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Culture War Roundup for the week of May 20, 2024

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Following up from the discussion a few weeks ago, Democrats are trying to bring back the border bill from January: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/schumer-says-us-senate-will-try-again-pass-border-bill-2024-05-19/

I said that the bill is obviously something that Democrats want unilaterally, and is no way a compromise or concession that could be offered in exchange for aid or anything else. It seems like this is proven true by the fact that the Democrats still want this as a standalone package.

As to whether or not the package is a trap, I can't see any reason the Democrats would support this unless it furthered their objective of increasing migration. Any alternative explanations here? If it wasn't a trap, is there a reason why Republicans would turn this down?

As to whether or not the package is a trap, I can't see any reason the Democrats would support this unless it furthered their objective of increasing migration.

This is your brain on relentless negative partisanship. "The enemy is agreeing with me!?! It must be a trap!!!"

Remember when the Democrats agreed to tough-on-crime policies in the 90s, despite formerly being the party that wanted to lessen crime penalties? Many issues aren't black and white, where one party supports 0 and the other party supports infinity. If both sides support some finite number, with one side's number simply being less than the other side's, then there's no contradiction if the status quo's number is far higher than what both would prefer, that both sides would agree to bring it down. For a more pessimistic take, it's possible that the side supporting a higher amount realizes that the status quo is too high and is thus costing them politically. In other words, they might prefer the status quo if they could have it for free, but they judge that the ongoing cost isn't worthwhile. That's what was going on back in February with the compromise deal. It's how the Democrats got to supporting much more stringent immigration restrictions without supporting any sort of amnesty, which had been a feature of basically every immigration compromise prior.

The resurrected bill could be another attempt by Democrats to defray the costs, or it could simply be grandstanding if they know Republicans will shoot it down again. Then they can say they tried to crack down on the border multiple times but Republicans (Trump) wouldn't let them.

The fact that the Democrat president singlehandedly increased the number to the current level seems to imply that their goal isn't to decrease it.

Remember when the Democrats agreed to tough-on-crime policies in the 90s, despite formerly being the party that wanted to lessen crime penalties?

Depending on how you look at it, it was either a trap or a compromise that gave a lot to the Democrats while giving a little bit to the Republicans.s

There are plenty of democrats who aren't in favor of open borders and the issue is a huge political liability for democrats.

Increasing migration is not the same as open borders.

No democrats are in favor of open borders.

  • -14

I should have been more clear. No Democratic elected official is in favor of open borders.

None? Not even one?

Not even one little fella

None? Not even one?

"Open borders" also would mean you would be as happy to take in ones who vote Republican and also Xi and Putin fans, as much as you happy to take Democratic-voting Minorities(tm).

To first order there aren't any immigrant groups who would vote Republican. The US is well to the right of the part of the world which wants to get here.

I'm not sure about "are", but Cubans "were" an immigrant group that voted Republican.

And then the second generation voted Democratic. But they were the last socialist refugees to oppose socialism; Venezuelan refugees just think the revolution was betrayed.

I dunno that that's true. Brown immigrants vote D for transparently self-serving reasons, or occasionally machine politics, and not due to ideological affinity.

There's also plenty of eastern Europeans who would like to move here who would be willing to vote R. Current law just doesn't allow working class immigration except for illegal border crossers.

Some group of conservatives should establish an NGO that flies Eastern Europeans to Mexico, then helps them cross the border and claim asylum. If they could get Russians or Armenians, the immigrants would even have a pretty good asylum case.

I believe you'd find that sword has but a single edge.

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I'm someone that generally sees the two parties as pretty close to each other in actual policy positions. Even if they loudly scream about how different they are.

Not my random opinion. It's what is predicted by public choice economics for a first past the post / two-party system. The party with the median voter wins, so that is where party behavior trends towards.

Lots of people here like to complain about the Democrats being in favor of open borders, but as someone who is actually in favor of open borders I mostly see the Democrats as ok with the current immigration situation, but not interested in opening up things any further.

If you think we have open borders right now .. I think we disagree on too much of base reality and we won't get very far talking with each other.


All of that to say, I would not be surprised if the bill looks semi strict on immigration but basically lacks any real teeth.

Not my random opinion. It's what is predicted by public choice economics for a first past the post / two-party system. The party with the median voter wins, so that is where party behavior trends towards.

The MVT binds for IRV with compulsory voting (as is the case in Australia, where indeed there is little difference between the two biggest parties' policies). It binds here because the base can't defect. In optional plurality voting, the base can defect, either by futilely voting third-party or by staying home, so being a micron closer to your base than the other guy is is not necessarily enough to win their votes and, thus, the MVT is not valid - base turnout depends on your policies, and tends to counterbalance swing voters, so taking the maximally-moderate position is not a dominant choice.

There are two thoughts on how to win a FPTP:

  1. Win the median voter and everyone to such voters left or right, OR

  2. GOTV by appealing to your base.

If trying to appeal to the median voter kills GOTV amongst your base, then you lose the election. The really successful politician can do both.

I think one strategy is to pursue mainstream policy while also convincing your base that your opponent would totally end democracy.

Another strategy is to pursue extreme policy while also convincing the moderate voters that your opponent would totally end democracy.

In some ways what we have now is the worst of both worlds. We have open borders for criminals and for low-skilled workers who are willing to work for low wages off the books, but we have tightly restricted immigration for highly skilled workers.

The US would be well served by adopting the Australian method: A relatively easy points based system to get in if you're a skilled worker plus a guarantee you'll be detained offshore and never be allowed into the US ever again if you arrive illegally.

This doesn't suffice to limit the liabilities of diversity. It's very hard to overstate how much self-inflicted damage the United States has accepted in the name of refusing to discriminate between migrant populations on the basis of their cultural backgrounds. People are obviously aware of major incidents like 9/11, but dealing with petty intrusions like not being able to check a backpack at a race because an Islamic extremist bombed the Boston Marathon are just everywhere. We also get the low-level annoyances of antisemitic losers on college campuses and women in beekeeper outfits. There is no plausible case that the benefits of Muslim immigration have outstripped the costs.

Huh? Tsarnaev senior was admitted to the country as an asylee. Wiki says he was on welfare, and worked as a "backyard mechanic."

Tamerlan is a college dropout who tried to compete in boxing and was otherwise a piece of shit with no steady employment listed on his wiki page.

Dzhokar was still in college at the time of the bombing but had a 1.09 GPA.

I don't see how any of these people come to the country on a points based system.

On the other hand, I've worked with many talented and pleasant Iranian immigrants who are definitely assets for this country.

I'd add that getting and holding a professional job for a couple years is itself a strong assimilatory force; I can't think of any H1B who aided or carried out a terrorist attack. Which isn't to say H1Bs don't bring their own issues (preferential hiring of their in-group being a major one), but the biggest offenders there aren't people from Muslim-majority countries.

I don't understand the focus on skilled immigration. A lot of what we need is unskilled work. Since the pandemic we've seen reduced hours and increased wages for service jobs that they still can't seem to staff. I suspect part of the reason for the price increases everywhere is that they have to pay 15 bucks an hour for someone to push a cash register, not because of change in the law but because they can't find anyone for less than that, and they're still having trouble staffing these places. US Steel is having trouble finding laborers for mills because even at 80k/year no one wants to work rotating shifts doing manual labor in a dusty environment.

$15/hr for a cashier was already on the way just due to general price inflation. Preexisting cashier wages were already a premium over other unskilled labor because you need someone who can count, make change, be nice to customers, and not look fucked up, and even without the labor crunch we would've seen it.

The focus on immigration types is itself unnecessary. Let the market decide. The key is that migrants and their children should have no recourse to US citizenship (by naturalization or birthright), ever. Perhaps for the richest we can allow them to buy in for $5m per (immediate) family, paid in cash to the treasury dept. Everyone else can go home to retire or when the job is done. They can pay to school their children in public schools, and can’t bring over family unless they can financially demonstrate they can support them.

All we need is the Kuwaiti/Emirati system. These are countries where 80% of the population are immigrants, and yet the natives are still in charge because naturalization doesn’t exist.

At the moment, the US attracts people who see their country of origin going nowhere and are willing to emigrate to secure a better future for themselves and their kids. Due to an oversupply of such people, the US can -- in principle -- filter for the best and the brightest of them.

What you are offering is instead is an oil rig job -- hard work, hostile environment, with the only motivation being able to spend the shittons of money you made after you come back to civilization.

Now I am sure that you would find takers for that deal, global income disparities being what they are, plenty of people would jump at the chances to pick up dog turds for minimum wages which will allow their extended families to live comfortable lives. I mean, it is not like the Arab oil dynasties have problems finding wage slaves either. Put in the hours, go back home, live a better life.

But the top of the cream will likely look elsewhere. Why would anyone take a professorship in a country which has made it plain that they would kick them out as soon as they retire when they could go to Canada instead? Likewise, there is certainly the trope of immigrants who are working hard so they can fulfill their dream of some day owning a Kwik-E-Mart.

The lower class of US citizens will not much like the outcome of your proposal either. Suddenly they have to compete against people who are completely beholden to their employers for continued residency and may come from cultures in which unions are not a thing, while also willing to work for much lower wages because they do not have to feed a family in the US from them. If you think Facebook's preference for H-1Bs over citizens was bad, wait until Amazon gets to staff all their warehouses with people who have much worse visa conditions than H-1B.

I also have some moral objections to your proposal. Leaving aside the question if indentured servitude a la UAE is really the path the US should follow, I also believe that people should generally be the citizen of the country they have lived in for generations. Your proposal would create a permanent caste of people who are non-citizens. Given the TFR, it seems entirely possible that at some point a significant fraction of the population will be excluded from democratic participation. At some point you in effect have an aristocracy. This feels deeply un-american to me.

If only the United States had the foresight to institute such a system a century and a half ago, before the immigrant problem got out of hand. Then they could have just used my great-grandfather's labor in the mines until he decided to retire (coincidentally right around the time Pittsburgh Seam coal started running low), and then deported him back to Galicia just in time for the German invasion. Another great-grandfather would have been shipped back to Calabria some time in the late 40s or early 50s. I don't want to think what the consequences for your family would have been. I'm not sure what the downside was of their being allowed to stay.

America is a settler country; all of us except the natives were ‘immigrants once’ (even if before independence). But it is fair for a settler country to decide that permanent settlement is finished. That involves no contradiction or hypocrisy. Manifest destiny is over. The only remaining land is either worthless or protected for nature. 330 million is enough.

The only remaining land is either worthless or protected for nature. 330 million is enough.

This seems wildly arbitrary. Why can't Duluth be the size of Chicago, Wilmington the size of Manhattan, Portland (Maine) at least as large as Boston? Not to mention the density of many major American cities such as Boston, DC, St. Louis, etc. is a fraction of what it could be. Immigrants aren't coming to America to buy a plot of land and do subsistence farming anymore, they'd be coming for manufacturing and service jobs.

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America is a settler country; all of us except the natives were ‘immigrants once’ (even if before independence).

Not except for the natives; the ancestors of the modern tribes (the Clovis people) killed and/or drove out an earlier wave of settlement.

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It's what is predicted by public choice economics for a first past the post / two-party system. The party with the median voter wins, so that is where party behavior trends towards.

That doesn't account for the electoral voting system, as well as how polarization affects races down the ticket that might depend on simple majority rule.

I mostly see the Democrats as ok with the current immigration situation, but not interested in opening up things any further.

That might be true, in the fact that Democrats created the current situation. But they created the current situation by opening things up far more than they were before.

From my Fox and Trumpist sources, it has clauses which allow bureaucrats to give American citizenship to swaths of people and restrict the President from using his existing and Constitutionally granted powers to do anything about border crossings until certain thresholds are met. Whatever else is in the bill, those two are poison pills for the voting base of the GOP, so their Congresspeople dare not vote for it.

As I said last time we discussed this, “give American citizenship” is irrelevant when all their children become citizens anyway from the literal moment of birth. At most it slightly brings the problem forward by like half a generation.

When "bringing the problem forward" means "Democratic supermajority now" instead of "Democratic Supermajority later", it's a damn big difference. (because maybe the horse will learn to sing)

Exactly. When one party can simply import third world socialists (including religiously socialist Muslims) and make them voters, the other party has to either become a competing socialist party or stand on principle and expire.

the other party has to either become a competing socialist party or stand on principle and expire.

Or flip the table and resort to non-democratic methods.

I read that (great!) thread on the bill. Any other decent long form articles or think pieces on the bill? Some ignorant thots in the mean time. These might be too cynical, or not sufficiently cynical.

If you're a Democrat and see this is as a Genuine National Concern, but it's not a problem you can admit is a problem, then what's the best way to deal with it? If the party has consensus, then maybe you can talk to your more centrist party members to commit to a Blame Manchin strategy. You let the Republicans pass the legislation and then pass blame for addressing the problem-not-problem on your political enemies and useful quislings. This doesn't seem to be necessary and that should worry for the GOP.* This could also be Plan B for 2025.

If you're a Democrat and see this is as a Genuine National Concern, and may lose the Whitehouse to a man you can not be seen as cooperating with for the next 4 years, then now's the time. Get the legislation out there now while you have the chance. That's leverage for your enemy. Although the leverage may be worthwhile if the bill is electorally beneficial or neutral for your party in this election. At worst, it takes some wind out of the opposing party platform.

If you're a Democrat, and this problem-not-problem is more so an electoral concern, but you're constrained by your party's established platform that needs time to change, then what do you do? You put up legislation that doesn't really address the not-problem or help your opponents, but is enough to pass blame off to the other party if it passes or not. Hey, we just passed bipartisan immigration reform or Hey, we tried to address the not-problem.

Thing is, Whitehouse or not, it appears Democrats are willing to start calling this a not-a-problem thing a problem that needs fixing. Reasonably, responsibly, and certainly not due to hatred. CNN isn't running stories on how this bill is a massive betrayal, are they? Does the GOP get away with dumping a lost opportunity?

If you're a Republican senator you might see it as a Genuine National Concern, but the ongoing problem is not really an electoral problem for you. Not so long as you're trying, or so long as your state's governor keeps shipping immigrants to other parts of the country. It might even be a problem that provides more electoral advantages the worse the problem gets. If allowing the opposing party to fix the not-problem doesn't help you electorally, then what's in it for you? Even if it was acceptable legislation you think might work, your party might have consensus to not deal with the problem until your party has a stronger position.

It may no longer be not be politically feasible to reform immigration through Congress. It seems that way. Congress found the one weird trick years ago. Keep the big stuff on the docket for campaigning, keep your seat, and let POTUS take the heat. If he messes up you can yell at him, and even if it works it'll only stay workin' until your team is back up on the plate. This also fits nicely into a case where you, senator, don't consider this a Genuine National Concern, and is instead just another episode of political football.

A cynical political reading would be the democrats want to be seen as “doing something” on immigration. Immigration is the 1st or 2nd best issue for Trump (along with inflation) so the democrats are trying to paint the republicans as blocking immigration reform in order to please Trump.

Immigration is the 1st or 2nd best issue for Trump (along with inflation) so the democrats are trying to paint the republicans as blocking immigration reform in order to please Trump.

To do this, they need to portray immigration as a problem that needs to be solved. This is difficult, because they have been blasting their base with the message that all concerns about illegal immigration are illegitimate racism for like thirty or forty years now, have actively worked to massively undermine border security for something like two decades now, spent four years attacking Trump's every attempt to secure the border, and directly caused the current crisis. I don't doubt the media's willingness to step up to champion the lie that this is all Red Tribe's Fault, actually, but I am skeptical that it will work all that well.

I saw Chris Murphy speaking on the matter yesterday and he seemed very comfortable framing the issue as needing solving, but from a different angle than where you're coming at - he's selling the idea that the real problem is that the system is so jammed up that these people can't even get a fair hearing on their asylum claims. Let's get something done, get some more judges and lawyers to make sure people get admitted legally, that kind of thing. Basically, illegal immigration is a problem and the solution is to make all of these people legal immigrants. This is easy enough to sell to his constituents, particularly when he can point to those dastardly Republicans that just want to keep these innocent asylum seekers illegal for purely political reasons.

30 years ago Bill Clinton was talking about how Americans were right to be concerned about illegal immigration, in his State of the Union address. 20 years ago Obama said people can't be allowed to pour over the border undocumented and unchecked. 18 months ago Biden talked about having to crack down on illegal immigration in a speech. Now you may question whether he means that, but he certainly didn't have any problems framing it as negative. And nor did his predecessors.

Now when Trump ralks about that do they frame that as racism? Of course, its a great attack vector. But "its racist when our enemies do it, but not when we do it" is a perfectly standard (albeit potentially immoral) political strategy. Which is targetted at what you might call squishy left leaning moderates.

It does alienate left-left people who will say things like Biden is just as bad as Trump etc. But thats not who is being aimed at.

In other words you are wrong that Democrats as a whole have been blasting concerns about illegal immigration being racist for 30 or 40 years. Only when their opponents have those concerns. Thats how they can pivot if required, on what they themselves say (or even do!) if polling indicates they should do so. When you (not you, you!) do it, its racist nonsense, when we do it, it's humanely targeted enforcement. When you say you are skeptical it will work...well it has been working. Not on everyone of course, but it doesn't need to. Just for those who are squeamish anout kids in cages, but also fear the stories of immigrant felons.

Will it work ENOUGH to win an election is the real question I suppose.

Status in the progressive art scene

There’s a thread on Reddit about social progressive influences in the youth arts and music scene. (The link is an archive with all comments, no need for account.) It’s a glimpse into a social world from members who would otherwise not talk about it. This particular community is artistically and culturally aligned with progressive culture but politically more moderate or to the right. A lot of this you have probably heard before (quick to cancel, quick to signal), but I found the below selection to be informative:

”I grew up evangelical Christian going to youth events/camps blah blah and the in-group out-group culty dynamic is literally the same. None of these fuckers are individuals”

”i understand that obsessive complaining about "woke" stuff can be cringe, but when people claim that the dogma isn't actually as cartoonishly insane as it's made out to be, you know they have never played in bands in places like this. even actual RWers don't understand how crazy it gets. when my bf's parents make fun of pronoun stuff we're just like, don't even start, you guys have noo idea”

”I live in a particularly "progressive" part of Philadelphia, and this is how so many people are. I feel like so many people learned about the depths of systematic racism, started to scream about how terrible white people are, realized that they were white, and instead of learning a fucking thing about how to cope with this, they decided that they too are victims of systematic oppression, and this led to a spread of smug virtue signaling culture. Makes people feel like less of a potential perpetrator of racism or whatever phobias if they begin to identify with every marginalized identity they feasibly can”

”This generation are obsessed with curating their looks amd their spaces. Everything is tailored, edited, thought out and calculated except the music and the lyrics. The amount of palace intrigue that goes into consensus building about what local bands, people, places are permissible is ludicrous. It's like there is a giant Pravda book everyone is reading from silently at home. When they go out they wanna impress the Party. When they go back home.they inform and do espionage in little meetings no one hears about. Dark non-arts are taking hold everywhere.

The characterization of “palace intrigue” is insightful. Indie art, basement shows, etc are unpoliced places where the members have no religion, organized morality, or moral mentors. They are anarchic gatherings of young horny people who do not believe in higher authority or cling to a moral tradition. Status is rewarded with fame, sex, drugs, favors from the few trustfund members, and coveted but longshot employment opportunity at some shop / label / magazine / bar. Low status leads to utter and irrevocable ostracization. The stakes are, uh, big. So what happens is that authority and a code of conduct develops organically but very primitively through cliques and “palace gossip”, with the valuable positions at the top guarded tyrannically. Its Lord of the Flies except sometimes it smells worse.

I think the missing piece for understanding why the scene is so unhealthy is that members are imitating group exemplars. The imitation of group exemplars is a universal human habit, a relic of tribal days. These scenes first congregate on Twitter, tumblr, or instagram, and only then do they disperse to real life watering holes. (As one user put it: “music scenes were about capturing real life and putting it online; now it's putting online into real life.”) What they see on social media is that gossip and public accusation gets the most attention and name recognition, which is valuable for securing a place in the social hierarchy. The more signaling you do and the more explicit you do it, the more you gain attention. The increasing numerical value of likes or reblogs on social media tricks the users into believing that the number is an accurate sign of social value — and this consequently turns it into a real social value. You only need to persuade a small minority that the numbers indicate social value for the numbers to eventually become the dominant social value. Why? Because if 5% of social value is suddenly administered according to an online number, then this will be noticed and more people will pay attention to it, leading it to comprise 6%. And if 6% of social value, then … and so on. This will continue until participating online is a necessary requirement for obtaining the niche’s social value (how LinkedIn works). That original 5% is guaranteed because social media is addicting.

The reason it devolves into a base form of status signaling is that, well, everything is status signaling. But developed cultures long ago figured out ways to sublimate status signaling toward prosocial ends through the laying down of criteria and similarity with which to judge value. Were these guys Confucian, their ability to memorize prosocial axioms and follow certain rituals would give them value. If they were Muslims, their ability to mirror Muhammad in their life and live according to Allah’s decrees would give them value. (Interestingly, Muslims go one step further and ban all music except the whiny melodies which color the precepts of the Quran. This is certainly one way to ensure that your music scene doesn’t devolve into a monstrosity).

But why does the signaling competition devolve into Progressive shibboleths? Why not something else? I think the boring answer is that it started that way. If this alt scene were originally Confucian, then all new members would have adopted Confucianism. But it started progressive because no one with a strong traditional morality would dedicate their whole life to hosting licentious music. They cared more about school, they prioritized health, they had reservations about playing music bad for the soul. Meanwhile those without morality have no such concerns, and also use drugs as a lure for their power. There’s probably also an element of progressive shibboleths being boosted because the primitive wisdom that kids learn in early education is “everyone is the same, be nice”. So naturally, any devolution would go back to the shared morality which encites even the dumbest person. If everyone in school learned that the ultimate evil was being racist and mean, then that becomes the criteria for ostracisation. If you’re in a group of not very intelligent or moral art people, you can imagine the difference between accusing someone of being racist versus accusing someone of “a sophisticated ruse in which they themselves accuse others of being racist in order to elevate their standing”. The second one makes less sense when you are drunk or high, and it’s way too many words for me to read on Twitter at 2am. The first one contains the word “racist”, which I have been trained to bark at like a dog.

As mentioned in the thread, artists and musicians can’t say anything about the tyrannical hold of social progressivism because their career, reputation, and social network and under the purview of this process. When that occurs the shibboleths become an unconscious signal of membership, leading to a deep internalization in the heart of individual member. (Remember that normal people don’t think their beliefs through; like, writing about social and political values and engaging in discourse is an unusual thing. People want social value, not an optimally correct system in the grand scheme of things.)

One more thing to add. There’s a story in the Book of Daniel where two high status men threaten to blackmail a woman for sexual favors. She refuses to be blackmailed, so the high status men accuse her in front of the whole community of infidelity — something that would lead to her death. Our heroic prophet of the story, the young Daniel, takes on the role of Mr Bean. “Are you all so stupid that without examination or evidence you are going to condemn this woman?” He asks each one of the men alone under which tree the event transpired. One says a large canopied tree, but the other says a distinctly small tree. They have been caught in their lie, and the high status men are executed by the community.

This is the kind of story which humans once had as their foundational tales. Less “crime bad”, more “withhold judgment until wisdom, because corruption worse”. Kids would have learned this story instead of “racism bad”. And for artists, the story of Susanna was one of the most popular scenes in the history of Western art. Think how beneficial that is! You require your artists to draw Susanna, a beautiful semi-nude figure, and then you require him to draw the corrupt licentious high status figures, ready to blackmail her before being executed. It not only creates a good moral tale for children but it ensures that your artists don’t become regressives.

You're giving these people too much credit. When you said "Progressive Art Scene" I thought at first you may be talking about gallery openings or legitimate theater or modern classical music. Instead you were talking about the horrible "scene kids". These are usually punk bands that have only perfunctory instrumental talent and virtually no songwriting talent who latch onto the "scene" because they know that they're too untalented to become professional musicians. They usually put a high value on vague concepts like "authenticity" and "selling out" and look for reasons to create internal drama and ostracize people. You know you're at a "scene show" if, say, you go to a show at a venue in the city one night and then a couple weeks later you go to a show in an exurb 30 miles way and the audience is composed of almost entirely the same people. They mostly play the same circuit, though, because these bars are owned by scene people themselves. If it were a self-contained community of people who just wanted to play locally it would be no problem; less popular styles like jazz and bluegrass are usually like this. The trouble is that these people all have aspirations of playing music full-time, which makes the stakes higher and introduces a lot of stress. It's almost like a combination of Orthodox Judaism and Old Order Amish, where there's a comprehensive Mosaic law you're expected to follow with shunning the consequence of violating it. It's a breeding ground for drama.

Everyone in that thread may have differing politics but they all seem to buy into the scene mentality; their problem is that it's placing emphasis where they don't want it placed. The fact that politics plays a more prominent role isn't surprising but it could honestly just as easily be right-wing politics as left-wing — it just so happens that most of the participants were already lefties so that's the natural direction it took. In the grand scheme of things, though, it's beside the point. These people are rank amateurs involved in a circle jerk, and their bullshit has about as much influence on the broader culture as what's going on in some random subreddit.

punk bands

For some reason the idea of punks of all people forming rigid, hierarchical societies which have palace intrigues and make sure that their members conform to their norms feels really amusing in an absurdist way to me.

From stories my sister and brother (older than me by ~15 years) have told me of the 80s local punk scenes, it has always been thus.

This is the kind of story which humans once had as their foundational tales. Less “crime bad”, more “withhold judgment until wisdom, because corruption worse”. Kids would have learned this story instead of “racism bad”. And for artists, the story of Susanna was one of the most popular scenes in the history of Western art. Think how beneficial that is! You require your artists to draw Susanna, a beautiful semi-nude figure, and then you require him to draw the corrupt licentious high status figures, ready to blackmail her before being executed. It not only creates a good moral tale for children but it ensures that your artists don’t become regressives.

Who is the 'you' in this paragraph?

Isn't the popularity of Susanna bathing, as a subject of art, significantly attributable to artists themselves wanting to produce it? And isn't that desire also largely explicable by the fact that it's a very sexy scene? I'm not sure we need a big explanation for why painters were very enthusiastic about painting an attractive woman in the nude. It seems a popular theme in general.

The You was the Church, or if not, a wealthy religious aristocratic. The Past wasn’t so naive as to leave artists to their own devices. Eg

The newly recovered painting of Susanna and the Elders was commissioned by Queen Henrietta Maria

The figures are in the School of Reims style found in works commissioned by Bishop Ebbo

The work may have been commissioned by papal nephew Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi

But again, what’s great about the scene is that the artist must identify with the men sneaking a look at Susanna in a story that completely rebuffs lust and perfidy. It trains the moral immune system of all involved, the artist especially. I like to think this is a semi-conscious “social technology” rather than an accident.

...does it? Does it really train any kind of 'moral immune system'?

It seems to me that it falls into the same category as, say, Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom, in that obviously the whole appeal of the story is the naked lady, and the moral is tacked on as an afterthought. The villainous elder is a convenient excuse for the artist to say that it's not really pornographic, even though that is obviously the appeal. There were ways depict a naked Susanna in ways that are not sensually or erotically appealing - but that is clearly not what happened in the case of Renaissance art. The beauty of the woman is quite clearly the point.

It's the pre-modern equivalent of, say, all those mid-century films about Nero or Caligulua, which delighted in titillating the viewer with detailed depictions of orgies and sex and murder, and then had the fig leaf of condemnation at the end where the hedonistic emperors are overthrown and virtue triumphs. But we all know what the real appeal is.

I would caution you not to take the fig leaf too seriously. I suggest that the quite-literally-naked eroticism of the Susanna story is central to its artistic appeal. The fact that there's a vague sort of moral cover for it (it's biblical! it condemns the behaviour!) is convenient, but to suggest that the entire theme is a subversion of libido seems quite breathtakingly naive, to me.

I notice also in your post a skepticism of '[leaving] artists to their own devices'. Even setting aside the way you reify 'The Past', I don't see any particular reason to think that commissioners of this art necessarily had high and virtuous motives. That's just a small handful of examples, and are we really so naive as to believe that bishops and nephews of popes in the Middle Ages of Renaissance were free of venal interests? It may be true that some artists are just horny and lack any concern for morality - but the same strikes me as true of nobles and church officials.

To be clear, I am not asserting that every single depiction of Susanna bathing is pornographic. On the contrary, I think that many of those depictions have artistic merit, and are often very well-composed and striking, or sometimes, as you say, subversive in their implications. But I assert that the enduring popularity of Susanna's bath as an artistic theme has something to do with its eroticism, in a way that goes beyond mere subversion.

Or more crassly: rich people from centuries in the past still liked to look at boobs.

Of course they looked at the bosom, and of course Susanna was painted with temptation in mind. But that is what makes it so intelligent, no? You identify either with Susanna, the virtuous woman about to be wrongfully propositioned, or you identify with the status exemplars, about to use their high status to impugn a virtuous woman. You want this kind of association seared in your mind, that when you consider lust you remember the near-tragedy of Susanna and the righteousness of God. Art wasn’t divorced from the religious culture at the time, so everyone knew the story of Susanna and Daniel. It’s not like today where it’s just a vague story you need to pull from the recesses of your mind. It would have been brought up half a dozen times a year in sermons, made a special lesson in school, made an allusion in high class conversations. You have Handel writing operas about it and Mozart riffing his character in Figaro off her. It’s casually mentioned in Shakespeare and 1001 Nights. It’s anachronistic to interpret the nude as just a nude.

And consider: some of the best of these paintings were commissioned by queens and bishops. And if you were a wealthy aristocrat with your own painter, you could just have him paint a nude that doesn’t have such a looming moral threat above it. For pure nudes, just request the Greek nymphs or something else, right? They would essentially be cursing themselves / giving themselves bad vibes by purposefully commissioning Susanna just for her nudity when there were hundreds of different ways to procure a nude scene. But I guess the modern person would excuse all this and say that the queen was a lesbian and the bishop was horny.

But why does the signaling competition devolve into Progressive shibboleths? Why not something else? I think the boring answer is that it started that way. If this alt scene were originally Confucian, then all new members would have adopted Confucianism. But it started progressive because no one with a strong traditional morality would dedicate their whole life to hosting licentious music. They cared more about school, they prioritized health, they had reservations about playing music bad for the soul. Meanwhile those without morality have no such concerns, and also use drugs as a lure for their power. There’s probably also an element of progressive shibboleths being boosted because the primitive wisdom that kids learn in early education is “everyone is the same, be nice”. So naturally, any devolution would go back to the shared morality which encites even the dumbest person. If everyone in school learned that the ultimate evil was being racist and mean, then that becomes the criteria for ostracisation. If you’re in a group of not very intelligent or moral art people, you can imagine the difference between accusing someone of being racist versus accusing someone of “a sophisticated ruse in which they themselves accuse others of being racist in order to elevate their standing”. The second one makes less sense when you are drunk or high, and it’s way too many words for me to read on Twitter at 2am. The first one contains the word “racist”, which I have been trained to bark at like a dog.

I don’t think it started that way. I think a big problem with shibboleths is exactly what you mentioned in contrast to Confucian societies. The signal is super cheap to use, and it’s almost never called out as either going too far or for being insincere. I think that signals like this would be greatly reduced if the person were required to put either sweat equity or cash into all the causes they’re concerned about. If all the people screaming at anyone who isn’t denouncing Israel had to give $100 or raise money for the Palestinian relief efforts, the cries of denunciation would probably decrease by a lot, probably the protests as well.

Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. This is how the self-righteously tolerant organize their communities: as a Stalinist repressive dystopia. I'm reminded of the Preacher comic by Gaiman where a Klansman complains about another member talking about n-words all the time. A farcical parody of a liberal enemy from twenty years ago is more tolerant than the current art scene. That's sad.

This is what happens when counterculture is co-opted and curdles. It becomes 'the culture', and the determining factor of success or failure becomes how quickly one can sell out one's fellow man.

Wow, that thread is a gold mine. I'm not sure about "exemplars", though, it seems more like a pattern that they learn from osmosis, because "that's just how people act". But maybe if they had people modeling a coherent vision of how to be "cool" that didn't involve such self-destructive behavior, they might choose a different path? (Wow, that sounds so 80s Reagan-era anti-drug...)

There's some other quotes that might point in a different direction: the scene is full of people whose entire life is riding on their image, but the image isn't based on anything real, and it's all become a social Red Queen's race. (Is this level 4 simulacra?)

I had lots of friends from high school who went on to do freelance art/media/music in my city. But the problem with freelancers is they cannot have honest social relationships because their social life is how they find work.

--

The main issue is that the scenes all suck now so the only people left behind are the nitpicking dweebs. All the cool people that actually wanted to fight Nazis left when the Nazis did.

--

The irony of course is that anybody who's actually emotionally invested in these circles is definitively not safe, and the only way to survive in these circles if you actually care about the people involved is to curl up into a little ball and delete more and more of yourself while making sure not to run afoul of any of the arbitrary, inconsistent, and continually expanding de facto rules and regulations pertaining to what you're supposed to believe and how you can be. If you've got a bone in your body that leans towards independent thought, or any natural proclivity towards mirth or joie de vivre, it can really alienate you from yourself.

--

Some people know how to frame anything in such a way that it looks like a me too allegation (or whatever sj topic, its not important what the subject or allegation is whats important is the format they are using) and using all the right buzzwords to make it sound sinister and then you read through 7 pages of Instagram slides and you get to the end and its like "wait...what did they actually do?"

--

They do it for a sense of community. That’s why extremists exist at all. They’re insecure and will adapt any ideology that will give them a community to feel like they matter and people like them.

--

I think it’s flipping a bit. In my city people in the punk scene make fun of the PC punk shtick now. There definitely is a lot of “i present completely masculine and im a guy but im nonbinary / trans” though.

I don’t know, I sympathize with the complainant, but it’s also RSP, it’s practically here but with people pretending to be (slightly) more cool and an occasional interest in niche figures in the downtown art scene along with the usual other topics.

How about a culture war outside the traditional red/blue conflicts for a change?

The Guardian ("I read it for the math problems") reports on the decision by a court in the Philippines to ban golden rice, a GMO plant designed to combat vitamin A deficiency. The NGO arguing for a ban (aside local farmers) was Greenpeace.

[https://www.supportprecisionagriculture.org/nobel-laureate-gmo-letter_rjr.html](168 Nobel laureates) have called on Greenpeace to stop campaigning against golden rice in 2016. Here is a discussion on EA forums.

Now historically, I have not been vehemently opposed to Greenpeace. When I was a kid in the 1990s, they were protesting French above-ground nuclear weapon testing, which seems fair enough. While pro-NPP myself, I think there are solid arguments to be made for opposing nuclear power (like proliferation risk and long-term disposal of used-up fuel elements), but I can't understand why you would target NPP before you would target fossil fuel power generation.

The steelman of the Greenpeace argument would be that allowing patent-encumbered GMOs will be a foot in the door for pushing more GMOs on rural farmers which will eventually result with Monsanto owning the small farmers. The situation for GMOs is not unlike the situation for software: expensive to develop, but cheap to copy. As a free-software advocate, I very much would prefer outcomes where the companies who develop the software/GMOs do not end up with a stranglehold on the end users due to copyright or (even worse) patent laws.

At least for software there exist alternatives like FLOSS. From reading the FAQ of golden rice, it looks like they could not develop their product without using technologies patented by biotech companies, so they got to them to agree to waive licences for farmers who make less than 10k$ per year, which is their target audience. This is still far from ideal (better would be a blanket free licence for golden rice, or constraining biopatents so much that you do not have to ask Japanese Tobacco to licence your rice plant, or perhaps abolishing them altogether), but does not seem like a terrible deal -- especially if you have a local court system which is rather pro small farmers.

So my conclusion is that Greenpeace's opposition is unreasonable and they have been become one of these organizations who advocates for policies which are deeply unpopular (like PETA, or "always believe the woman" groups) in the wider population as members race to signal how committed they are to their cause.

due to copyright or (even worse) patent laws

At least patents expire in a reasonable(-ish) amount of time.

I also don't see how you could copyright a GMO, as at least to my non-lawyer eyes, it's not a form of expression. But I've been wrong about what lawyers will come up with, and courts will indulge, many times before. Certainly there's been enough discussion here about what they've done with terms like "speech" and "commerce"; it's as bad as the situation with terms like "racism" and "oppression" and arguably even more creative, so I don't want to push that point too hard.

I think simply embedding a copyrighted artwork in junk DNA will probably not fly in court. But if software can be copyrighted, I don't think there is a reason why GMOs -- whose design also involves some stylistic decisions -- can't be. I hope I am wrong about this, though.

The reason that patent law is widely considered more evil than copyright law in software is that avoiding copyright infringement is often a very easy task (the exception being APIs and the like). If you have a copyrighted bubblesort library, I can simply decide not to use your library and write my own implementation. By contrast, if you have patented bubblesort (depending on the sanity of the patent system in question, you might have to patent a specific instance of bubblesort which affects something specific in the real world), then every other implementation is infringing.

I also don't see how you could copyright a GMO, as at least to my non-lawyer eyes, it's not a form of expression.

First they patent the modified genome, then they patent the novel protein derived from the modified genome. That alone doubles the timespan. At least that's what I recall reading a long time ago..

Neither of which is copyrighting it. Yes, of course they can patent them. That's not at all the same thing.

Yeah, but it looks like in biotech you can get exclusivity for 2x long as for anything else.

Not that patents have any point these days - Chinese just copy everything and DGAF.

Well. I also agree with that steelman. I have my doubts that greenpeace is so rationally principled through and through.

But yes. GMO patents should be outlawed, along with software patents, and probably copywrite in general. We need to be building foundational rights for an age of human and post-human coexistence.

As far as I can tell, Greenpeace has never been reasonable, and their anti-nuclear power campaigns are evidence of Just Not Being Willing To Be Happy With Anything, Ever. Seriously, the only alternative at scale to nuclear power is fossil fuels unless you have particularly fortuitous geography. Greenpeace also does things like protest against sustainable fisheries and cross-pollinates heavily with hardcore nuts like animal rights groups, to the extent of providing some amount of cover for ecoterrorists.

Campaigning against golden rice therefore is just another case of Don't Want Anything To Get Done. I'm critical of this tendency in my ingroup; I'm far less sympathetic of it in far-outgroup types like greenpeace.

and their anti-nuclear power campaigns are evidence of Just Not Being Willing To Be Happy With Anything, Ever

To channel Hlynka again, then, Greenpeace is on the extreme end of traditionalism/conservatism and their attitude towards the industrial revolution and its consequences oil pipelines is (predictably) the exact same as a certain other US group's attitude towards abortion clinics.

I don't think it's a surprise that countries defined by liberalism, specifically France, treats Greenpeace the way they do.

Their goal might seem hyper-reactionary. If I were to try to create a coherent extrapolation, I'd almost characterize it as "humanity should abandon the use of metal and depopulate down to 10,000 people who all live in East Africa".

But their attitude and methods are very progressive. They don't frame it as replacing our existing culture, so they're not radicals. But they look around, see things in the world that they don't like, and push for changes to get rid of them, regardless of the effect of those changes. (Wishful thinking helps here: "what bad effects?") IMO, that's progressivism at its purest.

I don't think it's traditionalism/conservatism. I think they just want to be unhappy.

There's a joke about an old Jewish man taking a customer satisfaction survey. He says "I am very upset". "Why?" "I couldn't complain." "But you said you're upset" "Exactly, I couldn't complain."

My mental model of big parts of the environmental movement, greenpeace very much included, is a lot like that old Jewish man. They just want something to be conspicuously upset about, either so they can be professional protestors instead of having to get real jobs that involve, like, actual work, or to have an excuse to be the center of attention, or because they're mentally ill, or to sleep with true believers, or whatever. There's environmentalists doing actual environmental protection stuff, sure. But greenpeace doesn't want a solution, they want to veto things. There's a difference.

Defining Greenpeace as part of traditionalism/conservatism, like Hlynkas redefinitions, moves us to a position of less understanding and unnecessary confusion.

I don't think it's a surprise that countries defined by liberalism, specifically France, treats Greenpeace the way they do.

Highly liberal USA doesn't do so. Liberal Britain is following zero carbon targets even under the Torries, who aren't a conservative party. Liberal Germany has strong Green party and anti nuclear policies. So it is false that this is due to liberalism. Rather than blaming conservatism and praising liberalism for what Greenpeace a group that liberals are more sympathetic towards, the reality is that the French are more pro nuclear than many other peoples and they appreciate better that it worked well for them. You could say that the French in general including French liberals are more pro nuclear, and more hostile towards Greenpeace, but you can't praise liberalism and blame conservatism in general.

The steelman of the Greenpeace argument would be that allowing patent-encumbered GMOs will be a foot in the door for pushing more GMOs on rural farmers which will eventually result with Monsanto owning the small farmers. The situation for GMOs is not unlike the situation for software: expensive to develop, but cheap to copy. As a free-software advocate, I very much would prefer outcomes where the companies who develop the software/GMOs do not end up with a stranglehold on the end users due to copyright or (even worse) patent laws.

GMOs cannot be copyrighted in the U.S. or anywhere else I know of. They can be patented, but the length of a patent term in most countries is 20 years. Golden Rice 2 was developed in 2005, so unless there's a newer version that Wikipedia doesn't mention, any possible patents will expire next year at the latest. Also, if a country considered patents a big concern it seems like the solution would be to not respect GMO patents or to specifically ban patented GMOs, rather than not allowing GMOs in general, which would reduce the incentive for companies to develop GMOs but still allow you to free-ride and to use GMOs with expired patents like golden rice will soon be.

The steelman of the Greenpeace argument would be that allowing patent-encumbered GMOs will be a foot in the door for pushing more GMOs on rural farmers which will eventually result with Monsanto owning the small farmers

Monsanto hasn't even been a thing for the last 6 years (seriously, they wound up in 2018). You'd expect the greens to have noticed by now...

You are technically correct. However, Monsanto was acquired by the pharma giant Bayer, who decided to discontinue the Monsanto brand. If instead they had gone bankrupt or be acquired by a company which imposed a drastically different business model, things would be different, but this looks to me like an acquisition followed by a corporate rebranding while keeping the same business practices.

In a similar vein, I will continue to say "acquired by Google/Facebook" instead of "acquired by Alphabet/Meta", "posted on twitter" instead of "posted on X", "addicted to heroin" (which is a trademark which has not been used for almost a century) instead of "addicted to diacetylmorphine", "Blackwater" instead of "academi" and so on.

Bayer is going to go bankrupt because of Monsanto; they’ve lost like 80% of their value since 2016 because of Americans suing them for Roundup unknowingly potentially causing cancer and the settlements could be tens of billions. Of course now people are getting scared that if the Roundup business collapses farmers will have to buy weed killer from China, where the manufacturers are safely immune from that kind of frivolity.

Roundup unknowingly potentially causing cancer

Is there any good evidence of the harm of glyphosate in reasonable quantities? I haven't done a literature review myself, but I've seen reports of questionable research on the "causes harm" side, but also that it's anecdotally safer than most of the alternatives.

No, but American courts are notorious for handing out ruinous fines to foreign corporations for spurious reasons.

And then the same Americans howl loudly when the EU fines American tech companies large amounts for minor mistakes (not saying the EU are justified in what they do, but sauce for the goose and all that).

3M and Johnson and Johnson also just had multi billion dollar settlements based on very thin evidence. It's kind of depressing since all that will do is move those jobs over seas and deny consumers access to new products.

There need to be clear caps on fines/penalties/payments courts can order companies to make that can only be overridden by Congress. Anything more than 10% of US annual revenue, for example.

This would also provide bad incentives, because it would cap the risk of decisions with huge negative externalities. 10% of revenue times the probability of getting caught is basically nothing, so unless your action is going to cause a big enough stink to move Congress to act, you are in the clear.

As an analogy, suppose we capped the fines and damages for gross negligence of humans at 10% of their annual income. This would provide terrible incentives: people could speed by near kindergardens, throw empty glass bottles from skyscrapers, operate on patients while drunk and the like secure in the knowledge that the worst outcome will cost them no more than they spend on vacations.

Corporations already have huge advantages over natural humans through diffusion of responsibility and their liabilities being mostly limited to their assets (so the risk to their investors is limited). For Thalidomide, the corporate death penalty (i.e. bankrupting a company through fines and damages) seems like an appropriate outcome.

Of course, glyphosate is very far from Thalidomide, but caps on damages are not the answer.

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I’m with the ban for the same reason that GreenPeace is. Not only are we burdening these small farmers with patent law (and I’m not sure if Golden Rice has terminator genes that prevent replanting saved seed) but because of the potential for cross pollination, you can’t really make it optional. If my rice is pollinated by Golden rice, I now have the patented genes in my rice, and unless there are strong laws to the contrary (which I doubt) Monsanto can easily collect royalties from people who never chose to grow Golden Rice in the first place, and worse are not allowed to save seed (as the permits to grow that rice requires you to buy the seed every year). In a lawful democracy like America or various European countries, it’s difficult but at least possible to build in protection for small farmers. I doubt it would be so in a developing country with a much higher corruption index.

Golden rice was developed by a non-profit in collaboration with universities. It doesn't have terminator genes (indeed, no crop with terminator genes has ever been sold, the technology was essentially abandoned in the early 2000s).

It does include patented genes, but patent law is national, not international. Only 12 of the patents are applicable outside of America, and all 12 have been waived by their owners. Any farmer who buys golden rice seeds can replant them forever.

Greenpeace isn't opposed to Golden Rice because they're worried about farmers' welfare. They're opposed to it because of their knee-jerk technophobia.

(indeed, no crop with terminator genes has ever been sold, the technology was essentially abandoned in the early 2000s).

Not sure if there's some terminological M&B going on here with 'Terminator', but lots and lots of commercially bred seed produces sterile plants?

Basically any lawn grass you buy will not reproduce from seed, and as pertains to Montsanto -- the 'Roundup Ready' portfolio is also like this. (and I think that Montsanto does/did market them 'Terminator' for this reason?)

While (as the chosen name indicates!) this was indeed developed in the 90s, AFAIK it's deliberate (to prevent the RR crops from hybridizing with other plants, producing RR weeds (which would be Very Bad for the no-till agriculture model) -- and an ongoing feature of RR seeds?

Conventional sterile or non-true-breeding hybrids aren't based on "terminator" genes. Roundup Ready plants are also not based on "terminator" genes (and they DO crossbreed, which has been the basis of several lawsuits cementing Monsanto's bad reputation)

Conventional sterile or non-true-breeding hybrids aren't based on "terminator" genes.

Well I know -- but the point (as with much of the GMO discussion) not whether you arrive at the endpoint by conventional methods of modifying the genome (ie selective breeding I guess) or scary gene insertion (with scary names!) -- it's that the seed is sterile so small-time farmers are forced to buy seed every year instead of saving their own.

(TBH the hybridization concern seems like a pretty good reason to include such a gene to me -- RR weeds would have a much larger impact on global agriculture than bankrupting some farmers in India, and the sterility gene (by its nature!) seems unlikely to leak into wild genomes?)

That hybrids are sterile or don't breed true is more of a side effect of the process than a deliberate thing; I believe that most staple crop cultivars were not hybrids when the whole controversy with terminator genes started.

Plants are kinda promiscuous but they aren't so promiscuous as for crops to crossbreed with weeds in most cases. So you don't get roundup-ready weeds from crossbreeding with roundup-ready crops. Unfortunately you do get glyphosate-resistant weeds through normal mutation and (not-so-natural) selection, and we already have.

To be clear it's not something I'm losing sleep over -- just that it seems like a legitimate thing for people designing novel organisms to be worried about, and I'd rather that they worry about it than not. (It would be better if they didn't name their GMO projects after robot assassins though)

Is anyone actually trying to enforce bio patents against Indian farmers? Is this a real thing that's really happening, or is it just fantastical speculation?

And isn't golden rice exempted from patent enforcement anyways? The relevant patent holders have agreed to not try to enforce their patents against asset-free 3rd world farmers.

And isn't golden rice exempted from patent enforcement anyways? The relevant patent holders have agreed to not try to enforce their patents against asset-free 3rd world farmers.

what is stopping them from changing their minds in the future when their situations change (revenue streams diminish, are acquired by a more aggresive patent holder, etc.)?

Enforcing patent laws against Indian subsistence farmers is taking a loss because it costs money to try and they don't have anything to give you.

Patent laws are national, not international.

My understanding is that once a variant has been donated to say, Bangladesh, it cannot be 'undonated' unless Bangladesh's government decides to issue a patent there.

Google tells me that Indian farmers make around $225 per month. You can't squeeze blood from a stone. And my vague understanding of Indian norms is that they casually disregard American-style patent laws in order to shamelessly steal the drugs we make at enormous cost. So I really doubt there's any ability or will to target Indian farmers.

I think "someone says something with is laughably wrong and also outrageous on the motte" does not warrant a top-level post.

We have our share of trolls and Nazis. Every once in a while we get an holocaust denier. I am sure that I could make a civil argument about why we should kill and eat all the people with the letter x in their legal names as a matter of national policy without getting banned for it.

I think it is important to establish that a lack of refutation is not the same as silent approval. Trolls can make outrageous statements a lot quicker than anyone can refute them. See xkcd.

I mean, mods could use the "Proactively provide evidence in proportion to how partisan and inflammatory your claim might be." rule to shut down such comments, by ruling "denying humanity to a significant portion of extant h. sapiens is a claim which is so inflammatory that you should require ten recent articles in top-notch scientific journals making that claim as evidence" (and then relying on the fact that this level of evidence can not be met).

But this would also put us on a slippery slope to tone policing. As the late Niemoeller observed (paraphrased): "First they came for the holocaust deniers, and I said nothing because fuck Nazis. Then they came for the blacks-arent-humans people and I said nothing, because fuck racists. Then they came for the genetic-IQ-difference crowd, and I said nothing because it was not a topic which interested me. Then they came for me for using a generic masculine form and nobody was left to speak out for me." So I am kind of fine with the odd Nazi comment as a price to pay for having a forum where any opinion can be expressed, because some other controversial opinions are at least interesting.

a slippery slope to tone policing

You mean "content policing", right?

But this would also put us on a slippery slope to tone policing.

Er, we do tone police. Explicitly.

And @TitaniumButterfly was in fact modded for asserting that "blacks are animals." Not because you can't say inflammatory things here (yes, we allow Holocaust deniers and segregationists and fascists and even that one "Abolish the age of consent and make females sex slaves, yes, including your six-year-old daughter" guy), but because you have to do it, well, civilly. Which admittedly can be a hard needle to thread when the argument you want to civilly make is that Group X should be eradicated/enslaved, but that's intentional.

The I have a black friend argument.

I do too. I’ve had a few. One went to Northwestern, they all pretty much have corporate jobs doing normal blue tribe stuff.

The thing in the whole debate is nobody doing the debate had George Floyd type black friends. It does go too far too call black people in general animals. We all know many who function quite well in western civilization. However, there is an underclass that seems to need a huge amount of intervention in terms of policy and financial aid to develop communities looking anything like the rest of western civilization. They are not self-sustaining without aid from other parts of society.

The thing in the whole debate is nobody doing the debate had George Floyd type black friends.

I spent a year and a half working an entry-level factory job. more than half my coworkers were black. They weren't graduates from prestigeous institutions. They were still obviously human. Meanwhile, it turns out that all the arguments for black inhumanity apply to white junkies as well.

However, there is an underclass that seems to need a huge amount of intervention in terms of policy and financial aid to develop communities looking anything like the rest of western civilization. They are not self-sustaining without aid from other parts of society.

They need tight-knit communities who deliver immediate punishment to defectors, with those continuing to defect written off. "aid from other parts of society" is how this underclass is maintained in its longstanding condition.

"aid from other parts of society" is how this underclass is maintained in its longstanding condition.

You know, I just got through a book about the Irish potato famine and the parallels between the 'Democrats run modern welfare plantations' narrative and Trevelyan are pretty interesting. You say welfare is how the underclass is maintained in it's current condition; Trevelyan says:

In his book The Irish Crisis, published in 1848, Trevelyan later described the famine as "a direct stroke of an all-wise and all-merciful Providence", one which laid bare "the deep and inveterate root of social evil", that evil being Ireland's rural economic system of exploitative landlords and peasants overly dependent on the potato. The famine, he declared, was "the sharp but effectual remedy by which the cure is likely to be effected... God grant that the generation to which this great opportunity has been offered may rightly perform its part and we may not relax our efforts until Ireland fully participates in the social health and physical prosperity of Great Britain." This mentality of Trevelyan's was influential in persuading the government to do nothing to restrain mass evictions.

In the summer of 1846, Trevelyan ordered the Peelite Relief Programmes, which had been operating since the early years of the famine, to be shut down. This was done on 21 July 1846 by Sir Charles Wood.[13] Trevelyan believed that if the relief continued while a new food crisis was unfolding, the poor would become permanently conditioned to having the state take care of them.[13]

I'm too lazy/short on time to pull actual quotes, so I hope you'll forgive me for copying wikipedia wholesale. It was the heyday of Adam Smith and laissez-faire economics, along with widespread acceptance of Malthusian philosophy (interesting for entirely different reasons in the debates around TFR), both of which influenced Trevelyan's thinking significantly. Trevelyan may have been correct that the situation in Ireland was untenable (TFR >4, increasingly small plots of land that necessitated subsistence potato farming, rampant poverty and illiteracy), but his actions directly led to the preventable deaths of 750,000-1,500,000 Irish and the emigration of a million more. I'm not convinced that his actions had any impact whatsoever on education, self-sufficiency or any meaningful improvement of the lot of the Irish. They also didn't noticeably move the needle on eliminating Catholicism, which he cared for about as much as he cared for their welfare.

There's a certain delicious irony that modern Ireland has double the GDP per capita of Britain, although my rudimentary understanding of economics is that this is largely due to finance and tax havenry rather than a truly productive economy. Regardless, given that it took Ireland more than century after the famine to turn things around, are you confident that Trevelyan's choice to let millions of people starve was correct? I'm working on a second book detailing the path from the potato famine to modern prosperity, but I have a hard time believing that you could draw any kind of causal connection between the two. Perhaps more germanely, are you confident that slashing welfare programs in the US would lead to the outcomes you (we?) want, and do you have any examples of underclasses being cut off from welfare and becoming prosperous within a generation or two?

You know, I just got through a book about the Irish potato famine and the parallels between the 'Democrats run modern welfare plantations' narrative and Trevelyan are pretty interesting.

In the most general terms, I have to ask: do you believe that the Resource Curse exists?

More specifically, you believe that responses to an acute problem over seven years and a chronic problem lasting since somewhere between 1964 and 1866, depending on where one starts the counting, generate parallels because they both can be summarized as "giving poor people handouts doesn't solve poverty"? The crisis has an obvious, acute source in the one case, which is a crop disease killing all the crops. Is the analogue to the potato blight racism? I'm gonna bet it's racism. But the fact remains that giving poor people handouts has not, in fact, solved poverty, and there is, in fact, a large and by all evidence permanent underclass utterly dependent on the handouts, a problem those proposing the handouts did not predict and those defending them have no idea how to solve. Especially given that black people were not in fact generally suffering a famine when we instituted handouts for them, is your argument that a famine would have resulted anyway if they had not been instituted?

Trevelyan may have been correct that the situation in Ireland was untenable (TFR >4, increasingly small plots of land that necessitated subsistence potato farming, rampant poverty and illiteracy), but his actions directly led to the preventable deaths of 750,000-1,500,000 Irish and the emigration of a million more.

Indeed, which is an excellent argument for why Trevelyan was dead wrong in his case. What does this tell us about our case?

Perhaps more germanely, are you confident that slashing welfare programs in the US would lead to the outcomes you (we?) want, and do you have any examples of underclasses being cut off from welfare and becoming prosperous within a generation or two?

...And this is a good point to ask whether you actually read my comment.

They need tight-knit communities who deliver immediate punishment to defectors, with those continuing to defect written off. "aid from other parts of society" is how this underclass is maintained in its longstanding condition.

Which part of the first sentence do you disagree with? Because this was not, in fact, an argument for cutting welfare subsidies, or even a comment about welfare subsidies specifically. Underclass blacks are born, raised, and die in a system they neither have created nor can effectively control. It's not just the welfare checks, it's the schools, the police, the laws, the economy, every aspect of social structure beyond personal interaction. We made a society for them, and when that society delivers miserable results some of us invite them to place the blame on others of us. Notably, the people targeting the blame are those most involved in implementing those actual social structures, and those of us getting the blame are involved chiefly in paying for it all with our taxes.

You understand that my critique isn't the wastage of money, right? Perpetuating a permanent underclass is a monstrous thing to do! Actual accountability for the results is the only solution I can imagine having any chance of working, and I want a solution because the situation is monstrous!

I have previously proposed Reverse-Segregation: give blacks an area that they control completely, where every public official and government position must be held 100% by black people, by law. Grant this area leave to write its own laws as it sees fit, irrespective of the American constitution, and grant it leave to enforce and adjudicate those laws as it sees fit, completely outside the jurisdiction of the rest of American jurisprudence. Fund it with a per-capita percentage of all outlays legitimately payable to black Americans equivalent to the percentage of black Americans who actually live within it. People, white or black, can move there if they want, and leave if they want; no one can be kept there against their will, and no law-abiding citizen be prevented from going there by the rest of America if they choose to go. Then declare that outside this zone, racism has been solved. Blacks get the exact same legal status as everyone else. No AA, no hate crime laws, no special privileges, we implement pure colorblind enforcement of the letter of the law. Race-based discrimination is equally illegal no matter which race it's applied to. If certain words are evidence of bias, they're evidence regardless of who speaks them. Claims of bias will no longer be entertained unless they come with ironclad evidence. And if anyone doesn't like this, there's a place they can move. Welfare can even continue outside the zone as well, we just use cellphone data to track who's inside and who's outside and apportion the money appropriately. Anyone not-black who wants to can move inside the zone, they just can't hold office or vote for anyone who isn't black, presuming the zone decides to keep voting. Maybe even through in something about the zone expanding if its population rises too high.

Far-fetched, I admit, but I think something along those lines would probably improve our situation immensely. Given the current trajectory of Blue Tribe, it's entirely possible one of their cities would even be willing to implement such a zone in-situ rather than trying to build one from scratch. Chicago, maybe? Detroit? Maybe give it two years' lead time so people can move in or out according to preference. Whaddya think?

...In closing, I'm left with a surprisingly similar impression as by some of @2rafa's comments in the recent thread about the immigration bill, and again when that alt-right article got posted that proved Hlynka was right all along. People keep talking as though it's Reds versus blacks or browns, but I can live with blacks and browns happily enough. It's Blues that are an actual problem.

In the most general terms, I have to ask: do you believe that the Resource Curse exists?

No idea. Not my area of expertise.

More specifically, you believe that responses to an acute problem over seven years and a chronic problem lasting since somewhere between 1964 and 1866, depending on where one starts the counting, generate parallels because they both can be summarized as "giving poor people handouts doesn't solve poverty"? The crisis has an obvious, acute source in the one case, which is a crop disease killing all the crops. Is the analogue to the potato blight racism?

No, you're trying to be too granular with the parallels I'm drawing. The Irish lived in crushing poverty for many decades before the Famine, and lived in crushing poverty for many decades afterwards. British rule seemed largely focused on pushing Protestantism, at least some (much earlier on, I think) advocating for pushing the Irish out entirely and settling the land with British and extracting wealth. The problem was orders of magnitude larger than the Famine, but the years of the Famine are well documented and Trevelyan makes an interesting character study.

But the fact remains that giving poor people handouts has not, in fact, solved poverty, and there is, in fact, a large and by all evidence permanent underclass utterly dependent on the handouts, a problem those proposing the handouts did not predict and those defending them have no idea how to solve.

Indeed, although as many here love to point out, poverty is relative. I am often mocked for the quaint idea of 'eliminating poverty.' Nevertheless:

Yes, coming up on a century of welfare in the US has failed to eliminate poverty (interestingly, enacted in response to another Nucular Racism-level cataclysmic event). Depending how you measure it, it has decreased, but whatever, I expect welfare and a social safety net to be permanent and not necessarily undesirable features of our society. Either it's a temporary solution to get people back on their feet, or I don't expect people to be productive regardless and I don't want them to starve. But let's put that aside and jump forward a moment:

You understand that my critique isn't the wastage of money, right? Perpetuating a permanent underclass is a monstrous thing to do! Actual accountability for the results is the only solution I can imagine having any chance of working, and I want a solution because the situation is monstrous!

Okay, so make your case then! Do you have any evidence that could possibly convince me that your way is better? I was responding to a single throwaway line in your OP:

"aid from other parts of society" is how this underclass is maintained in its longstanding condition.

Is there some analogous case you can imagine where welfare was cut off, and the underclass pulled itself up by it's bootstraps? Really any case at all where some underclass managed that? Most modern examples I can think of involve overthrowing communism, cozying up to multinationals or finding underwater lakes of oil in your hinterlands. China, Ireland/Singapore, various Middle Eastern countries. I can't think of any community-level trailer-trash to riches stories in the West, can you? Are there any relevant experiments you can cite? Do anti-welfare Republican governors have more functional societies with less poverty than the rest of the country?

The crisis has an obvious, acute source in the one case, which is a crop disease killing all the crops.

But it didn't though! Why do you think the Irish were living in mud huts on tiny plots of land, and entirely dependent on potato cultivation? Two centuries earlier their society was completely different with warring tribes/clans largely focused on where they could steal their next cow from (apologies to the ghost of FarNearEverywhere). Ireland wasn't some Atlantis laid low by a potato blight, it was an overpopulated clusterfuck dependent on potato monoculture, setting the scene for disaster.

Especially given that black people were not in fact generally suffering a famine when we instituted handouts for them, is your argument that a famine would have resulted anyway if they had not been instituted?

No, again, overindexing on famine. I'm told all the time to notice the piles of Communist skulls; don't you think you should notice the piles of skulls from people advocating for cutting welfare with the goal of making the underclass self-sufficient and productive? I don't expect poor white/black/elderly Americans to starve en masse if we cut all welfare programs tomorrow (at least in part because I expect large amounts of private capital to try and plug the hole), but I do expect it to be a giant clusterfuck with shantytowns, hovels and economic prospects becoming even worse than they were.

And this is a good point to ask whether you actually read my comment.

Read and re-read.

Which part of the first sentence do you disagree with? Because this was not, in fact, an argument for cutting welfare subsidies, or even a comment about welfare subsidies specifically.

I don't necessarily find it disagreeable, although I'd need to better understand what you mean by defectors (criminals? baby mommas/daddies? Drug addicts?) and how exactly you expect the problem to resolve itself. Unless you're just saying a variant of the underclass just needs to stop having a culture of doing underclass things, and their lives would be better, in which case - sure - although I'm not entirely sure how to put that into policy. Normally I hear some variant of:

"aid from other parts of society" is how this underclass is maintained in its longstanding condition.

i.e. welfare lets single moms raise kids without their baby daddies, kids are fucked up without strong father figure, perpetuating the cycle. The implication being that cutting off welfare would force baby momma and baby daddy to marry, get a job and provide a stable household/example for their children. This is what I find objectionable (because I find it unlikely, to be clear, obviously not because I'm against a stable household), and why I started discussing welfare. Tell me how to parse 'aid from other parts of society' then, since it seems like I misunderstand you.

Underclass blacks are born, raised, and die in a system they neither have created nor can effectively control. It's not just the welfare checks, it's the schools, the police, the laws, the economy, every aspect of social structure beyond personal interaction. We made a society for them, and when that society delivers miserable results some of us invite them to place the blame on others of us. Notably, the people targeting the blame are those most involved in implementing those actual social structures, and those of us getting the blame are involved chiefly in paying for it all with our taxes.

I am also born, raised and will die in a system I have neither created nor effectively control, no? I fail to see the argument you're trying to make, although I'll note that it sounds remarkably similar to the 'we live in a society' strain of thought on the left.

Perpetuating a permanent underclass is a monstrous thing to do! Actual accountability for the results is the only solution I can imagine having any chance of working, and I want a solution because the situation is monstrous!

Again, if you can convince me that your way is meaningfully better, I would change my mind. The existence of 'monstrous things' is not evidence that our current policy is even wrong, it could just as easily be the least bad of two options or evidence that there isn't enough welfare.

Far-fetched, I admit, but I think something along those lines would probably improve our situation immensely...Whaddya think?

I can...100% guarantee that it won't. Disparate outcomes outside of your SEZ will still be used as evidence of racism, rampant poverty inside will mean most people would want to leave. Black leaders in the SEZ wouldn't be some magical panacea with policies that we can't imagine out here; black representation (imo) is important so people feel they have a say in the democratic process, so they imagine they could be a representative someday if they chose to, and possibly because on the margin they may better know what their constituents need.

I'm left with a surprisingly similar impression as by some of @2rafa's comments in the recent thread about the immigration bill

Must have missed those.

again when that alt-right article got posted that proved Hlynka was right all along.

Not entirely sure what you mean. My best approximation of a Hlynkian argument is that the Actual Racist Republicans online are blue tribe anti-progs, while the actual red triber is a noble, endangered beast roaming the American heartland in pickup trucks. I could draw all kinds of creative lines around the categories to make my ingroups look good and my outgroups look bad, but at the end of the day, those Actual Racists want and believe things so far removed from me that we're just playing word games.

People keep talking as though it's Reds versus blacks or browns, but I can live with blacks and browns happily enough. It's Blues that are an actual problem.

That's funny; I feel like I can live with just about anyone happily enough, regardless of politics. I'm highly skeptical of the idea that Blue tribe has a monopoly on assholes, or that Blue policies are uniformly harmful or inferior to what the Red tribe would implement. What happened to that period of time where you realized you carried hatred in your heart (sorry if my paraphrasing is off), and you wanted to focus on family and church? Are we just full scorched earth now?

But it didn't though! Why do you think the Irish were living in mud huts on tiny plots of land, and entirely dependent on potato cultivation? Two centuries earlier their society was completely different with warring tribes/clans largely focused on where they could steal their next cow from (apologies to the ghost of FarNearEverywhere). Ireland wasn't some Atlantis laid low by a potato blight, it was an overpopulated clusterfuck dependent on potato monoculture, setting the scene for disaster.

Wait, what? The cattle raid of Cooley was set in pre-Christian history, 1st century AD according to Wikipedia. The famine started in 1845, but the Normans/English/British/whoever had been messing with the island since 1169.

My understanding was the proximate cause of the problem was the sheer poverty of most of the Irish, and the lack of work, or more broadly the lack of an economy, that could lift them out of poverty. The poor tended to rent a small farm where they grew potatoes to eat, and worked odd jobs for money which mostly went to rent. Without the potatoes, they were simply too poor to survive on their own, and the British work-fare programs came late and had problems. It was a horrible situation, and mostly I blame the British, but the basic dynamic was that there were a lot of working people who were so poor that the only food they could afford was potatoes that they grew themselves. When the potatoes went away, everything collapsed. It's not like they were buying most of their food with money, but then there wasn't enough food. They just didn't have enough money to buy food in the first place.

In contrast, America is absurdly wealthy, with a diverse economy, and has huge amounts of absurdly cheap food. Even without the subsidies, we'd have cheap food. I've personally been part of an organized group that cooks food and gives it to anyone who shows up (100-150 a day, mostly homeless). (Maybe I'm part of FCfromSSC's problem?) There's no way that people kicked off of welfare would starve, as long as they can find work, and assuming they didn't also have crippling mental illness, physical disability, or drug addiction. (Not to get into other big problems.)

That said, I agree that cutting off all welfare and similar services, cold turkey, would be a disaster. Any such reduction would have to be done slowly, making sure that there were sufficient jobs and cheap enough housing to handle everyone. (We do have plenty of housing, it's just not where people want to live, or it costs too much.) But I doubt that America has the political will or attention span to pull this off, and so we may be stuck with the current system or a disaster.

(I'm not personally against the existence of a safety net, and the optimal amount of exploitation is probably not zero. But I worry that it's gotten so complex that we don't know what's going on, or what the effect is. And the people who run it seem to be ideologically committed to expanding it forever, and that worries me most of all.)

Wait, what? The cattle raid of Cooley was set in pre-Christian history, 1st century AD according to Wikipedia. The famine started in 1845, but the Normans/English/British/whoever had been messing with the island since 1169.

Yes. It's just amusing to me that their one of their main epics revolved around a cattle raid, and from what I read this was still a large part of their lives in the 17th century.

(I'm not personally against the existence of a safety net, and the optimal amount of exploitation is probably not zero. But I worry that it's gotten so complex that we don't know what's going on, or what the effect is. And the people who run it seem to be ideologically committed to expanding it forever, and that worries me most of all.)

That seems reasonable, although I think there's a steelman to 'expanding welfare forever.' We don't yet have fully automated luxury gay space communism, but we've moved the needle somewhere along the spectrum from hunter-gatherers to subsistence farming to modern civilization. What's the point of it all if we're just going to be forced to grind away at jobs we hate regardless? Maybe a sane society would celebrate the automation of a job rather than panic and try to find bullshit work for the displaced employee. Maybe the dream we should aim for is a society where work is for those who want it (I tell people if I won the lottery tomorrow, my life would probably continue more or less unaffected - I don't work for the money) and welfare isn't stigmatized, even if we aren't quite ready yet.

I think there's a steelman to 'expanding welfare forever.'

I agree, my ideal would be a slow transition of welfare to a cash transfer system (plus Medicaid for all), and then that can expand into a UBI if that's how the economy of the future goes.

What's the point of it all if we're just going to be forced to grind away at jobs we hate regardless?

What's the point of it all if the productive among us are going to be forced to grind away at jobs to support the non-productive and anti-productive in a lifestyle of low-class luxury? The thought of AIs asking that question is one of the things driving AI fears, but somehow it's become anathema for humans to ask.

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A dark possibility is that the HBD dysfunction of the Irish was indeed very much a thing, but events like the famines exerted a strong selective pressure that over time raised Irish performance significantly, to the point that it now equals other NW Europeans.

Not sure why the famine would be more selective than all the wars and rebellions. Don’t think the evidence is good that they were ever stupid. Like the Armenians, they have a weirdly extensive and developed literature compared to their population size (probably around 750,000 at the time of the conquest IIRC). I think it’s more important that they had no indigenous tradition of living in cities (which were Norse and then English), which is where high civilization things tend to occur. After the conquest [edit: Norman, not Tudor], most of the best economic territory was in the hands of the major English lords, who were culturally oriented toward France and England.

There was some historic oral and literary tradition. More recently though much famous ‘Irish’ literature in the revival was not written by ethnic Irish but by the Anglo-Irish. Even Joyce claimed to be of Norman and Scandinavian descent and that his ancestors came over during Cromwell’s settlement, although that’s a topic of some historic debate. If you were asking for evidence of a great historic African literary tradition and I cited a bunch of Boer writers I presume that would be similarly invalid.

One theory (discussed elsewhere in this thread I think) is that the Irish were probably on the level of other peer populations in the dark ages but deteriorated considerably from the 16th to 19th centuries with the potato monoculture, ever smaller plots of land, worse nutrition, overpopulation and so on. Perhaps it begun even earlier in the twelfth or thirteenth centuries. It then took emigration, selection of the smartest and improved nutrition to successively drive huge performance improvements over time.

I don’t think it’s as easy to dismiss poor estimates of Irish performance from the Victorian/Edwardian era as some people suggest. It’s entirely possible they were correct but that outsized gains have led to the current equivalence. We know poor nutrition can have a deleterious effect on IQ and the diet of the Irish in 1850 was probably substantially worse than their ancestors’.

The early literature in the Irish language always struck me as precocious by northern European standards, particularly in prose, and the Irish also developed the Ogham script within a few centuries of the Nordic runes, so I think they have a literary tradition to be proud of even discounting the Anglo-Irish contribution.

Uh, what selective pressure do you think the potato famine exerted? As far as I can tell it just killed random poor people, with those wealthy enough to be exempt being mostly non-Irish.

Well, in that case the HBD doom and gloom is overblown. If things get bad, it'll just take a few disasters to knock off the rust and return a given race to fighting trim.

What did you find objectionable about my comment in the immigration bill thread?

As many on the right acknowledge, immigration is the only thing that matters.

Why does it matter?

It is the central issue upon which every other issue ultimately depends.

Why does every other issue depend on it?

Even a minor shift in the right direction, even something that delays demographic destiny by a few more years buys the right more time.

Buys the Right more time... for what?

There is no ‘national conservative’ movement. There is no ‘Trumpist’ party with a coherent, European-style nationalist policy platform. There’s a Trump personality cult with very little genuine infrastructure behind it, sitting on top of the carcass of the post-Tea Party GOP, which itself is a hollowed-out shell of what it once was even ten years ago.

What does a "European-style nationalist policy platform" look like, and why should I want one? IIRC, you were pretty bullish on the UK Tories. How's that working out these days?

Is the problem Immigration, or is the problem Blue power? If you had to choose between immigration and no Blue power, or no Blue power but lots of immigration, which would you pick?

Immigration isn't the only thing that matters, Blue power is. Immigration matters because it's a Blue Tribe win condition under the old system, but that win condition has already effectively been executed. Having been executed, its further importance is only going to diminish over time. Controlling the border was a means to an end, which was keeping Blues from engineering unilateral control by importing voters; having failed, the priority transfers to other methods of denying, constraining and deconstructing that control.

What is the goal? The OP in that thread seemed to think that passing favorable laws should be presumed to be useful, and you appeared to agree. I'd guess that you're comparing our current situation without the law to a hypothetical with the law, and the latter seems obviously better to you, because we would have the law, and then it would be enforced. So the choice is between getting things we want, versus not getting things we want. But passing the law grants legitimacy to the existing system, and there is zero reason to believe that actual enforcement would happen. This is the fundamental problem with that thread's OP, which spends a ton of words describing the bill, and then throws this in towards the end:

In the world of Republican vibes, there’s the idea that conservatives are always the suckers when it comes to immigration. The idea is that Reagan’s bill was supposed to fix the issue, but the Democrats skillfully reneged on their promise. There’s also the idea of the ratchet, that Republicans will compromise with Democrats, and Democrats will get a bunch of concessions but won’t actually fulfill their end of of the bargain, either because the Republicans are RINOs who don’t actually care about limiting immigration, or because the true-believer Republicans are simply outmaneuvered. Then in the next round of dealmaking, more concessions will be given, and on and on it goes until America is overrun with illegals. For example, in the first deal, “illegal aliens” are reclassified as “illegal immigrants”, and amnesty is provided for, say, 3M of them in return for enforcement of the border laws. Then the enforcement doesn’t happen, ten years go by, and another round of negotiations happens. This time “illegal immigrants” is changed to “undocumented persons” and now we need to give amnesty to the first 3M AND the 5M that arrived since then, but in exchange now we’ll totally have enforcement… pinky promise! And then it doesn’t happen again and… you get the picture.

There’s a kernel of truth to that idea, although it’s obviously extremely oversimplified and lacking in nuance. That said, those vibes are powerful enough that compromise is thoroughly delegitimized for the Republican rank-and-file...

...There's more than a "kernel" of truth in that idea, and if it's "extremely oversimplified" or "lacking in nuance", I'd be fascinated to hear how. @gattsuru has written a lot of quite excellent posts detailing evidence for the problem, and I've tried to contribute where I could. We had all the laws we needed to prevent mass immigration. They didn't work, because Blues actively subverted them, as they subvert every law, rule or decision intended to serve Red Tribe interests. What is the point of passing additional laws in "cooperation" with Blues when we already know any part of the law that serves our interests will not be enforced, and any part of the law that serves Blue interests will be expanded light-years beyond the scope provided by the text?

Why is this law more valuable than the defiance against Blues coordinated and the legitimacy for Blues denied by refusing it? If we can break Blue control, it doesn't seem to me that immigration actually matters much any more, and passing that law doesn't seem like it helps break Blue control. Again, "more time" for what?

And all this applies to Trump as well. It is questionable whether good governance is even possible under current conditions. Failing that, stripping the system of its legitimacy is the best alternative, to open up more space for state-level leaders like Abbott and De Santis, and possibly to accelerate Blue states like California and New York further down their current ideological trajectories. Trump continues to accomplish this, which is, I think, why his support remains so strong: he coordinates defiance, whether he means to or not, whether he even understands the situation or not. No matter what happens, the system will have significantly less legitimacy next year than it does now; given that the immigration has already mostly happened, that seems like a good thing to me.

There's a pretty strong case that the welfare state broke black families apart, leading to the current state of social dysfunction.

There is a counterargument to this which is that there are many white people who are also the dregs of society. Objectively there isn't much difference between a George Floyd and a Kensington zombie. That the problem is more acute in the black community is obviously true; that it is something inherent to being black is something HBDers assume to be true.

"I have a black friend" is of course a trite cliche, but it's also something I cannot overlook every time people bring up HBD and argue, essentially, that we should just accept that blacks are lesser, or even go further and argue for full segregation (the premise being that the only alternative is race war). I do have black friends. Educated, professional black friends. Now of course in an actual race war, everything can go sideways and your black friends won't count for much, but it seems like a lot of people arguing, essentially, that blacks are animals are either making some kind of "But I don't mean you" exception for their black friends, or they really believe that black people who are intelligent and socialized are like unicorns.

For some of us it's more like we just give up. As far as I can tell, virtually every single place on earth where they make up the majority of the population is some kind of dysfunctional shithole and it doesn't seem to matter what continent it's on, what country it's in, or how many generations of effort well-meaning white liberals have squandered trying to fix it. It never gets better, and it doesn't look like it's ever going to.

It's not that we're all ideologically dedicated to the idea of HBD, necessarily, so much as it's the fact that the alternative is a hodgepodge of unfalsifiable just-so excuses that in aggregate strain credulity beyond the breaking point. I just don't really buy that they're equally capable but have coincidentally been kneecapped by one historical mishap or another, everywhere, a hundred percent of the time, forever.

I don't really buy that we just need to eradicate the latest iteration of structural systemic invisible racism and suddenly their homicide rate will plummet by 90%, etc. etc. I just don't buy it. It looks exactly like an ethnic group with lower IQ ending up exactly where you would expect it to while people make up other reasons for it. The idea that they're collectively capable of advanced civilization on their own is, let's say, unevidenced, and it doesn't look like that evidence is ever going to come.

Most advanced civilization was invented by the British and Americans, some by a few other Western Europeans. That didn’t stop plenty of other countries borrowing the technology to start their own industrial and technological revolutions. China didn’t need to invent the car, or the computer, or laundry detergent to use those things. “On their own” isn’t a standard we apply to other modern civilizations.

Sure, African countries are less functional and developed than the West, but many are developing rapidly, living standards are improving, education is increasing, infrastructure is being built, many more are seeing nonviolent leadership transitions - and most of that isn’t the result of charity but of ordinary economic activity. It seems ridiculous pessimistic to think things will never improve. Most African countries are far from being Haiti.

developing rapidly, living standards are improving, education is increasing, infrastructure is being built,

1.1% real growth per year is anemic: https://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/our-research/reimagining-economic-growth-in-africa-turning-diversity-into-opportunity