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joined 2022 December 11 14:35:26 UTC


User ID: 1977



0 followers   follows 1 user   joined 2022 December 11 14:35:26 UTC


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User ID: 1977

Of course, it happens all the time. That's why Britain refused to sign a convention on maritime warfare in the early 1900s, and why America refused to sign one preventing the use of poisonous gases. It's classic Great Power behaviour. But it seems to me that any system of law which doesn't, to some extent, allow the feeble to constrain the mighty isn't law. It's just a formalisation of raw power. As if we allowed members of parliament to opt out of rules about corruption and murder.

My original post was trying to point out, quickly and perhaps cack-handedly, that America still derives a certain amount of respect by posing as a high-minded defender of justice and that resorting to explicit threats when weaker countries try to constrain its allies damages this image. In my opinion, it would have been wiser to simply point out that the court is being inconsistent and leave it at that. America is powerful enough that it can afford to be polite.

The most obvious element is that it is very dangerous to stand up in public and discussion Jewish overrepresentation. Beyond that, I think that the continued mawkish emphasis of the Holocaust in my country is mostly down to Jewish activism; it was horrible, but it happened hundreds of miles away, in a totally different country with whom we were at war, seventy years ago. And yet we are spending 100m of public money in 2024 to pave over a park in Central London so that it can be turned into a Holocaust memorial*, even rewriting our own planning laws because they forbid it, and heavily implying that the only difference between Britain and Nazi Germany is that the anti-semitic fascists happened to turn up there and not here.

Beyond those two points, I have no idea what influence is going on behind the scenes. I hope not too much, but I am not so naive as to think that a group with disproportionate influence is not wielding it at all. Thus my desire for transparency.

*The designer of the memorial has said publicly that ruining the pleasure of people who people who want to use the park is key to the memorial's effect.

Thanks for the correction, my mistake. By dubious, I mostly mean the former. I doubt there is anything particularly nefarious going on beyond a certain amount of ingroup preference, but the overrepresentation of minorities in the leadership of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales bothers me. I think that people should in general be ruled by somebody of their own heritage and culture, and specifically that Britain is the ancestral home of the British peoples and should be run by and for indigenous Brits. Assuming that the overrepresentation is because of culture and IQ, I don't think that we should be importing people who tend to end up ruling over us at greatly disproportionate rates.

It may be just a temporary moment, but the vast number of major cities that now have Muslim mayors suggest it isn't. I am happy to have guests, but not to import a new ruling class.

(As usual, it's easier to find tendentious factchecks on Google than the original data, so I've just included those).



I can't speak for the US, but I haven't heard of such cases in the UK. Obviously old buildings can get damp, but I've never heard of somebody not being able to repair their house because it's listed. Might cost a bit more, but listed houses are usually expensive and owned by richish people in the first place.

I think it depends on the details. For example, is the company actually failing right this minute or not?

Doing productive things with a doomed business deep in the red is different from strip-mining a struggling company's assets because you think you could make more money speculating on their real estate value. Or taking a company with a reputation for high quality products, reducing the quality, and profiting off the reputation that the previous owners built up.

Some companies deserve to die (I work for one). But in general people admire building things and disapprove of destroying them.

Buying a rare painting from a private collector and then burning it is legal and unimpeachable

In the UK there is a system for protecting beautiful old houses, fully or partially. You are permitted to do whatever you like with a ‘listed’ house provided that you don’t damage the listed parts of the building. So you can knock down and rebuild the back of the building but you can’t damage the Georgian facade, for example.

There are occasional shenanigans but in general the system seems to work quite well, and strikes a good balance between ownership rights and protecting the public heritage. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were similar systems for notable works of art.

That said, selling corporate owned real-estate is a good thing for most businesses. There’s a reason why almost no major corporations other than super rich tech companies in the suburbs own their own corporate headquarters; when you own your premises, you’re a real estate company in addition to doing whatever else you do. Conglomerates are almost always undervalued by markets, it makes more sense for most companies to sign long leases, to focus on their core business as a pure play, and to leave real estate to asset managers and real estate developers who are valued on that basis and have expertise in that market.

Would I be correct in saying that’s mostly just the west? My impression is that in Japan at least, and maybe other Asian countries too, vertical integration is much higher. I would be surprised if Toyota/Panasonic/Yamato etc. don’t own their own land. Certainly they used to: during the bubble Sony’s real estate holding were worth more than the rest of the company put together.

The Catholics on the Supreme Court are sort of a conspiracy as well, right? My understanding was that the Federal Society pushes them as being reliably anti-progressive due to the abortion issue. And some people do Notice.

I believe e.g. Scottish-Americans used to do extraordinarily well

Never knew that. They did disproportionately well in GB for a long time.

The case of Indians is also complicated: for example, until recently England, Scotland and Ireland were all run by Indian heads of state and that seems somewhat dubious as well.

what I am frankly not comfortable with is when that discussion seems to be, in my judgement, motivated by a hatred of Jews as such that appears prior to any evidence, or even prior to any attempt to treat Jews as ordinary people or fellow citizens

Agree completely. What concerns me is when bringing up Jewish representation at all becomes defined as Jew-hatred in and of itself.

To make my own position clear:

Either you believe in an international rules-based order or you don’t

I don't. I am deeply skeptical of the ICC and equivalent bodies. I think that they are talking shops which restrict national sovereignty in ways that are tendentious and illegitimate.

Issuing arrest warrants for the leaders of Israel would not only be unjustified, it would expose your organization’s hypocrisy and double standards. Your office has not issued arrest warrants for Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei or any other Iranian official, Syrian President Bashar al Assad or any other Syrian official, or Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh or any other Hamas official. Nor have you issued an arrest warrant for the genocidal General Secretary of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, or any other Chinese official.

Sounds spot on to me.

However, the US currently attempts to portray itself as an impartial keeper of the rules based order, whilst making every attempt to bias the rules in its favour and ignoring any rules it doesn't like, as with the ICC.

I would prefer it if someone like Donald Trump simply said clearly that America's interests come first and if you don't like that you need to be strong enough to stand up for yourself, so that the rest of us can stop slobbering over decades old pieces of paper and get a grip. Alternatively, I would like the US to reign itself in: to be as scrupulous about the sovereignty of other countries as it is about its own.

I get that. I do think it merits discussion, however.

To take a brief tangent into UK politics, the previous leader of the opposition party was a man called Jeremy Corbyn. He was plausibly antisemitic, having literally shared a platform with Hamas. His party was definitely antisemitic, and produced nasty stories about bullying of Jewish members on a regular basis. He was also very far left. I wasn't a fan.

So when a lot of newspapers started publishing articles along the lines of "as a Jew, I'm very upset that the new Prime Minister may be a genuine antisemite" I was very sympathetic. But eventually it got to the point where literally 25% to 50% of the columnists I read on a regular basis had written "as a Jew" articles and the discrepancy between that number and the proportion of Jews in the population at large (275k / 66,000k = 0.4%) started getting big enough that it made me uncomfortable.

In short, I think it's fairly clear that Jews are highly overrepresented in the media at the very least. They also seem to be overrepresented in finance and positions of power generally. I think that that imbalance is a genuine, legitimate problem for society. Especially when you compound it with a (well-founded) persecution complex based on the events of the Holocaust and prior pogroms. It seems to me that it leads to an escalatory spiral where influence is exerted to stop people from discussing the use of that influence, leading to spiralling paranoia on both sides. So I'm reluctant to condemn all discussion of secret Jewish power manipulating Western civilisation because I think Western civilisation has a right to know if it's being manipulated and I think that Jews ultimately benefit from having the disproportionate influence some of them seem to wield out in the open.

Where it ends up, I don't know. Ideally I would like to see some kind of disclosure and recusement requirements. People (not just Israelis) with foreign ties or ethnic sympathies should be required to recuse themselves under certain circumstances, the way that I am not allowed to interview my friends if they apply to my company. I have no idea how you would turn that into a coherent system though.

If rule 1 is "I always win" is it still a rules-based order? Legally, yes! And yet something seems wrong.

"Rule of law" or "rules-based order" is usually taken to mean an impartial system that constrains great and small alike. My argument is simply that America's actions re: the ICC demonstrate once again that it has no interest in submitting itself to such a system and that the only system of rules that America is interested in is one where it gets to make the rules. I do not think that this is stable long term.

@coffee_enjoyer provides a source. It may be boring, but in this case it doesn't seem to be incorrect.

As a Brit, and very much not a neo-nazi, my understanding is that the bombing of Dresden specifically was not particularly necessary for the war effort. The tide of war had already turned against the Germans, and Dresden was of little military significance. It was generally regarded as retaliation for the bombing of Coventry in England, although this article argues that it was done to help the Russian offensive. Either way, Churchill didn't approve:

“Churchill’s head of Bomber Command, Air Marshal Harris, seemed to think German morale might still be broken by bombing, but Churchill rebuked him after Dresden, and again, just as strongly for bombing Potsdam shortly thereafter. His mind had already turned to how the Allies would govern and occupy Germany; the time for destroying it was passing.

On a separate note, while I agree with your sentiment that

There is no ethical principle other than "Whites bad" (or other general Who, Whom?) that condemns Israel while not condemning not just the Palestinians, but the vast majority of the Arab countries for their historic displacements and exterminations of Christians and Jews.

there seems to be a significant strand of pro-Israel support that doesn't condemn Israel at all and regards the killing of tens of thousands to be entirely justified. I don't think one has to be an anti-semite to feel discomfort at the scale of death for dubious gain.

I appreciate the detailed writeup. I will freely concede the following points: your analysis is probably correct, and the ICC's verdict is probably tendentious and politically motivated.

I am, I'm afraid, arguing vibes. The USA's pitch to the world over last half-century of so has been something along the lines of:

"We're here to help. Previously, empires were allowed to bully and exploit smaller countries, but we're different. We intend to put in place a world order that will allow (and require) countries to cooperate and trade with each other on equal terms. We intend to police the world if necessary, but not to rule it."

Given that, for America to exempt itself and its vassals from the international court with jurisdiction over

(a) The crime of genocide; (b) Crimes against humanity; (c) War crimes; (d) The crime of aggression.

and to explicitly threaten employees of the court is a very bad look. It makes people start to wonder why America feels that laws around genocide and war crimes are "inapplicable or inappropriate" when applied to America. It brings back memories of the invasion of Iraq. It also brings back memories of things like the unequal extradition treaty between America and the UK. It's as though Bill Gates declared that he was too important to be bound by laws against murder, or at the very least demanded the right to determine whether those laws were being correctly applied to him and his friends on a case-by-case basis.

it would be immoral to force nation-states to be governed by agreements they did not agree to

Precisely as immoral as it is to force people to be governed by laws they didn't sign.

In short, does America sincerely believe that it is too important and powerful to answer to anyone else? America's behaviour suggests that the answer is yes, and any intimations otherwise is 'who, whom' propaganda. The more America resorts to economic and diplomatic coercion, the less interested everyone else is in helping to maintain the system and America's place in it.

Having said all of that, I think that international law is an extremely flawed concept. The idea that one government can enter into an agreement that is considered binding on subsequent governments decades later seems ludicrous and anti-democratic. As with most law, it's ultimately a fudge for applying coercive power in a manner that is mostly accepted and results in minimal fuss. I wouldn't bear America any ill will for saying, "our voters are pro-Israel and we feel the need to act accordingly, regardless of international law" provided that they extended the same courtesy to everybody else.

A big part of the pro-Israel case rests on the (asserted) status of the Jews as an ethnically-distinct group under constant persecution. Basically, the claim is that even though occupying Palestinian territory isn't great, Israel is the only place the Jews will ever be safe. Whereas the Palestinians are basically just standard Arabs who could fit in anywhere if they gave up their grudge.

I think this is a pretty self-serving argument, but it has a grain of truth and probably comes closest to the real belief of a lot of people (rather than being a justification).

Legally you're correct, of course, but morally it makes America look cynical as hell, and seems to be part of a long-standing pattern where America demands that every other country submit to a rules-based international order whilst America does exactly as it likes.

America demands the right to extradite British citizens accused of crimes against US law, but refuses to extradite a diplomat's wife to face charges of running over a British teenager while driving on the wrong side of the road. It demands that banks in other countries release all financial information related to American citizens, but as far as I'm aware has never made an equivalent commitment. It talks constantly about free trade, but then tries to destroy the Russian and Chinese economies.

I'm all for not signing away your sovereignty, it's the hypocrisy that grates.

Either you believe in an international rules-based order or you don’t. The fact that America supports international governance when and only when it gets to be in charge makes it look cynical and prevents people cooperating with it.

Lol. I like my tiny phone but it plays merry hell with my spelling.

There is every reason to believe that our collective ideas about these things is not particularly coherent either.

But the beauty of machine learning in general and LLMs specifically is that our ideas don’t have to be logically coherent. Which is just as well, because they never are.

You don’t have to spend ten years automatically coming up with a perfect definition of murder, you just collate a synopsis of all the people we charged for murder in the last 50 years and say, “These guys are murderers. Being like them is bad.”

Oh, I know. Believe me. But you said

when you drill into it with 'the worst she can say is no, why don't you give it a whirl' the explanation is 'because then I won't be able to speak to anyone she knows ever again'. Sorry, rejections just aren't that awkward

And I’m trying to show how the current situation developed. It’s not (just) because young men are afraid of a polite no, it’s because we were told (and then shown) that asking without prior explicit interest was sexual harassment. People therefore moved to a platform that structurally required women to show interest before any interaction.

most women prefer some sexual harassment to no interest at all

I’m not sure this is true. I think most women explicitly prefer no interest to unwanted interest. If female-centric outlets started saying loudly, “don’t punish men for politely trying their luck” then the dynamics might change quickly.

I work in tech, but my employer explicitly forbids walk-ins and will throw out anyone who tries. Which did happen once.

As for the social consequences of getting rejected, it’s kind of circular. I was on the internet in 2010 and feminist websites did pretty much say on behalf of frustrated gamer girls everywhere, “asking out a girl without her explicit permission in advance is literally sexual harassment and me and my friends treat it as such”. In retrospect, that was a narrow subgroup of crazies but without experience, how is a young, naive man supposed to work that out? Then MeTop comes along and, yup, the wrong pass can destroy your career.

Is it any wonder that people got afraid to date except on an app where she’s explicitly expressed interest by swiping right?

Thanks for the serious reply.

The country is England, just for the sake of clarity. I might be wrong, but Somerville looks like a pretty standard suburb to me, I think we’re already building in at least that level of density in most areas. Here is a randomly chosen town street. It is nice, though :)

We seriously lack accessible green space anywhere near the big cities, which are constantly expanding. And big chunks of land are rock moorland and difficult to build on (including most of Scotland).

Right, that's also a big thing. Seems less prevalent lately: I wonder if it's to prevent accusations of cultural appropriation? Or simply because youtube means that people can watch (and become fans of) the original before the remake is available on television.

It's especially weird that it didn't happen with anime because anime art is actually directly American in origin. Maybe that's why.

My explanation for the modern southerners being the intended target:

Most modern southerners are the descendants of Confederate soldiers. They live in the same places, have the same names, sing the same songs and sometimes wave the same flags. Like most people, they generally prefer to venerate their ancestor's impressive deeds whilst downplaying or forgetting the ones they disagree with.

Taking their statues, deliberately mutilating them, and then melting them down can be seen as, and was seen as, an attack on those people. It's saying, "This is what I think of your history, this is what I think of your pride," and it's also saying, "you can't stop me from destroying things that matter to you".

You may think that southerners shouldn't have taken it personally, but they did. And on observing this fact, the Left did not go, "Shit, dude, I'm sorry. I didn't realise this stuff mattered to you." They went, "Ha! Suck it, racists." Which to my mind tells you who they were aiming at.

In other words, it's 1.

Do environmentalists not say that they're concerned about the effects of global warming - rising sea levels, crop destruction, etc. - precisely because it will affect people? That's always been my impression.

I would say there's a big split between the pro-humans (our children will live better, happier lives if we take better care of the environment) and the misanthropes (the environment would be better off without us).