Monday, January 27, 2014

Turn Your Heads! Question Assumptions...

A friend recently asked me to explain our present political insanity, in the United States of America.  Especially, he was puzzled as to why there are elements of anti-science mania on the left (e.g. "anti-vaxxers" who oppose vaccination) when the War on Science is clearly in large part an epi-phenomenon of the maniacal right

I replied: "you have to dig deeper, Russ. Down to where both wings share deep assumptions and mental habits they absorbed when they were young."
Consider the dominant themes of propaganda that are issued regularly by Hollywood and most mass media, suckled from an early age by not just young Americans, but people all over the globe, what constitutes a major proselytizing campaign, shifting basic attitudes everywhere.
Clearly visible in the first few minutes of almost any popular film Are visible (if you pay attention) messages that the viewer should:
Suspicion-of-authority1- appreciate eccentricity - most protagonists exhibit some eccentric trait early on.
2- appreciate tolerance... a villain is spotlighted by some early intolerant act.
3- be suspicious of authority (SOA) - some power oppresses the character and must be resisted.
4- relish contempt for your sheeplike neighbors  - almost all your fellow citizens are fools and their institutions almost never function well.
I elaborate on these themes (especially #4) in Our Favorite Cliché: The Idiot Plot.
But one more message caps them all -- the deliberately fostered delusion that...
5 -  "I invented all these rebel qualities!  I didn't suckle them from Hollywood!  I and my pals are the only ones suspicious of authority! We aren't the sheep!"
Now mind you... I generally approve of the first three of these propaganda messages! Well, naturally I do, since I was raised by them, like you were!  Indeed, they resonate with some deep-strong social imperatives that I won't go into here, that cause a wealthy and free and partly-satiated society to expand its horizons of inclusion… but more on that elsewhere
It took some time for me to overcome #4 and #5, even after I became aware of them. The ego fights back and struggles to hold onto those two, they are so voluptuously satisfying.
It took even longer to see how all five messages play into America's spiraling Culture War of sanctimony and self righteous indignation.  But once you notice the shared themes, it becomes easy to see that the deep difference between democrats and republicans consists of one simple thing -- which DIRECTION they envision Big Brother (BB) arising from!
Liberals see Big Brother coming from the far-right… from a vast pool of conniving aristocratic-oligarchs and faceless corporations. 

Conservatives fear accumulations of undue power and authority by snooty academics and faceless government bureaucrats.
  
Libertarians dread Big Brother arising from all four. (At least… that is what libertarians claim they do.) 

All of these groups see themselves as the defenders of freedom.
Voila. In fact, when you put it that way, the answer is "Duh!"  Doesn't history show that threats to liberty can come from all of those sources, and more? Should any quadrant be left unguarded against would-be tyrants?
So far, so good!  We should be watching each others' backs!  That is, indeed, how it has been sometimes, in America. "I'll hold accountable your elites. You hold accountable mine!"
Only, alas, we have lately become stiff necked in our stoked-up anger.  Conservatives now are unable to turn their heads and even admit that it is remotely possible that their own favored elites -- of wealth and aristocracy - could possibly be dangerous!  This despite the fact that owner-oligarch-lords were exactly the villains of our American Revolution. That they were destroyers of freedom and markets and competitive enterprise in 99% of human cultures, across 6000 years. And that (according to Adam Smith) their return as a threat to freedom and true capitalism (the open/creatively-competitive kind) is absolutely to be expected.
mooney-republican-war-on-scienceIndeed, you can clock attempted oligarchic putsches to once per generation… and our ancestors' genius came in stymying it, each time, without abandoning a creatively-competitive system.  A fact that today's dominant version of libertarianism fervently ignores, spurning Adam Smith and declaring that owner-oligarchy can do no wrong. In other words… most of today's "libertarians" do not even remotely deserve the name.
Although its SOA paranoia is somewhat less stiff-necked and rigid, the Left can be just as reflexive and unthinking.  While their ire is mostly aimed at oligarchs and corporations, leftists spare some paranoid rants for government and yes... they sometimes join in the Fox-Right's War on Science. Like the fervently indignant campaign against vaccination and similar, simplistic reflexes.  Leftists seem more flexibly paranoid… but still kinda crazy, I maintain.
== The Fourth Political Genus ==
sciencelftbehindLIBERALS are an entirely different species.  They are not "leftists" in any meaningful way -- despite the railing assertions of Sean Hannity. Indeed, liberals desperately need to learn to separate themselves, carefully, from their crazy-leftist allies.  Let me explain.
Liberals are the one sane group left in America, able to turn their heads to look at threats in all directions.  Want evidence? Liberals did far more DE-regulating of obsolete or captured government agencies than the GOP has ever ever done, or even tried to do. Ever heard of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC)?  Or the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB)?  The Internet? All deregulated (along with trucking, telecom and so on) by Democrats. Goppers talk deregulation, but wind up actually only doing it for one industry: finance. With blatant results.
There is a whole suite of clear traits that distinguish liberals from leftists, but I don't have room here for a full cladistic breakdown.  Suffice it to say that if Liberals were to actually read Adam Smith, they might be amazed and reclaim the "First Liberal," while any leftist would remain deeply offended by Smith. Liberals want all children to be confidently capable of engaging in Smithian competitive enterprise. Leftists despise the word "competitive."  No wonder Sean Hannity desperately pushes the Big Lie that liberals and leftists are the same.
And there you have it -- my thumbnail of why you have anti-science "vaxxers" on the left, mimicking almost exactly the rhythms and incantations of Fox-watchers.  Because the FAR-left is almost as crazy as today's ENTIRE-Right. 

We desperately need to get back to the kind of sanity that allows negotiation.  That says "you zap my elites, and I'll skewer yours." This phase of our recurring Civil War will only be over when that happens.
== Here is the crux. Can you turn your head… at all? ==
The one litmus of political sanity in contemporary American political life is this: "Are you able to swivel -- even just occasionally -- and see threats or dangers or flaws among the elites on YOUR side of the political spectrum… as well as the elites you fear most, on the other side?"
If your Suspicion of Authority can only aim in one direction… the direction that your side's elites and propagandists tell you to aim… and you can only ignore or brush aside evidence for your own side's blatant faults… then perhaps you badly need to see a philosophical chiropractor.
Threats to freedom and to our Great Experiment loom in all directions. So relearn how to turn your f#$@g! head.

159 comments:

Bluebottle said...

I like the bit in Pohl and Kornbluths "Gladiator at Law" which is set in future USA long dominated by the oligarchs. The principle means of controlling contract workers is letting them live in company owned super houses - if you lose your job you are out and into the unemployed underclass (automation has reduced the need for most jobs). Anyway the daughter of the inventor of the automatic houses wants to use the family stock to break up this system and one her former partners accuses her of "being no better than a Republican, young lady."
A joke about how far to the ultra capitalists right things can go.

Patrice Ayme' said...

The very notion of allowing politics to give rise to elites is anti-scientific. In the sense that it is adverse to new knowledge. Knowledge is established by many brains in parallel.

Political space is not one dimensional, either (the proverbial "political spectrum").

One dimensionality in politics would assume one dimensionality in the deepest psychology.
http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/representative-politics-is-dictatorship/

Carl M. said...

George Washington was a oligarch. He married into the extremely rich Carter family -- which owned the entire Northern Neck of Virginia at one point. George Washington was also into insider trading: he surveyed the Ohio River Valley -- lands which the British government closed against settlement. The American Revolution opened those lands up.

The American Revolution was triggered by the olde tyme version of the Fox News crowd John Birchers, and rednecks. The PBS crowde of the day was Tory, just as PBS is today.

Valkyrie Ice said...

Ah David, how many times have I tried to state exactly this. That while things are indeed horribly wrong on the "right" that there are elements on the left every bit as dangerous?

It's one of my biggest issues with the AGW crowd. I can agree that climate change is happening, I can agree that we are poisoning our planet, and I can even agree that we need to begin taking action on this quickly, but when I fail to agree to their favorite regressive anti-technology, luddite "solution", and point out that it will not work, alas, I need to be burned as a heretic.

Science is not prefect. It's entire purpose is to continually question it's own assumptions and rigidly continue to test them over and over, but to too many, consensus has become a religious ideology, and anyone who dares to ask questions, even such ones as "is there a better solution than the one proposed" is too often seen as a threat to the herd.

That's why I refuse to allow myself to labeled as left or right, liberal or conservative. I will not allow the labels to blind me to the dangers from ANY direction, and know the best course is the path that weaves between them.

But, I also know it's the guy in the middle of the road who gets run over... *sigh*

Alfred Differ said...

Being able to own one of the labels is important and I'm all for trying to take back 'liberal' from those who abuse it, but it will be a long, hard fight. Without the label, it is hard for people to realize what we have in common. It takes too long to describe the details and reminds me of that School House Rock cartoon explaining pronouns. There is a reason we invent these things and we SHOULD use and defend them. 8)

I like the term 'philosophical chiropractor'. There is a potential cultural cruise missile in that one.

David Brin said...

Valkyrie Ice… who is this "they" who want us to "shiver and starve in the dark"? In this very posting I describe how liberals want nothing of the sort. (Though maybe some extreme leftist flakes do.)

We would move along on climate change if only the discussion revolved around TWODA -- Things We Ought to be Doing Anyway…. with heavy investments in energy efficiency and getting sustainables to becoming a sustainable industry.

These days -- with the extinction of the moderate Republican and the Smithian libertarian, there is a synonym for "middle of the road guy". It is "liberal."

CarlM… I do not see Washington like that, at all. Nor the followers of Thomas Paine as being Fox Newsies.

Alfred… we all know that I oversimplified. Many many "liberals" have been talked into teetering and flirting with leftist-nonsense views.

My bestiary in this posting is clearly intended to help persuade many of those liberals to wake up and see left-ism as a trap. They must be allies with leftists… for now… but…

See http://www.davidbrin.com/1947.html

Valkyrie Ice said...

"They" unfortunately are far too many of the comments I've had in various discussions over the years. *sigh* Even you and I don't see entirely eye to eye on this subject, if you recall our initial meeting and discussions on IEET.

Primarily though, I am speaking of the many people who desire unfeasible political solutions that do little more than stick a bandaid on the pollution problem, and the malthusian crowds who's "solutions" innocently advocate the genocide of 80% of the human race.

While it is true many "liberals" are not this extremist, FINDING anyone who will not immediately brand me a heretic for daring to say that man - while a factor - is not the SOLE CAUSE of climate change lately has been rather hard to do. Climate change was already happening, man merely made it happen a bit faster, and might make it too extreme, unless we clean up our act soon. All too often though, merely stating that I do not agree man is the only factor in climate change, even if I agree with EVERYTHING ELSE, often gets a crowd of frothing at the mouth rabid "true believers" howling "Denier" at me.

And yes, we are in perfect agreement on TWODA.

And I while I might agree with most of the "liberal" goals, I will not accept it as a label, because I see such labeling as an attempt to enforce a dogma upon me, not all of which I can agree with. I reserve the right to follow the evidence where it leads me, and to not blindly accept "received wisdom" without the option to verify it myself.

I'm a demoness, David. I'm ornery that way.

Alfred Differ said...

David,

I read your 1947 article awhile back and used some of its contents on some conservative friends of mine. The responses I got fell into three basic groups. 1) Didn't happen. 2) LONG time ago. 3) You all obviously changed your minds later. My counter responses went roughly like this. 1) Pfft! 2) Then you don't get to claim history either. 3) What about the loons who claim to be YOUR allies? The conversations usually devolve from there as you can imagine. 8)

Because of the loss of our label, I've had trouble describing my political positions to others. To Libertarians, I sound a bit like one of them. To conservatives, I sound a bit like one of them. Even the progressives don't mind some of my positions. Yet... I'm not a moderate and if I go into too much detail, they ALL get annoyed and want to brand me one of the others.

I followed your suggestion some time ago and read Adam Smith and then moved forward from there. It seems the liberals are a varied lot with a few core beliefs, but time has driven us apart enough to notice. From what I can see it is the notion of a 'wage slave' that separates us in the US. We can all see the concept clearly enough, but whether or not it is a moral issue varies among us. What to do about it is even more troubling for us because some say 'nothing' and others turn to government and risk siding with one of the concentrations of power.

The political philosophy behind all this has been fun to learn over the last few years. I started down that path after reading some of what you wrote here as articles and as responses to well-thought-out comments from others. It has been a good ride so far and I couldn't recommend it more for others to try. 8)

reason said...

Valkarye Ice
"Climate change was already happening"

yep, but quite possibly in the other direction.

LarryHart said...

Carl M:

The American Revolution was triggered by the olde tyme version of the Fox News crowd John Birchers, and rednecks. The PBS crowde of the day was Tory, just as PBS is today.


I don't get what makes you think that.

Yes, I realize Washington, Jefferson, etc were wealthy landowners. But they were not fighting for a system that concentrated wealth and power in their own hands at the expense of the general populace. The fact that neither Washington nor Jefferson left a heritiary dynasty in place speaks volumes, as does Washington's example of self-limiting to two terms.

Right-wingers like to point out that the Kennedy's, John Kerry, etc are "wealthy elitists", but they are wealthy men who made a point of using their powers for good. Romney's campaign foundered not because he is rich, but because he literally had no conception or empathy for how the other 99% lives. Is it your contention that the Founding Fathers were similar? I don't see it.

And your opposite contention, that the "PBS crowd" was or is Tory--I don't even begin to understand that one.

LarryHart said...

Valkyrie Ice:

While it is true many "liberals" are not this extremist, FINDING anyone who will not immediately brand me a heretic for daring to say that man - while a factor - is not the SOLE CAUSE of climate change lately has been rather hard to do.


Possibly because the corellary is so often "We didn't (completely) cause it, so let's not do anything about it."


Climate change was already happening, man merely made it happen a bit faster, and might make it too extreme, unless we clean up our act soon.


Your "a bit" seems disingenouous. Man accellerates climate change to the point where many species may not be able to adapt in time to survive. That's qualitatively different from "It was going to happen in 10,000 years anyway, so what's the big deal?"

All too often though, merely stating that I do not agree man is the only factor in climate change, even if I agree with EVERYTHING ELSE, often gets a crowd of frothing at the mouth rabid "true believers" howling "Denier" at me.


Maybe it's because that position is so often used to self-identify against Al Gore and for the FOX crowd. I realize that good liberals should not engage in the kind of "assertion of facts for the purpose of self-labeling" that the FOX crowd does, but after a steady diet of that sort of thing, it's hard not to circle the wagons.

LarryHart said...

Finally!, the mainstream media is starting to accept that global warming (increased temps in the North Pacific) can be responsible for the dislocation of polar air over the American midwest, rather than snarking that the rough winter disproves global warming.

The comics fans among you might recall a 1980s comic "American Flagg!" set in the future year of 2032. One of the storylines involved the accidental activation of an old Soviet satellite meant to disrupt US voting paterns by inducing storms, and so the American midwest was subjected to the "Blizzard of '32" in which two feet of snow was dumped approximately every other day.

I'd say Chaykin was to conservative in his estimate.

Valkyrie Ice said...

@Larry

Actually, based on the data of the medieval warm period, the climate change we have experienced so far has not even returned temperatures to what they were before the LIA, I don't find that Warming over the course of the next century or so is anywhere near as immediate a problem as many of the far more lethal toxins that get ignored while everyone is wringing their hands over carbon, (a problem we HAVE a few solutions for, if anyone was just willing to take the steps to implement them, and which could have already been put in place for less than the amount spent trying to win the election for the GOP) Climate change is being accelerated, but I believe the evidence of us poisoning our biosphere is a far greater and more immediate risk that is "being swept under the rug" by the focus on "Carbon." I don't think we'll make it to be killed by climate change if we poison the biosphere first.

It's a matter of priorities. They ALL need to be addressed, but I don't think carbon is THE most immediate threat. Regardless, the solutions to all these problems require advances in technology, not regressions, and far too many "political solutions" involve unworkable suppression schemes that cannot be unilaterally implemented.


The point still remains though, that small disagreements are magnified far beyond the bounds of reason by BOTH sides for political advantage, and what should be rational debate all too often becomes a witch-hunt intent on enforcing ideological purity.

Carl M. said...

@LarryHart. Washington was an aristocrat in the Roman sense of the word, and quite conscious of the fact. As the equivalent of a modern billionaire, he was not bribable.

LarryHart said...

Valkyrie Ice:

Actually, based on the data of the medieval warm period, the climate change we have experienced so far has not even returned temperatures to what they were before the LIA,


I'm asking a question I don't know the answer to...were global temperatures that much higher in Lief Erikson's day, or was there just a warm pattern over the North Atlantic?


Climate change is being accelerated, but I believe the evidence of us poisoning our biosphere is a far greater and more immediate risk that is "being swept under the rug" by the focus on "Carbon." I don't think we'll make it to be killed by climate change if we poison the biosphere first.


I tend to lump all those things together into a sort of generic "fouling our nest", so I'm probably more in agreement with you here than disagreement.

It's just I don't think of it as "concentrate on pollution rather than climate change." Instead, I think of it all as the same big category of things we need to mitigate. Much as, if I were too poor to afford food or shelter, I wouldn't think of those as problems to be solved separately.


Regardless, the solutions to all these problems require advances in technology, not regressions, and far too many "political solutions" involve unworkable suppression schemes that cannot be unilaterally implemented.


I'm in perfect agreement with you on all of that. Just so you know.


The point still remains though, that small disagreements are magnified far beyond the bounds of reason by BOTH sides for political advantage, and what should be rational debate all too often becomes a witch-hunt intent on enforcing ideological purity.


I see your point, although I tend to agree with Dr Brin that the enforcement of ideological purity from the left (in present day USA) doesn't have the real-world consequences that it does from the right.

In my more pessimistic moments, I imagine that the real rulers of the world (not just the wealthy, but the ones who actually have the inside information and know what's going on) are already convinced that the death of our biosphere is inevitable. Thus their "party like it's 1999" agenda, not because they wouldn't like to leave their grandchildren a healthy world, but because they already know that's not an option.

LarryHart said...

Valkyrie Ice:

Actually, based on the data of the medieval warm period, the climate change we have experienced so far has not even returned temperatures to what they were before the LIA,


I'm asking a question I don't know the answer to...were global temperatures that much higher in Lief Erikson's day, or was there just a warm pattern over the North Atlantic?


Climate change is being accelerated, but I believe the evidence of us poisoning our biosphere is a far greater and more immediate risk that is "being swept under the rug" by the focus on "Carbon." I don't think we'll make it to be killed by climate change if we poison the biosphere first.


I tend to lump all those things together into a sort of generic "fouling our nest", so I'm probably more in agreement with you here than disagreement.

It's just I don't think of it as "concentrate on pollution rather than climate change." Instead, I think of it all as the same big category of things we need to mitigate. Much as, if I were too poor to afford food or shelter, I wouldn't think of those as problems to be solved separately.


Regardless, the solutions to all these problems require advances in technology, not regressions, and far too many "political solutions" involve unworkable suppression schemes that cannot be unilaterally implemented.


I'm in perfect agreement with you on all of that. Just so you know.


The point still remains though, that small disagreements are magnified far beyond the bounds of reason by BOTH sides for political advantage, and what should be rational debate all too often becomes a witch-hunt intent on enforcing ideological purity.


I see your point, although I tend to agree with Dr Brin that the enforcement of ideological purity from the left (in present day USA) doesn't have the real-world consequences that it does from the right.

In my more pessimistic moments, I imagine that the real rulers of the world (not just the wealthy, but the ones who actually have the inside information and know what's going on) are already convinced that the death of our biosphere is inevitable. Thus their "party like it's 1999" agenda, not because they wouldn't like to leave their grandchildren a healthy world, but because they already know that's not an option.

LarryHart said...

Sorry about the double-post.

Grumble-grumble blogger!

LarryHart said...

Bluebottle:

I like the bit in Pohl and Kornbluths "Gladiator at Law" which is set in future USA long dominated by the oligarchs. The principle means of controlling contract workers is letting them live in company owned super houses - if you lose your job you are out and into the unemployed underclass.


In theory, there's nothing wrong with an employer offering vast rewards to its employees in exchange for their loyalty.

But "In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is." :)

My objection to that sort of arrangenemt is that there is no middle ground between vast riches and life-threatening poverty.

I don't begrudge someone willing to work 100-hour weeks in order to get wealthy. I'd prefer to work 40 hour weeks with occasional overtime in order to be comforatable, but willing to lower my standard of living slightly in exchange for more free time.

Instead, what we have is a system in which you either "voluntarily" agree to be a defacto slave to the owners of the means of survival, or else they'll "find someone else who will", and you have no access to the system whatsoever.


Anyway the daughter of the inventor of the automatic houses wants to use the family stock to break up this system and one her former partners accuses her of "being no better than a Republican, young lady."
A joke about how far to the ultra capitalists right things can go


Cute. But I wonder if "Republican" was meant as a generic term for someone who believes in a form of popular vote, or did it really mean that the US "Republican" party had been so marginalized from the right?

Bluebottle said...

I thik it was a parody of the fifties accusation of usually the old to the young "You're no better than a Communist", that used to be banded about a lot. You know the fifties with McCathyism and Unameriacan Activities etc.

Mel Baker said...

I've always been astonished by the science deniers among my allies on the left. It's interesting that David speaks of calling ourselves liberal instead. For many years I've called myself liberal instead of progressive, not grasping consciously what David spells out here. Case in point. I did a recent story on a soaring rise in Pertussus (Whooping cough) among children in one SF Bay Area county, Marin. The wealthiest, most highly educated, most left leaning part of our fair region. TEN TIMES the rate of infections among kids and it's all do to the anti-vaccination movement, embraced by educated parents who think they understand everything and for whom "corporate" vaccinations are a conspiracy to make money! Arrrggh. The most vital advance in modern medicine being lost because it's become fashionable to tut tut vaccination.

Duncan Cairncross said...

I don't begrudge someone willing to work 100-hour weeks in order to get wealthy

I don't either - but why should somebody who works say
Twice as hard
Twice as effectively
Twice as long
Get 200 times as much??
These three are not independent the total is much less than 8 times as much

People in charge of BIG projects get paid more
Why?
If you are project managing a big project everybody helps, your project is seen as important it gets top priority
That makes it EASIER
Than managing a small project where you have to fight for everything and you are at the bottom of every bodies priority lists

Duncan Cairncross said...

http://pando.com/2014/01/23/the-techtopus-how-silicon-valleys-most-celebrated-ceos-conspired-to-drive-down-100000-tech-engineers-wages/

A longer article with more detail,
Free Enterprise - When it suits!

LarryHart said...

Following up on the "class warfare" theme, I believe there is a semantic disconnect between the 1% and the 99% that leads to outright inability to communicate across the divide, leading to such faux-pas as Romney's "47% who want the government to give them stuff" moment.

I think that what most regular folks expect the government to "give them" is a certain level of protection and security. I mean, what else is a government for? The oligarchs don't need that from the government, as they can pay for their own private security, so to them, even such fundamentals as police and fire protection or road maintenance is "free stuff" that "takers" want to mooch off of them. The 1% (really more like the 0.01%) consider such services to be something they (the 0.01%) have earned through their hard work, not something to be given to lazy bums just because they have working heartbeats.

Now the rhetoric of the oligarchists makes it sound as if they're talking purely about money--money that the wealthy have earned and which the masses simply envy. Ayn Rand says in so many words that the thankless masses envy their betters, wishing the rewards of the hard work of the oligarchs would just fall to them like so much rain.

In a very specific way, she's right about the dynamic, but the two sides disagree on what is being "envied" and what exactly is "deserved". Where she sees covetousness, I see an urge for fairness and justice.

I don't envy the rich man his millions of dollars and hope/demand that they be confiscated and given to me. But I do "envy" the rich man his not having to think about his next meal, his next medical emergency, or his next foreclosure, and believe that in the wealthiest society on earth, I really shouldn't be required to worry about those things either.

Are those things really luxuries that only the most industrious and lucky few can afford? Or are they rights of citizenship in a society that can easily afford the expense? If I perceive that my rights and dignity as a citizen and a human being are being denied and sold off to the highest bidder, is that "envy" or is that "rightous indignation" or something in between?

sociotard said...

I think the oddest place for the "suspicion of authority" + idiot plot is in children's scifi and fantasy. From "ET" to "the last mimsy", once the kids find the fantastic plot device, they have to say "don't tell the adults, they wouldn't understand".

Orson Scott Card wrote about that and pointed out how utterly unlike life that is. If kids have any degree of good relationship with their parents, the parents are the first people to be shown the fantastic.

However, it is completely necessary. If grownups find out, they have to get involved, and then it isn't a story about kids. Perhaps the same goes to the other kinds authority in stories. The great powers have to be stupid or evil, or we can't have a story with a strong central hero.

Tacitus2 said...

Mel Baker
-regards pertussis. A large part of recent "epidemics" is artifact. PCR technology has now allowed us to "see" what has been there all along..whooping cough never really went away. More affluent areas, which presumably have better funded public health labs, will always show higher rates. My state of Wisconsin is a good example.

Of course most cases will be milder, non lethal cases in older children/adults whose immunity has waned.

And most emphatically, get your kids immunized. "Old School" pertussis still occurs from time to time and it is tragic when an innocent baby dies from bullheaded decisions by its parents.

Out of curiosity, anyone want to put forward current political figures you consider "liberal"? Maybe avoid President Obama for purposes of discussion, he is for some a rather polarizing figure.

I ask because it seems from my perspective as if moderate Democrats are dwindling in numbers these days in parallel with moderate Republicans.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

@Tacitus,

I think many good liberal politicians have left the field altogether. Some moderate Republicans have done the same. Radio host Norman Goldman has a point when he says we should do away with "liberal" and "conservative" as labels, because the words are ambiguous. To me (child of the 1960s), "liberal" was always associated with the "Do your own thing" hippies, whereas "conservative" was the law-and-order police-state authoritarians. Imagine my surprise to discover that "liberals" love coercive government and "conservatives" value personal freedom!

BTW, I was thinking your absence from hereabouts was because you're getting buried in snow. We are too, but not quite as much.

DavidTC said...

. And there you have it -- my thumbnail of why you have anti-science "vaxxers" on the left, mimicking almost exactly the rhythms and incantations of Fox-watchers. Because the FAR-left is almost as crazy as today's ENTIRE-Right.

http://prospect.org/article/vaccine-fear-mongers-are-wrong-theyre-not-ideological

Hey, look. Anti-vaxers are slightly more common on the *right*, not the left.

David Brin said...

Sorry Tacitus, I just have no trouble shaking a stick and finding "liberals." What evidence have you, for radicalization of the Democratic Party?

They could not pass Hillarycare, so they pragmatically "surrendered" and brought forth Heritage/Gingrich/Romneycare… "your own damn plan" … and thought that would result in negotiation! A plan that relies mostly on market forces and pooling individuals to buy their own insurance. The LEAST socialist system in the industrialized world. (I would prefer something more Canadian, for such a non-fungible commodity.)

Do you see the military being slashed? Welfare going up?

California now has dems owning a 2/3 super majority, with a den guv, and this year's huge new budget surplus is being used mostly to pay off debt and to fill a Rainy Day Fund.

This CNN site backs up my assertion that our cliches about U.S. deficit spending are all wrong. The all-important Second Derivative of deficit shows whether an administration is serious about fiscal responsibility. If the 2nd Derivative (2D) is negative, then skyrocketing deficits become successively less steep and gradually turn downward toward the black. If 2D is positive, surpluses become deficits and deficits steepen into hemorrhages. And members of the public have a diametrically wrong impression that Democrats are somehow worse than Republicans on this matter, just because Republicans say so.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/27/news/economy/spending-obama/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

In fact, 2D is almost always POSITIVE under GOP administrations (post-Eisenhower) plunging the U.S. into worsening debt. And 2d is almost always NEGATIVE across the span of Democratic administrations. Conservatives invariably squirm when confronted with this huge and nearly uniform fact, that absolutely demolishes every cliche. But if they truly are "conservative" in the older and wiser sense of the word, they must eventually wake up and realize. No one is asking them to swerve left. But please… veer away from the monsters who have hijacked your movement. Steer away from crazy.

LarryHart said...

I don't get the impression that Tacitus perceives fewer moderate Democrats because the Dems have become hyper-radicalized to the left (although that may indeed have been his point).

To me, there are fewer moderate Democrats around because the ones remaining are almost indistinguishable from the Republicans of a few years ago. They're corporatists. For any fans of the 1980s "Dark Knight" comic book that repopularized Batman at the time:

"Of course we're corporatists!
We've always been corporatists!
We have to be corporatists!"

DeBlasio in NYC (who I suppose is my example of a successful liberal politician) and yes, your Democratic wave in California might be the start of an uprising against blind acceptance that corporatism is the only way for either party to function.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Do you see the military being slashed? Welfare going up?


No, what we see vilified as "socialism" or "class warfare" or "anti-Americanism" from the Democratic Party is simply, as Paul Krugman notes, refusal to genuflect to the aristocrats. President Obama gives them everything they'd ever dreamed of (the Dow is at 16,000 for gosh sakes! What does Wall St have to complain about?). He allows faith-based organizations to opt out of providing birth control because a corporation, which is constitutionnally unable to act on any premise other than profit, suddenly has a right to act on its conscience. He was even willing to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block in order to get some sort of "grand bargain" that Boehner said at the time gave him 98% of what he wanted.

But he doesn't treat the oligarchs like royalty or dieties. That's what earns him the "socialist" label in their eyes. He hurts their feelings.

Tacitus2 said...

LarryHart

Sure, snow, cold, family crises all of late. But not all topics are ones that interest me or in some cases ones in which I have anything important to contribute.

So David, shake that stick and come up with a few names! I sometimes struggle with differentiating Liberal and Progressive as these terms are used here.

There are some politicians from what are badly labeled "purple" states that might qualify, but the state of our extant primary system makes it hard for those who vary from party orthodoxy to gain much foothold elsewhere.

And yes, there are indications of economic improvement over the last year or so. Another interesting topic for discussion.

Tacitus

Tim H. said...

On the economy, the .1% have gotten too good at tying up money, the economy's constipated. I'd like to see a tumbrel-free solution, preferably not creating extreme inflation. Not asking much, eh?

Tim H. said...

Continuing on economics, this is the centenary of Ford's $5 day, in the media coverage, one doesn't hear about inflation. The 1914 price of a Troy ounce of gold is listed as $18.99, today, about a $1000, or about $32.87/ hour. Sounds like the UAW hasn't been out of line on compensation, or wouldn't have been if Detroit had worked in the shareholder's interest and lobbied for single payer back when HST wanted it.

occam's comic said...

Sorry David, but the whole premise of your post is factually wrong. Political ideology has nothing to do with the belief that vaccines are dangerous. The labeling of liberals as a whole as anti-vaccine is a right wing slur with no basis in reality. Please follow the link:
http://prospect.org/article/vaccine-fear-mongers-are-wrong-theyre-not-ideological#main-content

If you follow the link, you will also see that political ideology does have a strong effect on the belief in Global Warming. If the republicans are wrong (and the climate scientist are right) they will earn their place as history’s greatest force for evil.

DavidTC said...

Political ideology has nothing to do with the belief that vaccines are dangerous

And political ideology has very little to do with other dumb beliefs of the 'left' either.

For example, being anti-nuclear power. Yes, that is dumb (If we hadn't run like chickens from that in the 80s and 90s, we'd be *much* better off WRT climate change.) And yes, that *sorta* is a belief of the left.

But only barely. There's like a 20 point gap between the parties, depending on how exactly you poll. ~45% of the left like nuclear power, ~65% of the right do. And when you get into NIMBYism, it's pretty equal...Republicans just seem to be somewhat more okay with nuclear power *elsewhere*.

Considering the larger sway corporations hold over the political right in this country, it seems a fairly reasonable claim that dislike of nuclear power in this country is less an attribute of the left, than an attribute of half the population at large, and nuclear power corporations have just managed to sway a small portion of the right *back*. So, basically, the right appears to be a victim of *two wrong* (irrationally thinking nuclear power is unsafe, but also irrationally allowing corporations to do 'unsafe' things, as long as it doesn't happen to *them*), thus making a right.

I was just reading a book on this called 'The Republican Brain: Why They Deny Science', and the book keeps racking up the anti-science of the right...while constantly, in a strange and pointless attempt to be 'non-biased', keeps referencing the three things that 'liberals' are wrong about. The three stupid things the left believes are listed as anti-vax, anti-nuke, and anti-fracking.

And, to address the last one, as that's the only one left: The anti-fracking chapter is strangely hilarious, repeatedly mentioning problems that fracking has caused, while pointing out that is not the actual process of 'fracking' per se that is causing problems, but the fact it is done in a rush, with faulty wells and whatnot, and thus the answer is more regulation of wells instead of blanket bans on fracking. The problem is not the process of fracking, which seems safe enough (It is indeed happening far enough below ground it is unlikely to affect anything up here.), the problem that natural gas and chemicals get into the water through faulty wells that leak *on the way down*.

Of course, then he then points out the actual anti-fracking advocacy groups appear to *know where the problems really are*, so the complaint here seems to be 'protesters often simplify issues' or 'public protests tend to lag behind the science' or something. The left apparently is wrong on fracking *semantically*, while having always been 100% absolutely correct about the problems that drilling and fracking are currently causing.

locumranch said...

TWODA (aka 'Things We Ought to be Doing Anyway') has little or nothing to do with either reason or science, represents prescriptive authority as illustrated by the 'compelling' use of 'Ought & Should'-isms, and is the most probable source of most of the political insanity affecting the US.

The Climate Change Argument is an excellent example of our current state of unreason: First, we have scientific data which shows (inarguably) a strong correlation between human-mediated CO2 production & climate change. Second, we conclude (arguably) that this correlation is both causative & principal. Third, we ponder the implications of these causative assumptions. And, fourth, we rush to unscientific moral consensus & TWODA.

Note that the science behind the Climate Change Argument is not at issue. Albeit on an abbreviated time scale, the climate does appear to be warming, the oceans are rising, all in conjunction with rising atmospheric CO2 levels. This much is given. What is NOT given is the subsequent conclusion that the relationship between Climate Change & atmospheric CO2 is demonstrably causative. Instead, this relationship is a theory is based on the assumptive validity of ice-core CO2 levels as in 'CO2 levels have NEVER EVER been higher'.

What follows thereafter is moral rather than scientific. The scientific 'we' are being causatively punished for our technological sins and, by being 'cast out' by Climate Change from our divinely ordained environment, we must therefore accept the 'green' fable of a Pre-Industrial Eden. We must therefore believe, recycle & comply; we must invest in dubious alternative energy strategies; and we must accept the pronouncements of our tribal elders as both scientific & indisputable OR we will surely be damned.

As Science informs rather than compels, David confuses science with consensus morality, leaving us with this rather unscientific ritual exorcism: The Power of TWODA Compels Thee ... the Power of TWODA Compels Thee ... the Power of TWODA Compels Thee. TWODA.

I say it three times so it must be true.



Best.

occam's comic said...

Locumranch, your post makes me think that you are stupid or evil. The mechanism of how CO2 raises temperatures has been really well known for more than 100 years. As a matter of fact Arrhenius laid out the basic theory for the Greenhouse effect in 1896. It is a scientific fact that CO2 absorbs a fairly broad spectrum of IR light.

So trying to pull a page from the tobacco company’s evil pr campaign that tried to discredit the fact that smoking cigarettes causes cancer is not going to work.

locumranch said...

"Evil", am I (smirk, smirk), for questioning the consensus dogma of Climate Change?? Thank you, Occam's Comic, for proving my 'Morality masquerading as Science' argument so eloquently. But seriously, the analogy between tobacco & my CC skepticism is a weak one when a silicone analogy would serve you better.

Becoming popular in the 1960's, silicone breast implants redefined female beauty decisively when a scientific question (a correlation, really) about their relative safety surfaced in the 1980's leading to public & scientific outcry, their subsequent criminalization, a multi-billion dollar liability settlement & the bankruptcy of their manufacturer, later reversed in the early 2000's when a reanalysis of the original data proved that silicone implants were safer than dishwater which, btw, is why they are available today.

So it is with Climate Change. Even though I grant that CO2 is a powerful greenhouse & that the ice-core data makes it *appear (not prove)* as if atmospheric CO2 levels have *never been greater*, the Climate Change Consensus bandwagon stops for no one, brooking no contradiction, brutally crushing even the slightest opposition with non-transparent moral authority, bringing us to yet another one of David's inherent contradictions:

To wit, the inherent contradiction that is 'transparency', a principle built on a 'Suspicion of Authority' (SOA) argument which he then invalidates by making the SOA argument synonymous with 'paranoia'.


Best

Duncan Cairncross said...

"Evil", am I (smirk, smirk), for questioning the consensus dogma of Climate Change??

No you are a plonker

Too dim to be evil

LarryHart said...

DavidTC:

There's like a 20 point gap between the parties, depending on how exactly you poll. ~45% of the left like nuclear power, ~65% of the right do. And when you get into NIMBYism, it's pretty equal...Republicans just seem to be somewhat more okay with nuclear power *elsewhere*.


Republicans seem to be perversely in favor of anything that is harmful to the enviornment. I don't know if that's just an anti-regulation attitude or a belief that anything enviornment-friendly is leftist and therefore wrong. Or something else entirely.

But their positions on anything from "Drill, baby, drill!" to the Keystone pipeline to nuclear power seems to be that if it's dangerous, then they're for it. Not even a cost-benefit argument that the benefits outweight the dangers, but a perverse favoritism toward risks of actual harm.

I'm wondering if this is a version of...I forget the term Dr Brin used now, but it described a reflex common to certain females to submit unconditionally to the king.

LarryHart said...

Tim H:

this is the centenary of Ford's $5 day


Nowadays, we have Wal-Mart, which is the anti-Ford.

Ford paid his employess enough to raise their standard of living to the point where they could become his customers.

Wal-Mart pays their employees little enough to lower their standard of living to the point where they cannot afford to be anyone's customers but Wal-Mart's.

David Brin said...

If locus's accusations spewed in even the same horizon quadrant as I am standing, instead of being straw men concocted out of overwrought imagination and frustration with his own ineffectualism, I'd be miffed or concerned.

AS is? Yaaaaaaaaaaaawn. Keep em coming, lad. I'll let you know when you've got me bracketed.

Alex Tolley said...

silicone breast implants redefined female beauty decisively when a scientific question (a correlation, really) about their relative safety surfaced in the 1980's leading to public & scientific outcry, their subsequent criminalization, a multi-billion dollar liability settlement & the bankruptcy of their manufacturer, later reversed in the early 2000's when a reanalysis of the original data proved that silicone implants were safer than dishwater

The problem was not a scientific issue. The problem for DDC was the sheer number of lawsuits as lawyers trawled for plaintiffs.

DCC did not go bankrupt - they filed for Chap 11 - bankruptcy protection so that they could continue in business.

The subsequent analysis simply showed that there was no statistically significant different between an implant group and a control group for the claimed side effects.

So why did DCC have to pay anything? Because the implants ruptured casing pain and suffering, and possibly worse in some cases. In France, just recently, the CEO of a French silicone implant company was jailed because his company used non-medical grade silicone.

Science worked fine in this instance. It was the non-scientific legal profession that precipitated the class action lawsuits. Only for the highest motives, I'm sure.

As for silicone implants being safer than dishwater, that isn't exactly a high bar. Dishwater cannot be used for grey water systems due to food contaminants.

locumranch said...

"Further research has shown that children do not merely experience social motivation and pressure to imitate on a dyadic level (as in many teaching situations) but also do so on a group level. This group-level aspect of imitation is evident in normativity. When a knowledgeable group member demonstrates an action for a child, the child often learns it normatively, as the way group members in general ought to behave. In one of the earliest illustrations of this, Rakoczy et al. (2008) presented 3-year-old children with demonstrations of how to play a novel game. Once children had learned the game, a puppet asked to join in but then performed the relevant actions incorrectly. Children protested against this violation of the norms of the game, attempting to enforce the learned norms on the puppet. The children in this study thus demonstrated that they had internalized the relevant norms and expected other group members to adhere to them as well."

"Another area in which the group-level aspects of imitation are particularly clear is conformity. In adults at least, conformity is a powerful mechanism through which cultural norms, behaviors, and attitudes are learned and maintained. Recent research has shown that young children also conform to the behavior of those around them. In fact, the motivation and pressure to conform is so great that children conform to the claims of their group members even when those claims are clearly false. For example, when presented with an Asch-style test of conformity, 4-year-olds conform to the majority’s opinion on almost 40% of trials (Haun and Tomasello in press). Evidence that social motivations and pressures underlie much of children’s “extreme” copying come from findings like the following: children conform more in public than in private (Haun and Tomasello in press) and increase how closely they copy others when they have a goal to affiliate (Over and Carpenter 2009)".

Now, now, children. Try goggling 'Enforcing Conformity, Social Norms' before you embarrass yourselves further.

Best

Alex Tolley said...

So it is with Climate Change. Even though I grant that CO2 is a powerful greenhouse & that the ice-core data makes it *appear (not prove)* as if atmospheric CO2 levels have *never been greater*, the Climate Change Consensus bandwagon stops for no one, brooking no contradiction, brutally crushing even the slightest opposition with non-transparent moral authority,

1. The ice cores do reliably trap atmospheric gases. It isn't a question of "appearing", but rather that the data is strong.
2. There are a number of different physical, chemical and biological profiles that correlate quite well with what we know of their climatic dispersions in time and space. From these, we have multiple ways to confirm the likelihood that the cores reflect reality.
3. Actually CO2 levels have been greater in the past, most notably the Eocene climatic maximum.
We also have data for the high CO2 levels during the Permian extinction. Inferred temperatures using various proxies have correlated very nicely CO2 levels. Living in that period would not be pleasant for humans.
4. It is laughable that there is some CCC steamroller operating. The steamrolling has all been on the organized denialists side, using various means from intimidation to lawsuits. Show me one case where a scientist or science organization has done anything remotely like this to suppress dissent.
5. Every case where "skeptics" have provided their evidence that GW is not happening has failed on closer examination, from Singer's satellite data on atmospheric temperatures to climate forcing sensitivities. Most denialists don't even bother to try - they just throw mud hoping some will stick, especially if it is repeated often enough. Goebbels would have something to say about that.







Alex Tolley said...

@locumranch.

So "dittoheads" are really embarrassing themselves. So we can safely ignore everything their puppet masters say. Glad we have that settled.

Tacitus2 said...

"Sorry Tacitus, I just have no trouble shaking a stick and finding "liberals. DB "

David is of course under no obligation to respond to my query about exactly who these hypothetical "liberal" (and implied worthy) political figures are. He probably has more important things to do.

But one must call things as they are, dodging a question in this context is a variant of "Handwavium"

I hereby coin the term "Stickshakium"!

Not even half seriously yours

Tacitus

locumranch said...

First, the so-called 'reliability' of ice core data depends on the assumed validity of the non-empiric 'trapped non-soluble air bubble' hypothesis which ignores an established CO2 solubility maximum of approximately 325 ppm (assuming liquid water at 0 degree C and an atmospheric pressure of 1 atm), the solubility of gaseous CO2 being lower than 325 ppm in crystallized water ice.

Second, ice core-derived CO2 data shows a documented CO2 range varying between a 178 ppm minimum and a 282 ppm maximum (well within established CO2 solubility parameters), (2) Elevated CO2 levels in amorphous 'melt zones' believed to be associated with climate warming (also explainable by CO2 solubility coefficients) and (3) Chronological inconsistencies that suggest that the melt zones believed to be associated with climate warming often precede CO2 level elevations (suggesting that atmospheric CO2 levels exhibit temperature dependence rather than vice versa), including (4) "results (that) support the Milankovitch theory that Northern Hemisphere summer insolation triggered the last four deglaciations".

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/domefuji/df-co2-dry-260ka-2007.txt

Third, NOAA climate change simulations include assumptions that are often contradictory. Assuming that atmospheric CO2 levels are the main (major) driving force in a 'Steady-State' relationship with environmental temperature, they also assume that current atmospheric CO2 levels represent a Non-Steady State Aberrancy, applying Steady State functions to an admittedly Non-Steady State dynamic, excluding and/or minimizing the effect of the Milankovitch theory, secondary biochemical pathways and inducible biological CO2 compensatory mechanisms.

Fourth, atmospheric CO2 is a major driver in 'Radiative Forcing', second only to that of water vapor, but it is necessary to state that CO2-derived RF does not depict the climate response in its entirety. There are several parameters related to climate change that exist, but are neglected by current Climate Change theory because they are greatly variable and complex CO2-derived RF is easy to calculate, though, so it is used to provide a general, yet respectable, estimate of how the climate will respond to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations.

Finally, we have the distorting influence of conformity as documented by Asch, aka 'the threefold distortion of perception, judgment and action', aggravated by the conditionalities of group self-identification, the popularity of the group in question, the desire to belong, the relative attractiveness of group members, secondary gain due to group membership and a cult-like belief in the trustworthiness of the designated expert, all of which increase the likelihood of individual 'compliance' to both 'groupthink' and soul-crushing conformity.

But, then again, it has been written that anyone who disagrees with the Gospel of Climate Change must either be "evil or stupid" (sic). Duh Duh Duh. Could I avoid social exclusion and disenfranchisement by joining your exclusive club of smarty-smart freemasonry?? I'd love to be a freemason. Freemasonry opens doors. I mean, I was… I was a bit on edge just now, but if I were a mason I'd sit at the back and not get in anyone's way.



Best

David Brin said...

Locum offered interesting points worth reading -- till lapsing into typical whining blah-blah "everybody is an expert-sucking conformist but me!" Blahblah snor…..

But even the interesting stuff is mastrubatory to a degree. Because no area of scientific controversy attracts this kind of public raving by amateurs absolutely certain that the 95% scientific model is an evil plot! Why does climate change feature this?

Because petri princes and Coal Kings stand to lose billions is we become more efficient and do even basic TWODA things to prudently prepare…

...just in case the experts who know what Bernoulli's Law is happen to be right,

Me? I will ponder climate skepticism from Berkeley's Muller, who is the real deal and knows his ass from a Heritage-financed "tobacco-is-harmless" legedermain.

I will listen to "skeptics" who preface their criticisms with: "Of course WHILE we are debating this, we should invest like hell in TWODA, just in case I'm wrong and 97% of scientists are right."

---
PS… I also listen to Naval officers, fretting over an ice free arctic, They have no time for bullshit.

David Brin said...

Tacitus I have offered California as a perfectly pertinent case in point. Jerry Brown is titanically popular here, has balanced budgets, improved schools, vetoed overreaching laws… but the 2/3 den majority hasn't sent him many because they just aren't as socialist as the screechers predicted.

Sure there are tensions inside the 2/3 majority, between Blue Dog, center-right democrats and Santa Monica levies. So? The result has been a moderate GOP faction that plays kingmaker and decider and now has MORE power that it used to, when all it would do was obstruct. Now, a dozen GOP assemblymen play pivotal roles in amending bills and… actually… negotiating.

You want others? Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, in a deep red state has huge popularity while steering the state through Obamacare skillfully and delivering government that is both prudent and progressive. There's dozens more…

… but you are demanding far more work from me than you ar willing to give. You find for me the hopper - other than Christie - who does not hear Roger Ailes's talking points at breakfast and repeat them before noon.,

locumranch said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Muller has a good head. Separating Climate Change hysteria from CO2-derived RF, he attributes "an increase of one and a half degrees (F) over the most recent 50 years" to human-mediated CO2 production, all while maintaining a healthy skepticism:

"I still find that much, if not most, of what is attributed to climate change is speculative, exaggerated or just plain wrong ... Hurricane Katrina cannot be attributed to global warming. The number of hurricanes hitting the United States has been going down, not up; likewise for intense tornadoes. Polar bears aren’t dying from receding ice, and the Himalayan glaciers aren’t going to melt by 2035. And it’s possible that we are currently no warmer than we were a thousand years ago, during the “Medieval Warm Period” or “Medieval Optimum,” an interval of warm conditions known from historical records and indirect evidence like tree rings. And the recent warm spell in the United States happens to be more than offset by cooling elsewhere in the world, so its link to “global” warming is weaker than tenuous."

Best.

Alato said...

Speaking as an actual leftist who is pro-science and pro-nukes, I think the major problem most liberals have is an inability to identify and stand with thier allies. (Almost) Everything that has been said in the main and the comments points to right-wing attitudes as blocking the progress we need to make, and yet the whole piece is larded with "both sides do it" centrism.

We're tired of getting thrown under the bus, and bluntly the left has been right far more often than it has been wrong in the last 30-40 years. A little support from the people WHO SHARE THE SAME GOALS would be nice.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Locum, I do wish to quibble with your data for 'intense tornadoes hitting the US":
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/publications/mccarthy/tor30yrs.pdf
Please to note the slight difference between 1970-2002 and 1998-2002 in the middle of the article.
The mid 1970s had one year (1974) with appalling tornado activity, but the past decade has seen a ratcheting up of F4 and F5 level storms.

BTW, there is a theory that global climate change (at least at this stage of the game) is disrupting hurricane formation rather than augmenting it, because of introduced variations in the arctic jet stream. The question is what will happen later?

TheMadLibrarian
ctumeth: ant that right soon!

DavidTC said...

Everything that has been said in the main and the comments points to right-wing attitudes as blocking the progress we need to make, and yet the whole piece is larded with "both sides do it" centrism.

That's just how Brin rolls. A man smart enough to see exactly how destructive the right is, but who apparently then feels guilty about this, and must search desperately for *something* to complain about the left for.

The real joke is, he's actually identified the actual problem several times, in different ways. There is, and has been throughout human history, a war between authoritarian past-looking anti-science people, and the opposite of those people.

He knows this. He's actually managed to explain it fairly well.

But he insists on veering away from the logical confusion at the last second, and keeps insisting that the left and right are somehow equals and it just happens that the right is out of control at this moment, and that the left somehow could, at any moment, spin wildly out of control and start behaving in the same way. He appears to have failed to notice that, *by his own logic*, the left is *vastly* less susceptible to hijacking like that.

And he somehow thinks there is some group of 'the left' out there that isn't what he means by 'liberals' (By 'liberals', as far as I can tell, he actually means 'progressives and liberals', considering one of the main virtue of his 'liberalism' appears to be the idea that the government can fix problems.) No one else can even decipher who the hell these 'leftists' are supposed to be.

It's good you're here, we need more people to keep calling him on this nonsense.

occam's comic said...

Just as a thought experiment, assume that the climate scientist are correct and that climate change is as bad as they think it is going to be. What kind of punishment would be appropriate for climate change deniers? If things get bad there is going to be some white hot anger pointed at the deniers.

Tacitus2 said...

Still not entirely sure I understand the distinction between Liberal and Progressive here, but fair enough.

Jerry Brown is in that enviable situation..a politician who by all accounts has fought his last campaign. They can get away with ignoring orthodoxy. See also McCain, John.

As to Republicans who do not appear to be in lockstep with your putative Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Lets see...

I find Senator Ayotte interesting, another New England Republican and female to boot.

A couple of Governors other than Christie come to mind. Branstad in Iowa, but he is also most likely in Brown/McCain territory, no future ambitions.

Bill Haslam of Tennessee perhaps.

I could propose a few other candidates but thanks for the tip on Beshear. He looks interesting...

Too early for an H.Clinton coronation after all.

Tacitus

Robert said...

Sorry to intrude on your climatic change political argument, but I thought Dr. Brin might find this interview with Jimmy Lasalvia, founder of GOPround, and why he has quit the Republican Party of interest. Many of his points reflect on comments I have made multiple times in the past concerning how the Republican Party is dying out... and will ultimately become a minority regional party before succumbing to the winds of history.

Here are a couple rather damning quotes which any conservative should consider:

"After that election loss, I thought, well, maybe they have learned their lessons, that the bigotry was going to drag them down and they’ve been out of touch with life in America today. I had hoped that they would address some of it in their autopsy and the new revamping of the Republican Party, but they’ve done almost anything but that to address the problems in the party.

We have seen lots of examples lately. Just recently a member of the RNC who has a long history of saying many anti-gay statements went on an anti-Muslim screed on his Facebook page, and the best that the RNC chairman can do is say we need to treat everybody with respect. He can’t say that that’s wrong and denounce it."

"The inability [of the Republican Party] to offer real solutions to the problems affecting us is remarkable to me. The fact that their M.O. is to oppose Democrats at all costs and yet not offer any alternatives—I don’t agree with most everything Democrats propose either, but just opposing what they want to do doesn’t address the problem. They always let the Democrats define the problem and offer a solution, and then all they do is oppose it without even recognizing the problem."

"The bottom line is I’m still a conservative, I still care about our country, and I still want to work to make it better. It just won’t happen in the context of working within a party that is frankly shrinking. You have a party that is shrinking and going under with no hope of repair. There comes a point when you have to abandon ship. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to pull the plug on the patient. It’s been brain-dead for a long, long time."

(part 2 follows)

Robert said...

(part 1 above)

The question remaining is this: When the Republican Party ultimately dies, what will replace it? The Libertarian party seems to be a non-entity, unable to get its act together, refusing to accept responsibility for the actions of its politicians under the flags of "individuality" and "freedom" and ultimately is unworkable with the current structure of government. Libertarians are nearly anarchistic in their views toward government, and with a government the size of the U.S. Federal government, wholesale dismantlement just is not doable.

If Libertarians gave up on the economic libertarian aspect and fully embraced civil rights libertarianism (regulation of business is needed, but the citizens should have full freedom) then they would stand a chance. Sadly, the Randians have the bit in their teeth and are unlikely to let go. Thus Libertarians will ultimately not succeed Republicans.

So then, the alternative? Given the increasing conservatism of the Democratic Party, might it not once again embrace the Right (as it did leading up to the Civil War, where the Republican Party was a leftist party) and the more liberal elements break free and create their own party? I'm unsure as to the viability of the Green Party, but seeds have been planted with the Occupy Movement. In 20 years those seeds may ultimately sprout into a crop of politicians willing to embrace liberal causes and go their own path.

----------

One last thing to consider. Labor Unions are dying out. The organizational structure of labor unions just doesn't work. They are inefficient and spread themselves too thin. However, labor unions are still needed, as the current problems with income distribution has shown. So then, how can we harness the power of online social networks in building new Labor Unions designed for the 21st Century? How can we create an efficient and effective labor union structure using the Internet and social networks as a method of driving worker rights once more?

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Webcomic Reviews

David Brin said...

Tacitus, McCain TALKED being a Maverick cause he knew America hated Bush. But he surrounded himself with the same gang… as did Romney.

Locum - I said Muller was an example of a genuine skeptic, who openly avows a need to do TWODA and to double science budgets to learn more, WHILE questioning details. I did NOT say that Muller is always right.

Alato - It is true that attempting to actually create a simplistic model of Leftists and Liberals is apt to fail. In fact, folks in that general direction are likely to be individualist and quirky-eccentric in their specifics.

I am much less concerned about that… preaching merely that "liberals" start realizing that Adam Smith was one of them and that market enterprise is one of the chief VICTIMS of a rising aristocratic monopolist oligarchy. That would enable them to tell the mad right… you don't even stand for markets, anymore.

David Brin said...

David TC conflates and fibs even as he sort of nails it, when he points at me and says:
"But he insists on veering away from the logical confusion at the last second, and keeps insisting that the left and right are somehow equals and it just happens that the right is out of control at this moment, and that the left somehow could, at any moment, spin wildly out of control and start behaving in the same way. He appears to have failed to notice that, *by his own logic*, the left is *vastly* less susceptible to hijacking like that."

Um… Anyone who saw the Soviet Union… who knows about Cambodia, Cuba and China… who saw the wasted years of African Socialism… knows the Left can be a realm of utter brutality and depravity.

If you buy into having to be loyal to a fatuous position along a fatuous "left-right axis" then you buy loyalty to the monsters of your end.

If you don't think the left can spin wildly out of control, then you know nothing of the purges under Lenin and then Stalin, when sincere, well-meaning leftists who just wanted to argue methods were bruttally repressed, purged and killed. See the movie REDS.

You need to read Orwell's Homage to Catalonia….

… or hell, you should have suffered the dogmatic, gleeful-slogan-shouting bullying of nasty-vicious thugs wearing che T shirts on EVERY college campus in America, in the 1960s and so on. Assholes who preened and did so so so much more harm than good.

I aim my suspicions in all directions because I MUST! Every cult of dogmatic incantation is a potential place of shelter for human monsters. And just because America is now experiencing an attempted oligarchic putsch by would be feudal lords on the right, that does not compel me to ignore hard lessons -- that enemies of freedom try to clothe themselves in every incantation of virtue.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

David is of course under no obligation to respond to my query about exactly who these hypothetical "liberal" (and implied worthy) political figures are. He probably has more important things to do.


I'm not Dr Brin, of course, but I still am having trouble discerning your point. Is it that true liberals are rare? As opposed to what? Moderate conservatives? Corporatist Dems?

I've got names I could throw out there, but I'm afraid you'd think of them as lefty fanatics. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Nancy Pelosi. Harry Reid (who up until very recently I'd have said was a corporatist Democrat).

My best example is still the newly-elected mayor of NYC, Bill (?) DeBlasio. But again, I'm not sure you accept him as an example of what I think he is.

It would help if you'd clarify what you're getting at.

Hank Roberts said...

http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/27.73.html#subj1

Will non-profit foundations step up to save the Internet? (Dan Gillmor)
*Dewayne Hendricks* Monday, January 27, 2014

Dan Gillmor, *The Guardian*, 24 Jan 2014
A few corporations and government are strangling democratized technology....

DavidTC said...

Um… Anyone who saw the Soviet Union… who knows about Cambodia, Cuba and China… who saw the wasted years of African Socialism… knows the Left can be a realm of utter brutality and depravity.

Wrong. Authoritarians are, first and fore-most, *authoritarians*.

The economic policy that they operate under might work, or might not, but the brutality and depravity of authoritarian states are solely because they are *authoritarian states*.

Now communism is a product of the left going to far, but the only thing it produces is a *failed economy*, not brutality.

The fact that brutality accompanies communism is reading causality the wrong way...only *under* brutality will anyone put up with communism. Communism doesn't cause brutality, brutality causes communism, or at least makes it hard to get rid of.

Please note about what I just said is *also* true of the right. Rightish-authoritarian states have brutality because they are authoritarian, not because they are rightish.


However, the fact that the only places that have implemented communism are authoritarians states actually rather demonstrates that the left *isn't* so easily lead to idiocracy as the right, because the left has managed to never *vote* to operate a total disaster of an economy.

Oh, wait, they did. Once. In Tanzania (Which was actually communism, not socialism. It was central planning, at least.), the left voted in communism...and they managed to *not have any brutality*, but their economy went downhill and they fixed it.

MY GOD! What has the left done?! They once tanked an economy!! That actually did happen once, and they then intelligently decided that was stupid and fixed it!!!

Whereas, as is easily demonstrated, the right *repeatedly* votes in disasters of economies, causing repeated economic collapses right *in this very country*.

I think my point about which party is more easily hijacked into stupidity, and which party is 'pro-evidence', is fairly well made there.

David Brin said...

Sorry, but DavidTC you are twisting yourself into a pretzel of rationalization. The only way your edifice would make the slightest sense is if you could cite examples of non-authoritarian-left actually working. But there are no…

… oh, wait. Sweden. And Norway, Denmark… and maybe twenty other advanced, industrial societies that are among the freest and happiest on Earth and also selectively and carefully and in restrained ways socialist.

Um… why didn't you mention them? Because perhaps they make MY point and not yours? That mixed systems in which non-fungible things like health care and infrastructure and environmental parameters and all things for children are socialistic… but the economy that pays for it all is vibrantly and eagerly competitive capitalistic. Exactly as recommended by Heinlein… and to some extent by Adam Smith… and by me.

But clearly Sweden is not leftist enough for you. In which case, I say fie and poppycock. Putting fungible things under the control of bureaucrats invites corruption, authoritarianism and stupidity of allocation. as much as putting them under command of oligarchs.

ALL of post colonial Africa, India and so on experimented with state control of the economy and it all failed. As will any system that fails to take advantage of and utilize the spectacular drive of human beings to compete and be better than each other and out-do each other.

Yes, such systems were always crushed and poisoned by oligarchy in the past. But for two centuries the West has gradually done better. And what we do not need is dogmatics with "I know how to allocate right!" delusions taking charge with simplistically stupid incantations. We don't need em from Fox and we don't need em from Marx.

guthrie said...

I really can't see anything interesting in what Locumranch wrote. Just the usual denialist fud.
And he's wrong on several points - he wrote that water vapour and CO2 are drivers, which implies that water vapour is a forcing of climate, whereas its a feedback; it's the CO2 (and other greenhouse gases such as methane) which are driving the warming.

Assuming that atmospheric CO2 levels are the main (major) driving force in a 'Steady-State' relationship with environmental temperature, they also assume that current atmospheric CO2 levels represent a Non-Steady State Aberrancy, applying Steady State functions to an admittedly Non-Steady State dynamic, excluding and/or minimizing the effect of the Milankovitch theory, secondary biochemical pathways and inducible biological CO2 compensatory mechanisms.
THat's wrong too, it seems to think that Milankovitch forcings aren't already taken care of, and can happen suddenly in the order of decades without anyone noticing at all.
The obsession with steady-state and non-steady state reminds me of the 19th century arguments in geology about catastrophism versus uniformitarianism. Of course once we had enough data and good theories, the argument evaporated because it was totally irrelevant to the reality of the situation.

Tacitus2 said...

LarryH

As the topic is understanding American politics I think we may explore a bit further.

What I am looking for are more suitable labels. There is a tendency to paint one's opponents, and even friends, with a rather wide brush.

RepublicaTeaPartiConservatives for instance. This impoverishes our discourse. For purposes of discussion, and keeping in mind that this is merely my perspective...

The terms Republican and Democrat are near meaningless in 2014. On one side of the aisle as it were...

Conservative: a general suspicion of change. A greater confidence in the lower levels of the political pyramid (states) along with a distrust of both "the mob" and of unelected nomenklatura.

Tea Party: some of the above but a stronger, indeed defining, suspicion of large government. Non violent despite the fever dreams of the media but certainly a "mob" element in the sense of potentially ill informed masses demanding something.

Libertarians: they appear to believe that everyone should be left alone. If the acrid smoke from somebody else's doobie bothers you it is ok to ask them to move but you can't make 'em do so.

And on the other side:

Liberal: strictly speaking, believers in generosity, in sharing the benefits of our society. Formerly with strong religious roots, in recent times far more secular and thus influenced by their related species...

Leftists: Those who knowingly or otherwise look to Marx and Engels. Emphatic in their desire to redistribute wealth. Big believers in the merits of union organizing and international treaties. Often at risk of becoming...

Statists: Yes, any portion of the political bestiary can go this route but the "Left" seems more inclined to faith in the State to do the right thing. Or more alarmingly, the necessary thing. Most of the failed states of the third world went this route. The masses exist only to be led by the cadres.

And finally:

Progressives: Bits and bobs of the above, but these folks are antsy to change things and none too scrupulous about how they do it. Results can be mostly good, such as the civil rights movement. Or maybe not so much. Impatient, perhaps the most highly educated of the groups listed, and willing to bend the rules in the name of Progress.

A well functioning system would have the Conservative and Progressive factions held in counter balance. Liberal Values and Tea Party fiscal prudence are not incompatable. We need a few unapologetic Leftists around for perspective. Statists should scare all of us. I wonder if Libertarians will ever amount to anything.

So, there ya go. To be polite I should ask you LarryH, which category would you prefer I put you into? Or some other of course....

Tacitus

Paul451 said...

Tacitus2,
"What I am looking for are more suitable labels."

I thought we were agreed on Teabagger for conservatives and Libtard for everyone else?

Valkyrie Ice said...

@Larry

Sorry it took so long to respond, been a little busy.

To answer your question, it depends on whether your agenda is (to quote Dr Mann) "Kill the MWP" or not.

Mann et al will claim it was localized, and all of his supporters will back him up.

The trouble is there is data from south polar ice cores that show it to be world wide.

This is where David and I disagree. I find plenty of evidence of bias in the documentation and publication of evidence for the AGW "Disaster Crowd". He denies the existence of any such bias. I think we more or less agreed to disagree. And to make it clear, BOTH sides of the debate are guilty of bias, fudging and deliberate misrepresentation. I've spent too much time researching both sides to think anything else.

Regardless, while I am in agreement with your "lumping it all together" for practical purposes, that is not the case with political solutions, must of which focus ONLY on carbon, to the complete exclusion of other dangers.

And no, the bio sphere is not "hopelessly gone" It's actually quite healthy in some ways, but woefully overburdened in others. And we CAN fix this. The question is WILL we, and will we do so with a minimal loss of human lives.

The problem is that both sides have their cherished illusions, that no matter what, they cannot allow to be challenged. The right just has a whole lot of DELUSIONS tossed in on top.

I'm quite in agreement with David on this post. There are many more "liberals" than people are led to believe. I am simply pointing out that they have to face the fact that they will get flack from ALL SIDES if they have the courage to stand up and say LET TAKE THE MIDDLE PATH.

Alato said...

Hello again,

I'd actually agree with the leftists being more state-ist, but the reason for that is that most oppression occurs in private spheres. (families, companies, churches, etc). The state is about the only thing with the power and legitimacy to push back on that. And frankly, we hold that increasing the state power in those areas increases freedom, if democracy works and the legal system believes in equality.

Valkyrie- (btw, did you do that awesome piece a while back on H+ about the future of gender change? I really liked it) the last time the earth's tempature dropped as much as we are looking at it rising, we had glaciers two miles thick at the equator for 30 million years. I'm not comfortable just assuming we can survive an increase of the same magnitude.

Lastly- the middle path. Paved with good intentions, constrained to play by the rules... and we can all see the scorched earth aristocracy it is leading to. I'll agree that by claiming to be a leftist, I do have to own (to an extent) the monsters on that side. However, I'll also agree that the trigger is authoritarianism- the monsters are on all sides, and I really don't think the left/right divide is a very good predictor of who will try and kill you for not doing what they say.

To return to my original plea- stand with us! A centrist path is not going to change the distribution/centralization of wealth and power, and a centrist path is not going to permit the mass deployment of tech that could keep this world livable. We need the liberals to join us in being willing to be radical. (and we need them to keep the authoritarians that are going to crop up under control.)

locumranch said...

To echo Tacitus on inaccurate political categorization, I object to the disparaging use of the 'Climate Change Denier' label by those Climate Change Cultists whose credulity is only exceeded by their sense of moral superiority, as I belong to neither category.

Self-identifying as a Climate Change Minimalist, I accept the scientific tenets behind human-mediated climate change, including the principle of radiative forcing, but dismiss the human predilection for religious apocrypha, including the usual 'Fin de Siecle' style hysteria about divine wrath, the 'End of Times' & the pre-industrial Edenic fantasy.

I accept that human beings alter, have altered and will continue to alter their global environment as long as they shall live and I say 'What of it ?'. Like the microbe & the beaver, humans alter the environment because they are living biological organisms and altering the environment is what living biological organisms do, excepting that humans do it better than most.

TheMadLibrarian referenced an excellent paper about the increasing prevalence & intensity of tornadoes over the past 30 years with the conclusion that we cannot tell because of a lack of dependable baseline data from the prehistorical days before radar & satellite imaging, even though the very 'act of counting' & rating tornadoes makes it appear as if tornadoes are getting more frequent and more intense, illustrating the importance of dependable (steady state) baseline data & the prevalence of numerical fallacy.

And so it is with much of the current Climate Change Argument. We have only been seriously engaged in the 'act of counting' for 75 years or so; we infer the prior existence of a Steady State or "Normal" environment based on estimated prehistorical data; we assume numerical equivalency between prehistorical estimates and actual measurement in order to calculate apparent change; and then we make sentimental value-judgments about the relative desirability of the described change, prompting the 'doom & gloom' crowd to express nostalgia for a pre-industrial womb, even though they benefit from fossil fuels & the Industrial Age.

Chimps spend less time enforcing conformity then we do.


Best

occam's comic said...

Locumranch, you have got me to reevaluate your position on climate change. I think that your position is BOTH stupid AND evil. You seem to think that this is just an academic exercise and that you don’t even consider the consequences of being wrong. If the people who think climate change is a serious problem and that we need rapidly take action to minimize the danger are wrong, what is the downside? We might overinvest in conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy (and maybe nuclear power).

If the climate change deniers or climate change minimalists are wrong? At a minimum you are imposing a great deal of costs on people who are not benefiting from your carbon emissions. (It is a very immoral thing for you to reap the benefits while imposing cost on others.) And if climate change turns out to be bad (say increase of 4C to global temperature) it would be incompatible with modern civilization. That would make the deniers and the minimalists history’s greatest monsters.

To get back to the tobacco analogy, your position is like saying “Sure smoking tobacco causes cancer, and I have cancer markers in my blood steam and black spots on my lung in x-rays, but a little cancer isn’t so bad. I mean what is cancer anyway but rapidly dividing cells. When I was a kid my cells divided like crazy so quit being such cancer alarmist!”

DavidTC said...

The only way your edifice would make the slightest sense is if you could cite examples of non-authoritarian-left actually working.

Wow, I've seen people move goalposts before, but I've never actually seen anyone sprint in the wrong direction and score an own goal while yelling touchdown.

Um… why didn't you mention them? Because perhaps they make MY point and not yours?

No, I didn't mention them because *you* didn't mention them and I was replying to *your* examples. Duh. And because my post was already a full page.

But clearly Sweden is not leftist enough for you. In which case, I say fie and poppycock. Putting fungible things under the control of bureaucrats invites corruption, authoritarianism and stupidity of allocation. as much as putting them under command of oligarchs.

And if I agreed with that, I'd say that communism produces failed economies.

OH WAIT. I DID SAY THAT. EXPLICITLY.

My entire post post is literally talking about the fact that communism is *such* a bad economic system that *no society will choose to implement it*, at least not without coercion. (Which is, as I was reminded, not *entirely* true. It has been implemented in democracies a few times. And failed. And then stopped being implemented. This is a valid objection to my point, which I mentioned in my post...and also why it didn't really disprove my point.)

There is no possible way to read my post honestly and sanely and conclude I'm pro-communism, or that I want policies to the left of Sweden.

As will any system that fails to take advantage of and utilize the spectacular drive of human beings to compete and be better than each other and out-do each other.

As you have apparently *completely* forgotten the point of this discussion, the point is not that communism doesn't work, or that mixed economies are best. Those are things we *both* agree on, and have *always* agreed on.

The point of this discussion is your absurd premise that, just like we need to be wary of the right, we need to be wary of the left. This premise of yours is wrong.

The elite of the right have *repeatedly*, through all of human history, destroyed countless economies for their own selfish purposes, and the commoners of the right have been repeatedly tricked into going along with this. Over and over again. IT JUST HAPPENED HERE.

The left, OTOH, has almost never done this, at least not democratically. Whether people like Stalin were honest leftists or dishonest brokers who just wanted power is unknown, but the point is, they couldn't make society go along with them without threatening them. And the few times the left has democratically implemented planned economies, it was *honest* stupidity, not the delusional top-down stupidity that the rich and powerful get the right commoners to parrot. When the left comes up with an idiotic policy, and it fails, they *stop*, instead of doubling-down like the right.

AND YOU KNOW THIS.

And hence your constant reminders that we need to 'watch' the left, along with the right, are just completely idiotic and some sort of weird artifact of the respect you have for certain aspects of the right, or some odd anti-left lesson you were taught years ago. It's like you're asserting, when waking the streets at dark, we need to be wary of both muggers *and* pianos falling from the sky. No. No we do not. (Even if pianos have, a few rare times, actually harmed on people.)

Jumper said...

I am finding DavidTC a good interesting voice, and appreciate the effort. Saddam Hussein was a sort-of leftist, as was Khadaffi, and of course Chavez. But I will agree that authoritarianism is a valid culprit. (I liked Chavez - for a while.)

Re. the handwavium (!) I can throw away all the ice core data, and Mann also, yet come to the same general conclusions. I do resent being termed some sort of slavish trend follower, but I consider the source.

Jumper said...

Brin has a habit of getting into arguments with people he actually agrees with (as well as with those he doesn't!)

Some of us roll our eyes but are sort of used to it by now.

David Brin said...

Tacitus, I found your attempted bestiary to be intelligent and certainly an interesting view into how an very intelligent American conservative views things. I do feel the need to offer gloss commentary (in ALL CAPS). Starting with what's missing:


Conservative: a general suspicion of change. A greater confidence in the lower levels of the political pyramid (states) along with a distrust of both "the mob" and of unelected nomenklatura.

THIS IS WELL-SAID, BUT IGNORES OTHER FACTORS:
1- suspicious of the left's constant hectoring to expand boundaries of loyalty-inclusion, preferring to hold onto older loyalties.
2- Willing to dismiss suspicions of undue influence by oligarchs, monopolists and corporations and to ascribe to them good motives and intrinsically high skill at allocation of resources. Conflates the benefits of market competition with the self-serving behavior of "private" plutocracy.

Tea Party: some of the above but a stronger, indeed defining, suspicion of large government. Non violent despite the fever dreams of the media but certainly a "mob" element in the sense of potentially ill informed masses demanding something.

POPULIST RAGE AT ELITE AUTHORITY has so far been successfully channeled by oligarch-controlled media to aim at all the elites the oligarchy dislikes. But these ground troops are unreliable and might turn rage against the oligarchs.
Except in the South, where history shows that poor whites will always willingly die for their lords.



Libertarians: they appear to believe that everyone should be left alone. If the acrid smoke from somebody else's doobie bothers you it is ok to ask them to move but you can't make 'em do so.

SUPPOSEDLY LIBERTARIANS CAST THEIR SOA (suspicion of authority) in all directions. It is why I call myself a libertarian… and their fealty should be to open-fair competition. Alas, the movement is wholly oligarch-captured, and Radn-Rothbard culted, so that all ire is aimed at the oligarchs' enemies and none at plutocracy.


THE CATEGORIES YOU LEFT OUT - ON THE RIGHT:
NEOCONSERVATIVE: aggressive Straussian imperialists. Thrust us into horrific adventures in "nation building" then were tossed aside by the masters when discredited.

THE MASTERS: OLIGARCHS who control every propaganda mill of the right, who swerved the official doctrines of conservatism AND the behavior of every politician of the right.

David Brin said...

CONTINUING REPLY TO TACITUS:


And on the other side:



Liberal: strictly speaking, believers in generosity, in sharing the benefits of our society. Formerly with strong religious roots, in recent times far more secular and thus influenced by their related species...

MOSTLY WRONG. While millions of liberals are motivated by empathy, they emphasize problems that need solving with the future-oriented aim of a better world. They push inclusion horizons, though without the fanaticism of leftists and without spurning older loyalties. Their top priority projects aim at future generations, either preparing children for competition in flat-open markets or preserving a planet for the childrens' children.



Leftists: Those who knowingly or otherwise look to Marx and Engels. Emphatic in their desire to redistribute wealth. Big believers in the merits of union organizing and international treaties. Often at risk of becoming...

BAH, SORRY BUT THIS IS TOTAL MALARKEY. American leftists would not know Marx if Groucho or Chico leaped out and bit them. UNIONS are a liberal not leftist phenomenon as shown here: http://www.davidbrin.com/1947.html.

What American leftists are is HORIZON EXPANSION JUNKIES. They have to be aggressively INCLUDING the next oppressed group, then the next. This sanctimony makes them contemptuous of anyone who clings to older loyalties. Leftists also tend to despise Smithian competition and hence capitalism, while liberals mostly admire it and simply want, the competitive processes to be fair/flat/open.



Statists: Yes, any portion of the political bestiary can go this route but the "Left" seems more inclined to faith in the State to do the right thing. Or more alarmingly, the necessary thing. Most of the failed states of the third world went this route. The masses exist only to be led by the cadres.


THIS IS A NOTION THAT SPANS THE SPECTRUM. THE NEOCONS WERE RABID STATISTS.


And finally:



Progressives: Bits and bobs of the above, but these folks are antsy to change things and none too scrupulous about how they do it. Results can be mostly good, such as the civil rights movement. Or maybe not so much. Impatient, perhaps the most highly educated of the groups listed, and willing to bend the rules in the name of Progress. 


VAGUE TO THE POINT OF USELESSNESS.

David Brin said...

Valkyrie and locum… I searched years for a single bullet and found one. TWODA.

Are you critiquing particular flaws that you perceive in a too-hurried scientific consensus on the details of climate change… WHILE… doing everything in your power to vigorously push for interventions in research and measures to increase efficiency THAT WE OUGHT TO BE DOING ANYWAY, whether or not the consensus is correct?

If you are vigorously helping push such measures… because they are worth doing anyway AND because the 97% of scientists supporting the consensus MIGHT be right… then you might qualify as a skeptic…

…instead of a denialist cultist who is parroting claptrap spewed by the same shills who spent 40 years chanting "some studies question this rush to judgement against tobacco!"

Jumper said...

Which are the ones who cling to their arguments even when they've been roundly demolished? Is that the right or the left? I forget.

David Brin said...

Jumper… both. Which is why I distinguish liberals from leftists. Liberals CAN change their minds. e.g. many now support (cautious) nuclear power. And many armed themselves during the Bush years. (Leftists were always armed.)

Gator said...

Re climate change denial.

The scientists are busy doing research and publishing their research and arguing with each other. There is no scientific argument that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that CO2 levels are higher than they've been in the last 50 millon years or so. No argument that the increase is due to humans burning fossil fuels.

The only real argument is how much heating we will see, over what time frame, and what impact that will have.

All of this is in the scientific literature. The IPCC report is a conservative summary of the literature.

On the denialist side you have a bunch of paid propagandists spouting FUD. They don't engage in the published literature because they don't have an actual scientific argument. Even famous "skeptics" like Lindzen, Christy or Curry will say almost anything on blogs or in testimony to congress -- but look at what they actually publish. Nothing that contradicts the standard model of climate change.

You can tell locumranch has never been close to science because he thinks this is equivalent to kids berating puppets. Science is intensely competitive, and there is no better way to make your career than to prove the old guard wrong. If there was a crack in the climate change model, some young gun would jump in and exploit it. There is no pressure to conform in professional science; there is however, and intense dislike of bullshit and professional liars.

Tacitus2 said...

I could add other critters to our Political Beastiary, but keep in mind that such compendia often include species now extinct or perhaps entirely apocryphal!

Happens when a good part of your source material is Travelers' Tales from lands where they have the Fever...

Tacitus

Alato said...

Hello-

Regards the categorization of Leftists as horizon expansion junkies, sure. We take that "all men (people) are created equal" stuff seriously. And yes, I don't see prior loyalties as excusing oppression.

Regards capitalism, our issue is that it concentrates wealth and power. Not as a flaw- the better markets work, the more swiftly it is concentrated. Yes, capitalism and competition are wonderful things for standards of living and innovation, but concentrated wealh breaks markets and there is no internal mechanism for counteracting this. Capitalism, without redistribution, trends towards aristocracy.

And we can all agree that aristocracy is a failure mode, right?

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

So, there ya go. To be polite I should ask you LarryH, which category would you prefer I put you into? Or some other of course....


As you have described the categories, most definitely "liberal".

I agree with you (and radio host Norman Goldman) that the labels are meaningless without each individual describing the terms as he is using them.

A child of the 1960s, I always associate the American left with "Do your own thing, man" tolerance and the right with "Law and order!" authoritarianism. It still amazes me that the two sides are presented almost diametrically opposite to that.

David Brin said...

lato, you need to watch it. You may be in the wavering twilight zone between lefties and liberals. Not one thing that you said was objectionable from a liberal perspective… so it depends on your degree of sanctimony.

Yes, competition and capitalism contain the perpetual seeds of their own destruction, as seen across 6000 years. All good things become toxic when too concentrated, oxygen, food, water, wealth.

A liberal fights these concentrations IN ORDER for the cornucopia of competitive markets to keep working for another generation. (When the battle must be fought again.) And wants to save the Earth for pragmatic reasons (e.g. human survival) and is willing to wait for science to create vat-grown meat before hectoring everybody to become vegan.

Lefties see market competition as inherently immoral and unsalvageable. They demand "rights" for invertebrates.

Alfred Differ said...

Tacitus2,

The difficulty with making the distinction between US liberals and progressives is they have a common background, thus a fluid boundary. You will find liberals among the libertarians, but they tend to sit on the extreme side demanding individualism at almost all costs and blending a bit with the anarchists. You'll find liberals among people normally identified as progressives too, but they aren't quite as willing to rely upon government to fix things at get queasy when progressives suggest social designs.

In a sense, most Americans are liberals to some degree, but in our effort to distinguish ourselves we look at the differences between us and apply labels accordingly. Most conservatives I know are 'conserving' liberals principles, but might disagree with liberals as to why it is important to do so. Most progressives I know firmly believe in the individualism that is at the core of liberalism, but might disagree on what counts as property which is a non-trivial issue.

Because of this I argue that the best way to see the distinction between progressives and liberals is to pick a person and something they did. The person alone is not enough. For example, when Jerry Brown expresses an interest in paying down debt, addressing long term liability, and establishing a rainy day fund he is acting as a liberal should. He isn't trying to design our social system in these efforts and is instead trying to cope with issues that might arise later. When he tries to ensure funding for the high speed rail project, though, he is behaving like a progressive. High speed rail is a form of social engineering in the sense that the state is funding a transportation technology in order to change public behaviors. Whether this is good or bad is a different issue, but progressives are generally more willing to engage in social design than liberals are. Conservatives also engage in a kind of social design, but they usually aim to protect what they see as traditions. Progressives are quite willing to demolish traditions. Liberals will usually NOT treat tradition as sacred, but they might not be too inclined to change things either.


In the historical sense, liberals were a mixed lot when it came to religion on a personal level, but they were almost all united in being anti-clerical. Organized religions were seen as owned by the oligarchy along with government. The personalizing of faith is a liberal adaptation, but the apparent collapse of faith groups in recent decades is probably more about the success of conceptual competition than it is about the principles of liberalism. If you are free to believe what you want, many people will choose to believe what appears to lead to success in society. What that is can vary by region and era, but there is little doubt that Science (a fantastic example of a liberal social order) has demonstrated success and convinced many.

I'm sure David can point to particular people and behaviors and further separate the liberals from the leftists/collectivists, but it is probably easier if we all put up possible examples and work them out together.

Alfred Differ said...

hmm... One of the best questions I know for distinguishing between US liberals, progressives, and conservatives goes like this...

What is the value to us in defending our liberty?

(In other words... why do we do it?)

You can see in David's last response a typical liberal answer. A libertarian would focus on the market we think of as associated with business, but I'm sure David has all the markets in mind.

Keith D. Halperin said...

Oxford Manifesto 1997

The Liberal Agenda for the 21st Century:
The Liberal Manifesto, adopted by the 48th Congress of Liberal International on 27-30 November 1997 in The Town Hall in Oxford, UK

http://www.liberal-international.org/editorial.asp?ia_id=537

locumranch said...

So much with which to agree, so little time:

(1) Occam's Comic has perfected his tobacco analogy on multiple points because the wages of sin are (indeed) death, tobacco does cause cancer & increased all-cause mortality, and a little cancer "isn’t so bad" when you consider that death also awaits the abstainer, non-smoker & saint.

(2) David is moral as always, arguing that the 10 commandments of TWODA were created perfect by some invisible force, possibly by the same expert flying spaghetti monster that also allows libertarians to "ask someone to move" but forbids them from making it so. Too bad that magical force seems to spare every ER I frequent.

(3) Jumper and Tacitus remain masters of the wry understatement;

(4) Alfred, Keith & Alex are excellent historians;

(5) Valkyrie Ice, Alato & David TC add some much needed passion to our rather stolid discussions;

(6) Guthrie is right when he identifies water vapor as a greenhouse gas with a (positive) feedback (or feed-forward) effect which can only make warming worse; and

(7) Gator is right when he states that science is non-equivalent to "kids berating puppets" because I was referencing the actual physical manifestations of science (IE. medical school, academia & society in general) rather than its abstract. And, assuming you can convince the old guard that they are wrong, you will "make your career" at risk of flunking out when you fail in this endeavor, so the best tactic is to remake yourself into a good academic sponge and/or agreeable social dishrag.

You've never really seen kids berating a puppet until you've attended medical school.


Best.

Keith D. Halperin said...

A Reform Conservative Manifesto

http://www.forbes.com/sites/pascalemmanuelgobry/2013/06/05/a-reform-conservative-manifesto/

David Brin said...

Tacitus… you are co-opting "liberal" into its most classic formula and I agree that a historian of the word would lean in that direction, when calling Adam Smith "the first liberal." But if you take away all of the modern traits we associate with the word:

-- a strong sensitivity to injustice and an urge (not lefty fanaticism) to extend boundaries of inclusion…

-- a strong sensitivity to looming dangers on threat horizons, not in a righty nationalistic sense, but a fretful need for rapid progress…

-- a strong sensitivity to the pain of those far away and too different to evoke empathy from conservatives…

-- a nervous propensity to need to be doing something. That being static is death...

… then you are simply redefining away a word that has modern utility.


Alfred is right that I deem all four of our great competitive arenas as vital. Markets represent just one.

locum mocks. But he knows that TWODA is exactly the litmus I describe it to be. Because if you push TWODA while asking skeptical questions of the scientific consensus, then you (1) prove yourself to be sane-rational, accepting expert advice WHILE questioning the experts…. and …

… you will be eviscerating the entire reason the coal and petro princes are financing the denialist cult… which is to prevent TWODA. And that is why they must prevent denialism from behaving like curious adults, but rather as sneering children.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin,

Appropos nothing but the fact that I'm about 2/3 through my second reading of "Existence".

I knew there would be stuff I didn't get the first time around, but I did notice that one of the artifacts contained a bat-like species, a stork-like species, and one that resembled a praying mantis. So that's the Soro, Gubru, and Tandu, right?

If I'm not mistaken, there was another reference earlier to species that might have been hoons, urs, and (more of a stretch, but) g'kek.

Am I just reading too much in?

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin on liberals:

-- a strong sensitivity to the pain of those far away and too different to evoke empathy from conservatives…


I'd say the right-wing side goes beyond "lack of empathy". There seems to be something in the personality that desires to find classes of people who can be safely categorized as "other"--not worthy of human dignity--and then ganging up on that other. Whether that "other" is Jews, blacks, communists, illegal aliens, child pornographers, or whaterver, the self-identified conservatives are practically gleeful about having identified someone who can safely be humiliated and assaulted (if not outright killed) without seeming (to them) to be violating the standards of human decency and Christian charity.

The way I know I'm not a conservative is because I can't understand the mindset I just described at all. But through observation, I know it's out there.

Alfred Differ said...

I think it is a stretch to think of the conservatives as desiring to classify people as 'others' and not worthy of human dignity. That approach makes the believer guilty of treating the conservative as less than human and that hasn't been my experience at all. They are all TOO human in the sense that many of us are xenophobic. It takes a special kind of oddity NOT to be xenophobic and that describes us liberals rather well.

It is possible to take one's phobias too far into bigotry and I won't defend such people, but then I WOULDN'T do that. I'm a liberal. 8)

What I have a hard time grokking is how anyone can think the markets are evil to be vanquished. I get why the oligarchs want them squished, but that isn't so much about evil. We are successful competitors for power. Why the 'little people' fall for the nonsense baffles me even though I see it every day.

David Brin said...

LarryHart… I had already hinted that Existence was a Startide prequel in some way. But the actual way is still being worked out…. The universes seem WAY incompatible!

I agree that conservatives resist expansion of horizons of inclusion and resist being chivvied and hectored and nagged and guilt-tripped into those expansions. What I would not so is interpret that as inherently pathological. The conservative mind set is also deeply loyal and also often quite empathic toward those that he/she DOES include within the horizons.

Ever need to borrow a lawnmower or get a neighbor to help you out? Given me a conservative neighbor. He'll help you raise your barn or fight off zombies. Liberals and leftists are distractible and sometimes worse at these brass tacks matters. Moreover, if social circumstances make horizon expansion INAPPROPRIATE… e.g fighting life-or-death against a foreign enemy, well… the conservative mind set is not always troglodytic.

The part of all that I find most unpleasant is that the strength of that loyalty reflex can be abused by oligarchic puppet masters… as they manipulated a million poor white southerners to fight (very, very bravely) and die for the slave-o-crate in the civil war…

...and as today's conservatives simply cannot bring themselves to admit that the GOP no longer deserves ANY of their support. There should have been a mass movement of open rebellion against Murdoch, years ago. But it gains no traction, even among fine neighbor-conservatives like Tacitus. Because it simply is not in their character to give up on old loyalties.

David Brin said...

Alfred…. too many liberals swallow the leftist line that market enterprise (good capitalism) =equals= oligarchy & corporatcy. You can understand that making the distinction actually takes some intellectual effort… an effort Fox actively discourages too.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"What I have a hard time grokking is how anyone can think the markets are evil to be vanquished."

I think of "the markets" as a human construct - like a car,
It/they consist of a set of rules

Like a car they have advantages and disadvantages,
In this case they/it is like a car without a driver - such a thing is dangerous!
The present system has positive feedback and moves to a stable state - Aristocracy

They/it do need to be "vanquished" - about once a generation they/it needs to be grabbed by the scruff of the neck and pulled back into the middle of the road - or at least out of the ditch

The car engine analogy is useful, there are all sorts of bits going around - each has an optimum size, you can increase the size of the valves - but very soon you go past the optimum and performance suffers,

Some degree of inequality of outcome makes the markets work better, but the "engineers" should be looking for the optimum degree of inequality (valve size)

Valkyrie Ice said...

@Alato

Yes, I am the same Valkyrie Ice who has written for H+ IEET Transhumanity.net and Acceler8or.com


And to clarify things a bit. An EXACTLY CENTRIST path is useless.

What is required is navigation of a complex and tricky course that requires understanding of the issues on both sides, and thus the USE of the good idea from both sides, the REJECTION of the bad ideas of both sides, and the creation of a path with makes BEST USE of all input. This requires a rejection of partisanship - the ignoring of "the other side" and looking only for solutions within one ideological meme-set.

Rules? Rules are an ideological lock, a barrier intended to prevent "stepping outside the lines" and are subject to manipulation if all players do not agree to play by the same rules. In some instances, in order to ensure the continuation of the game, rules that are only obeyed by a single side must be broken to force the other side to return to competitive equality, lest the entire game fall apart.

But to break the rules effectively, you must first know what the actual game is, and on what field it is actually be played. And that is where I see an enormous amount of futile effort being made. It's like trying to play cards with a chess set.

Valkyrie Ice said...

@David

*facepalms* You have been reading my articles occasionally, no?

" Are you critiquing particular flaws that you perceive in a too-hurried scientific consensus on the details of climate change"

Yes, specifically

1.) Reliance on models unable to even predict existing weather from historical data. a MODEL THAT CANNOT MAKE A CORRECT PREDICTION FROM HISTORICAL DATA CANNOT BE RELIED UPON TO PREDICT FUTURE EVENTS RELIABLY.

2.) evidence that the data has been tampered with. I read the CRU emails in their entirety David. I did not rely on someone to tell me what they did or did not say. That systemic suppression of data that failed to support a specific interpretation was occurring is not open to doubt.

3.) That so much politicization of science has occurred that any effort by a "Young Gun" to BREAK THE OVERARCHING PARADIGM is crushed. While individuals may challenge many things within the existing paradigm is possible, challenge to the "consensus" is heresy. The details can be quibbled over, the FRAME cannot. And this one we will have to disagree over David. I already know your stance from our earlier conversations.

"WHILE… doing everything in your power to vigorously push for interventions in research and measures to increase efficiency THAT WE OUGHT TO BE DOING ANYWAY, whether or not the consensus is correct?"

Again, You have read my articles, yes,no?

Technology is the only feasible solution to the issues we face. Climate change is occurring. While I might disagree that man is the sole culprit, and believe that the evidence so often used to support that ideology is flawed and suspect, I do not challenge the fact. I am not convinced that Carbon is an actual danger, or that a rise in temperature is such an immediate danger that we cannot fix it before it DOES become dangerous.

That does not mean I do not SEE A DANGER. Merely that I see a different one, which also falls under the TWODA mode. Lowering our footprint? Hell yes. Reducing our energy needs? Absolutely. Eliminating pollution of all types? You betcha.

We don't need to agree on problems to agree on solutions.

"If you are vigorously helping push such measures… because they are worth doing anyway AND because the 97% of scientists supporting the consensus MIGHT be right…"

I don't agree with consensus just because it's consensus David. I base my beliefs on evidence I have examined myself. And I won't blind myself to evidence just because it fails to match consensus either.

Consensus is worthless in science. It only takes one white crow, after all. My problem is I have what appears to me to be an entire flock of them, and everyone tells me to paint them black.

Can't. Won't. And Never Will. Not without evidence that leads me to a differing conclusion. I don't take anything on faith.

I've met your criteria as a skeptic previously, David. We don't have to agree on everything XDDDDDD

We agree on the solutions. That's good enough.

Valkyrie Ice said...

And to all the Capitalism=Aristocrachy

Capitalism is not inherently "evil" As a financial system, it excels at providing for both human needs and human desires. SO LONG AS IT IS AN HONEST GAME PLAYED BY ALL MEMBERS EQUALLY.

Got that? The absolute, unbreakable cardinal rule of capitalism is ALL players must play by the same rules.

All players. Not the few, not the Elite, not the underdogs, etc. EVERY PLAYER at EVERY LEVEL must play by the SAME RULES.

Anything else is not capitalism.

And so long as these rules are enforced equally, and there is an equality of opportunity, there is room for variation in outcome without it becoming the unbalanced and biased game it is now.

Growing inequality is not a "system flaw". it is a DELIBERATE TILTING OF THE GAME FIELD.

And that is due to an increasing number of "players" refusing to play by the same rules, but who have created rules that make it impossible for them to lose, no matter how poorly they compete.

Competition is necessary. It improves the overall game. But these players no longer compete. They have eliminated the ability for others to compete against them, and claim that this makes them "ultra competitive", when in fact they aren't even required to play, merely demand an "automatic win"

As David has pointed out repeatedly, the "King of the Hill" has immediately turned around and done everything possible to prevent anyone else from even being able to climb the hill after them. From turning the hill into a cliff too steep to climb, to sowing landmines, machinegun turrets and hired armies, they cannot bear the thought that anyone else might dislodge them from the hilltop.

And that is source of "Aristocracy".

It's not the SYSTEM.

It's the PLAYERS who have rigged the game.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"3.) That so much politicization of science has occurred that any effort by a "Young Gun" to BREAK THE OVERARCHING PARADIGM is crushed. While individuals may challenge many things within the existing paradigm is possible, challenge to the "consensus" is heresy. The details can be quibbled over, the FRAME cannot."

This would be a possible argument... IF
The USA was the only country in the world

But it's NOT,
Don't you understand - the French, the Brits, the Chinese .....
Dozens of nations would all love to (purely in the spirit of science) piss in the USA's eye

And they don't - because the DATA is not there


"It's not the SYSTEM.
It's the PLAYERS who have rigged the game."

As an engineer my job was to design a system that would work - even if the operator screwed up

If the "System" does not self correct it is a poor system,

The current free market system has positive feedback
Them as HAS - GETS

This is unstable - even if run by saints it will run into the ditch by concentrating more and more power and wealth into fewer hands until the whole system dies of constipation

Valkyrie Ice said...

@ Duncan.

1)Failed argument. The entire system world wide has become dependent not merely on political funding but corporate funding. The present Paradigms are profitable. Scientists have to face the choice of challenging the Paradigm, and destroying their livelihood, or defending the Paradigm and keep it. There are too many accounts world wide of individuals challenging the underlying paradigms, who are then banished from the "Establishment" because they challenged consensus.

Does this make all of them right? No. In many cases they were quite likely wrong. I made no claims for causes or justifications, merely to the existence of the behavior. That pattern of behavior can be established world wide. I made no claims to it's "unique american status", you did. Do other nations act as rivals of the US? Indeed. But they will challenge the details, not the paradigm itself. The Paradigm is sacrosanct world wide.

2) You design systems that "Self correct", yes?

How well would those systems run if the self correcting mechanisms were deliberately removed?

The issue is not about the system being self correcting. SO LONG AS THE RULES ARE EQUAL ACROSS THE BOARD, it is capable of self correction. It is when those rules are deliberately manipulated to ensure that self correction is no longer possible that the game becomes rigged.



Jared Frick said...

I reckon we need to keep our SOA operating on the X,Y,Z and t.

Paul451 said...

VI,
"Do other nations act as rivals of the US? Indeed. But they will challenge the details, not the paradigm itself. The Paradigm is sacrosanct world wide."

That makes no sense. Why would China, for example, hold the AGW "paradigm" sacrosanct? Why would Russia?

"The entire system world wide has become dependent not merely on political funding but corporate funding."

[Citation needed] I've seen nothing to suggest the proportion of climate funding from industry is anything but tiny. (Except from those corporations which oppose climate change research.)

[For corporations...] "The present Paradigms are profitable."

AGW is hardly as profitable to anyone as the carbon-emitting industries threatened by attempts to control it. And, indeed, no field of research today is a nit-picked as climate scientists.

"3.) That so much politicization of science has occurred that any effort by a "Young Gun" to BREAK THE OVERARCHING PARADIGM is crushed. While individuals may challenge many things within the existing paradigm is possible, challenge to the "consensus" is heresy. The details can be quibbled over, the FRAME cannot."

This also makes no sense. Even if young researchers couldn't challenge the "frame", that quibbling over the details would be crushing the "frame" under a ton of contradicting research and a scarcity of supporting research, precisely because that's what was true (if you were right), therefore that's where the gaps would be for the young to find interesting results. I see nothing to suggest that that is happening. Indeed, the opposite seem the case, AGW critics can seem to come up with nothing new; their field is barren.

(And since AGW's "frame" became dominant in the early to mid-'80s, there's been enough time for some of those young researchers to become old tenured professors. And that's when they are free to set their students off down controversial paths, avenging the suppression of their own youthful challenges of the "frame" by the old guard. Like most conspiracy theorists, you require your conspirators to be perfect, able to suppress every piece of contrary evidence, and every contradicting voice... except, of course, somehow, yours.)

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

What I would not so is interpret that as inherently pathological. The conservative mind set is also deeply loyal and also often quite empathic toward those that he/she DOES include within the horizons.

Ever need to borrow a lawnmower or get a neighbor to help you out? Given me a conservative neighbor. He'll help you raise your barn or fight off zombies. Liberals and leftists are distractible and sometimes worse at these brass tacks matters.


Agreed about the conservative neighbor. I was not saying that conservatives want to be mean to everybody. But they do (at least for a particular subset) seem to relish finding someone that they can be mean to.

I suppose the same could be said for leftists vis-a-vis "white men" or "Christians". So maybe what I'm identifying is not a trait of conservatives so much as it is a trait of a subset of human beings. The difference, however, is that leftists of this type seem to want to be mean to the powerful, whereas rightists of this type want to be mean to the powerless. I'm not condoning the attitude in either side, but recognize that the one does more actual harm than the other.


Moreover, if social circumstances make horizon expansion INAPPROPRIATE… e.g fighting life-or-death against a foreign enemy, well… the conservative mind set is not always troglodytic.


I've always maintained that a healthy society needs both conservatives AND liberals contributing ideas. Probably even a higher ratio of conservatives. Conservatives function the way dominant genes do in evolution, and liberals function as recessive genes. What I mean is, when your enviornment is stable over many decades, then "the way things have been done before" is probably a good rule of thumb to follow. Conservatives are great at that. However, when the enviornment undergoes a paradigm shift--when the old ways are no longer applicable--then conservatives are going to stubbornly hold onto ways that have become harmful. You then need liberals to ask "Why can't we try this instead?"

LarryHart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

I think of "the markets" as a human construct - like a car,
It/they consist of a set of rules

Like a car they have advantages and disadvantages,
In this case they/it is like a car without a driver - such a thing is dangerous!


The push to eliminate all regulation is analagous to something like this:

"The car's engine is too much of a constraint on the power of the exploding gasoline. Think of how much more work that gaoline cound do if it were allowed to explode uncontrolled."

locumranch said...

Valkyrie Ice is hot, hot, hot this AM.

I would add, though, that the same societal corruptions that favour capital acquisition by (a growing) Aristocracy also exist within an entrenched Academia, excepting that the so-called 'capital' of Academia is intellectual bias.

Time & time again, we hear the defense that certain pure ideologies (communism, fascism, capitalism, etc) cannot be judged by the flawed hierarchical systems necessary to implement them, leaving one to ponder if these ideologies can ever be judged at all, excepting that a hierarchy ALWAYS behaves like a hierarchy, lifting up a few while holding down the many, regardless of the so-called purity of the underlying ideology.

"Stupid is as stupid does," said Forrest Gump to Captain Dan, and so it goes that human method cannot be separated from human material.


Best

Alex Tolley said...

Nice piece by Lakoff in today's Guardian about why liberals fail to win the political game.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/01/george-lakoff-interview

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Lefties see market competition as inherently immoral and unsalvageable. They demand "rights" for invertebrates.


The latter has always made the left look kind of ridiculous...until the right surpassed it by demanding rights for corporations.

Again, which "demand" has actually amounted to anything in the real world, let alone produced actual harm?

Going off on a tangent--the notion that dogs have "rights" is an example of shared values. If society didn't value dogs as something approaching "equals", I doubt you could find an objective source of morality that would compel us to treat them humanely. We just, as a society, decide that we do so. Some believe that status naturally extends to cats, and some do not. Cats are more of a gray area (Heh!).

I remember watching "Roots" in the 1970s and mulling over what it meant for slavery to be legal. Basically, it hinged around the fact that the law allowed a white man to chain a black man to a post and beat him in order to coerce obedience--that neither the authorities or the guy's neighbors would act to prevent such a thing. It all depends on a social definition of the black as an "other", not worthy of compassion or dignity. When that attitude changes, you can't make slavery work any more, not matter what the law says or doesn't say.

Jumper said...

A little fable based on true events:

A property owner paid to have some rental property demolished. The contractor offered a low rate and the property owner agreed. The contractor then tried to sneak onto my property surreptitiously and dump the remnants of the crack house rubble, hoping to avoid landfill fees.

Caught, the contractor tried to make the owner pay for the cleanup. His reasoning was that the owner received the benefit of the dumping included in the low bid price.

Valkyrie Ice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valkyrie Ice said...

Sorry for the deleted post. made a typo which completely changed the intended statement.

@Paul451

You assume I speak of ONLY of the AGW paradigm. I do not. There is a reason I separated 2 and 3

In 2, I have seen sufficient evidence of bias in the AGW advocacy to know that suppression of all view points save the Consensus one have taken place. Including those of alternative interpretations of the data, which indicate that carbon is not the cause, but an effect.

This is equally true of the "opposing consensus" only the "party line" is permissible.

In 3 I am discussing the entire INDUSTRIAL SCIENCE COMPLEX. not merely AGW.

And the weight of the "unexplained anomalies" is extensive, provided you are not guided by the bias of consensus and are willing to examine that evidence objectively. In other words, the evidence that the Paradigms are flawed can easily be found, yet are dismissed by the simple argument "Consensus Says."

Consensus is an argumentum ad populum. It has no value in science, and is used to prevent examination of any data which does not support the framework of any given paradigm in science, regardless of field, and regardless of nation. Any scientist from any field and any nation who does not support the Paradigm is mocked, ostracized, barred from publication, and in the end usually forced out of the scientific community.

This does not make the claim that they were "right". I am merely pointing out the universality of this behavior. Science used to be about finding answers. Multiple theories, multiple lines of research, multiple "truths" could exist, and some prospered, some failed.

Now, there is but one truth allowed. Consensus.

Consensus is not science. It's Dogma. And Dogma is the realm of religion.

Jumper said...

http://www.realclimate.org/
Since every perception of reality you have outside of personal experience is consensus, a reexamination of its appropriateness (or not) might be helpful.
I follow the thoughts of Connolley, as snarky as he is, because he is skeptical of excessive sea level rise immediately; however he directs huge amounts of scorn to provable nonsense promoted by some.

I do recommend 20 or 30 hours reading on the RealClimate site; I have

LarryHart said...

Valkyrie Ice:

And that is source of "Aristocracy".

It's not the SYSTEM.

It's the PLAYERS who have rigged the game.


Exactly!

Our current system, exemplified by (but not limited to) "Citizens United", is as if the winners of a baseball game get to unilaterally decide what the ground rules of the next game will be, and to appoint all of the umpires.

Money in politics might not be inherently evil, but right now, we've got a feedback loop that gives the economic "winners" undue influence over the rules of the game. Authority then becomes a method of making sure the winners maintain their position rather than a means of governing wisely. "Citizens United" is a perfect example of that. It can't make sense to claim that unfeeling sociopathic man-made contrivances have the "rights" accorded to human beings. But making sense isn't the point--maintaining the oligarchs' position is.

We keep hearing that "Government shouldn't pick winners and losers", but somehow, that doesn't apply to picking one's huge campaign donors to be the winners. In fact, didn't one of the R. Pauls assert that buying politicians was a justifiable thing for someone to do with his own money?

Perhaps we need a "Separation of Economics and State" built into the system.

Paul451 said...

VI,
You still didn't answer the question of why. (Or, for that matter, how.) You simply assume the conspiracy exists, and any evidence that it doesn't exist is more proof that it exists.

Why would countries that are deeply hostile to the US go along with the conspiracy? For example, China or Russia. Hell, why would the US, back when it was ruled by aggressively anti-AGW types?

And why would suppressed researchers, secretly bitterly chafing at The Consensus for suppressing them for so long, now (as fully tenured professors) continue to train the next generation of PhDs to go along with the dictates of The Consensus, instead of steering their students towards areas of research that expose the conspiracy.

Jumper said...

Since some won't chase down a bloody obvious suggestion, here is skeptical Connolley on peer review. Unfortunately for some, his skepticism veers in certain directions.
http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2014/01/30/science/

Paul451 said...

LarryHart,
[Conservatives...] "seem to relish finding someone that they can be mean to."

And the Left doesn't? Or people in general?

Eg. The dopey women who made the AIDS/I'm-white tweet and became an object of slavering hatred before she landed. The sheer joy in those attacks.

And I've seen the same thing of any out-group amongst leftists. Merely not knowing the right code-words can be enough to attract their hatred. And no, it's not merely anger at those in power.

And on any left-wing blog, the comments on the outrage-of-the-week article quickly devolve to "Yeah, I'd like to see them tortured/raped/killed/etc" comments (often describing the death-fantasy in detail) and being heavily upvoted by the rest. The lust for revenge-fantasy is something I find bizarre.

Paul451 said...

Jumper,
"If I have seen further than others, it is by treading on the toes of giants"

Lovely line.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

[Conservatives...] "seem to relish finding someone that they can be mean to."

And the Left doesn't? Or people in general?


Hopefully, you read my back-and-forth with Dr Brin later on.

Yes, the left does it too. I conceded that after thinking about examples much like the one you gave.

In my defense, though, I'd say there's a difference. The left seems to enjoy being mean to the powerful. The right seems to enjoy being mean to the powerless. The powerful, at least, can fight back.

David Brin said...

LarryHart & Paul451 yes, if you probe you'll find that liberals and leftists don't do only two of J Haidt's moral drivers (fairness and equality) but also the other three (authority, purity and in-group). It's just masked a bit because the in-group is more complex and the authorities and purity rules are much less formal.

Valkyrie did as I asked -- admits openly that we must move forward on TWODA even at the same time as poking at climate science. My remaining problem with VI and those of similar bent is that this TWODA admission should be a prelude ritualized statement… or no one will notice it and those pokings will in many places be seen as declarations of fealty to the denialist cult.

It should not be this way, but there it is. A two or three sentence standard disclaimer: that we should be tripling our investments in efficiency and sustainables and climate instrumentation WHILE asking hard questions of the scientific central model… that is simply the responsible thing to do.

Moreover it gets people used to that as the baseline assumption in the discussion. If enough "skeptics" include that cavil at the beginning, it would have very good effects. And it would undermine the only true villains in this fight.

STill, VI fails to grasp just how difficult it has been -- and what a miracle -- to transform the old joke of a 2 hour "weather report" into today's excellent 3-Day and amazingly useful-if-general TEN-DAY forecasts we now receive.

It has been one of the greatest illustrations of competent, brilliance and effectiveness of combined government-commercial-individual effort to achieve this wonder, that has save hundreds of billions in losses and helped society in all ways.

The geniuses who accomplished this deserve respect. They should be questioned! But there is a hierarchy and I will follow THEIR advice… while continuing to listen to a healthy debate.

Valkyrie Ice said...

@paul451

The point you still miss is that I made no claims of "conspiracy". To do so would require an assumption of a "hierarchy in control" making "deliberate plans". I only made that claim specifically about Dr Mann and his associates, who condemned themselves through their own words.

For SCIENCE as a whole, this is merely an unfortunate side effect of the monetary influence of corporate and government interests on the institutions, as well as the fact that scientists are before all else, human. Simple self interest dictates that the majority will support consensus and reject any data which does not conform to consensus. To claim otherwise is simply denial, placing scientists on a pedestal as "more perfect than humans" and thus ignoring their humanity. Do you make the claim that no scientist seeks the recognition and approval of their peers, and will thus fearlessly challenge the Status Quo?

For example, Plasma Cosmology, which is accepted by the IEEE as a valid alternative theory for the structure of the universe to gravity centric theories, and which is based on experimental observations of plasma behavior, supported by a growing number of scientists, but which is categorically rejected by "Consensus" because it states that electrical forces, not gravity is the primary "building block" of the universe.

Now, I will lay you odds that having given such an example, very few, if any, of you are likely to spend any length of time examining in detail Plasma Cosmology or EU Theory, but will instead likely see what consensus has to say, and immediately dismiss any possible evidence which may indicate it has any objective basis in reality.

Again, I make no claims of "rightness" to EU theory. I am simply pointing out that the mere request to examine evidence which could show flaws in the "Consensus" will be, in most cases, met with derision, scorn, and attacks on the messenger's character, but will most likely not receive a reason based response.

Why? Because Consensus is not based on reason, investigation, or deduction. It is "received wisdom that must not be questioned."

And to bring this back on topic, that is why accepting labels, such as liberal, is not something I will permit myself to be restricted by.

I do not claim to know "THE TRUTH". Nor will I allow anyone else to push their concept of "THE TRUTH" on me. I will weigh the evidence on all sides, and make my own conclusions, with full recognition that further evidence can make me draw new conclusions.

If you have seen different evidence, and you have drawn different conclusions, so be it, but to claim that "everyone says so" as a reason to make me change my conclusions to match yours is neither an argument, evidence, or proof.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

just how difficult it has been -- and what a miracle -- to transform the old joke of a 2 hour "weather report" into today's excellent 3-Day and amazingly useful-if-general TEN-DAY forecasts we now receive.

It has been one of the greatest illustrations of competent, brilliance and effectiveness of combined government-commercial-individual effort to achieve this wonder, that has save hundreds of billions in losses and helped society in all ways.


Remember a few days before Hurricane Sandy? Sandy had not yet even formed yet...it was to be the very unusual combination of two separate storms into the superstorm. The magnitude of the thing being predicted was unprecidented and such an unusual mechanism that I'm amazed the forecasters went so far as to predict the "coming together into a superstorm never before seen". It would have been much safer to just predict the two separate storms, and if something that amazing happened, just go "Well, who could have guessed THAT?" afterward.

And yet, what they did predict was so accurate as to be incredible.

Jumper said...

No, in science you are not allowed to "reject data" that goes against the consensus. Perhaps for the amateur spectator with flawed logic. But that spectator will lose respect and credibility. But I suppose all attempts to affirm suspect data and fail, are invalid "because consensus?"

Valkyrie Ice said...

@David

I have often stated just what you claim must be a prelude, as opening, middle, and even end.

It usually makes not one whit of difference.

And I do indeed understand the improvements in weather modeling. I also fully understand the limits. A few weeks, to a month, and all reliability flies out the window due to chaos effects.

To turn around and then ask me to accept projections of CENTURIES based on these models DOES NOT COMPUTE. On top of this, as a computer tech, I understand all too well GIGO. This places LIMITS on how willing I am to trust ANY computer based modeling, not just weather.

I understand your admiration. I share it, to a degree. Once that degree is passed, it ceases to be admiration, and becomes blind faith.

And FAITH I will NEVER do.

I dismiss nothing, and it is the work of such men that is the underlying basis of most of my technological forecasts. Miracles are manufactured daily.

But I will not make them into deities.

(ps, you CAN call me Val, you know XDDDDD)

Valkyrie Ice said...

@Jumper

Yes, that is the ideal.

Alas, sad experience has taught me that the ideal and the reality seldom match. My observations have been those I have stated.

And, as noted, your observations and conclusions do not have to match mine.

Jumper said...

Solipsism is irrefutable, yes. When it is used sporadically, as a selected method of rhetoric, I suspect one loses credibility and respect.

guthrie said...

Valkyrie:

1.) Reliance on models unable to even predict existing weather from historical data. a MODEL THAT CANNOT MAKE A CORRECT PREDICTION FROM HISTORICAL DATA CANNOT BE RELIED UPON TO PREDICT FUTURE EVENTS RELIABLY.

repeat after me - weather is not climate. Failure to understand this precludes you from having a 'scientific' position on the matter. It's as simple as that. Meanwhile, the models are pretty good at dealing with past climate, say, take the data up to 1980, run the model forwards 20 or 30 years, then see how it matches reality. Repeat for desired time periods etc.


2.) evidence that the data has been tampered with. I read the CRU emails in their entirety David. I did not rely on someone to tell me what they did or did not say. That systemic suppression of data that failed to support a specific interpretation was occurring is not open to doubt.

Nope, there was no suppression of data, and no other data has been produced, even by all the scientists and bloggers working on the denialist side. Meanwhile, the ice melts and animals and plants move polewards in their ranges, because it's warming up further north.

3.) That so much politicization of science has occurred that any effort by a "Young Gun" to BREAK THE OVERARCHING PARADIGM is crushed. While individuals may challenge many things within the existing paradigm is possible, challenge to the "consensus" is heresy.
Hey, can you describe the last time that happened?
Meanwhile, we've got definite evidence that tens of millions of dollars are being spent by right wingers on science denialism, yet somehow they can't afford to sponsor those thrusting young maverick scientists who'll prove global warming is a scam. I wonder why that is?

Duncan Cairncross said...

"For example, Plasma Cosmology, which is accepted by the IEEE as a valid alternative theory for the structure of the universe to gravity centric theories, and which is based on experimental observations of plasma behavior, supported by a growing number of scientists, but which is categorically rejected by "Consensus" because it states that electrical forces, not gravity is the primary "building block" of the universe.

Now, I will lay you odds that having given such an example, very few, if any, of you are likely to spend any length of time examining in detail Plasma Cosmology or EU Theory, but will instead likely see what consensus has to say, and immediately dismiss any possible evidence which may indicate it has any objective basis in reality."

Absolutely correct
As an outsider looking in I would look at the consensus and think - Yep that is what most scientists think and is most likely correct
AND in 98% of the times I would be correct

BUT that is NOT what you are talking about,
You are not talking about accepting the most likely science

You are saying that the scientists who are actually working in this field will simply accept the consensus?
Despite the fact that the big bucks - the real prize is reserved for those who kick over the applecart?
Those who present data showing that the the consensus is wrong?

The only way that is not going to happen is if there is NO DATA showing the flaws in the consensus


Recently a distinguished physicist had some worries about the data and the analysis techniques showing the globe heating up,
He got a team together,
Money from denialists
And performed the analysis

Whoops - no faults found, he ended up agreeing with "the consensus"

locumranch said...

What we have now is a specious variant of the SOA argument that attempts to separate hierarchical-derived authority from the hierarchy itself which can't be done because the players & the system are inseparable.

Connelly's article on 'Peer Review' suggests as much. There is no overt conspiracy favoring scientific consensus, no deliberate data tampering, no malicious intent, no pyramid of lies hidden by non-transparency, just a few dedicated experts who survived extensive 'judicious selection' during their professional educations and now utilize peer review to correct each other's errors & self-protect while simultaneously improving the conformity of their conclusions.

I have seen this process repeat itself over & over in the medical journals, the reprocessing & repackaging of a specific scientific data set (Data Set A) in order to gradually arrive at a subtly different but more consensual conclusion, preserving the initial data set while converting Conclusion A to Conclusion E, F or G, the process being most analogous to the childhood game of 'Whisper' or 'Telephone' wherein players inadvertently distort a set phrase by whispering it to one other in a chain-like fashion.

This is 'Conspiracy' at its most pernicious, a conspiracy of innocents who self-censor & self-corrupt in order to belong, converge, assimilate and conform. It is the pack mentality of the Simian, the impetus for the involution that we call Expertism & the PC impulse toward Newspeak, a clustering together for comfort, uniformity, guidance and protection against a real or imagined 'Other'.

And, since both the player and the system are to blame for sowing the seeds of their own corruption, there is no fix, no patch, nor possible solution for the resulting 'System Error' of Social Injustice, Classism, Expertism & Oligarchy, just 'Wipe & Reboot' until the system crashes again, repeating as necessary, "Qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons".

Allons !!


Best.

Jumper said...

Yes, I respect the man at the top of the mast more to spot land than the cook in the galley. How classist, how unjust of me. How injurious to the cook!

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

I had already hinted that Existence was a Startide prequel in some way. But the actual way is still being worked out…. The universes seem WAY incompatible!


If you can make it work, Godspeed, but as you say, I have a hard time seeing how the Civilization of the Five Galaxies can co-exist with a universe in which civilizations only come in contact by remote control. I also don't see how the Earth of the trillies and the earth of the Teragens Council can be the same.

Of course, the "obvious" solution is to make one world a simulation that exists within the other one. Or maybe as a twist, each universe exists as a simulation in the other one (with no clear answer as to which is the "real" one).

One thing I would caution though. Please do not distort the worlds and make future books less interesting by obsessing about how to make them all compatible. Asimov and Lucas both went that route, and while I love their early stuff dearly, the later efforts became less compelling precisely because the intent to make the worlds "work" together became more important to the writer (but not to the reader) than the stories.

Alfred Differ said...

I've seen the analogy linking car engines and markets a number of times, but it is easy to blow it to pieces if one takes a moment to think about the details.

Car engines, watches, and other machines exhibit order in their actions BECAUSE they are designed to do so by one or more people. That order is the product of design, though not always of intentional design. This is easily seen by reversing time in the story to hunt for causal connections. Design can be traced through history to designers. Absent the designers there would be no order of this type.

Markets exhibit order BECAUSE their participants adapt their behaviors in personal efforts to be successful, but no one designs the order. This can be seen by trying to reverse time to find causal connections again. Tracing the history requires one to trace practically everyone in the market and to know things about them they they themselves might not have known when they made their decisions. There is no path through the population connecting observed order through historical choices to designers. The best one can do is connect to people who cause events that change the market environment. The participant CAN'T be a designer because they don't have enough information to BE a designer.

Markets aren't like car engines. They ARE like biological systems. Evolution is the rule. In biology we combine natural selection and adaptation to explain the diversity and order we see around us. In markets, we combine adaptation and selection by imitation to explain the diversity and order we see. Successful people tend to be imitated and memes spread as a result, but the people who fail are the ones whose behaviors get culled. Treat markets like biomes and you have a much more useful analogy. You'll also see why the folks who are tempted to tinker with the engine fail so miserably and so often. Every other life form in the biome adapts to what they do. 8)

DavidTC said...

Hey, David Brin gave a definition of 'leftist' that isn't just 'communists' in disguise. Maybe. Let's parse it to find out who we should be afraid of.

What American leftists are is HORIZON EXPANSION JUNKIES. They have to be aggressively INCLUDING the next oppressed group, then the next.

...you do know what the word 'oppressed' means, right?

People who run around finding oppressed people and trying to help them get equality them are, uh, normally called 'heroes'.

I think you've internalized some right dog whistles, where 'oppressed groups' are something we shouldn't be helping. (I'm suddenly reminded of the accusations of the right that Obama is 'anti-colonial', which produced a lot of baffled looks on the left wondering when America became 'pro-colonial'.)

Actually, people who run around arguing for equality are normally called *liberals*, so now I'm doubly baffled, considering I thought you were trying to make a distinction between 'leftists' and 'liberals'.

This sanctimony makes them contemptuous of anyone who clings to older loyalties.

Oppression is bad, but you know what real evil is? People who are rude to oppressors!

You want to argue that speaking in such way isn't the *best way of reaching the goal*, feel free. (You are *wrong*. But argue it anyway.)

But that's just a practical issue that they might be swayed with honey instead of vinegar....it's not some morally objectionable behaviour to be contemptuous of people who are loyal to people who oppress other people.

Leftists also tend to despise Smithian competition and hence capitalism, while liberals mostly admire it and simply want, the competitive processes to be fair/flat/open.??

Interesting rule of thumb about politics: Whenever someone tell you what a political philosophy likes or dislikes something, they are probably trying to mislead you. (This is true whether this group is their own or a group they dislike.)

Political philosophies do not have 'likes'. They have goals, and they have beliefs about how to best reach those goals. Anyone who, instead, talks about their 'likes' is obfuscating the matter.

So let's decode the idea they despise 'Smithian competition'. Perhaps what you are trying to imply that leftism 'has a goal of less Smithian competition', but saying it that way sounds completely absurd, mostly because it is way to vague to be any sort of policy goal. Do they want more resources so there is less competition over them? Do they want telephone monopolies? Do they just want the east coast rappers and west coast rappers to get along?

So 'Less Smithian competition' as a goal is silly as an assertion. So let's assume instead you mean they don't have it as a major belief about how to best reach any particular political goal.

Which is certainly a more reasonable statement, but sorta where the entire thing falls apart, because we are after all talking about *political* goals, and saying 'leftists don't like reach political goals via capitalism' is essentially saying 'leftists don't like to privatize government', which a correct statement, hardly paints them in the harsh light you seem to want them painted...after all, you yourself have complained about the 'privatize everything' policy the right has adopted.

So, the two horrible things you have listed the left as doing...standing up for oppressed people and being against government privatization?

Once again, we have attempted to decipher what you mean by 'the left' vs 'the liberals'...and run into nothing, really. 'The left' appears to be just what you call liberals who you think go too far into attempting to seize the means of production and implement communism, despite every sign being that such people do not exist in large enough numbers to win a tug-of-war against a single right-wing militia, much less implement their plan.

LarryHart said...

DavidTC:

What American leftists are is HORIZON EXPANSION JUNKIES. They have to be aggressively INCLUDING the next oppressed group, then the next.

...you do know what the word 'oppressed' means, right?

People who run around finding oppressed people and trying to help them get equality them are, uh, normally called 'heroes'.


I think Dr Brin meant "oppressed" in quotes. That said, you do have a point.

I used to try to explain to a conservative buddy thusly: That liberals advocate for the downtrodden, but the definition of a group as "downtrodden" is not a static thing.

The definition of other advocate groups, "feminists" for instance, are static. Feminists advocate for the interests of women as a group, whether they are agitating for equality or supremacy. When women are in a position to require assistance acquiring justice and equality, then liberals should ally themselves with feminists. But once women have achieved supremacy, or worse, become oppressors themselves, then liberals and feminists should go their separate ways. Liberals should look for someone else to "rescue" at that point.

In the real world, too often it seems, groups are permanently identified as "oppressed groups" whose side liberals are supposed to take in any argument, no matter the circumstances.

Alfred Differ said...

The classical liberals don't support permanently identified oppressed groups. What we tend to do when we err is go the other way and oppose permanently identified threat groups. This can be seen in some of our drive to separate church and state through a divorce.

Valkyrie Ice said...

@Duncan

You are quite right, I am not talking about accepting the most likely science. I am talking about BLIND FAITH DEMANDING THAT I ACCEPT CONSENSUS REGARDLESS OF ANY EVIDENCE AGAINST.

The problem with your logic is that it, like so many others, relies on ideals. In an ideal system, Your statements are true.

But as I have stated, Experience has shown me 2 things.

1) That the ideal system has little to no connection to reality

2) People will in almost all cases prefer to think the ideal is reality regardless of all evidence against it.

The point you, and most others seem to keep missing is that I am pointing out that SCIENCE is itself subject to the very same partisan forces that are rife in political views, and that in many cases, political ideologies have captured and enforced bias on scientific "realities" creating a distorted lens.

And that too many people view such distortion as "Right" and "Necessary"

You stated it yourself, "As an outsider". Why do you consider yourself as "Outside" and why does being "Outside" release you from the burden of investigation and drawing your own conclusions?

Because you have received "revealed wisdom" and have accepted it as "The Truth". You claim "there is no data" that goes against consensus, but have you ever looked? Or have you merely believed those who claim there is none?

When you say "Consensus says" all you are saying is "I have faith"

As I have pointed out previously, I quite firmly stand with David on the solution. I can quite firmly say that TWODA is the most logical course of action, regardless of the truth or falsehood of "Revealed Wisdom", and regardless of which ideological bias is making claims.

But you aren't discussing courses of action. You're attempting to "Bring me into the faith."

Science is the most necessary of all human endeavors. It is the SOLE weapon we possess against the demons of the unknown. It is the only tool we have which can create progress, shed light on superstition, and eradicate ignorance.

But I am not talking about Science.

I am talking about the pernicious system of belief that goes against the very most basic principle of science, the right to question.

Consensus denies that right, and demands that you shall not question.

Again, I make no claims to knowing "The Truth". I lack sufficient data to be a goddess. What I am doing is questioning the blind faith of too many who have turned science from a tool into a religion. Pointing out that, just like with political ideologies, your response should be "Trust, but verify."

Your agreement with my observations is not required. I merely ask that you investigate, instead of "Believe".

Consensus MAY be right. But it is not "GUARANTEED TO BE RIGHT". But too many people seem to think it is and shut down their brains. And that is why I view "Consensus" as a danger, one that should be fought against as part of TWODA.

Because, believe it or not, I'd love for your ideals about "how science works" to become reality again.

Valkyrie Ice said...

@Jumper

You have looked at my icon no?

I make no demands for credibility and respect, Jumper. I'm a demoness for hells sake!

Your opinion of me is quite meaningless. Feel free to look down your nose at me all you wish. Better people than you have scorned me. It's rather meaningless, but if it makes you feel better, have fun XDDDDDD *giggle*

Duncan Cairncross said...

Valkyrie
"You stated it yourself, "As an outsider". Why do you consider yourself as "Outside" and why does being "Outside" release you from the burden of investigation and drawing your own conclusions?


As an "outsider" I have interest - but I don't have the energy to go to the fine end of a fart (its not possible to know everything about everything)
In that situation it is entirely appropriate to use "the consensus"
And I will continue to do so


If I have a particular interest or I work in the field then I will go the extra steps
People working in the field are not "outsiders" and will be doing their own diligence


Science works - one of the main reasons that it does work is that it is being performed worldwide,


America could be subverted by some kind of group-think,
But to believe that all of the other countries and organizations are being subverted by the same group-think is simply fantastic

I tend to think that with the structure of science in the USA it is pretty fantastic to think of America being subverted by group-think
Unless you are in some type of rarefied subset of science that has only a small number of practitioners

Alfred
IC Engine design has occurred over the last century by a remarkably "organic" process
With much more "suck it and see" than engineers feel comfortable in admitting

While the natural world cannot plot and plan ways to make your design fail it sometimes feels that it is doing so

Markets have a skeleton of rules, These rules are set by legislators,
As such the "market" is a "designed thing"

Once the rules are in place the market adapts and changes

The only real difference is that engineers normally have a better (but not perfect) idea of what will happen after their changes
And (critically) people who operate the markets can sometimes buy the rule changes they want

Markets are much more like engines than biological systems because we do have the levers of power
(Legislation and regulation)
even if we are not certain what will happen as we wiggle them

Duncan Cairncross said...

A lovely quote I just read

So-called “global warming” is just
a secret ploy by wacko tree-
huggers to make America energy
independent, clean our air and
water, improve the fuel efficiency
of our vehicles, kick-start
21st-century industries, and make
our cities safer and more livable.
Don’t let them get away with it!

LarryHart said...

#Duncan Cairncross

That poem is sarcastic, of course. But there is some truth there. As I said way up above, some of the "Drill baby, drill!", pro-fracking crowd seems to have gone beyond the notion of "The benefits outweigh the costs" to being in favor of dangerous things because of the costs.

It may be as the poem pretends to advocate--out and out hatred of anything hippie-ish (environmentalism), or it may be that perverse surrender-reflex Dr Brin sometimes mentions, sucking up to the powerful polluters. Or (in a positive light) it may be the personality type that is willing to face danger to reap whatever benefits accrue on the other side.

I don't pretend to know the "why", but the argument does seem to be out there.

In other words, if you show certain people that poem as an argument, they're going to go "Yeah, that's right!" without getting the sarcasm.

DavidTC said...

@larryhart
In the real world, too often it seems, groups are permanently identified as "oppressed groups" whose side liberals are supposed to take in any argument, no matter the circumstances.

Or, at least, that's the silly argument that the right likes to make.

There are probably a few groups that have managed to escape 'oppression' in the US...the Irish, maybe? Although, historically, that oppression was a lot more myth than actual fact. (Basically, all those 'No Irish' signs are fake.)

And, of course, Jewish people are a strange counter-example, having escaped discrimination here in the US...and now it's the *right* that keeps yelling 'antisemitism' when people oppose the often-irrational behavior of Israel.

And the rest of oppressed people are...still oppressed. Women are still subject to an immense amount of sexism, and still make three-fourths of what men do. Black people are incarcerated at *absurdly* high numbers. Etc, etc.

To say that liberals 'fail to update' oppressed groups really seems to have no basis in reality. This is not the Monty Python sketch about Dennis Moore.

The fact is that the economic groups that liberals think are opposed have, over the last decade or so, gotten *worse* off. Worse, not better. (Although at least the whole homosexual rights thing is making forward progress...but that's still not even at the point where they are treated the same and protected *legally*.)


Now, as I come at this from a progressive direction, I sometimes to disagree with the liberal solution, which often seems *entirely* focused on equality. We spend time and effort trying to make sure that a single hardworking black person can make it through college, whereas, instead, we'd probably be better off if we just raised minimum wage and distributed the hypothetical college tuition among the very poor. Lifting families out of generational poverty *one at a time* is an infinitely long process and will never succeed. What we need to do is broad programs to attack poverty, not programs that make *one person* middle class.

Of course, I'm not certain if our misapplication of fund is due to 'liberal' thought, or just the fact the right is *really* opposed to helping the poor unless that specific poor person 'deserves' help.

Paul451 said...

VI,
"Do you make the claim that no scientist seeks the recognition and approval of their peers, and will thus fearlessly challenge the Status Quo?"

No, but you are saying, in effect, that no scientist fearlessly challenges the status quo. And the reason that that is bullshit is that science isn't philosophy, it isn't politics. It's science. It's purpose is to describe reality. If the theory moves too far away from reality, then new evidence, new findings, new research, and hence new papers start to dry up. Instead all the interesting stuff is found by those who challenge the orthodoxy. That doesn't happen in other fields (except engineering, for the same reason), so they can spin off up their own arses without limit.

That is how every scientific theory has been overthrown by a controversial upstart. Big bang, over steady-state. Quantum mechanics, over classical mechanics. Evolution (and within that, Punk-eek over neo-Darwin). And, of course, human caused climate change. The new theories found more evidence, found more nooks and crannies to explore. The old theories, like old wells, dried up. Eventually there was nothing left but the new theories. [Or as Planck said, "Science advances one funeral at a time."] Young researchers have to go where they can make their careers, make their reputations, you can't actually do that by purely sucking up to the old orthodoxy unless the orthodoxy can produce useful physical results.

You can't prevent that process from happening because ultimately you need to produce experiments that other researchers can replicate (because if they can't, people will stop caring about your work), or produce data that other researchers can also find/gather, especially find supporting data in other forms (like paleo-dendrochronology, vs reef and ice core chronology.)

[And that, IMO, is why so many fields like philosophy and politics (and alt.science) hate science so much. How can you not hate a group who can take your ideologically beautiful theory (like electric universe), or "common sense" gut beliefs (like DARE and teaching abstinence), and just say, "Nah, we checked, look, see it doesn't work."]

And I notice you still haven't answered the question about why every climate researcher in the world would go along with The Consensus if they didn't believe it, for fear of angering The Consensus. Why would researchers in Russia or China support a false western theory? Why would researchers in the US when the US government, which provides the vast bulk of climate funding, was entirely controlled by the anti-AGW Republican party? From the President down. Why didn't a thousand researchers, chaffing under the strictures of The Consensus, take the opportunity to petition the government to reveal to them the secret truth about climate change, basically produce an anti-IPCC report based on the real research? (Instead of what actually happened, where they revealed to the public (at great risk to their careers) how their govt appointed bosses were manipulating their research to suppress pro-AGW results.) Why wouldn't they support the deniers, even if it was in secret, expanding a little at a time until they could overturn The Consensus? Why, in this age of effortless publication, aren't there online journals of pseudonymous work produced by all the frustrated researchers, otherwise trapped by The Consensus' control of mainstream journals?

Your claim makes no sense.

LarryHart said...

DavidTC:

And, of course, Jewish people are a strange counter-example, having escaped discrimination here in the US...and now it's the *right* that keeps yelling 'antisemitism' when people oppose the often-irrational behavior of Israel.


As an American Jew myself, I'm in a constant state of amazement at how the political right has managed to co-opt the loyalty of both Jews and Catholics as part of the in-group. I'm old enough to remember a time when neither group would have been admitted to the country clubs or the suburbs that those Republicans lived in. My parents' house in suburban Chicago technically had a restrictive comvenant which did not permit its sale to Jews (although even in 1960, you can see how "well" that worked).

If you remember the expression about "The Israeli tail wagging the American dog," that was a talking point of the right in the 1980s. No one called Bob Novak anti-semitic for pointing out that American and Israeli interests aren't necessarily the same thing.


To say that liberals 'fail to update' oppressed groups really seems to have no basis in reality. This is not the Monty Python sketch about Dennis Moore.


Heh. That was exactly the sketch I was thinking of when I posted.

LarryHart said...

David TC (continues):

Of course, I'm not certain if our misapplication of fund is due to 'liberal' thought, or just the fact the right is *really* opposed to helping the poor unless that specific poor person 'deserves' help.


To me, this is an application of the fact that the right doesn't believe in the positive-sum game that society can/should be.

They believe that any source of help for an underprivileged person or group already belongs to someone else. And that society (i.e., "the government") has no right to take their property in order to give it to someone else.

Paul451 said...

DavidTC,
"To say that liberals 'fail to update' oppressed groups really seems to have no basis in reality. This is not the Monty Python sketch about Dennis Moore."

I think the key to understand the point Larry and others are trying to make to you is to recognise that "Dennis Moore" didn't actually enrich "the poor". He enriched (eventually) a single couple.

And that's where the psychology of "helping the oppressed" sometimes gets trapped behind good old personal power-politics. Where a specific group attain power in a very narrow area, their abuse of that power doesn't mean that the general oppressed group has attained power (or even equality), and may be just as oppressed by that same specific group as they were by the original power structure.

Feminism being the easy, oft-used example. A specific institution tries to address long-standing inequality by bringing in the specific vocal feminist group campaigning for equality. Jump forward and women in general don't have any more power, only those who are aligned with the specific feminist group (or often a specific leader) who is now dominant. If a women is on the outer with the group, she is possibly even more oppressed than she would have been under the old system.

Colleges are notorious for this. But something similar happened when the skeptic and atheist movements tried to deal with their internal sexism problem. They essentially gave power to a single cult-of-personality group, which served only to split the movement in half and really did nothing to address the original problem. You have exactly the same level of bullying and exclusion (including of women) as there was before, you've just switched who does the bullying and exclusion.

[This is also the result of many revolutions. You just switch dictators. They call it "Big Man Syndrome". The beloved revolutionary leader who appears to sincerely believe in helping his people gains power and becomes as monstrous as his predecessor, or often even worse.]

Paul451 said...

...

Speaking of which. This failure of the left to recognise when a formally out-group becomes the new in-group and is actually now acting like the old in-group, is also reflected in a tendency in the left to fail to recognise that the obvious trait (sex/race/etc) of the oppressive in-group doesn't mean that everyone who shares that trait also shares the power.

For example, even slight reductions in the power of the classic patriarchy has actually benefited every man who wasn't part of the elite. Empowering women has often benefited men.

Eliminating the colonial power structure helps white people who don't have power, as much as it helps the colonial-oppressed races.

But when you fixate on the obvious trait (sex/race/etc), you end up harming the powerless more than the powerful - simply because they are less powerful. It's a lot easier to ruin the life of a poor man than a rich one. You need to recognise that the oppressors are harming their own kind outside of the narrow power group. And the goal of the left should be to empower the enemy-trait powerless as much as it is to bring down the enemy-trait powerful.

Paul451 said...

...

And the left needs to be the one to recognise this because the right doesn't. The loyalty gene prevents them from recognising their own "kind" is harming them.

A trait that Fox and the Republicans exploit to manipulate the working poor into supporting the oppressors of the working poor.

DavidTC said...

Feminism being the easy, oft-used example. A specific institution tries to address long-standing inequality by bringing in the specific vocal feminist group campaigning for equality. Jump forward and women in general don't have any more power, only those who are aligned with the specific feminist group (or often a specific leader) who is now dominant. If a women is on the outer with the group, she is possibly even more oppressed than she would have been under the old system.

This is not a description of anything that has ever happened in all of human existence.

Seriously. That's not how it works. Feminist groups do not come in and 'take over' leadership of things.

Colleges are notorious for this.

Notorious, interestingly, does not mean *true*. Again, life is being confused with fiction, in this case PCU.

In the actual world, institutions implement *policies*, which apply equally across all people. They do not hand off control to random people.

But something similar happened when the skeptic and atheist movements tried to deal with their internal sexism problem. They essentially gave power to a single cult-of-personality group, which served only to split the movement in half and really did nothing to address the original problem. You have exactly the same level of bullying and exclusion (including of women) as there was before, you've just switched who does the bullying and exclusion.

Uh, no. That is not what actually happened there. At all.

Pretending there's a single 'cult-of-personality' group in the atheist community that is against the *horrific* sexism spread throughout that is just completely delusional. The 'cult-of-personality' stuff is simply because literally *any* woman who stands up to the bullshit gets *instantly* attacked, and people stand up for them. That does not make them a 'cult-of-personality', anymore than Sandra Fluke is a 'cult-of-personality'.

Do not even *try* to defend the bullshit going on in that community, or argue that the feminism side is somehow 'wrong'. (Probably due to their 'tone' or some other oppressive nonsense.)

is also reflected in a tendency in the left to fail to recognise that the obvious trait (sex/race/etc) of the oppressive in-group doesn't mean that everyone who shares that trait also shares the power.

Sure, if the left is a caricature of Andrea Dworkin.

In actuality, no.

For example, even slight reductions in the power of the classic patriarchy has actually benefited every man who wasn't part of the elite. Empowering women has often benefited men.

I can't even begin to imagine how this is a *problem* of the left. The left, in fact, is pretty damn aware of this, and in fact uses that as part of their arguments.

But when you fixate on the obvious trait (sex/race/etc), you end up harming the powerless more than the powerful - simply because they are less powerful. It's a lot easier to ruin the life of a poor man than a rich one. You need to recognise that the oppressors are harming their own kind outside of the narrow power group. And the goal of the left should be to empower the enemy-trait powerless as much as it is to bring down the enemy-trait powerful.

Ah, yes. What the left 'should' do. Of course, it actually is what the left *is* doing, but thanks for your input.

Gator said...

Locumranch:
"
(7) Gator is right when he states that science is non-equivalent to "kids berating puppets" because I was referencing the actual physical manifestations of science (IE. medical school, academia & society in general) rather than its abstract. And, assuming you can convince the old guard that they are wrong, you will "make your career" at risk of flunking out when you fail in this endeavor, so the best tactic is to remake yourself into a good academic sponge and/or agreeable social dishrag."

Medical school, although hopefully based on science, is NOT science. This is not comparable to cosmology or climate science, where Valkerie Ice is proposing that the "consensus" stifles science.

I would agree that in technology fields there is often safety is just doing what others have done before. No one can blame you for results if you are just following the established standard.

This is the exactly opposite of grad school science. You don't get a PhD for just passing tests. You are supposed to do something new and push the frontier, even if just a bit. No student would get a research plan approved to just verify the same ole, same ole.

Now you might try to do something like outline a research project that would look for evidence that plasma cosmology is true, and end up showing that your evidence does not support plasma cosmology. Sometimes the "standard model" matches the evidence, and continues to match the evidence as time goes on. But that's science too, you keep looking for ways to poke holes in what you understand today.

It's every scientist's dream to find data that is currently unexplainable. The description denialists make about science and consensus and crushing young scientists is just about as far from actual science (as practiced!) as can be by my experience.

I was around for the 17 keV neutrino and cold fusion. The day P&F announced their results people were setting up experiments all over my Uni trying to replicate it. Scientists love new and "impossible" things -- as long as the results stand up to scrutiny and can be replicated.

Jumper said...

Valkyrie Ice, my point was about selective solipsism. and I put it into words to benefit several people, including myself.

Jumper said...

How can an amateur investigate large fields? Random sampling.

Paul451 said...

DavidTC,

"The 'cult-of-personality' stuff is simply because literally *any* woman who stands up to the bullshit gets *instantly* attacked, and people stand up for them."

That's the "self-story" that the leader told her followers. But I saw way too many women "*instantly* attacked" en masse by those followers because the women didn't obey the new doctrines, or openly questioned them. Same abuse, different abuser. If you were on the outside of the in-group, you were attacked.

"Ah, yes. What the left 'should' do. Of course, it actually is what the left *is* doing,"

No, that's just what the left tells each other they are doing, but it is most definitely not what they are doing. Which is why so many oppressed groups, so many natural allies, actively oppose the left. Because the left cannot engage with them.

As I said, undermining the patriarchy helps non-elite men. So why do non-elite men so often oppose feminism? Because of the failure of the left to engage with them, to show how feminism helps them. Because it's always easier for the left to attack non-elites, precisely because non-elites have less power. Ah, you'll already be mentally loading up the practised lines, the excuses the left tells each other, so try this: Why do non-elite women so often oppose feminism? Listen to the left speak and it's as if every word is deliberately chosen to push away the working poor, as if the left wants to be as obscure and disconnected from society as possible. As if success is defined by how far away from society you can get, rather than how far you can take society with you.

Put it another way: Name one new victory for women that feminism has achieved since the '60s. Ie, something beyond the issues in the '60s. You are still fighting the same battles as you were then. After a century of advancement up to the '60s, after a century of gaining radical new rights (including the right to vote, for christ's sake), and then suddenly nothing. Name an issue that concerned feminism in the '60s that's been dealt with once and for all in the way the right of women to vote or own property has. Abortion? Birth control? Violence against women? Equal pay for equal work? Equal representation? Treatment in the media? Hell, division of domestic labour?

Roe v Wade should have been an absolute win. Done. Irrevocable. And yet today you are perhaps one bad judicial appointment away from its complete overturn. Even when the left wins, somehow you still keep losing. Only 40% of Americans consider themselves pro-choice, the lowest level for decades, nearly 80% would accept some restriction on abortion, and over a fifth want it fully criminalised under all circumstances. By contrast, how many Americans do you suppose want to ban women from voting? Or not allow them to own property, or open a bank-account in their own name, or...

Do you think 19th century feminists had less opposition than modern feminists? [Laughs] So why can't modern feminists actually achieve anything? Why are you still stuck? What happened in the '60s and '70s that killed the ability of social reformers to actually engage with people, to change people's minds? They became the modern left.

"but thanks for your input."

And thank you for proving my point.

DavidTC said...

That's the "self-story" that the leader told her followers. But I saw way too many women "*instantly* attacked" en masse by those followers because the women didn't obey the new doctrines, or openly questioned them. Same abuse, different abuser. If you were on the outside of the in-group, you were attacked.

The attacks on women who speak up about sexism they suffer is pretty well documented.

The reverse attacks on...hell, I don't even know who you think they are...women who don't speak up? Women who oppose women speaking up? Whoever you think that is, it doesn't happen.

Which is why so many oppressed groups, so many natural allies, actively oppose the left.

This is the part where I start to think you have the same definitions of 'the left' as Brin.
Oppressed groups, and formerly oppressed groups, vote Democrat. By a vast majority. Pretty much end of story. So the idea they 'oppose' the left is very odd.

But I'm sure you think 'Democrats' aren't 'the left'.

So why do non-elite men so often oppose feminism? Because of the failure of the left to engage with them, to show how feminism helps them. Because it's always easier for the left to attack non-elites, precisely because non-elites have less power. Ah, you'll already be mentally loading up the practised lines, the excuses the left tells each other, so try this: Why do non-elite women so often oppose feminism? Listen to the left speak and it's as if every word is deliberately chosen to push away the working poor, as if the left wants to be as obscure and disconnected from society as possible.

...not a single word in that is true. Again, I'm forced to assume you've defined 'left' as something besides the people the actual left consists of.

Put it another way: Name one new victory for women that feminism has achieved since the '60s. Ie, something beyond the issues in the '60s.

Uh, really? You're talking about feminism and you can't name things that happened since the 60s?

Educational equality act. Laws against domestic violence. Child support. Martial rape laws. No-fault divorce. Sexual harassment laws.

Name an issue that concerned feminism in the '60s that's been dealt with once and for all in the way the right of women to vote or own property has

First-wave feminism, in theory, started in 1848. In 1895, Utah was last state to grant married women property rights. So, that's 50 year timeframe for that. The right to vote took until 1920. 70 years.

Now, I'm not sure what 'dealt with once and for all' means, but let's assume that means there's either a law in every state, or a federal law about it. And let's pretend second-wave feminism started in 1962.

Laws against sexual discrimination in the workplace? And different laws against discrimination in education? 10 years.

Right to not be raped by your husband? 40 years from the start of second-wave feminism for every state to pass a law. (Although this wasn't really brought up as an issue until the 70s, so it's more like 30 years in actuality.)

The civil rights act barring discrimination in civil rights? TWO YEARS.

But, no, the fact a quirk of the political system put the single issue of abortion outside of the political process, so the political right has been making noise about it for decades, means *nothing* from the 60s is 'dealt with'.

And that's second wave feminism. What has third wave feminism *started* to accomplish in the 20 years or so it's been around?

Two words: Gay marriage. Not quite there yet, but getting there.

Paul451 said...

DavidTC,

"The attacks on women who speak up about sexism they suffer is pretty well documented."

And is the reason why the groups reach out to activists to try to address it. As I said when I introduced the topic. So why did you think you needed to convince me of this, since I brought it up? My guess is that it is, again, part of the in-group self-story that anyone speaking against the in-group must be in denial about the original sexism and abuse. How could I be aware of the original issue, but critical of the in-group? Therefore I must also be denying that original issue; you can't conceive of any alternative explanation.

For example...

"The reverse attacks on...hell, I don't even know who you think they are...women who don't speak up? Women who oppose women speaking up? Whoever you think that is, it doesn't happen."

"It doesn't happen". The left at its finest. Denying the very existence of women who've publicly spoken out against abuse by the new in-group. They can't exist because that would deny the in-group's beliefs about itself, therefore they don't exist, QED.

'But I'm sure you think 'Democrats' aren't 'the left'."

[laughs] By the standards of the rest of the world the US Democrats are a centre-right party. By the measure of US voters on key issues compared to the Democrats' voting record or party platform, the Democrats are also well to the right of voters themselves on most issues. The US has no political left party outside of the Greens. The US doesn't even have a centrist party.

"Now, I'm not sure what 'dealt with once and for all' means, but let's assume that means there's either a law in every state"

No, it means it's done. We don't debate the right of women to vote, own property, have their own bank-accounts, or other wins of the suffragettes. We don't constantly need to campaign on any of them, we don't fight against the right-wingers trying to wind them back.

Every other "success" you mentioned, otoh, we do. The civil rights act being an obvious one. Or domestic violence. Or sexual harassment. Or...

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