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Culture War Roundup for the week of May 6, 2024

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Could American social progressivism be (in part) an intelligence operation to create “defense-in-depth” against America’s weak points, akin to the cybersecurity or military strategy?

In cybersecurity, valuable assets are hyper-protected with multiple layers of security, so that if any layer fails the others may still hold. The idea being that the assets are so important to defend and attacks could come at any time (and with novel stratagem), so it is reasonable to over-defend it in many different ways. In the military usage, layers of physical defense are established so that one may retreat into another defense upon an assault, ensuring reduced losses and longer periods of defending. Another somewhat ancillary idea is “fencing the Torah” in Judaism. It is so important not to violate a Torah prohibition that “fences” are established to make even the chance violation impossible. Eg, the the rule to not even pick up a tool lest you accidentally use it which would violate the sabbath prohibition.

America’s weak point is clearly potential civic disunity which could result in balkanization along racial, religious, or cultural lines. In order to hyper-defend from that risk, you implement a social operation involving defense-in-depth where the majority constituents must necessarily deny their own identity and engage in ritual ”sacrifices” upon the altar of plurality (from Trayvon to George Floyd). This explains even the whitification of Asians: once they become significant enough to possibly lead to Balkan problems, you enforce the same depotentiation. Notably, it is not enough of a social defense to merely pledge allegiance to plurality, as that hardly changes someone’s psychology. You must actually make it a social ideal so that it is promoted and normalized especially among the young potential rebels, and that is in fact what we see — those most at risk for any potential rebellion are coerced into a Kaczynskian “system’s neatest trick” procedure where their very rebellion helps to solidify state security. Why allow “Antifa” their own zone in Portland? Because when they are doing that they are doing nothing serious. Along the same lines, see how valuable transgenders have been as a layer of defense: millions of conservatives hours are spent arguing against something that has a surprising level of state support, and millions of progressive hours are spent defending something that is historically and intuitively off-putting. Those are hours that are not spent on something actually valuable; transgender stuff is simply the most outer layer of defense against a possible Balkan threat, and if conservatives win there’s nothing valuable lost from a state security perspective.

As outlandish as it seems, I think this is possible. It would be par for the course for how intel agencies behaved historically — well before they had enormous databases of information and AI to help them decide state hyper-protection. We could imagine the team of hundreds of some thousands employed toward this objective at some intel agency: “how do we protect against the most cataclysmic threat for America?” They look at the cost and benefit with history in mind, with WWII’s staggering death toll and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in mind.

America’s weak point is clearly potential civic disunity which could result in balkanization along racial, religious, or cultural lines. In order to hyper-defend from that risk, you implement a social operation involving defense-in-depth where the majority constituents must necessarily deny their own identity and engage in ritual ”sacrifices” upon the altar of plurality (from Trayvon to George Floyd). This explains even the whitification of Asians: once they become significant enough to possibly lead to Balkan problems, you enforce the same depotentiation. Notably, it is not enough of a social defense to merely pledge allegiance to plurality, as that hardly changes someone’s psychology. You must actually make it a social ideal so that it is promoted and normalized especially among the young potential rebels, and that is in fact what we see — those most at risk for any potential rebellion are coerced into a Kaczynskian “system’s neatest trick” procedure where their very rebellion helps to solidify state security.

This seems more likely to create problems of civic disunity than to serve as a defence against them, at least as currently implemented.

If US intelligence was most focused on strengthening America's stability, wouldn't they try to shore up American identity? Wouldn't they want colorblind patriotism, the supporting the troops ethos? You want to smooth over divisions, you don't want to create even controlled conflicts. You'd try to subvert and suppress dangerous groups of course but you wouldn't try to suppress the majority's white identity, you try to annex it into American identity.

Look at what Russia does. Rally around the flag, enemies all around us, we're all Russians regardless of race/creed, sacred duty to the motherland... They suppress the liberal/trans/separatist minority rather than the majority.

Here's an interesting article that perhaps deserves a post of its own. There are many things to say about it ("Gorbachev and Yeltsin ruined ice cream, the cowards.") but you get the sense that the state machinery is trying to keep the country together, promoting unity rather than division: https://harpers.org/archive/2024/01/behind-the-new-iron-curtain/

That's not what the US is doing. They're playing the patronage/suppression game, not the national unity game. 'We need more blacks in the Air Force, quotas everywhere, need to fight white supremacy and racism'. Those Stand Down days in the US military to counter extremism, internal conflict over things like migration and national identity.

Wokeness really isn’t very far from what Russia and China do for their minorities; both practice affirmative action openly or less openly. These countries’ governments are both officially anti-racist. Chinese rightists complain online about privileges granted to non-Han minorities; Russian ones complain online about advantages of Central Asians or Muslims replacing whites in Moscow and so on. Russia has emphasized national unity since the start of the Ukraine War, but it doesn’t seem to me more radical than the unity the US had in support of ‘the troops’ after 9/11. The US military’s internal rationale for affirmative action is domestic social unity, that’s why the Supreme Court gave them an explicit carve-out in the affirmative action ban last year.

Non-Han minorities get certain privileges but if they step out of line they'll be in a world of pain. Imagine if a minority group in China pulled an LA riot or a Floyd in response to police brutality, let alone a CHAZ. They'd be whisked away, never to be seen again. The police would launch an orgy of repression and re-education. China is super into historical grievance narratives, patriotism and Chinese nationalism (as opposed to Han nationalism or multiculturalism). The only times they're allowed to riot is when there's some incident with the US, the Belgrade embassy bombing for instance. Then they have the police put the kid gloves on and subtly stoke the fires, while trying to keep things under control.

Imagine if the top earning film at the US box office was 'Saving Private Ryan' turned up to 11 with an ending caption saying 'the eternal glory of the US Army shall be remembered forever and ever, the brave martyrs live forever in our hearts'. That's the Battle at Lake Changjin, that's real, intense nationalism. The top grossing film in America is Star Wars VII, a woke remaster of the original Star Wars.

If Central Asians desecrate Russian symbols, they and their families are expelled. Russia takes national pride very seriously, to a quasi-religious level. There's a lot of intense patriotism and nationalism, people (Strelkov and co) who'll go volunteer to start a tough war in support of their national beliefs.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-uzbek-boys-expelled-eternal-flame/32726911.html

Russia and China - civic nationalism. USA and West - multiculturalism and wokeness.

The only times they're allowed to riot is when there's some incident with the US, the Belgrade embassy bombing for instance. Then they have the police put the kid gloves on and subtly stoke the fires, while trying to keep things under control.

To be fair, I think that Floyd was much more similar to this than you'd first think. It was completely supported by the mainstream media and institutions.

The power balance in the West is different from that of China; there isn't a single Politburo, the media and institutions are power centers in their own right. But there's still a group of people you can more or less draw a circle around and say, these people are the people who actually decide what happens. And those people supported Floyd, even not-so-subtly stoked it, and if they hadn't it would've never happened.

Non-Han minorities get certain privileges but if they step out of line they'll be in a world of pain.

Non-Han minorities have received privileges that American leftists could never dream of. Imagine if the left restricted white parents to one child while allowing black and brown people to have unlimited children. The CHAZ and Star Wars are nothing compared to that.

Imagine if the top earning film at the US box office was 'Saving Private Ryan' turned up to 11 with an ending caption saying 'the eternal glory of the US Army shall be remembered forever and ever, the brave martyrs live forever in our hearts'. That's the Battle at Lake Changjin, that's real, intense nationalism. The top grossing film in America is Star Wars VII, a woke remaster of the original Star Wars.

Have you watched ‘Masters of the Air’ (2024)? It’s the successor show to Band of Brothers, it’s very patriotic and features a majority white male cast. I don’t think the occasional line about ‘But Black People Were Still Oppressed’ changes that. A rare negative review in Ars Technica said:

The only thing allowed here is wall-to-wall jingoistic patriotism—the kind where there's no room for anything except God, the United States of America, and bombing the crap out of the enemy.

Now, you can argue that no Chinese outlet would publish that about Battle at Lake Changjin, but it’s not clear that that’s really something negative about the US in comparison.

China is indeed doing things to minorities that American leftists could never dream of. Even allowing for US propaganda, they are not very tolerant.

In addition to the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs in state-sponsored camps, government policies have included forced labor,[5][6] suppression of Uyghur religious practices,[7] political indoctrination,[8] forced sterilization,[9] forced contraception,[10][11] and forced abortion.[12][13] Experts estimate that, since 2017, some sixteen thousand mosques have been razed or damaged,[2] and hundreds of thousands of children have been forcibly separated from their parents and sent to boarding schools.[14][15] Chinese government statistics reported that from 2015 to 2018, birth rates in the mostly Uyghur regions of Hotan and Kashgar fell by more than 60%.[9] In the same period, the birth rate of the whole country decreased by 9.69%.

Or consider what they've done in Tibet. That is not woke behaviour! They offer the carrot and the stick - if your ethnic group doesn't do what they want, they'll ensure you regret it. You had better be Chinese first, second and third, Tibetan fourth. It's very different to wokeness which is all carrot and no stick, for minorities at least. Wokeness undermines and reinterprets what it means to be American, Christopher Columbus Day or Thanksgiving are 'controversial'. It's thoroughly different to Chinese nationalism.

I'm not saying it's great to be super-nationalist like China but a certain level of nationalism is preferable for stability in a time of uncertainty.

It's very far. Both Russian and Chinese interpretation of multiculturalism is "better restaurants plus folk song and dance ensembles". Unless you're in one of the few ethnic republics that can get away with that, you won't be discriminated against for being too Russian, and as far as I know, China doesn't allow that at all.

Do their military contractors have bizarre struggle sessions over Han / Russian privilege? Do their major corporations tell workers to be less Han / Russian?

If not then this is just cope.

Imagine if black people and Muslims in America were allowed to have 4 kids each but white people were only allowed to have 1 child each. That was literally state policy in China until recently. I don’t know how you can say that’s better than the US.

I could imagine it of there was a billion Americans, and it came with none of the self-flagellation. Sorry but there just is no comparison between the two approaches.

I don’t think you really mean that. Would you accept a permanent end to affirmative action, bans on any DEI, guaranteed meritocracy in public and private employment and harsh crackdowns on any racial identitarianism (white or black) in exchange for limits on the number of kids white people could have?

It is simply indisputable that China is more leftist about this kind of thing than the US. The specific flavor of anti-racism in America is largely unique to the Anglosphere, progressivism isn’t.

If the policy was time-limited like in China, sure.

It is simply indisputable that China is more leftist about this kind of thing than the US

We were talking about wokism, not leftism.

Also note how you completely dropped Russia from your argument.

I discuss it below, but it’s hard to quantify the extent to which Putin tolerates the extreme overrepresentation of various minority groups in organized crime in Russia proper. By contrast the modern FBI went after organized black gangs to the extent that the whole culture fractured and the drugs business is no longer even the main cause of internecine conflict in eg. the South Side.

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Exactly. The Chinese and Russian regimes rather markedly do not normalize ethnomasochism.

Ethnic self flagellation happens because progressives do not view normal whites as part of their tribe, hence denigrating white people and white supremacy does not diminish the interests of white progs. Gutting the promotions of white Royal Air Force and forcing new hires to be uninterested and unqualified blacks stationed in some isolated northern airbase has zero impact on a Ministry of Defense desk jockey in London whose tribe is oxbridge peers in the city. The institutional capture by progressives to advance value negative minorities is to crush the vile bad whites, and at no level do these progressives view themselves as vulnerable because the championed classes can only survive under their stewardship.

This is the big difference between western style progressive championing of minorities and Russian/Chinese style 'wokeness'. The Russians and Chinese have no internal enemy they need to weaponize a minority against, so they can make a pretense of largesse towards compliant minorities. Moreover these are neither market dominant minorities whose presence upends the socioeconomic dynamic nor violent separatists who need to be clamped down on. Let the minorities have their food and costumes so long as they do not cause violence or upend the dominant order; the Hui have always had minimal trouble compared to the Uighur or the Yunnans for the Chinese, as the Buryats have been ignored compared to the Tajiks for Russia.

pretense of largesse towards compliant minorities.

Pretense? Tuvans and Chechens both seem very favoured, moreso than ethnic russians.

The current 'favored minority' position seems a function of the deft political power employed by Shiogu and the necessity of Kadyrov as a strongman to keep Chechnya in line. Bribes siphoned by Shoigu and paid to Kadyrov are not necessarily indicative of any Muscovite high opinion of those peoples and cultures detached from their political leaders. There has been little wealth flowing downwards to the tuvans or chechens from Moscow, and doubtless the utility of Shoigu and Kadyrov in keeping those populations docile is part of their value proposition to the state.

How about the extreme amounts of organized crime by various non-ethnic-Russians that the Kremlin largely tolerates and which de facto amounts to huge wealth transfers to these minorities? Sure, there aren’t many state handouts (although there are some), but that isn’t the only thing that serves that effect.

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akin to the cybersecurity or military strategy

"Defense in Depth" means something very different in the cyber versus the traditional military context.

It's a real shame that the term was re-used but then also redefined. So, unfortunately, I think your analysis is confused and self-contradictory not because of a failure of your personal construction, but because the terms and the concepts underlying them can't be swapped out as easily as you may have assumed.


Directly answering your intro question - hard no. Conspiracy theories about the all-powerfulness of the amorphous "intel" cabal of the USA I always dismiss out of hand because the axiomatic assumption underpinning it is that they're all powerful. "Could an all powerful entity do ... stuff!?" Yes, yes it could.

The sad fact of the matter is that the really cooky progressive stuff is the result of a Long March through the institutions paired with the kind of narcissism that can only result from the most prosperous generation of all time (boomers) failing to introduce their children (millennials) to reality. If you grow up richer than all other humans and never leave the suburban never-never land (even into college), tinker belle starts talking about polyamory, and then everyone starts calling your green tights gay, then, yeah, maybe cheering for the Islamic Death Cult helps you work through those emotions.

Phrased differently; social progressivism is make believe that has survived as a political ideology only briefly. Remember, 10 years ago we were in lame duck Obama years and looking at an at the time probable Bush-Clinton 2: Electric Boogaloo contest in 2016. Then the Orange rolled down the escalator and changed the game. 10 years in politics / social ideologies isn't nothing, but it isn't that long. The hard left is dying quickly before our eyes (big caveat here: the overton window has been shifted so much that the non-hard left is still pretty nuts.)

MAGA types are going to take multiple victory laps as the hard left continues to decline, but they've problems of their own. If the hard left is political make believe, the hard right is nihilistic fatalism. We had Walt Bismarck around these parts not too long along. Reading his substack is both worth it and difficult. Worth it in that a lot of his highlighted problems are very real and very well analyzed. Difficult because a lot of the solutions are heavily caveated "...but, even still, I don't think society is recoverable."

Looking in the mirror, earlier this week or last week, I got called out for unintentionally recommending a Benedict Option. That one made me think. Nihilism and fatalism aren't self-sustaining ideologies for obvious reasons. Worse, they don't actually cultivate pro-social and pro-growth behavior in a constituency. I saw a funny thing during the heart of the pandemic; my progressive friends were barricaded in doors wearing their CBRN costumes during zoom meetings - they mostly got a little fat, posted on Twitter more, and got good at home brewing anxiety. My MAGA friends stayed outside, went to spring break --- and got constantly shitfaced without a second thought. They definitely "owned the libs" at their end of the world party. And now, even those who think Trump: Deuces Wild is inevitably going to premier in November walk around very much like a doomsday cult that had their D-Day come and go without the rapture and are now feeling empty, fearful, and unprepared.

And none of this is the real threat to America.

Because that's China.

I’m gonna sort of disagree on the causes, and I think it’s a misunderstanding of how powerful things like culture and education are. I don’t think it’s a cabal deliberately trying to create divisions, but I do think the cathedral is.

Just to take your Islam example. The cathedral wants them accepted because they need worker drones and Muslim immigrants are it. Having other people rag on them for being different is bad for business and national Stability. There’s a lot of ways to go about making Islam less dangerous-seeeming. Put Muslims on TV as good people, or victims. Don’t educate people on what the religion is really like, don’t teach people about the Hadiths especially the violent ones. And add in the culture memes of diversity and inclusion and religion not being a serious thing, and you’ve got kids who think they can simply try out Islam.

I don’t necessarily agree that the right is nihilistic. I think the left has some of those tendencies, but not really on the right. The Benedict Option isn’t nihilistic in the least, in fact the main conceit of the BO is exactly that the white Christian community is worth sacrificing to save. A nihilist would look at a culture like ours not aligned with the good life and not care about it. They wouldn’t care if John decides to become Jill because it doesn’t matter, it’s another life choice in a sea of other unimportant life choices. Nihilism means nothing matter so do what you want to do.

No, I think if someone was acting according to your intent it would be more akin to beating a kid to the point of hospitalisation to 'toughen him up'. American cultural resilience is not anti-fragile.

I think this is too much 5D chess even for the American intelligence community.

Far more plausible is that they popularized this to contain internal threats (people typically point to Occupy and the uptick of media led racial discourse at a time of economic turmoil) and that it escaped from their grasp, either through some healthy encouragement from external threats or on its own.

This doesn't pass any kind of parsimony, does it?

Do you need to posit a benevolent(?) conspiracy to explain hyper-polarisation in American life? Surely not.

And surely where we would expect to see evidence of any such covert action, we don't. A deliberate act of social engineering on the scale of the entire US would require large numbers of people and large, coordinated programmes that we don't see. Meanwhile, if we do look for causes of progressive attitudes to race, it seems to me like we see large efforts put forth by non-state actors, for reasons that are plausible on their own independent of any 'defense-in-depth' plan.

I think it's plausible that American polarisation over unimportant or superficial issues might function to obstruct deeper polarisation, and that through this process real or successful revolt becomes less likely. But if so, it seems more likely that this is a happy accident, rather than something planned for an implemented by an agency.

I don't see it.

America’s weak point is clearly potential civic disunity which could result in balkanization along racial, religious, or cultural lines.

You can claim that Social Justice Progressivism aims to kit racial and ethnic cultural fault lines in society, perhaps.

However, the main fault lines I see today in the US are not Black vs White or New Immigrant Culture vs Traditional US Culture, but rural vs urban and SJP vs MAGA. If any religions are involved in fault lines, it is Christianity! (Notably, rich vs poor is not a big rift.)

While I can not disprove that Hari Seldon looked at the civil rights movement in the 1970s and saw that despite the racial barriers slowly falling, the end result would paradoxically be an increase in racial tensions, and set up SJP as a way to avoid a race war, I find this highly unlikely.

I think the roots of SJP in the civil rights movement started with relatable, noble goals and had the bad luck to mostly achieve their goals. So they did what any movement would do and picked further goals. Some, like gay rights, were again noble enough. Some, like insisting on equality of outcomes instead of color-blindness were IMHO harmful, some were mostly silly empty symbolism (like Confederate statues -- if you have the majority to blow them up, whatever, but this is not a decisive battle for the future of the US in any case.).

I think the roots of SJP in the civil rights movement started with relatable, noble goals and had the bad luck to mostly achieve their goals. So they did what any movement would do and picked further goals. Some, like gay rights, were again noble enough. Some, like insisting on equality of outcomes instead of color-blindness were IMHO harmful, some were mostly silly empty symbolism (like Confederate statues -- if you have the majority to blow them up, whatever, but this is not a decisive battle for the future of the US in any case.).

The civil rights movement was after equality of outcome from the start. Most of the things one finds bad about modern black identity politics existed there. If anything, the original movement was more violent against white people.

You could argue that parts of the broader society that helped the movement on some areas might have had more limited goals, or that they had then more so legitimate grievances too, but the reality is the core movement and a figure like MLK would be all in favor of the modern woke types, and he would be insinuating that opposition as he did as the time with contemporary republicans are nazis, racists, etc. It simply wasn't a movement with just limited goals.

No.

The most important parts of our army have dropped out of the army. Masculine males often southern no longer feel they fit in with the military.

Racial resentment is higher now.

A significant portion of the right (and disproportionately our best fighting men) now have a great deal of fondness for Putin or Xi. A masculine Chinese or Russian ruler doesn’t sound that bad to them versus being an adrogenous they/them with no real purpose in society.

On Balkanization - moreso in Europe but you did not have to worry about balkanization when a Swede was a Swede and you didn’t invite in sub Saharan blacks or Syrian immigrants. In the U.S. I think we have fewer big cultural issues with our immigrants coming from the South but they aren’t going to be our sophisticated fighting class.

Blacks in America have never posed a political problem. They are lower class. They have never been a key part of our fighting class. If they rose up against white well violent repression would not be hard.

On the left wokeism and oppressor-oppressed has literally caused a not that small group of Americans to identify with Hamas and take the side of our enemies.

In short if wokeism came from the intelligence community it’s the worst idea they have ever had.

The lefts concern that Putin in 2016 infiltrated our social media to radicalize America against itself plus China weapononizing wokeism on Tic-Tock is far more logical. America is far more Balkanized today than it was in 2008.

identify with Hamas and take the side of our enemies

There are lots of groups that have a dim view of Hamas' enemy. In the US I've only seen those on the left taking the side of Hamas. Are there groups on the right also aligning with Hamas? On the right I see more "let your enemies fight".

I'll offer a kind-of alternative hypothesis: wokeness exists to weaponize racial resentment against any group which defects in the approaching American economic crisis. The obvious drawback is the development of a high-ingroup-preference group identity in the targeted group, which explains why it was deployed against whites for field testing- you can rely on liberal and conservative whites to attack each other even if they're sharing a foxhole, rather than circle the wagons. Only time will tell if red tribe whites will develop a sufficient group identity to escape that trap and advocate for the ingroup.

I agree that trans qua trans is not the reason that the government promotes it so hard; I think in widespread civil conflict the pro-federal side will not care very much about some subset of its allies shooting transgenders out of hand, or otherwise learning from other cultures- such as Islamic ones- on the issue. But I don't think the conservative reaction is the point, unless it's some kind of 5d chess move to prevent ingroup orienting among conservative whites by getting them to argue about something else instead. I think trans is a distraction from deeper systemic issues.

It's true that a prolonged economic crisis leading to balkanization or pervasive civil strife is the main threat to the current world order; the USA is still #1, and Russia and China have demographic and economic issues preventing them from being true world hegemons, to say nothing of the problems faced by, like, India. But I think wokeness is intended as a weapon to be used against groups that are perceived as rebelling, not as a means of keeping them in line.

There is no approaching economic crisis. The USA is doing better than every single country in the world economically. Why do you say this like is is a default belief we should all accept. What proof do you have?

But I don't think the conservative reaction is the point

The government decided to redefine the social contract in a way that allows it to attack more and more people and institutions as "transphobic" in a way that is basically unavoidable. Because of the moralizing, it was able to do this shockingly fast and with relatively little pushback, even according to activists themselves.

I mean, that sounds enough like a conspiracy theory to me! Not sure why we need to posit some additional indirect play or benefit.

Why allow “Antifa” their own zone in Portland? Because when they are doing that they are doing nothing serious.

These sort of reverse arguments are easy to generate (e.g. "welfare is actually bad for the recipients because they become dependent on it", "affirmative action is bad for Black people because people assume they're diversity hires", etc), so barring any actual evidence, it's hard to take any specific example seriously.

America’s weak point is clearly potential civic disunity which could result in balkanization along racial, religious, or cultural lines.

Similarly, it seems extremely weird to argue that elevating racial groups in discourse is supposed to prevent civic disunity along racial lines. When there is a clear direct relationship in one direction and an alleged indirect relationship in the other, I take the direct relationship far more seriously.

Every example you posed can actually be considered thoughtfully (“does affirmative action harm black people? In what capacity? Can it both harm and help different cohorts of black people?”). I think it’s a poor cognitive choice to opt out of thinking about questions which lack easy empirical data. This would mean that you can’t think about the most powerful agencies in America (or Russia), as they are necessarily clandestine. “Reverse arguments” is a fictitious category which cannot be uniformly swept aside. For this question, the evidence consists in thinking: do you want your leftist political agitators engaging in something that is actually problematic to state security (see anything from Italian anarchists, the IRA, the weather underground, to that one highly effective anti-meat org in the UK), or do you want them to instead embarrass themselves in a couple city blocks where agencies can collect identifiable data and where you always have the option to arrest them? “CHAZ” never had any chance of getting out of hand because what they were doing was clearly illegal. Rather than immediately arresting them, you can lure potential rebels into doing nothing serious while collecting data on everyone who showed up. (Remember how the FBI for some reason had drone footage of Rittenhouse?)

it seems extremely weird to argue that elevating racial groups in discourse is supposed to prevent civic disunity along racial lines

The propaganda which has been fully imbibed by the PMC class is not that they were elevated, right? What the PMC exemplar believes is that some racial wrong was rectified and that white solidarity is wrong. This created a fear about group solidarity among whites (right now the only group that can actually threaten a risk of balkanization). Various black advocacy groups are appeased, though it’s not like black people can be an organized threat to the state (especially with gang culture and consumerism completely depotentiating them). What the BLM et al stuff effected is a class of high achieving young people who fear having an identity apart from harmless anti-cultural things (LGBeTc) and consumerism.

For this question, the evidence consists in thinking: do you want your leftist political agitators engaging in something that is actually problematic to state security (see anything from Italian anarchists, the IRA, the weather underground, to that one highly effective anti-meat org in the UK), or do you want them to instead embarrass themselves in a couple city blocks where agencies can collect identifiable data and where you always have the option to arrest them? “CHAZ” never had any chance of getting out of hand because what they were doing was clearly illegal. Rather than immediately arresting them, you can lure potential rebels into doing nothing serious while collecting data on everyone who showed up.

Isn't this premised on the idea that the people who were involved in CHAZ would have, had they not been involved in CHAZ, become real security threats?

Is that plausible?

At least two alternative possibilities spring to mind. Firstly, the kind of people who engage in street circus nonsense like CHAZ are not in fact the same sort of people who are likely to become real threats, like the early Bolsheviks. They're both radicals, in a sense, but they have very different strategies and interests. If these groups are different, then CHAZ might actually decrease overall security by making governments and security agencies devote time to CHAZ, rather than serious threats. Secondly, it's also perfectly possible that the kind of people who engage in CHAZ would go on to become serious threats - CHAZ itself is a clown show, but the experience of engaging in radical action, even the ineffective sort, might prepare people for more effective action later.

In fact both those possibilities might be the case. If I were a genuine radical - if I were part of a modern Weather Underground or something - I might look closely at CHAZ, identify the most competent or most radical people involved in it, and then aim to recruit them. Even if only the top 5% of CHAZ participants have real revolutionary potential, that's not nothing. A real radical might benefit from the existence of a large number of shallow, ineffective protests in order to skim off the top level of participants. For any organisation whose primary business is illegal, recruiting is a real challenge. Test beds like these protests seem useful.

Is that theory true? Is that what's actually happening?

No idea!

My point is that being able to imagine a situation in which X event benefits Y people does not constitute evidence that Y did X. It's not that easy to transmute theory into fact.

Interestingly the anti-semitism push last year was aimed at the black supremacists who were organizing the strongest 'everyone get organized and stop fucking up' push in the black community.

Like who?

Black Hebrew Israelites and 5% nation, most notably.

That's what I thought.

My thinking is they got caught up so easily because they're antisemitic (and can't/won't hide it) and b) no one is really worried about them: "we need to finally get organized" is just a cliche in these circles. It's actually even used by grifters now: Dr Umar Johnson has - allegedly - been building a woke black school forever and keeps complaining about how black people want to talk and not step up and donate.

There are prominent black people organizing or lobbying. Presumably you'd go after them first. But most aren't going to start on a rant about being the real Jews when pushing the NFL.

So the idea is that the powers behind the throne use woke discourse to provide circuses to prevent an actual threat to their dominance of American life?

All reports are that the intel agencies aren't insulated from woke discourse and the culture war, so it doesn't particularly work that they float it to protect themselves from attack.

Not to prevent a threat to the agency but to prevent a threat to American security and territorial integrity.

If so, it's their biggest failure ever; there's a serious possibility of civil war, and even if unrealised that threat is contributing to other threats such as a potential WWIII over Taiwan.

a serious possibility of civil war

America has shockingly little threat of civil unrest for a 333 million strong country that is globally hegemonic. It’s our endless catastrophizing against potential unrest (an example of hyper-defense) which leads to our civic equanimity. When some people made vague gestures toward the possibility of legitimate civil unrest on January 6th, which was never actually a threat, their punishments and social shame were maximal simply as a way to deter even future gesturing.

It would take a fairly-major spark, yes. Here are some possible sparks big enough:

  • hard hit on debt ceiling, police and military defunded for long enough that they desert from lack of pay
  • a true repeat of Bush v. Gore without a concession and with a hated candidate winning (Jan 6 was as mild as it was because Trump was clearly bananas to the point that the Republican machine didn't back him, and because Joe Biden was a milquetoast candidate who didn't (yet) have the hatedom that Trump himself and almost every other Democrat did)
  • open defiance of SCOTUS by the executive, or possibly court-packing.

None of these is remotely a sure thing, but it's hard to rule any of them out either. Hence, serious possibility.

(And there's at least one other I know of.)

Frankly the USA lacks a clean racial/cultural split across demarcated geographies to let a proper civil war play out. Gretchen Whitmer isn't rallying Dutch-German Americans in the Midwest to take up arms against the New Englanders of Hochul. There are too few concentrated natural resources or geographies worth fighting over in the USA because it is so large. The most likely failure point will be race based riots collapsing a major metropolitan area totally combined with a refusal by a governor to send in the national guard or said national guard rebelling. Think full riots of BLM and Rodney King with 0 law enforcement for a few weeks. A spontaneous violent mob horizontally coordinated along racial lines for ease of identification just to wreck shit. Less armed factions battling street by street Stalingrad style, more Harlem Riots with more destruction.

Civil wars really require geographically consolidated factions free of any local element capable of resistance. This is especially easy when the state institutions are token rebrandings of existing tribal or ethnic power structures. When the state falls, the militias simply swap out their patches and return to their old ways.

A spontaneous violent mob horizontally coordinated along racial lines for ease of identification just to wreck shit. Less armed factions battling street by street Stalingrad style, more Harlem Riots with more destruction.

I think that describes the Rwandan genocide pretty well, too- if perhaps a very extreme example.

Civil wars really require geographically consolidated factions free of any local element capable of resistance.

Of course, the problem here (for the belligerents) is that defense against even a consolidated faction is really one-sided. 3 foot soldiers dead on national TV was enough to end BLM; how much worse for turbo-BLM in a free-fire zone? Unless the National Guard is defending them, but "government organization decked out in military gear shooting civilians" is the definition of civil war anyway.

3 foot soldiers dead on national TV was enough to end BLM; how much worse for turbo-BLM in a free-fire zone?

BLM ended because the godzilla threshold for sending in the troops to quash rioters was breached. The riots could definitely have descended into haiti-level extortion rackets if the police never came in.

I don't doubt that cowardly looters would scatter at the first few dead, and reprisal raids conducted by amateurs are easily defended as you state. However defense of territory is never easy with multiple entry vectors, and territory can never be held in anarchic situations. A regression to defensible strongpoints with the rest being grey zones is the likely path for any conflict state with insufficient bodies and weapons to wage permanent war.

Today is Eurovision! For you Americans this is like the Super Bowl, only with power ballads, ABBA nostalgia, residuals of nationalism and flamboyant glittery gayness. The European song contest is often watched ironically in a party setting with family or friends, we print out sheets of the participants and give them points and have a competition who can make the most snarky comment, but deep down under the snark, irony and sarcasm we love it!

This year it is sadly very very political, because of the participation of Israel. The songs name was named „October rain“ but had to be changed, together with lyrics, to remove references of the Hamas attack. So there isn’t plausible deniability that it is an unpolitical love song.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/eurovision-israel-eden-golan-protests-gaza-palestine-072826896.html

He said the majority of the crowd were booing and shouting 'free Palestine' with very few people cheering for her. Mina said: "I could see people arguing in the standing section, and people were shouting at others that were booing to shut up."

For television the sound engineers did amplify applause and mute the boos which also gives a nice discussion about truth and Orwell etc. It will be very interesting what sound from the audience will be broadcast at the final show today.

Surprisingly (or not) Israel doesn’t have only haters, their betting odds improved massively, they actually have a chance to win the contest!

https://twitter.com/DrEliDavid/status/1788690154133012637

Italian TV accidentally revealed their televoting percentages during tonight's #Eurovision semi-final, according to which the Israeli 🇮🇱 song is leading by 40%, with a huge margin ahead of all others.

It's the super bowl if only the people of soy and normies watched it. The kind of underclass trash that watched Big Brother and Jersey Shore. Eurovision is extremely gay and unrepresentative.

Please avoid this kind of snarling at the groups you don’t like.

For television the sound engineers did amplify applause and mute the boos which also gives a nice discussion about truth and Orwell etc. It will be very interesting what sound from the audience will be broadcast at the final show today.

From what I recall there was no notable booing during Israel's performance, but lots while the head of the EBU was on screen. I'm guessing they assumed there would be booing for the Israeli entry and planned accordingly, but didn't think that the audience would boo the inoffensive bureaucrat who's technically in charge.

We heard booing for both.

Representing Ireland is a (sigh) non-binary singer-songwriter calling herself* (sigh) Bambie Thug. Her decision to participate was controversial, with many figures in Ireland's music scene likening her to a scab worker for not honouring the Eurovision boycott in protest of Israel's participation. She has given multiple interviews defending herself and insisting that she is acting in accordance with her values. I believe I read somewhere that she claimed she was originally planning to wear a dress with the word "ceasefire" or something to that effect emblazoned on it in ogham (am ancient Irish script) but the Eurovision people made her wear something else.

*Don't care.

Bambie Thug

acting in accordance with her values

Would that be spermjacking you at gunpoint?

I get the "gunpoint" part, but why "spermjacking"? Is there a "Bambie" among the various women who've impregnated themselves with stolen semen, or something?

Lol

Don't do this.

I mean, okay, but I was just laughing at that guy's joke. Is it against the rules to say "ha ha, your joke was funny"?

Yes. It's not because we hate humor. It's because threads full of people saying "Lol" and "This" are annoying, so we discourage it.

Understood.

She's said that she thought Isreal should be excluded if they're excluding Russia.

This made me suspicious about the sources of historical anti-witch propaganda.

Do we know how unified the witch communities position on Isreal / Zionism is?

Is it common for Eurovision to consistently have so many LGBT performers? I clicked on a few participating countries' performers and all but one seemed to be in that category. I get that the whole thing is pretty gay but even taking that into account it seemed a bit unusual.

Her decision to participate was controversial, with many figures in Ireland's music scene likening her to a scab worker for not honouring the Eurovision boycott in protest of Israel's participation. She has given multiple interviews defending herself and insisting that she is acting in accordance with her values.

What exactly is it with Ireland and Israel? I know Israel's not exactly popular these days but I feel over half of the public statements I see denouncing them come out of ROI. I definitely haven't heard of any other national contestant having to defend their choice to attend the competition based on Israel being there.

Is there a meaningful undercurrent of anti-semitism in Irish society (yes I know anti-semitism isn't definitionally the same as Israelophobia, but they tend to be pretty correlated)? It's not as if there are a lot of Muslims there. Or is it mostly performative political progressivism, like their cousins in Scotland?

What exactly is it with Ireland and Israel?

Brendan O'Neill has an interesting write-up today about Bambie Thug and the historical links between Ireland and Israel.

Maybe they're still salty over Isreal's use of fraudulent Irish passports / identities for their intelligence agencies wet work.

This is the first I've heard of it, do you have a source?

Dead link.

Fixed

Thanks a lot.

Is it common for Eurovision to consistently have so many LGBT performers?

When I was a kid, my memory is that the western European entrants tended to be knowingly, overwhelmingly camp (over-the-top dance-pop songs, garish stage production etc.), while the eastern European entrants tended to be more serious and subdued (mid-tempo ballads accentuated with traditional instrumentation). The audience for Eurovision has always been as gay as they come, but I think it's only within the last decade that many European countries have started consciously leaning into this by submitting performers with the intent of appealing to gay audiences i.e. performers who are themselves LGBT.

What exactly is it with Ireland and Israel?

As a country which got its independence in the last century, the Irish carry around a residual postcolonial sentiment and (rightly or wrongly) see the struggle for Palestinian statehood as analogous to the battle for Irish independence. It may be "performative" in some sense, but the Irish support for the Palestinian cause predates the modern progressive/woke movement by decades e.g. when I was in primary school, every Easter we'd raise funds for the charity Trócaire, who even at the time were outspoken in their support for Palestine. Even many social conservatives are sympathetic to the cause: my mum often tells the story of her father (a devout Catholic who was opposed to the legalisation of divorce, never mind abortion) visiting Israel in the early 2000s and describing how appalled he was by the security checks Palestinians were made to go through on entrance to the state. The Provisional IRA (active in both north and south from the 60s to the late 90s) were in direct contact with the PLO, and even received training from them. I was in Belfast in January, and when driving through heavily Catholic districts of the city (e.g. the Falls road), I saw Palestinian flags hanging from every pub, which were conspicuous by their absence in the Protestant districts. A friend of mine joked that this makes Israel-Palestine one of the most effective shibboleths for gauging someone's religious background in Northern Ireland. Even prior to October 7th, it wasn't remotely uncommon to see Palestinian flags adorning the balconies of working-class council flats in Dublin (October 7th has "gentrified" the cause such that the middle-class houses who were displaying Ukrainian flags for the last two years have now added Palestinian flags, or even replaced them). I doubt it will surprise you to learn that I don't think the alleged parallels between Palestine-Israel and Ireland-Britain really hold water (e.g. to my mind, Hamas leaders have made it perfectly clear that their ultimate goal is the extermination of every Jew from the face of the earth; while I have nothing nice to say about the IRA, they did not have the stated goal of massacring every Briton), but that's neither here nor there.

I've never gotten the feeling that Ireland is an antisemitic country (the most famous novel to come out of the country has a sympathetic Jewish protagonist; there's been at least one prominent Jewish elected official in my lifetime; there was a Jewish guy in my class in secondary school who was far more popular than I was). If there had been scenes similar to London or Sydney over the last six months (e.g. rabbis getting harassed on the street, mass crowds chanting "gas the Jews"), I imagine I would have heard about it. There aren't many Muslims in Ireland, but thirty times as many Muslims as Jews according to the 2016 census, and the ratio is probably even more skewed now. Even the numerous pro-Palestine protests that I've seen seem to be principally attended by native white Irish people rather than first-generation Muslim immigrants.

I was in Belfast in January, and when driving through heavily Catholic districts of the city (e.g. the Falls road), I saw Palestinian flags hanging from every pub, which were conspicuous by their absence in the Protestant districts

In the more loyalist areas (I think more moderate Protestants are kind of embarrassed by all the flag-waving) you’ll also see Israeli flags being flown in response to this.

Thanks for the explanation. It doesn't sound a whole lot more rational than straight-up Jew-hatred, but I appreciate your thoroughness in writing out the history of this mode of thought.

Thanks for the explanation. It doesn't sound a whole lot more rational than straight-up Jew-hatred,

Really? Maybe rational isn't the right term, but I find it perfectly understandable that a nation formerly oppressed by a much larger one who had to fight for their independence through terrorist bombings would have a bit of empathy for a small nation in much the same situation. Hell, it was even the same people who both conquered Ireland and imposed Israel on the middle east.

Terrorist bombing campaigns were more a feature of the Troubles than of the War of Independence. The IRA of the era largely favoured guerrilla warfare tactics, in which their combatants (in plain clothes) would assassinate a police officer or British spy and then melt into the crowds. In the Wikipedia article about the War of Independence, the word "bomb" only appears five times, one of which in reference to a Loyalist bombing attack and another to a planned bombing campaign on the British mainland which was never actually carried out. I'm not aware of a single instance of the IRA using any of Hamas's more unsavoury tactics (e.g. child suicide bombers, planting bombs with the deliberate intention of causing mass civilian casualties) during the War of Independence.

would have a bit of empathy for a small nation in much the same situation

It doesn't seem understandable that anyone intelligent would empathise because it's not a remotely similar situation. Israel hasn't been in Gaza since 2005, so I'm not sure what sort of independence the Irish think Gaza/Hamas is fighting for. Unless the Irish feel that what they were struggling for during the 20th century is in some way analogous to the peculiar Palestinian notion of "independence" i.e. slaughtering all 9m inhabitants of Israel to "reclaim" a land no Gazan has any living memory of, in which case yeah I do think there's something quite wrong with the Irish national psyche.

Israel hasn't been in Gaza since 2005

Are you going to claim that Israel hasn't been exerting any kind of pressure or influence in Gaza since 2005? Even if you grant that absurd falsehood, the idea that their actions prior to 2005 couldn't have any kind of lingering impact is equally farcical.

slaughtering all 9m inhabitants of Israel to "reclaim" a land no Gazan has any living memory of,

If a people lacking a living memory of their land is enough to deny their claim to it, why should Israel exist at all given that none of the zionists and British people involved in creating it had any living memory of it either? Plenty of Irish people were born with no living memory of independence, but that doesn't actually justify anything the British did to them.

Are you going to claim that Israel hasn't been exerting any kind of pressure or influence in Gaza since 2005?

The influence they've exerted since 2005 has been driven primarily by Hamas who keep starting conflicts with them. Unless the Irish think that Israel should just sit there and not respond to rocket fire and massacres like 10/7?

Even if you grant that absurd falsehood, the idea that their actions prior to 2005 couldn't have any kind of lingering impact is equally farcical.

I'm also not sure what this is supposed to suggest. Would it be acceptable for the IRA to conduct acts of terrorism against the British due to the lingering impact of British colonialism in Ireland? Or for the Taliban to keep hijacking airplanes because of the lingering impact of the USA in Afghanistan? Why even grant any diplomatic concession to an adversary if your prior acts are apparantly justification for continued violence on their part?

If a people lacking a living memory of their land is enough to deny their claim to it, why should Israel exist at all given that none of the zionists and British people involved in creating it had any living memory of it either?

Israel should exist for the same reason any country should exist - the vast majority of people living there are born there and have no where else to live, and as such it's their home. The founding myth or original claim or whatever you want to call it is irrelevant. It wasn't justifiable for the original European settlers in the US to displace the native population, but no one sane is suggesting that descendents of the natives should be allowed to carry out mass rape and murder of Americans with European ancestry. Same argument applies to Australia, Canada, the Saxons displacing the Brits, the Vikings displacing lots of Saxons etc. etc.

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Eurovision is basically always two steps gayer than the rest of the society, so it's gayer than in the 90s, but it was already gay in the 90s by the 90s society standards. The gayness has never really been a huge hindrance to it being a huge popular spectacle, even many European conservatives are willing to tolerate gay and gender nonconforming stuff as long as the context is artistic expression.

The Irish are incredibly pro-palestine because they metaphorize it to their treatment by the British.

I’m not Irish, so take this with a grain of salt. But as I understand it, the Irish have always analogized their situation with respect to the British to the Palestinians’ with respect to the Israelis.

I did consider that but wanted to give the Irish the benefit of the doubt. I can only assume their education system is significantly more challenged than I thought.

It was a big part of IRA propaganda wrt Catholics in northern Ireland, not a surprise that it's a pervasive brainworm.

she is acting in accordance with her values

Considering I have a strong prior that the values of someone choosing to go by 'Bambie Thug' are to garner as much attention as possible at all times...

I have long said that the eurovision song contest needs to be imported to the USA. We need an outlet for regionalist jingoism and dumb arguing and snark. We need something to get politics notionally out of the news. I need another opportunity to insistently call Taylor Swift 'Travis Kelce's girlfriend' because football is more notable.

The one American who I think would legitimately love Eurovision if he was, for some reason, visiting the event by himself, would be Donald Trump. I won't elaborate further.

Trump hosting or commenting on the Eurovision would be hysterically funny.

We've had terrible poofters folks, really terrible, Bidden's gay musicians can't even suck a cock properly, but my gay vocalists can. Really we have HUGE gays, the gayest.

I wonder if it's partly because something like Eurovision requires a level of whimsy or self-deprecation that Americans can't manage?

I have a lot of fondness for Americans, but they do undoubtedly take themselves very seriously - perhaps too seriously for something like Eurovision. If I imagine an American Eurovision, America can do the excess and the glamour and the high-budget-yet-low-taste glitter of it all, but there has to be this subtle element of self-mockery in it, of realising that the whole thing is silly and yet embracing it anyway.

We do have the Miss America Pageant, but very few people really care about that anymore. I think with modern communications and moving around, there just isn't as much jingoism between US states anymore.

We might be more interested in an intra-North America competition. Doing it between countries really amps up the jingoism, like the Olympics and World Cup. It would be fun to see the US go up against Cuba in a song contest. Not sure how you'd make it fair, though...

We have a perfectly cromulent outlet for regionalist jingoism, college football. At least until the TV money got large enough to drive the bus with conference consolidation and transfers becoming a whole lot closer to free agency.

Even before it wasn't quite the same. Eurovision contestants are typically born and raised in that country. Sure they've often done some travelling but they have lifelong links.

College football players often didn't have any link to the college or state before they got the scholarship.

The transfer system is garbage. Really undermines college sports.

The strength of Eurovision is that you can know absolutely nothing about it, watch it, and still be thoroughly entertained. Eurovision has such wide appeal that people far outside Europe tune into it and watch it, sometimes fanatically.

American football is impenetrable to anyone who isn't already deep within it. American football even by football standards is an unusually unintuitive game. It doesn't spread beyond America, at all, and even in America there are wide swathes of the population who don't understand it.

American football is impenetrable to anyone who isn't already deep within it.

I very much disagree. American football isn't as intuitive to start watching as soccer, but you can learn enough about the rules of American football to start enjoying the game in like five minutes. The details of American football rules are extremely complex, but you don't need to know them to be a fan and indeed, out of all NFL fans I think probably only 10% or so actually understand those rules on a deep level. And I am not one of them, lol. All you really need to know to start understanding the game enough to enjoy it are: 1) 7 points TD / 3 points field goal, 2) you get 4 attempts to pick up 10 yards, if you succeed you get another 4 and if you don't the other team gets the ball, and 3) you can throw the ball forward no more than 1 time per play.

I myself went from knowing basically nothing about American football to being a fan in just a few minutes of watching. Actually, I don't think I even understood #3 above when I became a fan.

I guess just using myself as an ancdote, that explanation has not helped me. Pick up? Huh? Getting yards?

You throw the ball forward and if you can do that without the other team interfering, you get to move the starting line forward ten yards, and then repeat?

I remember finding it helpful to hear that American football is basically a turn-based strategy, unlike soccer or my native AFL, which are real-time strategy, so to speak. American football is a stop-start game, divided into clear, turn-like 'plays'. Maybe I should look up an explainer video with some diagrams of the game in play?

Sorry, "pick up" is slang for "to gain", "to acquire".

Yes, American football is essentially a hybrid turn-based/real-time game where each turn is a burst of real-time activity,.

In each turn, one team is on offense and starts with the ball. It is trying to either get the ball into the other team's endzone for 7 points or kick the ball through the other team's uprights for 3 points. The other team is on defense and is trying to stop that. If either the team on offense scores points or the team on defense manages to grab the ball away from the offense, the team on offense "loses possession" and then has to be the team on defense, and the other team that was on defense before becomes the team on offense.

A given team's offense and defense are usually made up of completely different players, but this is not enforced by the rules. It's just that in practice, no player is good enough at both offensive and defensive skills and has enough endurance to be worth playing both on offense and on defense.

The team on offense can throw the ball or run the ball as much as it wants, but with the extremely important caveat that it can only throw the ball forward once at most in any given turn ("down"). It can throw the ball backward as much as it wants, though teams almost never do this because statistically it is usually a bad idea.

When a team goes on offense, it generally starts at the part of the field where the other team lost possession when it was on offense. The team on offense then has four turns ("down"s) to move the ball, by throwing or running, at least ten yards closer to the other team's endzone than where it started. Each time it tries to move the ball, no matter what happens, then the next time it tries to move the ball, it starts at wherever the ball was stopped the last time it tried to move the ball. So let's say on the first down, the team on offense manages to move the ball 3 yards forward. Then on its second down, it starts 3 yards closer to that imaginary 10-yard line that it has to cross, the line that is 10 yards forward from where it first started the current set of 4 downs.

If the team on offense manages to move the ball past 10 yards from where it started on offense in those 4 turns ("down"s) it has, it then gets another 4 turns to move the ball 10 yards further from wherever the ball was last stopped. And if in those next chances it moves the ball more than 10 yards, then it gets yet another 4 turns... and so on... as long as the team on offense keeps managing to get at least 10 yards in 4 turns, it always gets 4 more turns, and in this way it can "march down the field" as they say and eventually get in the defending team's endzone. But if at any point the team on offense uses up 4 turns and fails to move the ball 10 yards forward in total between all the 4 turns, it gives us possession to the other team and then the other team goes on offense starting from where the offensive team had the ball.

At any point in a 4-turn cycle, the team on offense has the option of kicking the ball far towards the other team's endzone, hoping to run in the direction of the other team's endzone and stop whoever on the defending team catches the ball. Once the other team catches the ball, they become the team on offense. So the only reason for the team on offense to do this is if they feel that there is very little chance that they would be able to get 4 more downs by moving the ball past 10 yards and so it would be better to make sure that the team on defense gets the ball (and thus becomes the team on offense) close to their own endzone rather than at the place where the two teams are currently facing each other.

This is a lot of words but it can all start to make sense pretty quickly once one watches a game.

It is gaining in popularity in Germany. Also, the CFL does exist. It is also hard to overstate the popularity of football in the States.

Also in Finland.

Interesting—didn’t realize that. Thanks!

I had a flatmate in Scotland who was really into it. No idea if it's gaining wider popularity there, but that's my anecdote, fwiw.

Well yes, college ball is too much like the pros these days. Need something lighthearted and trashy, for to let the chainsmoking wives of America fly their regional prejudices proudly over the most trivial excuses.

Eurovision is like soccer: Americans don't care, Americans don't need to care, and that's all to the good.

Eurovision is one of the things I'm definitely going to edit out of my perception once doing so is possible. I'd like to wholly forget it exists.

As a "favorite sport", soccer is almost as popular as basketball or baseball among Americans now.

Yet another reason to eliminate immigration. Liking soccer is moral degeneracy. I say this only slightly in jest!

I'm curious, do you dislike it because you see it as a particularly un-American cultural import or is there some other reason you're not keen on it (and assuming I'm not taking your comment entirely too seriously)?

It is said mostly in jest. But I think soccer is an inferior sport to say football or Hockey. It is less physical, less specialization, and less tools. And I think the reason people in the states love it isn’t intrinsic to the sport but because it is popular. I hate that.

Also there is something sad to the homogenization of all culture. Sports are part of culture

That's interesting because again I would say those are points in soccer's favour. Particularly when it comes to it being less physical, surely it's more entertaining to watch people compete based on skill rather than brute size/strength? I can't imagine there'd be much of a market for watching someone who weighs 150kg beat up an opponent half his size in boxing or MMA. Whereas in soccer someone like Messi can run rings around players much larger than him thanks to his co-ordination and ball control.

In American sports, you do have the ultra skill guys who can compete against the physical brutes. But skill is not enough and athleticism is not enough. Either one will only make you good. Greatness requires both.

And again I can’t stress the point of physicality enough. Physicality isn’t primarily about athleticism but it is hitting. Aggression.

Lots of Americans don't like being asked to care about soccer because they consider a sport which doesn't score that frequently boring.

Living in one of the rare other countries where soccer isn't the main sport, there really seems to be a something ostentatious about the way anti-soccer Americans go out of their way to talk unprompted about just how much they don't care about soccer and how un-American it is etc. that you don't really find here.

I suppose it's a culture war thing but even then, a self-aware person would at least consider that it really is then the culture war that's at fault, moreso than the game itself.

That's fair. IMO the low-scoring nature of soccer/football is what makes the game tense and exciting - that feeling of not even wanting to go to the bathroom because you risk missing a dramatic game-changing moment isn't something I can imagine experiencing watching something as high-scoring as basketball. Differing tastes.

This seems like the inverse of reality. With football or basketball, so much is happening so often that the odds of me missing something very cool (an athletic dunk, a field-flipping interception, a clutch three-point shot from a mile away, a nifty trick play) is astronomically higher per minute I’m away than with soccer.

Even if something exciting does happen in a soccer game, it often takes several minutes to develop (i.e. even after intercepting a pass, a player has to actually make it all the way upfield and usually wait for some team support before attempting to score, giving me plenty of time to get out of the bathroom before missing the best part) and frankly isn’t usually all that visually appealing even when it does finally happen. I would say the average soccer match includes maybe five or six interesting moments. An average basketball game includes like twenty.

Looks like no

I’d guess the kind of people who liked baseball (coastal white ethnics) are now the dominant soccer audience in the US. Baseball seems to have completely died in terms of younger audience.

I suspect the dominant soccer audience are immigrants and progressives dying to be European

and progressives dying to be European

I remember this as one of Scott Alexander's initial descriptors for blue tribe members.

That’s not surprising. Games are on streaming services and rarely on network TV. Going to a ballgame is expensive for families— somewhere between 150-200 dollars to attend a game and get a snack and a drink. Even youth baseball is harder to access, it’s mostly select teams after first or second grade. All of this means kids aren’t watching as much baseball as they used to.

No, the country music audience likes baseball. Flyover whites and assimilated hispanics go to baseball games all the time.

Baseball is declining, and that's partly because there's too many games for anyone to watch all of them, except for the most hardcore fans ever or those who have some professional reasons(eg local entertainment newscasters). This leads to few people even trying, which makes baseball less lucrative. But ticket sales remain strong so that teams are able to stay above water.

No, the country music audience likes baseball

More than football? Hispanics I agree of course. But I do think there has been a big decline amongst Ellis Island Americans. Every suburban white male New Yorker (be he Jewish, Irish or Italian) over fifty seems to like baseball, almost no young ones do.

No, not more than football, but definitely more than basketball or soccer.

I legitimately know very little about the habits of Ellis island Americans; I live in the south and see northerners with hyphenated ethnicities as essentially foreigners.