Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Optimists aren't the ingrate betrayers.

I just finished 9 weeks of relentless speechifying around the globe, from the Arctic and Russia to South China to LA, to a dozen events in DC. More than 25 talks! Culminating in last week’s commencement at UC Santa Cruz (Crown College.) Time to get back to writing.

== But first…

Two minutes. Watch this, you Americans. Two minutes for your country. (And you others, learn from this!) As for those cardboard election mailers you were getting, and will get again, come November? Do what you should do with anything received over the web. Start by looking at the return address. (The "paid-by" is usually some made-up shill phrase.) 

There's lots more we need to do, to shred the veil of lies. But that should only be a start. 

It truly is simple. One party wants a return to the campaign accountability laws that worked mostly-well in the past. Ronald Reagan was elected under them, by the way. Vote for that party and against the one that has adopted wholesale cheating supported with acts of war by foreign powers.

Better yet, join Lawrence Lessig's campaign to bring all the funding into the light.

== Is there any protection from the inevitable meltdown? ==

With Paul Ryan announcing his retirement (to spend time with family), and the last professionals leaving a White House in full melt-down mode, talk of a bill to protect Robert Mueller is going nowhere, because GOP pols are desperately afraid of Rupert Murdoch. And yes, just in time, the Murdochs are getting a huge, cash war chest of $70 Billion they can spend on perverting the Enlightenment. Thanks a bunch, Mickey.

What happens when a toddler with presidential powers enters full panic mode? What are the skilled and grownup men and women of the officer corps, the civil service, and adults both in and out of the "deep state" to do, when faced with a life-or-death choice between their duty to all of us, and the chain-of-command?

There is a solution! It can pass, quietly, in a three sentence resolution from both houses. Far less daunting or traumatic than impeachment, it would give our military officers and others a place to turn, if they are ever given "spasm" commands.

Three sentences -- that could be slipped into almost any bill -- that would quietly let us sleep at night. Give it another look... and pass it along to anyone you know who might know someone who knows someone...

== We haven’t lost… yet ==

Long ago I learned something from my friend Ray Bradbury... that people want to be optiminstic, but they are worried about looking naïve or foolish. Still, they can be chided into seeing the advantages of a positive attitude.

Hated on by both the far-left and the entire-right, Steven Pinker dares to beat the drum of optimism in an era of stylish cynicism and self-indulgent gloom. He and I choose different examples, and reasons to feel guarded hope. But first, ponder this Pinker excerpt:

"Consider the U.S. just three decades ago. Our annual homicide rate was 8.5 per 100,000. Eleven percent of us fell below the poverty line (as measured by consumption). And we spewed 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide and 34.5 million tons of particulate matter into the atmosphere.

"Fast forward to the most recent numbers available today. The homicide rate is 5.3 (a blip up from 4.4 in 2014). Three percent of us fall below the consumption poverty line. And we emit four million tons of sulfur dioxide and 20.6 million tons of particulates, despite generating more wealth and driving more miles.

"Globally, the 30-year scorecard also favors the present. In 1988, 23 wars raged, killing people at a rate of 3.4 per 100,000; today it’s 12 wars killing 1.2 per 100,000. The number of nuclear weapons has fallen from 60,780 to 10,325. In 1988, the world had just 45 democracies, embracing two billion people; today it has 103, embracing 4.1 billion. That year saw 46 oil spills; 2016, just five. And 37% of the population lived in extreme poverty, barely able to feed themselves, compared with 9.6% today. True, 2016 was a bad year for terrorism in Western Europe, with 238 deaths. But 1988 was even worse, with 440."

Pinker has mountains of such examples, enraging those who think that only hand-wringing guilt trips can possibly motivate people to take action to improve things further.

Fools. It's confidence that spurs action, not despair! See his new book: Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.

Along these lines, famed statistician Hans Rosling's final book (published posthumously): Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World - and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, explores the upward trend of human progress, which Bill Gates calls "One of the most important books I've ever read."  As a matter of fact, Bill Gates is giving a free ebook of Factfulness to all 2018 college graduates.

Have things improved? Enjoy this vivid video of Hans Rosling: 200 Countries, 200 years in 4 Minutes -- joyfully detailing statistical progress across the globe, over decades.

Here's an example or two of my own.

If you were around in 1985, when Star Trek IV came out, would you have bet that in 2018 all species of whale would still be around, and in greater numbers than ever? 

Oh, but can they survive long with idiots denying that the oceans are going acid? It's not to late to stop the bad trend and save the good. It's that mix of confidence-building accomplishment with urgency that might empower us to save the world.

Seriously, any of you who would trade places with any generation of our ancestors need to get a grip. Try actually, actually confronting the facts of feudal oppression, inquisitions, and the plain reality that nearly all of those forebears had experienced the smoke, blood, screams and terror of a burning city or village, not once in their lives, but several times. 

Spoiled rotten, do not add ingratitude to your list of faults. Confront your place on the slope of progress! Gaze briefly (with Pinker's help) across how far we've come... then dig in your feet and get to work climbing further.

== Infopacalypse? ==

Which brings us to another big perspective... and what it says about our disruptive era.
A member of our comment community corrected my impression that the American democracy has lasted longer than the Athenian:  

Athenian democracy lasted from around 594 BC when Solon instituted the Ecclesia to when Phillip II conquered Athens in 338 BC, a total of 256 years. It started in revolution because a very small elite had turned all the others into debt slaves. Solon made the very deep reforms thereby avoiding civil war. It lasted for through many existential crises but was eventually brought down by hubris brought about by empire, a lost war and afterwards a general slump into insignificance all in 256 years. Our democracy started in 1788 so if democracies have a lifespan then we will reach our end around the year 2044. In the critical stage Athens produced Pericles, the best of leaders, but it also produced Alcibiades who was brilliant, from the best family and had been a pupil of Socrates but was totally devoid of principles. Who is our Alcibiades these days?” 

Well, yes, sort of. Athens went through wilder swings, across those 256 years, including stretches when the oligarchs resumed control, and others when democracy resembled more a mob than a deliberative assembly of adults. (In fact, the U.S. has gone through swings, as well, which I call "phases of our ongoing/recurring Civil War.")

Much of this came to mind while watching Mark Zuckerberg testify to Congress.  I've been to Facebook twice, in the last year or so, advising one of the teams trying to come up with ways to make facts and reliability more a part of that online roiling stew. (In EARTH (1989) I predicted social media would become a morass of self-reinforcing echo-chambers.) Alas, people keep inviting me to come and consult... and never take my simple advice.

== How to defend Truth ==

Which brings us to this chilling revelation about foreign electoral meddling and our current "Infopocalypse Now.”

Those with less education are more biased by false information - even once they know it's false. Scientific American recently published an excellent analysis of the research on fake news, misinformation, and cognitive ability. The nut of it is this: those with low cognitive ability are more likely to believe false information even after they've been explicitly told it's false.

Cognitive ability also correlates with education, which teaches meta-cognitive skills - the ability to monitor and regulate one's own thinking, which can be used to combat the effects of misinformation on worldview.

Among the disturbing findings:
· The Trump campaign targeted low cognitive-ability voters.
· Repeated exposure is more convincing than one-time exposure.
· Fake news is more viral than real news.

Case in point: "The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now. But now they're setting records. They're at a record level." - Donald Trump, to Reuters, quoted on

You and I find it hard to believe we are members of the same civilization – nay, species – as people who are able to murmur such an incantation, knowing full well that – if they allowed any fact person to speak, the nostrum would prove diametrically opposite to truth. The word “Idiocracy” comes to mind.

But is this surprising? The Confederacy always relied upon this: Aristocrats pay for propaganda to get the most dimwitted whites to march off and fight for the rights of the richest.

And yes, this is using democracy to destroy itself. When the war on all fact professions is done, and the aristocracy is the only power left standing, you can bet that democracy will be curtailed. The one thing puzzling me is how - once all the fact and skill professions are pounded down - the feudal lords expect that strategy to ultimately go well for them.

(Source: Berit Anderson's SCOUT site and the Strategic News Service).

== And finally... ==

Ex-Speaker John Boehner Joins Marijuana Firm's Advisory Board. Seriously. How many times have we seen this? These guys scream at Martin Luther King... then later proclaim themselves to be his heirs. They cry out: "cars don't cause smog!" And "it's okay that rivers catch fire!" And "tobacco is good for you!" And "Russia is our pal!"  And "glaciers are expanding!"... and a jillion other fact-hating nostrums.  Then, when utterly disproved and the delaying tactic is used up?

It's "who, me? I never!" 

The last thing they'll admit it that being always, always, always wrong should affect a jerk's credibility.

Experts and reformers aren't always right! But you troglodytes have such a horrid record that you bear the burden of proof.  And hence your all-out war on every single fact-using profession.

Light-up, John. Inhale. Maybe it will deaden the dull ache in some residual stump of a soul, after a lifetime spent betraying your nation, world and civilization.


Anonymous said...

Thats what I refer. Parents can not be replaced. This happens all over the world:


Zepp Jamieson said...

I've just discovered why Trump is going to reopen NASA:

In other news, Trump vowed to defeat King George III.

LarryHart said...

...and King George responds:

Oceans rise. Empires fall.
It's much harder when it's all your call.
All alone, across the sea,
When your people say they hate you...
Don't come crawling back to me.

and then later,

"President Donald Trump"?

Good luck.

Zepp Jamieson said...

George the III is dead, thanks to President Trump!

donzelion said...

"It's confidence that spurs action, not despair!"

Seems to me confidence SUSTAINS action, esp. after a first failed experiment requires additional trials and tweaking before achieving success. Nearly every worthy endeavor requires confidence despite setbacks.

Despair spurs reactions, esp. efforts to avoid squandering energy on paths leading nowhere. There will always be space for Jeremiah to wail, because when he wails, he does so confidently, and in a manner distinct from the wailing and gnashing of teeth by all the others witnessing utter desolation. His despair cannot stop the collapse of the kingdom - but it can help preserve a people.

Alfred Differ said...

Hmm.. despair involves a failure to believe in/be faithful to a viable future. It is a surrender. A suicide.

Faith in one's self can help prevent despair a little bit, but only if that belief envisions a future. Doing that in the face of trials requires courage, but it mostly requires imagining a viable future.

I see confidence as a mix of courage and faith and a seed for hope, but one needs more than that seed. One also needs soil made fertile by the imaginations of us all. One person's creativity is just a start.

Despair (opposite of hope) occurs when the soil is sterilized OR one believes that it is.

Anonymous said...

As I said before: Avoiding the creation of artificial intelligences of war is not an option. Because there will always be other countries that develop these weapons:


Anonymous said...

Climate change deniers tend to be racist, white and old, according to a study (Wow, that describes Donald Trump):


Anonymous said...

I just learned that the Confederate flag is the flag of Mississippi. (What madness). (We should sell sanitary paper with the image of Donald Trump and the Mississippi flag):


Alfred Differ said...

Presidential images on toilet paper is a product that isn't hard to find no matter who is President. We always seem to have someone willing to produce the stuff. That and three dollar bills. 8)

As for the Stars and Bars, it is an old symbol of protest/resistance. It won't be going away anytime soon. The best we can manage is to place it in historical context. "Yup. That was a symbol for people who would enslave other people and call it States Rights."

Anonymous said...

Alfred Differ:

If the flag of Mississippi has not been changed by another, it means that the Confederates have owned that state for a long time. (There undoubtedly have machines for counting fake votes).


Alfred Differ said...

Maybe. There is a lot more to state governance than a flag. Part of our common culture is to be suspicious of authority. Our host refers to it as SOA and we are practically bathed in it starting as infants. SOA as applied to the Federal government can easily take the form of looking like their former opponents without actually being those opponents.

Considering what is going on today, though, I think some people have slipped into the old fantasy many of our southern cousins share. They imagine fighting the war again and winning it this time. Ain't gonna happen though they might try. There are way stronger economic forces arrayed against them this time.

donzelion said...

Alfred: "despair involves a failure to believe in/be faithful to a viable future. It is a surrender. A suicide."

Surrender is not a suicide; indeed, the whole idea of surrender is to avoid wasteful death for symbolic purposes, no? There's a time and a place for it, but it's never a desirable place to occupy.

"Despair (opposite of hope) occurs when the soil is sterilized OR one believes that it is."
LOL, Jeremiah is the quintessence of wailing, yet even Jeremiah noted, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Ezekiel, however, had the more impressive imagery of the valley of bones...

My point though was that the principle utility of despair is avoiding waste of resources: this may make sense if resources are suddenly, unexpectedly depleted, if one is unusually exhausted, etc. They called it the 'Great Depression' for a reason, and it wasn't defeated by optimism, so much as by confidence and courage in the face of rage aroused by a fearsome enemy. Attack a man who feels despair, and that inward anger may be aroused and unleashed, and THEN converted back into basic optimism. Or not. It really depends...

Anonymous said...

Alfred Differ:

Let's hope that a civil war is not necessary to overthrow Donald Trump. It would be sad to see brothers fighting against brothers.
But it seems that the Confederates do not bind limits of ethics and morality as we do. They always prefer to attack the style of throwing the stone and hiding the hand.
Hooo. I think we're all tired of so much hate in the world. There is a lot of violence and evil in those of the extreme right all over the world ... if we could suppress the gene of violence in humans, then we would have a better world.
Someday a genius could alter the flu virus to disperse in all a suppressor of the MAOA gene that causes violence. Currently, procedures to suppress genes are a routine matter in genetic research ... We could create a paradise. Of course, it would be immoral to do that. We can not deprive people of the right to be themselves ... Or if?
And by the way, we could also suppress the CDH13 gene to end alcoholism. It would be fantastic!


Anonymous said...

It's time to sleep. See you tomorrow.


LarryHart said...


Despair spurs reactions, esp. efforts to avoid squandering energy on paths leading nowhere. There will always be space for Jeremiah to wail, because when he wails, he does so confidently, and in a manner distinct from the wailing and gnashing of teeth by all the others witnessing utter desolation. His despair cannot stop the collapse of the kingdom - but it can help preserve a people.

Like Hari Seldon.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Considering what is going on today, though, I think some people have slipped into the old fantasy many of our southern cousins share. They imagine fighting the war again and winning it this time.

Hmmm, never noticed before the similarity between "The South will rise again," and "The Reich will rise again."

Interesting, though, how the rebellion is manifesting this time as hyper-patriotism. The side which fears and loathes the federal government obsesses on respecting the American flag, the National Anthem, and the American military.

LarryHart said...

Just as certain deficit hawks "Don't like it when either party does it," but strangely only so complains when Democrats are in power, so apparently Ralph Reed now didn't take issue with Bill Clinton's personal character back in the day, but only with his policies.

REED:...To be effective in advancing public policy that reflects their faith, men and women who enter the arena fired by their religious beliefs cannot make the perfect the enemy of the greater good. We are all flawed, we are all sinners, we all fall short of God’s glory, we are all in various ways far from perfect.

And I might add, I said the same thing in the 1990s when I argued strongly against attacks on Bill Clinton’s character. In my book “Active Faith,” I wrote: “I have always deliberately confined my criticism of Clinton to public policy issues, not his character or moral shortcomings” and “If Bill Clinton is a sinner, he is no worse or less than you or me.” That was not a popular position at that time in my community, but it is one that I felt very strongly about then, and I feel the same way about President Trump.

LarryHart said...

Paul Krugman states the obvious about the Republican Party:

News item #1: The Trump administration is taking thousands of children away from their parents, and putting them in cages.

News item #2: House Republicans have released a budget plan that would follow up last year’s big tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy with huge funding cuts for Medicare and Medicaid.

If you think these items are unrelated, you’ve missed the whole story of modern American politics. Conservatism – the actually existing conservative movement, as opposed to the philosophical stance whose constituency is maybe five pundits on major op-ed pages — is all about a coalition between racists and plutocrats.


Now, to be fair, for a long time the GOP establishment managed to pull off a kind of bait-and-switch with this strategy, using race to motivate voters who would otherwise oppose its agenda, then putting the racism back in the closet once in office. George W. Bush did a lot of terrible things, but give him this much credit: he tried to dampen the xenophobia that was trying to break out after 9/11, rather than fanning the flames.

Ultimately, however, this bait-and-switch was bound to be unsustainable. Sooner or later the people who voted for white dominance at their own economic expense were going to find a champion who would deliver on their side of the bargain.


So pardon me for being cynical when I see Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – a man who turned the chamber into a relentlessly political organization, throwing all its weight behind the GOP – declaring that the child separation policy is terrible. “This is not who we are,” he says. Sorry, Mr. Donohue, but it is who you are: you made a deal with the devil, empowering racism and cruelty so you could get deregulation and tax cuts. Now the devil is having his due, and you must share the blame.

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | It's not just one gene for violence. Look at the animal kingdom and you'll find violence plays an important role in all sorts of ways. It is nothing new and nothing small.

Keeping violence at bay involves two big steps with which we are well along.

1) Expanding Us to include most people who were formerly Them.
2) Domesticating ourselves AND our leaders.

The first is tricky as we have to find ways to get around Dunbar's limit. Stereotypes play a role, but they are dangerous/tricky.
The second is tricky because partial domestication serves leaders who themselves are still pretty wild.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | I'm not suggesting surrender is suicide. I'm saying despair is both.

As long as Jeremiah believes in "the plans I have for you" he isn't in despair. Wailing yes. Lost no. Soul dead, definitely not.

{One of my beefs with Christian thought is that hope can be given. Whether God exists or not is a different matter. I think hope has to be found. I can try to give it to someone, but they have to pick it up and make it their own. I've seen depressed people facing despair get help from believers in finding hope and that's a good thing, but on close examination I'm not convinced they didn't die in a way that made room for someone else to emerge in the same body. I'm only stretching the imagery a bit. Despair looks like surrender and death to me.}

I think the Great Depression was defeated in two ways. The first was early and happened when we did NOT self-annihilate. Hope did not die. The second came later when we remained faithful to core beliefs about ourselves. Those beliefs did change a bit during the lows, but big parts did not and they were needed to face rage elsewhere.

Attack a man who actually feels despair and he will surrender. The guy you describe who gets angry is feeling something else. He still has hope somewhere and uses it. 8)

As a non-believer, my 'definition' of 'despair' is shaped less by the Bible and more by a story/series dissed in comments here just the other day. Thomas Covenant. I've actually read every last one of them. Yes. All 10. There is one part of the Bible that speaks tangentially of this that I appreciate, though. It's in the Sermon on the Mount where we are encouraged to be the best example of what we are when preaching doesn't really work. When I want to place hope in front of someone who needs it, being the best example is the only way that I think works. Do it well and they can't help but bump into it. Maybe they'll pick it up.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | It's the Lost Cause fantasy. It is a call to heroism. It was explained to me by a guy who grew up in Georgia, but I've seen it expressed by many. That particular guy used to call out his cousins and point out the stupidity of re-fighting it. Nowadays, though, he appears to be sucked in to the idea that the rest of us are hopelessly lost to group-think. I'm not convinced he wants to re-fight the war yet, but he IS supporting their masters.

The Lost Cause is insidious. It resonates with an older definition of Courage that gets us to march off to war with little hope of winning. Damn dangerous meme.

locumranch said...

The man that Milton Friedman once identified as "the greatest economist the United States has ever produced" was an optimist. His name was Irving Fisher and he gained infamy by claiming that "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau".

He made this claim in September 1929, just as the US Stock Market reached a historic high and just before the US Stock Market Crash of 1929 plunged the USA & the globe entire into a prolonged worldwide depression which set the stage for WW2.

As Alfred mentions up above, Optimism is euphemism for religious faith & thoughtless zealotry.

Like Steven Pinker who thinks that World War Number 2 was the World War to end all World Wars, except for possibly number 3, 4 & 5.

Like Francis Fukuyama & his 'End of History' thesis about the triumph of liberal democracy, except that history has not ended.

Like George 'Dubya' & his premature 'Mission Accomplished' speech, Hitler & his 1000 (give or take) years of rule and Ozymandias & his non-existent legacy.

Like all those asshats who actually believe that Trump is & will always be the 'Worst_President_Ever', until we elect a worse one.

Often, I think of these great exemplars, their optimism, their fact-deficient teleologies, their piss-poor predictions & the faith that they inspire in others, and I laugh & laugh & laugh.


Optimism (noun)
1. the tendency to expect the best and see the best in all things
2. hopefulness; confidence; exuberance; faith.
3. a teleological belief in ceaseless improvement, favourable outcomes, and the inevitable triumph of good over evil.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

The Lost Cause is insidious. It resonates with an older definition of Courage that gets us to march off to war with little hope of winning. Damn dangerous meme.

Hmmm, there are situations in which that same dynamic is looked upon as noble or even heroic. "The Charge of the Light Brigade" immediately comes to mind. And in Player Piano, Vonnegut's revolutionary leader alludes to a "Ghost Shirt" movement among American Indians in the 1890s, making a last stand or last charge at fighting for their own way of life rather than simply accepting the inevitability of life as second-class white men.

Even our host made use of a seemingly-futile last stand at the climax of The Uplift War.

Not sure where I'm going with this except that the nature of the Cause itself matters.

LarryHart said...


Like all those asshats who actually believe that Trump is & will always be the 'Worst_President_Ever', until we elect a worse one.

I presume your derision is aimed at those who think there never can be a worse one.

But as stated above, isn't it true? Self-evident, even?

Often, I think of these great exemplars, their optimism, their fact-deficient teleologies, their piss-poor predictions & the faith that they inspire in others,

You didn't include the Trump supporters who think he's making America great, but don't they belong in that category as well?

You like to aim your barbs at liberals, but there's not a one of those examples above that liberals buy into--maybe, just maybe Fukuyama, but not the rest.

and I laugh & laugh & laugh.

Good to know you've got that capacity in you. I would have bet otherwise.

Berial said...

The Mississippi State flag incorporates the old Confederate battle flag, it isn't just the Battle Flag (but it might as well be). There is a movement to have it changed, but so far the 'good ole boys' have been able to keep it around. As near as I can tell the (white) people of the state won't let it change, because once they do, they have to admit, FINALLY really admit, to having been WRONG and not just on the losing side of the Civil War. Yes, there is a large portion of the State's (again white) population that thinks this way. It's ugly, and stupid and wasteful, and it is real. It also makes for a REALLY easy population to manipulate, so it's simple for the richest men here to keep their self sustaining parasitism going. It's not a coincidence that MS, besides being one of the poorest states, is also one of the most corrupt states in the union. The power behind the political power likes it that way.

Read the comments in a Mississippi newspaper or news website (an example of a local news website Jackson Jambalya) and you can see the mindset on display. It's actually rather remarkable to see people that KNOW their state is 50 out of 50 for anything good and top ten for anything bad, state clearly and repeatedly that 'their way is the right/best way' to do pretty much ANYTHING, Oh, and if you offer proof that they are wrong, you've already lost the argument with them, because they will ignore what you said and attack YOU for being 'liberal/democrat/communist/damn Yankee' (what everyone else would call rational or smart).

If they are a bit smarter themselves, then they will attack your sources over and over again even when your sources are proven correct because you'll be spending all your time defending those sources and not pushing your argument forward. Eventually you learn to just ignore them because they aren't going to compromise and they will never admit to any fault, ever. (I wonder if you've noticed anything similar at this blog?)

raito said...

Dr. Brin,

"(In EARTH (1989) I predicted social media would become a morass of self-reinforcing echo-chambers.)"

Sheesh. You predicted something that was already true? Great job.

In 1989, I was already on the internet, back when I think the only 'public' access was and possibly some FIDONet links. And part of my job was monitoring all the high-speed (for the time) links connecting the various campuses of the University of Wisconsin to each other and the outside world. I spent a lot of time on the internet because 11pm-7am shifts were pretty dull.

Would become? It was already so. Predicting that which already exists is no big trick.

Zepp Jamieson said...

@ riato: Not just the nascent nets. BBSes, already a mature technology, had balkanised, breaking into political, religious and techie camps (Apple vs Microsoft was one of the most vicious polarisations), with attacks between groups common. Sysops would openly boast of blocking messages for content, even on nets where diversity of thought supposedly was encouraged. DoS attacks, doxxing and cyberbullying were already common, and it was becoming common on those new phenomenon, Usenet (now a backwater of right wing filth) and Telnet.

The echo chambers were already in place. I had hopes in the early days of the web that the universality of access might prove a moderating influence, but instead of a more diverse arena, you ended up with more diverse mini-arenas, many warring furious with one another.

JPinOR said...

Locumranch - If I understand you correctly, "Western culture" has been in decline since the fall of Rome (else Gibbon is irrelevant as a yardstick, since that's what he was talking about) in the fourth century. Interestingly, Roman "decline" was followed by the rise of Christianity as a force in Western culture. So it sure seems like you are judging the decline using the morals of a force that became increasingly powerful after the "decline" was well underway. So - in what way was Western culture better in the 4th century than it is now?

If I have this wrong, I am genuinely curious as to the date that began the "decline" in your mind. If not the fall of Rome, then when? The 40s? The 50s? Further back? Only in the US? All of Europe? Help me understand this, because I just don't see it.

Also, it's not true that you can induce a frog to willingly remain in boiling water by starting it off in cold water. So there's that.

Darrell E said...

Speaking of optimism and despair. . .

I saw some news last night that gave me some hope. A Honduran mother jailed at the border, her child taken away from her, started a Facebook fund raising page with a goal of $1,500 in hopes that she could post bail and go find her child. As of last night, a matter of days, her page had received $12 million. Volunteers have already begun to organize an effort to find and eventually reunite all of the kidnapped children with their parents using this money. They’ve got more volunteers than they know what to do with. There is still good in the US. Damn near brought me to tears of relief. I’d really been wondering about that.

Perhaps our own donzelion is involved in this in some small way?

sociotard said...

If I could cage Pinker for 15 minutes, I'd make him address one issue: The Overland Trail.

Back in the 50s, 60s, and most of the 70s, the adventurous could drive a van from Paris to Bangkok. They'd drive through the Baltics, through Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan. They were able to do that because most of the trail involved stable countries at peace.

That hasn't been possible in a long time.

Anonymous said...

I think that actually using that flag as an emblem of a state is a fortunate mistake made by the fascists.
Think about this: In a state, ¿who are the ones who actually make the decisions? ¿Do you have the answer? Yes, that is easy to deduce. And that tells us a lot about those powerful people. So, then, if those people decided to proudly display an emblem that the Nazis use in their marches, then those powerful ones are Nazis. In consecuense Now we know who are some of those who are financing the supremacist hate groups in the United States.
¿Is not it beautiful how monsters can be discovered thanks to the sin of perverse pride? And there are as many clues as these, watered by everyone ... can you see them? There are so many tracks; so much darkness ...


donzelion said...

Sociotard: "Back in the 50s, 60s, and most of the 70s, the adventurous could drive a van from Paris to Bangkok."

Oh, it's quite possible (see, e.g., this story of 4 friends doing it in a Tuk Tuk)...just nowadays, you'd take a more northern route through Central Asia and survey the Caucasus - a geographical wonderland. Back then, you'd have avoided Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and the Soviet Union. No need now. I knew mainly Aussies and Kiwis who had done it recently.

The routes change, but the possibility persists. On balance, the prospects for survival of our species are considerably better than they were in the '50s, '60s, and '70s: nuclear annihilation? Unlikely; now our worst fears are of rogue attacks, but not total obliteration. Pollution poisoning? Famine? Plague? Problems aplenty, but each is better known, and better addressed than it was back then.

donzelion said...

Darrell E: "Perhaps our own donzelion is involved in this in some small way?"

Yep, but for the moment, feels like a very small contribution indeed (the main need is bilingual attorneys...most of whom are fully booked already).

My group ("Lawyers for Good Government" or L4GG) typically works in the background, normally trying to add legal capacity to nonprofits, NGOs, and others on the ground in the frontlines who have long been swamped and just couldn't afford counsel even when they needed it. We started as an FB protest after Trump's election, grew from a dozen members to 150k in 72 hours, and are now helping where we can. Among lawyers, the ACLU does fantastic strategic litigation work, but lawyers do more than just fight in court...and on the family reunification part, we're putting in a fair bit of legal know-how and hours.

donzelion said...

Raito: "Sheesh. You predicted something that was already true? Great job."

USENET was a series of echo chambers, true, but in 1989, it's user base was mainly a cluster of insular nerds, on most campuses in America - folks who formed echo chambers because they found few others nearby who understood their primary subjects of interest. A tiny handful of computer scientists thought this internet thing could become important, a few scientists saw utility in sharing data sets, and I would guess most students at Wisconsin colleges had never even heard of email. Gopher was 'cutting edge' (I think experimental versions predated the 1990 release, but my memory is fuzzy - my Dad was excited by it, as a Minnesotan) - and HTTP a fringe tool for scientists to share findings.

Predicting that something as silly as Usenet might grow to become dominant and central to the lives of just about everybody would have been pretty far-fetched. It existed, sure. So did pet rocks and Pacman. Discerning which ones are 'important' as opposed to 'merely present' requires insight.

Darrell E said...


Huge thanks and respect.

Treebeard said...

Donzelion, the chances for human survival are the same as they always were: zero. Speechifying, Pinker-reading, finger-wagging, rocket-building, lawyering, politicking and powerpoint-presenting don’t change that figure in the slightest. A billion David Brins would do no more in their collective lifetimes than I will do in the next microsecond on that front. Optimism is a mental creation, like Progress, Good, Evil, the Universe and God. Everything points back to your mind, which science knows next to nothing about, and can’t even confirm exists. I don’t think there’s been much progress since the Buddha came to that conclusion 2.5k years ago, but there have been a lot of really elaborate and impressive delusions and illusions since then. How long before technology will allow masses of human beings to live entirely in illusory worlds? Are we already there? Look at Larry for example: the guy cites comic books and New York Times articles all day and thinks he is talking about reality, rather than a sandbox world of his favorite mental constructs. Hilarious.

BTW, I am also an internet user from way back. I started a dot-com company back in ‘95 in Seattle and got an online credit card processing system going back when amazon was about the only site doing that. Money rolled in for several years and I got to see what the dot-com world is like at its ugliest from the early days. I still remember the optimism about internet utopia in those days, but already I could see how dark and crazy the internet really was, and how delusional these tech-utopia fantasies were. But what do you expect? The human mind is a dark place, and the internet is billions of them wired together. If an AI emerges from this soup, it’s gonna be something we might as well call Satan. Oh sorry, am I being a pessimist again? LOOOL.

sociotard said...

Donzelion, great answer!

occam's comic said...

I wonder to what degree a sense of optimism allows people to rationalize their enormous carbons footprints. Does a belief that some sort of techno gizmo will come along and solve the climate change problem make it easier for them to justify an ecological footprint that is hundreds to thousands of times greater than the average footprint? Does being optimistic allow one to think that they have no personal responsibility for their footprint, because someone else will come along and fix their mess?

A.F. Rey said...

Wow, you spoke at my alma mater, Crown College at Uncle Charlie's Summer Camp? Very cool! I hope you were able to inspire those bunch of slugs! (Banana Slugs, of course.) :)

LarryHart said...

Paul Krugman, on a roll, tells us what we should already know:


I don’t know what drives such people — but we’ve seen this movie before, in the history of anti-Semitism.

The thing about anti-Semitism is that it was never about anything Jews actually did. It was always about lurid myths, often based on deliberate fabrications, that were systematically spread to engender hatred.


In any case, the important thing to understand is that the atrocities our nation is now committing at the border don’t represent an overreaction or poorly implemented response to some actual problem that needs solving. There is no immigration crisis; there is no crisis of immigrant crime.

No, the real crisis is an upsurge in hatred — unreasoning hatred that bears no relationship to anything the victims have done. And anyone making excuses for that hatred — who tries, for example, to turn it into a “both sides” story — is, in effect, an apologist for crimes against humanity.

LarryHart said...


the chances for human survival are the same as they always were: zero.

Depends what you mean by survival. For eternity? Ok, that's not going to happen, sure.

What's your conclusion from that?

Look at Larry for example: the guy cites comic books and New York Times articles all day and thinks he is talking about reality,

I never claim that a quote from a particular source proves anything on its own. I trust that the words resonate and make sense to others for communication purposes. The reader can decide whether the thought reflects reality or not.

I'm not clear how your White supremacist "blood and soil" shit is any more relevant than a discussion of actually-observed causes and effects in the real world. But y'know, go with God and all.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | there are situations in which that same dynamic is looked upon as noble or even heroic

That’s exactly why it is so dangerous. It feeds a natural need in us like all the others. It’s a cool thing if that meme is yours. It’s what makes for suicidal zealots if the meme is someone else’s and they oppose you.

Hopeless last stands that get you killed also kill your cultural memory. This is where donzelion has it exactly right (as I see it) because surrender actually preserves something that might return later. Losing hope and falling into despair can lead to a bigger loss than one suffers in losing the original fight.

If you are ever tempted to urge someone to make a deadly last stand, ponder for a moment the moral consequences of assisting suicide. THAT is what their masters are doing if our culture war heats up too much.

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | Optimism is euphemism for religious faith & thoughtless zealotry.

I don’t know where you get that idea from my words. Thoughtless zealotry isn’t even close to optimism. You might want to check your dictionary again. Oh… you did… and it’s another lame definition. Which one are you actually using?

1. It confuses hope and faith. Optimism IS a belief in improvement, but the ‘ceaseless’ part is too much. Improvement might involve two steps forward and one step backward. It might involve pauses. There is nothing inevitable about it.
2. It IS a tendency to see the best in things, but not a blindness to the worst.

Don’t confuse religious faith and faith when reading anything I write. I’ll be very specific when I refer to the first. You won’t have to infer anything because I’ll be blunt.

Faith is mostly a verb. It is that thing we do when we are loyal to an ideal. The ideal might involve a sense of self that might not match reality. It might involve a transcendent notion to which we aspire. It might involve another person. ‘A faith’ makes the action and object into a single noun. When we noun-ify it, we are at risk of drifting onto religious grounds because it can become a thing in itself to which we are loyal. We might have a faith in faith.

You are very welcome to not place your faith in Pinker. I don’t either. I think it rather dangerous to be loyal to any living person. That may sound troubling from my wife’s perspective, but I’d just point out that we are married and I’m loyal to her AND the marriage AND monogamy AND… etc. I have faith in a number of ideals, but I prefer to avoid faith in faith.

Which just leaves me wondering in what you have faith. To what are you loyal?

Like all those asshats who actually believe that Trump is & will always be the 'Worst_President_Ever', until we elect a worse one.

I have to admit you are right on that one. I thought W was the worst and I wouldn’t live to see us do that again, let alone do something much more idiotic. Very embarrassing turned into Very^2 embarrassing. I’ve learned something from this debacle, though. Y’all aren’t going to get away with this anymore without me acting directly. I’ve had enough.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Hopeless last stands that get you killed also kill your cultural memory.

That's why the end of the musical Camelot is so powerful, and might be the epilogue to the story of America soon:

Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Of Camelot.

Ask every person if he's heard the story,
And tell it strong and clear if he has not,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory
Called Camelot.

Camelot! Camelot!
Now say it out with pride and joy!

"Camelot! Camelot!"

Yes, Camelot, my boy!

Where once it never rained till after sundown,
By eight a.m. the morning fog had flown...
Don't let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment that was known
As Camelot

David Dorais said...

the 3 sentences are not posting when you click on them, please fix...

Alfred Differ said...

@treebeard | the chances for human survival are the same as they always were: zero.

I’ve always had to smile when people do this. It seems like we like to intentionally get the context of a statement all wrong just to prove something the original speaker wasn’t addressing. See? This thing you said? It doesn’t apply in this other setting! See how smart I am? I smile because they ARE demonstrations of a certain kind of intelligence and an utter failure at a different kind of intelligence. People who study minds find these demonstrations very instructive.

I don’t think there’s been much progress since the Buddha came to that conclusion 2.5k years ago…

Are you sure you are qualified in the research involved? It’s really not that hard to demonstrate that minds exist. Some people just go about finding them in silly ways. They go wrong when choosing their sense of scale before starting to explore. Do I start at the atomic level, sub-atomic level, or cellular level? Do the glial cells matter? Even asking those demonstrates a hurdle the ignorant trip over right at the start.

There has been a lot of work in the field, but a lot of it is very recent. Don’t expect to find it in philosophy texts more than 50 years old. We ARE learning and the pace is accelerating. In fact, the acceleration is accelerating.

How long before technology will allow masses of human beings to live entirely in illusory worlds? Are we already there?

Yes. Humans have been there for at least 1,000 generations. Maybe 10,000 generations. We only occasionally glance outward at what our senses tell us is happening out there. The point of our very long childhood is to build the elaborate mental world model we need in order to do this. Our senses simply can’t provide more than a trickle we use to adjust the model or adjust our behaviors.

However, we have a lot of inward pointing senses and we add to them as we grow more experienced. Larry did that with his comic book experience. I did that learning mathematics. Our languages have large vocabularies and each element acts as a crude eye-spot looking inward detecting activity patterns in how the model interacts with the trickle of external sensory data.

tech-utopia fantasies

Yah. Some of them are pretty to look at, but have nothing to do with the world around us. From what I’ve seen, though, what is actually happening makes the utopias look like utter failures of the imagination. I REALLY didn’t think Wikipedia would work. I thought people cared more about their privacy and that would hinder social media. I did not expect the Genome Project to get resolved in the blink of an eye AND THEN we moved on to folding proteins. OMG!

My utopian fantasies can’t keep up. They are flat and gray by comparison.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | We aren't even remotely done yet. An American fading wouldn't contain a FB group like L4GG (Donzelion described it up-thread) going from a dozen members to 150K in 72 hours after the election.

We are way too angry to be ready for the epilogue.
Barbarians get angry like this and when they do it is time for pillaging.

David Brin said...

Yipe! He cites Milton Friedman, the most-wrong economist in the history of the US, who did more harm to entrepreneurial capitalism than any marxist would have dreamt, reducing corporate ROI (return on investment) horizons from 10 to 5 years and onward to the present 3 months.

Nothing so discredits as citing that godawful fool/monster.

duncan cairncross said...

If I could cage Pinker for 15 minutes, I'd make him address one issue: The Overland Trail.
Back in the 50s, 60s, and most of the 70s, the adventurous could drive a van from Paris to Bangkok. They'd drive through the Baltics, through Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan. They were able to do that because most of the trail involved stable countries at peace.
That hasn't been possible in a long time.

Before donzelion's great answer I was going to comment that this is like saying that this winter is colder therefore global warming does not exist
Pinker shows a long term trend - over hundreds of years - there is a substantial amount of "noise" on that trend as well as regional variation

Alfred Differ said...

I'm not convinced on that about Friedman. He gets a lot of blame for things that were happening anyway. From what I saw, the strong dislike many have of him had more to do with this people skills and less to do with his economics.

[That the Chicago school approach has issues is a given. ALL the schools do.]

He is the most misquoted economists I know of too.

donzelion said...

Alfred (and anyone else interested): here's another org worth helping:

We're trying to reunite children with families. This will be tricky.
-Some parents will be deported before any reunification occurs.
-Some parents probably shouldn't be reunited with their children (allegations of abuse, trafficking, etc. need to be taken seriously, even if there's no evidence of it having happened...a single incident can scuttle the whole project).
-Some parents (at least one) are already dead.
-Some parents and children face special needs, or other obstacles.

Since the facts are likely to vary from one case to the next, this could be a monumental undertaking. It could also be trivial (with some help from DHS/DOJ...but I'm not holding my breath - they've said they'll do nothing to make that happen). Assuming DHS/DOJ doesn't actually reunite the children with their parents themselves, we'll try to fix this.

I've known the founder for 17 years...this is as fine a group of lawyers as you'll meet anywhere.

locumranch said...

As thrilled as I am by Darrell_E's highly-evolved ability to shed "tears of relief" & experience emotional catharsis in response to vicarious stimuli, I must question his rational capacity.

Exactly how, pray tell, does a generous one-time 12 million dollar gift to a token Honduran alien impact the larger question of illegal immigration & nullification?

Either we are a nation of laws or we are not a nation of laws.

Mercy, compassion & charity have their place, and our laws need not be inhumane or needlessly cruel, YET we cannot allow emotional feelz to trump cold reason & jeopardise the rule of law which has made us great.

Paul Krugman is wrong, of course, because there is a very real illegal (immigrant) crisis which was not precipitated by either anti-semitism or hate, but has everything to do with cheating, rule disobedience & illegality.

Over & over, the rule obedient have been told how they must EARN their place in this world, and then they see rule breakers receive every unearned kindness, up to & including amnesty, love & 12 million dollars !!

Hate? That comes in later when the rule obedient see cheaters everywhere & conclude (falsely or not) that they have been lied to about damn near everything.

The really nasty stuff happens when & if financial success becomes a synonym for 'cheating' and, as more than a few identity groups can tell you, this tends to go very badly for literate professionals.

Then, there are no rules. Just revenge.


The English term 'faith' is a noun, Alfred, always has been: People HAVE faith instead of 'doing' faith. Quite literally, the faithful are full of 'it' in the same way that Optimists are full of 'it' (faith).

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | Mmm... but what are they full OF? The 'it' involves an activity.

Oh wait. You don't believe mental activity is real, right? Nothing there there. How can 'faith' be a noun again? 8)

Dude. It is mostly something you DO. If you do it, you have it. English is weird that way.

A few years ago I was arguing with a Christian who made the case that Science is another faith and people are using it to replace/displace Christianity. I didn't understand his argument at the time and rejected it. I argued that I believed a number of things but didn't treat them as a faith. See how I actually meant 'religious faith?' His idea just bounced off my thick noggin.

I get it now and understand his discomfort. Science is a kind of faith in the sense that those of us who do it are loyal to it. Some of us go so far as to violate commandment #1, but many don't because they treat Science as something more like a demi-god. It certainly IS a transcendent ideal, but it is one of a family of them. If I were to personify it, I'd probably adopt a pantheistic approach.

Look at what people actually DO when you want to understand elements of English. The dictionaries only get part of it and the people writing them often struggle with the emergent nature of the language. Raising an autistic son taught me to see language in a different way from what I was taught growing up. It's a lot more than a tool. It is part of our sensory toolkit.

David Brin said...

Alfred, M Friedman demanded that corporate boards only answer for the quarterly stock price. Republicans then legalized every trick to manipulate that price so that boards and CEOs could make their golden parachutes. Today, most of the tax cut is going into previously banned stock repurchases that do nothing to capitalize or research or improve products. MF could not have been better designed by the Kremlin itself.

Tim H. said...

I don't believe Friedman was alone in that, besides, "Self-servatives" are always ready to latch onto any justification for a quick buck.

LarryHart said...


Over & over, the rule obedient have been told how they must EARN their place in this world, and then they see rule breakers receive every unearned kindness, up to & including election to the presidency of the United States.

Ok, you didn't quite say that, but it's just as true as what you did say, and the impetus for blowback is just as great if not greater.

Anonymous said...

And so the nightmare begins again. They are going to create the Stalag 1; 2 ; 3; until 200
I suppose the Confederates are going to give the children a bar of soap and order them to enter the gas chambers.
¿How long will it be before the big clown turns against the American citizens?



Tony Fisk said...

@sociotard, Let Pinker go and take a walk on the wild side. In 1999-2000, a (then) lady called Emma Ayres bicycled from England to Hong Kong with a violin strapped to her back. She wrote about it in "Cadence". She is now a he called Eddie and, these days, he's to be found teaching music in Afghanistan. Except he was in Australia recently.

Alfred Differ said...

@David | I'm still more inclined to blame the actual cheaters than Friedman. Getting Boards to focus on stock prices enables smaller players to swim in otherwise the shark infested waters of equity and options trading. Bonds too to some degree. Without some access, our retirement savings can be easily eaten by those sharks if we dare play the game normally reserved for our betters.

I get your complaints about the buy-backs going on right now. You predicted it and it IS happening. That particular cheat will be followed up by budget cut demands to deal with the related deficit. I get it. I'm not blaming Friedman for that. I'll blame the actual cheaters and gamers.

Boards obviously shouldn't focus ONLY on the quarterly stock price, but when they previously ONLY focused on the needs of their golf clade, the situation was worse. What we need is them to focus on the value of their companies in a multi-dimensional sense reported on by some of the equity analysts. How large is their moat? What about their debt load? Currency risks? All that stuff matters and the equity research companies show how it can be done. Friedman can be improved if his original intent is understood first.

Darrell E said...


I pity you. You're pathetic. But as the saying goes, I'm completely out of fucks for hurt little souls like you.

It would be better if you did a bit of research or asked a couple of questions before you speak. Of course, given your miserable personality, your ethical challenges and penchant for lying for effect that probably wouldn't help.

LarryHart said...

locumranch actually said:

Over & over, the rule obedient have been told how they must EARN their place in this world, and then they see rule breakers receive every unearned kindness,...

Think of the opening of the Czech/Hungarian border followed closely by the fall of the Berlin Wall. For decades, anyone trying to leave the Eastern Bloc risked death. Then, all of a sudden, the barriers went away and people were free to come and go as they pleased.

Was your reaction "Finally!" or was it "Why should these people get to leave the Iron Curtain when so many others followed the rules and stayed where they were told?"

Tony Fisk said...

@Larry, expect a response designed to provoke outrage. Like the back of Melania's coat and the sudden fad for eating Mexican, all that's left is "stick it to the libtard" trolling. He just comes for the reaction now.

LarryHart said...

@Tony Fisk,

Water off a duck's back.

Although it was pretty funny when he--he of all people--recently complained about someone putting words in his mouth. I suppose that amounted to trademark infringement.

Susan Watson said...

"dimwitted whites" is a dangerous phrase. I prefer to think of them as "simple minded"; Not necessarily stupid, just averse to complexity. Trump promises everything will be so simple, so easy for him and they are relieved to hear it.

LarryHart said...

Presented without further comment...

Of all the things President Trump has done to destroy civil norms, his debasement of language is the most chilling and poisonous. For it has now reached down to every level, allowing people who are supposed to be societal pillars, or even role models, to act as if reality has no foundation.

LarryHart said...

America’s immigration crisis right now is that we don’t have enough immigrants.

Consider some facts.


Fourth: Much of rural or small-town America is emptying out. In hundreds of rural counties, more people are dying than are being born, according to the Department of Agriculture. The same Trumpian conservatives who claim to want to save the American heartland from the fabled Latin American Horde are guaranteeing conditions that over time will turn the heartland into a wasteland.


Finally, immigrants — legal or otherwise — make better citizens than native-born Americans. More entrepreneurial. More church-going. Less likely to have kids out of wedlock. Far less likely to commit crime. These are the kind of attributes Republicans claim to admire.

Or at least they used to, before they became the party of Trump — of his nativism, demagoguery, and penchant for capricious cruelty. It was nice to hear Republican legislators decry the family separation policy. But there’s no sugarcoating the fact that a plurality of Republicans, 46 percent, favored it, while only 32 percent were opposed, according to an Ipsos poll commissioned by the Daily Beast.

This isn’t a party that’s merely losing its policy bearings. It’s one that’s losing its moral sense. If anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools, then opposition to immigration is the conservatism of morons. It mistakes identity for virtue, entitlement for merit, geographic place for moral value. In a nation of immigrants, it’s un-American.

LarryHart said...

Republicans can't count to 218:

“I think the president’s expressing his frustration that Democrats don’t want to solve the problem while we do, and we’re going to keep working to try to get it done,” Mr. Scalise said.

If Republicans wanted to pass their own bill to "solve" this problem, they could do so with a mere 218 of their own members. That the majority party can't pass their own bill says something, and not about Democrats.

How exactly does President Snow think that electing more Republicans would change the fact that Republicans won't vote for their own party's bill? As Ronald Reagan sort of said, "Republicans are not the solution to the problem. Republicans are the problem."

Not to mention the balls it must take for Republicans to accuse Democrats of obstructionism. Are they complaining about trademark infringement?

Susan Watson said...

Work visas need to be increased. Turning a blind eye to technically illegal labour allowed the required volume but encouraged exploitation and suppressed wages. This gave unscrupulous employers a labour cost advantage over responsible employers.

The Kochs are starting a pro-immigrant ad campaign in advance of midterms. They seem to be choosing the legalization route. This is good for everyone, I think.

LarryHart said...

From that same article above...

Bill Maher should get a kick out of this (bolded) part of the quote:

For the past week, Mr. Trump has demanded changes in the nation’s immigration laws and encouraged Congress to act with urgency. Relenting to pressure from lawmakers of both parties, as well as his wife and daughter, Ivanka, Mr. Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to stop separating families.

locumranch said...

As evidenced by the ACLU, it's LOL funny how quickly the political left transforms into 'La Resistance' & abandons its 'rule obedience' stance when it concludes that the law no longer serves the best interests of its favoured identity group.

Equating the material success of the oligarchs with proof of cheating, David HATES on the liar, the cheater & the rule disobedient on a regular basis, going so far as to invoke the death penalty implied by his frequent references to 'tumbrels', the very same tactic that was used so deplorably against certain 'success equals criminality' identity groups by the irredeemable nazis.

Like David, I also hate on the rule disobedient, liars & cheaters but, unlike David, I am MORE tolerant of cheating because I also recognise that (1) a majority of human beings ARE cheaters, (2) human beings are NATURAL born & bred cheaters, and (3) cheating is a very successful short-term competitive strategy as noted by Game Theory.

Of course, tolerance has its limits. Cheating as a short-term competitive gaming strategy is absolute POISON when it comes to repeat & long-term play because long-term & repeat play presupposes participant rule obedience as a prerequisite; hence, my conservative emphasis on reciprocity.

The political left abandoned the reciprocity concept some time ago, believing (like the feminists) that they owe literally ZERO, ZIP, NADA to the designated out-group in return for the out-group's ongoing participation & rule obedience.

Now, the political left's chickens have come home to roost, an occurrence which is just 'too bad & so sad' for our once positive-sum culture of political gaming as it has become increasingly obvious to all game participants that THE RULES NO LONGER APPLY to all participants in an equal fashion.

This provides a succinct answer to JPinOR's questions about the 'how, when, why' of social decay & cultural collapse:

Cultural Collapse occurs when the identity groups EXCEPTED from the rules exceed the identity groups restricted by the rules. For the exceptional identity groups, this is a very successful short-term competitive strategy BUT, as time goes on, the relative risks of repeat & long-term play INCREASE (while the benefits DECREASE) for the rule obedient until the civilisation game terminates with horrible horrible consequences for everyone.


Darrell E said...

Somebody call a plumber.

Treebeard said...

Isn't the termination of the civilization game also usually marked by large scale migrations of populations, erasure of borders and ethnic "diversification"? Do these ring any bells? Oh sorry, my bad, these are all signs of strengths and progress. I keep forgetting that WEIRDs have totally vanquished history and created New Women who are no longer subject to human nature. In fact there is no human nature; if I say I am a raccoon, I am a raccoon. (I happen to like raccoons and feed several of them on my property, but they still run away from me for some strange reason). If some of our fellow Americans have not yet become New Women, it just means we haven't called them racists and Nazis enough times. Maybe another trillion times by will do the trick.

donzelion said...

Locum: "As evidenced by the ACLU, it's LOL funny how quickly the political left transforms into 'La Resistance' & abandons its 'rule obedience' stance when it concludes that the law no longer serves the best interests of its favoured identity group."

Nazis were never our 'favored identity group' - but we stood up for their right to speak anyway.

It always shocks me that folks coming from your vantage point so often miss this, and are determined to see, despite massive evidence to the contrary, that we are backing only our 'favored' minorities. And the evidence to the contrary is both massive and irrefutable. To override that evidence requires a cognitive injection - an exhausting amount of energy expended to take work and facts that one does detect, and deem them meaningless, all to support a belief of omni-decadence. Perhaps it would be easier to relinquish the belief, abandon the filter, and just see what is in front of you.

JPinOR said...

Hi again Locumranch. When did this happen and who are the identity groups in each of these camps you are talking about? When is your golden age pre-decline? Can you put some numbers to your fears (cite some demographics or crime rates to show the rule breakers are in the majority or minority)? This all seems like nonsense to me.

On top of that, I am a member of "the political left" I suppose, so I can tell you that we don't have a favored identity group. We actually want the laws to apply the same to everyone. That's actually what the ACLU fights for, and you've stood that on it's head in the most bizarre fashion. Aren't conservatives the ones who want to discriminate based on sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc? I sure don't. Maybe you mistake being judged by your peers for actual oppression. They aren't the same thing.

donzelion said...

Susan: "dimwitted whites" is a dangerous phrase. I prefer to think of them as "simple minded"

Dislike 'dimwitted' too. 'Simple-minded' is too closely linked conceptually to work.

Perhaps "Complexi-phobic"? Many really do enjoy a simplifying 'us/them' rhetoric, such as Trump's (and Antifas, though the power of the latter is a joke compared to that of the former). In rejecting 'nuance,' an evangelical can endorse a certain pimp in Nevada, while still pretending to cling to 'old traditions and morality.' Because it's 'us against them.'

Oddly, 'complexi-phobia is always focused on areas where people 'feel' powerless: a NASCAR fan has 0 control over how the cars run, but does not 'feel' powerless - so they can become deeply acquainted with complex automotive processes most others are ignorant about. Same for sports fans, and many others. We choose what to love, and the complexities within that object of love become a source of joyful discovery.

"The Kochs are starting a pro-immigrant ad campaign in advance of midterms."

They started one years ago, with both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz presumptive banner carriers. Didn't go very far. Republicans have always featured a pro-immigrant strain alongside a nativist strain. The balance for now favors the nativism.

Again, nuance. But I find no joyful discovery in trying to read tea leaves as to the intents and purposes of the oligarchs. Normal folks are far more interesting.

LarryHart said...


Maybe you mistake being judged by your peers for actual oppression. They aren't the same thing.

In fact, the opposite thing.

LarryHart said...


As evidenced by the ACLU, it's LOL funny how quickly the political left transforms into 'La Resistance' & abandons its 'rule obedience' stance when it concludes that the law no longer serves the best interests of its favoured identity group.

That's actually what your side does.

(Big surprise, there.)

Anonymous said...

The companion of Donald Trump; Fräulein Kirstenen Nielsen, says that it was not possible to reunite the children with their parents immediately.

We can imagine what he really meant Fräulein Kirstenen Nielsen:

We can imagine Donald trump telling his advisors: Ho, it's okay. Just tell them to sign a revocation of the order to separate the children. But tell them that resolving the issue will take. We will entertain them with false promises and we will not do anything to change our plans. (Close Up of Donald's face smiling with malice as he scratches his butt with pleasure)


Anonymous said...

Raise both hands those who doubt that Donald's spokesperson;Fräulein Kirstenen Nielsen he did not get his job thanks to his intelligence.
¡Well, we all have our hands up!

Waw. It's interesting to see what things millionaires can get with money ...


locumranch said...

For failing to distinguish between the law & legal application, I must compliment Donzelion on his circumlocutions. Yes, indeed. The ACLU once defended the law in its applicability to everyone, regardless of religion, race, creed & gender, but now it prefers to bowdlerise the law in an increasingly selective, exceptional, extralegal & gender-specific fashion.

Our culture celebrates Women's Rights organisations (#Kill_All_Men) while designating Men's Rights organisations as 'hate groups'. #MeToo, the family courts & Title 9 are extralegal abominations, while employers openly specify that non-minority, non-LGBT & male-gendered applicants need not apply because of state-approved diversity quotas. Minority Pride & Power equals UNIVERSAL GOOD, whereas Majority Pride & Power equals UNIVERSAL EVIL.

It's considered ha-ha FUNNY when progressives mock males & whites as "dim-witted", "illiterate", "hate-filled", "toxic", "superstitious", "incestuous", "slack-jawed" hillbillies & yokels, but it's considered horrific, unforgivable & irredeemably savage if anyone DARE apply uncomplimentary stereotypes to a protected minority identity group.

Like JPinOR, I suspect that most of you are being 'disingenuous' in your denials of this rather obvious DOUBLE-STANDARD, but I'm beginning to believe that most progressives are simply deaf, blind, stupid & incapable of rational thought.

Perhaps you imagine that your thoughts & abstractions EQUAL material reality by virtue of magical incantation??

Increasingly -- and much sooner than you think -- your answers will NOT matter as the justifications & rationalisations behind these (your) double-standards become academic.


@JPinOR: There never was, and will never be, 'a golden age' to which to retreat because what you call 'civilisation' is dynamic rather than static. This is NOT about Traditionalism V Progressivism because both the conservative & idealist commit similar logical errors. Whereas the conservative longs for a false imaginary STATIC past, the idealist longs for a false imaginary STATIC future, even though static perfection does NOT exist & never will. Only BALANCE exists. The dynamic balance of vicious merciless self-regulation.

donzelion said...

Locum: "Yes, indeed. The ACLU once defended the law in its applicability to everyone,"

And still does. Who do you think stood up for "unite the right" in Charlottesville 2017?

Were you arguing that there's been some change since 2017, or just ignorant? If you were arguing, what evidence do you have? If you are ignorant about this, then you're entire argument for double-standards is based on ignorance, and thus misleading at best. Perhaps consider educating yourself before making claims.

What do you call a doctor who diagnoses without seeing a patient, reading a chart, or otherwise ever having considered any facts about the patient? (An insurance doctor...har har...they aren't all white, and aren't even all in America...)

Zepp Jamieson said...

"It's considered ha-ha FUNNY when progressives mock males & whites as "dim-witted", "illiterate", "hate-filled", "toxic", "superstitious", "incestuous", "slack-jawed" hillbillies & yokels, but it's considered horrific, unforgivable & irredeemably savage if anyone DARE apply uncomplimentary stereotypes to a protected minority identity group."

Right wingers can never figure out that humour involves punching UP, and never punching down. It's funny to mock an elitist, privileged and powerful group; it's not funny to mock the poor, the infirm, the desperate.

Nobody whines louder than an American right winger who really has nothing to whine about.

Alfred Differ said...

for something completely different... we now know where the 'plink' comes from when water drips from a tap.

Odd that we didn't know before? Heh.
Sometimes, people just gotta LOOK and LISTEN to learn something they thought they already knew.

... and yah. It helps to have some new tech to use to do that looking and listening. 8)

David Brin said...

The difference between locum and treebeard is interesting. While both are utterly delusional, Treebeard's whine this time is an extreme exaggeration and weird prioritization of a genuine complaint. A complaint that - if expressed by sane adults willing to negotiate - might merit addressing at the bargaining table. Locum has done this sometimes. But more often, he does what he did this time... yowl opposites to fact, simply out of an agonized spasm to screech:

"Here are the things you libs hate about every cheating, immoral, nasty thing in the world, and I will now (cleverly!) accuse you of all those things! Haha! I have no evidence and you know I am a liar... but so? It'll irk you!"

These are not practical men. Were they interested in improving their "plight" they would put proposals on the table and incentives for reasonable people to negotiate. maybe use this to break up the opposing coalition. But this is the thing that neither of them ever does.

Instead, always they howl. Polysyllabic (and generally lying) primal screams of pain. Never the plans or proposals or negotiations that reflect sapience.

Anonymous said...

“Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

That looks and sounds good. How big must be the madness of Donald Trump to apply this law?
HO, a detail: This option in case Donald completely freaks out, does not consider the fact that Mike Pence is no longer a Democrat (he was perverted by the dark side of the Republican force) and he stopped being a Catholic. Now he is a follower of "reborn Christianity."
That is to say that, if Donald Trump were to be deposed, Pence would simply continue with the same agenda as Donald Trump. (In Mexico, that has happened many times). In fact, I think it would be impossible for Pence, now converted to Sith-Confederate fundamentalism, to betray Donald Trump. See his look! He is a classic servant of the Sith-confederate empire!
I'm not saying it's a bad idea. But we must make a modification to that law: The successor must not be someone elected by Donald Trump. (And the vice president is someone chosen by Donald for his total fanaticism). (Pence is the Darth Vader of Pálpatin)
Accordingly, the successor must be someone elected by an equal number of senators and congressmen, Democrats and Republicans. Otherwise, the outcome is predictable and sad.
Perfecting that law now would be convenient.
Ooooo Something just happened to me. What if? (Haa, how that phrase is used in science fiction) What if the leading world leaders asked their wisest psychiatrists and sociologists to perform a psychiatric analysis of Donald Trump? Would the deductions of the most intelligent psychiatrists and sociologists in the world be ignored? What would the US Congress do based on the results of the study?


locumranch said...

Donzelion & David offer pablum instead of reasoned argument:

According to the ACLU's own website, the ACLU supports "Affirmative action (as) one of the most effective tools for redressing the injustices caused by our nation's historic discrimination against people of color and women".

This amounts to Reverse Discrimination, aka 'the deliberate use of race & gender-based selection criteria', as defined by 'UC Regents of California v Bakke' wherein the lower courts ruled that a race & gender-based selection process was in clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and that racial quotas violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The University of California, a state-funded government agency, then appealed this decision to the US Supreme Court in 1978, and the ACLU submitted an Amicus brief that argued that race & gender-based discrimination was 'just' & justified by a history of 'unjust' race & gender-based discrimination (below):

The US Supreme Court returned a mixed decision by (1) invalidating the use of race & gender selection quotas, (2) upholding the principle of affirmative action (in general) because discrimination 'bad', (3) ruling (in specific) that University of California violated the white male plaintiff's rights as detailed by 14th Amendment & the Civil Rights Act, and (4) demanding that the University of California make reparations to the plaintiff for unlawful unconstitutional discrimination (below):

Said US Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. in announcing the Bakke decision, "Preferring members of any one group for no reason other than race or ethnic origin is discrimination for its own sake".

By preferring members of "one group for no other reason than race or ethnic origin", the ACLU continues to condone & support unlawful race & gender-based discrimination against certain UNPROTECTED identity groups, especially against Asians & Males (because rationalisations) with the willful support of unconstitutional US Government Agencies as detailed (below) by the New York Times:

(1) The ACLU supports Affirmative Action;
(2) Affirmative Action = Racial Discrimination; and
(2) Racial Discrimination = Hate.

Ergo, The ACLU supports Hate.

And, now, All Your Base Are Belong to US.


David Brin said...

And thus illustrating absolutely every single thing I just said, almost as if deliberate self-satire.

Acacia H. said...

Normally I wholesale ignore locu these days.

However, I need to respond.

There can be no racial discrimination of white people because white people are the majority group in the United States and have rights minorities do not have. The poorest white person has more rights than other minorities do. For example. An innocent black man is in their yard minding their own business and is shot dead by police "in fear of their lives." The police escape without losing their jobs or suffering any significant punishment. Two white men kill a family, steal their car, send the police on a high speed pursuit, are finally captured, and arrested without being shot or hurt.

Those two white men were murderers. They were fugitives evading the police. They were captured without being harmed. They have privilege over that of black people.

Requiring businesses to hire a proportional number of black people is not race discrimination against whites but a means of dealing with discrimination against black people. Further, research has shown that if the name and race of job applicants are hidden, along with any qualifiers that might suggest race (residence or college attended if such places are known to be primarily African American institutions/locales) then racial modifiers for hiring mysteriously goes away.

Moreso, they have found there is a tendency for businessmen to discriminate against women workers. One man accidentally was using the e-mail account of a female employee and ran into an intractable client who, upon the man revealing he was male, immediately became far more cooperative. If women hide their gender when performing virtual jobs then they tend to be more productive than men because women are forced to work harder to provide the same amount of productivity due to biases against their gender.

Affirmative Action is not racial or sexual discrimination. It's a balancing of the scales to deal with toxic masculinity, a toxic masculinity you yourself have revealed. Trust me, if I was signing my name Bobbi then you'd probably be far less polite to me than you already are.

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

For practical purposes; Should not you concentrate on looking for those in the trout mara and the hit men in the drug cartels to be arrested instead of wasting time looking for ALL the undocumented to be thrown out? Would you consider me a bad neighbor?
Yes, my neighbors could tell you that I often make a lot of noise with my power tools (building prototypes of machines) But they will never tell you that I dislike them.
In fact, most Mexicans are decent people. The problem is gangsters and drug dealers in the cities.
Do the fruit sellers get rid of the whole box of apples just because you found three bad apples? It is a simple matter of being practical.
Are you going to pick tons of strawberries or blueberries? Have not Republicans become rich with cheap labor from Latin America? Even the Donald Trump family has used immigrants to save costs! And so have many Republican businessmen (who usually denounce their employees when the day comes to pay)
¿Is there a single Republican willing to do those strenuous and brutal jobs?


Zepp Jamieson said...

I have to put this up just to make Doctor Brin's head implode:
George Will has just published a column begging his readers to vote against the GOP this November.

Zepp Jamieson said...

What is Affirmative Action?
"AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: any measure, beyond simple termination of a discriminatory practice, that permits the consideration of race, national origin, sex, or disability, along with other criteria, and which is adopted to provide opportunities to a class of qualified individuals who have either historically or actually been denied those opportunities and/or to prevent the
recurrence of discrimination in the future.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Office of the General Counsel, Briefing Paper for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: Legislative, Executive and Judicial Development of Affirmative Action, Washington, D.C., Mar. 1995.

What is Racial Discrimination?
Race discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features). Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion.

Race/color discrimination also can involve treating someone unfavorably because the person is married to (or associated with) a person of a certain race or color. -- EEOC

What is Hate?
a : intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury
b : extreme dislike or disgust : antipathy, loathing

had a great hate of hard work

c : a systematic and especially politically exploited expression of hatred

a crime motivated by bigotry and hate

—often used before another noun

hate mail

an organization tracking hate groups
--Merriam Webster

Locum, you're simply babbling at this point.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Odd that we didn't know before? Heh.
Sometimes, people just gotta LOOK and LISTEN to learn something they thought they already knew.

Sometimes I think I'm the only one who knows where the sound comes from when you snap your fingers.

It's not coming from between the two fingers.

David Brin said...

Yes, I saw George Will's column. My head did not explode. I posted the following on FB and G+:

Does this help rejuvenate the man I call "The Worst American"? George F Will now asserts that only time spent in the wilderness can possibly save a Republican Party that's been hijacked by monsters. Oh, sure, he's very smart. He can tell that his entire conservative movement could wind up going extinct, if it remains under the control of casino moguls and slumlords with mafia ties, foreign despots, fox-traitors and confederate trogs. His point in this essay (Read it! Show it to your uncles): that only a crushing defeat this fall might force the GOP to re-evaluate and replace ol' Two Scoops in 2020.

Only a pyre that burns today's GOP will let a phoenix rebirth from the ashes. And Mr. Will asserts that rebirth could be dazzling.

He has a point. Democrats frittered away the last two times they retook Congress, allowing the Republicans to come roaring back. So, as a purely tactical move, GOP voters might follow Will's advice to rescue their party, ideally restocking their political caste with fresh voices who aren't crazy, or antifact - or beholden to Rupert Murdoch.

Only here's the thing. George Will remains unrepentant that he helped architect this present freak show. His brilliant incantations - like those of the protagonist in Vonnegut's MOTHER NIGHT - helped to keep tens of millions of residually sane "ostrich" republicans loyal to the undead elephant for two extra decades after Dennis "friend to boys" Hastert and his crew destroyed politics in America. For 20 years, Mr. Will cast soothing spells, delaying the arrival of this crisis till the very lives of America and the Western Enlightenment Experiment - hang in the balance.

He continues rationalizing... e.g. that Democrats kowtow to their executives -- an imbecilic falsehood belied by history, including California's Brown administration. Will knows this; he's offering his conservative readers a way to save face. But there's nothing left to save. Not when your party is now a cult, waging war against every profession that uses things called facts. Not when each and every strength of the American Pax that won the Cold War is being systematically dismantled or torched.

No. This man gets no forgiveness. Sure, we must welcome every American who returns home to the Union side, in this phase of the Civil War. And if some are turned back toward the light by words issued by George F. Will? Let's make them feel welcome under a very broad tent.

But not him. I forbid it. He might earn a prodigal son's forgiveness from Washington and Lincoln, perhaps in the great beyond. But the Worst American gets no pass from me.

David Brin said...

BTW, individually, there are some conservative grievances that have enough merit to be worthy of negotiation, were they sane people whose cult had not treasonously killed the American gift for pragmatic negotiation:

- Forced school bussing was a travesty of godawful proportions that shattered the old, rooseveltean coalition and should consiogn some lefties to hell.It proved that the Right only has a near-monopoly on counterfactual denial of the obvious. ("Cars don't cause smog." tobacco is harmless, It's good that rivers catch fire, and so on.)

- I deem"affirmative action" to be morally suspect. Oh, yes, it's necessary! But it should be viewed as an unpleasant medicine for 6000 years of addiction to crimes of prejudice. Every A.A. measure should have sunset clause and be subject to renewed debate, with a burden of proof that it is not yet time to ease off. I DO believe that burden can be met! We are not yet out of that dark era! But remember the aim. The goal is to render such measures moot and no longer necessary. And if anyone offers suggested redress that can avoid the tradeoffs of AA, they should get voice at the table.

- There are anecdotal - though a minority - cases of travesties against fathers in divorce cases. I know this. While millennia of injustice against women underpin some needful strong correctives... and my instincts are to err in favor of mothers and children ... sometimes that "err" can be very wrong, indeed. Unlike AA, this cannot be remedied by adjusting statistics of opportunity enhancement/compensation. We need to adjust rules so that broad injustices are fixed... while viewing overcompensation against innocent individuals as a problem also needing real fix. Justice is not statistical. Even when a wronged father is statistically anecdotal, it is still an injustice.

Having said all that, and clearly being willing to negotiate with reasonable white males with reasonable grievances, let me add that crazy-venomous-screeching confederates are not helping their case. They harm it with every scream and exaggeration. Their howls are not those of sapient beings, nor citizens.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin

We never had the forced bussing - but the NZ solution to a similar problem was IMHO much better

The issue is the funding of schools - in the USA schools in rich areas get a double benefit - rich parents and more money

Here they did not get more money - but they still had the advantage of the better off parents and families

So we funded schools in poor areas with MORE money than the ones in rich areas!
The poorer the area the greater the funding

Zepp Jamieson said...

Actually, that's a damned good response. I don't mistake Will for any kind of hero, and in the end his column will be utterly ineffectual because the Trumpkins will just dismiss him as an establishment, perhaps even deep state purveyor of fake news. Which leaves Will preaching to the choir only.
There's a famous saying that goes something like this: "You can't reason with a man who didn't use reason to reach his position." Sam Clemens, perhaps. Will won't persuade the people who need their minds changed, and the rest of us are just looking at him and wondering why it took him 30 years to realize the GOP was going insane.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

George Will has just published a column begging his readers to vote against the GOP this November.

John McCain is happenstance.

Charles Krauthammer is coincidence.

But if George Will develops an aggressive form of cancer, that's enemy action.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

@LarryHart | We aren't even remotely done yet. An American fading wouldn't contain a FB group like L4GG (Donzelion described it up-thread) going from a dozen members to 150K in 72 hours after the election.

We are way too angry to be ready for the epilogue

The optimistic side of me agrees with you. The pessimistic side hasn't been convinced that he's wrong, though.

I've been using the Foundation trilogy as an analogue to our arc of history, but there is a lot to be said for Camelot as well. Arthur created a society based on law and justice and "might for right", but it required exiling the knights who preferred the old ways, and eventually Mordred rallied the exiles into a force that brought Camelot down. That's a good analogy for what Trump is doing.

The ending of the musical, in which the story of Camelot will survive and continue to influence future societies no matter the outcome of the battle, is actually meant as a happy ending, although a wryly happy one.

locumranch said...

The progressive LIES just keep on coming:

Progressive Lie #1:
Women are a 'minority' (allegation);
Women represent 53% of registered voters (fact);
Ergo, Women are the clear majority.

Progressive Lie #2:
All minorities are oppressed or underprivileged (allegation);
Some minorities are more successful than the majority (fact);
Ergo, All minorities are NOT oppressed & underprivileged.

Progressive Lie #3:
Affirmative Action HELPS minorities (allegation);
Affirmative Action helps women who are NOT a minority (fact);
Ergo, Affirmative Action does NOT help minorities.

The FACTS are that women & some minorities are MORE successful than majority males by almost every criteria:

(1) Women live longer lives, receive more government bennies, are better educated (currently earning 70% of university degrees), are more valued by society, and are LESS subject to violence, accidental death & suicide when compared to majority males. The so-called Wage Gap (wherein women earn only 73% of male income) only serves to demonstrate that women are allowed to work LESS & possess MORE leisure time than men.

(2) Men live shorter less comfortable lives, receive few government bennies, are less educated (currently receiving about 30% of university degrees), are considered disposable & often demonised as 'toxic' by society, and are MUCH more likely to die of accidents, violence & suicide when compared to women.

Also, Affirmative Action programs appear to penalise & discriminate against the Asian & Male minority.


locumranch said...

BTW, Duncan_C offers up Progressive Lie #4 by arguing that Social Programs which deliver greater funding to impoverished areas tend to correct & relieve poverty.

As demonstrated by the above article about New Zealand, social programs targeting impoverished areas tend to WORSEN existing poverty & cause a NUMERICAL INCREASE in impoverishment.

The AA-minded progressive git incentivises poverty by REWARDING the dysfunctional behaviours that lead directly to poverty, leading to even MORE poverty, then the progressive demands MORE financial aid which creates numerically more poverty, and so on & so forth, which then allows the so-called progressive to jolly well lie about all the GOOD they've accomplished by increasing poverty.


Lloyd Flack said...

Locom, you apparently want to believe that poverty is the fault of the impoverished. You want to believe that if you were in their place you would do much better. You want to believe that chance and circumstance played little part in your being better off than them. All that is so self serving that you do not have any credibility. After all it is not the only area where you have decided to believe what it is comfortable for you to believe. You seem to believe nonsense on climate change after all. I expect your response to only make you look worse but I hope I am wrong.

LarryHart said...

locumranch fails both on premises and logic:

Progressive Lie #1:
Women are a 'minority' (allegation);

To the extent that progressives say anything of that sort, it would be more along the lines of "Women have historically been afforded less than first class citizenship."

No one says or cares whether there are more women than men. Presumably, you'd have argued that apartheid South Africa didn't discriminate against blacks because there were more blacks than whites in that country.

Progressive Lie #2:
All minorities are oppressed or underprivileged (allegation);

Seriously?? No one says that.

Progressive Lie #3:
Affirmative Action HELPS minorities (allegation);
Affirmative Action helps women who are NOT a minority (fact);
Ergo, Affirmative Action does NOT help minorities.

Here it is your logic which is flawed. A process can be of benefit to many groups, and as long as any of them are minorities, the sentence would be true.

How about this:

"A rising tide raises all boats."
A rising tide raises my boat.
My boat is not all boats.
Ergo, a rising tide does not raise all boats.

That is isomorphic to what you said.

How does it feel to be wrong all of the time?

Deuxglass said...

Dr. Brin,

I was away visiting one of my daughters and her new baby in beautiful Vermont and absent from the internet and when I got back I had a surprise. I am honored that you remembered what I wrote and even put it in your blog as something worthy of pondering upon. Originally I wanted to elaborate on what I said but I got sidetracked so I will attempt to do it a bit now.

Solon started Athenian democracy by giving the oligarchs a tough choice. Either they allow citizens to vote and to cancel all debts or there will be civil war. It was staring right into their faces and it was either to relent or to suffer death or at the best exile. The oligarchs agreed to Solon’s terms, debt servitude was abolished and Athens started it long rise. Debt servitude was the cause and democracy was the way to keep the oligarchs from re-accumulating all the wealth again and having the same problem crop up in a generation or so. An important point is that the debt servitude came about from the common people having to borrow from the rich just to be able to furnish themselves with the basic necessities of food, water and shelter and to pay taxes. The wealth had become so concentrated that there was no alternative for the common people but to become more and more indented to the rich just to stay alive. The oligarchs would take their cut on virtually everything that moved or did not move. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Solon did not invent the idea. In Israel and in Mesopotamia debt “Jubilees” were common practice because it just makes sense to keep societies together. What Solon invented however was the idea of uses citizens voting to keep the oligarchs in line. That was the true revolution and was why democracy spread throughout Greece.

In the American colonies we had a similar problem. England through its trade practices keep the colonies from accumulating hard money forcing them to improvise payment using paper currency, IOUs, promissory notes and such just to keep the economy going but all taxes to England had to be in gold or silver. The consequence was that all the hard money was sucked out of the colonies and ended up with the London merchants. The colonies sent representative to London to try to rectify this injustice but unlike the Athenian oligarchs, the London merchants who controlled the government did not listen and the Crown lost it best and most promising colony which subsequently, having studied the Athenian example, set up a republic founded on democracy. The object was not to destroy the oligarchs but to keep them from destroying the common good upon which all successful societies are based.

Deuxglass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deuxglass said...

Fast forward to today. We seem to be in a similar situation today. Debt servitude is alive and growing today. It comes from many sources and not just from barrowing too much money. It comes from missed rent obligations, back taxes, absurd education costs, crushing housing prices, moneys owed to health services. To be brief, anything that puts you over the edge which is very easy these days. It is no wonder that homelessness is growing and that Millennials, even when both work and have “good jobs” in the city or the country don’t have enough money to start families unlike my generation. We are now just like the Athenians of Solon’s time. The oligarchs took their time and now have control of all aspects of the economy and although many shed crocodile tears over the plight of common people virtually none have taken the problem seriously. Before the French Revolution many nobles wrote and said something must be done to help the people but none of them were willing to pay taxes. After all wasn’t their wealth come from being better and smarter than the common people? They thought they deserved their wealth and saw nothing wrong with it. It was ordained by God so to give up some of it was against nature. Oligarchs in every age or country are all the same. It’s the wealthy mindset.

I might seem like a revolutionary but I am not. Oligarchs built industries and trade networks and have done much for the common good but sometimes the pendulum swings too far in their favor and they must be reined in or things explode. Fortunately democracy has in the past been very good at that.

Now let me get to Dr. Brin’s theme of optimism and hope. The US has rarely been a calm, rational place. For most of our history we have been at each other’s throats; farmers against the railroads, North against South, North against West, Midwest against the Coasts, Cities against the Rural, ranchers against farmers and so forth. Civil discourse has never been our strong point yet the US is a maelstrom of conflicting forces yet it is by far the most dynamic country on earth. We spin off creations at a bewildering rate. New ideas, new industries and new ways come so much from the US that it amazes and frightens the world. Living in Europe I see this. Some people hold up the Scandinavian countries as examples but I have been there often. They are boring places. The US by contrast is a boiling cauldron making I don’t know what but what I can say is that if there will be solutions to the world’s problems, they will probably come from the United States. I welcome all these conflicts and yes, these many times mean and spiteful things happening now because that means people are looking for solutions. Conflict breeds creation. If everyone in a society is happy or more likely cowed then something is deeply wrong. We are on the right path. We just don’t know it yet.

Marshall Boice said...

Locum...Slaves are usually in the majority ergo slaves are not oppressed.

locumranch said...

A mind-reading Lloyd_F assumes that "(I) believe that poverty is the fault of the impoverished". This is a partial misrepresentation.

I believe that poverty is multi-factorial, arising from random chance, unfortunate circumstance, dysfunctional behaviours, poor decision-making & a lack of agency.

It is the progressive that argues that 'Poverty equals lack of monetary resources & opportunity'. This is a gross & detestable over-simplification that encourages the progressive to 'gift' monetary resources to the poor, resulting in the amplification of poverty due to the dysfunctional behaviours & poor decision-making emblematic of the impoverished.

Being highly functional, you & I could nourish a family of 4 for a WEEK on $10 USD (less even) and, while the impoverished (in theory) could take exactly the same actions, they tend to squander those monies on luxuries in practice..

Me: "Ms. Smith, don't smoke & take this medication".

Smith: "I can't afford medication after I buy cigarettes".

Me: "Stop smoking. Here is FREE medication".

Smith: "Goody, now I can buy more cigarettes".


@Deuxglass & Marshall_B: An enslaved majority equals a majority of complicit, voluntary & willing slaves.(see Debt Slavery)

Deuxglass said...


Come-on locumranch,

History is full of slave, peasant, middle-class revolts both successful and failed. Most those who feel enslaved want freedom except for the house slaves and their modern equivalents. The slave who loves slavery is more in the imagination of those who read a "certain" type of literature.

On the bright side, I welcome your comments. Diversity of views is always important for me even if I disagree with most of yours.

Treebeard said...

If everyone in a society is happy or more likely cowed then something is deeply wrong.

That sounds crazy to me. What could be wrong if everyone is happy? This must be the difference between my kind and yours: for me, everything comes back to my internal, subjective state; I don't care what planets get terraformed or how big the GDP is if it makes me miserable. If I can be happy in a stone age existence or a static society or even in a pod in a matrix, then great. Does it matter if you live under feudalism, theocracy or a dictatorship if it can make everyone happy? How else are you going to judge the success of a society if not that? This is why I don't buy this "6000 years of darkness" story either. We aren't telepathic and don't actually know if people in, say, 4th Dynasty Egypt were happier or unhappier than us. It's just weird modern people projecting their peculiar standards on other civilizations. I look around at Americans and I see a lot of unhappy people, and don't see that as a sign that they have the solutions to the worlds problems, rather than being a leading source of them. Have you ever thought that when you see societies where people are generally happy but things are relatively static and you dismiss them as "boring", that you are projecting your American pathology onto them? Why must they become something else if they are already happy? I really think historians of the far future will judge this civilization insane, and will be glad that it is gone.

Deuxglass said...


"Projecting American pathology"! I see you are a student of the fine art of psychobabble! Esteemed searcher of supreme well-being, if it is only happiness you want I have heard of a few drugs easily available from a dealer near you that would rapidly put you in Nirvana. In the resulting Paradise you will have no need to question or to seek but only to bath in happiness.

Unhappiness is the ultimate survival mechanism. Without it you are just a cow contently chewing his cud not even aware that it is late fall and butchering time is near.

David Brin said...

Give locum his due. He listed a bunch of lies... and they truly ARE lies! Lies by him. Utterly concocted.

David Brin said...