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Culture War Roundup for the week of January 1, 2024

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Now, here's a mod action I don't feel remotely bad about enforcing.

So far, you have been a pretty terrible denizen of this forum, and this comment, submitted to an expired thread, takes the cake.

The Motte doesn't forbid the discussion of racial differences, be it HBD, disapproval of ghetto culture or anything else. Hell, look at me, I'm on record as endorsing HBD, and I'm a mod, though my policy proposals are rather different from the usual garden-variety racist.

What it doesn't allow, is a top-level comment in the CW thread that can be boiled down to:

  1. Idle commentary on your Uber trip.
  2. Your driver calling people niggers (see, the word isn't forbidden, if you had used it, it would have probably been amongst the least offensive aspects of this comment).
  3. Your takeaway that, despite liberal propaganda, the proles remain hella based.

At this point, it would be easier for me to list all the rules you didn't violate than what you did. At the very least, this is booing the outgroup and sneering as hard as possible, with only a minor figleaf in that you're merely relaying the observations and commentary of an Uber driver.

You could have made a much better comment covering the same territory, racism or racist-ideologies (dictionary definition) are tolerated and often popular on the Motte, but we still have standards. If a regular made such a shitty comment, they'd be lucky to get away with a warning. You haven't earned that much forbearance.

While I'm here, we might as well discuss the overall pattern of your comments-

Self-promotion is tolerated, as you have done several times in the past for your Substack, but being a regular with AAQCs like Kulak makes it far more palatable.

Anyway, enjoy being banned for a week. It'll only get worse if you don't get better.

Is this supposed to be a top-level post? If so, I would advise against it, if you're going to make one of those we do expect more effort put into it.

If this was meant to be a comment to the discussion below, then it's fine, but in that case you should delete and repost it.

I can sort of see the argument in the sense of 'it is more likely that the Asian diaspora will take over in the next few decades than it is that African descendants will cause an issue'. However, most people are concerned more about the stability of their day-to-day existence. BAME immigration might not imperil the 'macro' as much, but has more everyday living consequences in terms of violent crime and people subsisting on handouts.

Deleted by author

Since I can't respond to that, I'll respond to the top reply as of now.

We had a strange rash of extra-spicy top level posts being deleted last year. But it died down recently. I hope this isn't it coming back.

@thenether appears to delete their comments regularly... looking at their profile I can't see any comments at all...?

With the help of archive.is, this is the original top-level post of @thenether:


Building off the HBD post below, Bronze Age Pervert has another recent tweet on these matters. In his opinion, focusing on black "dysfunction" is misguided because the focus should be on Asians and Indians:

Focus on criminality, low IQ and similar, with special emphasis on supposed biological causes of Bantoids' dysfunction is a mistake. High IQ, low-crime "model minorities" will have a corrupting effect on America far beyond Bantoid problems, which are usually just social nuisance

Some of "HBD sphere" are people who fear blacks, or had bad experience being mugged or intimidated in urban setting. Feel entitled to an urban bubble for which, however, they've never fought; never been in fistfight. Then complain about IQ, biological tendency to crime, etc. Bantoids are a political nullity. In countries where form large % there are social problems, but it's just a social NUISANCE unless they are made props in others' political struggles.

But eg a judiciary that is significant % Han and paneer is a civilization-ending scenario

The corruption of meritocracy in America has less to do with Bantoids than with "model minority" "newcomers" from societies with high corruption, nepotism, sociopathic disregard fair play, and in some cases millennia-old traditions of cheating and gaming bureaucratic meritocracy

I'm not really seeing the argument here. The US has experienced a lot of Asian immigration and it doesn't seem like it's approaching anything that could be described as "civilization-ending". And are Eastern and Southern Europeans any less "corrupt" than Asians and Indians? Whenever I see this kind of thing I'm reminded of what was said about the Irish:

[The Irish] hate our order, our civilization, our enterprising industry, our pure religion. This wild, reckless, indolent, uncertain and superstitious race have no sympathy with the English character. Their ideal of human felicity is an alternation of clannish broils and coarse idolatry. Their history describes an unbroken circle of bigotry and blood.

or the Italians or any other group that came to the US and is now completely assimilated. The least BAP could do is provide some evidence, but I've seen that's not very common in his writing. It's more about vibes and feelings.

Kudos to you for combatting the deleter menace. If people are actually discussing the post and it's not a misplaced comment, then it shouldn't be deleted. Often when I'm 5 or 6 replies deep I look back at OP to see what we were talking about originally.

I'm not really seeing the argument here.

Are you baiting to have it be cited here, to make BAP look better? Okay, you win. That «recent tweet» is half a year old. The actual argument he makes is this one.

Why are there meritocratic admissions in the first place? How did it happen? The reason the universities were opened up in the 1950's was specifically because cases like Feynman's. It was felt unjust that he shouldn't have had entry into school of choice, etc., because of quotas (at that time capping Jewish students) and Columbia eg felt dumb for having rejected him. The feeling was that schools should be opened up to students like him, WITH THE EXPECTATION that they would do great things with their degrees. Maybe not be Feynman or make great discoveries, but at least use that opportunity to try to, or to have notable achievements in other fields, or at least to become very rich, and so on.

The concrete reward for this opening up of universities was eventually expected to be ....money. Whether legacies, or students allowed in on purely merit, alumni who were or became rich donated to these skrewls. For those who became famous or notable in their fields wihout being rich, this also added to skrewl's reputation, bringing in more money or grants or so on by other avenues. In other words, the universities got or maintained something concrete from opened-up admissions, and the easiest measure of that was donations.

Azn alumni and especially Han don't donate. Thus although they were let in initially in high % because of grades, test scores, etc., it was eventually noted they don't donate. But even worse, they become notable or famous at rates far less than others.

Whereas the expectation was ideally a Feynman, what you got in the Han case was use of the degree to become an ophthalmologist in upstate NY etc.; obviously not always; just as in other groups not all came out Feynmans. But the tendency, pattern became very clear. In the vast majority of cases the degree was used for nothing but a comfortable middle class life and the feeling of status. No fame, no reputation coming to the skrewl, and no donations.

Thus you had a population that presented very good scores, grades, conscientiousness, etc., and so if allowed in purely on "merit" would make up a huge % of undergraduate class; but out the other end, they didn't deliver on the whole, and especially...didn't deliver money. [an aside about objective merits of science done by Chinese people. I think the issue of lower effective creativity and irrational lust for busywork are absolutely clear. But, arguably, we are in the regime where Galaxy Brained Ideas both comprehensible for humans and useful in practice have all been had, so East Asian mindset is in fact more valuable].

To this can be added the behavior of Han students in classrooms. It was noticed they are taciturn and in general add nothing to class discussion. In campus social and intellectual life, they seemed absent or kept to themselves etc.; again you may have personal anecdotes to the contrary, I do also. I had very good Chynese students who I was glad to talk to, who were brilliant and got all A's (deserved in their case) and I have Chynese frends, etc. etc.; it matters nothing. As a group universities noticed these very clear patterns in the majority if not vast majority of cases. [an aside about cheating]

…It was, again, a population that, if you applied simple "merit" in admissions, would end up forming maybe even a majority of the student body, but that produced nothing that was expected from holders of these degrees, most notably no donations, but also, no fame, no risk, no contributions, and during skrewltime, another lifeless parody of "study," memorization, cheating, sullen apartness.

For all these reasons universities felt justified in discriminating against azn and Chynese students for admissions--and they were probably justified. But once they started to do this, libtarded professors and admissions committees felt it was necessary to discard almost entirely whatever was left of meritocracy. "This Johnny Cheung has very good test scores and grades and I'm discriminating against him...it's only fair that I don't pay attention to the fact that Johnny Walters also has good test scores and grades. Merit doesn't matter anymore, we had to get rid of it, so...let me invite this nice POC out of feelings of social justice, etc." Thus in a move similar to what justified grade inflation, merit-based admissions was also mostly discarded. I don't know the status of things at moment exactly now after Floyd, but even by 2015 or mid second term Obama's racial demagoguery and BLM craze, it was already starting to be very bad. Even by early 2010's maybe it was accelerating. Obviously there are still very good students who can get in, but it's much harder now.

For what it's worth, I (as a person inclined to be somewhat positive with regard to East Asians and utterly pessimistic about any political proposal of BAPsphere) think this is his strongest thesis in ages. He actually enumerates plausible (and I think true, but of course one can protest and demand statistics to back up the inflammatory etc. etc.) factual premises and delivers his conclusion, he does not indulge in masturbatory stylistic flourish, and he mostly speaks like a real person with a sane, if objectionable, reason to dislike test-based meritocracy, rather than a flamboyant auto-caricature.

And of course you would not see «civilization-ending» outcomes. China itself is not ending, and the Chinese clearly contribute a lot to American prosperity. It's only the particular forms of that civilization that can be disrupted by immigration; this is both known and desired. It is not absurd that the Irish have destroyed a certain America (as @2rafa often argues) – but now that the Irish are Americans too, they get to weigh in whether it was a good or a bad thing, and they're not going anywhere anyway.

You see, culture is fragile, human practices are fragile, valuable conventions are easy to ruin and hard to restore. Consider the following bizarre analogy. Add a random homeless person off the street to your household, have him eat and sleep together with your family (assuming you have one) – it will probably be ruined (some idealistic people have tested this approach). Add a random well-behaved stranger – nothing outwardly catastrophic will happen, you might become friends even! And splitting domestic chores, and paying rent – think of it! But your family will change, will become something pretty nonsensical. Maybe Bryan Caplan would argue that your household income will increase, that your children will be more likely to prosper, thus it is moral and proper to make this choice? The philosophy that BAP subscribes to detests and rejects this sort of crude economic reasoning, deems it subhumanly utilitarian. I suppose a real American must call BAP a sentimental fool then.

There is an argument to be made that many of the scientific achievements and breakthroughs were low-hanging fruits that were inevitable to be discovered. It's just that the Enlightenment took place in Europe and thus most of the low-hanging fruits of scientific knowledge were thus discovered and produced in western nations. (Not to disparage the works of these great scientists and inventors, but if someone is making the argument of why another population is not producing great works, well there is a reason for how these great works were created, and as @you-get-an-upvote make's in a comment down stream "here aren't any Feynmans in the 21st century." Scott Alexander made a similar argument last year on why there aren't any more Einsteins which I largely agree with his reasoning here.

Whatever your thoughts on modern technology may be, many tech companies that provide entertainment or convenience to us today were founded or cofounded by Asian Americans. YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch, Zoom, Yahoo, Snapchat, Nvidia and many more exist thanks to the vision and hardwork of Asians. Maybe these tech companies are the low-hanging groups of the Internet era, but that just illustrates my point further.

I will acknowledge BAP's argument is specifically mostly about Chinese people and not Asians in general... but I doubt that's a distinction that matters in enrollment into Universities. Racial breakdown in admissions only goes to the level of Asian, after all, and many Chinese surnames are the same/similar to surnames from other countries near China. The only way to know for sure is if they are a foreign student enrolling directly from China, but foreign students are always a small percentage of people admitted and foreign students are usually not eligible for many scholarships/financial aid, meaning they pay the full tuition. So the universities are making money off foreign Asian students through tuition. Regarding donations "in 2022, more than 80 percent of the donations came from 1 percent of the donors", so it really shouldn't matter whether the other 99% of people that attended these universities donated. Besides, given the clear anti-Asian bias against admissions in a university such as Harvard, I imagine that would have an impact on an Asian's decision to donate to Harvard.

Also, I don't buy his argument that discrimination against Asian Americans leads to dropping the idea of meritocracy. If I'm straw-manning his argument here then please let me know, but he's essentially saying

  1. For many/various reasons, Universities discriminate against Asians.
  2. Because Universities are already discriminating against, Asians, they got rid of meritocracy for whites because they are already discriminating against Asians.

There are better explanations that better explain the affirmative actions of Universities, such as social justice, equity, cultural Marxism, etc and I don't think the fact that Asians were being discriminated against played a big role in the creation and propagation of these ideas. At best a minor justiciation but I seriously doubt anyone in university admission made a train of thought the way BAP did for his hypothetical University admissison officer.

I can't believe it. So much of BAP's argument is built on shoddy premises, the only one that I can't rebut or hasn't been addressed by someone else already is his observations regarding the behavior of Asians when he was going to school since those are his observations and I didn't attend the school he went to, so maybe what he observed is true, but that's just a minor piece of the overall argument.

I think the lack of geniuses comes more from systemic issues in education. Asians aren’t producing geniuses, but neither are whites or Hispanics or blacks. But our system is not only not set up to produce geniuses, but to stymie the development of any who happen to come along.

From age 5 to finishing your BS degree, success is based on your ability to sit still, follow directions, and produce reams of worksheets and essays on topics you don’t care about. Any actual genius would be bored stupid. The removal of gifted classes means that you move at the speed of the stupid kids in the class who don’t understand anything or care that much. The system is poorly suited to teaching independent thought, as it needs to teach to the tests and hit all of the objectives. Having open ended discussions doesn’t produce measurable results so teach kids to regurgitate the correct answers.

The grant and publication system also locks in mediocrity. If you need to get grants to have a job, and you need to show that your experiment will work to get the grant, you pretty much have to stick close to what is known. Adding the publish or perish mandate makes it more difficult to peruse big projects because they take too long. So where could these breakthrough ideas come from? Nobody has the money an$ freedom to think big.

good find. the extended thread was omitted

  • China itself is not ending, and the Chinese clearly contribute a lot to American prosperity. It's only the particular forms of that civilization that can be disrupted by immigration; this is both known and desired.

I never bought into this trope that east asians lack creativity to counterbalance high Iq. I don't see it. for the math paper I'm working on, most of my sources are from Chinese authors.

Do they not donates as much? I dunno. The evidence suggests Asians are big donors:

  1. Hong Kong Family Stumps Up With Harvard's Largest-Ever Donation '

Hong Kong Family Stumps Up With Harvard's Largest-Ever Donation. The family of Gerald Chan, a Harvard-educated investor, is donating $350 million to the university's School of Public Health, the largest gift in the 378-year history of the U.S.'s richest university.

  1. https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20161214160658320

A US$ 115 million donation to California Institute of Technology or Caltech in the United States from Chinese billionaire Chen Tianqiao and his wife Chrissy Luo tops a generous year for donations to international education and research institutions from Chinese philanthropists.

  1. https://news.mit.edu/2015/samuel-tak-lee-gift-real-estate-entrepreneurship-lab-0108

MIT has received one of the largest gifts in its history, from alumnus Samuel Tak Lee ’62, SM ’64, to establish a real estate entrepreneurship lab that will promote social responsibility among entrepreneurs and academics in the real estate profession worldwide, with a particular focus on China.

  1. Controversial Chinese Tech Billionaire Gives Millions to Elite American Universities https://freebeacon.com/national-security/controversial-chinese-tech-billionaire-gives-millions-to-elite-american-universities/

Ma Huateng, the founder of Tencent, has given at least $5 million to Princeton through his personal charity since 2017 and $5 million since 2018 to MIT, according to previously unreported Department of Education records. Ma also serves on the advisory boards for the Yale Center Beijing and the Cornell China Center, where he and other Chinese business leaders advise the schools on developing partnerships in China. Tencent's charity contributed $900,000 to Columbia University in 2017, according to the Department of Education records.

Same for foreign gifts: Interests based in China contributed over $168 million to 46 American colleges and universities during a six-month period in 2021 https://www.thecollegefix.com/nearly-170m-in-contracts-and-gifts-flowed-to-u-s-universities-from-china-in-2021/

he does not indulge in masturbatory stylistic flourish

Maybe if you're used to his non-standard spellings and such. He reads like an arrogant 15-year-old to me (albeit a very clever one, though not as much so as he seems to think).

Misspellings are allegedly a mechanism to invoke algorithmic suppression and not have your content revealed to the general audience. I do ignore them.

He reads like an arrogant 15-year-old to me

People generally do not become any smarter with age so that is okay. If one can make an argument at all, it can be made at 15 and with a teenager's mentality. Except when an argument depends on accumulated experience, like his time in academia.

Except when an argument depends on accumulated experience, like his time in academia.

You say this like arguments that depend on accumulated experience are some weird niche issue that barely ever comes up in real life.

If I were to negatively compare someone to a 15-year-old, what I would typically mean is along the lines of "You're making the same mistakes that most of us grew out of when we were early teenagers, but somehow you haven't learned from them yet". For example, talking like a sesquipedalian thesaurus and thinking it makes you sound intelligent (it does - but not to intelligent people), failing to clearly distinguish between the real world and one's own feelings, being unable to model other people as independent agents with their own desires and fears, and so on.

So, which of those defects are present in his thread?

That’s a lot of words to basically say “merit wasn’t being properly measured and when properly measured for it Asians don’t measure up.”

Now whether it is true is a different matter.

I think the confusion is between merit vs potential. Merit would seem to measure how qualified someone is based on the usual objective things like GPA. potential is what happens after graduating.

That's a few words to express a fairly unjustified level of disrespect.

No, Asians really are meritorious as far as potential for educational and professional attainment goes. They get high scores, and those scores translate into life outcomes. A 99.9th percentile SAT taker comes in, a 99.9th percentile employee comes out and waves a diploma proving his or her value to the employer. This is a perfectly reasonable meritocratic system, as meritocracy has been defined for a very long time.

BAP is a romantic who believes that merely excellent outcomes are not what elite education is about; that the objective of such institutions is finding and riding the coattails of geniuses and heroes. Glory isn't just a better-ascertained «merit».

His whole point seemed to be “sure they come out and do perfectly respectable nice upper middle class jobs but they arent doing something great or amazing”

He is saying greatness is the goal which means merit is how great could you become

This would be fine if he had anything to back it up, but his only "evidence" is complaining that there are no Chinese Feynmans... but there aren't any Feynmans in the 21st century.

Incidentally, by my count 7 of the last 50 Nobel laureates in Physics and 3 out of 16 Fields Medal winners were Asian.

It's worth noting that this is roughly inline with Asian representation at Harvard today (14%) and most Nobel laureates were born before 1950 -- research labs weren't really accessible to a billion Asians then. So not sure how meaningful those numbers are in either direction.

(Side note: interestingly, Fields Medal winners cannot be older than 40).

but there aren't any Feynmans in the 21st century

This is cope, of course. Our Feynmans are called names like «Ilya Sutskever» and «Noam Shazeer», or if you want a Gentile, «Alec Radford». The focus of frontier research has shifted from bits to bytes and from public institutions to for-profit companies, while professional celebs have picked up the slack of mental representation for heroic figures. But sci-fi valorization of flashy fundamental physics results, partially driven by military agendas of the XX century and purely aesthetic raygun gothic midwittery, persists; and so people try to explain the non-real phenomenon of our era lacking Feynmans.

  1. I noted that there is the question of whether he is right.

  2. I guess the question so what is the right denominator for determine over or under representation.

"Skrewl"??

BAP insists on talking like Borat swallowed a 1932 encyclopedia Britanica for some reason.

School, it’s one of those babyspeak things.

I think Rush Limbaugh coined that one.

The Limbaugh bit was specifically "Screw-ells" based on the claim that big-name schools were screwing over their customers/students by encouraging them to take on increasingly unrecoverable amounts of debt. He also coined the "you'll own nothing, and you'll like it" line years before software as a service became a thing.

He also coined the "you'll own nothing, and you'll like it" line years before software as a service became a thing.

Do you have a link? "You'll own nothing and be happy" is from a 2016 WEF video based on an essay by Danish politician Ida Auken (which went viral in part because it did not make clear that the future depicted wasn't nessesarily supposed to be desirable). If Limbaugh had a similar line before, that implies that either the video creator got it from him (directly or indirectly) or that they coincidentally used a very similar phrase.

Do you have a link?

Not on hand, but I'll see if I can dig something up as I distinctly remember it being a thing within the right wing/tea party blog/talk-radio sphere during the whole "Life of Julia" kerfuffle circa 2012 or so.

That said, and not knowing otherwise, I strongly suspect Auken's statement is a case of either coincidental infection or convergent evolution. IE different people describing the same thing similarly.

I'm sure I remember a sentiment like it in one of the utopian satires I read as a teen. Erewhon maybe? Also it's a natural extension of communist expectations.

a sane, if objectionable, reason to dislike test-based meritocracy

It's a sane reason to dislike the Anglo-American tradition of clinging to rheumatoid institutions that turn A into B when what you need is something that turns A into C. But look, they say, enough of the C's you get are B's as well, or there's a second institution that turns B into C as a side effect, or B and C are interchangeable in current conditions.

But then something changes, and everyone starts to cry about how inefficient the institution is, we need 10 of C, but it's producing only 8 of them, we need to fix it to make more B. Fuck no, you don't need it to make B, you need a different institution to make C!

It's not a revelation that the Ivies dislike Asian students because they are not donating as alumni. But you know what they should do? Use projected total donations as the admission criterion. Hire some actuaries and build a table that estimates how much every applicant is likely to earn and how big of a share of their total lifetime earning they are likely to donate to Harvard and admit the most profitable applicants. Oh, a future high earner claims to be unfairly judged to be stingy? No problem, they can sign a contract with the university and get a donation-sized price of admission.

What about the prestige of the institution? Well, come up with a figure of how much money you are willing to sacrifice and make your admission essays about the ways in which the student will glorify the existence of your university.

Oh no, such primitive, mercantile approach is ruining the vibes-based reputation of your institution? Tough fucking luck. Oh no, other colleges that promise the best education for the least amount of money are stealing the brightest applicants? Mission fucking accomplished.

But you know what they should do? Use projected total donations as the admission criterion. Hire some actuaries and build a table that estimates how much every applicant is likely to earn and how big of a share of their total lifetime earning they are likely to donate to Harvard and admit the most profitable applicants. Oh, a future high earner claims to be unfairly judged to be stingy? No problem, they can sign a contract with the university and get a donation-sized price of admission.

That would be telling; it would be common knowledge that they were just a self-licking ice-cream cone at that point and they would lose their prestige. They have to pretend to be something else.

I feel like this complaint is aptly addressed in the closing paragraph.

There are a lot of (I assume) illegal contract types that could make this easier. I wonder how admissions would change if Harvard demanded 5% of lifetime earnings of all its students, maybe with a billionaire heir waiver in exchange for a one-time $50m donation.

I’m not sure if he’s talking about native born American Chinese or simply students from China here. If he’s talking about Chinese students coming to American universities, it’s hardly surprising that they don’t donate — they aren’t Americans and have no reason to invest in American universities. They’re coming to get the name-brand diploma and afterward a good number of them go back to China. If American kids were graduating from Mexican universities, it’s unlikely they’d donate to their schools either.

I don't think there exists the distinction that you think exists.

What distinction? Americans with Chinese ancestry vs. people from the PRC?

I don't think he's wrong entirely, but he's wrong to attribute it to prejudice from having a bad experience with blacks. He's doing the same sort of psychoanalyzing that the left loves to do (if you dislike X it means you are secretly X).

He's doing the same sort of psychoanalyzing that the left loves to do

Because he's fundamentally a leftist at heart. If the pen-name, affected Borat-speak, and preoccupation with IdPol weren't clues enough, you can just look at how he behaves.

BAP is nonsensical. I don’t even care that he’s a racist; his general ranting doesn’t even make sense. Everything from the gay softcore porn to the obviously-fake ruritanian accent to the justifications for his racism is just nonsense he uses as an aesthetic shield. I don’t think he cares about HBD except occasionally using it for rhetorical points. And as far as his opinion on ‘the Han’ and ‘the bantoids’ goes, well, there are examples of majority Chinese judiciaries that generally function well(China, Taiwan, Singapore), and the main issues with the US legal systems stem from negrolatry, not nepotism.

In order to establish whether there are ethnic category differences in civilizational potential, we would need to measure the propensity to feel guilt rather than shame, the extent to which different groups instinctively feel the sharp pain of empathy when considering another’s suffering, the extent to which there is a natural domesticated interest in making others’ happy, and perhaps the extent to which emotions and trustfulness can be read on their face. No amount of checks and balances can actually stop a society filled with the sociopathic/“gunners” from corrupting institutions (we see them do this today as is (I am from New Jersey)), so BAP’s hypothesis is not invalid, just unevidenced.

The interplay between racial genes and morality has actually been studied recently, but I haven’t taken the time to delve in:

https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/pdf/doi/10.4324/9781003281566-7

https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/pdf/doi/10.4324/9781003281566-8

I don’t find it impossible or even improbable that different groups would have different levels of prosocial tendency (obedience, guilt, interest in the feelings of others). I’ve seen the role of genetics at play in my dogs who have vastly different characters despite only diverging 1000-2000 years ago. And frankly I also think this discussion is pretty important. Which doctor would I rather have, the intelligent one who uses all their cognitive energy for self-gain, or the less intelligent one who has a permanent cognitive reserve dedicated to checking his own moral behavior? The former is going to prescribe me unnecessary pills, not actually be interested in healing me, and may scam my insurance by sending me off to cousin doctors when it’s not necessary. The latter will take a little bit longer, but more efficiently arrive at the actual purpose of his social role.

I think mapping personality/behavior to race/ethnicity is iffy . This is entering into 'big 5' levels of vagueness here.

Blacks being more extroverted than other races is an elephant you're trying not to notice.

I think mapping personality/behavior to race/ethnicity is iffy . This is entering into 'big 5' levels of vagueness here.

I don't. I think it's obvious on the face of it. Genes and culture co-evolve. The question isn't if there are differences, the question is how significant they are on average.

Traits like aggression, impulse control, parental investment, fidelity, industriousness, cleanliness, and aesthetic preferences are all present in animal species, vary among subspecies, and are clearly genetic in origin -- especially in species without culture to speak of. Can branches of humanity, having been split off for hundreds if not thousands of generations, which evolved in very different environments (and very different cultures), possibly not have some substantial drift here?

A common sentiment around here is how silly those are who imagine that evolution stopped at the neck. Sure, (specific subspecies of) black people can run faster or have more fast-twitch muscle fibers, and that's because of genetic divergence, but no way could they be less intelligent!

But one of the weirdest things to me about many of the people on this board is that they will then go on to do the exact same thing with neural architecture. Sure, different populations have vastly disparate levels of intelligence, but no way could the same factors which cause that have substantial differences upon personality!

Let a collie be raised by cats, and it will try to herd things.

Francis Fukuyama has some interesting political philosophy that tries to do big picture, Jared Diamond style analysis of why some regions have a less stable history in terms of whether a central ruler governing the local areas of its domain was able to assert power over long periods.

In this analysis, India is noted as being unstable in terms of central government, instead suffering waves of conquest by foreign powers from the North, I forget the historical elements. This led to, or exists alongside, to cultural tendencies towards nepotism, with family being more important than society broadly speaking. This is pretty awful paraphrase probably but the idea of different peoples having different cultural tendencies is not unusual.

But I think the power of culture is that, people, especially second-generation often grow up adopting the customs, and culture, of the country they live in. Such is cultural development for everybody. I think America still has a culture of meritocracy that should maintain, I mean presumably cultures are constantly at risk of change due to other, but often don't change. In any case, cultures are increasingly merged.

In this analysis, India is noted as being unstable in terms of central government, instead suffering waves of conquest by foreign powers from the North, I forget the historical elements. This led to, or exists alongside, to cultural tendencies towards nepotism, with family being more important than society broadly speaking.

That wasn't because of foreign invasions. The extreme caste endogamy started during the Gupta empire, an empire of local origin, and during the middle of a long pause in foreign invasions.

“Meritocracy” in a ruthlessly capitalist country can easily incentivize sociopathy (or at least an efficiency of mind that discounts actual moral feelings to a degree reminiscent of sociopathy). Let’s say I want a job at Google. Any evolved instinct to care for others or to experience guilt about moral choices (getting answers from a previous student; is working at Google even moral?) takes up cognitive space that could be allotted to my repetitive studies and task-list completion. It’s trivially easy for a sociopath-ish student to understand that he needs to pretend to have moral feelings and to do the requisite extra-curricular to signal this; these are small barriers in the pursuit of self-gain. Once he is a manager or CEO and running our nation’s search engine and algorithms, he’s not going to magically experience moral compunction about the consequences of what he’s doing. He was never trained in that, he was selected for having the least of that, and he may not even have it in him. Anyway: Google job secured, mates secured.

This is different than the selection in effect within a devoutly Christian society, as was common in European history (back when everyone genuinely believed the religion). Acting Christlike and having Christ-ian moral feelings were genuine sexual section factors on their own, and were also factors in being selected for high positions. (You also had interesting things like the practical wisdom of the society being clothed in Christian language, easily accessed to those who believe but less accessible to sociopaths). Obviously it was far from perfect as a social technology, but I think that this likely led to an increase in prosocial gene proliferation. People weren’t chiefly judged on their widget production but on their faith (capacity for moral and social feelings) and their imitation of the singular moral paragon.

What I mean by all this is that it’s entirely possible Europeans have higher prosocial genes due to 1400 years of evolutionary selection, that this is pro-civilizational, but that our current “widget meritocracy” is ultimately anti-civilizational because it rewards self gain through widget production which (because cognition is zero sum) necessarily punishes those with substantive moral feelings.

I'm not sure on selection of prosocial genes, will think on this - Fukuyama puts it culturally with regard to practises of Roman Catholic church disrupting familial inheritance etc

This is different than the selection in effect within a devoutly Christian society, as was common in European history (back when everyone genuinely believed the religion). Acting Christlike and having Christ-ian moral feelings were genuine sexual section factors on their own, and were also factors in being selected for high positions. (You also had interesting things like the practical wisdom of the society being clothed in Christian language, easily accessed to those who believe but less accessible to sociopaths). Obviously it was far from perfect as a social technology, but I think that this likely led to an increase in prosocial gene proliferation. People weren’t chiefly judged on their widget production but on their faith (capacity for moral and social feelings) and their imitation of the singular moral paragon.

The regions of Europe that became Christian later tend to due better than those that became Christian sooner. I.E. Northern vs Southern Europe. Saint Paul was converting Greeks in the 1st century, and Albanians were ruling and converting the Roman Empire in the 3rd and 4th centuries; yet, these countries are basket cases compared to Finland or Lithuania. The last bastions of Paganism in Europe.

The regions of Europe that became Christian later were also much, much flatter, had more interior waterways, and in many cases had easier access to the Atlantic Ocean. I.e. factors that support large, contiguous empires, industrialization, and overseas colonization/trade vis-a-vis the Roman Empire's mediterranean core which was functionally centered around coastal enclaves largely isolated from eachother by rough (and expensive to economically develop) terrain. The southern European and Levant states didn't even have a non-Gibralter route to the world's oceans until the world-spanning empires who did have Atlantic ocean access were already established.

What I mean by all this is that it’s entirely possible Europeans have higher prosocial genes due to 1400 years of evolutionary selection, that this is pro-civilizational, but that our current “widget meritocracy” is ultimately anti-civilizational because it rewards self gain through widget production which (because cognition is zero sum) necessarily punishes those with substantive moral feelings.

If Christianity helped to spread "prosocial genes" in population, we would observe that people who were Christian the longest - Greeks, Sicilians, Southern Italians, Spanish and other Mediterrannean peoples - would be the most "prosocial" and people who were Christian only for short time - Nordic and Baltic peoples - would be wild raging two legged beasts.

Do we observe it?

The people who were Christian the longest would be various tiny middle eastern ethnicities. I think the largest and best continuity are the Maronites, who’ve been an endogamous Christian group since well before the Islamic conquests and who are doing quite well by the standards of ‘minority group living in a shithole country ruled by terrorists’. Ditto for Palestinian Christians(Arab Christians actually outcompete Jews in the Israeli education system) and copts.

The longest continually Christian ruled territory is probably northern Italy, although plausibly some other part of the carolingian empire(maybe the Ile de Paris) has it beat. And northern Italy, unlike the south, has outcomes similar to germany.

‘Christianity is mildly eugenic, but not enough to overcome most confounders’ fits the data we have. There’s plausible explanations; monogamy, reduction of cousin marriage, monasteries as a dumping ground for autists. I wouldn’t say there’s strong evidence but it seems to lean in that direction.

The people who were Christian the longest would be various tiny middle eastern ethnicities. I think the largest and best continuity are the Maronites, who’ve been an endogamous Christian group since well before the Islamic conquests and who are doing quite well by the standards of ‘minority group living in a shithole country ruled by terrorists’. Ditto for Palestinian Christians(Arab Christians actually outcompete Jews in the Israeli education system) and copts.

And these people are typical Middle Easterners, not "pro-social" at all outside their family and clan.

The longest continually Christian ruled territory is probably northern Italy, although plausibly some other part of the carolingian empire(maybe the Ile de Paris) has it beat. And northern Italy, unlike the south, has outcomes similar to germany.

Why you exclude Central (with Rome) and Southern Italy? Excepting small and short lived emirate of Bari it was in solid Christian hands since Constantine.

‘Christianity is mildly eugenic, but not enough to overcome most confounders’ fits the data we have. There’s plausible explanations; monogamy, reduction of cousin marriage, monasteries as a dumping ground for autists. I wouldn’t say there’s strong evidence but it seems to lean in that direction.

Your picture of Christian history seems too rosy. Autists and other mentally ill were seen as possessed by devil and treated accordingly. Monasteries were, for most of Christian history exclusive institutions, serving as dumping ground for excess unmarried sons and daughters of aristocracy (mostly daughters), and were tiny, not enough to influence general genetic composition of population.

So what caused European specific high IQ genetic development? More plausible is theory of Peter Frost it was work from home.

More technically, cottage industry and distributed manufacturing.

In other civilizations, succesful craftsmen (presumably with high IQ and conscientiousness scores) moved to cities where they thrived and prospered until they died of disease. In Europe, guild system specific in European civilization prevented it, and distributed manufacturing evolved as workaround.

Under this system, craftsmen stayed in their villages, worked with material brought to them by merchant and sold him the finished goods. It was miserable existence combining drawbacks of city and country, life at complete mercy of the trader.

Still, succesful craftsmen had large families, who, unlike children born in plague pits that were premodern cities, survived. This way, by series of historical accidents, high IQ and conscientiousness genes spread in the population. Until end of guild system and development of capitalism put end to this process.

Yes, at least on this issue, Elon Musk is full of shit.

You would need to account for the infusion of genes into eg Sicilians (8%+) due to the Muslim conquests, and then also account for whatever the Northern Europeans were doing with their own religion prior to Christianity. Always found it interesting that Odin is also a figure who sacrifices himself on a tree to benefit the world: “I know that I hung on that windy Tree nine whole days and nights, stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin, myself to my own self given, high on that Tree of which none have heard from what roots it rises to heaven. None refreshed me ever with food or drink, I peered right down in the deep; crying aloud I lifted the Runes, then back I fell from there.”

Always found it interesting that Odin is also a figure who sacrifices himself on a tree to benefit the world

No, Odin sacrificed to learn secret of the runes for himself.

Anyway, you just disproved your previous assertion that Christianity was necessary to evolve "prosocial genes" in population. If old Germanic religion was as good, the Northern Europeans could stick to Odin and Thor and would be just fine.

It’s only disproven if you discount all the complexity of the question. Southern Europe had an influx of conquering Muslim genes and Jewish genes, whereas Northern Europe did not. And while we don’t know a ton about Norse Paganism, the figure of Odin shows interesting overlap in emphasizing the idea of self-sacrifice for social benefit, which is actually not common to all religions (as an example it’s absent in the figure of Muhammad). Rather than seeing Christianity as wholly distinct from every other religion, we should just consider the underlying social technologies of the religion and how they influence sexual selection — couldn’t Odinism have some but not all of the benefit of Christianity? I also wouldn’t deny that there are independent variables from geography (cold winter theory).

he figure of Odin shows interesting overlap in emphasizing the idea of self-sacrifice for social benefit,

Except, in the myth, the benefit was learning secret of runes, the myth says nothing about how it was useful to anyone else than Odin.

which is actually not common to all religions (as an example it’s absent in the figure of Muhammad)

??? Mo was happily married and living well, and sacrificed it all to preach his message to unfriendly audience, faced hatred, persecution, and finally had to flee his hometown to save his life.

More comments

Replying to myself, but a tangential topic to look at would be whether the religion in a given civilization promoted prosociality the most or whether it promoted memory the most. There are religions where collecting information guaranteed greater chance of resources, mates, and offspring (Islam (the Hafiz), Judaism (The Rab)). In Christian Europe, the religiously informed priesthood generally did not have children, being celibate.

The US has experienced a lot of Asian immigration and it doesn't seem like it's approaching anything that could be described as "civilization-ending".

The level of wanton illegal immigration in the last three years, and the last four months in particular, are so incredibly unprecedented that you simply cannot look to the past for comparison.

This is civilization-ending, but the civilization doesn't end overnight, and by the time you would agree with the seriousness it will be too late to do anything about it. It might already be too late.

Do you have a source for numbers on the amount of illegal immigration? All the numbers I can find are at least a few years old so don't tell me anything about the last three years. e.g., Wikipedia has charts that only go up to 2016.

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/border-numbers-fy2023

The 2.5 million encounters of migrants occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year (FY) 2023 represent a new historic high, topping the prior year’s record, as has been widely noted since the recent release of year-end government statistics.

2.5 million encounters in a year sure seems like a lot. Presumably some were encountered, sent back and came again, others were never encountered at all.

It's also significant that over half were non-Mexican, Guatamelan, Honduran but from other countries.

Colombian, Ecuadorian, Chinese, and Indian migrants also reached the Southwest border in larger numbers in FY 2023, albeit in much smaller totals than Venezuelans.

Recall the scare about a PLA 5th column entering the US? I don't know about that but it looks like the US borders are so open they're sucking in people from other continents.

Presumably some were encountered, sent back and came again

I believe the actual process is: the illegals seek out border patrol to report to and then are released into the US with a court date.

And as you said: then there are the others who don't bother with that and don't show up in encounters statistics.

That is more recent than any chart I could find. The Wikipedia page I linked has that data going up to 2021 and I had also found it on Statista going up to 2022. Statista does mention a methodology change in March 2020, although it doesn't sound like it should affect that number.

But that's counting encounters at the southern border, which is very different from the count of illegal immigrants (which, admittedly, is a hard thing to count). Is the idea that you expect that number to be proportional to the number who make it across that border unnoticed? I'd worry about changes in enforcement over time adding a lot of noise there, especially if there's any policy changes encouraging repeat encounters for the same person. Also, this is ignoring illegal immigrants that enter through other methods; are you particularly more worried about the ones crossing the border illegally as opposed to overstaying visas?

Whats the actual deal with the Chinese illegal immigrants? Are the numbers actually high? If so are we to interpret this as the situation in China being much worse than we thought, or is it some clandestine operation? The latter seems super implausible. If the numbers of captured people are really that high I can’t imagine nobody would be caught with a suspicious gadget or spill the beans on interrogation.

There's lots of illegal Chinese immigrants. The trick is most of them come in legally for a brief stay and then just never leave. Their immigrant relatives help them get set up in America and they live relatively prosperous lives here compared to their lives in China.

And more recently many people of nationalities spanning the globe are pouring over the southern border. And a few of them are also Chinese. But presumably some other sort of Chinese people who can't easily scam the American visa system.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that, in the past five months, at least 4,300 Chinese undocumented migrants have been apprehended crossing the southern border, which amounts to more than double the number for all of the previous year.

One immigrant spoke anonymously to MSNBC about his experience, saying he feared staying in China after speaking out against government corruption. Fearing further retribution after being jailed twice, he fled, following instructions left by those before him on Chinese social networking apps. Detailed guides, videos and maps helped him make the journey largely on his own.

According to NBC, it's primarily political refugees. People who aren't feeling safe in China looking for somewhere rich and unwilling to extradite. Though it makes sense to sneak in some sleeper agents too - it's not like it's hard to procure guns or explosives in the US.

You can definitely be persecuted for speaking out, and everyone knows this. It’s also very hard to verify that you’ve been persecuted, so a whole lot of people claim refugee status who haven’t actually been persecuted.

We had a guy join my church for a few weeks, and he reported that he’d also attended Baptist, Mormon, and a whole bunch more. According to my Chinese wife accumulating a big list of churches you’ve attended is a strategy for claiming religious refugee status.

According to my Chinese wife accumulating a big list of churches you’ve attended is a strategy for claiming religious refugee status.

You can just list off different churches you've attended and pattern-match to somebody else's semi-recent claim of repression?

It didn’t make much sense to me. My best guess is trying to accumulate people that can confirm that you attended church services.

IIRC religious refugees are resettled with their coreligionists by preference.

Is that true? I don’t really have a head for the numbers here. How does it compare to the more regulated immigration in the gilded age, or the Cold War levels?

Currently more illegal immigrants are entering the US (over 300k) than children are born each month… that is unprecedented in US history. If it continues we will add an additional 40 million immigrants every decade i.e. a population equivalent in size to the existing African-American population.

A quick search turned up this:

In the final month of FY2023, CBP recorded 269,735 encounters at the Southwest border...

And it's backed up with additional coverage:

U.S. Border Patrol agents took into custody more than 225,000 migrants who crossed the southern border — in between official crossings — during the first 27 days of December, according to the preliminary Department of Homeland Security statistics.

Notice that these numbers are not the same as a lasting immigrant population. Last time I looked at this, most encounters ended in detention or expulsion. Sometimes one followed by the other. They also weren't unique; some number of border crossings are repeat visitors who've been thrown out each time.

Take a look at the October and November numbers here. I'm seeing about 46,000 "Notice to Appear" admissions for each. Even assuming every one of those disappears, immediately, into the general population, it's a far cry from the 300,000 that's getting reported.

You linked an older thread, this is his thread from yesterday and yes I think he's on the mark. IQ nationalism is a failure mode of HBD awareness.

Thus although an alliance is posited on blogs between "high merit high IQ" groups on one side, and Congoids on the others, it was actually the experience with Han Mandarin parody of "education" that ended meritocracy at least in college admissions and that really gave venal libtarded collitches the license to engage in full-scale ethnic cleansing against native-stock Americans. It was a process already under way for some time, but this accelerated it beyond anything. And I did not exaggerate when on previous threads (I can't find now) I estimated that whyte, straight non-Ashk American born males who are not athletes, not legacies, are maybe 2-3% of student body of "elite" skrewls now. If that. That estimation isn't an exaggeration, and I can explain how you can come to that figure. That's insane. And it's mostly due to the cowardice of the libtarded professors (and few conservatives, who also never spoke up) who let basically ethnic cleansing take place, whereas they could have opposed it even on purely liberal antiracist grounds.

This doesn’t address OP’s primary complaint, which is lack of evidence.

I think the similarity is less with the Irish and more with the historical German immigration, didn't cause problems for the English but was changing the culture until the English forcibly eradicated their culture at the time of WWI. BAP probably doesn't expect the dominant US culture to be able to pull off something similar with a larger Chinese population.

Can I just take a moment to say:

Racists do not describe themselves as racists. They always have beliefs that re perfectly reasonable and normal from their own perspective, and generally have either sources of evidence they consider authoritative or arguments they consider persuasive to validate those beliefs.

That being said: are we all ok with calling BAP a racist, after posts like this?

And if not, who in the world could we call a racist, then?

I worry a lot that people in spaces like this one get blinded by the aesthetics of intellectualism and academic rigor. But it's actually not very hard to use big words and phrase thing in empirical framings. It's not even that hard to do a literature search and find the one paper out of 5,000 that has some stats supporting your view which you can cite.

But in many cases, it's pretty easy to tell when that stuff is all happening above someone's bottom line. This also relates to epistemic learned helplessness, with people being rightly skeptical of arguments and citations that seem persuasive but are highly optimized to seem that way by lots of distributed effort in some cases, but being more amenable to those types of arguments when they come from certain people/groups or support certain things they're disposed towards.

No matter how many epicycles go into justifying the position and adding layers of nuance to it, there has to be some point where you take a step back and notice that the only thing they care about is vilifying racial minorities, blaming all of our problems on them, and advocating for policies against them. There has to be a word for that position regardless of the aesthetics that it is cloaked in.

Racism is simply not well-defined. Let's say for example that a person usually genuinely tries to judge black people as individuals rather than making assumptions about their behavior based on the fact that they are black. But this same person, being aware of racial crime statistics, also crosses the street when he sees groups of young black men hanging out outside stores. Not out of any hate toward black people, but just because to him his personal safety is more important than trying to always judge people as individuals.

Is this person racist or not? I would say no, but there are others who would say yes.

Do I think that BAP usually genuinely tries to judge black people as individuals rather than making assumptions about their behavior based on the fact that they are black? No, I do not. I have not read much of BAP's stuff, but based on what I have read he pattern-matches, to me, to people who generally tend to be racists even by my definition. So yeah, I am ok with saying that he is probably a racist, by my definition of the word.

I think that probably everyone or almost everyone at least to some degree stereotypes others based on what ethnic groups they belong to. To me one of the main things that makes someone a racist by my definition of the word is that rather than seeing this stereotyping as an unfortunate but inevitable result of the fact that we all have limited knowledge of other people and limited cognitive resources to devote to evaluating other people, he valorizes the stereotyping as a good thing.

And if not, who in the world could we call a racist, then?

I really don’t think people in this space grapple with this question, and questions like it, nearly enough.

Many of my complaints about how this “IDW-ish slice” of the Internet discusses racism would be addressed if, after reading someone’s comments about how leftists have used the word “racism” into meaninglessness, I got the impression that they had proactively, introspectively, honestly asked themselves the following questions:

  1. What are the acceptable ways to point out that someone has a bias, conscious or unconscious, against certain minority groups, even if they may not admit to it or consciously believe they have it? Do you truly, really believe that there should be no legitimate way to ever have that conversation at all? If so, what would I consider the acceptable ways, back in the day, for people to point out that many people supported slavery or segregation for racist reasons at the time, keeping in mind…
  2. What, roughly, do I think the word “racism” means? Not just what does it not include, what should it definitely include? If I’m arguing for a particularly restrictive definition of racism, one that requires unambiguously and consistently stated personal animus against certain groups for being those groups as opposed to any contingent factors, then won’t basically all of the most classic and widely accepted examples of racism (“the races should remain separate as God intended”, “race mixing is unnatural”, “separate but equal”, “I have nothing against the Jews other than that they are all Communists” [reportedly a Hitler quote according to I believe Max Planck], “I assume any black man is a thug or criminal until proven otherwise”, “African slavery is the natural order of society and in fact benefits the slaves”, and yes, many strong forms of what people around these parts call HBD) not actually count as racism according to my definition? And that would be absurd, right? At that point I’ve redefined the word so far away from the way the average person uses it that I should probably be using a different word, and my complaints about how actually the leftists are the ones abusing its definition into meaninglessness are … almost projection.

I agree that a lot of left-wing people abuse the term “racism”! But that’s, like, step negative one of an actually introspective conversation. I don’t see many people here actually grapple with “what do I think racism is?”, instead only arguing the negative.

For example, imagine if I did this with something that was more of a sacred cow of these parts — imagine if I argued “right-wing people have abused the term free speech into complete meaninglessness because almost all of them invoke the first amendment in response to private actors criticizing them or banning them from a forum etc”. You can’t really deny that a large number of people actually do this all the time, but this is a terrible comment, right? What I need to do is actually engage with the idea — “what do these people mean when they say free speech? What restrictions do I think should be put on private platforms to honor free speech? What social norms should surround censorship of unpopular statements by private actors?” and so on.

So responding to a right-wing person complaining about free speech with “right-wing people have used this term so loosely I genuinely have no idea what they mean anymore” would be unbelievably lazy. It’s fundamentally my job to understand what they mean, and all my comment shows is that I’ve blatantly refused to do that, and chosen to believe that they mean nothing.

And in terms of my actual statements, this makes me completely indistinguishable from someone who actually doesn’t believe in free speech at all, and would have no objections to the government passing a law to ban spoken racism, doesn’t it?

In the same way, imagine the perspective of someone like me, a person with the opposite view to the prevailing zeitgeist around these parts when it comes to racism. Try to remember that if all you do is make this negative argument (“leftists have abused the term racism so much it’s meaningless now”), I have absolutely no idea if you are someone whose beliefs are closer to “the thing that most young Americans in 1995 would have called racism is in fact bad, but it barely exists and leftists exaggerate it” or whose beliefs are closer to “the thing that most young Americans would have called racism in 1995 is in fact good and more people should do it”, and those are completely different arguments to have. And the process of trying to get to the point where I know which of these you’re actually saying is exhausting and 90% of the time I fail. Many of you I uncharitably suspect of switching between the two whenever it’s convenient for you to do so.

TL;DR: What I really want is for you to be proactive in telling me which you mean, rather than just talking about what you don’t consider to be racism. If this is not racism, what would I consider racism? Did the majority of people who supported segregation do so for racist reasons, or not? And so on.

What are the acceptable ways to point out that someone has a bias, conscious or unconscious, against certain minority groups, even if they may not admit to it or consciously believe they have it?

You look at what they say and do, and build an argument that regardless of whether they're willing to admit it, they're biased.

What, roughly, do I think the word “racism” means? Not just what does it not include, what should it definitely include?

Applying negative or positive modifiers to your interactions or judgements of people based not on their individual actions, but on their stated or perceived racial identity.

If I’m arguing for a particularly restrictive definition of racism, one that requires unambiguously and consistently stated personal animus against certain groups for being those groups as opposed to any contingent factors, then won’t basically all of the most classic and widely accepted examples of racism... and yes, many strong forms of what people around these parts call HBD) not actually count as racism according to my definition?

The statements you listed seem like obvious examples of racism, so your definition seems like a poor one. Why personal animus? Why not impersonal animus? Why rely on animus at all; how you treat people is relative, and if you treat some people better because of their race, that's racism, just as if you treated other people worse because of their race.

Do you honestly think most of the regulars here would disagree with the above in principle? Of the ones who would disagree, do you honestly think they'd claim not to be racist? There's varying degrees of actual WNs here, and seeing them explicitly argue that racism is good, actually is hardly an unknown occurrence.

imagine if I argued “right-wing people have abused the term free speech into complete meaninglessness because almost all of them invoke the first amendment in response to private actors criticizing them or banning them from a forum etc”. You can’t really deny that a large number of people actually do this all the time, but this is a terrible comment, right?

I don't see why that is supposed to be a bad argument. I can see I disagree with it, since "free speech" was commonly understood to be about much more than the strict text of the First Amendment, but the First Amendment does not, in fact, constrain censorship by private actors in general, right wingers do, in fact, sometimes get sloppy with their arguments and imply it does, and this does, in fact, muddy the waters of the conversation. It is not unreasonable to conclude that a term has been so misused as to no longer be useful, in which case the proper thing to do is to taboo the term and agree on another that better communicates ones' ideas.

And in fact, arguments more or less identical to the one you've presented as clearly bad have been a common part of the debate here since the community's formation. I've engaged in a large number of productive discussions that started with a comment very similar to "the right-wing conception of free speech is incoherent", and those discussions have shaped my thinking on the nature of rights and government.

What I need to do is actually engage with the idea — “what do these people mean when they say free speech? What restrictions do I think should be put on private platforms to honor free speech? What social norms should surround censorship of unpopular statements by private actors?” and so on.

Questions like these are the obvious next-step in the discussion, but registering disagreement is still the first step. Ideally, one does more than one step per comment, but life is often less than ideal, and it seems to me that a clear statement of disagreement is often a good first step.

And in terms of my actual statements, this makes me completely indistinguishable from someone who actually doesn’t believe in free speech at all, and would have no objections to the government passing a law to ban spoken racism, doesn’t it?

Sure. Then one can attempt to discuss free speech with you, ideally more than once and from a variety of different angles, and build a model over time of the nature of your worldview and values. One can ask questions and contemplate the answers, note which arguments you make and which positions you commit to over time, and note whether these appear to be motivated by principle or convenience. One can note how you engage with those who disagree, whether you argue in good faith, and so on. In this way we come to know each other over time, and when we find a sharp mind, much can be learned even if agreement is never achieved.

What I really want is for you to be proactive in telling me which you mean, rather than just talking about what you don’t consider to be racism.

I offered some definitions above; would those satisfy your request? If, as I believe, the large majority of regulars here share approximately that same definition, as evidenced by their previous comments, why would stating it each time be necessary? If you were a newcomer and were unfamiliar, why not just start asking questions?

...But then, of course, we get to the flipside.

I agree that a lot of left-wing people abuse the term “racism”!

It's always nice to see common ground. But the question is, what follows? Where does this apparent agreement lead? If the term has been abused, what consequences result, and how should we think about them? If the common way of talking about race is in fact fraught, how do we talk about it instead?

Here's a recent conversation I engaged in with someone who seemed to be, at least by my definition above, a racist. Your argument is that people here have something of a blind-spot toward actual racism, that we've just handwaved the question away rather than taking it seriously. Do you think that critique applies to my arguments in that exchange? If so, how? I'm up for continuing the conversation if you are.

You say:

I have absolutely no idea if you are someone whose beliefs are closer to “the thing that most young Americans in 1995 would have called racism is in fact bad, but it barely exists and leftists exaggerate it” or whose beliefs are closer to “the thing that most young Americans would have called racism in 1995 is in fact good and more people should do it”, and those are completely different arguments to have.

I would not endorse either of those statements, though I'm much closer to the former than the later. I do not think young people in 1995 had a good understanding of the problem of racism, because they failed to anticipate the results of their actions and the consensus they rallied behind. I do think most of the things they considered racist were in fact racist, but some of them were not, and some of those were intentional lies sold to them. It seems to me that the opposition to racism typical of the 90s simply failed on its own terms, and any serious conversation on the subject needs to engage with that fact front and center. If you'd like a more in-depth elaboration of this idea, you can find one starting here, with the meat being the arguments from exhaustion, blindness, dementia, sociopathy, and senescence laid out here. If you have thoughts or disagreements with the arguments outlined there, I'm again up for it if you are. More generally, I'd be interested to know if you think that discussion grapples sufficiently with the question of racism and race relations, and if not, what you think it missed.

In any case, I think I am a pretty good example of someone who rejects Progressive discourse on and definitions of racism, while still considering actual racism to be a problem that needs to be addressed, in one's own reasoning most of all. I hardly think I'm alone in this position, and I think there would be even more joining me if there remained any real hope for positive-sum solutions in the near-term.

More generally, I think you severely underestimate the credibility problem inherent to this subject from the perspective of many of the people commonly posting here. There's a reply to you from @Nybbler, below, that basically amounts to "the term 'racism' is actively counterproductive". If you disagree, why not outline your view of how the term and the discourse employing it has delivered net-positive outcomes for our society or subsets thereof? If you are disinclined to engage with Nybbler, I'd be happy to take up his side of the argument; I certainly do not believe that either the term or the general discourse have been positive-sum across our society in recent years. For an example, see the discussion some years back of Progressive attempts to address racial gaps in discipline in the public school system. Stuff like that is where a lot of the pitch-black cynicism over the discourse surrounding "racism" comes from, and that was before BLM and the riots and the murder wave, and hard data about the intentional social interventions that brought those things about.

Does any of the above shift your priors that the question of racism isn't seeing thoughtful engagement here? If not, I'm interested in your further critique, either of the above or of other specifics you find relevant.

The statements you listed seem like obvious examples of racism, so your definition seems like a poor one.

That … was my point, yes? The point was that “clearly and consistently stated personal animus” is trivially a bad definition for “racism” in that it fits basically none of the actual examples that nearly everyone agrees to be racist, and yet many here consider the idea that racism can include unconscious bias to be some recent redefinition of the term that makes it meaningless.

I've engaged in a large number of productive discussions that started with a comment very similar to "the right-wing conception of free speech is incoherent", and those discussions have shaped my thinking on the nature of rights and government.

Again, that’s precisely my point! The discussions start there, not finish! Almost everyone here who wants to argue “leftists have abused the term ‘racism’ into meaninglessness” are specifically saying that because they do not want to have a conversation about what racism is; they are trying to end the discussion there. The equivalent for free speech would be, if a right-wing person started talking about any more nuanced idea of what free-speech is than some ridiculous strawman, and I responded with “this entire discussion is a trap and I refuse to engage”. The moment a right-wing person says “free speech”, I get to assert that they can only mean the dumbest and most incoherent version of that concept, and when they try to explain that they don’t, I plug my ears and say that what’s coming is a deliberate trap.

Do you honestly think most of the regulars here would disagree with the above in principle? Of the ones who would disagree, do you honestly think they'd claim not to be racist? There's varying degrees of actual WNs here, and seeing them explicitly argue that racism is good, actually is hardly an unknown occurrence.

As I’ve said, there’s something very honest about the open white nationalists, as much as I disagree with everything they stand for. Frankly I don't consider them reachable; I'll be cordial enough but I don't think there's realistically any chance I could change their minds or they mine; the worlds we see and our values are just too far apart. What frustrates me more are the Classical Liberals who will tell me that racism has been abused into meaninglessness by the Left and so what does it even mean anymore, who can possibly know, I guess we’ll just have to ditch this entire memeplex completely because it’s corrupted, when they’re surrounded by white nationalists.

(Seriously, guys, your “like, what even is racism anyway, man? Is it even, like, a thing?” comment does not feel very genuine to me when you have to have scrolled past the white nationalists responding to me to make it in the first place. Imagine being a libertarian in a left-wing space where your responses were three-fourths "Conservatives and neolibs will call absolutely anything Communism these days, they've turned that word into complete meaninglessness, like are there even any actual communists left? Whenever a right-winger says something is Communist I just ignore them" and one-fourth "Stalin did nothing wrong and we must immediately enact a worldwide dictatorship of the proletariat and seize the means of production". I know it's cringe but the only word that I can think of to describe the effect of this is "gaslighting".)

What frustrates me more is suspecting that the Classical Liberal in question is not that classically liberal at all.

I do think that most of the regulars here, excluding the white nationalists, will resolutely refuse to engage the question of whether “racism-as-unconscious-bias” is a meaningful concept or not in that it points to an actually existing thing in the world that is useful to point out, yes, doing their absolute best to derail that conversation at every stage. I think that they will argue that because the Left has abused that term into meaninglessness, we can’t have any discussion at all about this, and so I guess if a leftist wants to call them racist, then it just do be like that sometimes. I think they will temporarily adopt definitions of racism that require conscious and explicit bias without noting that this trivially doesn’t work for almost all of the standard cases. I think that they will talk about how Ibram X Kendi is dumb, or liken anti-racism to a religion, or talk about superweapons and cancel culture and free speech and thoughtcrime, and generally do anything possible to avoid the question I’m trying to drive towards.

That’s just … been my experience, at least, as I remember it.

The point was that “clearly and consistently stated personal animus” is trivially a bad definition for “racism” in that it fits basically none of the actual examples that nearly everyone agrees to be racist, and yet many here consider the idea that racism can include unconscious bias to be some recent redefinition of the term that makes it meaningless.

You asked for peoples' definitions of racism, and I offered: "Applying negative or positive modifiers to your interactions or judgements of people based not on their individual actions, but on their stated or perceived racial identity." Do you recognize a difference between that definition and "clearly and consistently stated personal animus"? I think my definition covers all of the examples you gave for racism the local norms miss. If so, would you agree that I at least am not exhibiting the tendency your critique is aimed at? If not, what is my definition missing?

In that first link I offered, would you say that the guy I was arguing against was displaying "clearly and consistently stated personal animus"? His claims seem pretty similar to several of the ones you claim are missed by the local understanding, and yet I recognize his arguments as clearly racist, and argued against them. Would this be more evidence against your thesis? If not, again, what am I missing?

At this point, I've offered a definition, per your request, and an example of that definition being applied. Does this seem useful to you?

Again, that’s precisely my point! The discussions start there, not finish! Almost everyone here who wants to argue “leftists have abused the term ‘racism’ into meaninglessness” are specifically saying that because they do not want to have a conversation about what racism is; they are trying to end the discussion there.

I think you are mistaken in two ways. First, I think while there are some people who are not interested in the conversation, there are more who will take it if offered. I am certainly one of them. Second, I think you are misunderstanding how conversation works here. I straightforwardly believe that "leftists have abused the term "racism" into meaninglessness". That is my best understanding of reality, and so it is my starting position if you wish to discuss the term with me. I have what seems to me to be a fairly clear model of how and when the term was eroded, which I've already taken the liberty of offering up, and which I'm more than happy to elaborate further on if you'd like. And of course, if you disagree, I'd greatly enjoy hearing your best arguments and evidence of how the term is meaningful, together with examples of how it has been usefully employed in recent years, and which positive outcomes resulted, and how those positive outcomes outweigh the negative outcomes associated with those uses. Would you agree that I, at least, don't appear to be trying to end a conversation by that statement? And if conversation is what you're looking for, by all means, let's commence!

In fact, you and @guesswho have gotten a fair number of replies in this thread, and in addition to being willing to argue my own position, I'd be happy to defend those of others that I do not myself consider racist. You argue that the white supremacy contingent is at least honest, but it's the "classical liberals" equivocating that you really object to. Well, can you point to that sort of equivocation in this thread? Arguments that aren't obvious WN talking points, but are playing with ambiguities? You seem to have called out @The_Nybbler for exactly this based on his tar-baby comment. I'd be happy to argue the other side of that one, if you like, since I think "racism" is, in the current era at least, a tar-baby.

...None of this happens, though, if you demand that people agree with you from the start as a precondition to conversation. I argue a number of controversial positions here on a fairly regular basis, and I always go in assuming that most people here are going to not only strongly disagree, but start from the position that my argument is straightforwardly stupid. That's half the fun of it, and I can't think of a time when it prevented me from finding good discussion. But if you aren't willing to actually make an argument, I can't very well make you, can I? All I can do in that case would be to point out that you complain that people aren't looking for conversations, and then refused the conversation when it was offered in good faith. And in fact, that has been my experience of how these conversations generally go, much to my displeasure.

The equivalent for free speech would be, if a right-wing person started talking about any more nuanced idea of what free-speech is than some ridiculous strawman, and I responded with “this entire discussion is a trap and I refuse to engage”.

It seems to me the response there is to argue that it is not a trap, perhaps by giving some examples of how and why the question genuinely matters. Alternatively, ask them why they believe it is a trap, and ask them what evidence could change their mind. This can't stop a person from stonewalling you, but it also can't stop you from making it very obvious that they are stonewalling and acting in bad faith, which is frowned on quite strongly here.

What frustrates me more are the Classical Liberals who will tell me that racism has been abused into meaninglessness by the Left and so what does it even mean anymore, who can possibly know, I guess we’ll just have to ditch this entire memeplex completely because it’s corrupted, when they’re surrounded by white nationalists.

I straightforwardly believe the above, and yet I continue to argue vociferously with WNs. Since I think the term racism is useless, I don't bother accusing them of doing a racism, I just straightforwardly argue that their positions are obviously wrong on the merits, based on easily-available evidence. This has the added benefit that when they say something that would usually be judged racism but is in fact accurate, like citing Black crime statistics, I don't have to pretend they've committed a mortal sin by saying true things. Nor am I required to recognize solidarity or fraternity with them; they aren't on my side, and if by some miracle they were to achieve significant power in the future, well, Second Amendment Solutions work on WNs too.

Imagine being a libertarian in a left-wing space where your responses were three-fourths "Conservatives and neolibs will call absolutely anything Communism these days, they've turned that word into complete meaninglessness, like are there even any actual communists left? Whenever a right-winger says something is Communist I just ignore them" and one-fourth "Stalin did nothing wrong and we must immediately enact a worldwide dictatorship of the proletariat and seize the means of production".

The arguments you describe have frequently been present on the previous incarnations of this space, and are ubiquitous most other places, so I don't have to imagine anything. It never stopped me from making my case. Don't let it stop you from making yours.

I do think that most of the regulars here, excluding the white nationalists, will resolutely refuse to engage the question of whether “racism-as-unconscious-bias” is a meaningful concept or not in that it points to an actually existing thing in the world that is useful to point out, yes, doing their absolute best to derail that conversation at every stage.

Is it "derailing the conversation" to offer evidence of how the term and the people employing it have caused repeated, large-scale disaster far out of proportion to any concrete benefit they've delivered, especially in recent years?

Put another way, if someone genuinely disagrees with you about the usefulness of the term "racism", how should they go about making their case to you?

I think that they will talk about how Ibram X Kendi is dumb, or liken anti-racism to a religion, or talk about superweapons and cancel culture and free speech and thoughtcrime, and generally do anything possible to avoid the question I’m trying to drive towards.

Well, I can easily promise not to make any of those arguments. And while I am pretty sure I disagree strongly with the point you're driving toward, I do want you to make it as clearly and cleanly as possible. How am I doing so far?

This complaint only makes sense if you think of words as having intrinsic or "correct" meanings. If you instead treat words as just vehicles for conveying ideas, then you could just answer "who in the world could we call a racist, then?" with "nobody, using it to describe people is pointless because it doesn't mean anything". And I think that's a reasonable answer if you're not going around calling people racist. If the word "racist" doesn't have to mean anything, then you can just not use it if you think it wouldn't help people understand the idea you're trying to convey.

It’s fundamentally my job to understand what they mean

No it isn't. It's the speaker's job to convey their idea in an easy-to-understand fashion. If there was an argument on this site where people were conflating the philosophical concept of free speech with the first amendment, then when I make a post in next week's thread about the philosophical concept it's my responsibility to clearly indicate that I'm not talking about the first amendment. If there were posts saying that the concept of "free speech" is incoherent and meaningless, then it's contingent on me to specify what exactly I mean by free speech. If enough people are confused, then it's probably better for me to not use the phrase "free speech" at all, and replace it with something like "the right to not be punished for conveying my opinion about the election".

So to answer your object-level question, you could (and should) directly say that you think "BAP has an unconscious bias against black people, regardless of their individual intelligence or behavior". If you want to know how a poster compares with the average 1995 American, you could ask "Do you think the average American in 1995 would agree with that statement? Do you agree with that statement?". You don't have to specifically use the word "racist", especially when you know it won't help people understand your point.

If I’m arguing for a particularly restrictive definition of racism, one that requires unambiguously and consistently stated personal animus against certain groups for being those groups as opposed to any contingent factors, then won’t basically all of the most classic and widely accepted examples of racism (“the races should remain separate as God intended”, “race mixing is unnatural”, “separate but equal”, “I have nothing against the Jews other than that they are all Communists” [reportedly a Hitler quote according to I believe Max Planck], “I assume any black man is a thug or criminal until proven otherwise”, “African slavery is the natural order of society and in fact benefits the slaves”, and yes, many strong forms of what people around these parts call HBD) not actually count as racism according to my definition? And that would be absurd, right?

Why would that be absurd? Why do you believe the term is useful at all? Why do you believe that “racism” indicates a real and important phenomenon worth caring about? What if the word was never anything other than a boo light, intentionally devised as a way to pathologize what is actually a totally normal and healthy outlook?

There is nobody on earth who, upon honest reflection, would agree that “Yes, I just hate minorities because they’re ugly and stinky and it’s bad to look different from the way I look.” That is a caricature which exists only in the heads of racial egalitarians and “anti-racists”. In reality, even the least introspective, most unreflective “bigot” has actual specific reasons - even if it’s at the level of anecdotal examples and life experience - to believe that there are important differences between the traits and the history of various groups, and/or that limiting the interpersonal interaction of those groups is optimal. I don’t care if they wouldn’t put it in those high-falutin’ terms. Even if you gave them truth serum and ample opportunity to freely articulate the contents of their own minds, they wouldn’t commit to “just don’t like ‘em, simple as” as an honest reflection of their internal mental state.

Racism isn’t real. Believing in important racial differences is certainly real; I believe it, as do probably a plurality of commenters here. Believing that an optimal society ought to achieve some level of separation/segregation between groups is also real, and is a far more controversial position even in this community; I advocate for the managed and non-coercive separation of black Americans from non-blacks over time, but it’s not because “I just hate the darkies and want them to die”. I have (what I think are) sophisticated reasons for believing what I do; I reasoned myself into this position over time, and did not start from a simple visceral aversion to people who look different from me.

A small number of people today even still believe that some races ought to rule over others, or even that some racial and ethnic groups should be exterminated! I don’t believe that, and I’ve never interacted with anyone who does (I suspect that the vast majority of people who do say these things are simply LARPing or doing a bit) but I don’t deny that such people are real. However, they are still not “racist”. They have actual reasons for believing that the conditions of the world are such that extreme measures genuinely are necessary for the preservation and improvement of mankind.

I could turn this around on you and ask: “Do you own pets? You do? Oh, so you irrationally hate animals? You want them enslaved in your home, rather than free to rule themselves?” And you would rightly respond, “No, I just don’t think humans and animals are precisely equal, and that the natural order of things is for humans to domesticate certain animals and to use them for our benefit, as long as we’re not overly cruel to those animals. I love my cat, but I wouldn’t let him drive a car, or vote in a presidential election.” But if I was absolutely committed to the proposition that speciesism is a useful and important concept, it would be easy for me to distort your beliefs to make them fit into a model that pathologizes them.

This is essentially what I believe that you’re doing with the term “racism”. Let the term go. It was never valuable to begin with. Nobody here cares if you think we’re racist or not. The term has become fully disenchanted. You might as well call us all heretics. Or “enemies of the Emperor of Assyria”. Engage with our ideas on the object level, and stop worrying about whether or not they fall afoul of your made-up boo word.

Well, it would certainly be convenient for you if we'd stop using a "made-up boo word" to describe the beliefs of racists, and I am (to a limited degree) sympathetic to your argument (put forward with more good faith than @The_Nybbler does) that "Racism has become so weaponized as to get my hackles up as soon as I hear it."

However, it looks to me like you basically want to argue for policies and an ideology that would, under any reasonable definition, be considered "racist" - you would just prefer we not use that word, because it now has a negative connotation, and you believe that your policies and ideologies are actually good and reasonable and therefore should not be besmirched with negative connotations. It reminds me of David Duke, back in the day, who did the same dance you and nybbler do, but less elaborately (and less convincingly, because you could practically see the wink and the smirk when he did it): "I'm not a racist, I'm a racialist. I don't hate black people, I just love white people!"

Yes, of course you're correct that hardly anyone hates other races because "they're ugly and stinky" or "just because." The most unreflective might simply hate them because they've always been taught to hate them, or because they have had mostly negative interactions with them. The more reflective will advance more sophisticated arguments like you do about IQ and HBD and how we should agree to an amicable separation so they can peacefully flourish in their own ethnostate and reach their full potential yadda yadda.

But I think insisting that "We should accept the reality that black people are dumber and more criminal and we should bring back segregation, but don't call that racism, because that's made up" is a nonsense argument and you're engaging in it for purely rhetorical reasons. Racism clearly does exist; we're just disagreeing over whether or not it's a bad thing. Would you argue that the many black people who hate white people are not racists? Are @BurdensomeCount's triumphalist screeds about how white people deserve to be made to lick the boots of his folk not racist?

policies and an ideology that would, under any reasonable definition, be considered "racist"

This is precisely what I am disputing! I have to believe that you are not actually this dim and mendacious. My entire point is that it is not in fact reasonable to consider my ideas “racist”. Just because a lot of people believe something doesn’t mean it’s reasonable! You’re simply appealing nakedly to consensus and pretending like you’ve made an argument.

Racism clearly does exist

No, it doesn’t!

Would you argue that the many black people who hate white people are not racists? Are @BurdensomeCount's triumphalist screeds about how white people deserve to be made to lick the boots of his folk not racist?

Yes! Obviously, yes! I am explicitly saying that these people are not racist. I have never said anything otherwise. Have you ever once seen me complain about “anti-white racism” or “reverse racism” or anything like that? No! They are anti-white, and I dislike them for that reason. Their beliefs are bad for my people, which is why I oppose them. But in many cases they are based on completely sensible, well-reasoned motivations. I don’t oppose them because they’re “racist” in some abstract sense of “it’s bad to prefer one group over another and to advocate in favor of that group, even when such advocacy negatively impacts another group” or “it’s bad not to like people because of their group identity”. It’s perfectly fine to do either! I just don’t want it done against my group, because that would be bad for my group. What about this is difficult for you to understand? Why do you keep acting like you’ve exposed some secret ulterior motive of mine?

Again, as both I and @SecureSignals noted, your argument here is structurally identical to an accusation of heresy. “Well, clearly you recognize that God is real, and the Bible is true - you just hate them!” And we are responding with “No, actually we reject your whole frame.” Again, just because a lot of people believe something does not mean it’s reasonable, or that people who reject it are doing so dishonestly.

My entire point is that it is not in fact reasonable to consider my ideas “racist”.

Racism clearly does exist

No, it doesn’t!

What do you think I mean when I use the word racist? What do you think most people mean?

But in many cases they are based on completely sensible, well-reasoned motivations.

So your argument is "Racism is completely sensible and well-reasoned, so please don't use that word because it's a boo-word."

I don’t oppose them because they’re “racist” in some abstract sense of “it’s bad to prefer one group over another and to advocate in favor of that group, even when such advocacy negatively impacts another group” or “it’s bad not to like people because of their group identity”. It’s perfectly fine to do either!

Exactly. This is the point you are missing. I understand that you are arguing that beliefs that are conventionally called "racist" are actually perfectly fine and reasonable beliefs. Go ahead and argue that.

I reject your objection to the word itself, not because I disagree with your ideology, but because I refuse to stop using a word just because you would prefer it not be used because it has negative associations. If I say your beliefs are racist, and you feel like that's a boo-word and I'm saying you're just like the KKK (which I am not btw), you are entitled to point out how your beliefs are different from the KKK's.But you are not entitled to tell me "Yes, I believe in racial discrimination and segregation, but don't call that racism because racism doesn't exist." You would like us to use some more politic, less pejorative word, but "racist," whether you like it or not, is an actual word that describes actual beliefs. The dispute is not over whether those beliefs exist, but what we should think about them.

Again, as both I and @SecureSignals noted, your argument here is structurally identical to an accusation of heresy. “Well, clearly you recognize that God is real, and the Bible is true - you just hate them!”

Absolutely not. It's more akin to you saying "I do not believe in God and I think religion is fake and gay - but don't call me an atheist, that's a boo-word."

Let’s take a step back and check the extent to which you and I actually disagree.

Do you believe that there is such a thing as a slur? By this, I mean a word which is inherently designed to contain within it the implication that the thing being indicated is bad? And such that there would be no way to use the word in a value-neutral way?

Take the word “faggot”, for example. If I call a gay man - let’s call him Travis - a faggot and he protests by asking me to stop using that word, I can defend my usage of it in two ways. One of those ways - riffing, perhaps, off of the famous Chris Rock bit, is, “I’m not calling you a faggot because you fuck guys. I’m calling you a faggot because you’re mincing all over the place, acting all effeminate, and a man shouldn’t act like that. A straight guy can be a faggot too, if he acts faggy. Nothing specifically gay about it.” But of course, Travis is well aware of the history of this word, and that it was always designed and intended to target gay men, and simultaneously to conglomerate a number of behaviors commonly associated with specifically gay men and to anathematize those behaviors. So Travis understands that I am either mistaken or (more probably) lying.

The second way I can defend my usage of the word is to say, “I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to be a faggot! Being faggy is a totally normal and reasonable thing for a person to be.” Travis would likely respond, entirely reasonably, “Then why didn’t you use a word that doesn’t carry an insulting connotation? Why not call me, I don’t know, a queen? It’s not something everyone likes to be called, but at least it’s not a word that someone has only ever used to insult me.” If I were to reply, “No, I’m going to continue to say faggot. Everyone knows what it means, and yes, the vast majority of people who use it and/or have ever used it meant it insultingly. But I don’t think it is, so I’ll keep using it.” Do you think Travis would believe that I am being fully up-front with him?

By tabooing the word “faggot” and forcing me to describe him in a more value-neutral way, or at least to disaggregate the various assumptions contained within the word, Travis can at least get me to try and explicitly demonstrate that the various aspects of a supposed “faggot” are, independently, things worth caring about or drawing attention to. I would also need to demonstrate that such aspects do, in fact, typically come together in a particular package, and that the person whom I’m currently calling a faggot possesses all of those aspects.

What I’m saying is that “racist” has always been a slur. That it was coined by someone who intended it to refer to a cluster of things he thought were bad, and that it was popularized exclusively by people who all agreed that being racist was a bad thing. And that it is impossible to use in a value-neutral way due to its history. With which parts of this do you disagree?

What I’m saying is that “racist” has always been a slur. That it was coined by someone who intended it to refer to a cluster of things he thought were bad, and that it was popularized exclusively by people who all agreed that being racist was a bad thing. And that it is impossible to use in a value-neutral way due to its history. With which parts of this do you disagree?

Doesn't all of this apply to words like "wrong", "selfish", or "boring" as well? Sometimes people create words to refer to things that they think other people shouldn't do. Not all of those are slurs.

I continue to believe that the word "racist" is perhaps the best one-word description for the policies you've said you'd like to pursue. You see racial divisions between people as extremely important and would like to completely restructure society along its lines; I consider the extent to which you care about this, the extent to which you think racial division is important, to be extremely irrational - so irrational that the only way I can really try to understand it, though I would keep this to myself normally, is to start postulating things like trauma, depression, a ridiculously sheltered upbringing, and so on, to explain to myself how someone can get to where it seems like you are. I don't say those things as insults, I'm just trying to really make it clear that "that is racist" to me is not "you hate black people", it's kind of a statement in the epistemic universe of "you are depressed"; it's my own observation that you probably have a certain bias.

Setting the prescriptive stuff aside, at least descriptively, basically every American, including almost every attendee in the crowd at CPAC, would agree that the policies you're calling for can be accurately called "racist". The crowd at CPAC would immediately, reflexively jump to your defence once they saw that I was a left-wing person calling someone racist, but if you honestly explained your beliefs in front of the crowd in the way that you did above, there would be much clearing of throats, embarrassed murmurs, and rapid changing of subjects coming from the crowd.

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What I’m saying is that “racist” has always been a slur. That it was coined by someone who intended it to refer to a cluster of things he thought were bad, and that it was popularized exclusively by people who all agreed that being racist was a bad thing. And that it is impossible to use in a value-neutral way due to its history. With which parts of this do you disagree?

I agree that racist has inherently negative connotations for historical reasons. ("Racists" in the past wouldn't have used the word to describe themselves because it was essentially a universal belief. Segregationists in the 50s did not call themselves "racists" but they probably would not have shied away from the label either.) I do not agree it is a "slur." You compared it to calling someone a "faggot," but I think it would be more comparable to calling someone a "homosexual." A term that is both descriptive and at one time had very strong negative connotations, and still does with some people. If I call someone a homosexual because he's mincing around acting effeminate, it would still reasonably be understood as an insult. But if I describe people who engage in same-sex relations as "homosexuals" and am told that I shouldn't use that word because it's a slur, I'm going to ask them who decided that.

You advocate racial discrimination and segregation as reasonable and desirable, and you would like to taboo the word "racist" because to most people, "racist" has very negative connotations. I can understand why you would like to persuade people to use words without that baggage to describe your beliefs, but that does not mean anyone should feel obligated to accommodate you. Even here on the Motte, if someone just dismissed you with "Wow, you are such a racist," they would likely get modded, but describing your beliefs as "racist" is accurate. You may object to it, just as there are in fact gay people who now object to "homosexuals." Maybe you will be as successful as the "queer" community is at pushing for linguistic shifts. Or maybe you can rehabilitate the word "racist." But you are not the sole determiner of what a word means and how it is used, and just because it would suit your agenda to taboo the word or claim it "isn't a real thing" doesn't mean it does not, in fact, describe a real thing.

I think a good comparison is the word heretic. Imagine you are an atheist and a puritan accuses you of being a heretic. Do you say "yes, you are right I am indeed a heretic." Only if you are trying to be provocative, but really you would just dismiss the entire frame of that question. No, I'm not going to admit to you that I am a heretic, I'm not going to accept your frame of the world by embracing that label, I dismiss the label altogether.

I don't have to imagine I'm an atheist, I am, and I'd happily confirm that I'm a heretic relative to any particular religion's dogma that defines me as such. I know that I meet that definition and don't have any problem with the word because it is has no moral worth to me.

The way that example is different from the one we're talking about here is that the people who meet a standard definition of racism don't want to be called racists. You imagine an atheist wouldn't want to be called a heretic, but why should we care? We've actively rejected that frame, so we're not embarrassed about being accurately labeled.

Whereas most racists have not actually rejected the social frame that gives rise to definitions and accusations of racism. They still want to be an upstanding member of that society, and they still want to think of themselves as morally correct within that society. So they want that society to drop it's own labels and definitions in order to accommodate them.

But could you be so blasé about labels like heretic or infidel if they carried with it serious social repression? If you couldn’t get a job, or lost all your friends or contact with your children if people knew you were an infidel, would you still happily accept the label? Racist is a label that still carries those kinds of consequences for those so labeled. Heretic and infidel really don’t outside of heavily religious communities.

Right, that was the point of my last paragraph.

People who meet society's current definition of racist just want society to change its beliefs or norms so that they're not punished. The idea that 'racist' is an incoherent or meaningless category is primarily a rationalization to justify that effort.

Saying that the social sanctions for being racist are too extreme and should be mollified is a real position that can be argued.

Saying that people are using 'the worst argument in the world' or 'labels as superweapons' to apply those sanctions to people who don't actually deserve them under the original purpose and intent of those sanctions is a real position that can be argued.

I don't think 'that word doesn't mean anything because I don't want it to' is a real argument, here. I think it's mostly a rationalization to try to dodge the issue, and society won't accept it.

I don't have to imagine I'm an atheist, I am, and I'd happily confirm that I'm a heretic

That's very brave of you, you could write "I am le heretic!" all day long and get updoots on Reddit.

If someone though is sincerely accusing you of being an infidel or heretic and you confirm their accusation you are accepting their frame of reference.

When you say you will "happily confirm you are a heretic" it's a "what are you going to do about it?" play. But if you actually lived in a society where that accusation had weight and social consequences, and you opposed the conventional wisdom for what entailed heresy, you would not accept that label for yourself or use it to describe your beliefs.

If someone though is sincerely accusing you of being an infidel or heretic and you confirm their accusation you are accepting their frame of reference.

As a factual statement, a non-believer is an infidel. That's what infidel means. As a factual statement, someone who believes in racial discrimination and segregation is a racist.

You can reject the religion that labels nonbelievers infidels, and you can reject a society that abhors racism, but the words still have meanings that accurately describe a set of beliefs or lack thereof.

Yes, there are social consequences for being a racist, as there were at one time harsher social consequences for being an infidel. I understand why you would like to remove the social consequences for being a racist. That does not, however, change the factual meaning of the word or your beliefs. You and @hoffmeister are trying to argue that "racism doesn't exist," when what you're actually claiming is "racism is good and shouldn't be stigmatized." Those are not the same arguments, and the objection to the word "racist" is one of tactical semantics, because of the negative weight "racism" has today. You would prefer a less freighted term - like, say, "racialist" - but that doesn't mean "racist" is not an accurate label. You might not like someone calling you a racist. I would not like someone flinging "infidel" at me as an insult, especially if it potentially carried more serious consequences. But I cannot honestly say I'm not an "infidel."

You can reject the religion that labels nonbelievers infidels

Yes, this is my exact point. If I reject a religion that labels me an infidel or heretic, I am not going to accept that label to describe myself or my own beliefs. This is really basic stuff, nobody does this, except for farming upvotes on /r/atheism which falls under the "intentionally provocative" mode of embracing that label only as a power flex.

I reject the religion that frames the entire concept of racism which, by the way, relative to world history is a brand new concept tightly coupled with our own post-WWII civic religion which is exactly what we reject. "Words have meaning", exactly, which is why it is stupid for you to demand that I accept the framing of a religion that I reject by embracing that word to describe myself. Words have meaning, so I refuse to play along with that garbage and humor a religious fanaticism that I oppose.

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If someone though is sincerely accusing you of being an infidel or heretic and you confirm their accusation you are accepting their frame of reference.

Yeah, that's how communication works.

Words have meaning, and have meaning in context. Just because you disagree with an opponent's worldview doesn't mean that words within the context of that worldview stop having discrete and coherent meanings.

There's a strict empirical definition of what it means to be a heretic to Christians even if I don't believe in Christianity, and there's a literally true answer to that empirical question. There's a strict empirical definition of what it means to be (for example) a racist under the utilitarian definition of racism, even if you reject the empirical racism as a politically meaningful concept, and there's a literally true answer to that empirical question.

It makes sense that you would want to 'reject the frame' if you think you can evade social sanctions thereby. That's a pretty normal thing to do, especially if you think the social sanctions are unjust.

But my point is,. just acknowledge the fact that by doing so, you are running from the truth and trying to muddy the waters. There's a true matter of fact that you're denying because you think people will react to hearing it badly/unjustly.

In a society where it’s illegal to be a heretic, one has to hide one’s atheism to avoid prosecution and the points here about wordplay are irrelevant.

If I’m an atheist in say Iran, then the label is not the problem, it’s that my deconversion from Islam is a tad illegal.

Even in the US the label of apostate or heretic doesn’t matter in terms of “accepting their frame of reference”; what mattered is how my family/friends/society responded to my deconversion. It’s the object level, not the label.

Similarly, if say one has clear racial animosity, many people can find that abhorrent without ever needing to invoke the word “racism.” That term has been abused, but the 1995 version was much less so.

The hard bit is that certain facts about reality do seem to be “racist” or “sexist” and the toxicity of these labels keeps polite society from understanding reality in certain policy areas, inconveniently. That doesn’t make it better for those who really just dislike a given race or sex and/or want to discriminate against them and want those labels to disappear.

An atheist is specifically not a heretic, and in puritan society atheism would in fact be a valid defense against charges of heresy.

Isn't a heretic 'a believer who practices some heresy' -- which lets atheists specifically off the hook on that charge? (and puts Puritans in jeopardy, incidentally)

So the right response would be something about glass houses I suppose.

“Apostate” is what we atheists get.

As long as you cop to the fact that your beef is not fundamentally with some recent progressive redefinition of the word “racism”, but with the entire idea that racism, including old-school “I don’t trust the blacks” racism, is actually bad, which it seems to me like you have, then I respect your honesty but will do everything I can to prevent people who think like you from ever (re-)gaining political power.

Basically, I’m specifically annoyed by people who masquerade as your classic anti-woke Classical Liberals but who actually have white-nationalist sympathies, or who are mindkilled enough about politics that they don’t even know or care themselves what their beliefs are as long as they’re on the other side as the wokes, and I don’t think you’re masquerading or hiding anything.

I think many of your beliefs are wrong on the object level about human societies and psychology, I think your beliefs are still unbelievably unpopular in normie right-wing circles, and I hope to God they don’t gain traction there.

Edit:

There is nobody on earth who, upon honest reflection, would agree that “Yes, I just hate minorities because they’re ugly and stinky and it’s bad to look different from the way I look.” That is a caricature which exists only in the heads of racial egalitarians and “anti-racists”

I completely agree with you here, except that I actually think many left-wing anti-racists understand well that this is not how racism works. To me, it’s precisely the right-wing anti-woke contingent who don’t understand that people who actually supported segregation had a more complex internal narrative than “minorities are bad and I don’t like them”. To me, I’m the last person on this forum who needs to be told this (in fact, I just said it myself over the course of many more words, but in service of an argument whose conclusion was in the opposite political direction).

My impression is that the dance seems to be: right-wing Classical Liberals and I think that old-school pro-segregation racism is wrong, and you don’t. You and I think that old-school racism (though you wouldn’t call it that) was always more complex than people who deep-down believed “I just don’t like the minorities”, and right-wing classical liberals think “no, the idea of racism actually was that simple, and described most supporters of this ideology, until the progressives changed the definition and now it’s meaningless”. You and right-wing classical liberals oppose describing those “more complex reasons”, if indeed they do exist, as “racism”, while I think that the reasons are at once more complex than “I don’t like the blacks”, but will also call them “racist” (though I’m not a fan of the one-word description and will explain over and over again with many many words that the way I am using the word “racism” allows for more complex reasons - it’s not the conscious reasons that word is pointing at when I say it).

I completely agree with you here, except that I actually think many left-wing anti-racists understand well that this is not how racism works. To me, it’s precisely the right-wing anti-woke contingent who don’t understand that people who actually supported segregation had a more complex internal narrative than “minorities are bad and I don’t like them”. To me, I’m the last person on this forum who needs to be told this (in fact, I just said it myself over the course of many more words, but in service of an argument whose conclusion was in the opposite political direction).

I have no evidence to support me, but I don't think that's constrained to right-wing anti-woke—I think that's pretty conventionally usual. (Consider how much people are taught that it was due to prejudice?)

I really don’t think people in this space grapple with this question, and questions like it, nearly enough.

It's a tar baby. Grappling with it at all is a fool's game. If I won't consider calling someone "racist" a superweapon, why is it so important to know who deserves the label and who doesn't?

There are weapons below superweapon.

Calling someone a murderer if they're a murderer isn't a superweapon, it's a normal weapon.

Calling someone a murderer if they're gotten an abortion is a superweapon.

Similarly, if people are racist, calling them racist isn't a superweapon. It's a superweapon when you try to apply it to non-racists, but that doesn't mean the original term doesn't have a true and important context.

Calling someone "racist" is a superweapon; it's a superweapon even if it would have happened to be justified under some previous reasonable definition of "racist". As soon as someone who is not aligned with current progressive thought accepts the validity of "racist" being a super-evil thing, it will be used against them; they will find themselves in interminable arguments trying and failing to defend themselves against accusations of "racism" for doing such things as using the term "tar baby". Part of the reason it's a superweapon is that trying to defend yourself against such accusations is in itself considered proof of them.

This seems like a masked way of saying “that thing you call racism, I don’t consider bad”, but with some strawmanning and the pointless jargon of “super weapon” thrown in.

I didn’t say you must consider racism a “super weapon”. I said I’d like you to tell me whether you think racism in any form exists and whether you think it’s bad.

I think you’ve just said you either think it doesn’t exist or it isn’t bad, but again, I absolutely do not know for sure, and it’s exhausting to try to tease this shit out from people who really seem like they’re trying as hard to conceal it as they can.

the pointless jargon of “super weapon” thrown in.

If you start posting in a form, you should learn some of the forum's jargon. If you don't, and you encounter some, you should at least not criticize someone else's forum for using jargon that you, a newbie, don't understand, especially when you go on to ignore the point made with the jargon. A superweapon is an accusation which automatically makes the targets out to be in the wrong because of generalizations about a group.

I didn’t say you must consider racism a “super weapon”.

You didn't say he should call it one. He figured out it was one all on his own!

I said I’d like you to tell me whether you think racism in any form exists and whether you think it’s bad.

That's a trick question, because the next question will be a gotcha which takes his answer but substitutes racism as you define it for racism as he defines it. If he says that racism is bad, you can then act as though he agrees that some progressive bugaboo that's commonly called racist is bad.

I agree that a lot of left-wing people abuse the term “racism”!

Can you describe some examples of this abuse?

And assuming you do describe them, can you then understand that Nybbler might necome vulnerable to this abuse if he said "sure, racism exists and is bad"?

If you start posting in a form, you should learn some of the forum's jargon.

Guy, I know exactly what the term is being used to mean; that’s precisely why I said it’s pointless jargon. I appreciate the gatekeeping, though. Extremely normal behaviour to unofficially require everyone posting be familiar with the collected works of one specific blogger, even to the point of constantly referencing some of the stuff from a decade ago that he’d probably rather you forgot about. (This last bit is a reference to the “paranoid rant” from way back when, by the way, in case it wasn’t clear.)

That's a trick question, because the next question will be a gotcha which takes his answer but substitutes racism as you define it for racism as he defines it. If he says that racism is bad, you can then act as though he agrees that some progressive bugaboo that's commonly called racist is bad.

Highly good-faith argumentation on display here. Do I get to write fanfic about the various dishonest and hypocritical things you’re going to say to me and then assert my fanfic as indisputable fact, or do only you and nyb get to do that for me?

Do I get to write fanfic about the various dishonest and hypocritical things you’re going to say to me and then assert my fanfic as indisputable fact, or do only you and nyb get to do that for me?

It makes sense to guard against this sort of tactic even if it's just a possibility. Nobody actually needs to be able to read your mind in order to realize "maybe I shouldn't say something that's vulnerable to tricks". If you personally weren't going to use any such tricks, blame the left-wing abusers you describe, for messing things up for honest people like you.

It makes sense to guard against this sort of tactic even if it's just a possibility

If you don’t care at all about speaking in good faith, then yes, it does make perfect sense.

If you personally weren't going to use any such tricks, blame the left-wing abusers you describe, for messing things up for honest people like you.

So your rules appear to be “many left-wing people are bad because they argue in bad faith, but when I do that, it’s actually still the left’s fault because they made me do it”.

For the millionth time, I have to argue - why don’t they get this excuse? Why isn’t their bad-faith argumentation justified by yours?

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This seems like a masked way of saying “that thing you call racism, I don’t consider bad”, but with some strawmanning and the pointless jargon of “super weapon” thrown in.

You're about a decade too late for this sort of thing to work.

What it means is that the term "racist" is used to indicate "ultra-bad-person-you-should-hate", that the criteria for "racist" are loose and variable, and that any attempt to pin it down is fruitless; no matter what criteria you can come up with to separate "the real racists who deserve the ultra-bad treatment" from those who don't will immediately be widened by those using the term in bad faith to cover people who shouldn't be.