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Culture War Roundup for the week of September 19, 2022

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I just read a short article in an email newsletter that threw out this statistic with regards to automation in the food industry:

Between March and July 2022, an average of 760,000 people quit jobs in accommodation and food service

The article goes on to argue the point that due to all of the ‘quiet quitting’ and generally unsatisfied workers after the pandemic or over the last couple of years, automation will not be as big of a deal as we thought. I’ve seen this sentiment echoed the number of times recently where news outlets will talk about how all of the people worried about economic disruption from robotics and Artificial Intelligence don’t realize that it’ll actually be great because people hate working anyway.

I used to believe these claims when I was a disillusion young adult who hated working, but overtime I’ve gotten more and more skeptical. Many people I know take serious pride and work, and in fact for a lot of people their work is the most important thing in their life. I’m talking people who don’t even really need the money, or who claim that even if they had enough money to retire they would continue working just as much as they do now.

Is this recent trend of less engagement with work robust enough to offset the rise in automation of jobs? Is this just a cope from those who know their jobs will disappear soon? (Ie email newsletter writers)

Personally I’m surprised that artificial intelligence hasn’t gotten more flack than it has so far. I expected the lights to come out in full force and at least get some sort of ban on image generation (I know Getty or some other site has done this) but so far it seems that artificial intelligence is generally unopposed.

Any major salient examples of automation technology or artificial intelligence being banned to protect jobs?

The alt-right, with its emphasis on race and replacement, is fringe and represents a small fraction of Republicans.

The anti-Trump "moderate" Republicans poll poorly in primaries, and Trump's approval rating remains sky high among Republicans.

What do the above two assertions say?

They say two things.

  1. Trump is not alt-right, never was.

  2. There is a massive swath of Trump-loving voters who are off the radar of the media by being neither fashy-racist nor anti-Trump "moderates".

[Jerry Seinfeld voice] Who are these people?

I'll tell you who they are. They are the Rush Limbaugh crowd. Or wherever they are now. I grew up with them, they are my people. I listened to Rush in his final year, and listened to his callers, and the vibe of his following (which was massive) was the same as I remember it. On median: They are hardcore Trump supporters. Yet they find the emphasis on race of both the left and the fringe right distasteful. In fact they itch for national unity and an end to civil strife and they saw in Trump the best hope for unity. The whole idea of Trump being divisive they saw as media propaganda, e.g. to them Trump's stance against illegal immigration is in fact about illegal immigration and not secretly about "brown people". In their eyes Trump had the back of anybody with a Social Security card. They think Hitler was, in fact, evil af and love to relate their parents' or grandparents' stories about kicking his ass.

They have an essentially Reaganite attitude toward American politics. They see taxation as fundamentally a seizure of the productive elements of society and while they see it necessary they think it should always be done with great solemnity and respect for the taxed, whose sweat fuels all government projects. They saw Trump as the obvious candidate for anybody into Reaganite politics and are beyond infuriated that the left's propaganda painted them as Hitlerian for wanting the obvious best candidate for policy positions that had nothing to do with race.

Etc etc.

I don't know where this crowd is at now. But if anybody deserves to be called "silent majority" (if only among Republicans) it's them. Not that they were silent on Rush's show, "ignored" may be a better term for them, ignored by media and its focus on the battle between crazy fascist racists and the nice wholesome Cheney family.

I really think there's a massive, massive amount of these people and yet I don't hear these particular opinions being expressed basically anywhere.

to them Trump's stance against illegal immigration is in fact about illegal immigration and not secretly about "brown people".

I think there are plenty of people who are worried about brown people who are not alt-right. There are plenty of racists who are not fascist, just as there are "Eat the rich, man!" people who are not socialist in any narrow sense (nationalisation of industry, state planning, or even egalitarian outside of putting some limits against huge inequality).

I don’t know where this crowd is at now.

We’re working our 40 hr/wk jobs, or doing whatever has taken up our schedules since retirement, and coming home tired to watch Fox News not talk about the election fraud Dinesh discovered. We’re listening to podcasts by Jack Posobiec and Charlie Kirk and wishing we were young enough to be in TPUSA. We’re sending 5-year-old memes to our families on Facebook, never noticing they’re not promoted outside five or ten people. And between all that, we’re trying to avoid being called racist to our faces for holding the same pro-American colorblind ideals we have since The Cosby Show became our favorite sitcom in the 80’s.

I say “we” because I got my start in politics watching the short-lived Rush Limbaugh TV show with my dad before high school. I still consider myself a Rush/Reagan Republican, a libertarian in all but party affiliation. My parents are described above too.

Thank you for the post. I feel seen.

EDIT: another poster has given a more left-friendly explanation for “where this crowd is at now”: quietly coexisting with their liberal friends, and “hiding their power-level” as 4chan would say.

They are called religious conservatives. They have pretty much accepted defeat in the public square, and thus only make their voices heard in their own communities and on election day. Can you even imagine someone openly saying they oppose homosexuality "because it's immoral" or "because God said so" in any respectable institution in 2022?

That's a subset, not the whole set.

Can you even imagine someone openly saying they oppose homosexuality "because it's immoral"

This would happen if someone did that in 2022

They'd create attack ads that basically just quote his statements directly, because they genuinely believe that those are losing positions. I expect that they'll be surprised on election day.

Ideologically and in other respects, conservatism is broad/diverse and seems to be always evolving whereas liberalism is more like something being stretched, in which the original shape is still the same.

I'll tell you who they are. They are the Rush Limbaugh crowd. Or wherever they are now. I grew up with them, they are my people. I listened to Rush in his final year, and listened to his callers, and the vibe of his following (which was massive) was the same as I remember it.

Rush was a morbidly obese ideologue who had his heyday in the '90s and 2000s, especially during the Obama era, but since 2016 and especially since 2020 during Covid, his type of conservatism has been in decline online , imho, replaced by the likes of Rogan, Peterson, etc. who have more of an emphasis on self-improvement and salubrity (being healthy, working out, intellectual curiosity, etc.) while still opposing the far-left. Since 2021 I have also observed the rise of a sort of civic nationalism conservatism which combines 'Trumpism' with 'Roganism'. In keeping with the civic aspect of it, it's not necessarily opposed to diversity or immigration as long as said diversity holds anti-woke values. I think this is a tad overoptimistic given the tendency of second and third generation immigrants to vote left. I think this new brand of conservativism is very powerful and has considerable online support, and stands good shot at beating Biden.

It's hard to say what Trump is/was. He's not alt-right yet much more nationalistic than the typical conservative. His push for tax cuts early on is consistent with the mainstream GOP platform though.

In one of my blog posts I describe how the GOP has evolved and its likely direction:

'80s up until 2008-2013 Reaganomics, supply side

2008-2013 split or weakening cracks on the foundation of immigration and globalization

2014-2015: rise and fall gamergate, precursor to the IDW and trump-right

2016-2020 Trump and split between 'the base' vs 'the establishment', rise of civic nationalism

2016-2018 rise and fall of alt-right

2018-: rise of the IDW , which is related to the anti-idpol left

2020-: hybridization/amalgamation of civic nationalism ,self-improvement, and anti-woke populism

You're missing the rise of the Tea Party in 2010, which was the polite precursor to Trump support later on. The Tea Party had some accomplishments, but mostly ended up providing further education to the Republican base as to the extent of their problems, both inside and outside the R party. Mitt Romney in 2012 was the R establishment's "we've learned nothing" response to the Tea Party (and Jeb Bush, even more so, in 2016).

yea, tea party fits in perfect

Some of these were a lot more high profile than others, e.g. I suspect that most Republican party members have never heard of gamergate. The IDW and Rogan are more well-known, although I still would try hard not to underestimate how much of the Republican party is made up of Not Very Online people who have at most a passing acquaintance with Jordan Peterson, Joe Rogan etc.

possible but I see DeSantis as being someone who taps into online sentiment. Rogan is popular enough that he's drawing in a bigger audience than mainstream media. I think Peterson is getting there. I think the distinction between 'always online' and real life is shrinking or blurring.

Rush was a morbidly obese ideologue

(Fat-shaming? He did slim down majorly from his obese heyday.)

His ideology was anti-progressive, anti-Democrat, and when woke started to be a thing, anti-woke. His personal nemesis was Hillary Rodham Clinton, the exemplar of everything he spoke against. He was against them because he saw them as trying to tear down everything he was for.

He loved the America of the myths: the good giant astride a continent, founded by freedom-lovers who risked everything, always striving to become better. The big picture, the legend of America the Great, was what he poured his heart and soul into keeping alive. He was the great civic nationalist, supporting legal immigration and calling out racists of any color.

His counterpart in Washington was Newt Gingrich, and he fully supported the Contract With America. His death by cancer has left us with the likes of Posobiec, Kirk, D’Souza, Gorka, and Hemingway to hold onto his bombastic America-loving conservatism.

It's not fat shaming. That's literally what he was. All that is true and made him special for that era. I think bombastic conservatism has two things working against it: more competition and change in tastes. It will always have an audience but Rush had way bigger relative audience share in the 90s compared to before he died. There was no YouTube, no podcasts, no twitter or substack back then . He was not just the voice of American conservatism but in some respects the only major voice..this was even before Fox News became as big as it is. .

In many ways, Rush was the proof-of-concept for Fox News, the blogosphere, podcasts, substack, etc. He demonstrated that there was a severely underserved market for broadcast media that wasn't ideologically D. I can't think of anyone who accomplished more for the cause of diversity in news and opinion media than Rush Limbaugh.

Trump isn’t more nationalistic than the typical conservative though, given primary election results (and the fact he, yknow, won a national

Election as well). Conservatives in america are fundamentally nationalist

his rhetoric at least seems more nationalistic than the typical conservative , and also some of his initiatives such as his plan to return manufacturing jobs to America, which at best had mixed results but this seems like a departure from the Bush administration .

George W or George H. W.? The former was pretty protectionist and tried fairly hard to appeal to the American working class:

You could plausibly argue that that Trump was more protectionist, but free trade vs. protectionism has rarely been a simple Republican vs. Democrat issues.

Also, the Bush administration also had a lot of anti-elitism in their rhetoric, like Trump. While Bush was obviously from an elite background, he tried (successfully) to be portrayed as "One of the guys", in a way that his father, Bob Dole, or Mitt Romney did not. Quite an achievement for a teetotal, Ivy League educated, son of a wealthy family.

I'd say the majority of the alt-right isn't even Republican, but properly speaking, "Republican-leaning independent." In other words, "I've got reasons to dislike both parties, but if I have to choose a candidate that's got a shot of winning, I'm voting R."

(Tangent: this comes up in polling a fair bit, but there's a big difference between "Republican-leaning centrist" and "Republican-leaning independent." The first group could conceivably vote for a candidate of either party, but more often votes R; the second doesn't identify with either party, but is closer to R than D. The important distinction is that a large chunk of the second group considers Rs to be moderate squishes, and are even further right. The phenomenon is symmetric; there are "Democrat-leaning independents" who consider themselves further left than the D party. "X-leaning centrists" are a subset of "X-leaning independents," but far from the whole picture.)

I was having a discussion about wokeness/culture war stuff the other day and was accused (probably justifiably) of rambling. This got me thinking about how I’d sum up my views on the matter as succinctly as possible, while still painting a clear picture. I figured doing so here would also provide a good opportunity to see just how similar and/or different it is from the high level world views of others. So here it goes.

The first pillar of my cultural worldview is that a lot of the movements that have now converged to form wokeness were justified in their original incarnations. Your average idealist in the 50s/60s was probably easily drawn into these movements, and for good reason; the types of racism, sexism, etc that existed in the early 20th century were truly institutionalized, and truly damaging to society.

At some point in the last 40 years, however, most of these problems were solved. Not in the sense that tribalism was eradicated, but in the sense that it was no longer institutional. It was reduced to the most benign form that you can really hope for in a multi-ethnic empire.

The problem was that the institutions that had been created to fix these problems were still there. They had developed large funding networks, large amounts of political clout, and most importantly, highly effective mythologies and channels for recruitment. The people heading these institutions weren’t just going to give all of that up. They had to invent new dragons to slay. Which leads us to where we are today. The once useful institutions have turned feral. While still doing what they were intended to do, they have begun doing it in a way that most objective observers would immediately recognize as contrary to the original goals. In short, these institutions are unaligned. They’re slow versions of the paperclip optimizer.

The second pillar is that the vast majority of the harm currently visited on people by society in western countries is due to cycles of poverty. That, however, is just a euphemism for a poor outcome from a very basic mammalian trait, the teaching of survival skills to one’s young. In a Darwinian environment, you maximize the chances of propagating your genes by teaching successful patterns of behavior to the next generation. As such, this drive to mold your children in your image, as well as the drive on the child’s part to emulate the parent in some very fundamental ways, are baked into our genes. But absent any sort of Darwinian pressure, those skills might not be optimized for your environment. In fact they may be highly non-optimal.

This problem is compounded by the fact that the goal of “survival skills” in the modern society is to maximize comfort, not quantity of surviving offspring. But a relationship still remains between the utility of the survival skills and the genes of the organism employing the strategy. As such, you can’t just come up with a set of strategies and teach them to everyone in society. It’s much more beneficial to have parents that have worked out good strategies for their set of genes, and then to pass those strategies on to the recipients of those genes. This makes it much more difficult for people stuck with bad skills to help their children break free.

I think those two pillars, taken together, allow for a pretty good overarching view of what is going on in western society. We have large swaths of the population suffering from poor choices generation after generation. And we have institutions that are highly incentivized to blame these problems on something else. Since we never actually look at the real causes of the problems, we will never solve them. And until something changes, that is the equilibrium state. Thoughts?

Your first pillar is true enough, but your second is somewhat confused. To be blunt, the fact that income and fertility are anticorrelated means that "cycles of poverty" are not actually failures from evolution's point of view - teaching your kids to be poor causes you to have more grandkids.

I'm not talking about success or failure from an evolutionary point of view, but from a societal point of view. From that vantage point, success is somewhat equated with levels of material comfort or success. But the evolutionary forces that promote the transmission of behavior to offspring make it very difficult to alter these outcomes for people whose parents "failed" from a societal point of view.

I live in a very very progressive part of the world, and I went to a small local craft market event today. Near the event, there was a 65ish year old woman waving around a GOP tote bag at cars and people passing by. Everyone was ignoring her, but I went to talk to her.

It started out just fine. I told her (in a friendly way) that she's unlikely to change any minds here, and she replied that that she's just trying to show people that there are others out there who have had enough of the progressive orthodoxy, citing CRT, transgenderism, etc. She felt like maybe this might just convince some young people to even question whether there's another viewpoint out there, or convince those who are hiding their views to speak up more. I definitely respected and agreed with that.

Then, her stream of consciousness-style insane ramblings started coming out. She went on for like 7 minutes without pausing, about so many topics I couldn't even keep track, jumping from one to the other. I recall her mentioning that leftists want to harvest and sell fetus organs, and somehow she started talking about slavery and pre-civil war America, waving a book around trying to show me underlined passages trying to liken the practice of slavery to what progressives are doing today, maybe implying that leftists want to return to pre-civil war America in some way. It was pretty hard to manage to get away.

This comes in the wake of being at my wife's family event where her crazy uncle kept bringing up conservative talking points apropos of nothing, shoehorning them into conversations which everyone tried politely to ignore, and was a total conversation killer. I'm usually only used to leftists doing that.

These experiences were pretty disheartening to me. I spend so much time here on The Motte that I end up feeling like people who are anti-progressive are probably more thoughtful and less crazy than progressives and more in touch with reality. But that's probably not true. I guess a lot of conservatives really are in their own echo chambers just as much as leftists are. Probably a good number of them really take seriously the conspiracy-style theories of talking head personalities in the style of Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. The true disconnect on both sides, from each other and probably also from reality and the true values of most people, is a very sad state of affairs.

I truly believe that the way we tend to talk about things on the Motte and in rationalist-adjacent spaces makes sense, and seems like far more logical discourse than I can find anywhere else. But of course I would, I'm part of this specific world. Any leftist would say the same about their progressive reddit subs, and most republicans would say that about the comments section in the Daily Wire. Is there any evidence that we're not just rambling buffoons in our own echo chamber, just like I'd find on either end of the spectrum?

Qanon might be a spook, but Alex Jones is genuinely popular enough to survive multiple attempts at deplatforming and Glen Beck is a self made multimillionaire from his audience size. These people definitely exist. I don't think they exert as much influence within the republican party as the extreme woke loons do within the democrat party, but that may be because of my position- that is, I don't like democrats or wokeness, and I do like republicans and think most of these conspiracy theories are generally harmless.

I do think the median republican is more able to have a civilized political conversation with his ideological opposites than the median democrat, and the ideological turing test results is probably good evidence of this. But to deny that people live within the red tribe bubble and hold ridiculously false beliefs is to ignore reality.

I do think the median republican is more able to have a civilized political conversation with his ideological opposites than the median democrat

I understand the sentiment that this metric is supposed to point to, but the metric itself doesn't seem coherent. The ideological opposite of the median Republican is the median Democrat, so unless you have some asymmetrical concept of a civilized political conversation, this can't be the case.

I understand what you’re saying, but there’s definitely an extent to which you could just match people up with those who won’t lose their cool. What I’m saying is if you do that, the republicans are more likely to continue making calm, reasoned arguments than the democrats. But that’s an average and I fully acknowledge being biased.

so unless you have some asymmetrical concept of a civilized political conversation, this can't be the case.

Alternatively, they could have an asymmetrical concept of partisan polarization.

The extremes of the political spectrum are equally out of touch with reality. It is QAnon vs White Patriarchy conspiracies at the fringes endlessly triggering themselves to their idea of the enemy. And those who don't ascribe to these descriptions of reality in the center get to be onlookers and increasingly harder to find places to discuss what they perceive to be actual reality and move the ball forward. The biggest contribution to my sanity in most cases when I hear conspiracy like theories is Hanlon's Razor, "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.". It is just look a couple years back to see the handling of the pandemic and know that the bumbling fools that rule us couldn't conspire their way out of a wet paper bag. Of course conspiracies could exists but it is a extraordinary claim that require equally extraordinary evidence. So what does that say about the future of motte? Nothing if the place gets taken over by extremist descriptions of reality the place is doomed, we will have to try to stay sane.

I would make a distinction between "fringe" and "extreme." "Fringe" would mean very unpopular; maybe 1% of the population believes [X], so it's a fringe belief. "Extreme" means far from the "average" view (for some calculation of average). So fringe ideas can show up wherever they like on any political spectrum, while extreme views can be much more popular, but not centrist.

I use fringe in terms of a network where conspiracies exists outside main hubs of “knowledge” so to speak. On top of that I tried to take two of the fringe clusters and put them on a political spectrum on the extremes. Following another branch of discussion I came to realize that my example that I used for the left sparked some discussion. Trying to find a better example but I’m unsure what would be a better representation for qanon on the left(your suggestion on blue anon is good).

It's a little difficult for me to be sure about "fringe + extreme + left" in terms of conspiracy theories, because I think most of the extreme left conspiracy theories I know of might be too common to be fringe. Best I can think of is normal extreme conspiracy theories on the left, plus a further twist in a sort of "50 Stalins" telephone-game way.

A couple more candidates:

"Bush lied us into Iraq in order to steal their oil."

"Brett Kavanaugh organized gang-rape parties in high school."

That might be the problem in that case that we don't know enough of the lefts conspiracies to be sure where their batshit insane are. Reading things like I'm sure that they are out there. Just not as public.

The extremes on the political left and right political spectrum has a end goal of subjugating the individual to benefit of collective/state/nation. That goal has a tendency to warp peoples perception on what drives the world and sometimes it ends up with false beliefs about groups of individuals running things behind the scenes. Conspiracy theories can arise and be perpetuated without this political dichotomy and if one side has had their false beliefs thrust out in the mainstream. It doesn't mean that aren't false or conspiracy theories. Most of mainstream Soviet had a belief in Lysenkoism it didn't make it less fringe out of established science or a conspiracy theory that the scientist opposing it are puppets of the west.

What does centrist really mean here? Can you give an example of fringe and centrist?

I don't know of centrism is a theoretical position that lets us come up with fringe opinions, and I suspect we use it to mean like "a median belief"

Fringe and centrist should have the property that: the left and the right feel about the same about it, but also nobody holds the belief? Does that mean the left and the right equally condemn it? Would a fringe centrist belief be "Murder is good?"

At least a couple of different types--first, a rare belief that (currently) doesn't have a strong political valence. For example, advocates of a number of rare diets or other health-related practices that are generally rejected by the mainstream, but also don't map to current politics. Second, a "compromise" position on a political topic that takes strong elements from both ends of the political scale and fuses them together in a way that partisans on both sides would reject, though for different reasons.

"Wearing magnets is good for your health."

"Human fetuses are morally equivalent to any other human, but humans are bad for the environment, so abortion is a positive good."

White Patriarchy conspiracies at the fringe

Forgive me but isn't this type of thinking exceptionally mainstream in a way that QAnon just... isn't?

No, because "White Patriarchy" refers to two different ideas: One is that there is a secret masonic lodge of old white dudes who wear red robes and sacrifice a BIPOC virgin every full moon to anoint themselves in the blood of the innocent as they secretly control everything, man!

And the second "White Patriarchy" is noticing that white men hold something like 65-70% of all US political offices, but constitute 30% of the population.

One of these is empiricism, one is insanity.

Qanon is just insanity.

And the second "White Patriarchy" is noticing that white men hold something like 65-70% of all US political offices, but constitute 30% of the population.

And yet when people Notice things like this about other population groups, for example Jews, that's considered wacky conspiracy on the level of the first idea you mentioned. It seems there's actually only one group you're allowed to notice and decry the dominance of.

And the second "White Patriarchy" is noticing that white men hold something like 65-70% of all US political offices, but constitute 30% of the population.

One of these is empiricism, one is insanity.

In the name of empiricism, I bid you take a deeper look. I think you'll find these positions are disproportionately held by an even smaller group than that!

But other than Jews ruling the world, this is just special pleading. There's no lack of ridiculous fringe left-wing beliefs, feminist and non-feminist; tarot, astrology, otherkin, are all as absurd as anything the worst of Q asserts, and feminism's mainstream belief is certainly more than Noticing the numbers.

My intuition tells me that it's fair game to consider QAnon "political" but that tarot, astrology, and otherkin are "not political." This is true even granting that my worldview is opposite those who believe tarot etc.

If some rhetorical trick has been played on me to recenter QAnon nearer to the center of "right winger" and no such trick has been played w.r.t. tarot and the left, please elaborate on that.

My intuition tells me that it's fair game to consider QAnon "political" but that tarot, astrology, and otherkin are "not political.

I don't see why this matters. The insanity of a belief seems entirely separate from its political focus. The idea Hillary Clinton is a reptile or drinks infant blood is insane; so is the idea that the moon has exerted psychic control over you since birth or that you are actually a Zergling.

Certain crazy conspiracies are popular on the right, and certain crazy conspiracies are popular on the left. They're all crazy conspiracies.

It's all fun and games until someone decides they're a Baneling instead.

Motte: White Patriarchy is empiricism

Bailey: White Patriarchy is a theory that the observations are caused by a self-perpetuating system of laws, institutions, people

Strawman: White Patriarchy is a conspiracy theory

It's possible I'm being too charitable here, and what I've labeled "Bailey" is what someone else would label "Motte" and what I've labeled "Strawman" is what someone else would label "Bailey." I suppose it all depends on if in the real world, there are activists out there who behave as if there is a conspiracy of white people keeping the common person down.

Still, the self-perpetuation theory is promoted by people who I suspect also attack science and empiricism, so it's no surprise that this position is bears more resemblance to a religious faith than to a scientific theory. (I've certainly never read about anyone trying to falsify this position, while coming from an angle of trying to reduce racism).

I didn’t have any better expression for conspiracy theory on the political left than white patriarchy. Since it can be construed as a straw man does it mean that there is no qanon equivalent on the left? Because in the recent case with Shannon Brandt running over a teenager just reeks pizzagate levels of insanity.

"Trump is a Russian asset"? On parts of the right, this is sometimes called "Blue-Anon."

Whether it's correct or not, "Trump is a Russian asset" is far less crazy as a conspiracy theory than QAnon, as a whole. Imagining that a politician/businessman/public figure might be secretly in cahoots with a foreign country through blackmail or some other means is not an insane idea in itself, there have been plenty of such figures throughout world history. The QAnon metanarrative contains a huge number of intricate pieces and fantastical, improbable parts that would need to be true for the entire worldview to be true, not to forget that it involved a large number of specific date-based predictions on unprecedented events that didn't come to pass.

I disagree. "Trump is a Russian asset" is facially ludicrous given both his history and policies. "Sometimes public figures get blackmailed" is a very far cry from the specifics of Blue-Anon and the Steele Dossier. Similarly, the very broad strokes of QAnon bears a passing resemblance to Epstein's island and the Lolita Express, even though the details don't match. Blue-Anon was certainly more widely believed and higher status than QAnon, but it was no less crazy for all that.

It’s not just noticing that there are more white males in positions of power, it’s positing this was done through malice and oppression. This is the mainstream view as well.

Name me literally a single person who has ever advocated the first theory. I’ll wait.

When you misrepresent and distort the views of your outgroup beyond recognition, it’s very easy to call them insane.

Lotta post SJW types essentialize white dudes as a whole into some sort of malicious entity; when they are just the current hegemonic class.

There is nothing uniquely bad about white people or white men.

I mean, look, you’re talking to a white identitarian, so obviously I’m in vociferous agreement that there’s nothing wrong with white men. However, I think you have at best a surface-level grasp of what serious leftists actually mean when they talk about “systemic white supremacy”. It’s far more sophisticated than a simple attribution of malice to white men.

Yup. I know, because it's the position I hold: That groups who have historically held positions of influence have a tendency to act so as to benefit their own group, and that this urge is completely rational and ethical (on the level of the individual).

This extends up the chain of associations: given a chance, you will help your direct family, then extended family, then your group associations (Eg, I've gotten 10k+ in money for jobs over other equally skilled dudes because I play at the same gamestore as a client.)

There is nothing wrong with this, on the individual level. Eg, imagine two platonic applicants for a job are equally talented in all regards, except one of them went to your alma mater. There is nothing wrong with giving them the job.

Then you do this for 200 years, and you have a ruling class. Of course people who aren't in the ruling class are going to attempt to level out those advantages; they would be stupid not to. You can have opinions on the ethics of it all on top of that, of course, but the core is all practical.

It be how it be. Your ancestors fought against the romans for status, then they fought against the nobility, and now people are fighting the putative oligarchs. When someone eventually casts down the current group in pole position , someone will start fighting them, on into history until we get turned into paperclips or the sun explodes.

I dont think they were saying, "The Right thinks the Left believes in a secret masonic lodge" or "The Left believes in a secret masonic lodge" or anything like that.

They were saying that "QAnon is insanity" and "White Patriarchy is not insanity," and then described a hypothetical world in which White Patriarchy was insanity.

It's probably not hard to find a QAnon true believer that professes a cabal of elites that make literal sacrifice (which is Insanity)

Yes the white patriarchy conspiracy theory is more mainstream. It is the prevailing conspiracy that rules currently in the western world. But it is still a conspiracy theory, it hasn't any more claim on being a true reflection of reality than QAnon. A conspiracy theory doesn't become less of a conspiracy theory when more people believe it.

A conspiracy theory doesn't become less of a conspiracy theory when more people believe it.

Right but I don't think it's fair to characterise it "at the fringes" once it's reached ruling status. Far left, sure, but fringe implies a certain lack of critical mass, does it not?

It is only the extremes that have the belief of big systems with delibirate coordination to surpress the truth. Those closer to the center it myths and half-truths that previal but not the full blown conspiracy world view that everything evil is deliberate machinations by group of people.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my mother last year. She is a fairly standard-issue Gen X liberal, although somewhat open-minded about certain conservative issues, and guilty of Noticing™️ certain things about race and gender that gave me no shortage of distress back in my days as a dedicated progressive. She caught a terminal case of Trump Derangement Syndrome after 2016, though, and began ensconcing herself ever more deeply into the MSNBC bubble. She and I hadn’t talked politics for years, until last year, when she was ranting about Trump and his voters and how stupid they are, and how she could never imagine having an intelligent conversation with one, at which point I hit her with the “you’re talking to a Trump voter right now”. This was utterly shocking and disorienting for her. She couldn’t imagine that someone well-informed, sophisticated, and obviously intelligent - her own son, no less! - could see any value in Trump. Every conversation she had ever had with a Trump voter up to that point had been like pulling teeth - nothing but Fox News talking points, uneducated ranting, shit-tier conspiracies, and an evident lack of even a basic curiosity about the world.

I brought up an article called [The Asshole Filter] ( This article is about how women navigate the dating world, and how for certain women, if they make it clear that any guy who approaches them in public will be rebuked, the only guys who will approach them in public are going to be uncouth assholes with no social tact. If a guy is conscientious and desires to be respectful of your boundaries, and he is aware that you will be offended by his overtures, he’s not going to commit the faux pas of transgressing your explicity- or implicitly-states wishes. An asshole, though, doesn’t care about your boundaries, or isn’t smart enough to intuit them, so he will transgress them without a second thought. Eventually, as this process is iterated, the only strange men who will ever approach you in public are going to be assholes, and you will begin to get the strong impression that all men are assholes, because the only ones you meet are assholes. You unintentionally set up a filter that has screened out all the normal nice men you would have met, and the only men who made it through the filter are the ones you wanted least to meet.

I told my mom that she had unintentionally set up a similar effect when it came to talking politics. She is a very outspoken person, and is not shy about broadcasting her liberal views. Therefore, most people in her life are well-aware of where she stands and the kinds of statements that will make her mad or will start an argument. If they value maintaining a cordial relationship with her - for example, a coworker, or an acquaintance who likes hanging out with her without needing to have a deep level of agreement with her - will be conscientious enough to avoid making those statements. They will let her spout off about her opinions, and they will not challenge her on them or bring up their own more conservative/Trump-oriented views, since it’s not worth offending her or rocking the social boat. However, if someone doesn’t care about offending her - maybe they don’t particularly like her, or maybe they’re just not smart or self-aware enough to predict the negative consequences of expressing pro-Trump opinions around her - then they’ll happily say something Trumpy around her. That means that the only pro-Trump opinions she will ever hear will come from hostile, stupid, or unsophisticated people. All the smart Trump voters are invisible to her because they know better than to say anything where she will hear it.

The vast majority of liberals and progressives have set up precisely this type of political asshole filter. When you go on Facebook and post something like “If you don’t support a woman’s right to choose, unfriend me right now,” you’re not expecting any of the people you see as your actual friends to unfriend you. Your real friends would never have such an ugly opinion; if they did, surely you would know about it. Well, no, they just know how much it would piss you off if they expressed disagreement to you, and they care about your friendship more than they care about winning an argument. So, they stay silent. However, the people who don’t actually care that much about preserving a friendship with you - or the people who are dumb enough to think they’re actually going to change your mind with a public argument on Facebook - will take the bait and argue with you. Of course those arguments will be stupid or hostile; only a stupid or hostile person would have gotten into it with you in the first place. All the smart people realized it wasn’t worth it.

Any right-winger in a heavily left-wing social context - myself, for example - has long since realized the futility of attempts to persuade, or even of publicly outing yourself as a dissenter. They’ve decided to keep their heads down, only discussing politics in (usually anonymous) forums like this where they won’t be dogpiled or doxxed. The fact that this woman was willing to publicly display her GOP allegiance in that context should have been an immediate red-flag: she is either someone with nothing to lose socially, or someone who’s not smart enough to realize she’s about to lose it. A smart conservative would have avoided the whole situation and moved on with her life.

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@ZorbaTHut I tried to report this as AAQC but the submit button on the report pop up is grayed out. I'm on mobile if that makes a difference. Just FYI.

same for me, and I'm on PC.

It seems to me that an Asshole Filter can only be dismantled from the inside, but the person who sets up that filter (in whatever context) doesn't have much reason to do so--in fact, the usual behavior he sees from others just reinforces the reason for the filter. Quite the unfortunate Catch-22.

(And yeah, I've seen a number of the "if you don't agree that [whatever], unfriend me!" posts. Haven't found a better approach than ignoring the posts, and backing away slowly...but that doesn't really help anyone in the long run.)

I wonder about ways to prevent their establishment, really. Familiarity with the concept helps (and Siderea certainly gave it a vivid name) but if anybody has specific ideas to go further, I'd be keen to hear them.

Best starting point I can think of is intellectual humility--embrace the idea that you've got more to learn than you know, and grains of wisdom can be found in many unexpected places. In terms of external behavior, be willing to talk to anyone, even if that person is unpopular.

Even here, there is some wisdom in moderation; I'm not advocating for going full-bore quokka.

and somehow she started talking about slavery and pre-civil war America, waving a book around trying to show me underlined passages trying to liken the practice of slavery to what progressives are doing today, maybe implying that leftists want to return to pre-civil war America in some way. It was pretty hard to manage to get away.

It seems like conservatives, even on the fringe-right, still care a lot about not been seen as racist. If we assume anti-racism is the highest moral value to aspire to, no amount of this will change how republicans are perceived in the eyes of democrats or mainstream press.

Are we just whistling in the dark? We’re engaged in a process of refining our own beliefs, separating the gold from the dross, or at least the iron from the stone. We’re sharpening our wits, becoming able to see our own biases and those of our discussion partners. If nothing else, we’re learning to be less foolish ourselves.

I recall her mentioning that leftists want to harvest and sell fetus organs

According to investigations, Planned Parenthood does indeed harvest and donate fetal tissue/parts/organs, and is often compensated for their effort. The right was aghast when this hit the news cycle, and called for investigations. The left pointed out that it’s perfectly legal and above-board, and that Planned Parenthood isn’t being paid above market rates. The right has basically said, “And that’s a problem! It should be illegal,” but has no power to make it illegal.

She wasn’t using our words, but she was aware of a real occurence.

The person's claims, to the extent they're coherent at all, are a combination of: "the left wants to do medical research on fetuses" - nobody on 'the left' cares - "planned parenthood is incentivized to cause more abortions because they get monetary compensation for selling fetuses" - when you combine the frequency of said tissue donation and the compensation, it is not relevant to their bottom line.

Yes, from a steelman perspective, murderous ghouls like Kermit Gosnell who actively seek to kill children are few and far between. Most abortionists, along with the institutions and politicians who enable them and the mothers-not-to-be who avail themselves of their services, honestly don’t think they’re killing people. They’re simply being consistent when they legally categorize the tiny bodies as “medical waste” instead of “corpses” and threat them as a commodity.

Obviously, anyone who does believe fetuses are people look at Big Abortion with some mix of shock, horror, disgust, and righteous anger. The 65-year-old GOP supporter who OP met is fighting a cultural monolith on multiple fronts and she feels overwhelmed, and she probably has no experience fighting The Man.

The left as a coalition contains the constituency of academics whose perennial interest is that the budget to study anything and everything is always increased. Moral considerations only enter into this insofar as they conflict with other members of the coalition, and as it turns out, the people with any fealty to the sanctity of fetuses are all on the right.

And here we see one of the most common tactical patterns of the culture war. People see ill consequence for them, and infer intent from their ennemies, and their ennemies assure them that they are imagining the intent, paint the implication as delusional and use this to shutdown any discussion of the original consequence.

The Great Replacement is probably the canonical example of this, with the same exact people boasting about something they are actively saying isn't real, but you can see it throughout so many memetic conflicts between humans that it should probably get a name.

I suppose Coulter's got a nice formulation in "the law of merited impossibility" but this seems to double down on intent being actualized, which I don't believe to be necessary for the pattern to exist or be effective.

FYI, the Law of Merited Impossibility is Rod Dreher’s, not Ann Coulter’s. Coulter’s Law is the principle that when you’re reading a news article about some sort of crime or malfeasance, if the race of the perpetrator is not mentioned, that’s a clear indication that he or she is a racial minority. If the criminal were white, the author would have mentioned it without hesitation.

Oh yes, I got my conservative editor wires crossed somehow.

When you find someone tilting at windmills, it's much more likely to be Don Quixote than someone who has developed a really good new jousting technique. Regardless of the windmill.

Look at this fool Don Quixote, he is a raving lunatic!

Does he truly think he fights giants that feast on men?

Does he truly believe the most noble of men in society to be wicked sorcerers that worship demons?

He truly has the nerve to call these lowly peasant harlots and filthy prostitutes fair maidens and noble princesses?

What a miserable wretch! Does he think these good officers to be pawns of a conspiracy out to get him too? He gets what he derserves!

How lucky we are that our world is ruled by the sane and reasonable. Imagine our world if there were more psychopaths like him!

The only meaningful measure of intelligence is one's ability to successfully make predictions about the world -- smart people can predict, geniuses can exploit. If you're right, you're right, and if you're wrong, you're wrong. It's a very straightforward thing.

So is this a good space full of smart people? Maybe! Go track some poster's whose opinions intrigue you and see how consistently they take accurate measure of the world and how often their predictions come to pass.

The only meaningful measure of intelligence is one's ability to successfully make predictions about the world -- smart people can predict, geniuses can exploit. If you're right, you're right, and if you're wrong, you're wrong. It's a very straightforward thing.

not sure about this. I think the most intelligent people may not make for the best forecasters, or maybe the two are not that highly correlated. Intelligence is more about precession/preciseness of skill whereas forecasting is more about intuition and 'having a feel for things' (with some evidence to support the supposition) , which is not as precise.

If the world's smartest man routinely fails to make accurate predictions about the world, what use is his alleged brilliance? What does he have to show for his intelligence? He needs to be able to achieve or his genius is illusory.

string theory doesn't make predictions as well as Newtonian gravity does, but I don't think anyone would dispute that you need to have a high IQ to understand the math behind it. IQ measures in part the ability to understand abstractions. Predicting is something else, more to do with randomness or non-deterministic systems. There may be some weakly positive correlation, but hardly mutually inclusive.

I'm not saying it doesn't indicate high IQ. I'm saying it's useless to be intelligent but unable to leverage that into successful interfacing with your external reality.

that is a far difference from being a meaningful measure of something. I agree applied intelligence matters but that's different from what I think you originally said

Just different concepts of 'meaningful'. IQ isn't valuable in and of itself, it's what a high IQ can allow you to do that's impressive. Big number without the accolades to back it up is just... a big number.

There are achievements that don't reduce to empirics you know. Anything to do with apriori for instance.

I don't think anyone would deny that Euler was highly intelligent, but who in their right mind would go to him for predictions about the real world?

The only meaningful measure of intelligence is one's ability to successfully make predictions about the world -- smart people can predict, geniuses can exploit. If you're right, you're right, and if you're wrong, you're wrong. It's a very straightforward thing.

Is there a name for this philosophy? I think it underpins a significant portion of rationalist thinking and leads to some of the more exotic conclusions.

The definitions you assign things should not change your understanding of the universe (i.e. the map is not the territory). "Intelligence is ..." should not underpin one's thinking in the same way that deciding whether electrons are negatively or positively charged does not meaningfully change our understanding of physics.

Teleb beleives that the measure of how smart someone is, is how rich he or she is by applying said intellect. This seems wrong though.

It seems like a decent heuristic to me. Why is it outright wrong?

because IQ encompasses far more than how materially successful someone is. There is a positive correlation between IQ and wealth but but it's small. You have to take into account individual preferences. Many smart people do not aspire to wealth or careers that lead to wealth.

Not everyone is solely motivated by money?

I don't think this is the best objection because smart people are far more likely to care about money.

If you were to exactly follow the cultural pressures, taking all the cliches to heart, then you would place a low value on money but a very high value on things that money can buy. This describes most people who say they are not motivated by money. However, since smart people have consistent preferences, they don't fall into this trap.

I think they are much better at making money compared to average IQ people, *if *they seek to make money .They can get good paying jobs, credentials, find loopholes or tricks to making money easier

smart people are far more likely to care about money.

I don’t claim to be a people expert but this is very much contrary to my life experiences, unless you use circular logic to define being smart as being good at making money.

It's wrong because there are so many other things that can sabotage wealth. Energy levels, social anxiety, obsession with something unproductive.

Conversely, there are ways to become rich without using intelligence. A person who is extremely energetic and wants to be rich will eventually hit the jackpot by immersing himself in opportunities and following up on them.

LessWrongers typically believe that real intelligence is changing the world (writing to it), not just predicting it (reading from it). But, in practice you need to be able to predict it in order to change it.

I'm sure there's a name for it, couldn't tell you what it is. I'm not a rationalist and only know bits and pieces of the lingo from cultural osmosis.

Looks like a version of the scientific method / empiricism. A scientific theory is good if it leads to accurate predictions on the outcomes of future experiments or events.

But to say that this is also the only useful measure of intelligence seems dubious. For example solving math problems or following complex argumentation, and rhetorically convincing other people are also marks of intelligence and they don't require making geopolitical predictions. You can be a highly intelligent theologian who knows the ins and outs of the trinity and all the heretical versions of it and this still demonstrates intelligence, even though the subject matter has no predictive value about physical reality.

Our ramblings are logical, falsifiable, and evidence-based. They have high rates of predictability. Predictions made here about coronavirus often came true, as did predictions on increased homicides in the wake of BLM marches, economic fallout from lockdowns, etc. We shouldn’t hold the nihilistic belief that we can never determine ramblings from truth.

Predictions made here about coronavirus often came true,

According to my recall, this is accurate.

Not only were people here first on the train to see Covid as a threat at all, they were also the first to notice when the threat began to subside. They were always like 3 months ahead of 'mainstream' knowledge the entire time.

I had a few interactions where I worried that Covid would burn through the population fast if no actions were taken and could mutate into a deadlier version, and users pointed out that commonly, historically and almost necessarily any virus allowed to replicate freely would turn less deadly with time since killing hosts is not conducive to spreading rapidly. And that is what happened with new Covid variants appear with higher R0 but lower death rates, and eventually become dominant.

This was maybe the only forum I was on that didn't immediately fracture it's positions on Covid's severity and likely path along partisan lines.

There were still those who seemed to have partisan leanings, but by and large, almost every development of the disease's effects was accurately predicted and discussed by people from all political stripes, distinct from its economic and political implications.


  • The fact that it would be most severe amongst seniors, and almost a nonissue amongst children.

  • The fact that the vaccine might not provide full immunity.

  • The fact that communities with lockdowns and masking wouldn't end up with significant differences in death rates from those that 'opened up' and didn't force masking, over the long run.

Sweden was a decent control group

  • The fact that the lab-leak hypothesis was plausible, although there was good back-and-forth about this vs. the wet market origin idea.

I won't pretend there was any sort of 'community consensus' on the matter, but that was arguably the point, as people stayed very open to incoming information and, generally, also acknowledged that data in the short term would be highly noisy and uncertain so nothing would become very evident until we were well into the pandemic. It didn't become 'snap-to-grid' where you can predict a person's opinion on the virus itself (as separate from their policy preferences for dealing with it) from their other positions.

Agreed, rats really shone during covid. I felt vindicated in the usefulness of our talks here, that was objective proof we were more than a fun debating club, we had actual knowledge of how the world works. Expert opinion, or perhaps more accurately, the mainstream perception of expert opinion, was just wrong. More importantly, we could have made real money off this, sigh.

The most interesting part of the saga as a culture war observer was that in the first few months, the political sides hadn’t fully crystallized around the covid danger issue, which made partisan discussions amusingly unstable and prone to whiplash (eg, parts of the left tried to make ‘globalism is good, therefore covid is harmless’ happen, and the right played along by going for the ‘dangerous foreign contaminant’ disgust reaction ) . Then they would find something else in their respective memeplexes to attach to the issue and suddenly switch sides, as if choreographed.

I don’t know if we can repeat the covid feat. It seems the BLM covid riots radicalized some of the more right-wing commenters, and our coverage of the ukraine invasion has not been stellar (imo those same commenters seemed to support russia purely on culture war grounds, like normies, forcing their memeplex battle into the object-level issue).

Perhaps we were just lucky contrarians that time, and we’ll be automatically wrong when the mainstream is right. Or we only have a true advantage on certain subjects that are unprecedented, emotional and involve some, but not too much, multiplying.

Maybe you were lucky covid contrarians but you were mostly right.

However, I knew that the panic about covid was unjustified simply due to my healthcare training. I couldn't know how good the vaccines would turn out to be, or if covid is spread by droplets or aerosols, or if masks are effective. Those things require good studies and evidence. But for the general understanding for a disease that is so much age stratified, it was immediately clear what the upper limit of damage can be (bad for elderly, no effect on kids, variable to all others). Covid resembled exactly how other cold viruses work, kids get it several times per year, and we get constant exposure that keeps our immune system activated therefore we rarely suffer severe disease. It was immediately clear to me that kids are not in danger despite the panic. It was clear that people going outside are of very low risk. I also knew that once covid virus had spread in the country, it didn't make sense to close borders anymore (Australia was an exception due to specific geographic situation). I couldn't understand how people could support all these things despite clear evidence before their eyes about the contrary.

What Tegnell did in Sweden to me seemed like a standard textbook that I had studied at a public health course a couple of years ago before pandemic. I expected the UK going the same route because of all rationalists (e.g. Dominic Cummings) advising them, but alas, politics are so incomprehensible.

I lost my respect to rationalists due to this. I had learned in medicine that human biology is very complex, you cannot assume anything, you cannot make easy logical chains. You have to do RCTs instead. Sometimes things work like magic without our full understanding, like the most common painkiller, paracetamol (Tylenol for Americans).

I visited the conference a week ago with good presentation reminding us about the strength of evidence. The presentation showed the list of all the drugs initially approved for covid treatment (remdesivir, Paxlovid, several mabs etc.) showing the actual evidence for them. It reminded again and again that only RCTs is the gold standard, everything else is second or third class, regardless how much we want to believe. I still remember doctors who being asked about the evidence of mask effectiveness said that parachutes do not need RCTs. Ok, almost nothing in medicine are parachutes, including masks.

I feel vindicated at the end, but the damage done on all us was terrible. We had experimental vaccines made mandatory worldwide with very little evidence from RCTs. It's fine to take risks if we think the situation requires it, but don't force them on people against all medical ethics that were drilled to every healthcare professional. I still don't understand why we had so few dissenting voices from health professionals.

commonly, historically and almost necessarily any virus allowed to replicate freely would turn less deadly with time since killing hosts is not conducive to spreading rapidly

I bring this point up with a lot of non rationalists. I know nothing about epidemiology, myself, but the point you said makes sense. However, I get a lot of push back from people. People who claim to know more than I do about this stuff tend to think that there's no predicting whether a virus will become more deadly and spread less well, or become less deadly and spread better. They think both are likely, and I'm not sure why. However, they do agree that a virus that is less deadly will necessarily be more contagious and vice versa.

Maybe they're not thinking about the fact that both new variations might arise, but only the one that spreads easier one will outcompete, which will result in the quick demise of the other. Is there any merit to what they're saying? On what basis should I argue back against them? Are there any papers which show this phenomenon, or is there some scientific principle I could point to about it?

commonly, historically and almost necessarily any virus allowed to replicate freely would turn less deadly with time since killing hosts is not conducive to spreading rapidly

Layman: This is true on average, but viruses have avenues to become more deadly without hurting spread. For instance, Long Covid does not penalize the coronavirus at all, because it happens after it has already propagated. Anyways, viruses can become more deadly and spread worse, then they just ... spread worse. They can still spread for other reasons, for instance immune escape.

Regardless, it's important to keep in mind that viruses are never selected for killing the host, it just happens as a side effect that sometimes (short incubation) has pressure to avoid it. All the killing that viruses do is coincidence to begin with. That's one reason why viruses may become more deadly, because it's a random walk to begin with.

Not just Long Covid, but so long as the majority of spread occurs at the presymptomatic phase, then there is little selection pressure at all.

One notable example of Covid evolving to become deadlier was the Delta variant, which is deadlier than the ancestral strain.

If you are only interested in convincing people to your arguments, give them the image that you are a serious high status person who knows what he is talking about. Arguments and papers and principles don’t convince people, the image does.

On a side note, I am interested in knowing if there has ever been a recorded respiratory infection that turned more deadly and contagious at the same time via mutation and selection. I feel like the covid complex would definitely point to such an example endlessly so there probably isn’t one.

Where did you meet those people? I used to be among far-leftists and I used to be among academics (STEM though) and I never encountered even one far leftist who so much as knew what his opposition's arguments actually are beyond a forest of strawmen. At least I cannot recall any.

Back in the Old Country, in AskSocialScience, there was a recent question asking about the "growing number of POC nazis and white supremacists", and I have to assume that for the poster this is isomorphic to the question of "why are Latinos voting for Republican candidates?"

This is what you'd expect, of course, given how many far-leftists and academics there are, many of which aren't going to be either very smart or deeply connected to the far-right. I've mostly met them by their adjacency to the far-right.

Aye, guess that's a far cry from my provincial German surroundings, and some kinds of people simply cannot be found here.

Like people who are into specific kinds of literature. Downright impossible. They don't exist here.

Which specific kinds of literature?

Cormac McCarthy, Melville, Howard, Homer, Grimmelshausen, Gene Wolfe to name a few. I know exactly one person who read George MacDonald Fraser.

Alright, "don't exist" is speculation - they might. I just never met any, and I did ask around.

the former has been banned because they used simple, working class language, and the latter hasn't because they used flowery prose free of profanity that only hinted (but did so obviously) at the same thing the other person was forced, by dint of their lesser ability, to state explicitly.

Does that happen ? My impression is that people typically get banned for getting into heated arguments, but not for controversial opinions (except for the ultra-controversial subset that used to get reddit admins interested, like types of parentheses). Maybe occasionally for stuff like "building consensus", but that's usually not banning material.

I've never gotten banned from here, only Reddit, and I've been posting under several usernames since the bans for compliance have started happening. The first was RedMikeYawn I believe and then we'll it doesn't matter.

I used the simplest language here of what I consider long time posters - even tho I don't stick out or make many acquaintance due to the name changes - and only received one warning on my first ever (I believe) post. This was because I found this place before I found Scott Alexander which confused everyone. So then I lurked for a bit before posting again.

No one's brought it up so either the op here is incorrect or I write more eloquently than I thought.

In the last ten years I've met a large number of very intelligent far-left activists or otherwise true-believers who are extremely familiar with every single argument posted here. They've read Moldbug and Land, they follow BAP and WrathofGnon types on Twitter, they've read the regulars on Unz, they know who Steve Sailer is, they've spent hours poring over the works of Murray and Herrnstein, they've explored the debates between MacDonald and Cofnas, make jokes about physiognomy that descend directly from those made by the usual crowd, indeed they often know about every little controversy and minor disagreement on dissident right twitter etc..

I find that extremely hard to believe. I work in super-woke academia where presumably I should have run into such a person at one point. Yet I never met anyone who fits that description. Maybe our conception of what constitutes a "far-left" activist differs? If you mean the stupidpol kind, then yeah, sure.

I'm also going to note that I haven't met anyone during my time in academia that meets that description, but in my case, I know that the fact that I keep my head down so much means that I wouldn't have had a chance to learn anybody's political sophistication in such detail even if they were right next to me.

I just avoid political discussions (anywhere but the likes of here) because the risk/reward ratio seems far too great for me.

I work in super-woke academia where presumably I should have run into such a person at one point

Why? There are a lot of academics, many of which are super-woke. There are comparatively few far-righters. And a small subset of both are deeply invested in the details of their opponents' arguments, ideas, etc. So you'd expect only a small number of the former to be the latter. And there are plenty of people directly exploring the far-right at mainstream universities - here's a lecture where the first half does that (hilariously, the second half is a black man with a lisp making meaningless arguments about how kaepernick's kneel is meaningful for race relations). There are also some books out of universities, some of decent quality and some not, diving into far right thought.

Well, I would presumably meet that description. I meet every datapoint here (expect for Land, who I've never bothered to study that much), and I continue to be a member of a far-left party, if an inactive one.

More to the point, I know personally a large number of far-left people who are extremely interested in local far-right online obscure esoterica, most likely often possessing a better picture of the Finnish fringe far-right scene than the actors within it do themselves. There's a personality type that is very interested in fringe, esoteric thinking and figures in general, and that's of course very easy to combine to a general left-wing line.

When you say "left", do you mean the economic policies formerly associated with the left-wing parties of the late 20th century (workers' rights, expansion of the welfare state, more redistribution in general, etc.), or do you mean DEI?

If I'd have to describe why I continue to stick with the left, despite having a lot criticism about both the workings of the national and international left, would be three points, not in a particular order:

  • I continue to believe that the climate crisis and the resource crisis continue to cause a large (not existential, but still considerable) threat to the stability of the modern society, that simply trusting technology and market-based solutions is not enough, and believe that proactive governmental action is needed both to combat its onslaught and mitigate its effects.

  • I believe the Nordic welfare state to be both one of the most humane models of society to be conceived thus far and particularly foundational for Finnish culture, and after studying it's history, believe that its based not only on ameliorative ("for-the-poorest-and-weakest") measures, but on a strong bedrock of direct state intervention in economy through SOEs and such and on a strong, combative labor union movement.

  • For all the possible criticisms that could be aimed at how it can be weaponized, I find the international human rights treaty framework to be an important fundamental stabilizing civic myth both internally for modern societies and for the existence of a global international community, and worry that many of the thing advocated and agitated by far-right nationalist and populist movements are chipping away steadily at this civic myth, leading to unpredictable consequences.

By that measure, I am far-left as well. With perhaps the exception of some quarrels I have with the welfare state as it currently exists (mainly that one of its main functions is to prop up an enormous army of less-than-useless bureaucrats).

I stand by my original assertion then. I have never met someone with "woke" policy preferences who fits the description given by the OP. But I do know many economic leftists that are extremely intelligent and know their stuff.

I continue to believe that the climate crisis and the resource crisis continue to cause a large (not existential, but still considerable) threat to the stability of the modern society

How does climate change threaten - at all - the stability of modern society? Let's say one of the worse posited outcomes happens, and hundreds of millions of africans or poor south asians are displaced - but europe, china, the US, etc manage any disruption technologically. How does this threaten 'the stability of modern society' at all? If 20% of the population dropped dead, or a dozen random cities got wiped off the map, inhabitants included, it'd be unfortunate, but society would survive - and climate change will do much less than that to the US or europe. (and we know this from history - plagues and wwi/ii).

Also: what's the "resource crisis"?

international human rights treaty framework to be an important fundamental stabilizing civic myth

What is the myth specifically? Most people believe less in 'international human rights treaties' and more in a general sense that rights and democracy are necessary for all that is good, and specifically all that is good for happiness and prosperity for the people, especially the disadvantaged. This isn't really a myth, just a set of values and claims about their benefits. Do you mean that individual or collective rights aren't independent goods but rough gestures towards things that are generally contingently beneficial, but it's better for people to believe that protecting "rights" has some independent meaning or value beyond that contingency in some deontological vs consequential sense? I think the difference is deeper - everyone ("progressives") wants happiness and prosperity and freedom from want for all, and the larger part of 'international human rights' are just direct attempts to accomplish that - as opposed to (variously) struggle, complexity, duty, nation, race, beauty, etc.

Since the particular purpose of my statement in this subthread was simply to shortly present my essential beliefs, I am in fact not going to engage in further discussion of them here.

Fair enough. Often people make tangential statements with the intent of inviting further discussion, often they don't, hard to tell which.

I'm going to hazard a guess that it's the former. Of the leftists I know and have engaged in political discussion with, all of the ones I actually find know their shit in any way belong to the "original" economic left (most of whom have a distaste for woke). There are even some tankies I'm fond of, despite vehemently disagreeing with them on almost every point about economics.

The DEI/woke-type leftists, on the other hand, are by and large painfully confused on every topic including their very own ideology.

I’m extremely, extremely skeptical with your general point. I have never met any leftist familiar with those sorts of ideas except with passing familiarity that often misses key parts; better yet, I’ve only seen a few exist online. Best yet, whenever I see discussions online I find that leftists most often miss the heart of the discussion (not here, but elsewhere). Maybe you have found some truly amazing people, who also happen to never participate in online discussions (entirely possible), but I do not think these are typical of even the 95th percentile of leftist argumentation.

MattY is a perfect example of a left of center person who interacts with important right wing arguments, but is unable to engage with them. He will acknowledge all the things that Salier says, but then doesn't adjust anything. I am not saying, he must necessarily change his preferences and goals, but he doesn't even adjust how he'd things things should be implemented to have more success. At most he will say something like, "be quiet we have to do this on the down low," regarding something like defunding police.

In fairness to Yglesias, he at least sidesteps this stuff or will vaguepost some of the stuff he agrees with while ignoring the stuff he disagrees with. I find this a lot less annoying than the ones who know the score and will obfuscate or outright lie about it. Sticking with prolific twitters, I'd say the one who most typifies this is the one with a robot profile pic.

Whos that?

I think he’s probably referring to Noah Smith (noahpinion on Twitter) or maybe eigenrobot

Oh, of course. Noah Smith is the paragon of that. Is that a robot avatar? I always thought it was some Tron helmet or something.

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Don't feel bad, I have no idea either.