The approach for CORSIA is based on comparing the total CO2 emissions for a year (from 2021 onwards) against a baseline level of CO2 emissions, which is defined as the average of CO2 emissions from international aviation covered by the CORSIA for the years 2019 and 2020 (see question 2.16 for more details on CORSIA’s baseline). In the following years, any international aviation CO2 emissions covered by the CORSIA that exceed the baseline level represent the sector’s offsetting requirements for that year (see graph below for an illustrative example for year 2022).

    Which makes it sound like “extra emissions” are emissions above and beyond what was emitted in 2019-2020. I don’t know what those are expected to be as a percentage of total emissions. (I imagine total air travel emissions will go up in the coming years due to more travelers in the developing world, even as emission per flight go down due to increased fuel efficiency. I’m also not clear on how the offsetting requirements are to be distributed.)

    The FAQ also notes that the pilot phase starts in 2021, the first phase in 2024 and the second in 2027. In the first two phases, countries will offset “on a voluntary basis”, though it sounds like countries will compel their local airlines (or airlines traveling to/from there)? I don’t know what countries have volunteered for the pilot phases.

    AFAICT, WIRED is doing a poor job of summarizing CORSIA and the summary here misunderstands WIRED’s summary. CORSIA is trying to prevent growth in air travel net emissions on a pretty conservative timescale. If anyone can correct me, or has a better summary of CORSIA, it would be welcome.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Thanks, I’m still confused but have edited a link to your comment into the post.

    • Athrithalix D says:

      Further to this, in my reading trying to understand how exactly most of these schemes work, I’ve not found anything on offsetting the other warming effects of aircraft. Specifically water vapour from contrails, which produces a significant heating effect seperate from carbon emissions. So far as I’m aware, offset schemes for flights quietly ignore this issue.

      I’d love to find a really comprehensive breakdown of exactly what’s going on on both sides of the balance sheet on these offsetting schemes, as some of the stuff that ends up on airline websites and the like is simply unbelievable. I saw a quote for 70 pence to supposedly offset the entirety of a 6 hour flight. If carbon capture schemes were that cost effective then we can just drop the whole renewable energy faff /s.

    • Aapje says:

      @Rand

      This is what KLM says about CORSIA:

      This treaty aims to achieve carbon-neutral growth in the global aviation industry from 2020. (bold is mine)

      Note that the most recent PR attempt by Schiphol/Amsterdam Airport was to claim that CO2 reduction investments are only affordable if there is growth, which either means that they lack understanding of economics or more likely, are just lying.

      In general, the experiences with the Dutch airline industry are that they make promises that they merely ‘adhere’ to. For example, to measure noise, only a tiny number of measuring stations are used. The noise levels are population centers are then mostly generated by a model, which conveniently shows considerably lower noise levels than what is found when actually measuring.

      I fully expect voluntary efforts on CO2 reduction to be similarly creative.

    • Rand says:

      There’s some useful additional information here: https://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/publications/2016_12_CE_Delft_ETS_CORSIA_final.pdf

      In particular:

      6 Conclusions
      The main conclusions from the analysis in this study are:
      1. On the basis of the current CORSIA resolution, with a mandatory scheme
      for the period 2027-2035, and 66 countries having announced that they
      will join the voluntary phases (2021-2026), the demand for offsets in the
      period 2021-2035 equals 2,711 Mt of CO2. This implies that 81.5% of the
      emission growth of international aviation above 2020 levels will be
      required to be offset. Hence CORSIA does not result in full Carbon Neutral
      Growth after 2020. Because CORSIA only requires emissions above the
      baseline (2019/2020) to be offset and because not all countries join in the
      period 2021-2035, about one fifth of the cumulative CO2 emissions of
      international aviation in the period 2021/2035 is offset.

      It also has (perhaps outdated) data on who will join the voluntary phases, which includes the US, EU, China, and Japan.

  28. yotann says:

    Modern lab rats are actually descended from rats used in rat-baiting. I wonder how many scientists who work with rats really know where they came from.

    Over time, breeding the rats for these contests may have produced variations in color, notably the albino and hooded varieties. The first time one of these albino mutants was brought into a laboratory for a study was in 1828, in an experiment on fasting. Over the next 30 years rats were used for several more experiments and eventually the laboratory rat became the first animal domesticated for purely scientific reasons.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laboratory_rat#Origins

  29. Alex Zavoluk says:

    I think the rationally speaking [episode](http://rationallyspeakingpodcast.org/show/rs-236-alex-tabarrok-on-why-are-the-prices-so-dmn-high.html) with Tabarrok cleared a lot of things up. In particular, while there are other causes of high prices or short-term price increases, cost disease explains a very long term, steady price increase across countries. Allegedly prices in education and health care have been increasing since perhaps 1900, or in European countries since recovering from WW2 (probably part of the reason that, as Noah Smith’s article points out, these prices are higher in the US).

    • Douglas Knight says:

      Baumol price disease predicts exactly the opposite. It predicts that the prices will depend on how wealthy the countries are, not how they got there, with the interruption of WWII.

      • Alex Zavoluk says:

        The US is wealthier than most of the countries its prices (e.g. healthcare, education) are compared to. In fact, I believe that if you adjust for purchasing power parity, our healthcare spending isn’t really that unusual.

  30. DeWitt says:

    I am Dutch, and used to live two doors down from a doctor involved in transgender issues very much. The figure quoted in the post rings true to me, but be careful about using it for ammunition: Dutch people applying to transition are vetted very heavily to ensure that such regret won’t take place, because it’s well understood how serious a procedure it is. I’m generally in favor of transgender rights, but making sure people don’t get to blindly barge into transitioning the moment they hand a doctor some money is absolutely a good thing.

  31. Mark V Anderson says:

    An underappreciated perspective: separating immigrant families at the border is actually really bad.

    THIS article convinced you of this?? Maybe it is bad to do this, but the emotional article you linked gave zero evidence of this. It was mostly about the sadness of of folks who felt REALLY bad about it. That people feel bad isn’t real convincing of its reality.

    And then there is this paragraph explaining why employees at Wayfair were protesting that the company was supplying refugees with beds:

    And – this isn’t actually confusing. People are upset that this is happening, and happening in our name, and the workers were upset that their labor was being put to use on making it happen and that their employer was profiting off it. There isn’t a unified Democratic Party Messaging apparatus with a unified set of demands about the border, there’s just a lot of people who are horrified and sad. And once you understand that the thing you’re looking at isn’t a political advocacy movement, it’s a hundred million people who are sick with horror and don’t know what to do, then it’s not weird they’d be angry both that the kids don’t have beds and that a company they work at is making a tidy profit supplying camps that shouldn’t exist.

    Does this make sense to anybody? I guess it makes some sense to be against Wayfair in this case if you believe that making profits is inherently evil, but nothing to do with the camps. And of course saying that the camps shouldn’t exist begs the question as to what to do with the folks that cross the border illegally. So it seems to be kind of a manifesto for people that consider the free market and any closed borders to be totally evil. Somehow I doubt that most of the protesters would describe themselves this way. No wonder conservatives don’t believe any of the hype about the camps with this kind of narrative.

    • DeWitt says:

      People don’t enjoy contributing to causes they dislike, and leftists are, to what seems to be your great shock and confusion, people. The village my mom lives in has two grocery stores: one opens on sundays, the other stays closed. All the local Christians visit the latter one, simply because they don’t want to do business with someone who’d open their store on a sunday. This is not an uncommon human impulse, it happens in many places, and rambling on about this just proving you shouldn’t believe people is missing the bloody point.

    • yildo says:

      And of course saying that the camps shouldn’t exist begs the question as to what to do with the folks that cross the border illegally.

      The same thing that was being done before the Trump administration instituted the “camps for everyone” policy — you give them a piece of paper with a court date, you let them live their lives until then, and you don’t waste resources on locking up human capital.

      • JulieK says:

        Wouldn’t migrants be at a higher risk of no-shows compared to US residents, since they have no settled address or job?

        • FormerRanger says:

          Allegedly 90% never show up. The piece of paper might as well be a green card.

          • Oscar Sebastian says:

            Allegedly, per an acting DHS director appointed by Trump.

            A careful analysis of the rest of his cabinet and its turnover should show exactly how much credence you should give anyone put into power by him.

          • grendelkhan says:

            Here’s some attempts to dig through. Trump claimed the no-show rate was 98%. (He appears to have made this up.) His administration says that it’s about 50%, though that might be affected by the fact that the notices to appear didn’t specify a time and date.

            A law review article considering removal proceedings from 2001 through 2016 found that families seeking asylum who were released from detention failed to appear 4% of the time.

            (It is just me, or does the footnotes-to-text ratio in law review articles give off a serious House of Leaves vibe?)

      • Jaskologist says:

        How about this compromise: You give them a piece of paper with a court date, and then release them back into Mexico or Canada (whichever border was jumped), where they can live their lives until then.

        • The Nybbler says:

          How about this compromise: You give them a piece of paper with a court date, and then release them back into Mexico or Canada (whichever border was jumped), where they can live their lives until then.

          That’s one of the current solutions, officially the “Migrant Protection Protocols”, usually called “remain in Mexico”. Of course there was a lawsuit, but this time the Ninth Circus ruled for Trump.

      • S_J says:

        The same thing that was being done before the Trump administration instituted the “camps for everyone” policy — you give them a piece of paper with a court date, you let them live their lives until then, and you don’t waste resources on locking up human capital.

        It appears that statement is wrong in several ways.

        I’m unclear what the rule was during the Obama administration, but the camps were used by ICE to detain some illegal immigrants who, upon apprehension, asked for asylum. Both the Trump administration and the Obama administration separated children from adults.

        This is per the ruling in Reno v. Flores, issued in 1993 about how to handle minors suspected of being illiegally present in the country.

        Recently, President Trump and Attorney General Sessions tried to relax the rules that caused separation of parents from chlidren…and a Federal Judge said that the agreements stemming from the Reno v. Flores case forbade that action.

        • grendelkhan says:

          Both the Trump administration and the Obama administration separated children from adults.

          This is either an intentionally lawyerly parsing, or an error. Children were separated from unrelated adults, and children arriving alone were detained. Families arriving together were not split up under the Obama administration; despite Trump administration officials lying and trying to shift blame about it, the family separation policy started with them.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            There were limited separations of children if they were accompanied by only their father who was charged with serious crimes such as drug trafficking, but that’s it AFAIK.

  32. Red-s says:

    Re: the anorexia study – re-conceptualizing my long-standing eating disorder as a metabolic thing instead of a psychological thing was the key to me actually recovering. The SSC post on *Evolutionary Psychopathology* was the catalyst – I’ve been on the recovery path for almost 8 months now!

    The designer of the study has a four-part blog series (here) on her thoughts about it; I think she’s got the right idea for effective treatment.

  33. benjdenny says:

    If you want a good model for “cares about science or is the type of guy who usually would, but doesn’t trust entire disciplines at all” Glantz is a good guy to look into. He’s liked, maintains a prestigious job, and gets to publish these huge, groundbreaking studies that get massive amounts of press amplification.

    Meanwhile if you look closely at virtually any study he’s ever done, it’s just clear bullshit of the worst kind. He lies and knowingly so; everyone around him in his field knows he does, and he’s basically deified because he’s on the correct side of his field’s good/evil brightline in terms of his views.

  34. Brett says:

    The air travel shaming feels like the epitome of treating climate change response as a matter of personal virtue rather than as the systemic problem it really is. Air travel is something like 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, maybe up to 5% if you take the harshest estimates. It’s supposed to triple over the next 30 years, assuming no biofuels, electric planes, or major efficiency gains, which would put it at . .. 6% of emissions. Slashing air travel significantly does not do much to mitigate climate change (although I’m certainly not going to discourage a push towards greater carbon neutrality, and the air travel business would benefit enormously from more energy-dense batteries allowing for electric planes).

    It kind of reminds me of how California would always lean hard on homeowners to drastically cut back water use during droughts, when they only represent about 14% of water use versus the over-80% used in agriculture (often quite wastefully).

    Anyone have any updates on hybrid airships? It seemed like last year we were Once Again getting a boomlet in pieces talking about how the age of airships was coming, about how they’d be carrying cargo, etc. Did that bust already? Because I remember reading an estimate from an aerospace guy who said you’d basically need airships carrying 500-1000 tons of cargo at a cost competitive with ships and railroads before you’d see them take off again in large form. It still seems to me like large airships don’t have a niche anymore between planes, trains, and boats.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Do you know if climate change is 50 things that each contribute 2%? If so, then an attitude of “this is just 2% of the problem, we shouldn’t worry about it” could prevent all progress.

      Also, how is a supergovernmental body forcing a very large industry to make changes at the industry-wide level a form of “personal virtue” and not a “structural solution”? Again, I’m worried you could reject all possible progress as “this doesn’t solve the entire problem at one fell swoop, therefore it’s not a structural solution and we shouldn’t care about it”.

      I agree it’s weird to enforce offsets on air travel but not other things. Maybe the UN has more jurisdiction over it because it’s international?

      • Brett says:

        Do you know if climate change is 50 things that each contribute 2%? If so, then an attitude of “this is just 2% of the problem, we shouldn’t worry about it” could prevent all progress.

        It’s not. Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions sources are 25% electricity generation, 24% Agriculture and Land Use, 21% industry, etc. 14% are Transportation, over half of which are cars. The 2% figure for air travel comes from this 2019 Vox article, which is actually quite concerned about air travel – it really makes for a weird tone when they point out that it’s only about 2% of global emissions.

        I’m glad they’re doing something about it, but even if the air travel business cut their emissions down by a factor of ten, it would have a pretty slight effect on overall emissions.

        Also, how is a supergovernmental body forcing a very large industry to make changes at the industry-wide level a form of “personal virtue” and not a “structural solution”?

        I was referring to the air travel shaming. I’m fine with governments pushing for airlines to reduce their emissions. The former is a real thing, and also tends to be used as a polemic against climate change activists – “LOL you want to stop climate change but you FLY IN PLANES?!”

        • syrrim says:

          I mean if you look at the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by country, you find that about 50% come from the top 3 countries. But it feels fundamentally unfair to suggest that only those countries have to do anything, since everyone else has such a small effect. Air travel is similar, in that it has such a small effect primarily because people fly so little. I read somewhere, and can’t fully attest to, that flying once is equivalent, carbon-wise, to driving for a whole year. Insofar as this is true, saying that we don’t have to worry about flying is similar to saying Germany doesn’t have to worry about mitigating climate change. That is, we typically worry about our per-capita emissions, and one person who flies often can have a particularly outsize impact, even if in absolute terms it is quite small. Airlines might be thinking in similar terms, in that their emissions might be large relative to the amount of money that passes through their hands, especially as they begin to worry about world governments levying a carbon tax.

          • zqed says:

            I read somewhere, and can’t fully attest to, that flying once is equivalent, carbon-wise, to driving for a whole year.

            A standard 1000 mile (2.5 hours) return flight on a single-aisle passenger jet increases your personal CO2 footprint by about 0.29 tons [1]. The number is somewhat smaller if you take a twin-aisle jet. In either case, carbon footprint is almost directly proportional to number of hours spent in the air, with longer flights being slightly more efficient.

            That places your personal contribution as between 0.05 to 0.06 metric tons of carbon dioxide per hour of flight. A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. You’d have to fly for 80 hours each year to hit that amount. That’s about 16 medium-haul flights a year.

            [1] According to ICAO. You can also use the convenient calculator here to measure the flights that you tend to take. (If you wish to test calibration, Rome to Manchester is exactly 1000 miles, and Rome to Moscow ~1500 miles).

          • nkurz says:

            @zqed:

            A simpler way of viewing it is to say that (to a first approximation) flying and driving are approximately equal in CO2 emissions per mile. That is, if you were making a 1000 mile trip, flying economy class on an modern commercial airline is produces about the same amount of CO2 as driving alone in an efficient internal combustion automobile. Thus if the average person tends to drive 10,000 miles per year, they would produce equivalent emissions with 10,000 miles of flying.

            The approximation isn’t perfect, but it’s close. This paper goes into more details: https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/111894/103194.pdf. It concludes that at the average US fuel economy of 21 mpg, with an average load of 1.4 passengers, and after correcting for the cargo also carried by the plane, that flying is twice as efficient as driving per-distance. Elsewhere, there’s dispute though as to whether one should additionally correct for the high altitude of the planes emissions, which would reduce the difference.

          • mitv150 says:

            There is also a strong element of using this airline shaming as a counter to automobile shaming.

            To a first approximation, you’re more likely to see liberal urban city dwellers being concerned about carbon emissions than rural conservative types. Those same urban types, while taking public transportation, are more likely to engage in automobile shaming towards the rural and suburban types that are driving cars, trucks, and SUVs many miles a day. But, as nkurz points out, an airline mile is (to a first approximation) the same as an automobile mile.

            So the concerned city dwellers that are diligently limiting there carbon footprint by not owning a car (and shaming those that do) basically give up any “no car” gains by taking two round-trip cross country flights.

            FWIW – you also see the airplane shaming at a much higher level during events like the Google event in Italy, where people are flying in on private jets, which have a comparatively huge carbon footprint for the individual doing the flying.

          • MP92 says:

            @zqed: Keep in mind that the 4.6 tons of carbon dioxyde of the typical american passenger vehicle is actually a huge amount.
            Per 2014 figures, it is as much as the entire carbon emissions per capita in France, Sweden, Turkey, Thailand or Chile. As far as I can guess, most adults in these country drive cars too, so there must be a problem with how much americans drive, or how efficient their cars are, or both.

          • Aapje says:

            @MP92

            Americans are known for having big cars and driving a lot.

            The top selling European car models are all hatchbacks: Volkswagen Golf, Renault Clio, VW Polo and Ford Fiesta.

            The top selling US cars are the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, Toyota Rav4, Nissan Rogue. So pickup trucks and SUVs. Much less fuel efficient than hatchbacks.

        • Aapje says:

          @Brett

          Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions sources are 25% electricity generation, 24% Agriculture and Land Use, 21% industry, etc.

          I strongly disagree with making comparisons like this. Either you compare types of energy consumption or you compare types of energy generation. Mixing both is silly.

          Electricity plants are just passing on the energy in a different form, where they happen to be the ones outputting CO2. The end consumer is still the one who is actually using that energy.

          • grendelkhan says:

            Weird; the Sankey diagrams for carbon at Livermore National Labs make the same mistake, though their diagrams for energy don’t. Maybe because it’s hard to split electricity waste among its end users? (Note that ‘rejected energy’ in the latter diagram isn’t split.)

          • pochti says:

            Either you compare types of energy consumption or you compare types of energy generation.

            Are we sure that’s what’s going on here? As long as the electricity consumption for agriculture, industry, etc. are not factored into the emission shares reported there, there shouldn’t be a problem. After all, industry and agriculture both have significant GHG emissions that are totally unrelated to electricity.

      • Jiro says:

        Do you know if climate change is 50 things that each contribute 2%?

        Everything is trivially 50 things which contribute 2%, because you can get any result you want by lumping and splitting categories. If you want broad categories, you can have something like “all nonrenewable energy sources”; if you want narrow categories, you can have “coal used to produce electricity for factories”.

    • Air travel is only 2% of global emissions because most people don’t fly. It’s a larger (but still small) fraction of the average American’s carbon use because most Americans don’t fly much. But if you’re the sort of person who flies from NY toEurope and back once a year suddenly it’s 10% of the carbon you’re emitting (2 of 20 tons). And if you take multiple vacations or fly to some place really far away like Japan it’s suddenly a much larger issue.

  35. Ghillie Dhu says:

    Re: Gerrymandering, the article lists three current constraints on districting:
    1. Contiguity. Every voting district must have a connected interior whenever possible.
    2. One Person, One Vote. Voting districts must contain populations of nearly equal size.
    3. Voting Rights Act. Voting districts must not dilute the votes of protected minorities.

    As a more modest step than attempting to define criteria for when a district/State is too gerrymandered (or gerrymandered or not full stop), I’d advocate an additional constraint (plausibly Constitutional as a mere federal law):
    4. Convexity. Any point (within the State) between two points in the same district must be in that district.

    While it wouldn’t stop all shenanigans (nothing would, IMO), it would dramatically reduce the scope for them and prevent the most intuitively objectionable district shapes.

    • Brett says:

      It’d be better just to get rid of districts altogether, and have House seats allocated proportionally based on party share of the vote in election. Have the parties vote on their candidates for each seat in the primary, and then those folks get the seats if they win enough vote share to get them.

      • M says:

        That is a sure way to end up with the representatives being party hacks, who can only be gotten rid of by the party. With the current system at least the people can get rid of their own representative.

        With a representative system the key question is always, “How can we toss them out?”

        Edit: Now that I think about it, that’s the key question for any system. The advantage of elected representatives was that you could toss one out without a revolt.

        • Hoopdawg says:

          Have the parties vote on their candidates for each seat in the primary, and then those folks get the seats if they win enough vote share to get them.

          That is a sure way to end up with the representatives being party hacks

          Are you sure about this? I’d say it’s functionally no different from how primaries currently work, only there’s a bigger pool of candidates to choose from and therefore more and better (or any at all) challengers to the current representative you want out. What would likely get worse is regional representation, but that’s an altogether different complaint.

          Regardless, of course it’s also better to ditch party lists altogether and use STV.

        • Ursus Arctos says:

          Really nothing wrong with representatives being party hacks so long as they vote along party lines every time, as happens in, say, Australia. The parties are held responsible collectively, the individual moral or intellectual stature of the representative doesn’t matter, they’re a body that votes.

          • M says:

            Then why have representatives at all? Why not just have parties and vote for them?

            The answer is that a representative represents. A party does not, it is a list of policies, some of which you may agree with and certainly some of which you do not.

            The representative is directly responsible to the people electing him and is worthy of respect to the extent that he does so. A party hack is responsible to the party only, which certainly is not worthy of any respect.

            Edit: this is why I favor a “list” approach: you get elected by signing up enough people to a list that you agree to represent. A person can sign up to at most one list at a time and can transfer their signature (there may be room on how often). A representative that fails to get enough signatures or has too many desertions is no longer a representative.

            Given this, I think you can see why I think that removing any accountability is a bad idea.

        • BBA says:

          PR makes it easier to throw out parties. If my views are more purple than yellow, but I don’t like the Violet Party’s hacks and would prefer the similarly inclined Mauve Party, with PR I can switch my vote without risking ceding all power to the hated Goldenrod Party. Without it, I have to vote Violet all the time, because only Violet and Goldenrod have any chance of winning and Mauve is a pointless sideshow.

        • grendelkhan says:

          We’re already having a serious party-hacks problem, in that national parties have come to define local politics, where the questions are different and national political stances might not even make any sense.

          State and even local officials are elected in “second-order elections”; absent some major grotesquerie, people identifying as Democrats will vote for local and state-level Democrats; Trump fans will vote for local and state-level Republicans. (Mayors of major cities and governors are the sometimes-exceptions.)

          This appears to be well-correlated with local non-partisan ad-supported newspapers shutting down, but whatever the cause, this is a terrible problem. State government makes really important policy decisions and employs a lot of people. If people simply vote a straight ticket regardless of policy, that’s pretty much the definition of hackery.

      • bullseye says:

        I’m all for it, but we’d need an amendment and that’s not going to happen unless both parties somehow think it would benefit them.

        Alternate proposal: have an computer do it, give the computer the minimum data it needs to do the job (e.g., it doesn’t know the political affiliation of different places), and have everyone commit to accepting the results before anyone sees the results. I say a computer rather than a person because anyone competent to do the job is probably going to have a political bias and have some idea of where their party’s voters live.

        • sharper13 says:

          The issue there is that you just end up substituting the bias of the programmers (or who hires the programmers, or bribes the programmers, etc…) for those of the politicians.

          The counter to that is hey, “At least the politicians got elected to do the job and you’re already trusting them to run the rest of the State.”

          The only “fair” way to construct districts is to do it via totally randomly assignment, with the rules limited to using a random number generator all sides agree is truly random. It’s only doable because we can adjust voting per person with modern technology. You’ll still end up with outcome-based opposition, though. Whichever sides thinks the randomness ended up hurting them will suddenly stop thinking it was a good idea in the first place after the district assignments are complete.

          The only way you’ll get even a truce on the matter is if both major parties were evenly divided in control and gerrymandering nationwide. That’s extremely rare. Instead, the GOP complains in the States the Dems control and the Dems complain in the States the GOP controls and the Justice Department and the Courts intervene just enough to make it worse by demanding districts (based on the VRA) which would violate normal fairness otherwise.

          • Hoopdawg says:

            Eh. The only fair (and plausible) way to do it is creating a deterministic algorithm simple enough that it can be written into law and anyone reasonably intelligent and educated can comprehend and use it (if only to verify the official decision).

            Then people will still quibble about input data, but that allows a few orders of magnitude less opportunities for manipulation.

            I mean seriously, nobody should be expected to accept an unfavorable decision that arose by random chance, nor to believe the process was truly random. And, come on, random chance will never be fair under any meaningful definition of the word.

      • Ghillie Dhu says:

        A thousand times no. The parties are an undesirable side effect of our first-past-the-post voting system; do not (further) enshrine them into law.

        FWIW, separately from the gerrymandering question, I would like to see all general elections use a Condorcet method, which would make primaries redundant thereby further minimizing the parties’ role in the electoral system per se.

        • bullseye says:

          Parties are unavoidable, whether we enshrine them into law or not. The question is not whether we have parties, it’s how many. In an autocracy you get one, in first-past-the-post you tend to get two, and in proportional representation you tend to get lots. Having lots of parties improves the chances of having one that actually reflects your views and deserves your vote.

          • Ghillie Dhu says:

            If my hypothesis is incorrect & parties are inevitable even under Condorcet, it elides the structural incentives for dichotomy of FPTP; we’d get the multiple viable parties that PR promises without the structural constraint of requiring their involvement.

    • FormerRanger says:

      Contiguity and convexity are both problematic, especially the latter. For example, a common gerrymandering method is to take a city and (if you are a Democrat) pie-slice it up and add just enough suburbs and rural areas to maintain a Democratic majority or (if you are a Republican) clump the city into as few districts as possible with 90% Democrats, leaving the rest of the state available for Republican-majority districts. The real problem is that both those methods produce high contiguity and no convexity, and are therefore acceptable.

      Getting rid of districts altogether but allocating seats based on proportions of the vote is bad because you basically ignore any pre-existing demographics (urban-rural areas, racial clumping, etc.).

      All election systems are inherently political, and no matter what method you use, they have faults (obligatory bow towards Arrow here).

      • Ghillie Dhu says:

        Getting rid of districts altogether but allocating seats based on proportions of the vote is bad because you basically ignore any pre-existing demographics (urban-rural areas, racial clumping, etc.).

        That’s not why PR is bad in my mind; I’d like a return to the populace electing representatives qua individuals, rather than just pulling the right or left lever.

        • albatross11 says:

          I think the point of PR is that you’d like the voters to at least have more than two levers to pull, without losing all their practical voice. But the way I understand it, PR systems often have individual politicians that can get votes, too.

          Maybe Aapje or someone can correct the details, but the way it was explained to me, each party publishes a list, and you can reorder the list–so maybe the Greens propose Jones, Smith, and Johnson, but you think Jones is a crook, so you put Johnson first. The party gets a proportion of seats based on its proportion of votes. If the Greens only get one seat, and Johnson got more votes than Jones among Greens, then he gets the seat.

          • Aapje says:

            The way it works in my country is that each party makes an ordered list like this:

            Example Party
            1. Bob
            2. Mary
            3. Jack
            4. Anna

            After the election, the electoral council first calculates the electoral quota: the number of votes required for a seat. This is done by dividing the number of votes by the number of seats, so 1000 votes and 100 seats = 10 votes per seat.

            So if the Example Party gets 30 votes, they get 30/10 = 3 seats. When the votes for a party are not an exact multiple of the electoral quota, these votes are distributed to the parties that are closest to a full vote, unless parties agree to share votes (which politically aligned parties can choose to do, to keep seats away from parties they oppose (more)).

            Once it’s determined how many seats each party gets, the representatives are selected. First, the preferential quota is calculated. Any candidate who meets the preferential quota gets a seat and the remaining seats get chosen by ranking. The preferential quota is a percentage of the electoral quota that is set by law. For the House of Representatives, this is 25%. For European Parliament, it is 10%.

            So for our example, 10% of 10 votes would be an preferential quota of 1 vote. So if these are the votes for the Example Party:

            1. Bob 20 votes
            2. Mary 0 votes
            3. Jack 0 votes
            4. Anna 10 votes

            Then Bob and Anna meet the preferential quota of 1 vote and get a seat. The party has 1 seat left. This goes to Mary, because she is ranked higher on the list than Jack.

            Note that this is just one possible model.

      • Ghillie Dhu says:

        Contiguity and convexity are both problematic, especially the latter. For example, a common gerrymandering method is to take a city and (if you are a Democrat) pie-slice it up and add just enough suburbs and rural areas to maintain a Democratic majority or (if you are a Republican) clump the city into as few districts as possible with 90% Democrats, leaving the rest of the state available for Republican-majority districts. The real problem is that both those methods produce high contiguity and no convexity, and are therefore acceptable.

        I don’t follow. You seem to be saying that convexity is problematic because of, e.g., pie-slicing, but (1) the current restrictions don’t preclude that, and (2) then you seem to say that such things are problematic because they aren’t convex.

    • eyeballfrog says:

      So it turns out contiguity is not actually one of the requirements. Check out this terrifying North Carolina districting from the 90s. 1/3/7 and 6/12 cannot possibly all be connected.

      • Ghillie Dhu says:

        They are, but only along like a highway median or something. It’s this sort of thing that makes me reach for convexity as a modest next step; contiguity is too weak, make the districts meaningfully connected where “meaningfully” is defined by an objective measure.

        • eyeballfrog says:

          But, how? Look at the purple and light green districts. The purple district cuts all the way through it. They can’t both be connected.

          • A1987dM says:

            Perhaps a district made up of two sections which only touch each other at a corner still counts as connected, and there’s a quadripoint in the northeast where two green corners and two purple corners meet.

          • Ghillie Dhu says:

            I hadn’t examined them that closely, and that does look damning. My best guess (FD, based on a strong prior that contiguity is an absolute requirement) is that there’s a narrow strip of the light green wrapping the purple on such that purple doesn’t technically border dark green, light blue, dark blue, or yellow.

            N.B., I also now see that the map was in use 1993-1998; plausibly (no time to check right now) the contiguity requirement is relatively recent.

          • acymetric says:

            It’s connected (narrowly). The resolution on the image just isn’t high enough (or the border lines are too thick) to show it. They are (just barely) connected.

            This is just a rough rendering, not a high-detail perfect representation. If we could zoom in you would see it.

            Just to be clear, I’m North Carolina born and raised, and our districting is and has been absolutely atrocious, but the districts (while terrible) are connected.

          • Ghillie Dhu says:

            Had a chance to look into it a bit more; apparently contiguity is a constraint some States impose on themselves, not a SCOTUS-driven requirement.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        The 12th district there is the “I-85 district” which captured all of the African-Americans who live in close proximity to that interstate in many different communities. Roughly, it was the result of NC wanting/needing to, due to previous discrimination, draw a district that added a black representative congressional seat, while attempting to preserve the existing Democratic incumbents.

  36. Machine Interface says:

    BoingBoing: “One of the arguments against hate-speech laws is that once the state starts dividing expression into ‘allowed’ and ‘prohibited,’ the ‘prohibited’ category tends to grow…” – proposed French hate speech law now bans “stigmatizing agricultural activities”, ie criticizing factory farming.

    1) This can be said of virtually any law prohibiting anything.

    2) Despite the idolatry over the 1st amendment, the US has prohibited speech categories just like any other country. The size of the category has sometimes grown and sometimes shrunk, depending on the political whim on the moment, just like in other countries.

    3) The example is a proposed law. I understand that blatantly unconstitutional laws are “proposed” about once a week in US state legislatures*, but I don’t think it would be very charitable to judge US law based on those – given that they generally don’t come pass, and in the rare case they do get struck down by the Supreme Court. Similar hurdles exist in France, I feel this law is unlikely to even pass the lower house in the current context, and if it somehow does, then somehow passes the upper court too, it’ll be censored by the Constitutional Council — France may have the reputation of being an “authoritarian liberal democracy”, but it does in fact have checks in ballances and solid institutions enforcing rule of law.

    *: in fact don’t several US states already have law protecting factory farms from whistleblowers?

    • Guy in TN says:

      The size of the category has sometimes grown and sometimes shrunk, depending on the political whim on the moment, just like in other countries.

      Yes, this is a good point. An honest examination of speech law in the US over the course of the 20th century would not reveal it to be an ever-escalating tide of restriction. The “slippery slope” argument does not hold. For example, feminists in the 1910’s were arrested for distributing information on how to practice birth control. That would be unheard of today.

      Of course one can argue, on the merits, that x restriction on speech is bad in of itself (and I may counter that x restriction on speech is good). But the argument that x restriction of speech is bad because it will necessarily escalate to some other restriction should be dead-in-the-water.

      • Mark Atwood says:

        Yes, this is a good point. An honest examination of speech law in the US over the course of the 20th century would not reveal it to be an ever-escalating tide of restriction. The “slippery slope” argument does not hold. For example, feminists in the 1910’s were arrested for distributing information on how to practice birth control. That would be unheard of today.

        This is not the pattern of argument you want to make.

        Those changes to speech law did not “just happen”.

        Every one of them was at least one very expensive lawsuit, usually more than one, with real people spending real time in real jails while real lawyers charging real money beat back real local and state DAs and real US Attorneys, one expensive brief at a time, one farce of an idiotic trial at a time.

        • Guy in TN says:

          This is not the argument you want to make. Unless you yourself PERSONALLY are willing to pay for all those lawyers as soon as some grandstanding DA, state AG, or USAG steps one toe over the line that you are willing to be comfortable with today.

          If I supported a restriction on speech, and that restriction was removed, it would also be very expensive to put that restriction back into place. Amassing political power takes lots of time and money.

          So, better be safe and not repeal any laws that restrict free speech, in case one that I support gets repealed. Right?

          Or is this argument rather silly?

          • Aapje says:

            @Guy in TN

            and that restriction was removed, it would also be very expensive to put that restriction back into place.

            “Thankfully” those costs can often be passed on to the tax payers.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      “This can be said of virtually any law prohibiting anything.”

      Agreed, and it’s mostly true of them. For example, once we allowed a few economic regulations, the government started making more and more economic regulations, etc.

      I think the case of speech is interesting because it’s an area where there are currently very few laws, where it’s realistic to demand there continue to be no laws, and where gradual expansion of more and more laws would be very bad.

      Re 2, I think the categories are pretty strongly circumscribed. Re 3, fair point.

      • Guy in TN says:

        I think the case of speech is interesting because it’s an area where there are currently very few laws, where it’s realistic to demand there continue to be no laws

        The United States currently has laws that restrict speech encompassing:
        -threats
        -imminent lawless action
        -child pornography
        -libel and defamation
        -exposure of people’s privacy
        -military secrets
        -obscenity
        -intellectual property
        -commercial speech (such as false advertising)
        -weapon-making instructions
        -national security (ISIS recruitment, ect)

        Some people are categorically opposed to any sort of anti-free speech laws. They would look at this list and think “yep, these laws are all terrible”. It’s a pretty radical position in terms of “how drastically would society change”, but its not an uncommon position for those with a libertarian bent.

        However, if you look at the list above and think “huh, well at least a few of those sound pretty reasonable”, you can no longer describe your position as being categorically opposed to free speech restrictions. If you find yourself here, your argument for/against a proposed speech restriction now has to rely on the merits of the law itself, not on whether a law is pro or anti free speech.

        • Mark Atwood says:

          Every one of those restrictions on speech stand because multiple expensive lawsuits beat back the laws until they were forced down into very small nucleuses that are no longer about speech, but are confined to direct articulable specific harms.

          Tay hur’ my feewings” was not one of those harms, but the current crop of self-rightious wannabe gag imposing scolds want to change that. I am disinclined to let them, and I am disinclined to assume good will on the part of anyone who gives them aid and comfort in their quest.

          Free standing “obscenity” is very nearly a dead letter, which is why the DOJ mostly gave up on prosecuting it and instead started fucking cheating with “Operation Choke Point”, which is now a pattern of attack now much favored by the current crops of scolds.

          • Guy in TN says:

            Every one of those restrictions on speech stand because multiple expensive lawsuits beat back the laws until they were forced down into very small nucleuses that are no longer about speech, but are confined to direct articulable specific harms.

            Every one of these restrictions is about speech and nothing else. No corresponding harmful action is required to be charged with violating these laws.

            Free standing “obscenity” is very nearly a dead letter, which is why the DOJ mostly gave up on prosecuting it

            The Bush administration sent porn producers to jail, hardly ancient history.

          • Antistotle says:

            Every one of these restrictions is about speech and nothing else.

            Except for the child pornography laws. Those require an actual child to be photographed/filmed in some sort of sexualized nature. According to a SCOTUS decision (not bothering to look it up) if you computer generate an image of a child being exhibited sexually, or engaged in sexual acts those are NOT illegal. One of the side effects of this is that many people arrested on possession of child pornography will claim the images were generated. I have a friend who used to work in the department at the FBI that was called in to testify in this cases. In many/most of them no, the images were not computer generated, and they had documentation on the actual person who was shown in them.

            Note that this is completely aside from the laws application to late adolescents who take and share nude selfies. Those are technical violations of the law that were not imagined at the time of the lawmaking.

            On, and except for the “military secrets”. The US does not have an “Official Secrets Act”. The law on that is not that a journalist who finds a file labeled “top secret” can’t publish it. It is that people *with a clearance*, who have signed an agreement that they won’t publish or disseminate that information outside it’s compartment. I know–years ago I had the classes on that and signed that paperwork. I know “state secrets” that are basically open knowledge at this point that I can neither confirm nor deny.

            The Bush administration sent porn producers to jail, hardly ancient history.

            They sent *a* porn producer to jail for some seriously awful and abusive films. Even so they had a hell of a time finding someone to prosecute him, and it’s made not even a *dent* in the amount of professional and amateur porn out there.

            And in many minds the Bush years *are* ancient history.

            Edited to add:
            And finally “weapons making instructions”

            There is no general law–at the federal or any state I know of level that prohibits publishing weapons making as a *general class*.

            There is a *specific* federal law that prohibits publishing bomb making instructions IF those are intended to be used to commit a crime. https://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2018/10/is-it-illegal-to-post-bomb-making-instructions-online.html

          • abystander says:

            The restrictions clarified where speech as expression stopped and speech as a criminal act started. For example saying “the expressed are going to take your fancy car and your money” is generally going to be legal threat expressing an opinion while saying “give me your wallet and the keys to your car” while waving a knife in front a person is an illegal threat associated with a robbery.

          • Evan Þ says:

            @abystander, if you’re literally expressing them from narrow tubes in your fancy home, I’d certainly say they have every motivation to try!

        • Scott Alexander says:

          Suppose President Trump passed a law saying it was illegal to criticize President Trump (or illegal to criticize the troops, or illegal to support gun control, or…) and the Supreme Court struck it down. Would you consider that a random whim by the Supreme Court, or based on some consistent (and potentially good) principle? If so, what would that principle be?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            This is far to facile a question, because the easy answer is simply that it wouldn’t likely make it the Supreme Court as it would be most likely struck down on First Amendment grounds in Federal Court where there is already precedent and SCOTUS probably wouldn’t take up the appeal.

            … and if you want to then come up with a better question you would need to understand the case law and precedent, which then gets you in to understanding the boundaries and parameters of the First Amendment right to free speech.

          • Guy in TN says:

            If the court ruled against it, it would not be because of some consistent legal principle in support of free speech. We already know that the justices don’t have unqualified support for free speech per the list I gave above.

            They might (and probably do) have a belief that “criticism” is a special category of speech that deserves protection, in contrast to say bomb-making instructions. But the method in which they arrived at this belief must be coming from some other principle (tradition, the value of constructive criticism, cost/benefit analysis, ect), and not one that is in support of free speech in general.

          • Scott Alexander says:

            HeelBearCub, I’m not sure why think it matters if it’s the Supreme Court doing the overturning, or some lower court operating on the same principles.

            Guy in TN, consider rules like nonviolence or “don’t kill other people”. We admit exceptions to this rule – for example, police might shoot to kill in a school shooter situation. But we understand they don’t detract from the sanctity of the original rule, and they don’t turn the original rule into a farce the same way “Let’s kill Bob because he’s a jerk, but we won’t kill other people, honest” would. Sometimes we reframe this as eg “Don’t murder”, where “murder” means “the kind of killing we don’t like” and sweeps all the complexity under the hood. But it is a rule we think of as a clear principle even though it has some exceptions.

            I think “free speech” is the same way. You seem to agree with me that “never criticize Trump” is crossing some line that makes it bad. It’s not just bad in the sense that we don’t like Trump, we would be equally upset at “never criticize Obama”. I think we both recognize that line because it’s the principle of “free speech”, and that even though you’re pretending you don’t, you believe in it as much as I do. It has certain exceptions, just like non-killing has exceptions, but those don’t detract from its sanctity or justify exceptions closer to the core of what we mean.

            I agree that “freedom of criticism” is closer to what we mean than “freedom of speech”, although obviously I could come up with edge cases where that doesn’t apply either and nothing short of the whole caseload of First Amendment jurisprudence would really delineate the idea we’re looking for. But the examples I’m giving – criminalizing hate speech and criminalizing anti-factory-farming speech – are both violations of freedom of criticism. Since “freedom of speech” is a universally understood term that means the thing it means and my use was consistent with that, what do you think you are gaining from nitpicking until we replace it with the neologism “freedom of criticism”?

          • Dan L says:

            HeelBearCub, I’m not sure why think it matters if it’s the Supreme Court doing the overturning, or some lower court operating on the same principles.

            “Because SCOTUS says so” is a principle whose consistency very much depends on whether or not SCOTUS is the one using it.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            I’m simply pointing out that the right to free-speech is already bounded and arguments about any new bounds proposed need to pass or fall on the merits of those bounds in the context of the complete set.

            Saying “This boundary shouldn’t be enacted because we don’t bind free speech” isn’t actually a valid argument, because we do bind speech. We bind it at various times and for various reasons. The benefits and harms, the compelling interests, are weighed to predict and observe the effect.

            Or, to put it more rational sphere, taboo “free speech” and make an argument so we aren’t arguing about definitions. Now, I’m perfectly willing to concede the proposed law seems to not be a good one, but you haven’t made an argument for why it isn’t a good one. I’d probably argue that it’s overbroad, doesn’t seem to serve a compelling governmental interest, and causes harm as well.

            You, yourself, ban speech all of the time, arbitrarily, and find it extremely useful and beneficial. No, you aren’t THE government, but you are A governing body. You, in your function as judge, have found that the “executive” has a compelling interest in doing this. Articulating why it’s different when you do it means you can’t just fall back on “free speech” and be done with it.

          • JPNunez says:

            I don’t think Trump would pass something like that, but he has, several times, proposed to bring create libel laws, which would amount to the same thing.

            Defamation actually exists in america, it’s just v hard to lititgate. But platform holders are provided immunity against it, so if Trump were to take away that immunity, he could sue Twitter for holding defamating tweets that they host. Some of those tweets would be protected by the 1st Amendment, but some wouldn’t, and the Twitter company would be forced to self police the platform harder for those tweets that do.

          • Guy in TN says:

            @Scott

            Since “freedom of speech” is a universally understood term that means the thing it means and my use was consistent with that, what do you think you are gaining from nitpicking until we replace it with the neologism “freedom of criticism”?

            The reason I nitpick, it because it is important to reject the language of free speech absolutism. It changes the whole framework of the debate from that point.

            For example, let’s say you agree that we should protect the category of “criticism”, because you believe a robust debate is good for society. But you also agree you should ban the category of “threats”, because it has a net negative effect on society.

            How does the category “hate speech” mesh with this?
            If someone says “N*****s are subhman trash”, is this part of a constructive debate, or does that straddle the line into (indirectly) advocating for harm against people? If we already agree that “speech that advocates for harm” is something that ought to be banned, it’s not clear that “hate speech” is wouldn’t qualify, especially when second-order effects are taken into consideration.

            This is one reason why books such as Mein Kampf were banned in Germany. Its not a mere neutral, impartial inquiry we can safely peg as “freedom of criticism”, but instead contains a significant actionable component.

            Maybe the social harm caused by banning hate speech is greater than any harm it might prevent. But at the very least, this is the real debate we ought to be having. Not whether something is “pro” or “anti” free speech.

          • albatross11 says:

            I believe a number of states have criminal laws against defamation, which are IIRC exclusively used to prosecute or threaten critics who are saying mean things about powerful local politicians.

        • Lasagna says:

          @Guy in TN and HeelBearCub:

          You both misunderstand the extent of free speech protections under the First Amendment. There’s a lot going on in your posts, and I won’t try to address them point by point. I’ll point you to Popehat, who does a good job explaining First Amendment law to laymen. This is a good place to start. Guy in TN, look particularly at the section titled “Trope Three: ‘Not all speech is protected'”. This covers a lot of your argument.

          I think the best way to understand where your argument goes off the rails is in that section. You argue that, as some limitations to free speech exist and we accept them, we therefore must judge every proposed speech restriction on its own merits. That’s not correct, either philosophically or in the way courts actually analyze First Amendment cases.

          As the author points out, “though First Amendment analysis can be complicated at the margins, the core exceptions to First Amendment protection are well-known and well-established.” If the speech in question does NOT fall into one of these (very narrow) core exceptions, it is protected, full stop, no new analysis required or performed. It is not “judged on its own merits”. And this covers the vast majority of speech, and most definitely includes “hate speech”.

          • Dan L says:

            There’s a lot going on in your posts, and I won’t try to address them point by point.

            That might be necessary, because it’s not clear what of substance you’re objecting to. If you’re a frequent Popehat reader, you’ll be familiar with Ken’s thoughts on Schenck v. United States, and why “consistent (and potentially good) principles” isn’t historically the best description of US jurisprudence.

            If the speech in question does NOT fall into one of these (very narrow) core exceptions, it is protected, full stop, no new analysis required or performed.

            Keep in mind where those categories come from, and how young many of them are.

          • Guy in TN says:

            @Lasagna
            My post is a normative inquiry, concerned with what we ought to do. You (and Popehat) seem to be concerned with the descriptive question of whether a form of speech is or isn’t protected. First Amendment jurisprudence only has relevance to the latter question, not the former.

            Whether a form of speech is currently protected by the law is quite separate from the question of whether it should be.

          • Lasagna says:

            @Dal L

            I’m not sure what you’re getting at. “Consistent (and potentially good) principles” is a very broad statement, and I don’t see how you’re applying it to the First Amendment. Schenck v. United States is a poor decision, they sometimes happen. But the Supreme Court – including the author of Schenck – whittled away at it almost immediately. Brandeburg v. Ohio is a much better representation of the Court’s approach to the issue of incitement.

            Keep in mind where those categories come from, and how young many of them are.

            I don’t know what you mean by this – which limitations on free speech to you believe are recent? And I’m happy to discuss substance, but you’ll need to be more clear on what your concerns are.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Lasagna:

            My take here is a little different than the previous replies, although I don’t think it’s actually in disagreement.

            the core exceptions to First Amendment protection are well-known and well-established

            Note that this is entirely consistent with what I already said.

            The slippery slope doesn’t exist in the way Scott is trying to make it exist.

            we therefore must judge every proposed speech restriction on its own merits

            New proposals for for something being limited need to be evaluated not from the first principle “free speech”, but rather from the complete body of understanding of what this does and does not constitute. You evaluate the proposal on its merits in relation to that full body of work. And of course or evaluation of this work changes over time.

            First Amendment analysis can be complicated at the margins

            Therefore one needs to evaluate where a proposal is in relation to the margins before deciding that a case is simple.

          • Lasagna says:

            @Guy in TN

            Whether a form of speech is currently protected by the law is quite separate from the question of whether it should be.

            Then you are asking for an entirely different form of government, where the First Amendment doesn’t exist. The law protects free speech in the sense that the US Government is prohibited from passing laws that abridge it, not in the sense that the US Government sits around and decides what speech is permissible. If you’re just philosophically saying that you wish people weren’t allowed to express opinions that you disagree with, fine, but I don’t really see the merits in that approach.

            You wrote “if you find yourself here, your argument for/against a proposed speech restriction now has to rely on the merits of the law itself, not on whether a law is pro or anti free speech”. But I don’t; there’s no philosophical/moral/rational requirement that I analyze each attempt to limit speech separately. I agree with the way we approach First Amendment issues in the US, which includes a blanket prohibition against interference in speech by the government, outside of extremely narrow and well-defined exceptions.

            You seems to believe that these exceptions somehow blow a hole through the concept of free speech; if an exception exists, all are on the table. All I can say is that really isn’t the case – when we say that these exceptions are narrow and well-defined, we really mean it. I can’t convey that in a post. Again, if you’re interested, Popehat is a very good resource.

          • Guy in TN says:

            The law protects free speech in the sense that the US Government is prohibited from passing laws that abridge it, not in the sense that the US Government sits around and decides what speech is permissible.

            “Free speech” in the colloquial sense (i.e, “the right to speak freely”) gets abridged all the time (see my list above), and the First Amendment doesn’t seem to be standing in the way.

            So you must be using “free speech” in some other sense here, that I don’t understand.

            I agree with the way we approach First Amendment issues in the US, which includes a blanket prohibition against interference in speech by the government, outside of extremely narrow and well-defined exceptions.

            If you agree that there ought to be exceptions to the right to speak freely, then your normative argument against (for example) hate speech laws has to be something other than “it’s violates my right to speak freely”, since we’ve already established that you don’t support that right as a principle. To be logically consistent, you would have to show that its different from the restrictions on speech that you already support in some meaningful way.

          • Lasagna says:

            @HeelBearClub

            New proposals for for something being limited need to be evaluated not from the first principle “free speech”, but rather from the complete body of understanding of what this does and does not constitute. You evaluate the proposal on its merits in relation to that full body of work. And of course or evaluation of this work changes over time.

            Therefore one needs to evaluate where a proposal is in relation to the margins before deciding that a case is simple.

            Yeah…. I’ve had these conversations before. They’re difficult. I’m not criticizing you or being dismissive.

            If you haven’t practiced First Amendment law, it can be hard to grasp just how far away the “margins” are. If your proposal is for a law banning hate speech, for example, you aren’t anywhere near the margin. It is fully, squarely, in the exact center of protected speech, largely because “hate speech” isn’t a legal distinction.

            If I suggested that we need to investigate whether “communist speech” (1) should be prohibited and (2) if we decide it should be, whether or not it is protected by, not protected by, or on the margins of the First Amendment, what would you say? There isn’t anywhere to dig into the discussion.

            The problem with the “slippery slope” arguments I’m seeing here isn’t that slippery slopes don’t exist, it’s that the suggested starting point at the top of the slope is extraordinarily far away from the the current state of First Amendment protections. Finding that a law banning criticism of the President passes constitutional muster isn’t the beginning of a dangerous slope. It’s the charred remnants of First Amendment jurisprudence at the bottom of the cliff.

          • Guy in TN says:

            If I suggested that we need to investigate whether “communist speech” (1) should be prohibited […] what would you say? There isn’t anywhere to dig into the discussion.

            This just sounds like the normal political question of “what should our laws be?” that we debate constantly. We have a mountain of moral and political philosophy to dig through to answer this.

          • Lasagna says:

            This just sounds like the normal political question of “what should our laws be?” that we debate constantly. We have a mountain of moral and political philosophy to dig through to answer this.

            I don’t know. I get what you’re saying, I really do, and I’m not trying to be difficult. You want to argue the issue in isolation from existing legal structures and precedent. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, and yes, we do it all the time.

            It’s just that this is what I do for a living, and trying to argue something like this in isolation doesn’t make any sense to me, considering the insane impact these proposed laws would have. The “how” questions alone are impossible to get past.

            I wrote a bunch more here, but it wouldn’t have advanced the conversation. So I guess if we’re talking strictly along “what should our laws be”, the answer still seems pretty clear to me: we put severe limits on governmental interference in free speech because history has long demonstrated that governments place restrictions on the speech of the people for the benefit of the government, not for the benefit of the people. Scott’s reply seems spot on.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Lasagna:

            considering the insane impact these proposed laws would have

            Not that I am trying to be asinine here, but apparently the proposed law Scott is writing about is similar (identical?)* to Factory Farm protection laws already enacted in some US states. Those haven’t been struck down yet, AFAIK, so I wonder if you are being hyperbolic here.

            * Here I am repeating a claim I have not verified myself, so, grain of salt and all that.

          • Lasagna says:

            Not that I am trying to be asinine here, but apparently the proposed law Scott is writing about is similar (identical?)* to Factory Farm protection laws already enacted in some US states. Those haven’t been struck down yet, AFAIK, so I wonder if you are being hyperbolic here.

            I think the law he’s talking about is in France, no? I could definitely be wrong. If there’s a law banning criticism of factory farming in the US, though, I’ve never heard of it, and I can’t imagine a situation under which it would survive a constitutional challenge.

            But let’s say it exists – there’s a law making it illegal to criticize factory farming, in speech or in print, full stop. I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic: if that survived a challenge in the Supreme Court, it would be such a massive departure form existing First Amendment precedent that that impact would be gigantic. It would blow a hole straight through the center of the First Amendment.

            This is fun – I want to tease that out a little. OK, let’s say it survives Constitutional scrutiny. The first question would be why. Since there is no precedent at all that would permit such a law, and that the law isn’t on one of the “margins” that we were talking about, one second order effect would be to greatly diminish the value of precedent, in First Amendment practice at least.

            But the main question would be: since they Supreme Court didn’t rely on precedent, why did they make the decision? Were they bribed? Is it ideological – the court loves factory farming? Is it strictly political – the law was passed by a Republican state, and the Supreme Court is reluctant to strike down anti-speech laws if they’re enacted by Republicans? Whatever the reason is, I think the results would pop up right away, and we’d see increasing numbers of the same type of laws.

          • Lambert says:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ag-gag

            It’s mostly to criminalise filming factory farms for the purpose of animal-rights whistleblowing.

            Lots of them are being challenged or struck down.

          • Lasagna says:

            @Lambert

            Thanks for the link! Interesting stuff. And, like you said, being challenged and struck down as violations of the First Amendment.

          • Dan L says:

            “Consistent (and potentially good) principles” is a very broad statement, and I don’t see how you’re applying it to the First Amendment.

            That was in reference to Scott’s comment above. “US legal interpretations are based on consistent principles regarding free speech” is indeed too broad to really be accurate.

            Schenck v. United States is a poor decision, they sometimes happen. But the Supreme Court – including the author of Schenck – whittled away at it almost immediately.

            Schenck was a unanimous decision that codified the “clear and present danger” exception to free speech, and would be the law of the land for half a century. It was absolutely representative of the legal theory of the time – under which thousands were prosecuted – and while it’s nice to know that Holmes dissented to his test’s later use you cannot reasonably say that Abrams whittled away at much of anything. Quite the contrary.

            There is a tendency to dismiss unpleasant historic judgements as ‘bad law’, when the underlying mechanism by which they came about has not meaningfully changed. (Korematsu, anyone?) I feel this is dangerous, as it takes for granted just how much of the current understanding of legal rights is based on precedent in a political environment where the judicial overruling of precedent is an explicit campaign goal.

            I don’t know what you mean by this – which limitations on free speech to you believe are recent?

            I mean the reverse – that restricting limitations to those categories is a recent development. But Miller’s an obvious example of something problematic, even if the internet invalidates much of the doctrine.

            Brandeburg v. Ohio is a much better representation of the Court’s approach to the issue of incitement.

            It’s a much better representation of the current test, sure. It’s also exactly* as old this year as Schenck was when it was overturned. It’s younger than every Justice currently serving, and two have actually been practicing longer than it’s been on the books.

            I’m optimistic enough to think the current trend is more than a legal fashion, but I’m pessimistic enough to fail to see anything preventing a reversal of that trend.

            *TINACBNIEAC

        • MP92 says:

          Also, the proposers of the amendment were all deputies from the republican right-wing opposition group (Sarkozy’s party, not Le Pen’s). Since they are a minority in the Assembly they knew that the amendment would never pass, which freed them from the responsibility of making a credible one.

          I think the amendment boiled down to political signalling along the lines of: “Macron wants to protect the blacks, the jews and the gays? Well, WE want to protect the farmers!”. That being said, it is worrying that political signalling happens via legal threats on free speech.

    • NostalgiaForInfinity says:

      The last paragraph of the Boingboing article does make the point that the French law is very similar (actually “indistinguishable”) to laws passed by various American states.

    • DarkTigger says:

      1) This can be said of virtually any law prohibiting anything.

      Uhm, how do you define murder in a way that includes protest against factory farming?
      How do you define theft in such a way?
      How do you define bribery, tax-evasion, or speeding in such a way?

      I mean you obviously can frame defamation laws in a way that it includes factory farming.
      But defamation laws are already restrictions on free speach, and they already have an reputation for beeing tools for the rich and powerful to shut up critical questions.

    • baconbits9 says:

      1) This can be said of virtually any law prohibiting anything.

      You murdered him! No I didn’t, he is still alive. Where is the slope here?

      Restrictions on speech are largely arbitrary, and a limitation on one type is much more easily spread to another than most (all?) other laws.

      • Guy in TN says:

        You murdered him! No I didn’t, he is still alive. Where is the slope here?

        The debate over euthanasia, abortion, and capital punishment would like to have some words with you.

      • ksdale says:

        I agree with you that limitations on speech are more easily spread, but I’m not sure the murder example is quite as cut and dried as you make it sound. There are all sorts of ways that courts classify killings, from complete and utter accidents, to negligence, to criminal negligence or involuntary manslaughter, to the various degrees of murder that depend entirely on the killer’s state of mind.

        What makes something an accident as opposed to murder is not particularly arbitrary, but what separates criminal negligence from murder is a lot murkier and I would guess varies from century to century and culture to culture.

        Like I said, this is largely unrelated to your main point, so please don’t take it as a serious disagreement!

    • J Mann says:

      BoingBoing: “One of the arguments against hate-speech laws is that once the state starts dividing expression into ‘allowed’ and ‘prohibited,’ the ‘prohibited’ category tends to grow…” – proposed French hate speech law now bans “stigmatizing agricultural activities”, ie criticizing factory farming.

      1) This can be said of virtually any law prohibiting anything.

      To quote a crim law professor of mine,

      “Look, everyone has at some point in their life made a slippery slope argument, and everybody has also rejected a slippery slope argument at some point. But even so, some slopes are slippery.”

      Of course, that doesn’t answer the question of how slippery this one is.

      As much as the US has many speech restrictions, I think we still have one of the more powerful free speech norms I know. The courts enforce it, we teach our kids that allowing the Nazis to march in Skokie was a good thing, and that throwing people in jail for seditious pamphlets was a bad thing, and for the most part, I think that norm has encouraged an open society.

      As you chip away at the norm, some logical places where the government might like to crack down is:

      – Advocacy of political systems that are incompatible with the status quo, such as communism or sharia, especially if the lawmakers believe those political systems have body counts.

      – Criticism of public figures or police officers. I think there’s a lot of damage done when a youtube video accusing the police of something or other goes viral before the facts can catch up to it, but it’s currently pretty unthinkable to require YouTube to hold the videos until the police can prepare a response.

      Etc.

      • Matt M says:

        we teach our kids that allowing the Nazis to march in Skokie was a good thing

        We used to. Do we still? I certainly don’t expect that any public university teaches this. Maybe some high schools in red states still do?

        • J Mann says:

          Good point, and I’m not sure.

          • Matt M says:

            I mean, I’m honestly not sure either. But I definitely get the sense that free speech, as a cultural norm, has declined significantly over the last decade or so.

            I’ve said before several times that it’s not at all uncommon to catch even journalists and politicians speaking as if they believe that “hate speech” is already not constitutionally protected.

            And given that the Supreme Court does seem to be inclined towards accommodating popular opinion, my prediction is that within the next 1-2 decades, the US will have hate speech restrictions and that they will have survived a legal challenge.

          • albatross11 says:

            IMO the biggest threat to the political support for free speech is that newspapers are dying and the news industry is in general a bad one to be in. Newspapers were once a major power in the US, and they had both a cultural and practical incentive to be pro-first-amendment. When they’re mostly gone, so will one of the main powerful supporters of free speech.

    • Edward Scizorhands says:

      2) Despite the idolatry over the 1st amendment, the US has prohibited speech categories just like any other country. The size of the category has sometimes grown and sometimes shrunk, depending on the political whim on the moment, just like in other countries.

      Trope Three: “Not all speech is protected” and Trope Nine: “This speech may be protected for now, but the law is always changing.”

      The problem is that the media routinely invokes this trope to imply that the proposed First Amendment exception it is about to discuss is plausible or constitutional because other exceptions already exist. Not so. Though First Amendment analysis can be complicated at the margins, the core exceptions to First Amendment protection are well-known and well-established.

      https://www.popehat.com/2015/05/19/how-to-spot-and-critique-censorship-tropes-in-the-medias-coverage-of-free-speech-controversies/

  37. P. George Stewart says:

    Boris Johnson is a master of disarming misdirection. Just recently in an interview on British tv he recited from memory, for 2 1/2 minutes, the first lines of the Iliad, in Greek, much to the audience’s delight (he was reciting it with cadence and doing gestures, etc., just as if he was reciting it in English, so the punter got the sense of a grand story being told 🙂 ).

  38. Milo Minderbinder says:

    Does anyone have any knowledge of Netflix’s impact on foreign actors/actresses’ median/mean wages? In the “Slow Death of Hollywood” article, Netflix’s increasing market power is said to have a dampening effect on the wages of artists. I’ve seen this refrain elsewhere, and seems plausible enough to the extent the claims made are true regarding salary negotiating customs. I’m currently watching Dark and have previously enjoyed Babylon Berlin, German series that I (an American) would presumably have not been otherwise exposed to. A number of friends have had similar experiences with “foreign” TV on Netflix they otherwise would not have, and it seems like this newly addressable international television market would more than offset losses by the stateside film/tv industry (in the sense that more, better art is being created because of the increased market size. Dollars/cents wise, Netflix is obviously coming out ahead, but to the extent that their platform facilitates more better cheaper art, that seems good?)

    • Aapje says:

      Acting is a ‘winner take all’ profession, where the key to a truly high income seems to be irreplaceability. If you replace Morgan Freeman with a decent unknown actor, your movie is probably going to be different in a way that earns a lot less money.

      I suspect that this doesn’t work as strongly for foreign actors, so I expect that the result is more a widening of the market (more actors working) than truly ramping up their salaries.

      • Matt M says:

        Acting is a ‘winner take all’ profession, where the key to a truly high income seems to be irreplaceability.

        This is honestly one of the things that annoys me the most about movies, and where I think the public in general is probably acting irrationally.

        Consider “dark age of movies vs golden age of TV.” What’s one of the most obvious differences between the two mediums right now?

        Movies in general have always relied heavily on “star power” in the sense that a small handful of actors are in basically every major release, having to play a wide variety of roles (and, in my opinion, largely harming the perception of disbelief). The more we proceed down the “sequel” and “cinematic universe” route, the more this is prone to happen. Most “Golden Age of TV” shows have, on the other hand, relied largely on new and unknown actors (or, at the very least, aged actors far from their peak fame playing off-type ala Bryan Cranston). Are there any really highly acclaimed TV shows whose cast consisted mainly of major stars? I honestly can’t think of any.

        I kept hoping that the critical acclaim of these shows would lead to movies adopting a similar strategy, but they refuse. If Netflix and Amazon can speed along this process by refusing to pay Morgan Freeman $500M for a role that a dozen other unknown actors could play just as well, all the better, IMO.

        • AG says:

          Most narrative-based TV is not pay per view. This means that there is a higher barrier of effort + cost to watch films. Familiarity is one of those things that might help a prospective film watcher to get over that barrier. (See why movie posters are rather shit, artistically, these days, because the emphasis is on getting the viewer to recognize something they might want to watch as a film.)

          TV is not only much easier to get to watch the first time, but also often allows for instant rewatching, so you can invest in the characters more than the actors.
          You do see that direct-to-streaming movies can have less star power, because they’re essentially TV.

        • baconbits9 says:

          Movies in general have always relied heavily on “star power” in the sense that a small handful of actors are in basically every major release, having to play a wide variety of roles (and, in my opinion, largely harming the perception of disbelief).

          It doesn’t seem like this is true, for one almost every star was discovered after being cast as a relative unknown. What appears to be true is that movies are the medium in which you can exploit star power the best. Movie producers have discovered that star power (or CGI power for Bay movies) can cover up major flaws in scripts, production, logic etc, etc, etc.

          • I don’t think that’s true anymore. Maybe in the past you could turn a dud in to a box office hit by casting Tom Cruise in a movie but that hasn’t been true for a while now. Scarlett Johansson is one of the most famous actress’s in the world and the Ghost in the Shell movie made $40 million in the US and Canada. If anything she might have hurt it because of the whole “whitewashing” accusations.

        • Don P. says:

          Are there any really highly acclaimed TV shows whose cast consisted mainly of major stars? I honestly can’t think of any.

          There’s “Big Little Lies”, which started out with Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, each of whom can headline a film alone, and then added Meryl Streep in the second season. “House of Cards” was built on Kevin Spacey until it wasn’t.

          (Cheating by looking at imdb’s “Most Critically Acclaimed TV shows”…)

          On the other hand, if you’re willing to accept “TV stars” as a kind of “major star”, it happens all the time. The Good Wife had Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, and Christine Baranski. Older actors on their nth TV show are often found clustered together.

          HBO (who also did Big Little Lies) has a history of casting a single “movie guy” in their dramas: Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire, Al Pacino in Luck.

          But in general, yes, TV is more likely to create stars than use them.

        • Milo Minderbinder says:

          I also think the public is by and large extremely irrational in this regard, being anchored to the high salaries of major stars when considering what the labor of acting “should” cost. Netflix’s data advantage with regard to viewer preference should allow it to recommend shows better than the crude proxy of “star” appeal and typecast (though some stars are always appealing to some subset in and of themselves).
          Speaking as someone who is heavily reliant on Spotify’s algorithms to surface new music, it amuses me to know that the best results can only be achieved by watching more Netflix.

    • baconbits9 says:

      Dollars/cents wise, Netflix is obviously coming out ahead

      Shares sank nearly four percent to $339.70 in after-market trades that followed release of earnings figures that showed the Silicon Valley company logged profit of $134 million on revenue of $4.2 billion in the final three months of last year.

      That compared with a profit of $186 million on revenue of $3.3 billion in the same period the prior year.

      • Milo Minderbinder says:

        I meant in terms of Netflix saving money on actors’ salaries with the strategy of more and shorter series, not in terms of their overall earnings. I am very bullish on Netflix longterm though, unless Amazon decides to pour a lot more money into their service.

  39. aiju says:

    Note that the transition study had 36% lost to follow-up, which might affect regret numbers (as they note).

  40. Bellum Gallicum says:

    “regardless of your position on immigration, detaining suspected illegal immigrants until their trial is not a necessary part of the system and suffers from the same considerations as bail in general.”

    My position on immigration would be immediate detention, imposition of a $100,000 fine and next day deportation.

    It seems to be a peculiar feature of the modern left that they have zero ability to imagine a coherent Tory perspective. Which makes sense if you wonder “was Moldbug correct”? Are American politics differing branches of socialists arguing with each other for the last four generations?

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Don’t you have to check if they’re guilty or not first?

      • Faza (TCM) says:

        That’s hardly a very big burden, is it? In this particular case it boils down to two things, basically: is the person physically present in the U.S. and do they have valid title to be there? For the second issue, it is not inappropriate to place the burden of proof on the immigrant, based on the assumption that it is incumbent on the person asserting a fact for legal purposes to prove it is the case.

        Even if we require immigration authorities to actually perform some checks on their own (for example, query visa databases), establishment of “guilt” is simplicity itself. The situation is analogous to being pulled over for a spot check and being unable to produce your driver’s license/registration documents. Don’t know about how it works in the States, but here even if you are subsequently able to produce them in order to not get done for driving without a valid license/registration, you still get fined for not having required paperwork during a check.

        Matters get somewhat more complex if the putative immigrant wants to claim asylum, but my instinct is that if you are a bona fide asylum seeker, having to live in a processing centre for a while should still stack up favourably against whatever it is you’re running away from.

        I see no reason to make the experience more miserable than it has to be, but see nothing objectionable about it in principle.

        • Antistotle says:

          For the second issue, it is not inappropriate to place the burden of proof on the immigrant, based on the assumption that it is incumbent on the person asserting a fact for legal purposes to prove it is the case.

          Actually, it is.

          In the US legal system *generally* the Government has to prove you guilty, not you prove your innocence.

          The sticking point at the southern border is that most of the people are attempting to claim asylum, not from political persecution but from crime and violence.

          As much as I opposed illegal immigration that’s a precedent we don’t want set.

          Also there have been several articles recently suggesting that DNA testing has proven that some of those children were separated from people who were not their parents. When this is the case the *most* humanitarian thing to do is to determine why there is this apparent disparity, and then fix it.

          • Aapje says:

            In the US legal system *generally* the Government has to prove you guilty, not you prove your innocence.

            In my country there is a shift towards administrative sanctions, which effectively reverse that. You get the fine/sanction/whatever and then get to protest that in court, if you disagree.

            1. Is a similar shift occurring in the US?

            2. Given that quite severe cases of administrative sanctions already exist in the US, like civil forfeiture, is there a reason why this would be more unfair in illegal immigration cases?

          • sidereal says:

            > In the US legal system *generally* the Government has to prove you guilty, not you prove your innocence.

            Does this apply to illegal aliens? It is not obvious to me that it should/does/ought to.

            And, as mentioned in the post above yours, even if you need to prove it, in this particular case it seems easy to do so, because it amounts to simply checking against a database. Even if it is harder than that, it is not really the limiting factor, is it? I mean, are there people being detained despite being legitimate citizens?

          • John Schilling says:

            Does this apply to illegal aliens? It is not obvious to me that it should/does/ought to.

            It does.

            If it didn’t, the police could arrest you any time they like, say “sidereal is an illegal alien, trust us, we caught him red-handed”, and throw you out of the country any time they like. Unless you can prove, burden on you, that you are not an illegal alien. In the very brief time it takes them to toss you over the nearest border, and with the resources and allies available to someone in police custody and without right to due process.

            Obviously, you imagine the police will only ever do this to people you don’t like and don’t want to be in your country. But if it comes to that, I will really, really want them to do it to you.

          • Controls Freak says:

            Does this apply to illegal aliens?

            The direction and magnitude of the burden of proof varies a bit depending on the details. Here’s a decent, longer-form explanation. It also makes it more clear that the burden is on DHS to show that an alien caught here (“Aliens present without admission or parole”) is actually an alien, to the standard of clear and convincing evidence (and an example of how that might work). Then, the burden shifts for determining whether they’re lawfully here.

        • Ursus Arctos says:

          You are proposing that the punishment for being unable to prove that you are a citizen within a 24 hour period be deportation.We tolerate the requirement that people have their licence on them when they drive because the penalties are relatively minimal compared to, say, effectively stripping someone of citizenship and fining them 100,000 dollars. Proving citizenship is difficult for many people, and is nearly impossible when one is in custody. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-citizen-detained-by-ice-francisco-erwin-galicia-border-officials-conditions-bad-almost-self-deported/

          It’s already been established, in fact, that many citizens require months to prove that they are, in fact, citizens, at least to the satisfaction of ICE. There is simply no way to establish someone’s citizenship or otherwise, within the bare minimum requirements of a functional justice system, without many months.

          • Faza (TCM) says:

            If a citizen requires months to prove they are, in fact, a citizen, I submit you have a much bigger problem.

            I can prove my citizenship to a standard where the onus is on the government to rebut in three seconds, at most times (slightly longer, if I’ve forgotten my wallet). As you might guess, I’m not American.

            Edit:
            Not that I didn’t suspect that this may be a sticking point in the U.S., because the U.S. is – and let’s be fair to it – insane.

          • DarkTigger says:

            @Faza (TCM)
            There are reasons why proving your citizenship might be harder than that. Like a friend of my father who once lost his ID in an Syrian port.
            Given that was in the pre mobile phone eara and even contacting the local German consul took a day or two.

            But show up in the international part of an port or airport without any documatation, maybe while not looking nice unsuspect middle-european, and I bet that you won’t have your citizenship proven in seconds or even hours.

          • Lambert says:

            See: the Windrush Scandal.

            From 1948 to the 70s, citizens of British colonies had the right to emigrate to the UK. No documentation was needed, so none was given.

            During the 2010s, the government started clamping down more on illegal immigration.
            The beuraucracy started treating many of these legal yet undocumented immigrants as illegals.

            West Indians who had been living here for over 50 years were suddenly failing all sorts of background checks and being threatened with deportation.
            Much of the documentation of peoples’ legitimate entry into the UK was also destoyed by the government to free up space.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            As someone who generally but vaguely supports enforcement of border laws, the fact that a US citizen was held for ~three weeks and lost around 28 pounds in custody indicates multiple serious failures of controls.

            Unless there is something massively under-reported about this story, which is always possible.

            But a policy you like does something bad, you need to assess the situation. What controls were in place to stop this situation? How were they not followed in this case? How predictable should both this situation and whatever caused the failure of controls been from the start? There were people who could have stopped this: why didn’t they? Were they enjoying their power trip? Did they want to stop it but were they afraid of upsetting some other power structure?

            This is something I’ve asked from the other direction following the csae of the transgender person up in British Columbia who is suing immigrants for not performing waxing on their privates. This person has clearly felt empowered to use the power of the state to target and harass vulnerable members of the community. I’d go through the same questions there.

            It’s easy to blow-off these instances as isolated cases, but if you don’t do a post-mortem to figure out how those specific things went bad, there are likely lots of other abuses happening you just don’t know about.

  41. Tim van Beek says:

    “One of the arguments against hate-speech laws is that once the state starts dividing expression into ‘allowed’ and ‘prohibited,’ the ‘prohibited’ category tends to grow…”

    The “the system can be abused” type of point works if one replaces “hate speech law” with “xy law” and is actually a point against the whole system of laws itself, not against “hate speech laws”.

    Also, there is obvious evidence against the tendency of expanding the prohibited zone as a necessity, as European countries with “hate speech laws” (this term doesn’t actually exist, strictly speaking, so has to be used carefully) have had pretty stable laws for ca. 80 years now. One specific example of such a law is “endorsing a crime”. Both the definition of “crime” and of “endorsing” have been pretty stable over the last decades.

    • Urstoff says:

      Indeed, we should have as few laws as possible. In the US context, do proponents of hate speech laws really want the Trump administration or congress deciding what counts as hate speech? Because that’s who is going to make the laws, not twitter or your friendly neighborhood gender studies professor.

      • Matt M says:

        In the US context, do proponents of hate speech laws really want the Trump administration or congress deciding what counts as hate speech?

        Yes – but with the following qualifiers:

        1. They believe Trump only won because of Russian hacking
        2. They believe they are on the “right side of history” and no one like Trump will ever win again
        3. They believe they can rely on the other branches of government to check power that is used against them, but not to check power used by them

        1 is a crazy illusion, but 2 seems plausible based on mass immigration leading to demographic shifts, and 3 seems mostly correct so far (almost everything the executive branch has tried to do lately ends up being overturned by some obscure circuit court judge in Hawaii)

    • MorningGaul says:

      I disagree with your last paragraph. I’m only familiar with french law, but you clearly got a slippery slope going on here,:

      -Starting with the post-war moralist censorship of cinema, litterature and other relatively innocuous limitations.
      -In 1972, a law punishing racial hate (including innuendos or hintings)
      -In 1990, a law forbidding WW2 revisionism, including in a private conversation or correspondence
      -In 2001, two laws extending the 1990’s principle to the Armenian genocide and Slavery as a crime against humanity.
      -In 2019, a law imposing online platforms to remove “hateful content” within 24h.

      Of course, there is an obvious illogicity of making two genocides unquestionnable truth, while letting others free game. And what I perceive as the most common response is not to drop the foolish idea altogether, but instead to extend it to Rwanda, to Holodomor, to native americans, and god knows what else (through, curiously, Vendée est rarely mentionned).

      The restrictions to free speech have been expanding for 50 years, and show no sign of slowing down, on the contrary.

  42. Forlorn Hopes says:

    Boris Johnson comes from a noticeably artistic family, so I think the odds that he is outright lying is low. A nth dimensional chess move may be true.

    A lot of people like to compare him to the British Trump, but beyond a penchant for saying stupid and/or offensive things there’s really no truth to that beyond “Trump is bad, brexit is bad, therefore Boris is Trump”. Boris is quite liberal[1], he was noticeably the Tory candidate who didn’t promise to uphold immigration limits, and has the most ethnically diverse cabinet ever. He’s also intelligent, articulate, and well read, for example this debate about Greeks vs Romans in which he spoke on behalf of the Greeks.[2]

    [1]https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2019/06/18/boris-johnson-lgbt-rights-record-anti-gay-slurs-liberal-stance/
    [2]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k448JqQyj8

    • gdepasamonte says:

      Interestingly, Boris himself is supposed to have been quite a good painter as a boy. Apparently this self-portrait is from when he was 14. (Depending on your cynicism you may not trust this too much further than you can throw him.) His mother, on the right, is a painter.

      Edit: even better, he is on record years ago saying

      I like to relax by painting on cheese boxes. You get Brie and Camembert in these lovely wooden boxes. Now it might sound cretinous €and I’m not a very good painter, but I enjoy it and find it therapeutic. I paint the whole thing white with a tube of children’s paint and I look for something to paint. The last thing I painted was a picture of one of my family in front of the Colosseum in Rome. I also like painting whisky bottles.

    • JulieK says:

      Trump (especially pre-2016 Trump) is much more liberal than the average Republican politician.

      • Garrett says:

        I keep pointing out that Trump’s basically a 1970s New York Democrat. He certainly has some eclectic positions and behaviors, but that model has mostly led me true.

        • EchoChaos says:

          I joked that Trump was rerunning Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign by the numbers in 2016.

          That’s still fairly close to true, as far as I can tell, except Trump is to the left of Clinton on social issues where the center has drifted like gay marriage.

      • Forlorn Hopes says:

        I know, I’m really disappointed Trump didn’t keep that. However Boris does have a long political career and voting history to give us a bit more confidence in his liberal-ness.

        • hls2003 says:

          I think that if Democrats had flattered and buttered up Trump after his election, instead of deciding “The Resistance” was the way to go, Trump would have enacted 85% of the Democrats’ proposed agenda. His instincts are primarily on their side, he would have enjoyed getting good press, he fancies himself a deal-maker, and he seems to have very few carefully-considered principles or policy positions. But I guess the shock or the base’s reaction was just too much for them to take the path of co-opting Trump instead.

          • secondcityscientist says:

            Trump would have enacted 85% of the Democrats’ proposed agenda.

            And how would he go about doing that, precisely? Paul Ryan was Speaker of the House, Mitch McConnell was (and still is) Senate Majority Leader. Senate-confirmed positions had to be approved by McConnell. Democrats should have clapped their hands harder for Trump and McConnell and Ryan would pass tax increases, carbon prices and card check?

          • hls2003 says:

            Depends. The fact that Republicans held Congress in Jan. 2017 was a check on Trump being co-opted by Democrats, but Presidents have a fair amount of power to set the agenda of their party as the most visible standard-bearers. If Trump got it into his head to set up a drumbeat for something that the Republican leadership didn’t particularly like, I think there’s a decent chance (with Democrats on board, the press praising bipartisanship, etc.) that enough Republican legislators would have held their nose and started rationalizing it that you could have seen some movement on said topic.

            tax increases, carbon prices and card check?

            Tax increases actually happened. I mean, it was a net tax cut, despite what the opposition tried to spin, but the top marginal rate went from 35% under the Bush tax cuts up to 37% under the new law. They actually, really and truly, capped the SALT deduction. That actually, really and truly, raised my taxes, due mostly to living in a deep-blue state with high taxes. I think that if the Democrats had sweet-talked Trump into being on board with it and promised a big “bipartisan win,” Trump would have been just fine with pushing for an even larger tax increase on upper income earners. Carbon prices, that would have been tougher since he campaigned explicitly on bringing back coal; but imagine if the Democrats had promised to support his tariff and trade efforts, and maybe a giant wall on the south border, in exchange for a price on carbon. Leadership would have hated it, but if Trump was tweeting in favor, there would have been pressure to bring it to a vote. You’d only need to peel off half a dozen Republicans. Card check, I’m not sure. I also think you’re wrong that it’s a big current Democrat priority. But I could see Trump doing it as part of a grand protectionist bargain, since he’s pro-protectionism and so are unions. In fact, this is exactly what you’re starting to see – old union members, and even a few cautious union leaders like Trumka, are starting to occasionally make quasi-friendly rumbles in Trump’s general direction when he talks about protecting American labor from overseas competition. They’re split with the identity-politics Dems on that approach.

            But the key point, which I think you’re ignoring, is that President Hillary also would have had trouble getting a legislative agenda through a Republican Congress. Co-opting the other party’s President gives the opposition a much better chance of being legislatively relevant than having their own President whose ideas would be DOA in Congress. And what about executive orders? I seem to recall Trump ordering the bump-stock ban, in the wake of the Vegas shootings, even though by all rights it probably wasn’t a valid interpretation of the statute. He’s made other gun-control noises. I think Democrats could have influenced him to act much more in concert with them in his executive orders on the topic. And in general, when something went bad, they could always have said “hey, happened under a Republican President.”

            Do I expect that he would have given Democrats absolutely everything they could have dreamed of with complete control of all branches of government? Of course not. But I think Trump is malleable and subject to flattery, especially by the press, which Democrats are in a better position to deliver. But by choosing the route of “Russian spy, evil racist, worse than Hitler, never compromise,” they gave up any chance at influence. If it were President Ted Cruz, I’d understand – Ted Cruz was never going to compromise or be influenced anyway; he is what he is ideologically. Trump is very far from the Republican mainstream and there were plenty of ways that his old New York pal Chuck Schumer could have put an arm around Trump early on, welcomed him, buttered him up. Trump likes people that are nice to him and especially say nice things about him. He doesn’t like people that call him a poopy-head traitor. I really think he’s almost that simple.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            Depends. The fact that Republicans held Congress in Jan. 2017 was a check on Trump being co-opted by Democrats, but Presidents have a fair amount of power to set the agenda of their party as the most visible standard-bearers.

            This. Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, most of the Republicans in the presidential primaries, and the entire donor class were flabbergasted and somewhat scared that Trump got the bully pulpit, but it’s still a bully pulpit. There’s a possible world where he was co-opted by the Democrats/MSM and dragged his Party, rather than being co-opted by his Party, which is totally and somewhat predictably what actually happened. Calling a Republican President Hitler is only going to make him more of a generic Republican on his non-central policies.

            I think that if the Democrats had sweet-talked Trump into being on board with it and promised a big “bipartisan win,” Trump would have been just fine with pushing for an even larger tax increase on upper income earners.

            Trump’s base sees billionaires as evil and Trump as a New York billionaire who defected to their tribe. He could have “soaked the rich” pretty hard to thunderous applause, as long as shibboleths like “socialism” were avoided.

            But I think Trump is malleable and subject to flattery, especially by the press, which Democrats are in a better position to deliver.

            This. He’s vain.

    • Jack V says:

      Johnson isn’t *personally* like Trump, and I don’t think he’s AS bad (yet), but there is a lot in common:

      They both have a carefully crafted persona, the hard-hitting businessman who’s a man of the people, and the clutzy intellectual, which makes them seem good at politics while also being disarming and non-threatening.

      They both ignored reality and promised whatever got them popular support. Brexit comes from exactly the same sort of “help, there are no jobs” desperation, when people promised immigration limits would fix everything. Both Johnson and Trump embraced that.

      They both cozied up to Steve Bannon. This is what shocked me first: I know Johnson was ambitious and out for himself, but I didn’t think he’d go and make friends with nazis 🙁

      The difference is, I think Trump doesn’t have much ability for deception: he embraced what worked, and played up the parts of his personality that got people to cheer him, but doesn’t have the grip to consciously pretend, he believes his own rhetoric. Whereas Johnson is a more standard politician: he knows perfectly well that he’s peddling the only line that works, and is willing to do it (either for his own self-aggrandisement, or because he genuinely believes he’d be a better prime minister). But in many ways that doesn’t make that much difference: regardless of why, they’re both willing to enact whatever awful policies get them votes from desperate or xenophobic people.

      • The Nybbler says:

        They both cozied up to Steve Bannon. This is what shocked me first: I know Johnson was ambitious and out for himself, but I didn’t think he’d go and make friends with nazis 🙁

        Ah, Steve Bannon, the Nazi Vice President at Goldman-Sachs, and co-founder of Breitbart News, named after its totally Jewish founder and backer Andrew Breitbart. Come on, now, there’s the whole rest of the internet to play “everyone I don’t like is a Nazi”.

        • EchoChaos says:

          But it’s so fun to lump all of my outgroup into one pile labeled “evil”.

        • Paul Zrimsek says:

          We get told fairly often around here that it’s wicked to call this or that prominent Democrat an “open-borders advocate”, because if you ask them they’ll say they’re not. Perhaps this simple test could be adapted to the job of determining who is or isn’t a Nazi.

  43. JohnBuridan says:

    Boris loves his buses. His buses even make it into this debate about Greece and Rome.

  44. discountdoublecheck says:

    Okay, real question — can anyone explain the methods in the GWAS (genome wide association … something?) type studies? From what i’ve seen it all looks deeply questionable. Like millions of regressors and like hundreds of observations. I’m really not remotely clear on why we trust any of those results.

    (For those confused, the anorexia link uses some of this stuff)

    • Walliserops says:

      The wet lab folks don’t, at the very least. GWAS are 23andme on steroids and about as reliable, they’re more about exploration and finding good targets for future metabolic studies (that somebody still has to do).

      Their problems include long tails/epigenetic shenanigans that make even the most prominent SNPs explain a small amount of variance (an old piece quotes 2-3% for type II diabetes, this big education GWAS gets ~12% for educational attainment, 8% for schizophrenia here, I believe the anorexia study gets 1.7%) and (b) no links between the disease association and what the SNP is actually doing in the body, which leads to (c) lots of mystery SNPs doing important things in “junk” regions with no known function. And probably more that an actual genomics person could explain.

    • Reasoner says:

      +1 I also want an explanation of this

    • Anon. says:

      >and like hundreds of observations

      Definitely not the case, the reason they work is basically huge sample sizes. For example the largest(?) educational attainment GWAS is based on a sample of 1.1 million. You then correct for the obvious multiple testing problems by using a low p-value threshold (typically 5×10^-8).

      There are two big problems: one, the tagged SNP is not necessarily causal, it could just be related to the actual causal allele. This is particularly a problem if you want to extrapolate from your sample of, say, Europeans to an out-of-sample test on Africans. The genetic correlations (they call them “linkage disequilibrium”) are often different in different populations so the SNP that is predictive in one group may not be so in another.

      Two, population stratification. The typical way of controling for this is to just do PCA, control away the first N components. There are some indications this may be imperfect.

      One way to check for pop strat problems is to use the polygenic score to predict within-family differences between siblings. Generally there is some loss of predictive ability when you do that.

  45. BBA says:

    I respectfully dissent. Boris Johnson’s greatest moment was getting stuck on that zipline.

  46. rbwabd says:

    The shooting drone story was apparently a fake
    https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-49034252

  47. Worried about the effect of air travel on climate change? Most carriers will soon be 100% carbon-offsetting their flights.

    Does this actually work? Is it really carbon neutral or are they just playing with numbers? I haven’t looked into it much, but my gut tells me that it’s latter, since doing it for real would be hard and playing with numbers would be easy.

  48. Le Maistre Chat says:

    In 1835, the UK banned bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and a-bunch-of-other-animals-baiting. But, crucially, not rats. Thus the inevitable rise of rat-baiting, where spectators placed bets on how quickly a dog could kill rats, if thrown into a rat-filled ring.

    Man-things, dog-things, bad bad! Skaven will avenge, yes yes!

  49. John Schilling says:

    If “The economy goes up during a dictators’ regime only as often as chance, averaged over all dictators, then it seems that the economy would go up more often than chance for the set of “smart benevolent dictators”. A brief skim of the paper suggests that this isn’t one of the things they control for; they just study the set of all autocratic rulers and control for various mostly-exogenous confounders.

    They propose, citing Coolidge and Ackerman, that “the benevolent autocrat wants to maximize economic output by allowing the market to work, using government intervention only to correct market failures”. So it might be fruitful to do a two-dimensional study, autocratic vs. non-autocratic regimes and market vs. non-market economies, and see how the autocrats running market economies do relative to the other four quadrants. And no points for guessing which quadrant gets the prize for “but [the economy]goes down during such regimes much more often”.

    Of course, the practical value of all of this is limited by the fact that nobody has yet developed a mechanism for reliably ensuring that smart, benevolent dictators are the ones who take and hold power. At best, we might be able to put a number on how important it is to maintain a firewall between the government and the market economy if you are going to have a dictator take power.

    • Brett says:

      Of course, the practical value of all of this is limited by the fact that nobody has yet developed a mechanism for reliably ensuring that smart, benevolent dictators are the ones who take and hold power.

      The rise of intelligent robots could pose some interesting possibilities in this area.

    • bullseye says:

      I wasn’t able to read the article. Did they make an attempt to identify which dictators were smart and benevolent? I suspect there aren’t any, or at least not enough for statistical significance.

      • Aapje says:

        Mohammed VI of Morocco
        Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
        Douglas MacArthur
        Frederick the Great
        Louis Bonaparte
        Huey P. Long
        Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
        France-Albert René
        Dom Pedro II
        Getúlio Vargas

      • John Schilling says:

        They made no attempt to identify smartness or benevolence. Aside from mentioning in the introduction and conclusion that their goal was to challenge the theory that smart, benevolent dictators are good for the economy, they appear to have ignored the “smart’ and “benevolent” parts entirely and just collected a list of autocrats ranked by their autocratishness.

        They don’t provide their full list of autocrats, either. I had thought that it could be derived from the supplementary data, but on closer examination I can’t find enough specific data to see which nations/leaders fell on which side of their “dictator” line.

  50. The Tumbler post about the asylum kids being separated and caged at the border is one of the best things I’ve ever read on the subject. Completely rings true with my and my wife’s experience of the subject.

    Also I personally, not speaking here for my wife, resonate with the blogger’s bringing up the comparison to how pro-choice folks think and talk about those who strongly oppose abortion-on-demand. While that category does not include me personally [I’m a member of the “queasily-pro-choice-cause-all-other-options-suck-worse” American plurality], I have felt for years that liberals were being dismissive of that viewpoint in exactly the way that MAGAts are currently being dismissive regarding the kids in the cages.

    And in both cases that sneering dismissal, once perceived, serves as rocket fuel for the genuine gut-level reaction that’s being sneered at.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Yeah, I included it with the kind of sarcastic text (“An underappreciated perspective”) because even though there have been a million articles about it, for some reason they all seemed like some journalist punching the clock and telling us why we should be outraged, whereas this one for whatever reason seemed like the person really cared and was genuinely upset, and as soon as she presented it that way I really cared and was genuinely upset too.

      • John Schilling says:

        Agreed. It’s still signal-boosting one group of suffering people over many others, but it feels like it genuinely happened because this is the group of suffering people someone happened to stumble across and genuinely care about rather than because it is the group of suffering people that best fits their political narrative. And that is a sadly underappreciated perspective.

      • Conrad Honcho says:

        I would be more moved if the author could explain how many Units of Caring they afford for the parents of children murdered by illegal immigrants, for the children who will never be reunited with their parents, permanently separated, forever, because their parents were murdered by someone who never should have been here; how many Units of Caring for the Americans living in fear of the cartels near the border because everyone they know has had their home invaded, their possessions looted and their families threatened; for the little old ladies who’ve lived in the family home their whole lives but now have trouble shopping at the corner store because they don’t speak Spanish and who endure the nasty looks from the teenage offspring of the new arrivals; how many Units of Caring for the black families ethnically cleansed from their historic neighborhoods by the New Americans; how many Units of Caring are afforded to the formerly working man who can’t feed his family because he lost his construction job to the illegally working foreigner; for the entrepreneur whose landscaping business can’t compete with the competition who undercuts him by hiring illegals; how many Units of Caring for the overdose deaths on cheap Mexican heroin smuggled in by the same coyotes who smuggle in the illegals? Maybe we can eek out a Unit of Caring for the smuggled women they rape during the crossing by virtue of their skin tone?

        I get it, I know the heart breaks for the illegals who care nothing for us, for our laws, our communities, our traditions, our families and our nation. But can I get a read on the Units of Caring for the American victims of the author’s preferred policy proposals? Even just the sign would be nice. I can’t tell if it’s positive, negative, or just a big fat goose egg.

        • DinoNerd says:

          Frankly, I have no more caring for an American murdered by an illegal immigrant, than I have for one murdered by a native born American.

          I’m also highly suspicious of narratives and sound bites that make the implicit claim that on the one hand, individual immigrants are more likely to commit murder than native born Americans, and on the other hand that random innocents are more likely to be killed by foreigners than natives. (The latter is obvious BS. The former would require some research, not assertions that anyone who ever breaks one law is a “criminal” and thus prone to break unrelated laws.)

          I realize this is a frequent sound bite on the US right, to the point where someone who lives in that bubble won’t question it.

          Also, I recognize that there are people who hyper-value members of their own nationality, such that e.g. a harm to a one-of-us costs them 1000 utils where a harm to a non-member costs them 1 utils, or even gains them 1000 utils. I suspect the latter is the real root of many arguments demonizing illegal immigrants, immigrants in general, or foreigners in general.

          But not having that kind of attachment to a nationality, and not living in the red idea bubble, neither argument works for me.

          And as for jobs lost to immigrants – yeah, I’m one of those vicious immigrants, and I took the high paid Silicon Valley job that doubtless 1000s of native born Americans believe they had a better right to. And you know what – if an equally skilled American walked in the door tomorrow, we’d hire them too. They wouldn’t even have to be quite as skilled as I am; we’re struggling to find all the staff we want. And from what I hear, the same is true at the other end of the pay and legality scale – you can’t get an American to take those jobs.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            So it’s the goose egg for Units of Caring for Americans, then? I mean, that’s about what I expected, but it’s nice to know I have an accurate read on the outgroup.

          • acymetric says:

            The best numbers I could find suggest that the murder rate suggest that illegal immigrants (not necessarily from Mexico/Central/South America) have a murder rate less than half the overall US population (1.8 per 100,000 vs 4.9 per 100,000). It also suggests that illegal immigrants account for about 1.3% of murders while being about 3.2% of the population.

            Something like 200 murders per year by illegal immigrants (compared to something like 15,000 nationwide). What I couldn’t find is how many US Citizens/Legal Residents make up those 200 murders, one might suspect that a high portion of those murders are illegals killing illegals, but even if you assume every single murder committed by an illegal is against a citizen it doesn’t paint so bad a picture (relative to the country generally).

          • EchoChaos says:

            @acymetric

            So it sounds to me like illegals are less murder-ey than African Americans but a bit more murder-ey than white/Asian Americans. That passes the sniff test to me.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            @EchoChaos: Hey, let’s be fair in the racism. Asian-Americans[1] are less murdery per capita than white Americans,

            [1] By which Americans mean Chinese/Japanese/Koreans/Vietnamese. Asia is actually a bigger place.

          • acymetric says:

            @Echo Chaos

            Yes, that is how it would appear (the difference between white Americans and illegal immigrants appears to be fairly small though, the gap between both and African-Americans is much larger unfortunately).

            It is also a bit tricky to get a real detailed analysis because different sources separate the groups differently (including Hispanic as part of White, not breaking out legal vs. illegal immigrants, etc.)

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            You’re conflating the two main types of illegal immigrants: border jumpers and visa overstays. People who qualify for visas we expect to be about as murdery as legal immigrants: much less than any native population because they’ve at least been screened for prior criminal records and they have the resources and conscientiousness necessary to navigate the immigration/visa process. I’m not particularly concerned that an H1-B from Bangalore working at Amazon who overstayed his visa is going to start murdering people.

            And even then, I’m not so much interested in crime rates as I am in absolute numbers. When we have a law that says “Mexicans may not come into the US without permission,” and the Democrats do absolutely everything in their power to prevent that law from being enforced, when your son is murdered by a Mexican here illegally it is little comfort to reply, “eh, if he hadn’t been murdered by the Mexican he could have just as well been murdered by an American!” It sounds cruel to the point of negative Units of Caring.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            I’m not particularly concerned that an H1-B from Bangalore working at Amazon who overstayed his visa is going to start murdering people.

            Absolutely.
            If anything, they’d overstay their visa out of xenia to their Amazon hosts and commit lawful homicide as an ally when they make war against the Athenians.

          • EchoChaos says:

            @Conrad Honcho

            Absolutely true, which is another major concern.

            @acymetric said initially that this was murders for illegal immigrants, but then said that some sources didn’t break out illegals.

            If it is in fact murders for all immigrants, rather than just illegals, that leads me to believe that the murder rate for illegals is much higher than my instincts would lead me to believe because as you point out, legal immigrants are selected to be very law abiding.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Just so we’re clear, because the Democrats and media absolutely love to play these word games to confuse legal and illegal immigrants, I make these distinctions:

            Legal immigrants: I expect them to have extremely low crime rates and am in no way concerned about them committing crimes.

            Illegal immigrants who came in on a valid visa and then overstayed their visa: I expect them to have very to extremely low crime rates and I am not particularly concerned about them committing crimes, but I would still find it shocking to the conscience if one murdered an American while the government couldn’t be bothered to deport him.

            Illegal immigrants who crossed the southern border illegally, likely in conjunction with cartel coyotes, or who are making likely fraudulent asylum claims, i.e., the people in the detention facilities: I expect them to have relatively higher crime rates than Americans, and I think it’s inexcusable that the government fails to stop them crossing while Democrats and the media encourage them to cross, despite the obvious danger to everyone involved.

            When talking about the border, the border wall, border patrol, and detention facilities, it’s the people crossing the border illegally I’m concerned about. Not visa overstays or legal immigrants.

          • acymetric says:

            @acymetric said initially that this was murders for illegal immigrants, but then said that some sources didn’t break out illegals.

            Right. So it is hard (not necessarily impossible, but hard enough that I’m probably never going to do it and maybe wouldn’t be statistically competent enough to do it well) to get a comprehensive view of what is happening because you need to cross-reference various statistics reported by various sources and not all of them break out the demographics the same way, which makes comparing/compiling those statistics difficult.

            Obviously the source I used for murders by illegal immigrants did break this out (but did not break it out by race or “type of illegality”) or I wouldn’t have said that.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Illegal immigrants who crossed the southern border illegally, likely in conjunction with cartel coyotes, or who are making likely fraudulent asylum claims, i.e., the people in the detention facilities:

            I don’t know what the crime rate of this group is, but I suspect illegal immigrant crime is dominated by the fourth group that you touch on but don’t call out specifically here: those directly involved in the drug trade.

          • Dan L says:

            But can I get a read on the Units of Caring for the American victims of the author’s preferred policy proposals? Even just the sign would be nice. I can’t tell if it’s positive, negative, or just a big fat goose egg.

            Frankly, I have no more caring for an American murdered by an illegal immigrant, than I have for one murdered by a native born American.

            So it’s the goose egg for Units of Caring for Americans, then? I mean, that’s about what I expected, but it’s nice to know I have an accurate read on the outgroup.

            Seriously? Why even bother to pretend you’re engaging the outgroup if you’re so determined to stick to your assumption that your opponents are moral monsters? This pointed ignorance blows so far past a mere lack of charity that I don’t think it’s possible to even try to engage the object-level dispute, not on any level than pure conflict.

          • Dan L says:

            The best numbers I could find suggest that the murder rate suggest that illegal immigrants (not necessarily from Mexico/Central/South America) have a murder rate less than half the overall US population (1.8 per 100,000 vs 4.9 per 100,000). It also suggests that illegal immigrants account for about 1.3% of murders while being about 3.2% of the population.

            IIRC there was a past OT where it was claimed by certain participants that even if illegal immigration results in a net decrease in the number of crimes committed against American citizens, illegal immigration was still objectionable on the grounds that crimes committed by people that shouldn’t be there in the first place are morally worse. That’s a numerical position I’d be interested in seeing someone defend.

          • Eigengrau says:

            @ConradHoncho

            Illegal immigrants who crossed the southern border illegally, likely in conjunction with cartel coyotes, or who are making likely fraudulent asylum claims, i.e., the people in the detention facilities: I expect them to have relatively higher crime rates than Americans, and I think it’s inexcusable that the government fails to stop them crossing while Democrats and the media encourage them to cross, despite the obvious danger to everyone involved.

            When talking about the border, the border wall, border patrol, and detention facilities, it’s the people crossing the border illegally I’m concerned about. Not visa overstays or legal immigrants.

            This post suggests you would change your mind on this whole issue if you saw evidence that the people in the detention facilities were mostly innocent people and families genuinely seeking asylum rather than mostly cartel members and people falsely seeking asylum. Is that true that you’d update based on such evidence?

            If so, then on what basis do you believe the people in detention facilities are predominately bad actors falsely seeking asylum?

          • CandidoRondon says:

            What I find very frustrating about this position is that if companies didn’t have a massive reserve army of labor maybe they would spend money on training the workers they have.

            I work in my company’s IT department, a Fortune 100 company, and I’d say about 60-70% of our programmers are H1Bs who can’t speak English fluently and generally turn out garbage code.

            You know who does speak English fluently and are very good at their jobs? The COBOL programmers my company trained back in 1999 from the regular employee pool because they didn’t have enough Cobol programmers at the time to deal with the Y2K crisis (Not coincidentally this group of people is very diverse compared with the rest of the programmers and has a much higher representation of the types of minorities that Silicon Valley is always being chided over for not having enough of).

            Now if my company could train people back in 1999 and get much higher rates of minorities than the rest of our IT workforce, why, in this day and age of people being much more familiar with computer and greater diversity does my company not have training programs for people interested in programming? Again, it’s because there’s a massive reserve army of cheap but poor quality labor that management can draw on and that justifies not investing in the workforce.

            So instead of me working with people who I can speak fluently with and don’t need hand-holding for every single GWT I write in JIRA I have to deal all day with people who seriously couldn’t summarize this comment because their English skills are so poor!

        • honoredb says:

          I’ve discovered an obscure provision in federal law that makes blue cars illegal (it’s a technicality, but an unambiguous one once you spot it). I propose an $8 billion/year initiative to fully enforce this law. Enforcement to prevent manufacture and driving is straightforward (if expensive), but since the ban also covers possession, this will require sending agents to enter people’s garages and backyards to check for unlawful, unregistered paint jobs. Violators who can’t immediately pay both the fine and the cost of a repaint will have their car confiscated and service a brief prison sentence. Anyone who claims their car isn’t actually blue will have to prove it, and at this scale there’s no realistic way to give them a public defender to help. I’m willing to consider implementing an amnesty procedure for people who didn’t know about the law, didn’t expect it to be universally enforced, or got the car as a gift from their parents, but only if the rest of my demands are addressed; I’m hardly going to give that bargaining chip away for free.

          Now, you may very well question the costs here, vs. simply changing the law, ignoring it, or the status quo where it’s only invoked as part of throwing the book at someone who’s committed far worse crimes. But the burden is on you to explain why you’re okay with the 3000 people a year killed by illegal blue cars, cars that were never supposed to be on the road in the first place. Often the victims are in legal cars, or not even driving cars at all. You can complain about the financial costs to the criminals all you want, but I all I see are these photos of just a few of the million people terribly injured in the past decade by illegally blue cars. Honestly, I have to question the humanity of someone not moved by these images. There’s certainly no corresponding websites out there listing lives saved by people in blue cars (although I guess if your life was saved by an illegal driver, publicizing that fact would be kind of a dick move).

          Now, currently my Indigo Car Erasure agency is terribly underfunded, and so you do see regrettable consequences like confiscated cars sliding off the back of the truck on the freeway, or children being taken out of the backseat and temporarily separated from their parents due to logistical issues. And yes, a few of these illegal passengers have died. But the people screaming about this now are clearly motivated by partisanship (or being manipulated by a partisan media), since they never complained about some similar incidents I can point to during traffic stops under previous administrations, or the way those administrations created the infrastructure for this enforcement in the first place.

          • cassander says:

            Do you not see how making this argument simply reinforces the notion that you (and the left in general) are closet open borderers?

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Whey are you making up bizarre hypotheticals instead of dealing with the actual issue at hand? The real people harmed or killed by illegal immigrants?

            I understand, infinite Units of Caring for illegals. Got it. How many Units of Caring for Jamiel Shaw’s family? Can I get a single Unit of Caring for Jamiel Shaw’s dad? He sure didn’t get any from the Democrats when President Trump invited him to the State of the Union. Dems will invite illegal immigrants and clap for them. But no evidence of Units of Caring for Americans.

            Edit to add: Oh, and I fully expect every Democrat reading to pass this by, or respond completely ignoring Jamiel Shaw. Every time I hear his dad speak, I genuinely tear up and my sadness for the loss of life of that young man is every bit as real as the author of that tumblr post. And every single time I bring him up in any forum on the internet not a single Democrat has ever expressed the tiniest amount of sympathy for Jamiel and his family.

          • Nabil ad Dajjal says:

            So in your view citizenship is totally arbitrary, akin to the color of a car, and Americans have no right to control who enters America and under what circumstances?

            That’s a coherent worldview, but it’s one that the vast majority of Democratic voters would reject if it was articulated as plainly as you are right now. More to the point, it directly contradicts the explicit founding ethos of the country that the United States were established to promote the general welfare for “ourselves and our Posterity” rather than as a charity run for the benefit of the entire rest of the world.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Jamiel “Jas” Andre Shaw, II (December 22, 1990[2] – March 2, 2008) was a junior at Los Angeles High School. He played football, basketball, baseball, the piano, and ran track. On the morning of his murder, he had participated in a weekend football training program, that prepares top high school football players for college football and for a possible career in the National Football League. Shaw was also being prospected by several colleges, including Rutgers University and Stanford University. Shaw’s mother Anita was serving her second tour in Iraq at the time of his death.

            Pedro Espinoza (born c. 1989) was a member of the 18th Street Gang and was residing in the U.S. illegally. He had previously been arrested in November 2007 on gun charges and assault on a police officer. He was given a four-month early release from jail on March 1, 2008. He murdered Shaw the next day.

            In the early evening of March 2, 2008, Shaw was returning home from the Beverly Center. He was walking from the bus stop when his father, Jamiel Sr., called him on his phone. Shaw answered the phone and told him he was nearby. He was three blocks away from his home when he was killed.

            At about 8:40 p.m., two Hispanic men jumped out of a white car, confronted Shaw, and asked him what gang he belonged to. When he did not answer quickly enough, they shot him. Shaw’s father heard the gunshots, ran outside, and stayed by his son until medical personnel arrived. Shaw was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:55 p.m.

            Shaw was first shot in the stomach, causing him to fall to the ground. While he was on the ground with his hands over his head, he was shot through his hands, with the bullet then traveling into his face.

            Within an hour of Shaw’s murder, Espinoza was found in a park by a Culver City police officer who was not aware of the shooting. Because the park was closed, he was told to leave. The officer wrote down the license plate number of his vehicle and later shared it with the Los Angeles Police Department. Espinoza was later arrested.

            And since I know I’m being so silly about this whole thing I could really use a car analogy to understand why I’m just such a big goof? Can you please give me a car analogy for this?

            I’ll read it tomorrow because I think I’m going to close SSC for the day. I’m feeling a little worked up. Thanks!

          • honoredb says:

            My intent with this hypothetical is to narrowly rebut Conrad Honcho’s style of argument above, that it’s monstrous not to care about the negative consequences of breaking a specific law when talking about how and whether to enforce it. It’s a style of argument that sounds reasonable, but can actually be used to argue for any damn fool thing like banning blue cars.

            I do care about Jamiel Shaw’s family, just as much as I care about the family of someone killed in a car accident. I care equally about the families of each person who is alive right now because their lives were saved by illegal immigrants, directly or indirectly. They don’t get invited to the State of the Union because you don’t signal-boost the immigration status of someone who saved your life. But since society exists at all, we can infer that the average contribution of a human to society is positive, so our prior should be that any sub-section of our population is doing more good than harm. This could be overridden by actual statistics, of course, but not by Chinese Robber anecdotes.

            In the linked blog you’re reacting to, money is the Unit of Caring, and I think that’s relevant to the distance between us here. The overall net good or harm something does has to be treated as fungible, as money-equivalents, when talking about policy, or you end up in nonsensical places, like talking about blue cars like they’re uniquely evil without comparing them to cars as a whole. As humans we care about individual consequences, as societies we have to care about net consequences.

          • Jiro says:

            There is no such thing as policies which incentivize painting your cars blue, or people using children as human shields for the purpose of making it easy to get away with having a blue car.

          • honoredb says:

            Cassander, Nabil, and Jiro, the blue car analogy is meant to be a reply to the taboo tradeoffs argument Conrad is making. I’m sure it’d get super creaky when applied to other arguments in favor of immigration enforcement/family separation policies.

            I might as well try to do quick rebuttals while I’m here, though.

            cassander:

            Do you not see how making this argument simply reinforces the notion that you (and the left in general) are closet open borderers?

            “Should we repeal the law that makes unauthorized border crossing a misdemeanor?” was a topic in the first Democratic presidential debate, so I think we’re out of the closet at this point. There’s of course a wide variety of viewpoints; I think you can consistently be in favor of lax-but-nonzero enforcement of existing laws, with the clearest example maybe being tax law. Tax law exists, but 100% effective enforcement of it would require totalitarian levels of access by the IRS and would cost more money than it saved in tax evasion prevention. So there’s a level of enforcement where people should be able to say it’s too high without being accused of secretly wanting there to be no taxes at all. And a style of enforcement–if you had a random chance of being audited whenever you went to the emergency room or reported a crime, that would nudge people in undesirable directions. I admit I’m not particularly sold on the need for the laws we have in the first place, and that describes at least a significant minority of the left, but I’m confident it’s the level and style of enforcement that’s horrifying most of the people it’s horrifying.

            Nabil ad Dajjal:

            So in your view citizenship is totally arbitrary, akin to the color of a car, and Americans have no right to control who enters America and under what circumstances?

            That’s a coherent worldview, but it’s one that the vast majority of Democratic voters would reject if it was articulated as plainly as you are right now. More to the point, it directly contradicts the explicit founding ethos of the country that the United States were established to promote the general welfare for “ourselves and our Posterity” rather than as a charity run for the benefit of the entire rest of the world.

            I wouldn’t say citizenship is totally arbitrary, no, making it totally arbitrary was for the clarity of the thought experiment–it’s hard to make the right answer unambiguous without smuggling in connotations like that. I’m not sure what it means for Americans to have or not have a right to do something. Under most definitions we have a right as a country to do a lot of stupid and terrible things. We also have a right to consider the welfare of non-citizens in our policies, if (and to the extent that) it aligns with the values of voters. I was going to make up an extreme thought experiment as an example here but then realized our historical decision to ban kidnapping and enslaving foreigners should work just fine. That decision harmed American citizens and did not directly help any American citizens, but I assert that it was still ethically permissible to vote in support of it.

            Jiro:

            There is no such thing as policies which incentivize painting your cars blue, or people using children as human shields for the purpose of making it easy to get away with having a blue car.

            In general I suspect it is easier to get away with most misdemeanors if you have a kid who appears to be your child with you. I’m sure that does create bad incentives sometimes, but I really doubt it’s a net benefit to children to have a policy of detaining them under poor conditions whenever they’re found in the company of an adult accused of a misdemeanor.

          • cassander says:

            @honoredb

            I think you can consistently be in favor of lax-but-nonzero enforcement of existing laws, with the clearest example maybe being tax law. Tax law exists, but 100% effective enforcement of it would require totalitarian levels of access by the IRS and would cost more money than it saved in tax evasion prevention.

            I don’t think you can be. it’s one thing to accept that laws will not be enforced 100% of the time, it’s another to support having it be explicit policy not to enforce them while advocating against repeal.

            I admit I’m not particularly sold on the need for the laws we have in the first place, and that describes at least a significant minority of the left, but I’m confident it’s the level and style of enforcement that’s horrifying most of the people it’s horrifying.

            This level of enforcement has been going on for a long time and only became horrifying recently, for some inexplicable reason.

          • honoredb says:

            @cassander

            I’m not sure (but sincerely could be missing something) how you can consistently argue both that people are arguing for less strict enforcement in bad faith, and that enforcement hasn’t gotten stricter under Trump. If this were purely a con, surely it would’ve been better to run it on Obama, a softer target?

            At any rate, both seem clearly wrong. Maybe you can’t consistently be in favor of explicit zero enforcement of a law you like, but you can certainly be in favor of avoiding overly invasive or expensive enforcement. Again, take taxes–the law that you have to pay income tax on cash payments is practically on the honor system for a lot of classes of transactions, but the solution is neither an omnipresent surveillance state nor torture.

            And the current horror is because we went from no immigrant kids dying in federal custody to some kids dying in federal custody (and of course deaths are a leading and visible indicator of a pattern of mistreatment, and mistreatment of children is a leading and visible indicator of a pattern of mistreatment of adults). That would spark horror even if it weren’t due to a change in policy, but entirely due to the rise in (people claiming to be) families seeking asylum. But it is due to a change in policy; until April 2018 we did not separate people claiming to be families seeking asylum.

          • cassander says:

            @honoredb says:

            I’m not sure (but sincerely could be missing something) how you can consistently argue both that people are arguing for less strict enforcement in bad faith, and that enforcement hasn’t gotten stricter under Trump.

            That enforcement hasn’t really changed much under trump is a fact, not an argument. And I don’t really think people are being insincere. they’re genuinely outraged, but they’re only because the tribal part of their brain is getting tickled.

            At any rate, both seem clearly wrong. Maybe you can’t consistently be in favor of explicit zero enforcement of a law you like, but you can certainly be in favor of avoiding overly invasive or expensive enforcement.

            Sure, but who’s actually arguing for that? most of the energy I see is getting directed at decade old pictures and practices, not the big increase in CPB funding.

            That would spark horror even if it weren’t due to a change in policy, but entirely due to the rise in (people claiming to be) families seeking asylum. But it is due to a change in policy; until April 2018 we did not separate people claiming to be families seeking asylum.

            It’s not entirely due to a change in custody, it’s just as likely they would have died if they weren’t separated, and just as likely that if they weren’t the outrage would be over “putting kids into prison with strangers” or some such.

        • mdet says:

          Similarly to the others who have replied to Conrad, I don’t instinctively feel that a murder is worse because it was committed by “someone who should never have been here”. I might be able to be persuaded otherwise.

          But an analogy that might help tease out people’s principles on this (at the cost of introducing yet another culture-war debate): Is a mass shooting worse if the shooter is someone who shouldn’t have even been able to buy a gun? My sense is “maybe, but not significantly so”, but I can’t tell whether I would’ve given this same answer if I hadn’t been primed by the immigration discussion.

          • Matt M says:

            Well, once you’ve gone down the road of “all murders are equally tragic” then why distinguish murder at all? Are all deaths not equally tragic?

            If so, why should we waste time and energy on murder at all when heart disease and car accidents kill orders of magnitude more people?

          • Lambert says:

            This, but unironically.

            Maybe half ironically.
            All deaths are tragic, but some causes are more tractable than others.

          • mdet says:

            I agree that we should have an equal amount of sympathy for every family who loses a loved one, no matter the cause, and that where we direct our death-prevention efforts should be based on how much benefit we get per unit effort, and probably not based on how sympathetic the victims are anyway.

            If I say that one murder is worse than another, I’m probably evaluating the mindset and motivation of the killer. It’s usually acceptable to kill in self defense, it’s bad but understandable on some level to kill for revenge, it’s worst to kill because you just enjoy the thrill. Killing your next door neighbor isn’t any worse than traveling to another country and killing one of them, though. I see no reason to think that the causes, motivations, and mindset of immigrants who murder is different from native-borns who murder.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            I don’t instinctively feel that a murder is worse because it was committed by “someone who should never have been here”. I might be able to be persuaded otherwise.

            Okay. Let me expand this a little bit. It’s more than just that “they shouldn’t have been here.” It’s also that the federal government is conspicuously failing to enforce the laws preventing these people from being here, while some state and local governments controlled by one political party are refusing to cooperate with what portions of the federal government would enforce the laws. In Jamiel Shaw’s case, his illegal alien murderer, Pedro Espinoza, had been released from prison for gun and violence offenses the day before the murder. Because Los Angeles is a “sanctuary city,” they did not turn Espinoza over to ICE for deportation. Can you see how this seems like a betrayal of the Shaw family and the citizens of Los Angeles? And people have very strong reactions to betrayal on top of the specific harmful actions involved in the betrayal. This is not a new or crazy concept. In Dante’s Inferno he imagined the deepest circle of hell was reserved not for murders but for betrayers.

            To your gun analogy, imagine if the federal government passed a gun control law that said “people like X cannot buy rifles.” Whatever value of X is meaningful to you. Crazy people, felons, children, whatever. Also, imagine there is no 2nd Amendment guaranteeing the right to bear arms (as to make this feel something like illegal immigration, as there is no right or guaranteed right to enter another country without permission). Gun ownership is entirely at the whim of the government, hopefully expressing the will of the people, like in many (most?) other nations. Republicans howl “No gun is illegal!” Prominent conservatives march in parades celebrating X people with guns. The Republican National Convention invites an X person with a rifle up on stage and everyone stands and applauds him instead of calling the ATF. Whenever a Republican is President he issues executive orders tying the hands of the ATF in enforcing the “no rifles for X people” laws. Republican states and cities refuse to cooperate with the ATF in enforcing the “no rifles for X people” laws, to the point of local police apprehending X people committing crimes with rifles, and after they’ve served their time, handing them their rifle back, putting them out on the street and refusing to tell the ATF about the violation of the federal gun law. And then immediately after putting the X person with his rifle back on the street, he goes and murders someone close to you.

            Would that maybe be a little, tiny bit worse than a murder by someone who had every legal right to their gun? And would you maybe feel like the local government and the Republicans were betraying you and the common good? Oh, and to add confusion and insult to the injury, any time you ask a Republican, “wait, so do you want to change the federal laws to say X people can have guns?” they responded “of course not, that’s crazy! How dare you take my constant advocacy for guns for X people and refusal to enforce guns for X people laws as some kind of indication I support guns for X people!”

            Did that move the needle for you any?

    • actualitems says:

      I’m a sucker for any perspective that attempts to bridge divides by seeing things through other people’s eyes.

      But then I scroll down to the notes section underneath the post.

      And I see some else wrote this in reaction:

      Yuuup. It does a gross disservice to the pain actually being experienced in the concentration camps to bring abortion into the discussion.

      Like, lol, yes, conservatives are in pain because they think abortion is baby murdering (meanwhile, they are supporting these camps, by and large.)

      I don’t care about them. I don’t care about conservatives who cry “baby murder!” any more than I care about the average vegan who cries that milking a cow is the same as rape.

      This post was true and accurate and I was feeling it as a parent. Then it threw in the horseshit about abortion and nah. Nah to the millionth.

      It doesn’t belong here.

      Which was a reaction to what someone else wrote:

      the abortion comparison really isn’t fair

      “signed up against their will”, like… nobody’s forcing conservatives to have abortions if they don’t want them. It’s an individual’s decision.

      kids ARE being forced into concentration camps tho. They’re not choosing that shit of their own volition.

      I really don’t know how you thought those were comparable. It’s pretty shameful, actually.

      And I am left with the feeling that some divides are unable to be bridged.

      • Two McMillion says:

        Everyone loves empathy and unity in theory; almost no one loves them when they require meeting someone else halfway.

        • perlhaqr says:

          One area that is close to my heart that I have seen this in is the debate surrounding gun control. “Compromise”, regarding that subject, when spoken of by the pro-control side, tends to feel a lot like “We compromise by you giving me everything I want now, and then everything I want later, and then everything I want the time after that as well.”

          • Paul Zrimsek says:

            I see it as more like “We compromise by adopting a solution that’s not intermediate between what we want and what you want, but rather intermediate between what we want and the result of the last compromise– iterating of course so we asymptotically approach what we want.”

      • Peffern says:

        If it helps at all, I’m at least left-liberal if not full lefty and I felt that this helped bridge the divide. It’s not all tribalism even if it mostly is.

        I found the TUOC post extremely enlightening and am sharing my anecdotal experience for anyone in this thread who would like to believe that compromise is still possible.

    • pochti says:

      The great difficulty in any issue like this, I think, is that the most visible people – politicians and journalists – disproportionately are “pretending to be really upset and horrified and miserable to advance their agenda.” It makes it very easy to dismiss the (relatively) silent majority who are presumably not pretending.

      • Matt M says:

        Which is why it’d be nice to see a little more objections to outrage journalism coming from very concerned citizens on the left.

        The people who should be most angry at false wolf-criers are the people who are legitimately concerned about possible wolves. The people who think wolves aren’t real or aren’t worth worrying about may be annoyed, but ultimately, they have less to lose here.

        Every time some trendy politician goes on a “crying on Instagram” tour of a border facility, it makes your legitimate concerns look less legitimate, and more like pointless dunking on your political opponents. So you should be mad at the people who are doing that. You should be more mad at them than I am!

        • xq says:

          Warning about wolves that exist, when you also have individual motives for making such warnings (getting votes, getting clicks for your article) is not being a false wolf-crier.

        • lvlln says:

          The issue isn’t just the wolf-criers, it’s that anyone engaging in good faith attempts to check the veracity of a wolf-crier gets put into the category of “wolf” almost immediately. I’ve mentioned before trying to do basically what you say that more of us on the left should be doing and running into that phenomenon so consistently that I’ve just decided that the trouble isn’t worth it; I care about making sure leftist policies get implemented in the real world, but I care more about avoiding social abuse and ostracization.

          I’m not aware of how to resolve this issue so that leftists can both get our policies implemented and make sure that those policies are grounded in empirical reality rather than fantasy. This, in my mind, is one of the legitimate Very Hard Problems right now.

    • JohnNV says:

      Yes, I’m someone who cares very deeply about this issue and reforming and loosening immigration laws is among my top priorities and have felt this way through multiple administrations. But I still don’t get the Wayfair walkout. I really don’t. The end result of refusing to sell beds to the detention centers is just that the detainees don’t have beds. There’s no other result. Nobody is going to say “Well, if we can’t get beds, we might as well shut the places down”. So if I’m a detainee, would I rather have a bed or not, I’m going to choose the bed every time. And not blame the company that sold the beds to the jail. Perhaps someone can explain it to me because I genuinely don’t get it.

      • Matt M says:

        The end result of refusing to sell beds to the detention centers is just that the detainees don’t have beds. There’s no other result.

        Well, I don’t think that’s quite right.

        The short-term result is that the government finds a different supplier of beds, likely at either a lower quality or higher cost.

        The long-term result is that the profits from bedmaking shift from respectably woke SJ-inclined companies towards amoral profit-maximizing companies (likely owned by PE funds) or, if even they succumb to public pressure, explicitly right-wing profiteers. Like, if literally nobody else would do it, I’d happily start a bed-making company if I could be guaranteed a monopoly on the government contract!

        • acymetric says:

          The short-term result is that the government finds a different supplier of beds, likely at either a lower quality or higher cost.

          Well, given the way government contracts are handled it is at least plausible they would accidentally end up with a different supplier with higher quality/lower cost (there is no reason for me to believe the contract they have in place is the best deal they could have gotten). Your general point stands, though.

      • mdet says:

        I think it makes a little more sense if the goal of the critics is “Wayfair should be donating these beds out of a sense of charity, not turning a profit by seeing ‘concentration camp children’ as a market opportunity”. I believe I saw someone compare Wayfair to private prisons by saying that once concentration camps are a revenue stream, then the people profiting from them are incentivized to perpetuate and even expand that market.

        Which I still think is counterproductive and possibly inaccurate, but at least I can understand it.

      • sourcreamus says:

        I believe it is related to the fat man variant of the trolley problem. People are willing to see worse things done if it means not participating in a bad thing.
        Would you rather punch someone in the gut once or have a stranger punch the same person in the gut twice?

  51. Plumber says:

    “…Neighbors play music too loud, so man strafes them with firework-armed drone and puts the video on YouTube …”

    Oh sweet Lord, this is so much better than slashing tires!

  52. Anon. says:

    The TUOC post would be more convincing if they could link to themselves being moved “by the bedrock conviction that any policy that results in atrocities like this is an unjust one’” when it was happening under Obama. If you care about it now but didn’t a few years ago, that can hardly be a bedrock conviction can it?

    A lot of the pics going around showing the horrors of “Trump’s” detention camps were taken long before he became president. Here’s (left-leaning) snopes on that: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/children-detention-center-trump/

    The characterization “Trump separating immigrant families” is of course completely incorrect: this whole situation only exists because of a (fairly absurd) judicial ruling: Reno v Flores.

    About a year ago Trump tried to appeal to the court to end the family separation policy, and the court denied the request: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/09/judge-rejects-trump-request-flores-immigrant-children-704019

      • Anon. says:

        That was an act of negligence and immorality by our media at the time. Thankfully, now we have better media that does cover this.

        What is a more plausible explanation: 1) the people in media rapidly improved their moral senses over a couple of years and this just happened to coincide with the switch from Obama to Trump (but for some reason they keep blaming Trump instead of the 9th Circuit for this problem), or 2) the media (and everyone who follows their cues) are partisan opportunists?

        • Scott Alexander says:

          Yeah, the “better media” claim seems obviously wrong if taken literally, but I respect the rest of it.

          • It makes a difference, somehow, that whereas the Obama Administration was holding kids who had been sent to the border alone (hence the newsclip of Obama telling asylum seekers to quit sending their kids unaccompanied), the Trump Administration is pulling apart nuclear families in order to put the kids into cages.

            Maybe that’s not entirely rational, the kids end up sitting in cages regardless right? Well all I can say is that at some primal level as a parent it _does_ make a _large_ difference. For our government to be literally taking children away from their parents to sit in separate cages for indeterminate periods…honestly it feels unreal as an American to even be typing that.

          • eyeballfrog says:

            I think the difference is that you have to put the kids somewhere. With unaccompanied minors, there aren’t any parents to put them with, but with the families there are. Thus, the second case is worse, because even though the end result is the same, more harm was done to get there.

          • Cliff says:

            It is not permitted to hold them together with their families, as I understand it. The only other choice is to release them into the U.S., many times never to be seen again.

            I do think it’s telling that those who are very concerned abut the situation seem to be doing nothing practical to fix it- i.e. fix the rules that force the hands of someone trying to enforce immigration law. Instead they just want everyone released into the U.S., which understandably would be a hard concession to make.

            In a sense, the children are pawns here for them, right?

        • Jaskologist says:

          “Better media” is absurd. It’s far too easy an answer used in order to avoid taking responsibility.

          “The media” was not negligent in ignoring the story. Some of the media was negligent. There were other media outlets that did cover it. To the extent that a person limited his media consumption to only outlets who hid the story, he is also negligent. And if he is not doing some serious self-examination and changing those consumption habits, he’s continuing to be willfully negligent… or not actually in as much authentic pain and horror as claimed.

          To drive this point home: if you wanted to know about child concentration camps, you should have been reading Breitbart. It caused a big splash in the right blogosphere at the time. If you missed it, how did that happen? Are you still making the same choices to ensure you miss the next atrocity, as long as your guy does it?

          • ManyCookies says:

            To drive this point home: if you wanted to know about child concentration camps, you should have been reading Breitbart. It caused a big splash in the right blogosphere at the time. If you missed it, how did that happen?

            And what was the reason for that stir? Was the Brietbart-sphere outrage driven by concern for the wellbeing of the immigrants, horror at the condition the Obama administration kept its detainees in, a plea for humanity falling upon deaf Democrat ears?

            …or was the outrage driven by how many invaders there were and how we needed more security at the border? Cause from that comment section it really really looks like the latter, I’ve scrolled down a fair bit and have yet to find a comment expressing sympathy for the pictured detainees. Not even the backhanded “This is how much the Democrats REALLY care” I was sort of expecting.

            If I’m a 2014 Democrat who realized he was “limiting his media consumption” and looked into Brietbart that day, my media bias wouldn’t have been corrected by a shocking article detailing an ignored humanitarian crisis. I’d have found an article about how the border patrol needs immediate back-up to hold strong against the overwhelming invasion.

            ====

            And hold on a damn second, this story was sure as shit not “ignored” by the liberal media. 2019 was not the first time I’ve heard about poor detainee conditions at the border! Here’s a long NYT article on the conditions, another article from the same day as the Brietbart one, an opinion piece. Go look at the NYT archive for that month, there was plenty of stuff on detainee conditions.

          • Jaskologist says:

            Breitbart put it forth in order to dunk on Obama. The specific spin was that Obama’s soft rhetoric was encouraging more children to try to cross the border, causing a humanitarian crisis, which they were trying to cover up.

            Now it’s being put forth in order to dunk on Trump. The specific spin is that Trump is putting kids in concentration camps that just goes to show how bad Republicans are (unlike us, the good ones who care and feel real genuine pain now that Trump is doing it).

            In both cases, it’s primarily in order to dunk on the other guys, and the kids are just props.

          • ManyCookies says:

            @Jaskologist

            Well first, you’re getting away from your dunk on the “better media” excuse if no media outlet was covering the story from a humanitarian angle. That Brietbart article+comments still seem more concerned about the kids revealing The Truth, with the emphasis on speaking to the kids, rather than the actual conditions. And again, I don’t even see that backhanded own-the-libs concern from the much more popular first article’s comments.

            And second, the story was covered by the left from a humanitarian angle, multiple articles a week for a month from the NYT is not ignoring the story! Part of 2018’s increased fervor was political, sure, but there’s clearly a genuine basis of concern here when the story’s well covered at less politically convenient times.

            And shit has changed from 2014. As Kelsey mentioned the conditions have deteriorated, the big one being the family separation thing. There’s a bigger slippery slope fear with Trump even outside of the concentration camp hysteria; Obama is much less likely to make changes for the worse from 2014 even if he’s not willing to expend political capital to improve conditions. Whereas Trump already made things worse by changing policy around family separation (by holding detainees for longer and running into the Reno vs Flores ruling, correct?) and has a… rather less sympathetic view towards border detainees.

            E: Alright I collapsed some first-article Brietbart comments and found the child concern you mentioned. Now it’s definitely not the theme of the overall discussion, this was following 4 huge comment threads and even that thread isn’t super focused on it. But it was mentioned and upvoted and not super buried, that’s my mistake for not looking more closely (and not finding the collapse button earlier why is it only shown on mouse-over Brietbart!?)

        • Paul Brinkley says:

          What is a more plausible explanation: 1) the people in media rapidly improved their moral senses over a couple of years and this just happened to coincide with the switch from Obama to Trump (but for some reason they keep blaming Trump instead of the 9th Circuit for this problem), or 2) the media (and everyone who follows their cues) are partisan opportunists?

          Clearly, we have a moral duty to keep electing Republicans, in order to maintain the integrity of our media infrastructure.

      • Dacyn says:

        That link is only relevant to the first two paragraphs of Anon.’s comment, not the part about Reno v Flores.

    • Reasoner says:

      Regarding abortion, she wrote: “Yep, this attitude is leveraged and taken advantage of by people who are just incredibly sexist and want to punish and limit women.” Isn’t it possible that something similar is true for detention camps, and her “attitude is leveraged” by people who just want to (insert right wing talking points)? If you’re willing to label some of your political opponents as innately evil this way (“they just want to punish and limit women”), I don’t think you can complain when they do the same for some of the people on your side.

      There is lots of suffering all over the world. So if someone chooses to focus on one particular source of suffering, and present it in a way that any attempts to alleviate this suffering which aren’t their political party’s preferred plan are verboten, and also prohibit any discussion of tradeoffs under which haphazard alleviation of this suffering might cause an even greater volume of suffering later on (for example, lots of Guatemalans come to the US and the US crime rate becomes similar to that of Guatemala or Brazil), it does come across as pretty partisan to me.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/474588/why-empathy-is-a-bad-thing/

      (I agree the US should work to improve the detention camp situation.)

      • Milo Minderbinder says:

        I agree with all of the above regarding pointing out particular suffering. As a point of nuance, I would have to assume the author also grieves for suffering abroad (albeit less in relation to the particular suffering’s salience). Her main issue seems to be a feeling of complicity, “happening in their name”, akin to the pro-life focus on government funding for Planned Parenthood, not so much generalized sorrow at the situation.

        • Reasoner says:

          I see. So perhaps her friends shrug because they assign less significance to the “happening in their name” thing. I mean, I’ve felt disaffected towards the US government ever since I was a rebellious libertarian teenager.

      • Imaginecat22 says:

        Is the example you mention of:

        lots of Guatemalans come to the US and the US crime rate becomes similar to that of Guatemala or Brazil

        intended to be hypothetical or is there actual evidence for this? If the latter, I would find that fascinating and would love to see it.

    • Jaskologist says:

      Here’s a fairly prophetic commentary posted August 2016, before Trump won:

      Do you think CBP and ICE, with that ruling under their belt, will continue to release mothers and children or just the children? When it comes to making cruel decisions for bad reasons, ICE and CBP are kings, so you probably know what I think – ICE better procure more butter and chives, because there will be more mother and fathers held like baked potatoes. The humanitarian disaster of prying children from their parents arms and the administrative disaster of handling the parents’ and children’s cases separately is no longer a questionable interpretation of the Settlement. It is the law.

      Another tidbit for those who claim the Obama administration was different:

      Sinisterly, the government also asserted that minors accompanied by their parents did not have to be afforded the humanitarian luxuries the Settlement provided to unaccompanied minors, prompting the Flores court to write, “The government has not explained why the detention claims class would exclude accompanied minors; minors who arrive with their parents are as desirous of education and recreation, and as averse to strip searches, as those who come alone.”

      Remember, they argued in court specifically that they should be able to set family detention policy based on deterrence.

      • Sigivald says:

        Remember, they argued in court specifically that they should be able to set family detention policy based on deterrence.

        Well, I’d sure hope so.

        Because that is the way one does policy around that kind of thing.

        Incentives matter; make a thing very unpleasant and you get only people who seriously need it trying for it.

        (This is especially relevant here and now because “asylum for invalid reasons will get you in trust us!” seems, on what I’ve seen, to be a tactic responsible for a LOT of people showing up with bogus asylum claims … and a good chunk dying or being victimized on the way.)

        “But children!” does not get around that – if it does, you’ve just … incentivized using children as pawns and endangering them on a long journey run by literal organized criminals?

        • John Schilling says:

          Incentives matter; make a thing very unpleasant and you get only people who seriously need it trying for it.

          There is a difference between making a thing very unpleasant for the person who does it, and making a thing very unpleasant for innocent bystanders who the person who does the thing cares about. The latter, is only “the way one does policy” if the “one” is you, because please leave me out of it.

          “But children!” does not get around that

          Yes, it does. If children are hurt as a truly unavoidable necessity of the things we have to stop or deter their parents, that’s one thing. If children are gratuitously hurt as a matter of policy because this will hurt and deter their parents, if it even looks like you are doing that, you lose.

          – if it does, you’ve just … incentivized using children as pawns

          “If you cross the US border without permission, we will do unpleasant things to you. If you cross the US border without permission and bring minor children with you, we will do even more unpleasant things to you even as we do our best not to hurt the kids”. Bam, done, balance of incentives is against bringing children – especially for the cynical uncaring malevolent criminals you want us to be imagining.

          Your man in the White House is choosing the alternate plan. The one that involves making it look like you’re deliberately hurting children as a means to intimidate their parents. And that plan, really does make him and you look like the bad guys.

          • ARabbiAndAFrog says:

            If you cross the US border without permission, we will do unpleasant things to you. If you cross the US border without permission and bring minor children with you, we will do even more unpleasant things to you even as we do our best not to hurt the kids

            Like, uhm, flogging or something? It’s hard to do make parents’ life unpleasant without affecting their children, so stance to avoid harming children will turn them into a shield. Detaining them both, then throwing them out without particular concern seems like an optimal solution.

    • Two McMillion says:

      My problem with the post is that, personally, I’ve never doubted that Democrats were really upset when they said they were really upset about this. The evidence always indicated their emotions were real, albeit filtered through their political perspectives. (But that’s normal.)

      No, my problem is that I never really believed it was happening.

      Okay, let me clarify: I believed that there were probably cases where families were separated at the border, and they probably put the kids in jail cells (“Cages” is obviously a rhetorical flourish by the media.). But my trust in the media is so low that I never believed it was anywhere as bad as most of my Democrat friends seemed to think.

      Don’t get me wrong, there is evidence I would accept that the “concentration camp” narrative is true. It’s just that “reporting in the mainstream media” is no longer evidence that reaches that level. (I also don’t believe right-wing media, so LOL me I guess.)

      I would be just as outraged as the writer if I believed the things the media was saying about family separation were true. But I don’t believe them, so I’m not outraged.

      • sourcreamus says:

        My understanding is that the kids are not put in jail cells, but while they are in the processing center awaiting transport to HHS facility they are in the child area which is separated from the adult area of the center with a chain link fence.

  53. Daniel Frank says:

    The Charles Murray essay re: abolishing the SAT was written in 2007 – I’m not sure if he’s commented on this more recently.

    • gwern says:

      He gave a short talk summarizing it this year at an ISIR panel. Aside from I think citing some more recent research further establishing that the SAT II+GPA is psychometrically equivalent, it was about the same. I was curious and looked up his full essay afterward, and submitted it to The Motte: https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMotte/comments/cdztai/abolish_the_sat_charles_murray/ Hence here now.

    • blumenko says:

      The study showing that the SAT I has very little predictive value over SAT II +GPA was based on the UC system which required both SAT I and SAT II. Of course soon after the UC system dropped the SAT II requirement but kept the SAT I. https://www.fairtest.org/uc-drops-sat-subject-tests

      • anonymousskimmer says:

        The study showing that the SAT I has very little predictive value over SAT II +GPA was based on the UC system which required both SAT I and SAT II.

        This makes sense given that undergraduate school is effectively a continuation of high school, with extra conscientiousness thrown in due to being responsible for your own schedule, etc…, and occasionally extra affiliativeness due to the requirement to find study partners instead of having them foisted off on you. The only thing SAT 2 adds that GPA doesn’t is gen ed subject specific leveling between high schools (grade inflation varies between schools).

        But that’s not an argument to abolish the SAT 1 and replace it with the achievement tests, that’s an argument against forcing the same practices+ on the students in undergraduate college as they experience in primary and secondary school.

        More diverse systems are needed in addition to the current continuation that so benefits the relatively small proportion of students who thrive in the rigid course and gen ed requirements structure of standard schooling.

        Or else we lose those (such as me, I’m biased) who demonstrate their smarts on the SAT 1, and their misfittedness via bad grades and dropping out of the overly rigid system.

        And by the way, the score dispersion between the (explicitly taught subjects) English/Math composite and the (non-explicitly taught) Reading/Science Reasoning composite on the ACT, is about as good as SAT 2s + GPA at determining fitness for college as it currently is.

        I can’t find the research paper (unless this is it and I’m misremembering) that links a higher R/SR composite than an E/M composite to increased odds of dropping out, but this paper is along the same lines: https://cepa.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/ACT%20Paper%20%28final%29.pdf

        The results show a large and significant impact of both the Mathematics and English score on (college) GPA. A one point increase in either of these test scores is associated with an approximately .035 increase in GPA. The ACT Reading test, on the other hand, shows a significant, but much smaller association with GPA (.005 increase in GPA per ACT test point). Finally, the point estimate on the ACT Science test score is small and actually negative.

        For example, our model predicts that a student who gets an ACT composite score of 24 by getting a 26 each on the Reading and Science tests and a 22 each on the Mathematics and English tests is 59 percent more likely to be a first-year dropout and 43 percent more likely to drop out by the third year of college, relative to a student who gets the same ACT composite score of 24, but with a 26 each on the Mathematics and English tests and a 22 each on the Reading and Science tests.

        Ironic:

        We do, however, find evidence that students that are more likely to major in the sciences would slightly benefit from switching toward an admission score which only relies on the Mathematics and English sub scores.

        Anecdotally my ACT E/M composite is around 4-6 points lower than my ACT R/SR composite, with the SAT 1 composite (and subscores) in the middle of this range on a percentage basis, which individually demonstrates the loss of resolution vis-a-vis college completion odds in the SAT 1 compared to the ACT subscores. I have no idea if this generalizes, but it doing so is my default assumption.

  54. Sniffnoy says:

    Saying “Charles Murray wants to abolish the SAT” strikes me as seriously misleading. If you actually read the article, he wants to abolish specifically the SAT I, saying that schools should rely on the various SAT II tests instead. Although he makes the matter more confusing by relying on his own terminology on this; the bit where he explains that the tests he is in favor of is what are now known as the SAT II family of tests is written in small text, for some reason. Anyway, point is, even though he says he wants to abolish the SAT, he’s using confusing terminology and using “SAT” to refer specifically to “SAT I”. He does not actually want to abolish the entire SAT family of tests, or college testing on the whole.

    This really annoys me because the title seems to promote the “abolish college testing” position when in fact he’s not taking that position at all.

    • koreindian says:

      I pretty much always match “SAT” to “SAT I”, and I believe most other people do as well.

      • Sniffnoy says:

        I mean, I’d say the obvious interpretation varies by context. If you say “I took the SAT yesterday”, I’d assume you meant the SAT I and would consider it misleading if actually you meant the SAT II. If you say “Abolish the SAT”, I’d assume you mean both, and would consider it misleading if actually you only meant the SAT I.

      • JulieK says:

        So do I, probably because when I was in high school (25 yrs. ago) SAT I was the only SAT.

    • fwiffo says:

      I came here to say exactly the same thing. Murray has always been very pro-achievement tests, and the linked article shows that he continues to be very much pro-achievement test. The fact that he prefers one achievement test over another isn’t new or interesting — it’s probably not worth linking at all, and Scott’s link title is *extremely* misleading.

      • Scott Alexander says:

        My link title is the same as Murray’s title for his own essay (“Abolish the SAT”), so I don’t accept any blame for this, but I’ll change it to say “SAT 1”

        • fwiffo says:

          The Murray article title is the worst form of clickbait. I think your answer was “The original article had a misleading clickbaity title so I am going to keep my misleading clickbaity title.” I don’t think that is the truth-promoting approach. (As a non-American, “SAT 1” is not distinguishable to me from “SAT” but perhaps for American readers it will be obvious that the meaning of the article is different?)

          • C_B says:

            SAT 1 and SAT 2 are importantly different – the SAT 1 is an IQ test with a new coat of paint; SAT 2 are individual subject matter expertise tests (like the AP tests). So it is kind of a big deal if Charles “IQ Test Guy” Murray thinks we should move away from IQ testing students and instead test their subject matter expertise.

            I don’t know how widely appreciated this distinction is.

    • The Nybbler says:

      I found that article rather silly. Abolish the SAT-V and SAT-M, replace with the SAT II Reading and the SAT II Math and one other of the student’s choosing, and you’ve done what exactly? This seems to be what Murray thought was the big win:

      Getting rid of the SAT will destroy the coaching industry as we know it. Coaching for the SAT is seen as the teaching of tricks and strategies—a species of cheating—not as supplementary education. The retooled coaching industry will focus on the achievement tests, but insofar as the offerings consist of cram courses for tests in topics such as U.S. history or chemistry, its taint will be reduced.

      My guess would be the reduction of “taint” would be very temporary if it existed at all, and the same “tricks and strategies” which worked on the SAT-V and SAT-M would work just fine on the SAT II tests.

      • eric23 says:

        Exactly. Students in recent decades have put massive effort into extracting the best possible SAT1 scores. Abolish the SAT1, and they will just move that effort to the SAT2.

        Perhaps the very reason that the SAT2 (currently) has more predictive value than the SAT1 is that students do not make an effort to game their scores on the SAT2. If the gaming shifts to the SAT2, it may lose its predictive value.

      • Cliff says:

        Well, as he mentioned, the SAT1 can’t really be gamed, and there are no tricks and strategies. The SAT2 are about the same. But people think the SAT1 can be gamed. I agree I thought the argument was weak, but… maybe? I guess if you don’t lose anything (both are equally predictive) and there’s any improvement then it’s a net win, although I worry about emboldening the people who attack the SAT as racist or something.

        • eric23 says:

          The SAT1 can most definitely be gamed. I did several practice tests before taking it for real; my score (out of 1600) rose by about 100 points from the first to the last practice test. I figured out a trick which noticeably helped: (from what I remember) if the question asks you about a system of equations, rather than trying to solve the equations theoretically, choose a random integer and plug it into one variable and see which of the answer choices are incompatible.

          I agree that gaming will not raise your score from a 1000 to a 1600, but I suspect 100 points due to gaming is very significant when it comes to comparing students at a single institution.

          I also took several SAT2s, but didn’t bother to study much for them, partly because I knew they were less significant to admissions, partly because I expected to get an 800 on most or all of them anyway.

          • acymetric says:

            I don’t really think that’s “gaming” the SAT so much. I think that would be standard advise from pretty much any prepping source.

          • Cliff says:

            Well, then all the studies involving hundreds and thousands of test-takers, showing gains of 10-20 points at most, can be dismissed. You know better than science!

            By the way, what you are talking about is NOT test prep. What people mean when they say test prep is Kaplan or the Princeton review, things that cost money and therefore supposedly some people can’t do. NOT taking a few practice tests at home. I also doubt your remembrance of the “trick” since I doubt “systems of equations” are a significant part of the SAT. More likely you took two practice tests and got a score 100 points apart. Not that rare.

          • eric23 says:

            1. What I did was preparation for a test – since when is preparation for a test not considered “test prep”? It may have been cheap, but it’s something I didn’t even bother doing for the SAT2. In that sense it was “gaming”

            2. To Cliff – you shouldn’t make assumptions. I actually took six or seven practice test and there was a steady trend upwards in the scores. And I remember the moment of discovering the “trick”, even though (like I said) I don’t remember the exact details of the trick, though it certainly involved substituting an arbitrary integer for some kind of variable.

          • albatross11 says:

            I think the usual research finding on test prep is that there’s a pretty significant benefit to doing some level of prep–like reading a book on the test, learning the common strategies to do well on individual test questions, finding out whether random guessing is penalized, taking a couple sample tests. But you run into diminishing returns pretty quickly.

            My guess is that there’s a substantial amount of fraud in SAT scores, both traditional cheating and getting special permission to have more time on a timed test/use a computer instead of handwriting essays/etc.

    • Doesntliketocomment says:

      The title is absolutely not misleading, and it in fact cuts to the very heart of what he is saying. He wants to abolish the SAT, the original, generalized intelligence test. There is no “In its place” to it, he wants not just the test but the concept of the singular, generalized test of “g” as a component of college admissions gone.

      Part of his argument is that subject matter related “achievement tests” measure the same elements, but cutting down on duplicate testing is not the crux of his argument. What does feature strongly in his argument is that at current the social concept of the SAT has very little benefit and causes appreciable harm, so I would also assume he would argue against referring to the subject tests as the SAT II.

      • Sniffnoy says:

        You are confusing the SAT with the concept of the SAT. X and the concept of X are different things; the map is not the territory. To abolish the SAT I, and relabel the SAT II by removing “SAT” from the name, is not abolishing the SAT. It is abolishing the SAT I, and abolishing the concept of the SAT.

        • Evan Þ says:

          But “the SAT” without qualification, in practice, means “the SAT 1”. At least, it did when I was in high school ten years ago, and nothing makes me think it’s changed since.

          • Sniffnoy says:

            Repeating what I said above, but: I’d say the obvious interpretation varies by context. If you say “I took the SAT yesterday”, I’d assume you meant the SAT I and would consider it misleading if actually you meant the SAT II. If you say “Abolish the SAT”, I’d assume you mean both, and would consider it misleading if actually you only meant the SAT I.

          • Evan Þ says:

            @Sniffnoy, I get a different implication: “the SAT,” to me, always means the SAT I.

    • blumenko says:

      I think an important fact needed to understand Murray’s language is that until 1994 the SAT IIs were known as “Achievement Tests” with no SAT preface. If Murray would have capitalized achievement tests, which he does not do, it would make it clear what he is referring to. But essentially Murray is using outdated terminology to contrast between SAT I (SAT) and SAT II (Achievement Tests).

  55. Chevron says:

    “bizzare lie” and “12-dimensional chess move” seem to have the same hyperlink?

  56. Plumber says:

    @Scott Alexander,
    That cattle ranch is near Livermore which has lousy air quality, and suffers extremes (realitive to the real bay area) of hot and cold weather – a substitute for Berkeley, Oakland, Pacifica, or San Francisco it isn’t (and neither is “May I never be so desperate as to work there again” San Jose)!, and unless jobs are located there residents will still suffer the awful commute (and their cars would crowd the central bay area), but it is closer than Stockton, Petaluma, and Manteca (where many co-workers of mine have had homes) so someone would move there Lord have mercy on their souls!

    I still prefer a massive propaganda campaign to make San Francisco and everywhere within 20 miles of it seem like a Hellscape so people stop coming here, plus maybe investments to make ‘Silicon Valley’ move to Seattle or some other place and have students not have Berkeley as their first choice.

    BTW, What’s this Irvine place listed in the article like?

    • Scott Alexander says:

      “I still prefer a massive propaganda campaign to make San Francisco and everywhere within 20 miles of it seem like a Hellscape so people stop coming here”

      Wait, are we sure that would be propaganda?

      • Plumber says:

        @Scott Alexander,
        The more that it is a Hellscape is publicized the less true it will be!

        Spread the word!

        • shakeddown says:

          This seems incredibly false? The people who make SF great are all the inmgirants/engineers/general weird people who moved here. The homeless/crazy/scary people (and the nimbys) who make it suck are mostly locals. To make SF better, you should want to increase the transplant to local ratio.

          • Aapje says:

            Your definition of ‘great’ may not match his.

          • Randy M says:

            Are the homeless/crazy people locals? Or do they move there because of generous homeless programs? And are many locals homeless because it is a city with limited land and lots of immigration?

      • johan_larson says:

        How about a strike by the plumbers’ unions? The shit won’t literally hit the fan, but plenty of it will run over onto the floors.

        • Le Maistre Chat says:

          The shit won’t literally hit the fan,

          Robert Stack is disappointed. (cf. Airplane!)

          • Bellum Gallicum says:

            A weird issue near SF is
            To simply qualify for home loan in the Bay Area requires a half million in savings and cash, an income of $400,000 a year. And 30 years of $200 a day house payments.

            So it’s only tech elite, welfare bums, and criminals. Not a hellscape yet but heading that direction.

          • Plumber says:

            @Bellum Gallicum says:

            “A weird issue near SF is
            To simply qualify for home loan in the Bay Area requires a half million in savings and cash, an income of $400,000 a year. And 30 years of $200 a day house payments.

            So it’s only tech elite, welfare bums, and criminals. Not a hellscape yet but heading that direction”

            There’s other ways, me and my wife got a house 15 miles from my job in San Francisco for $550,000 in 2011 (which we immediately paid another $100,000 for repairs to it, and rented it out for one-and-a-half-years) without a loan, and while my wife has a college diploma she hasn’t had paid work in decades and I’m blue-collar, and while we did receive food stamps (the “SNAP card”) and/or lived on unemployment insurance for a bit I mostly worked and I don’t think we’re “welfare bums”, I did install some piping in the chip plants in ‘Silicon Valley’ (Hates it FOREVER!) but I’m a plumber, not “Tech”, as for “criminal” I WAS IN THE CARPOOL LANE BY ACCIDENT all those times.

            It wasn’t easy, 17 years of living in a loud apartment building with a roof leak into our living room every rainy season in Oakland, plus living in a truck with a camper for a year was involved, as was not having children until we were too old to wait anymore, not having are own home until we were in our late 40’s and early 50’s, and in hindsight I wish we had done something else those years, but I was born here and foolishly stayed when most of my peers that I grew up with moved away decades ago.

          • bullseye says:

            What kind of welfare bum makes $400,000 a year?

          • The Nybbler says:

            @bullseye

            At Google we called them Staff Software Engineers, but either way they didn’t wear shoes.

          • Aapje says:

            @bullseye

            If they are ‘bums,’ they don’t have a home and thus presumably neither a home loan.

        • perlhaqr says:

          SF already has that on the sidewalks and gutters, so, probably redundant.

    • My brother, who’s spent his entire adult life in the Bay Area, LOLs at the idea that the cattle ranch property could become a city which people having much choice in the matter would want to live in. In addition to the points you listed he adds that it conspicuously lacks one of the key local positive attributes which is proximity to the ocean.

      So yea it could maybe be turned into a new set of commuter-bedrooms-of-last-resort (e.g. Stockton), which isn’t for nothing. But (a), would that sort of upside be worth the massive investment in infrastructure just to enable building those bedrooms? and (b) for that you don’t need this particular hunk of rolling hills and shitty soil with almost no groundwater supplies, there’s plenty of 1,000-acre parcels closer to the actual Bay Area which come on and off the market periodically.

      • Scott Alexander says:

        I was going to protest the cattle ranch is vastly closer than Stockton, but although that’s true in miles, there must be some kind of hill-related problem with the roads; getting to Downtown San Jose is 1.5 hours from Stockton and 1 from the ranch.

        Based on that, I think Sumner is outright wrong, and I’ve deleted the link.

        • Nornagest says:

          While that’s probably true, roads out to places like the ranch are usually narrow, poorly routed and poorly maintained. If anyone actually wanted to build a sizeable town there (which is unlikely), better roads and hence shorter travel times would almost have to be part of the package.

        • Alex Zavoluk says:

          This exchange is quite confusing with the link gone; anyway way to add it back with a giant “this link is wrong” disclaimer?

        • Anthony says:

          Highway 130, which runs close to or through the southwest edge of the property, is one of those narrow, windy mountain roads that you find all around the edges of the Bay Area. Motorcyclists love it in the summer because it’s scenic and there’s very little traffic on it.

          To develop that property for more than a few hundred houses, you’d need to build a freeway for a long way, and you’d need to find and develop a water supply.

    • Brett says:

      They could literally build a new island close to San Francisco, and then develop it.

      • Anthony says:

        They’re still working on developing the one they built in the 1930s.

        And on the extension to another island that was first built in 1927, and abandoned by the Navy more than 20 years ago.

        But there are some problems with building islands in (or extending into) the Bay.

    • blipnickels says:

      Yeah, there’s no way to build a city there. The area is basically the Del Valle Regional Park. Here’s a picture, it even has cows!

      I mean, you could build there. You could probably build in Niles Canyon too, if you had to. Don’t hold your breath.

      And quite frankly, I’m glad to see the “Livermore Hellscape” propaganda campaign is still keeping techie scum out of our nice vineyards 🙂

    • shakeddown says:

      Which article is this about? (Also, generic condemnation of your xenophobia, see my other comments about nimbys).

      • Plumber says:

        @shakeddown >

        “Which article is this about?…”

        Our host’s post originally read (in part):

        “….r/TheMotte book reviews: First Blood, aka Rambo.

        The N3 Cattle Ranch is a San-Francisco-sized parcel of undeveloped land in the Bay Area. Now it’s on sale for less than the price of an SF office building, but zoning restrictions require it to stay a cattle ranch. Scott Sumner thinks this is An Epic Example Of Wealth Destruction that’s preventing the creation of a new SF-sized city that could solve all the Bay Area’s housing problems. I think there’s a kernel of truth to this, though the mountainous terrain is probably a much bigger factor – see the debate in his comments section for more. Stil wish some rich person would buy it, bribe the zoning board, and try to figure something out.

        A good overview of the….”

        but our host later decided that:

        “…Based on that, I think Sumner is outright wrong, and I’ve deleted the link”

        @shakeddown >

        “…Also, generic condemnation of your xenophobia, see my other comments about nimbys”

        In time I plan to respond to them, but for now I’ll mention that I’ve previously acknowledged that you newcomers are superior to us:

        “….Imagine someone like our host:
        Young, thoughtful, educated, articulate (and a dozen other virtues), just an ‘above average’ person.

        Wouldn’t you want someone like that as your neighbor?

        Wouldn’t you want someone like that as your employee?

        Wouldn’t you want someone like that as your tenant?

        Now imagine you and your kids competing with someone like that.

        Now imagine others like that.

        More and more.

        The ‘best and the brightest’.

        Every year.

        Thousands of them.

        For decades.

        Welcome to San Francisco”

        but that still doesn’t change that I resent my peers being displaced, that I couldn’t move to a house near the city I grew up in until I was over 44 years old, the struggle my son’s will have to stay as well, the crowding and traffic, those damn apartment tower blocks, the evictions, the explosion in homelessness, and reading of YIMBY entitlement “With the credentials I job I have the plebs should make way for me”

        • perlhaqr says:

          It’s interesting to me that you use the word “entitlement” in the same sentence as that link you have under “evictions”, and aren’t using the one word to refer to the other. Because when I read that article, “entitlement” was the word that kept running through my mind. Insisting that one has the right to continue occupying property that one does not own, against the express wishes of the person who does own it, seems pretty amazingly entitled to me. Insisting on that while paying vastly under market value and keeping the actual owners from occupying the property themselves is just icing in the entitlement cake. And even if one wanted to make allowances for the extremely old woman on her last legs, the fact that the daughter apparently intended to continue fighting against letting the people who own the property move in is completely over the top.

  57. JPNunez says:

    Related: survey of gender stereotypes over time. Divides them into “communal” (eg caring), “agentic” (eg ambitious), and “competent” (eg intelligent). Usual stereotype that women are more communal and men more agentic is increasing. People believed men were more competent in the 1940s, reached parity about 1960, and now 80% of people believe women are more competent than men.

    I guess all those Hannah Barbera cartoons about marriages of funny dumb fat guys and intelligent cute girls shaped society.

    How are changes in the entertainment industry causing both the Golden Age Of TV and the Dark Age Of Unoriginal Movies?

    This link is amazing cause I am in the middle of reading Netflixed, the story of Netflix, and they mention that the business plan of Blockbuster could be called “managed disatisfaction”

    And then you read this part:

    So the company is trying to get new subscribers, and wants to keep old subscribers just happy enough to not quit the service.

    gg

    • bullseye says:

      I guess all those Hannah Barbera cartoons about marriages of funny dumb fat guys and intelligent cute girls shaped society.

      Was there more than one? I only remember the Flintstones having dumb fat guys with smart cute wives.

      • JPNunez says:

        There’s the jetsons, although george jetson ain’t really fat. Wait until your father gets home. Where’s Huddles. Roman Holidays.

        They all copy from the Honeymooners of course, although they clean up the threats of domestic violence.

        And then you have the descendants, like the Simpsons, tho that it’s not HB obviously.

        • Le Maistre Chat says:

          They all copy from the Honeymooners of course, although they clean up the threats of domestic violence.

          “He wasn’t an astronaut! He was just an actor! And he was using space travel as a metaphor for beating his wife.”

        • bullseye says:

          Weird, I’ve never heard of most of those HB cartoons, and I used to watch a lot of cartoons.

          I also don’t remember George Jetson being stupid, but maybe his stupidity was more subtle than Fred’s and I didn’t catch it.

          • JPNunez says:

            I also don’t remember George Jetson being stupid, but maybe his stupidity was more subtle than Fred’s and I didn’t catch it.

            Million of years of the Flynn effect at work.

        • LHN says:

          It’s pretty clear from Alice’s attitude towards Ralph that they both know all the “Bang! Zoom!” bits are empty bluster.

          (Unlike, e.g., Ricky Ricardo, who really does spank Lucy onscreen in at least three episodes.)

    • acymetric says:

      80% seems…hard to believe.

      • Jason says:

        I think it’s 80% of the subset of people who did not say that they’re equal.

        Figure 3 of that paper suggests the total percent who say that women are more competent is closer to 35%.

        • ECD says:

          I think that’s right. The charts on page 11 (of the pdf, page number 10) seem to show that what happened with competence and intelligence was a large shift from Men Better to Equal with Women Better increasing slightly in competence and decreasing slightly in intelligence.

          Oddly what looks like the biggest change is massive increase in Women Better at Communion.

          Agency seems to show the reverse of Intelligence and Competence, with Men holding steady and Women collapsing into an increase in Equal.

          All observations by eyeball only.

          • Aapje says:

            a large shift from Men Better to Equal, with Women Better increasing slightly in competence and decreasing slightly in intelligence.

            Fixed. Please add a comma next time for our reading pleasure.

            Oddly what looks like the biggest change is massive increase in Women Better at Communion.

            I see a lot of claims in my center-left newspaper that more women means better cooperation, nice decision making, more interest in soft values, etc.

            So it’s not surprising to me that these stereotypes are increasing.

      • Dacyn says:

        80% is not for intelligent, it is for competent, which is the average of intelligent and creative (according to the definition used in the paper). It doesn’t necessarily mean that estimates of female intelligence increased at all (though they probably did somewhat).

    • The Nybbler says:

      I guess all those Hannah Barbera cartoons about marriages of funny dumb fat guys and intelligent cute girls shaped society.

      Perhaps those and sitcoms and commercials where dad was invariably the butt of the joke. (This wouldn’t be my explanation, I’d go for social unacceptability of belief in female but not male inferiority)

      • JPNunez says:

        I think it depends on how the comedy is built; it seems (not really familiar with it) I love Lucy is built around the clowish, incompetent Lucy, while the husband Ricky is the competent one. The reason being that the star of the show was Lucille Ball, who was more of a physical comedian, so she was better as the butt of the joke, unlike the Honeymooners which was centered on Jackie Gleason.

        But for whatever reason, HB did not copy I love Lucy for their cartoons.

        • acymetric says:

          Obviously newer, but That ’70s Show does a nice job of portraying both parents as occasionally hyper-competent and using them as the butts of jokes.

      • Conrad Honcho says:

        I agree with your explanation. It’s a measure of how people will respond to a survey, not what people actually believe. When asked “who’s more intelligent, women or men?” men are smart enough to either say “equal” or “gosh, those ladies sure are smarter than us dumb guys, huh?”

        In reality, I thought the average IQs were equal, but with a higher standard deviation in men. So more women are of average intelligence than men, but there are more male geniuses and more males of extremely low intelligence.

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