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Culture War Roundup for the week of July 10, 2023

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The gulf countries have very good (for them) immigration and worker policies. For the life of me I can't understand why the west shouldn't implement it. It causes almost none of the problems the other states have with migration.

Can you elaborate on this point? What is the key difference in their immigration policy and why does it work so well?

They import labor, keep it segregated for low skill, make settlement impossible, citizenship out of question. For high skilled - it is slightly better - you can get permanent residence. This way they manage immigrant population 10 times their native. And don't have cultural issues.

There is no substitute for generation of new workforce – whether young people or robots. Debate can only be had about a) the timeline for supplementing people with robots (and, seeing as robots are a software problem, it's wild to me that people look at e.g. Midjourney evolution in the span of 1.5 years and believe this won't move as well as a human in a decade; yes it is the same problem) and b) legitimacy of austerity strategies and, perhaps, as the trendy folks put it now, degrowth. Even Zeihan, much as I loathe him, points out flaws of even highly successful attempts to weasel out of this predicament. Canada imports skilled immigrants, at like 3% of the nation annually now. Is this sustainable? How many skilled Chinese and Indians are out there? And how many Filipinos do you need to replace one Tsinghua graduate in lifetime tax contribution? But Phillipines, too, has only one big batch left; their TFR is 1.9, and given that these trends appear to accelerate for later comers, it's very probable they'll collapse to 1.2-1.5 in less than 10 years. How many countries can hope to do better than Canada does attracting useful immigrants?

I am not sure how seriously and charitably people peddling immigration as a long-term solution should be taken at this point. They seem either in thrall to a bona fide population replacement conspiracy, trying to do maximum damage in the limited time left (thus I suspect they'll side with AI doomers), or just looking for lost keys under the lamppost, suggesting more of the same to policymakers who are unwilling to hear anything else and perhaps unable to pursue it.

I do not notice them actually calculating net expected contribution of immigrants using any realistic trait distribution analysis (of course this is HBD stuff but you don't even need to explicitly acknowledge HBD, tracking results of previous batches and controlling for selection effects would do enough). It's just appalling, condescending arithmetic – here, Europeans (avg age X), here, young Kenyans (avg age X/2); promise old white farts they will be tended to (if perhaps with a bit of ethnic contempt) in their retirement homes if they vote for importing the latter into cities their nonexistent grandchildren could have kept running, mix and blend. Can this promise be borne out? Of course this is just Kirkegaard, the racist pedophile etc. etc. The question is, how do respectable experts like Dr. Myrskylä conclude something radically different from the same research?

What really gets under my skin, though, is how fertility collapse and its implications are suddenly mainstreamed only now. To be specific, I think it started around 2020, with the BBC headline Fertility rate: 'Jaw-dropping' global crash in children being born. You don't say?

"That's a pretty big thing; most of the world is transitioning into natural population decline," researcher Prof Christopher Murray told the BBC.

"I think it's incredibly hard to think this through and recognise how big a thing this is; it's extraordinary, we'll have to reorganise societies."

Strange how demographers took ages to notice that the dreaded «population bomb» had its fuse all pissed over by modernity (Ehrlich was very persuasive with his deep voice, I guess). Strange because all the way back in 2004 (and based on much older data), there's been a book The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century by one Thomas P. M. Barnett, American geostrategist. It said, for instance:


When I turn fifty, I will worry about my PSA, or my prostate specific antigen. But at forty-one, I worry about my PSR, or what the United Nations calls my potential support ratio. My personal PSR is currently projecting out at 1.5, meaning my wife and I have three kids we hope will be willing to support us in our old age. So if Vonne and I split Emily, Kevin, and Jerome between us, we'll each end up with 1.5 persons working on our behalf after we reach sixty-five. … By the time our planet reached the third millennium, our PSR dropped to nine to one. That's not too bad, primarily because Globalization II (1950-1980) involved only a fraction of the global population (America, Western Europe, Developed Asia). But the decline is accelerating.

My wife, Vonne, and I are in the process of adopting a baby girl from one of the poorer, interior provinces of China. We're not doing this to raise our personal PSR, but it will incidentally have that effect, and in so doing we are—in a tiny way—setting in motion the migration that will have to be repeated millions of times in the decades to come as the Core's population grows older much faster than the Gap's: the movement of people from there to here. This great shift defines the first of the four massive flows I believe are essential to protect if Globalization III is going to advance.

Sometime around 2050, humanity will begin to depopulate as a species. That's right. In about five decades the world will reach a turning point that, in past ages, would have frightened us if we were able to understand its significance. But in the middle of the twenty-first century, the fact that we'll begin depopulating as a species won't seem scary (though it's never a bad idea to keep a close watch on those damn, dirty apes!), and we should welcome this turning point, even as it presents us and the globalizing world with a task of immense proportions.

What's so amazing about this upcoming reality is how, for decades, all we've heard about from the experts is that overpopulation is the real threat, and how we'd all eventually be eating soylent green or at least some indigestible tofu. I don't know how many frightening educational films I was forced to sit through in grade school, all of which suggested the world was simply going to suffocate under the crushing weight of all these people! Instead, I'll probably live to witness this amazing turn of events, a culmination of tens of thousands of years of effort on the part of humanity to grow its numbers and—by doing so—come to dominate the planet Earth.

…My parents had nine kids, but those nine kids have only begotten eleven kids so far, and except for the international adoptions, my siblings and I are pretty much done. That reduction-by-generation effect is spreading across the Core right now, but the trend will not reach much of the Gap until late in the twenty-first century. At 2050, the UN predicts, the forty-nine least-developed economies will still feature fertility rates above the replacement value of 2.1, meaning much of the Gap will still be growing even as the global population peaks. … Too many of the two billion young will be in the Gap, while too many of the two billion old will be in the Core. Someone will have to turn us over in our beds when we're old, and our population trends simply aren't providing that someone.

most Americans should expect to retire in their mid-seventies, not their mid-sixties or—God forbid—their mid-fifties. The news, unfortunately, looks a lot worse for insular Japan and xenophobic Europe. If America has its problems with immigrants, what with bilingual education and all, our issues pale when compared with those of the rest of the Old Core. Europe already has its share of right-wing, anti-immigration politicians exploiting people's worst impulses, and Japan has such a dismal record of accepting immigrants that the Land of the Rising Sun is heading toward its sunset at warp speed. According to the UN, Europe is likely to let in about 300,000 immigrants per year between now and 2050, when it really needs to let in something in the range of 1.5 million each year if there's any hope its PSR won't drop below two to one by mid-century.

And so on. I like to quote that book. Barnett is a honest-to-God ideological Globalist, so one gets the feeling he'd have cheerfully advised for replacement migration on some pretext even if he were convinced as I am of the promise of automation. But at least he provides evidence that we had decades to discuss alternative plans, and instead we debated (in English, of course, not in Swahili) whether not having a baby is the best way to cut carbon emissions .

yes it is the same problem

No, it is a financially different problem for the exact same reason that hardware is different than software. Software has infinite do-overs at malleable speed. Hardware has to work in reality. Sure, after enough refining, ML will be able to manufacture a complete car. But how many attempts would it have to undergo first? Even ignoring the iterations on the manufacturing hardware itself, how much money would you have to spend on materials and energy in your tens of thousands of attempts to teach the ML how to manufacture a car? And then there is the political cost. What defect rate will people be willing to put up with from entirely autonomous robotic manufacturing? Almost certainly, it will be a lower rate than what we put up with from humans. Especially if it is from a black box like current ML.

It depends on how you’re doing the iteration. It seems perfectly plausible to do 99% of the ML in a good physics engine (where doing as many iterations as you want are essentially free) and only switching to the real world once you have a system that is pretty good at making cars.

Hardware has to work in reality.

No. High-fidelity simulations in MuJoCo and such suffice for the most part, and other kinks will be ironed out with learning on fleet data.

There is no need to solve end-to-end manufacturing first, we already have hardware overhang with robots, they will walk and indeed run soon after ML grants them decent cerebellums.

Even for a modal liberal, it would at least be prudent to see how generative AI and related advances in robotics play out over the next five to ten years before committing to heightened mass immigration.

I envision immigration policy in 2040 as a kind of charity that allows for a handful truly capable third-word individuals, maybe like @self_made_human, to be lifted out of the post-automation mad max hellscape (it won’t actually be that bad guys come on) into the bright shining UBI abundance temple of America. (“Wow, Metaverse QVC says it’s just 10 UBI dollars for a drone-built white picket fence house with an air-conditioned dome in rural New Mexico! Deflation’s running wild this year”).

To me, increased immigration seems like a no-brainer, similar to Bryan Caplan style open borders.

The issue here is that immigrants and as we see from the article even nations where the immigrants come from are affected by the same demographic issues that afflict the western countries. A young 30 years old immigrant will require pension in a few decades for himself. So at best, you only kick the can down the road - you are not really solving the underlying issue of too few children being born. To the contrary, you are introducing foreign religious and cultural elements into your country, so when the resource scarcity will hit in those 3 or 5 decades later down the road, you will have much more linguistically, religiously and culturally divided country than it is now - all possibly creating tribal blocs to fight for resources.

Now maybe you envision perpetual system where your country is attracting immigrants at the expense of all the other countries that in turn have their natural demographic collapse made worse by economic emigration. But again even at best if you assure 100% perpetual assimilation of this mass foreign immigration into local culture that produces country where people want to move in the first place - this is not a global solution, but rather very localized workaround. If this is what people mean by solving demographic crisis, then my "solution" to Climate Change is to move north to Canada or Scandinavia and live comfortably while the rest of the world boils and descends into Mad Max dystopia. There, climate change solved, it is nobrainer.

The idea that we can just replace the population with other people is ludicrous. A nation is like a family, just because someone does the dishes and is pleasant doesn't make them a part of my family or mean that they can live there. France is a nation and a people, not an economic zone. There are countries that are nothing but administration of an area of land and these countries tend to be unsuccessful. Countries created after colonialism as nothing more than lines drawn on a map by foreigners concerned by 19th century geopolitics are terrible. Not to mention that we are giving up our history, culture and our way of being to save a government program.

Furthermore, every country is now in serious resource overshoot. Our consumption is wildly unsustainable. The population of humans is several times higher than what it was when we lived sustainably and each human consumes far more. Population reduction has benefits, cheap housing and nature. If you ride through rural Europe on a train you will barely see any real nature. You will mainly see urban sprawl and agriculture upheld by mountains of petrochemicals. Exponential growth in the number of humans isn't sustainable at all. We have witnessed a collapse in insect and bird populations over the past decades. Forests in Europe are largely gone and high intensity agriculture wrecks the land it uses.

You may have a point for France, but for America at least this is hilariously backward. It denies the whole founding purpose of the USA.

May I remind you:

Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore

Send these the homeless tempest-tost to me

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Nations can be built and can thrive based on more than just ethnicity or “family” as you call it. It’s been done before, to more success than anything else in the history of the world, and we can do it again.

That poem was written by a jewish immigrant 130 years after the country was founded and about 300 years after it was settled. The US wasn't founded as a multicultural experiment but rather as a WASP country minus the british monarchy. The US is great where it isn't diverse. It isn't South side Chicago that makes the US great.

That plaque was written by a Jew to promote 'multiculturalism' - you're not proving the point you think by raising it

Why, not. In my view Jews are some of the best immigrants to join America, they’ve made the country incredibly great, and arguably won the second world war and established American hegemony. I can’t think of a better example of the strengths of multiculturalism.

Millions of dead Russians conscripts demand a recount!

arguably won the second world war

This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move

Maybe you can, but you won't.

The American nation, as far as I can tell, was founded through the melting pot, a ridiculously patriotic education system and culture, no social safety nets, and an unsettled frontier. You have literally none of those things now, and neither does anyone else trying to sell immigration as the solution.

Maybe you can, but you won't.

Such strong faith that it’s impossible to assimilate, yet again the greatest nation on earth achieved that status through immigration.

Obviously, it’s challenging. I am the same recipe that worked in the past won’t work today. But as many have pointed out, there have been multiple waves of American immigration, it’s not like there was one unique situation that led America assimilate a bunch of immigrants that will never exist again.

You misunderstood, I'm not saying it's impossible to assimilate, I'm saying you will not take any of the steps necessary to do so.

The idea that we can just replace the population with other people is ludicrous. A nation is like a family, just because someone does the dishes and is pleasant doesn't make them a part of my family or mean that they can live there.

My Dominican wife is family. My half-Dominican children are family. My Fijian-Indian sister-in law is family.

My Dominican wife is family. My half-Dominican children are family. My Fijian-Indian sister-in law is family.

That's nice, but it doesn't actually address his argument. Yes, there are things otherwise unrelated people can do to join a family (like getting married, as you helpfully point out), and there are things otherwise unrelated people can do to join a nation, but this isn't anywhere close to what's being proposed with regards to immigration.

What specifically does, say, a Filipino need to do to join a Western nation? Why can't they do that?

I don't feel like the people around me whose families come from Vietnam are any less Australian than someone like me whose family comes from Britain.

Sorry to double-post, but I wanted to separate my thoughts and make debating easier.

I don't feel like the people around me whose families come from Vietnam are any less Australian than someone like me whose family comes from Britain.

But would Australians a hundred years ago feel the same? There seems to be a runaway effect where mass migration dilutes the culture of the host country. This makes people less protective of their increasingly-globalised culture at the same time that it reduces the demands on immigrants, which leads to more mass migration, and so on.

As has been remarked about America here a few times, ‘integration’ is as much about the host culture becoming indistinguishable from immigrants’ culture as it is about the reverse. Good news if you like immigration, bad news if you like the old culture.

But would Australians a hundred years ago feel the same? There seems to be a runaway effect where mass migration dilutes the culture of the host country. This makes people less protective of their increasingly-globalised culture at the same time that it reduces the demands on immigrants, which leads to more mass migration, and so on.

A hundred years ago we had the White Australia Policy. So no, people back then would probably not have felt the same.

Beyond the racism, other things have changed too. Back then we saw ourselves as an extension of Britain and a part of the empire, more than as an independent nation. We have developed our own national identity in the intervening time.

What would you say is the national identity of Australia in modern times?

In addition to what I said in another reply, you can add:

  • beetroot in burgers
  • vegemite
  • fairy bread
  • meat pies
  • trying to con tourists into thinking drop bears are dangerous
  • paying 0 attention to soccer for 4 years and then religiously getting up at 2am to watch the socceroos in the world cup
  • giving everyone a fair go
  • hating tipping
  • calling mates cunt and calling cunts mate
  • not valorising or glorifying war, but seeing ourselves as very good at it

What specifically does, say, a Filipino need to do to join a Western nation? Why can't they do that?

To me, they need to commit to propagating the culture of their new home rather than their old one. That means not hanging out with other Philippinos, it means speaking almost exclusively the language of the country they immigrate to, and raising their children with the same mores and customs as the natives.

In my experience, this is very rare. Learning new languages is very hard even when you have the time and money; it’s difficult to get by at first without help from ethnic support groups; and without introductions it’s hard to get into new social circles as a foreigner. The children also tend to feel isolated and retreat into their ‘parent’ culture (where they don’t fit either).

I say the above as someone who tried very hard and failed. I’ve only seen it happen successfully once. For this reason I’m very skeptical about the viability of integration except for minute levels of immigration.

N.B. It’s also much harder if you and your children are visibly different from the people around you.

Learning new languages is very hard

It depends on the language, but... not really? Especially if you're surrounded by the new language. Unless you don't accept anything below the native level.

The one I learned is infamously difficult, which might be clouding my view. The problem to my mind is more that even if you learn quite quickly, a lot of stuff is front-loaded. Banks, rent, making new friends… if it takes you six months to get properly conversational, chances are that you’re already hanging out with a bunch of foreigners who helped you out and it’s easier to deepen your relationship with them than cut ties and start fresh.

Again, I didn’t go Europe to Europe so it’s possibly different. But even my pretty-fluent European friends say that speaking English is more of a strain than speaking their own languages, and they get most of their news & entertainment from home.

What specifically does, say, a Filipino need to do to join a Western nation?

Loyalty, understanding and acceptance of the nation's language, culture, and traditions, some knowledge of history wouldn't hurt either.

Why can't they do that?

Where did I said that they can't?

I don't feel like the people around me whose families come from Vietnam are any less Australian than someone like me whose family comes from Britain.

I'm a European immigrant to another European country. I've been here for about 10 years now, and in my opinion it would be ridiculous to pretend I joined the host nation. You might say that if I have kids, they'll be more a part of this place, but:

  • I'm skeptical. Other immigrants tell me that their kids don't belong either here, or back in their parents' country of origin.

  • I'd probably be more or less actively working against it. The values of the country I'm living in are weird and foreign to me, and I wouldn't want my children to adopt them.

Maybe Australia and Vietnam have so much in common that these issues don't come up, or maybe you filter out the non-Australian-like Vietnamese, but to be honest you're making it sound like there isn't really that much to being Australian other than holding a passport.

There's a lot to being Australian other than holding a passport. As is always the case with culture, not everyone embodies every aspect of it and there's plenty of similarities that can be found in other countries and cultures, but these are a sample of things that I think of as being distinctive elements of aussie culture:

  • sports crazy, particularly AFL/NRL depending on which side of the Barassi line you live on. Cricket is the unifier, it's kind of everyone's 2nd favourite sport.
  • giving your mates shit in a way that is friendly but would cross a line in some cultures.
  • being relaxed about things in general, "she'll be right".
  • a sense of being in it together, that both inspires people to help each other out when needed, and makes people resent those who are seen as letting the side down
  • highly egalitarian - no one thinks you're special if you've got a lot of money or status or whatever. One of my favourite examples is a bloke interrupting the prime minister's press conference to ask him to get off his lawn. Not in a hostile way or anything, just not a big deal.
  • oddly authoritarian - not in a hierarchical way, but in a "why are you being a pain and not following the rules like everyone else?" way. If you get done for something, serves you right for being a dickhead.
  • coffee obsession. I don't drink coffee and it's really socially awkward sometimes.
  • a strong aversion to accepting favours without "balancing the books" in some way.

Thing is, it's not actually hard to pick up these sorts of things. People do it easily and naturally. You sense the mood and attitude of the people around you and match it.

To me, increased immigration seems like a no-brainer,

Do you mean this in the sense that you would have to have no brain in order to support it?

The situation being presented makes more of a case for immigration flows to immediately go into reverse, rather than the opposite. If age ratios are changing and adjusting like this, why would you want to depress native fertility by importing a bunch of low-skilled workers who will drive up real estate values, drive down wages, create "bad school" zones that represent an additional hidden cost to family formation(amongst people who you would want to form a family), etc. Even if you give the pro-migrant cause as good of a hearing as the data suggests, the nature of it as a short-term fix means that it isn't actually a worthwhile answer to the problems in question - just kicking the can down the road.

why would you want to depress native fertility by importing a bunch of low-skilled workers

This is the first time I've heard this claim. Is there empirical evidence to support this?

I'm actually collecting evidence on this and writing a longer article, because it is something that strikes me as intuitively obvious and I can identify multiple causal mechanisms, make theories that accurately predict what's happening... but I haven't actually finished yet, because dealing with all the confounding factors is really hard and it isn't like I can just have a control USA built in the Pacific and let it run for 80 years. That said this has the caveat that I'm talking about immigration of largely low-skilled workers, the kind that's actually happening in western countries. If you had nothing but a constant stream of nobel prize winning norwegians then obviously you'd have a different impact. Also, while you can look at the fertility rates of countries experiencing high migration flows and the data supports my argument... it also supports all kinds of other arguments, so caveat emptor.

But if I had to summarise the main thrust of the argument...

  1. Migrants place upward pressure on housing prices, both by driving up demand, being able to tolerate worse conditions than natives (even shithouse western accomodation is better than the average for a lot of immigrant-sources) and by the creation of migrant "ghettoes", which effectively take even more property off the market for natives and hence driving up prices. Housing affordability is a big concern when it comes to family formation, because most people don't want to have several children when all they can afford is a two-bedroom apartment.
  2. Migrants are a net drain on resources - when you look at the studies performed in the Nordic countries, and I believe even in the USA, most migrants are ultimately a financial cost to the country that hosts them. They consume more in public services, are responsible for more policing and enforcement costs, in many cases have cultural requirements that impose even further costs (translation, islamic prohibitions against dealing with women/strange men). These resources aren't just conjured up out of the ether ex nihilo - they're paid for via both taxes and inflation, which means that average, individual natives are worse off than they otherwise would be... and financial insecurity is a big culprit when it comes to delaying family formation, especially when the presence of these migrants makes getting your children into a "good school" even more expensive than it otherwise would be.
  3. Migrants place downwards pressure on wages. This is the main reason that large businesses want to import them, and why extremely rich people like Mark Zuckerberg think bringing in more migrants is such a great idea. Migrants are usually accustomed to far worse conditions for far worse pay, and hence are usually willing to work much harder for much less compensation. This doesn't sound too bad until you remember that a lot of first world nations have fought for and enacted a lot of labour policies which benefit workers - bringing in migrants from places with even more economic inequality means that they'll be grateful even for a bad job in a first world nation and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. This ultimately harms the lower end of the native labour market the most, and I think most analyses of the economic impact of migrants look solely at the effect on large indicators like GDP etc rather than working out exactly who benefits and who does not. Additionally, this further emphasises the importance on investing heavily into one's children, to make sure they don't end up in an increasingly vicious and competitive low-skilled work environment.
  4. Bad behaviour - there's no way to really empirically study this, but there's a lot of conflict associated with bringing in migrants that can't really be measured that objectively. What was the impact of Rotherham on family formation among people in the area? I freely admit to needing to assemble more evidence on this front, and it is rather difficult (good luck getting funding for this study in western academia!) to study given just how personal it is. That said, while I believe this is one of the least impactful in raw numbers(unless you live in France maybe, but it isn't like the natives there don't burn the place down regularly anyway), I don't think just ignoring it is a good idea either. I'd also throw the generic damage to social capital in this category too.

So when you bring in large numbers of migrants you make property more expensive, you drive down wages, you take away resources from people who are looking to start families and at the same time impose additional costs on them. Economic uncertainty and housing availability show up as factors fairly consistently in all the studies on family formation rates that I've seen in the west - and even the people who support increased immigration tend to agree that immigration has these impacts (they just usually think that the boost to GDP is worth the costs imposed on less well-off individuals in my experience). I freely admit to not having done all the work on establishing causation etc yet, but it is something I'm working on.

I think he’s referring to the cost of housing in the US making children unaffordable. A lot of millennials and zoomers can’t afford kids at all.

This claim has always sounded like an excuse to me, because I have only ever heard it from people who are middle or upper-middle class, while families much poorer than theirs both in this country and abroad are somehow able to raise multiple kids.

The cost of raising a child in the middle/upper classes is substantially higher than that of raising a child in the trailerpark, and the sort of middle/upper-middle class people who you generally want to reproduce care enough about the quality of life of their prospective children that they're going to want to be able to provide more. If you don't care about getting your kid into a good school in favour of prioritising your fentanyl habit you're going to be less effected by what's happening than someone who wants to make sure their kid has a chance at making the ivies, and more likely to have unplanned children to boot.

That's all true, but "I am unwilling to have a child if doing so means compromising on a middle class lifestyle for them or me" is not the same thing as "I cannot afford to have a child." Having known people whose parents gave them away to another family as children to keep them from going hungry, this is not a trivial distinction. We'd also be better off if those same prospective middle class parents were willing to make more economic compromises for the sake of raising children, as those children will turn out more or less the same regardless of which school district or extracurricular activities they're in.

Parents almost universally wish to make sure that their children have at least the same if not more opportunity than they do - and to be perfectly honest given the state of a lot of lower-income and migrant-heavy areas, I think it does actually become a matter of great significance if not life and death to the children in question and hence their parents. School districts might not manner to the degree that some parents believe, but they absolutely play a big part in future life paths and connections. Do you think telling prospective parents "Look I know you say you don't have enough money to afford a home in a good area, but why aren't you willing to move to Detroit? The money you'd save on mortgage repayments would allow you to have an extra kid!" is actually a viable idea? A lot of these people in the middle class have a galaxy of commitments and ties connecting them to their current locations and ways of life - you can demand that they all move to the barrios and start pumping out babies, but that just isn't a real solution in the world we live in.

If you do actually have the power to force these people to have and then raise their children in environments deeply hostile to future success in life, you would be better off using that power to reduce pressure in other ways. Cutting off migrant flows, child-raising and child-rearing subsidies, muscular enforcement efforts against migrant-induced wage suppression, etc. There are so many policy levers that can be pulled and ways pressure can be applied that make trying to forcibly adjust and manipulate the psychology of family formation to make them "more willing" to reproduce strikes me as a total non-starter. That said, a sudden collapse of society and plunge into a dark age would also convince these people to reproduce, but I think there are other consequences to that approach which render it a bad idea.

Do you think telling prospective parents "Look I know you say you don't have enough money to afford a home in a good area, but why aren't you willing to move to Detroit? The money you'd save on mortgage repayments would allow you to have an extra kid!" is actually a viable idea?

Moving to an inner city slum is not the only alternative to trying to live in the coastal elite bubble. There are dozens of smaller cities and towns in flyover country that have both a much lower cost of living and lower crime than the major metropolitan areas. Many of these are college towns that don't lack for quality schools and access to cultural or intellectual amenities either e.g. Ames, Ann Arbor, Athens, and that's just the A's. All it takes is giving up the conceit that anyone who doesn't live and work in New York or California is a miserable failure, but many of my peers seem to believe this deep in their bones.

At the end of the day though, I don't care much for or have any confidence in large-scale social engineering projects, so I'm not approaching any of this from a policy angle. Whoever ends up reproducing themselves gets to own the future, whether that's native-born Americans, Guatemalan immigrants, Hasidic Jews, or GPT-bots, and whatever opinions I have on which of those outcomes are better or worse are immaterial.

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They're able to buy iPhones as well, doesn't mean they can afford them.

Open borders is an extreme and unworkable solution, but large scale, orderly immigration is both workable and popular over a long term basis.When your society's experience of immigration is law abiding, productive citizens, people tend to like immigration.

30% of Australia's population are first generation immigrants. 48% have at least one parent born overseas. It is no coincidence that we have very harsh policies towards illegal immigrants - those strong border protection policies underpin the public support for our large scale immigration program. People notice when the immigrants are making society worse, even if it's not polite to. They also notice when immigrants make society better.

I think being a relatively isolated island continent helps a lot with maintaining that policy. It's a lot harder to refuse someone when you have a land border and you can see the poor masses longing to get in, which is why most western nations have out of cowardice tried to outsource the job to Central American or Middle Eastern countries that have fewer qualms about kicking people out by force. It also seems to me that Australia has relatively few immigrants from populations that restrictionists like to complain about e.g. Hispanics, Arabs, Africans (black Africans to be precise, I know there's a lot of Afrikaners in Perth), so that may have something to do with its success as well.

I don’t think this is accurate. I recall Australia having a big rift over “boat migrants” from various SEA islands. No idea how these presumably biased numbers stack up to the other immigration processes. Some history. Judging by the Guardian thinkpieces I see, it’s still at least a little salient.

Even at the peak of illegal boat arrivals, asylum seekers were always a fairly small minority of immigrants. But it was indeed highly salient. How we handle illegal immigration was a major point of partisan conflict from at least 2001 (maybe earlier) to 2013, with the media loudly and clearly taking the left wing "humane" side of the issue.

It ended because the right decisively won the argument. First John Howard was successful in winning support for his position that "We will decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they come" - a message that mixed support for immigration with an orderly process. He implemented the "Pacific Solution" of offshore detention which stopped the boats but was routinely decried as cruel and inhumane by the left. Then, when his time in power eventually came to an end after 5 elections, Rudd finally gave the Labor faithful the kinder, softer approach they had long wanted.

And the boats came back. The kinder, softer approach led to years of people drowning on our shores as they tried to make the voyage from Indonesia in shitty fishing boats, the immigration system being overwhelmed as people showed up without visas or passports or any documentation at all, and policy paralysis as the Labor government found itself caught between its principles and beliefs on one side and harsh reality and public hostility on the other.

In 2013 Abbott swept to power in a landslide after relentlessly attacking Labor for its failures and promising unequivocally that he would stop the boats. We were treated to regular media pieces about how his plans were needlessly cruel, would provoke international incidents, and couldn't possibly work.

But... they worked. The boats stopped - much more quickly and decisively that even I as a strong borders believer had hoped possible. And the trauma of that period to the left was such that even now, with Labor back in power, they have decided it is better to just concede this issue entirely than risk allowing that same chaos and electoral punishment to happen again.

I think those are mostly the same policy. The issue for me is assimilation— making good Americans out of whoever actually comes in. But if you’re bringing in 40% of the population from elsewhere, such a project is impossible, the ability to just teach people the language, let alone our culture, if you’re bringing in that many people is a crazy amount of resources.

Legal immigrants need atomization to some degree to assist assimilation (which makes their new life more difficult). The alternative is some degree of ghettoization where they will join an ethnic community that allows them to resist assimilation, even as their new life is easier due to the support such communities provide.

As you've said, the more you bring in, the harder it is to prevent congregation into an ethnic bloc.

I mean, we're up to 30% and we seem to be doing alright. You can test people on their English proficiency as a part of the screening process (and we do). People pick up the local norms quickly. We get a few more soccer players and Indian restaurants than we otherwise would, but basically people fit in just fine.

Like, what's the problem we're supposed to be running into here?

To me, increased immigration seems like a no-brainer, similar to Bryan Caplan style open borders.

No-brainer, huh? Look, I can see how someone can claim it's net-positive, I can even see it being a no-brainer in the "given the challenges ahead, this is our only way out" sense, but it's the pretense that there's absolutely no cost to it that makes this argument feel like it's nothing but pure mockery at this point. Add all the anti-natalist memes going around, and it starts looking like a conspiracy.

Another casualty in the great Confederate statues war: the grave of General Lee's horse. Good riddance to this rebellious and traitorous ungulate.

What is more significant than the event is reaction on twitter - reaction consisting, as usual, of empty talk of revenge and even more empty threats, with no hint that posters intend to take part in their fight themselves.

"Someone shall do something!"

Narrator voice: "No one did anything at all."

As @MelodicBerries says below, a lot of this is LARPing that happened 50-100+ years after the civil war (this horse was buried in 1971, so more than a century after it ended). The high point of ‘Dixie pride’ was probably in the mid-20th century. The north was fine with this for decades since it provided a pressure valve for genuine resentment (which was and is minimal enough not to concern them). Eventually, though, memory of war faded and assuaging the (arguably justified) contempt of black Americans for symbols, statues and memorials of those who would have kept them enslaved was prioritized over avoiding another (ever less likely) north v south civil conflict.

In general, southerners should accept that America would be a much worse place if the Confederacy had won. Brazil is best case, although racial relations were usually better there than they were in Dixie. South Africa is arguably more likely, especially because a victorious confederate government would have likely strongly restricted immigration from Europe (just as the Boers did from the 1920s). Wignats should say a silent prayer of thanks to Lincoln before bed each night.

The so-called one drop rule was never the norm in Brazil - in fact, the opposite was true.

In South Africa, whites were a minority ever since she existed as a single political unit, never mind a sovereign state.

For you to make your argument without mentioning these two crucial differences is sort of suspicious.

Also, there's hardly any grounds to say that the initiatives to remove Confederate documents originate from African-Americans. It's plain to see that the drivers of this are White and Jewish liberals, and their mulatto hangers-on. This is plain to see.

Yeah but these standards aren't upheld for tragic losers of other vanquished nations. Sitting Bull's vision for America likely falls far short of the current USA on practically every metric, but he gets a monument as a vainglorious upstart who fought for what he believed in.

Those tragic losers fit into our frontier narrative. Born outside the system, representing the last vestiges of wilderness. People may not like to admit that they buy into the “noble savage” theme, but it’s always lurking there in the background.

Plus, the Confederacy was the definition of an entrenched interest. Everyone likes an underdog—why do you think post-Confederates tried so hard to eulogize the Lost Cause?

South Africa is arguably more likely,

South Africa was doing quite fine until the outer world decided to meddle in their internal affairs.

It was internally unstable and repression was getting ever more severe long before the end of apartheid.

This nitpicking petty vindictiveness against the smallest confederate symbols sounds silly. But the value that some of the reds attribute to it makes me think maybe it's not as silly as I think - maybe it does symbolize something bigger than a horse. And if it does, what exactly does it symbolizes? How much of it is just resentment feelings about being conquered and reconstructed, and how much there's a desire to bring good old times back and what does it mean to bring them back exactly?

Speaking as a Southerner, it's the petty vindictiveness of (literally, this time) beating a dead horse. The Confederacy has been dead a long time. Jim Crow has been dead far longer than the average black American has been alive. Banning rednecks from flying the rebel flag at Talladega and cooking up a noose hoax to try and shame the audience into submission (something I felt actual feelings about; it's irrational but it was infuriating) isn't going to do a damn thing to improve things for black Americans. At some point you're going to have to quit blaming those pesky Confederates and either come up with a solution or admit that you don't have one, because it's not our fault that black kids in Baltimore can't read.

As I like to remind my northern relatives (My parents met in the military so half is from Alabama and the other from Michigan.), once they got a taste of Coleman Young (first black mayor of Detroit, born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama) they voted for George Wallace in '72 (and George Wallace came home with a GM plant that my grandfather worked for, completely turning around the economic fortunes of my family; no shit they liked George Wallace.). Don't pretend that you're innocent and that your statues aren't next. You're not and they very much are next. We're in the same boat here.

As for the good old days, I'd settle for the pre-2010s racial truce.

it's not our fault that black kids in Baltimore can't read.

It's definitely not. And I agree both on the point that petty vindictiveness is petty, and that the left wants to go much further than banning the confederate flag. But I also can't help but wonder why one wants to associate with the confederate flag at all? I mean, they also (probably?) want to ban the Nazi flag, but nobody has any feelings about that, as far as I know. To me - and I'm not leftist at all - confederates were very much the bad guys, especially the ones that were in control at the time of the war (which was like less than 1% of the population, who owned pretty much everything, including vast majority of the slaves, as far as I read). Yes, beating the dead horse is silly, but why that horse is there to be beaten at all? Why it's the thing at all? That part it's not clear to me. I realize it's being used by the left to achieve their eternal purpose - power over everything - and that's wrong. But I also want to understand why Confederate thing is alive at all to be used too.

As for the good old days, I'd settle for the pre-2010s racial truce.

I'd do the same, but I don't think there's a way to unsail that ship... Recovering from all the "uniting the nation" and "healing the differences" of the Obama era and the following is going to take a long time, especially when half of the country wants exactly the opposite - they feel like they're winning so they want to push further and further. Why have a truce if we're about to sack their capital and pillage their homes?

I personally never understood the reverence for the Southern Cause/Dixie Pride among the right. It was largely thanks to the slave states that the US got such a big black population, which in turn is responsible for turning formerly great cities like Detroit into basket cases and making downtowns of cities like Baltimore, St Louis, Memphis and many others very dangerous. Don't forget that some of these Southern plantation oligarchs even talked about incorporating parts of the Carribean directly to aid the plantation economy.

The argument that "what ruined Detroit was letting black settle there" is unconvincing because once you have such a large population, they will have to go somewhere. And Jim Crow could never have been kept forever. Really, the plantation owners were just greedy capitalists putting profits over their own people, not unlike their contemporary equivalents. Why glorify the generals who fought for such a system?

From what I understand, most of these statues were put up after the civil war as a way to placate Southerners at a time when Southern identity was still a live issue. So basically a form of pragmatism. As the years have gone by, and as whites in the US have become more monolithic, the need that necessitated these statues has faded. I suspect that's why you see these muted reactions. It may have been a big issue 100 years ago or perhaps even 50 years ago. But not now.

Hopefully the US right can come to understand two things. First, the south in the civil war deserved to lose. Second, they should have been stopped way earlier.

A people who for a time, formed a country and resisted the government’s desire to impose its will on an unwilling population? It’s not really that surprising to me. Confederate flags represent resistance to tyranny much like Gadsden flags do.

I can't tell if you are being facetious. Either against the cause of the Confederacy or the cause of the American Revolution. Or, if somehow you don't notice the contradiction.

Both flags are literally flags used in America by those rebelling against the government that they saw at the time as tyrannical. As such they became cultural symbols of resistance to tyranny especially on the right. I don’t see why the fact that they came from two different wars has much to do with why they might be popular among people who see the government overreaching into their affairs.

«Loyalty» is the pillar of right-wing sentimentalism, same as «justice» is the pillar of the left. (Strawmanned versions: «bootlicking» and «envy», respectively). The Left can't not pander to the wretched and the weak, even if their weakness is purely a matter of theatrical convention. The Right cannot not elevate and justify champions, even if those are small-minded, pointless scum or, at times, straight-up enemies. Something something The Lion, Our Hero, The Manly Leader, The Great General and His Loyal Horse, the true Man of the Right feels part of his soul would die if those were trampled upon.

And so The Left feels compelled to trample.

Seriously though, defending a horse's grave from «desecration» makes no less sense than defending a street-painted pride flag from skidmarks, so this is a fine test of mobilization potential.

I am in partial agreement with you, and have advanced similar arguments in the past; I had an extended back-and-forth with one user on /r/CultureWarRoundup a while back about this exact topic. In addition to your very trenchant points, I would add that not only is plantation-style slavery terrible for the slave, it’s also terrible for the master! It inculcates sloth and unbearable haughtiness, as the slaveowner lords lazily over a totally dependent class of workers who free him from the need to engage in even the most trivial personal labor. As a right-winger I’m positively-inclined toward some form of aristocracy and hierarchy, but I was also raised with enough Protestant Work Ethic such that I’m constitutionally unable not to feel some level of contempt for the slave-owning lifestyle, to say nothing of the morality of the practice.

That being said, I think it’s important to remember that a great number of slave-owners in the early 19th century were already beginning to feel trapped by, and ashamed of, the institution, and were desperate to find a way to end it. Some of the most important organizers and funders of the American Colonization Society - including several Founding Fathers and eminent statesmen - were slaveowners who were looking for a way out. Remember that many states had laws dictating that any slave-owner who manumitted a slave was then responsible for essentially providing a life-long pension for that slave - something which would have been utterly financially impossible and ruinous for owners of large plantations that employed dozens or even hundreds of slaves.

Thomas Jefferson repeatedly predicted that slavery would need to end, and quickly, and that subsequently it would be necessary to deport the entire black population of the country; he had no idea how to financially sustain himself and his own lifestyle in any other way, though. The same is true of many other slave-owning Founding Fathers. The ultimate failure of the American Colonization Society is probably the single greatest what-if in American history, and I want to at least give some credit to the slave-owners who realized, after it was too late, what they had wrought on the country and on their own descendants.

As for why so many modern white identitarians are pro-Confederacy, I think a large part of that is simply a founder effect: major figures in the racial right in the 90’s and 00’s such as Jared Taylor, Sam Dickson, and Sam Francis, were all Southerners with ancestors who fought for the Confederacy, and for them the issue was acutely personal. Given that some of the important intellectual voices on the white nationalist right, such as Gregory Hood (AKA James Kirkpatrick AKA Kevin DeAnna), were directly employed and mentored by those figures, they’ve sort of picked up the Confederate sympathies by osmosis. There is also certainly an element of Owning The Libs, associating the Yankee occupying government, which brought (partial) racial integration to the South with the barrel of a gun during Reconstruction, with the later forcible imposition of the Civil Rights Regime a century later, a process which is frankly still ongoing and has expanded to the entire country and even arguably the entire American Empire.

As for why so many modern white identitarians are pro-Confederacy, I think a large part of that is simply a founder effect: major figures in the racial right in the 90’s and 00’s such as Jared Taylor, Sam Dickson, and Sam Francis, were all Southerners with ancestors who fought for the Confederacy, and for them the issue was acutely personal.

This is a great point which I haven't thought about.

There is also certainly an element of Owning The Libs, associating the Yankee occupying government, which brought (partial) racial integration to the South with the barrel of a gun during Reconstruction, with the later forcible imposition of the Civil Rights Regime a century later, a process which is frankly still ongoing and has expanded to the entire country and even arguably the entire American Empire.

This is actually an area where I feel some sympathy towards Dixie, but they never understand that they created the problem in the first place. So it is hard to sustain it. Besides, they often make the North more liberal than it really was. Lincoln himself wanted to deport all the blacks for much of his life. The hardest fight against desegregation of public schools didn't happen in the South: it was in Boston.

Between this and the sometimes-gay bench in Budapest, this week’s culture war roundup has had a distinctly whimsical and madcap flavor. Acts of ultimately-petty vandalism like this are not exactly benign, and certainly I don’t take lightly the aggressive erasure of Southern history represented by the ongoing campaign against memorials to important Confederates, but it’s really tough to take stuff like this seriously given the endless deluge of more important and potentially-catastrophic developments the world of currently facing. May this racist horse rest peacefully in horse heaven. (Hooven?)

While a Dane and a Slovene cycle up and down across France, the leadership of cyclings governing body, Managment Committee of the UCI, has decided that trans women aren't permitted to compete with cis women.

Leadership justified this step by claiming science can't currently prove a trans woman with 2.5 nmol/L testosterone enjoys no advantage for going through male puberty. Further and more harmful to cause of trans activists, it also claimed that presently science can't disprove that the shape and arrangement of the bones in their limbs may provide a lasting benefit to trans women.

The previously mentioned Science refers to a document by prof. Xavier Bigard: The current knowledge on the effects of gender-affirming treatment on markers of performance in transgender female cyclists (PDF).

The document contains data which is of interest even to those indifferent to the trans debate. On page 2 the gap in perfomance between men and women in different sports it neatly demonstrated. In rowing, swimming and running men are 10% better, while in pitch from baseball or a drag flick from field hockey the stronger sex is 60% superior.

Cycling rides over the footsteps of track field in drawing such a thick line between trans and cis women. As the linked article shows, experts in scientifical fields studying such matters, are expected to disagree with this decision. Likewise objections from human rights groups such as the ACLU are probably on the horizon.

So while trans activists enjoy unimpeded advances in gaining the right to access to children without their parents consent, they suffer setbacks in the field of female sports. Those opposed to the trans activist cause probably derive only hollow pleasure of "your rules, applied fairly" as sincere concern for competitors in a handicap category isn't their true motivation.

A less important decision also made by the UCI, was renaming "Men" to "Men/Open".

Those opposed to the trans activist cause probably derive only hollow pleasure of "your rules, applied fairly" as sincere concern for competitors in a handicap category isn't their true motivation.

I can't speak for everyone opposed to the trans activist cause, but since you've decided to paint with so broad a brush, I feel it's relevant for me to pipe up and say actually, yes, sincere concern for competitors in female sports* is one of my true objections. It's not my only objection. But it's also not a fake motivation. Maintaining the integrity of competition is something I value, even in lower octane competitions.

*I'm not on board with calling femininity a "handicap" - We're a sexually dimorphic species, women and men are just a different kind of animal to each other. We don't call the Olympic 100 metre sprint a handicap race because horses aren't allowed.

This is my thing too. A lot of women count on sports scholarships to afford an education at all, and if trans women take all the spots, a lot of women, especially poor women will lose. The women Lia beat in the race were likely on scholarship, swimming was paying for their education. But now, as coaches realize that every trans woman who joins the team is an automatic win, they’re going to scour the men’s high school teams looking for men willing to play the role for free college (and a lot of people will do quite a bit to make college affordable).

men willing to play the role for free college (and a lot of people will do quite a bit to make college affordable).

See Andraya Yearwood. Got into college, got onto the college women's athletic team, dropped out of the college women's athletic team. Yearwood seems to be genuinely trans (or at least, they haven't detransitioned so far as I can find out) but running on the girls' team was the way forward for them. They don't seem to be going for the Olympics and subsequent professional athletics career (though granted, the Olympics don't seem to be permitting trans competitors yet so that was probably never going to happen):

"Yearwood received recruitment interest from Harvard University, the University of Connecticut, Springfield College, and West Point to run track and field in the NCAA. She is currently a student at North Carolina Central University."

They were in college in 2021 when this article was written:

Andraya Yearwood echoed that sentiment – she just wants equality between cis and trans women. The story of her high school career has been written about in many national publications, though she no longer runs – she’s now more of an advocate (though she hesitates to call herself one).

Yearwood is now a freshman at North Carolina Central University. She wanted to stop competing when she got to college for a few reasons: she was tired of the criticism and scrutiny, she didn’t want to dedicate all of her time to track, and she wanted to try something new.

Now she’s a Spanish major with a political science minor, with goals of pursuing careers in linguistics, translation/interpretation or anything language-related.

They seem to have moved on now to study in Brazil. But would Yearwood have gotten the attention to go to university if it wasn't for the trans sports angle? Did they take a sports scholarship away from a cis female athlete who might have gone on to a professional career? 🤷‍♀️

While Yearwood seems to have used athletics as a means to an end, CeCé Telfer seems to be serious about wanting an athletics career, but has had problems with meeting the requirements for trans athletes.

However, the photo used for this otherwise mildly sympathetic (at least neutral) article is - unfortunate. Reading up a little, I begin to feel a little sorry for Telfer; they want an athletics career, they couldn't make it as a male runner, they switched to being female and had some initial success, then it all ran aground. I don't think they're ever going to get that shot at the Olympics they so wanted:

"While a student athlete at Franklin Pierce University, Telfer first competed without success in the men's division from 2016 to 2017 but after coming out and beginning transition, Telfer was allowed to compete in the women's division. Telfer eventually took first place in the 400-meter hurdles event in June 2019."

"Telfer was entered in this week’s [2021] trials but was ultimately not allowed to compete because of guidelines World Athletics released in 2019 that closed off international women’s events of between 400 meters and a mile to athletes who did not meet the eligibility requirements."

"Telfer competed for NCAA Division II Franklin Pierce University men’s track and field team for three years, although she told FOLX Health last year that she “never saw myself as a male athlete.”

Competing on the women’s team as a senior, she won the NCAA title in the women’s 400-meter hurdles in 2019.

In 2021, the Jamican-born Telfer competed in and won prize money while taking part in events sanctioned by USA Track and Field (USATF).

She says she was given formal permission to take part in the Olympic trials for the Tokyo Olympics that year but was told the day before those trials began that she had not met eligibility requirements.

Then ahead of the 2022 national trials for the World Athletics Championships, she says she was told she had submitted her blood tests in the wrong format, leaving her unable to compete.

Despite the regulation change, Telfer is still able to compete at track meets that fall outside the jurisdiction of WA and plans to compete at the Bryan Clay Invitational next month in Azusa, California.

...The 28-year-old also says she feels a growing sense of isolation within the athletics community and will attend the meet alone as she doesn’t currently have a coach.

Telfer says she has reached out to more than 500 coaches asking to work with them but has so far not received any long-term offers."

I would love to see a new category called "unrestrained". An anything goes category that allows anything from cybernetics, PEDs, external instructions and bodily modifications. Similar to the Paralympics, it won't be so much about winning gold, as it would be about celebrating the diverse ways in which humans can manifest. Allow alternate rules. People can shout anything they want, women can go tits out to distract players, you can oil yourself up to be slippery.

Sell its rights to the most brutally viewership focused channel. Teams are chosen in a manner that encourages viewership rather than any objective sense of metric. Win of lose, everyone gets celebrated. Allow a lot more substitutions, so you can swap in people of the oddest profiles for the most advanced form of rock-paper-scissors.

WWE is more popular than MMA. Lets go balls out. The Lance Armstrong phase of cycling was the most fun anway. #BringBackSteroids.

An anything goes category that allows anything from cybernetics, PEDs, external instructions and bodily modifications.

This just devolves into a meta where everyone is claiming their motorbike is part of their body.

Keep an eye on the Enhanced Games, announced last month. Seems like a step toward what you want to see.

Fairly sure that's gonna be Viral Marketing for something that's not the Enhanced Games. Professional sprinters use enough PEDs that some dude is not beating Usain Bolt through using likely less, inferior dosages to him with a sufficiently worse frame and underlying athleticism for the sport.

The majority of athletes who've run a top 20 time in the 100m have been flagged for doping at some point in their careers.

I saw an ad for something like this recently. It seemed to be a guy who wasn’t allowed to compete at the Olympics saying he’s helping start a league that allows doping. I’ll see if I can find it but if anybody else has seen it please share the link.

edit: /u/DoctorMonarch got it:

Honestly, they should make the men's competition the 'open' competition in all sports. All trans can join the open comp. Then the trans can argue how it's not fair for transmen to compete whatever. Has this been tried? To what effect?

I'm not sure about track and field or other races, but that's already the case in most sports leagues. Last time I researched it, women were allowed in the NBA, NFL, NHL, PGA, and a few others. FIFA was the only exception I found.

I know at least in Texas high school girls have the right to participate in male sports teams at public schools. It generally only happens when a school doesn’t have a female team of the sport in question, though.

In any case, this is not actually acceeding to the trans demand, which is to be treated exactly the same as actual bio women even at cost to those women, or third parties, or the general functionality of whatever they’re participating in.

According to one of my high school teachers long ago: that is national law.

It's a consequence of Title IX jurisprudence. Title IX was originally devised to ensure women had publicly funded sports teams. So, allowing them on the men's teams, if they wanted it, was a natural extension of the original bill. Men wanting to join women's sports teams is a curveball no one saw coming.

They don't want open categories and they especially don't want to compete with/against men. They want access to the women's categories because "trans women are real women" and putting them in with the men is transphobic, you're saying they're really men.

Until we get competitors who have been on puberty blockers since they turned twelve and then straight onto HRT and surgery as soon as legally old enough, we won't get equal comparison data between trans women and cis women. Because to date, we have "went through natal puberty and transitioned late in life/only two years ago" and in photos those cyclists are visibly taller, longer limbed, male-bodied (even with artificial breasts) and generally "yeah, I can see why you came in first half an hour before the rest of the field".

Men’s sports being open leagues is already the current state of affairs, for the most part.

Is anybody on Bluesky? There is some sort of drama going on that looks like an attempt to skinsuit the dev team.

The devs have already caved from the looks of it.


  • -20

Don't know who any of these people are, have no idea what it's about, and why should I be interested?

You could start with "Bluesky is this thing" and explain what it is and then go on from there.

Otherwise, this would be like me posting about the Junior B camogie team under twelves drama in the next parish two parishes over. Nobody cares.

they forgot to add a filter for the n word in people's usernames. this is a sign of extreme anti blackness

Serious question - couple of years ago it was black bodies, now it is black folks ... that is a great way to present them as more alien than they are.

Including the specific demands would have been helpful

This is not enough effort. Please don't post like this.

this should be a side-thread post or a rdrama post, it's a link to a tweet about internet drama.

You could probably turn it into a toplevel with a lot of effort and context.

I'm wondering if The Motte needs an additional 'low effort' /r/drama style culture bitching weekly thread with relaxed rules. Has this been considered?

<I may or may not be a /r/cwr poster>

We used to have a space for that (Bare Link Repository) and that experiment ended specifically because it didn't fit the community's goals.

We used to have a bare links repository subthread back on reddit, but it was removed (I don't actually remember why; I think it just generated lots of heat for little gain, gave people an excuse to put low effort content in the main thread since "if it's ok in the BLR it isn't that bad to put it in the main thread", and generally lowered the level of discourse).

Please, no. Not only will this drive out anyone with a minority worldview, it will drive out anyone who's currently not in the midst of a depression and who wants to drive everyone around them down.

I mean, there is for low effort culture warring I suppose...

Even for a bare links style posts I feel like this is lacking. I wouldn’t mind something like a short form set-up. I don’t have an anonymous twitter account so I often can’t discuss things on twitter and twitter isn’t the best forum for discussion. You need more of a repeated game with certain ground rules to discuss things well. But even for something like that give me a paragraph to tell me what you are linking to and why you think it matters. Clicking on a link is a small amount of pain. Tell me why x,y,z tweet/chart article matters.

Every time I've looked at it, it's struck me as high-effort in its own way. It seems to have poorly-documented, frequently-changing text filters and lots of inside jokes. Admittedly, I've never posted, but this place feels more welcoming because we only demand plain English, albeit frequently at a college writing level.

That's really antithetical to the site's purpose imo, plus it would take away at least some activity from the main CW thread (people who may have been encouraged to write a more comprehensive post will see that they can just post in the low effort thread and do that instead).

You have the entire rest of the internet for low effort CW rants, why encourage it here?

Right wing people don't have the rest of the internet for low effort cw rants, what? Do you think we're sequestered here because the rest of the internet doesn't tolerate high effort cw rants? Like we left reddit because we could see the wind turning and the admins were just waiting for the next person to post 1500 words so they could ban the community? No, it's because we tolerate right wing viewpoints.

I have no idea what you're talking about. Context?

It's over for me.

We pretended that senile rambling old man was a president for four years and now the country is more divided than ever. I am ashamed of how I have treated people while I have been under the influence of that horrible man who helped break this country.

I say helped break because he didn't do it alone. Every person who covered for him, who made excuses for him, who refused to see that there was an old man with no control over himself (he was leaking constantly, he couldn't keep a secret. He couldn't keep a secret.) has some share of responsibility in this.

This is a serious situation that we let get out of control. And we need to be united, and I wish I had been able to admit that Trump was a divider sooner.

  • -78

lol, I didn't even know there were 75 people here. You really hit a nerve.

Not to worry, if all goes well you will have another four years of a senile rambling old man and the team covering for him to look forward to!

Does this do anything to help your anomie?

If not for the last sentence that would have been a goat comment

When did we become so bleak?

Well, the person you're replying to is Irish so... 1845 at the latest.

I've been bleak since the marriage of Strongbow and Aoife, when "the streets ran red with blood" to celebrate the union of the happy couple 😁

While I agree with you at every point and in spirt; so much so that I though the guy was room temperature IQ incompetent before he even ran; you sound drunk. I know I am mildly enhanced at the moment. Good post though, maybe just not as a top level in this particular thread.

  • -13

It's a garbage post, and would just be as garbage if it was about Biden (which I assumed it was on an initial skim).

As far as I know, nothing in my life has ever been seriously changed by any of the last few presidents. If I was not paying attention to politics between 2008-2016, I could easily have assumed that a Republican was president. Likewise, if I was not paying attention to politics between 2016-2020, I could easily have assumed that some Democrat was in office. Likewise, if I was not paying attention to politics now I could easily believe that a Republican was president.

There are of course people whose lives do get significantly affected by who the president is, but I do not think that I am one of them and I am not sure that there are really very many of them in America. Presidents have more of an impact on foreigners through their decisions about the geopolitical and military leadership of the American empire and about immigration policy enforcement.

Iraqis and Mexicans have reason to care who the US president is. But for American citizens, is the impact really that much? Presidents are just all slightly different flavors of rich bullshitters who do not have much power to impact domestic politics anyway. I care more about who wins the presidency because of how it will impact foreigners than I do about how it will impact Americans because who wins the presidency might determine the lives and deaths of tends of thousands of foreigners, but it will likely do little to impact Americans much one way or the other.

As for the country being divided, why should I care?

I know that you are trolling but it is an interesting topic anyway.

This has been my position for a while, but I sometimes find it hard to support, like, I can't always rebuff arguments about supreme court, executive orders, etc. They do sorta matter, but it isn't apparent until some time has passed. For instance it took a decade for the effects of Clintonian repeal of Glass-Steagall, the creation of DHS, or Obama's NDAA2012 to become apparent. What seems to be the case, to me, is that the combined effect of the past 40 years of presidential politics is an increase in elitism and consolidation of power and wealth. There's a problem with the brain, not with a particular hemisphere.

I think that unless you’re in an upper middle to upper class situation or economically depending on someone who is, almost all national politics are irrelevant. They just don’t impact the working class that much (with the exception of culture wars perhaps) and could likely be entirely ignored without much change day to day. The list of things that have been passed and repealed, wars we’ve started and won or lost or got bored with, and so one in my life is pretty darn long. And for the most part, other than entertainment, there’s not much reason for getting into the details of politics above the state level.

Probably right. I’m curious if a competent administration was in placed that gutted the CDC would covid nonsense have metastasized?

I don't think institutions had much to do with it.We had no CDC-equivalent in Australia and we weren't exactly covid doves.

There are of course people whose lives do get significantly affected by who the president is, but I do not think that I am one of them and I am not sure that there are really very many of them in America.

There are 10000 more births in Texas after Roe v Wade got struck down. I was about to make an effortpost about how minor this Handmaiden Tale event actually turned out in reality. You can figure out the earthshattering events in retrospect so in a way it doesn't matter who is in power because more or less it is business as usual. And US system is designed to have enormous inertia.

For context, there were 51,606 abortions in Texas in 2021.

The 10k statistic applies to the last 9 months of 2022 — extrapolate that to a year and it’s 13.3k. So (theoretically anyway) 26% of the fetuses that would have been aborted are being born instead.

The others are presumably either being aborted out-of-state, aborted in-state (iirc you can still get an abortion within 6 weeks of conception), or not occurring due to the use of other forms of birth control.

iirc you can still get an abortion within 6 weeks of conception

No, you cannot. Texas law had a 6 week abortion ban from September 2021 until July 2022, and subsequently enacted a total ban on abortions except those medically necessary to save the mother’s life. Getting an abortion for a woman living in Texas requires 2-3 days and thousands of dollars(either airfare to New Mexico or gas to Kansas, cost of the abortion, and a hotel room), and no doubt some do anyways, but a lot of these abortions that weren’t replaced with births are probably the morning after pill in effect.

To which demographics do those extra 10k births belong?

They’re probably majority Hispanic, because most women of childbearing age in Texas are. Of course blacks are probably overrepresented because this is one of those things where they usually are, but Texas isn’t black enough for them to be a majority.

This is just the result of ongoing momentum. Most projects do not come to real life fruition for 5-10 years, so if a President starts a policy the day he comes into office, you might start to notice impacts at the end of his first term, and if it takes him until year two to start the project you'll barely notice it until the end of his second. If, as has been the case for many projects since Reagan, a single party/faction/project fails to capture the presidency for two terms and a successor then before the impacts of a project won't come to fruition until supporters of the other party/faction/project come into power, mitigating or preventing those impacts from occurring.

What you're seeing as stasis, it doesn't matter if the Republicans or the Democrats are in office, is the experience of sitting just above high tide and saying it doesn't matter if the tide comes in or out. You'd know fast if the tide kept coming, if the waters kept rising. There is a lot of activity, but never happened.

So one doesn't really notice a lifetime that runs Bush I -- Clinton -- Bush II -- Obama -- Trump -- Biden; but a very different world if it went Bush I -- Dole -- Bush II -- McCain -- JEB!; or if it went Clinton -- Gore -- Obama -- Clinton II. Trump doesn't really fit either way.

The conflict and the chaos produces the stasis.

I’d be kind of curious how much the initiatives you mentioned actually change things and how we’d distinguish the government initiatives from ordinary market changes or social changes that would happen either way and just happen to coincide with X years after Y initiative. I have a personal hypothesis that of the three, political organization is the least powerful. Economic innovation, new technology, and new social norms seem to have just as much if not more power to make things happen. I think most of the success of gay marriage had less to do with anything the government actually did and more to do with social changes that changed how people thought about the issue than anything the government did. New technology probably has more to do with improvements over the last five or ten years than any the President or congress did. New business innovations or new products change your life a lot as well.