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Culture War Roundup for the week of July 10, 2023

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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

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).

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

The things that a president does impact you, but not because the president does something and affects you immediately. It takes time for things to trickle down. The president can make a law which tells government agencies to do X. Five years later you employer has different policies than it otherwise have, in order to meet X. Another year later you're fired because of the indirect effect X has on how the company works.

The conversion narrative loses all its rhetorical power after the first go-round.

Back then we didn't know about what he told Kid Rock.

I'm still dwelling.

Forgive me that this is where I dwell.

Conversion is a long, steady process, of slow erosion, and steady persistence. Time, repetition. You build a wall in a season and tear down a wall in a season, but a hole can be made right away...

  • -33

What did who tell Kid Rock?

Google says that back in early June "An interview with singer Kid Rock telling Tucker Carlson that Donald Trump showed him 'maps of North Korea' during a 2017 White House visit".

And that’s bad?

It depends on what was marked on said maps; "Locations of secret facilities Pyongyang thinks they've hidden from us" could be very bad if it got back to them.

My God, you are telling me an ordinary citizen got unfettered access to .... an atlas???? Who permitted this sort of breach of security, the plain people are not supposed to know about the existence of foreign nations unless and until their betters decide they need to know!

Meanwhile, under the Democratic president, we have trans people flashing their tits on the White House lawn. So much better!

Meanwhile, under the Democratic president, we have trans people flashing their tits on the White House lawn. So much better!

It appears 2 out of 3 manufacturers of FDA-approved breast implants are all at least headquartered in the USA (the other one once was, and a fourth was until it closed this year), so... uhh, yay US industry?

To be fair, it was multi-representational as we had the trans people who had their tits cut off showing that off proudly as well as the trans person who got the fake boobs showing those off for the world, so yay good old American medico-cosmetic industry indeed!

I'm not sure about her bottom, was that a result of nature or enhancement as well? Where are the buttock implants manufacturers located?

That's really your last straw? Really?

That's when it broke for me, the illusion that this was ever a president.

You don't understand, I saw how the media treated Bush so I thought they were histrionic. Now I look at the people who are backing him in a hysterical narrative and I see a threat to the future of this country.

I see a generation of men being taught that winning is "declaring yourself the winner" and I despair.

Prior to that I didn't see just how much he never ever shut up and I understood: this is a chronic issue of the degradation of the boomer mind.

  • -22

I don't believe you

What don't you believe?

  • -13

Are you familiar with the phrase 'handle your business'?

Are you familiar with the phrase "business is pleasure when it's done right?"

This is a business place, where we discuss serious things seriously.

My question is genuine. Another phrase: "Put up or shut up."

  • -13
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Any of it -- you talk like a liar.

Any of it -- you talk like a liar.

This man thinks he tells the truth.


  • -14
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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?

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 😁

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

We seem to be having a spate of low-effort ramblings that are basically "I'm mad about something and want to vent." I am sorry if you're having an existential crisis over Trump (for months at a time now?) but if you are going to post a top-level post, please make it relevant, interesting, or at least present an argument. We don't want to see free-form rants about how Trump or Biden or whoever is The Worst, devoid of anything but your own undigested disgust.

An argument? You want an argument?

Every person who was wrong about Trump and his effect on this country needs to pray to God for forgiveness. I know I have.

If you spectated this disaster from the comfort of intellectual distance, you're part of the problem.

  • -48

X being important is not somehow a rejection of the need to advance an argument for X. If you actually think it's so important that people come to God, you need to do more than berate them.

I think this person is 100% trolling because everything they’ve said doesn’t mention a name, and could easily be applied to everyone

Senile old man? Biden.

People were wrong about trump and should be begging for forgiveness? TDS sufferers.

I would impeach Biden for being old and will accept any pretext whatsoever.

The last sentence in the OP says Trump. Before that I did consider it ambiguous.

They're 100% trolling because this is at least the second time they've had the same conversion experience, but yes, they also made it ambiguous that they were talking about Trump until the end

And the Kid Rock thing seems to be from 2017, though many sources intimate it was from 2021. Apparently he showed Kid Rock maps of North Korea.

Yeah, imagine. We could have had Hillary instead, and the Ukraine war would have kicked off eight years earlier.

I'm not a Clinton fan, but I doubt she would have been bad enough to retroactively start a war two years before her election.

You expect accurate arithmetic in the midst of a polemic?

Well yeah, what else do I expect on this here site 🤣

I genuinely do believe Hillary would have been very eager to show she was Stronk Woman at the time, especially when it came to dealing with Putin, and if Syria wasn't enough to keep Vlad occupied I think he'd have made some move to show that NATO bitches not the boss of me.

I think she'd have been far more agressige in prosecuting whatever we were doing in the Syrian civil war. One of her stump points was establishing a no fly zone there (which would have meant shooting down Russian aircraft at the time she said it).

Yes, this - this was only and sufficient point given on Less Wrong (or other rationalist space, do not remember after such long time) as reason for supporting Trump.

From rationalist perspective, avoiding raising the probability of escalation all the way into Global Thermonuclear War even by few decimal points beats any bad things Trump ever did or was expected to do at the time.

The argument otherwise knows as "Pascal's mugging". Once we select an infinitely negative utility event, and proclaim certain action has a non-zero probability to prevent this event (no matter how low), there's no cost which we shouldn't pay for performing this action, because nothing beats Global Thermonuclear War. If this argument proves anything is the limits of naively "rationalist" approach where anything can be mathematically calculated from a set of assigned probabilities and utilities.

You found one of the five reasons I voted for him. it seemed obvious to me at the time that Hillary would have pushed NATO forces right up to the Russian border on Ukraine. She wanted Gaddafi’s, al-Assad’s, and Putin’s skulls on her wall, figuratively.

One of the “scandals” from before he was even in office was his “office of the President-Elect” having pre-inauguration contact with the Russian Ambassador, to reassure Putin that Trump didn’t want war. The point of having ambassadors is to ensure diplomacy! Talking with an ambassador is probably the furthest thing from collusion I can imagine.

Putin’s skulls on her wall,

This must be the reason Russian Sberbank paid her husband for "lectures" and why she approved sale of Uranium One to Rosatom after a modest bribe. All that was leading to nailing Putin's skull to the wall, somehow. Must be one heck of 3D chess.

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An argument? You want an argument?

Every person who was wrong about Trump and his effect on this country needs to pray to God for forgiveness. I know I have.

That's not an argument, it's just ranting.

If you spectated this disaster from the comfort of intellectual distance, you're part of the problem.

Hectoring, finger-wagging, and telling people "You're a bad person and you should feel bad" is not what this place is for. Go ahead and talk about why you think Trump is terrible and Trump supporters should repent, but right now you're not a lot different from a evangelical Christian yelling that we all need Jesus.

You do need Jesus.

But that's neither here nor there.

Go ahead and talk about why you think Trump is terrible and Trump supporters should repent

Trump supporters should repent because it is wrong to turn brother against brother in politics.

  • -25

I'll bite: what is it that makes you think Trump supporters are worse in this regard (turning brother against brother) than other political factions/subfactions?

One of the criticisms that stuck with me early on in Trump's presidency, don't know who said it, was that by embracing a politician whose action deliberately enraged the 'other side', we were furthering division in this country. I think that was undeniably true, and it was undeniably the sort of thing any proper conservative party should understand.

Do you think Obama didn’t antagonize people? Yes, obviously from a blue tribe perspective, even a blue tribe conservative perspective, trump is uniquely divisive and shit, but there’s no actual reason a blue tribe perspective has to predominate.

You think "basket of deplorables" Hillary wouldn't have been divisive, had she come to power?

I keep harping on about Mitt Romney, whom I think is a very whitebread politician and doesn't impress me greatly - had his ambitions ever gone anywhere, I think he would have been the Gerald Ford of the time (vaguely competent but uninspiring and not missed once his term was done).

For a while there he was The Only Good Republican from the same people who, back when he was running, were representing him as the Mormon theocrat who was going to implement the Handmaid's Tale for real and start burning the gays at the stake and as for minorities -! We don't even want to think what he was going to do to BIPOC folx! He was just another Literally Hitler Rich White Cis Het Christian Republican who only cared about making money and grinding the faces of the poor. As for what he did to poor doggies, well the shame has never dissipated about his cruel heartless animal-hating treatment, remember that?

So don't talk about divisiveness being uniquely a Trumpian moment, I think it was in the building for a long time.

we all need Jesus

Well, we do, and maybe that's suitable preaching given that this is Sunday, but let's not get into the theological weeds right now? 👼

Why not?

I feel like you and he are both missing the point - of course we know Christians believe this, but like anything else, if you want to make an effortpost about why Christianity is True and we should all accept Christ, you may do so, but don't just start preaching and calling people sinners.



Okay, y'know what? You're either drunk or trolling.

I'm giving you a three-day timeout to get sober and/or serious.

Come back and do this again and I'll assume you're just a dramanaut and act accordingly.

Out of everything they said, that was what threw you over the edge?

In a performatively tired tone: "Yes, yes, you can countersignal fascism (we need such people for maintenance and smugness purposes). But how dare you say we have sinned, or worse, everyone has sinned. The one thing we do not want entering these hallowed grounds is humility, forgiveness and the grace of God."

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i think feminism has largely devolved into a framework intended exclusively to generate rationalizations with maximal agility whose function is to perpetuate emotionally salient narratives of victimhood. initially, there was a grave need for feminism and the transgressions were obvious. but i suspect that as time went on and feminists racked up wins, the transgressions they were fighting against became less grave and less emotionally salient. but because emotional salience and the perception of victimhood are the key drivers of activism, there was a crisis that threatened to undermine the movement’s emotional salience. and the response was to sort of retreat into the nebulous and abstract world of academia which allowed the construction of approaches that could sustain the emotional salience of the movement by not having to be grounded in reality.

  • -27

Wasn’t it always primarily about victimhood? Maybe one could argue it was justified historically but my understanding of the history of feminism is “it is unfair we are not treated equally.”

I'd say that there are more and less pernicious forms of the victimhood mentality. Some forms of victimhood really are short lived and resolvable, others are so vaguely defined that the mentality seems to shift from a victim seeking redress for grievances in order to end their victimisation, to someone looking for greivances in order to justify their ongoing victimhood.

Can you give examples of what you call emotional salience, both in past feminism and in the presence?

what i mean by emotional salience is something that stands out and resonates emotionally. like going from abortion is no longer federally protected to the rights of women are being attacked is transforming that into something more emotionally salient.

I recommend you put a little more effort into your writing. It’s a little too dense, you could pepper in some examples of what the words you are taking for granted mean for clarity.

Currently it comes across as more of a cocky hot take declaration with a mic drop, (in my opinion)

In a society with no collective identity this is inevitable. There isn't a sense of the country being one big family with people fighting for the common good, instead countries are viewed as a legal platform and a market administrated by a government. In many ways it isn't too different from Iraq, a plot of land which arbitrarily became a country. Within this arbitrary zone the obvious winning strategy is to form a group and promote your group's special interest. That may be feminism, it may be more money to the military industrial complex, lower taxes for wall street, more money for Israel, extra spending on infrastructure in the place you live etc depending on what group you belong to. The society is a nothing more than a shopping mall and people want to benefit themselves.

The US is largely government by a legal system and the legal system is has as one of its primary duties to defend victims. For lawyers and judges, having grievances is hold the aces. In previous societies claiming noble birth and belonging to the main ethnic/religious group would have provided one with benefits. In a society that has equality before the law combined with a society largely run by lawyers whose job it is to compensate victims people are going to perpetually try to gain maximal victim status.

One thing that was interesting to me is that most of my classmates in law school seemed primarily motivated by who was weaker. That is, justice was delivering benefit to the weaker party at the expense of the stronger party.

To me, Justice was about punishing the wrong doer regardless of whether they were stronger or weaker.

This is pretty low effort for a top level post. If you want to start a thread about how feminism is now useless, please go to more effort than posting a shower thought.

i think it’s highly problematic that we don’t really see prominent figures taking a descriptive orientation and just trying to understand the world. that role as been taken over by idealogues. and even if they are not particularly ideological or they are making a genuine attempt at objectivity, they still struggle to think outside of the ideological framework - and this framework is more often than not progressive. i think what is needed is for someone to be able to compartmentalize the realities of modern life separately from the perspective of modern life, as the latter is where ideology lies. only then can this descriptive orientation be put forth. but i’m not sure the problem is that there is just no one out there with a descriptive oreintation. i think it’s probalby just not what people want. and in the modern info and ideas economy, it’s what people want to hear that rises to teh top. this has been the effect of the democratization of information and ideas. it functions like a democratic organization or a free market, where the key driver are these “market signals” that signal what people want to hear, and because anyone can be producer within this economy, anyone who is willing to meet that want is incentivized. and the legacy and more formal players know that if they don’t do it someone else will, so if they want to remain relevant they have to meet it.

  • -24

I'm not reading all that. Good for you though, or I'm sorry that it happened.

For real though, you need to capitalize and do line breaks, 'specially for dense text like this. It is barley legible.

I will say that even the idea of a descriptive orientation is poisoned before birth. As Abaddon said: “Lord, bestow upon us the armor that will resist ending. The days grow short and the nights cold. The quavering strands of our life grow thin and worn in these final days since we have come to know death. I bid thee Lord make us to know a companion of this feeling.”

And YISUN smiled in the fifth way and said in reply:

“As the stone is in the fruit, your death is already in you. There is no armor that will resist the contents of your own heart. You were cut down the moment you existed.”

The problem with this post isn't the lack of newlines, it's that it just doesn't make sense? It's a weird jumble of 'people follow incentives, even if those incentives suck' and 'ideology is bad' and 'media distorts truth', which are all true but well-known and it doesn't elaborate or enhance our understanding of any of them

Who are "prominent people"?

Who do you consider are the prominent people who should be taking that orientation?

Why should they?

What would Famous Guy Famous For Sport Or Pop Music tell me about his view of plate tectonics that I need to know and would be better than an idealogue?

Please invest in autocorrect and line breaks, that was headache inducing.

It reads fine to me, not any more dense than the typical Motte post.

I for one love line breaks, because, frankly, many of you here are windbags who enjoy reading entirely too much to be trusted to judge for yourselves how much text is appropriate to circle around one topic.

Paragraphs allow me to skim from point to point within a post, especially when writing is on the denser side.

Agreed @GuyOnInternet. At least run it through GPT 3.5 to make it more readable.

Wasn't this not allowed?

No, we haven't banned using software to correct your writing. How would we know?

What's not allowed is using ChatGPT to generate posts for you, especially when it's used to troll or to test everyone's ability to spot the AI. Or snarking about how you're using ChatGPT to make your posts more "politically correct."

No, don't anyone run anything through gpt anything, just write marginally better. It takes two seconds to recognise the natural breaks in a post you just wrote - here break just before "I think what is needed" and then again before "It functions like a". Not that that would save what appears to be an academic shower thought with no avenues for discussion, but neither would making it more readable. Do you think guyoninternet can't write a post without devolving into dense jargon filled onanism? Because I think he can, he does so in his other shower thought op later in the thread.

The most important thing is not realizing that it eats a single line break.

He just needed to add an extra line in between sentences and it would be a significant improvement.

And capitalization.

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

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

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

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 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 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).

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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”).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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 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