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« Weekend update: "Show one, show all"--policy preference & political knowledge dataset posted | Main | Mystery solved? Age, political knowledge, and political polarization »
Monday
Aug072017

WSMD? JA!: Curiosity, age, and political polarization

This is approximately the 3,602nd episode in the insanely popular CCP series, "Wanna see more data? Just ask!," the game in which commentators compete for world-wide recognition and fame by proposing amazingly clever hypotheses that can be tested by re-analyzing data collected in one or another CCP study. For "WSMD?, JA!" rules and conditions (including the mandatory release from defamation claims), click here.

“Loyal listener” @Joshua wonders if the correlation between age and conservatism might be explained by a decline in science curiosity. He was motivated to pose this interesting question in part by the interesting constraint that science curiosity imposes on politically movitated reasoning.

It was in the course of trying to construct some helpful models on this question that I came across the data featured in the last couple of posts on age, political knowledge, & partisanship. 

But now let's consider curiosity:

1. The zero-order correlation between science curiosity & age is trivial.  A linear model (again) appears to fit the relationship here pretty well. The correlation between science curiosity (as we measure it) and age is negligible—r = 0.03, p = 0.20.  For purposes of illustration, consider the probability density distributions of science curiosity for three age cohorts:

It therefore seems unlikely that some age-related deficit in science curiosity is contributing much to the oft-observed relationship between age and conservatism.

2. The additive effect of (a) science curiosity and (b) age on the intensification of partisanship appears to be very modest and is driven by latter. In a multivariate regression, science curiosity and age both make independent, additive contributions  (they don’t interact, a finding featured in Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing, Tbl. S3) to conservatism. But it is reasonably clear that (b) is responsible for most of the age-conservatism effect.

Consider:

It can be seen here that both science curiosity and age are having an effect.  The impact of the former, however, is uniform across the age continuum; it doesn’t seem to be adding to the conservatism of older citizens in a distinct way.

3. We won’t really be able to make more sense of all this until the effect of science curiosity can be assessed in relation to political knowledge and to personality traits that inform PT theory. As the last post showed, there was a massive missing-variable bias in my analyses of age, resulting from the omission of political knowledge.  Accordingly, I am reluctant to form a strong opinion on the importance of age-related curiosity without taking political knowledge into account. Unfortunately, I don’t have a dataset with both political knowledge and curiosity.

It would also be interesting, I’m sure, to add measures of the “Big 5” personality traits, especially since one of the measures—openness to experience—is sometimes assumed to evince intellectual curiosity generally.

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Reader Comments (53)

link drop:
https://theconversation.com/climate-gloom-and-doom-bring-it-on-but-we-need-stories-about-taking-action-too-79464

August 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

I watched one of the videos made by Vox and the climate blog linked by Jonathan. I cannot think of a worse narrator than the one they got, a man with a strong Indian accent. As would anyone who has landed at Delhi on a bright day with not a cloud in the sky, but in a plane that had to come in on instruments because the air was so incredibly filthy even runway lights wouldn't help. The local river - also a source of drinking water! - is so polluted it's actually possible to walk over it on days the trash covers the entire surface, unless, of course, the industrial chemicals and sewage in it happen to be on fire.

“Why humans are so bad at thinking about climate change” is the video's title "Why humans in Delhi and similar hellholes are so bad at noticing revolting pollution and doing something about it" is the title of a video I hope this "expert" will host soon.
https://news.ucsc.edu/2017/04/climate-videos.html

Interesting, too, that their video getting the most negative reaction from CO2 catastrophists is the one extolling the virtues of nuclear energy - shows their audience cares less about science than about virtue signaling.

Climate change will follow the fate that befell another cottage industry grown over a century of attempts to prove the Poincaré conjecture. Here's why most of the mathematical establishment fought tooth and nail against Perelman's proof:
"..............In July of that year, the National Science Foundation had given nearly a million dollars in grants to Yau, Hamilton, and several students of Yau’s to study and apply Perelman’s “breakthrough.” An entire branch of mathematics had grown up around efforts to solve the Poincaré, and now that branch appeared at risk of becoming obsolete. Michael Freedman, who won a Fields for proving the Poincaré conjecture for the fourth dimension, told the Times that Perelman’s proof was a “small sorrow for this particular branch of topology.” Yuri Burago said, “It kills the field. After this is done, many mathematicians will move to other branches of mathematics.”............."
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2006/08/28/manifold-destiny

"It kills the field" - time to kill off a zombie! Similar phenomena were observed with the cure for stomach ulcers, plate tectonics, and on, and on. Cutting off all funding for this nonsense as the Trump administration is commendably doing will help to move all those "climate scientists" on to actual, not imaginary, environmental problems. The "virtue signalers" like Al Gore and beneficiaries of federal subsidies like Elon Musk will inevitably move on as well.

August 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Jonathan,

"Naysayers to negative messaging miss an important function of this kind of apocalyptic thinking. It is useful in forcing us to imagine ourselves as the people who allowed a future we don’t want to come about."

It's interesting to consider what other belief systems we could support with apocalyptic stories. If it works, then advertisers could tell us that asteroids will strike the Earth if we don't buy 'Asteroid-be-gone' fragrance spray. TV adverts would tell us how Zombies could eat the brains of your defenceless wife and kids if you don't buy 'Zombie Guns' from Guns-n-Ammo. Or religions could tell us that if you don't pray to God every day and follow the priest's instructions on tithes and supporting the church roof fund-raiser, God will get angry and destroy the world with fire and brimstone, or possibly locusts and frogs, or even 40 days and nights of rain causing sea levels to rise!

I'm guessing from the number of times it's been used before that the technique works to some degree. Or at least, that the people who use it believe it works, which comes to much the same thing. (They've evidently been told: If you don't use apocalyptic scenarios in your campaigning, the world will end...) The big problem with all these generic arguments and techniques is that that can be used by anybody, for anything. That includes it being used by the opposition on issues like climate change. As soon as a technique like that is invented and shown to work, it cancels itself out as everyone leaps on it from all sides.

They also make you look just like everyone else who used the technique. Given some of the other people who have made claims about the world's imminent end, that might not be the company you want to put yourself in.

But in the meantime, for your reading pleasure, here's an example of how climate scientists did it back in 1990!

Imagine... The year is 2050. Global Warming has remade the face of the Earth, but no continent has been ravaged more than North America. Even before the greenhouse age, its landmass experienced climate's greatest excesses. The Pacific Ocean on the west, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, the cold waters of the Arctic to the north, and the warm waters of the tropics to the south provided sharp temperature contrasts and ample moisture, while the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians drove air currents upward and gravity pulled them down. As a result, hurricanes, blizzards, thunderstorms, bitter cold spells, tornadoes (almost unique to the continent), drenching rains, and blistering heat waves had always played out a life-and-death drama across the land. These extremes slowly and at first imperceptibly melded with the changing climate. The year 1988-1989 saw drought in the Midwest followed by erratic shifts in the jet stream that brought record low temperatures to Alaska and snow to Los Angeles. What were once anomalies have become a matter of course.

All debate about global warming ended in 1998 after a four-year drought desolated the heartlands of North America and Eurasia. In 1995, food riots in Kiev, Cherkassy, and Odessa sparked a new resurgence of Ukranian nationalism, prompting the neo-Stalinists, who had overthrown Mikhail Gorbachev, to start a brutal repression that made even the Chinese call for UN sanctions. In the plains states, from Iowa to eastern Colorado, south to Texas and north to South Dakota, the age of the family farm finally came to an end, and the sturdy freeholders, long seen as the anchor of US democracy, dispersed. Some signed on with the agribusiness conglomerates that bought up land and lobbied Congress for pipelines to the Great Lakes before the water levels there fell, too, while others sought to start over in Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba. But most of them joined in the next two decades by a swelling trek of tens of thousands of others from bankrupt farm and ranch communities, looked for jobs in the cities of the upper Midwest and Canada. Duluth now bulges with 1.3 million people; Edmonton 6 million; Toronto 11 million. Forty years have passed since farmers in John Deere hats gathered for morning coffee at the Rocket Inn in Rolan, Iowa, to chew the fat about the weather, the cost of machinery, and how the Cubs were doing, and thirty years have gone by since the high school band last played in Valentine, Nebraska, before the Badgers' big game against Ainsworth. They were among the first communities to empty, the precursors of thousands of ghost towns that stipple the plains from Colorado to Indiana.

To many Americans and Canadians, the greenhouse signal literally became visible during the last two weeks of October of 1996, when winds that seemed to roar without respite gathered a "black blizzard" of prairie topsoil that darkened the skies of sixteen states and the Canadian Maritimes. The dust penetrated the lungs of cattle, stopped traffic on interstates, stripped pain from houses, and shut down computers. People put on goggles and covered their noses and mouths with wet handkerchiefs. They stapled plastic sheets over windows and doors but still the dust seeped through. Analysis disclosed that soil from Dalhart in the Texas Panhandle landed as far away as Halifax, Nova Scotia. In place of the soil, the winds left only the heavy sands that now bury parts of the western plains under drifting dunes.

Fun, isn't it?! :-)

Climate scientists applied the method, and we can see today what the effect was. So how do you think the experiment went?

August 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Correlate with paying taxes and the exercise of other social responsibilities (e.g., parenting).

August 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFlanagan

Flanagan - parenting, what for? CO2 emissions will continue, and consequently if you believe the catastrophists you know there is no point in having children in surface temperatures like Venus. If the climate change doesn't work as per "consensus" projections, then AI is the next threat. This is the most elegant argument for why that might happen:

https://www.edge.org/conversation/thomas_metzinger-benevolent-artificial-anti-natalism-baan

".....The beauty of the AI-debate also lies in the fact that it forces us to finally get serious and think about the consequences of our very own moral intuitions in a much more radical way.

Of course, there are many technical issues. Would our moral superintelligence think that nonexistence is the best state of affairs, and not only the lesser evil? What metric for conscious suffering would the system develop—would it assign an absolute or a relative priority to its avoidance? I think that what today we call “compassion” may actually be a very high form of intelligence. ...."

That's just a Gedankenexperiment and nothing to worry about.

August 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

PS and as to your first point, taxation, even our artificial superintelligence is expected to hustle for federal subsidies - from the same link, text continued:

"....Over the years, many AI-researchers have then asked me what the logical criteria for suffering really are. Why should it not in principle be possible to build a self-conscious, but reliably non-suffering AI? This is an interesting, question, and a highly relevant research project at the same time, one which definitely should be funded by government agencies. Perhaps our ethical superintelligence would already have solved the problem of conscious suffering for itself?....."

So much for philosophy.

August 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

I cannot think of a worse narrator than the one they got, a man with a strong Indian accent. As would anyone who has landed at Delhi on a bright day with not a cloud in the sky, but in a plane that had to come in on instruments because the air was so incredibly filthy even runway lights wouldn't help. The local river - also a source of drinking water! - is so polluted it's actually possible to walk over it on days the trash covers the entire surface, unless, of course, the industrial chemicals and sewage in it happen to be on fire.

“Why humans are so bad at thinking about climate change” is the video's title "Why humans in Delhi and similar hellholes are so bad at noticing revolting pollution and doing something about it" is the title of a video I hope this "expert" will host soon.

I cannot think of a better example of the behavioral immune system in action than this. Maybe I'm just suffering from the availability bias.

August 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

@Flanagan-- can you elaborate? Correlate what w/ parenting?

August 10, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Jonathan - it's not just the narrator! It's the totality of the video and the article in which it's embedded, so availability heuristics don't apply. The household we're told to emulate belongs to a Mexican couple, both of them short and chubby. And to top it all off, add obvious hypocrisy from UC president Napolitano, hustling for yet more public funding for "carbon neutrality and combating climate change", because they are "moral imperatives" (sic).

Maybe you, who posted the original link to Climate Lab, can think of some ways to make audiences even less likely to buy whatever this crew is peddling? I doubt there are many.

August 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

I cannot think of a worse narrator than the one they got, a man with a strong Indian accent.

I'm with Ecoute on this one. While we're at it, let's get rid of Nikki Haley as our ambassador to the UN. After all, she's of India heritage, and there is a lot of poverty in India, and then there's that whole caste thing.

Oh, and let's not forget about that Judge Curiel. Like our president says, he's not one to be trusted to make legal determinations. After all, he's of Mexican decent, and has anyone else noticed that fails in Mexico are just chock fulla people of Mexican decent? Coincidence? I think not!

August 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

I see that Ecoute beat me to it!! His next comment appeared when I refreshed after writing mine.

The household we're told to emulate belongs to a Mexican couple, both of them short and chubby.

Yeah. What fool might think that "chubby" people should be presented as examples to follow?

http://img.mensjournal.com/article-leads-horizontal-800/agettyimages-148116349-89d2197e-3851-40cd-b7a2-de6c867b909d.jpg

August 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

grrrr. "...fails jails in Mexico...."

August 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

link drop:
https://phys.org/news/2017-08-minds-climate.html

Joshua and Ecoute:

It might surprise you that I (not sarcastically) agree with Ecoute's last comment - in as much as these things can turn off conservative viewers, presentations like these should probably try to cater more to the audience. There's only so much of someone's mind that can be changed at one time. That might be a sad reality - so your choice is either be sad or be real.

Joshua - I anticipate a counter-argument from you: how much simultaneous mind changing was done by those Republicans, especially the Religious Right, that embrace Trump? Well, maybe you got me there. All I can think of saying is even the Religious Right thinks such miracles are rare.

August 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan - it might also surprise you that I entirely agree with both you and Joshua; making people laugh is much more likely to attract them to your message. But since neither of you appear familiar with the ecosystems / climate change / global warming videos most popular in alt-right circles, here is one >

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnk0tIqsbYM

> from hearings at the Armed Services Committee, starring Rep. Johnson (D-GA)

August 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Jonathan -

Joshua - I anticipate a counter-argument from you: ...

Well, there might be that one (measuring the effects of counter-measuring), but there is at least one other.


...presentations like these should probably try to cater more to the audience.

It can be very easy to misjudge, and difficult to correctly anticipate, how to align with the message targets. Who would have anticipated that Inglis would be drummed out of the Republican Party, for example? How successful has Hayhoe been in changing minds re: climate change? How do you choose an axis of ideological or cultural alignment? How is making sure your narrator isn't "chubby" or speaking with an Indian accent going to have an impact relative to myriad other factors (e.g., what medium do they hear the messaging from, what is the current state of the economy, how has the weather been lately)?

I would suggest that picking and choosing among superficial attributes is a bit like chasing your tail. My recommended methodology would be to utilize proactive and deliberate methods of stakeholder dialog, participatory democracy, conflict resolution, etc. - of which identifying cultural alignments or superficial attributes of alignment might be one component. (Again, or it might not be. I'd say that if you're relying on superficial alignments then you're probably just putting lipstick on a communication pig. IMO, you'll rarely win at such a game. More likely fruitful is to work with systems that prioritize synergies in desired outcomes, and building shared stake and ownership in those outcomes, not systems that prioritize arbitrarily chosen attributes, or arbitrarily-chosen, putative "values' of the participants).

August 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan -

I have a few more follow-on thoughts. Perhaps I can be a bit more clear (there's always hope, right?),

I guess that I question the very frame of messaging and targets. Seems to me that there's an inherent logic problem with such an approach. Maybe it's tautological? How can you focus on common traits when your very strategy is based on creating taxonomies on the basis of distinguishing traits?

I suppose that one counter argument is that advertising works, and targeted advertising works even better. But advertising takes people in a context of synergistic goals...an advertiser wants to sell a service and a consumer wants to obtain a service (or at the very least is not generally ideologically identified with opposing the consumption of that service).

What changes when the context involves opposing ideological frameworks? I see a logic in saying that focusing on attributes of the participants won't net optimal results, relative to exploring goals and then looking for synergies.
Of course, there could be all kinds of overlaps between the models, but there also seems to me to be a difference in kind. Advertising may focus on synergies, but by definition it does not involve an open-ended exploration of goals prior to the search for synergies. It is a starting definition than an advertiser has a product to sell at the outset of the interaction.

Of course, a company might first research a market before developing a product or service. Perhaps that would be a more analogous situation. But it seems to me that in the climate change world, there are two distinct markets One is those to tend to be ideologically aligned with the marketer. Perhaps with them, seeking a similarity of attributes would bear fruit. I doubt the same would likely be true in the market of consumers who are ideologically opposed.

August 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

The post, data, and study seeks to examine correlations between scientific curiosity, age, and political polarization.

That's fine.

My take is that if age is considered to be a factor in political leaning, it might be (more?) germane to seek correlations with paying taxes and the exercise of other social responsibilities (e.g., parenting) than with scientific curiosity.

August 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFlanagan

Dan -

You might find this interesting:
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/baseballs-hot-hand-is-real/

August 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan - nobody has done more to destroy those social justice causes than the PC extremists:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/the-most-common-error-in-coverage-of-the-google-memo/536181/

"Large swathes of the public now believe the mainstream media is more concerned with stigmatizing wrong-think and being politically correct than being accurate. The political fallout from this shift has been ruinous to lots of social-justice causes—causes that would thrive in an environment in which the public accepted the facts...."

There are facts concerning social conditions, and facts concerning the sciences, but anything being promoted by PC-affiliated groups will now be shut out of the public discourse. "Ruinous to social-justice causes" is great news to those who never liked the causes in question :)

August 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Ecoute:

http://www.businessinsider.com/female-google-employee-responds-to-james-damore-memo-2017-8

August 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

Regarding motivated reasoning/cultural cognition...and how it interfaces with concern about the Google's intolerance...and the "replicability crisis."...

https://www.recode.net/2017/8/11/16127992/google-engineer-memo-research-science-women-biology-tech-james-damore

I actually laughed out lout at this part:

In his July memo, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber: How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion,” Damore wrote that women on average have more “openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas.” And he stated that women are more inclined to have an interest in “people rather than things, relative to men.”

Damore cites the work of Simon Baron-Cohen, who argues in his widely reviewed book “The Essential Difference” that boys are biologically programmed to focus on objects, predisposing them to math and understanding systems, while girls are programmed to focus on people and feelings. The British psychologist claims that the male brain is the “systematizing brain” while the female brain is the “empathizing” brain.

This idea was based on a study of day-old babies, which found that the boys looked at mobiles longer and the girls looked at faces longer. Male brains, Baron-Cohen says, are ideally suited for leadership and power. They are hardwired for mastery of hunting and tracking, trading, achieving and maintaining power, gaining expertise, tolerating solitude, using aggression and taking on leadership roles.

The female brain, on the other hand, is specialized for making friends, mothering, gossip and “reading” a partner. Girls and women are so focused on others, he says, that they have little interest in figuring out how the world works.

But Baron-Cohen’s study had major problems. It was an “outlier” study. No one else has replicated these findings, including Baron-Cohen himself. It is so flawed as to be almost meaningless. Why?

The experiment lacked crucial controls against experimenter bias and was badly designed. Female and male infants were propped up in a parent’s lap and shown, side by side, an active person or an inanimate object. Since newborns can’t hold their heads up independently, their visual preferences could well have been determined by the way their parents held them.

Media stories continue to promote the idea of very different brains on little evidence.
There is much literature that flat-out contradicts Baron-Cohen's study, providing evidence that male and female infants tend to respond equally to people and objects, notes Elizabeth Spelke, co-director of Harvard’s Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative. But media stories continue to promote the idea of very different brains on little evidence.

Of course, I have no reason to belief this account of Baron-Cohen's work is accurate...but if true, it's pretty funny.

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan - earlier on this thread you responded to a remark of mine with >
"I cannot think of a better example of the behavioral immune system in action than this....."
> which captures perfectly the force at work in the PC vs non-PC wars: revulsion, as in physical revulsion.

Whatever the PC-linked topic is, it is emetic. Not just "disgusting", or otherwise objectionable, but something that literally makes you want to throw up. Something you would never touch for love or money. And what makes it so repulsive is captured in the new term for PC, "virtue signaling".

I, and all those revolted at the hypocrisy of "virtue signaling" do not believe for a moment the support for PC-linked causes is anything bu crass hypocrisy. Now of course it is possible for people to get brainwashed but the smarter among them should do at least some questioning of the bilge they keep regurgitating - as in comparing it to diametrically opposed demonstrable facts - and the fact they don't is probably due to the economic fallacy of sunk costs. But it's still hypocrisy.

I couldn't be bothered to read the "female Google employee's..." beyond the idiotic headline, involving how "we" "feel". Love the royal "we" btw, don't you? Do you genuinely care how that anonymous snowflake "feels"? I don't. Meanwhile James Demore has been warmly embraced by the alt right - not for anything he said or did, just because of the forces arrayed against him - the dread "virtue signalers"! - and since you addressed this to me I am telling you that the man has my unqualified support. Recall that most white women supported president Trump, no matter what Hillary said - women are not a uniform bloc, no matter what the pious hypocrites claim. I wrote a lot but hope I answered you in toto.

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

PS sorry mis-spelled the man's last name: Damore.

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

"Media stories continue to promote the idea of very different brains on little evidence."

And what about transgender people? Are you saying transgenderism doesn't exist?

You know, you can get fired nowadays for making such transphobic, anti-LGBT claims. Hater.
:-)

In any case, claims that men and women think the same way totally undermines the diversity argument. If men and women are totally identical and interchangeable, there's no business benefit to Google from encouraging more women into tech. The entire *point* is that women can provide alternative insights and approaches that a men-only culture would not. Damore's point was that these these different ways of thinking that we value so highly lead women to have different preferences regarding careers and work culture - their complaint is that tech has a strongly competitive, asocial "geek" culture oriented around male ways of thinking, and this puts women off. Therefore to encourage more women into tech, it would be better to develop methods and cultures built around the female psyche instead. Trying to pretend that women want to come and work in the unmodified male-culture tech industry in equal numbers and are only prevented from doing so by sexist hiring decisions and lack of training hasn't worked. Despite decades of STEM programmes and equality legislation, the numbers gender gap is still huge. If your current approach isn't working, try looking for a different method.

Transgender kids (and a few sad individual cases like David Reimer) demonstrate that contrary to blank-slate feminist claims, gender *is* hard-wired, and asserts itself even against intense social pressure and expectations to conform to gender stereotypes. But whatever the cause, whether nature, nurture, or a complex combination of both, on a statistical level men and women do think differently, and have different desires, preferences, and ambitions. There's a lot of overlap and cross-over at an individual level, of course, but different population averages in character can be expected to give rise to different population averages in job take-up in different careers.

Sure, some people may disagree, and say that's all wrong. And that's fair enough; it's all part of the scientific debate. But there should be no law against people holding incorrect beliefs, and expressing them, and arguing for them. That's part of that intellectual diversity and scientific method that 'diversity' is supposed to encourage and celebrate. Whatever you might think of Damore's biology, I think any fair-minded observer would agree he had Google bang-to-rights on authoritarian group-think, political bias, intolerance of dissent, and people being scared to speak up for fear of getting fired!

The lack of political and intellectual diversity (most Google employees being left-wing) should be just as concerning as the lack of gender diversity (most Google employees being male), and all the same questions should be asked about how it came to be. Is there bias in hiring decisions, or does the dominant culture drive minorities out? Do you care?

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

"I couldn't be bothered to read the "female Google employee's..." beyond the idiotic headline, involving how "we" "feel"."

One thing of interest in it was where she said: "What's an unfair argument for him to make is that women are less biologically predisposed to being capable of doing the same work as men" and "Well, we can't not fire him at this point. If we don't fire him, what message does that send to all the women at Google? That this is an acceptable thing to do. That it's acceptable to alienate all the women at Google and say that they don't deserve to be here?", which of course wasn't what he said at all. She seems to be basing her opinion on third-hand reports of the memo, rather than having read and understood it herself. That seems to be a big problem in cases like this.

The other was where she said "I've not personally had anyone identify as a conservative and tell me they feel their voice isn't welcome, but it's entirely possible that they feel that way and they don't feel safe to say something." Interviewer: "Do you think that could change?" "I think that after this it's going to change. I think it has to. I think this is a huge lesson for all of us in the importance of respectful debate and being able to listen to other people's point of view, even if you don't agree with it. Because, actually, I have a lot of empathy for [Damore]. He had a point of view. He wanted to share it. I think he could have been smarter in the way he shared his opinions and beliefs. I will debate anything respectfully with anyone, but in this case, he chose to do it in a way that wasn't respectful. And I think that's why we've ended up where we are."

That seems to suggest they're actually thinking about changing things(!), which is good, although I find it hard to imagine how Damore could have phrased it any more respectfully, so I don't know.

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Joshua,

One thought experiment I considered about the Google story was basically a type of psychosocial reductio. Consider the following scenario - Damore meets with Google CEO Sundar Pichai about Damore's memo. Pichai says to Damore that supposing the bell-curve-esque argument about men vs. women is correct, Pichai has his own similar bell-curve-esque argument - only this one is that Asian men tend to be "better" (in as much as bell curves show) at math and software engineering than white men. But before circulating any memo using it (or perhaps adapting corporate policy to it), he wants Damore's feedback, even though based on Damore's own actions, Pichai says he is extending a courtesy that Damore seems not to think is necessary. What do you suppose Damore's reaction would have been?

I suspect (based on reading about SDO, for instance) such an attempt to get Damore to mentally switch perspectives on the matter might only have provoked him further. At least, that would have been the greatest risk. So I am glad that it didn't happen. And, if Pichai really did write such a memo, or even if he had merely proposed the possibility of such a memo to Damore - and word got out - well, that would really amp up the folks we saw in action elsewhere this weekend - despite any aversion to PC they espouse.

Ecoute,

Perhaps you would read this instead:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/conservatives-say-campus-speech-is-under-threat-thats-been-true-for-most-of-history/2017/08/11/6aa959fa-7c4b-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan - from your latest link: "......President Trump’s legions cheer them on."

Legions?! Word out in alt-right circles is "..it is very fortunate the person who got killed by the car was not black, otherwise we would never hear the end of it". And then it gets real lively - if people are going to be tarred with "lacking respect" by those sanctimonious &*%$$#, they are naturally going to conclude they might as well be as insulting as possible since no extra penalties are involved. See:
https://www.dailystormer.com/heather-heyer-woman-killed-in-road-rage-incident-was-a-fat-childless-32-year-old-slut/

{snowflake trigger warning inserted here}

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

PS - Jonathan: nobody hates more getting lumped in the Asian appellation than the East Asians (Japanese, Chinese, Koreans) who do occupy the extreme of the distribution as you say. South Asians (Indopakistanis) score lower than whites. That may or may not be related to the fact a third of their children are stunted (filthy water etc) but it doesn't alter the distribution. A Gedankenexperiment will only lead you astray unless you get the specs right up front :)

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

"But before circulating any memo using it (or perhaps adapting corporate policy to it), he wants Damore's feedback, even though based on Damore's own actions, Pichai says he is extending a courtesy that Damore seems not to think is necessary."

Why is it necessary? And why would he object? Damore's in favour of open and respectful discussion. "If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance" and "Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason. I’d be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations."

On the left-right split, he says "Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors."

He sounds like a reasonably guy. Why on Earth do you think such a response from Pichai would have "provoked him further"?

"What do you suppose Damore's reaction would have been?"

I expect he would have said something like "I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more." and "I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism)."

So to extrapolate from his expressed views about gender to your proposal about Asian men, I expect he'd say that people should be judged on their skills as individuals, and so if Asian men have the skills then we would expect more of them to be successful, and that's good. We shouldn't be biasing the process to artificially get more or less of them, just to satisfy some arbitrary target. But we should also be asking ourselves *why* Asians are better programmers, and offering others the opportunity (if they choose) to adopt whatever cultural attitudes or traditions are causing it, as well as perhaps adapting the existing culture to make it more congenial and productive for non-Asians. Does that help?

I 'm beginning to wonder if anyone else has actually *read* the memo...

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Jonathan -

One thought experiment I considered about the Google story was basically a type of psychosocial reductio. Consider the following scenario - Damore meets with Google CEO Sundar Pichai about Damore's memo. Pichai says to Damore that supposing the bell-curve-esque argument about men vs. women is correct, Pichai has his own similar bell-curve-esque argument - only this one is that Asian men tend to be "better" (in as much as bell curves show) at math and software engineering than white men.

To follow more closely, it would be that Asian men tend to be genetically predisposed to be better at, and more "interested in" coding and in carrying out leadership tasks at Google (more aggressive, more status-oriented, more "thing" focused, etc.).

But before circulating any memo using it (or perhaps adapting corporate policy to it), he wants Damore's feedback, even though based on Damore's own actions, Pichai says he is extending a courtesy that Damore seems not to think is necessary. What do you suppose Damore's reaction would have been?

Honestly, I think that Damore would have responded in whichever way he felt best advanced his ideological agenda and protected his sense of identity (under the guise of caring about what's best for Google). So that might have gone either way, IMO.


I suspect (based on reading about SDO, for instance) such an attempt to get Damore to mentally switch perspectives on the matter might only have provoked him further. At least, that would have been the greatest risk.

I'm not sure what you mean by "provoke him further" there.

One thing that's interesting about your thought experiment is that there seems to be a good bit of data to show that companies that have more women in leadership make more money:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2016/02/23/the-best-reason-yet-to-increase-women-in-business-leadership/#7e894bb8506b

and that women score better on measures of emotional intelligence (which, I would say would be pretty easy to show would support a conclusion that they are better managers:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2016/03/11/new-study-shows-women-consistently-outperform-men-in-emotional-intelligence/#5c576e2c335d

So maybe we could add another thought experiment, where Pichai just presented that data to Damore and suggested that Damore resign, since they most wanted coders with the best leadership potential, and based on averages, he should be replaced with a woman?

So then, would Damore have gone "Nevermind. I guess that promoting diversity in hiring really is a good thing because it is what makes Google the best company it can be? Lol!

A thought experiment I had was what would it have been like if Damore had suggested that blacks are genetically predisposed to be inferior at and less interested in coding, and less likely to have the personality traits that made good leadership at Google. Would the reaction have been different? It think it might have been.

I'm somewhat agnostic about the firing per se. There are some troubling aspects to it, and I think that Damore did put in enough caveats (or if you're inclined to think he was being disingenuous, plausible deniability) to make firing him problematic. On the other hand, I do find it amusing that people who ubiquitously hand-wring about political correctness and "snowflakes" are pearl clutching from their fainting couches about our tyrannical overlords because a CEO decided to fire someone who he felt was destructive to the moral at his company, and thus damaging to their productivity and profitability. On the third hand, I don't exactly trust that Google didn't jump on this situation as a quick and dirty way for them to address larger issues they have with diversity and pending litigation regarding discriminatory practices.

In the end, Damore made a willful choice about taking an action that could easily have been anticipated to be off-putting and insulting to many of his colleagues. I happen to believe that he could have found venues to express his opinions on the issues without engendering the kind of responses he got. Certainly, publishing his views on a company distributed memo (as opposed to some website or his facebook page) puts Google into a tough position as they have to be concerned about the morale of the larger workforce. Even more, he could have gone much further to accommodate the easily anticipated reactions (e.g., he could have been very careful to qualify any assertions of opinion as opinion, and not state opinions as fact as he did throughout the memo. It can be difficult to say just how much accommodation someone should do (in the best of all possible worlds sense of "should") to deal with the possibility that people are going to be offended by something you're saying - but in the real world when you're working with colleagues, and you don't take all steps you can to head of anticipated reactions, then you should step up and take responsibility for your actions.

And of course, as I alluded to above - I love the irony of so many folks who hand-ring about a "crisis in science" because of sociology and psychology research that gets published w/o replication and used to justify politically oriented policy, just swallow up Damore's pointing to a vague set of research findings that, no doubt, are highly controversial and more than likely of the very sort that they're complaining about when they aren't filtering their "concern" through their ideological filters.

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance"

Absolutely the best part of the memo. He structured the memo in such a way that I wouldn't argue that he completely disregarded the "psychological safety" of women who work at Google (or the men who work there and don't agree with his ideology), but it's obvious that he was either disingenuous in that regard (only doing enough to employ plausible deniability) or so fucking clueless that he actually didn't realize the implications that his memo might have to the "psychological safety" for so many of his colleagues. If it's the latter, I do love me some irony.

And again, it really is just priceless to see the anti-snowflake crowd so deeply, deeply concerned about Damore's "psychological safety."

As they say, you can't make this shit up.

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan -

Another thought experiment...

Personally, my sense is that Damore was full of it. Of course I don't know him and I can't say with any certainty at all...but my guess is that someone who really had Google's best interest at heart (as Damore tried to paint the picture), could have found a more constructive way to express concerns and opinions they had about the best ways to promote diversity (a goal he claimed to share). But maybe he really is just a smart yet clueless person...

In which case, as a thought experiment...how do you think someone who really did have Google's best interest at heart, and who really was searching for the best way to promote diversity at Google (while not working at cross-purposes with Google's success), might have approached the situation differently?

August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"So maybe we could add another thought experiment, where Pichai just presented that data to Damore and suggested that Damore resign, since they most wanted coders with the best leadership potential, and based on averages, he should be replaced with a woman? So then, would Damore have gone "Nevermind. I guess that promoting diversity in hiring really is a good thing because it is what makes Google the best company it can be? Lol!"

It's precisely this sort of comment that makes me wonder if anyone has actually read the memo, rather than the third-hand reports about it!

You've got Damore's position exactly *backwards*. He was *always* saying that promoting diversity was a good thing, and was making suggestions as to how to do it better, so as to get more women into tech. He was saying to *stop* making hiring decisions based on averages to meet arbitrary tribal quotas, and treat people as individuals. All that matters is how good *this individual person* is at management - not how good the average person of the same sex is, and whether we should therefore set the bar lower to get a few more in.

He specifically said that women's skills with people made them better at, and prefer 'people' jobs like management. What he was saying was that if you have a conflict between people's personalities and job culture, then you don't set the bar lower for some subset to try to fix the imbalance, instead you either teach people how to change their culture to fit better with the job, or change the job culture to fit better with the people. If women are better managers, then you *don't* hire extra men just to even up the balance, you find some way to use men's special skills and help men fit the job better too.

Ideology trumps reading comprehension, seemingly.

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

"Ideology trumps reading comprehension, seemingly."

True, but what is fascinating is the degree to which ideology affects readers. Jonathan reads, understands, disagrees, which is fine. But Joshua reads our words exactly as bots do - they have memorized dictionaries, so they recognize word meanings, but are incapable of grasping the overall conceptual constructs. But at least bots show the limits of their comprehension by coming up with nonsensical sentences - look up Microsoft's Tay, repeatedly repaired and redeployed on Twitter only to get pulled again - while Joshua tries to smother the conceptual constructs using floods of semi-coherent prose.

The technique reminds me of one of Louis XIV's finance ministers (Fouquet or Colbert, can't now remember) who was handed a thick memorandum containing the defense of an official accused of peculation. The minister took the memorandum, glanced at the cover page, and threw it into his wastebasket, saying "He's lying". Asked how on earth he could decide that without reading the memorandum, the minister replied: "If he were telling the truth he wouldn't need so many pages".

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Evidence for the "clueless" side of the clueless vs. "disingenuous" explanation?:

He said the memo was never meant to be leaked outside of Google -- and that if he could change anything, he'd eliminate the use of the word "neuroticism." "I would definitely change that because that has a lot of negative connotations," he said.

So the part about what he meant doesn't have a direct quote, but if that's actually what he said, wouldn't someone who works in tech and who expected severe resistance to that memo fully expect that it would be leaked? .

Hmm. I guess that could go either way.

As for he part where after the fact he regrets speaking of neuroticism, because of the negative connotations. So he didn't anticipate that saying women are genetically predisposed to be more neurotic and anxious. - and in so doing rejecting environmental factors (or sexism) which might explain either the line of thinking behind the differential diagnosis of the predisposition (for the observer, something considered neurotic in a woman would be considered quirky or strategic in a man), or even the genesis of the condition (how they are treated makes women more prone to being anxious or neurotic) - and didn't anticipate "a lot of negative connotations."

Again, could go either way.... but the depth of cluelessness required may just go over the line between deniability that is plausible to deniability that just ain't plausible.

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Ok. Now I'm leaning back towards clueless.


"I'm not saying anything about the women at Google, which is what [Pichai] was implying, that I was saying the women at Google have different traits." I'm not saying that... I'm saying that people who go into tech are interested in things versus people, generally, and as a population there are fewer women who are interested in things versus people and we need to be cognicient of that if we're trying to improve how many people want to get into tech.

So, to recap, he thinks that saying that women are genetically predisposed to be more neurotic and anxious than men (and more genetically predisposed to be more interested in people than in things) isn't saying anything about the women at Google...

So the only interpretation I can come up with behind that thinking (generalizing about women isn't saying anything about the women at Google) is that he thinks that the women at Google can be genetically distinguished between women outside of Google. hmmm. Yeah, I think that clueless is gaining ground quickly.

http://pmd.cdn.turner.com/money/big/technology/2017/08/15/james-damore-google-intv.cnnmoney_1024x576.mp4

Also...I found this to be an interesting read:

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/google-fires-engineer-over-anti-diversity-memo

And, also this...

https://www.nature.com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

While I'm at it...two more interesting links:

Following from the wired article...

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sexual-personalities/201708/google-memo-about-sex-differences

And this one is long but interesting...in particular the back and forth (scroll down) with the author being criticized:

http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/08/07/contra-grant-on-exaggerated-differences/

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Ok. One more link. Then I'm done.

https://ifstudies.org/blog/straight-talk-about-sex-differences-in-occupational-choices-and-work-family-tradeoffs

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"As for he part where after the fact he regrets speaking of neuroticism, because of the negative connotations. So he didn't anticipate that saying women are genetically predisposed to be more neurotic and anxious..."

He didn't invent the term. What he's talking about is one of the "big five" personality traits, and is using the technical jargon used by academic psychologists as he quotes the technical literature. Unfortunately, technical jargon often borrows everyday words with conflicting connotations in everyday language that the ignorant can easily get confused by (or misled about).

See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroticism#Age.2C_gender_and_geographic_patterns
"For gender, the same review found that "research in large samples has shown that levels of N (neuroticism) are higher in women than men. This is a robust finding that is consistent across cultures. This is especially the case during the reproductive years, but is also visible in children and elderly.""

Given that Wikipedia is saying exactly the same thing, and using exactly the same word for it, shouldn't we expect the Wikipedia editors (who often work in tech) to have expected "severe resistance"? Anyone going to be hunting the wiki page authors down (or the academic authors of the paper he's quoting) and getting them all fired?!

No, I didn't think so.

(By the way, Damore also didn't say neuroticism specifically was genetic. He only says that *some* personality differences are genetic, and in a separate section said that neuroticism was one of the traits distributed differently in men and women. But who cares about accurate quotes when you're misrepresenting someone?)

"Yeah, I think that clueless is gaining ground quickly."

Oh well. So much for the academic psychology profession...

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

NiV - whatever criticism is aimed at Damore, nobody has yet suggested he should be banned from the entire internet. But that is exactly the fate of what I now find out was the most popular alt-right site on the net, called Daily Stormer (meaning the link to an article on that site I posted earlier here no longer works). I had never heard of it, but I do follow hacking news, and yesterday the site was supposed to have been hacked by Anonymous - previously best known for trying to elect Mrs Clinton by blocking pro-Trump posters online.

The Daily Stormer was supposed to have promoted racist and antisemitic content for many years, so I wondered what they could possibly have posted that got them banned from the web. Finally, an answer to what is really considered repulsive online - it's calling a dead woman "fat". That's all - not antisemitism or racism or misogyny or anything else those virtue signalers claim to be railing against. I never thought to save the article I linked - thought it was in abysmal taste, but if bad taste is banned most of the internet will go dark. The article really struck me as harmless, even funny in parts, so I wonder why the site was banned everywhere on the web. I find it chilling. Here are such portions of it as can be retrieved from the public internet archive:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
https://www.dailystormer.com/heather-heyer-woman-killed-in-road-rage-incident-was-a-fat-childless-32-year-old-slut/
..............................................................................................................
"Despite feigned outrage by the media, most people are glad she is dead, as she is the definition of uselessness. A 32-year-old woman without children is a burden on society and has no value."

"A Dodge Challenger is a fast car. Fat people like Heather fatty fat are slow, slow, slow. In the video, you can clearly see that most people dodge the charging Dodge. Heather was unable to dodge the Dodge, because she was ‘just too fucking fat to really move much at all,’ according to one observer.”

“Had she not died yesterday, hundreds of thousands of dollars would have been spent on propping-up this gross creature who had failed to do her most basic duty – her only real duty, in fact – and reproduce. Having no children at that age, it can be assumed that she had multiple abortions, and was thus herself a child murderer."

"Despite the cool demeanor he shows in his social media profile pictures, it appears that road rage got the best of him.
.......................................
"This incident is extremely good viral advertising for Dodge, and I have no doubt that they will start advertising the Challenger as a “fatty smasher.” They may also use the slogan “Dodge this!”"

"The same day of the crash, Dodge was promoting a “Roadkill Nights” event. It is extremely coincidental that Dodge would be promoting “Roadkill Nights” the same day as a driver of their vehicle roadkilled a fat woman."

"However it is unlikely that James Field would agree to be involved in a publicity stunt like this, as he is likely facing life in prison. So it is more likely that it was just meme magic.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

So much for the 1st Amendment online.

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

"So much for the 1st Amendment online."

People misunderstand what the first amendment really means. The issue here is about private property. The first amendment requires that the government not make it illegal, so if anyone chooses to say it, and if someone else chooses to let it be said on their platform, then nobody can stop them. But people still have ownership rights and control over their own property, so if the web hosting company don't want to be associated, and it's not a breach of contract (which it almost certainly isn't the way these things are written) they can exclude it from the servers they own. But if the speakers can find another hosting company, or set up their own, then they can put it back on. It's the same as nobody being able to use the front of your house to advertise their own political opinions against your objections.

Besides the question of property rights, there's also the problem of losing political support and sympathy. It's pretty stupid to drive away whatever grudging support you might have gained for your cause by such a show of insensitivity and malice. People might still support you on free speech grounds, but they're holding their noses when they do, and it makes the case a whole lot harder to make, and a whole lot less likely to succeed. It increases the risk a hundredfold of the forces arrayed against free speech *winning*, which would be a disaster for everyone. So while I would fight for their right to say it (just as I would for their left-wing equivalents), I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for them. They're as much enemies of free speech and liberty as the would-be censors. They're just a different set of authoritarians, trying to impose their worldview on everyone else.

Just because they have a right to say it doesn't mean it's not stupid and evil. Conservatives as a rule are usually quite strong on questions of morality. The point about conservative morality (according to conservatives) is that where the left believes people are basically bad and have to be forced by society to be good, the right believes most people are basically good and freely choose to be good voluntarily, through self-discipline. This sort of thing only proves the left's point.

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Yes - it is about private property. And it is also about the Sherman Act (1890). and the FTC anti-monopoly legislation (1914) and over in Europe it is about articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty of Rome on abuse of monopolistic position. I care nothing about what "people misunderstand" since I'm demonstrably not one of them.

I care about legitimate speech banned in the US - any nation idiotic enough to outlaw "hate speech" (calling someone fat suddenly qualifies in the US?) and even less about the idiotic "holocaust" laws in Europe, banning people from stating the victims of the Jewish faith were any number other than six million EXACTLY. Not six million plus or minus one. Such laws are absurd prima facie, and I support president Trump in every-single-word he said today on the Charlottesville events.

If the only recourse is to crawl into the dark web as the banned website did - where, btw, you don't want to wander without solid firewalls - then the only recourse seemingly (your word) is to start flying Confederate flags while dressed in weird costumes?

You do not appear to understand the sheer unmitigated fury of people who have been endlessly oppressed by the PC / virtue signaling contingent. Does "applicable law" have no meaning, and if it does, how can assorted thugs start destroying public monuments on grounds they "feel" uncomfortable? I see no end to this - or no good end - unless rule of law prevails. Bad taste is not illegal - de mortuis etc is manners, not law, and calling a fat woman fat is no crime. Truly this culture war may escalate into an actual war unless sanity is restored.

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

=={ So much for the 1st Amendment online. }==

Good god. Drama queen much?

A company (two, actually) determined that their client was in breach of contract, and stopped providing them a paid service as a result.

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"And it is also about the Sherman Act (1890). and the FTC anti-monopoly legislation (1914) and over in Europe it is about articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty of Rome on abuse of monopolistic position."

There's no monopoly on provision of internet services. You can even implement your own servers.

"I care about legitimate speech banned in the US - any nation idiotic enough to outlaw "hate speech" (calling someone fat suddenly qualifies in the US?) and even less about the idiotic "holocaust" laws in Europe"

I agree. It shouldn't be banned, and in the US it isn't.

"You do not appear to understand the sheer unmitigated fury of people who have been endlessly oppressed by the PC / virtue signaling contingent."

I understand it perfectly well. But from my perspective there are *three* sides. There's the old-guard authoritarians with one set of speech laws and persecuted minorities, who have been defeated by the new-guard authoritarians with a different set of speech laws and persecuted minorities (basically, the old guard), and the libertarians arguing for no more speech laws or persecution. The old guard are angry at having lost their power to rule society, and frightened now that it looks like they're about to become the persecuted minority, and they're kicking out. The new guard are outraged that they're not lying down like they should. The alliance the old guard has made with the libertarians to protect their free speech rights is one of mere convenience. It's not out of principle - it's only because *their* free speech is suddenly being threatened.

A new set of authoritarians seeking power will always go after the least popular group they can find first, which is why people trying to defend free speech out of principle so often end up holding their noses at the company they're forced to keep. Otherwise it's Niemoller's poem all over again. They will stand by you - but that doesn't have to mean they like you or support you in anything else.

A bit less fury, and a bit more thinking would be good.

August 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

NiV - fury is a fanatical passion. CvC includes it in Book 3 (On Strategy) chapter 4 (Great Moral Forces) :
http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/buch/vom-kriege-4072/18 (a third of the way down the link)

"Der Volksgeist .. (Enthusiasmus, fanatischer Eifer, Glaube, Meinung) ......"
{The spirit of the people (enthusiasm, fanatical passion, belief, meaning)...}

And as the old general cautiously notes in the immediately preceding sentence: "Ein langer Friede könnte dies wieder ändern." {A long peace might still change matters.} We've had a long peace and things have gone from bad to worse - thinking is good, but only action will bring results.

August 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

I'm with Ecoute -

Hopefully, with fury like his, we can go back to the days of free speech, like in the 1960s, or better yet, the 1860s. No one tearing down confederate statues in those days, brother. We may not see it in our time, but with warriors like Ecoute we can hold out hope that our children will enjoy liberation from the hardships we suffer. Oh, to be able to call fat people fat once again.

August 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

NiV - on the off chance you wanted to read The Daily Stormer, it's back on plainweb, now hosted by a Russian server:
https://dailystormer.ru/heather-heyer-woman-killed-in-road-rage-incident-was-a-fat-childless-32-year-old-slut/

If the Russians want to challenge Google and Facebook for advertising $$$ they will win. US and EU antitrust laws -basis for a legal challenge against this duopoly for discrimination against users for their political views - become irrelevant. The net remains free - on the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution this cheers me up no end :)

August 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

"I'm with Ecoute - Hopefully, with fury like his, we can go back to the days of free speech, like in the 1960s, or better yet, the 1860s."

Sarcasm, Joshua?

We've never had free speech - the targets of censorship just change every now and then.

"NiV - on the off chance you wanted to read The Daily Stormer, it's back on plainweb, now hosted by a Russian server"

I don't.

As I said, there's no monopoly on provision of internet services.

"US and EU antitrust laws -basis for a legal challenge against this duopoly for discrimination against users for their political views - become irrelevant."

It's basically the same argument as in the "gay wedding cake" incident. Someone asks a baker to bake a wedding cake with a message on it celebrating a gay wedding. That's against the baker's religious principles, and they refuse to serve the customer. But as they point out, there are plenty more bakers with different policies out there, that the customer can switch to, and there's no law stopping anyone setting one up if there isn't.

It's interesting that a lot of the people who supported the baker's right not to do business publishing views they didn't like are the ones most outraged about the Daily Stormer's ISP doing the same. And vice versa. But of course, authoritarians are all in favour of making other people do what *they* want, but not so much for other people telling *them* what to do.

The internet might still be as free as it was, but baking cakes is not free yet. It might be the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution, and nearly 28 years since it fell, but there's still a long way to go.

August 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

We've never had free speech - the targets of censorship just change every now and then.

You missed the point. I'll repeat it.

We've had a long peace and things have gone from bad to worse.

Ecoute's point being that even if we never had completely free speech (libertarians do love their binary constructs), it is so much worse now than it was in the past.

All I can say is thank god I just completed my bunker, just in case Ecoute fails to protect us against our tyrannical overlords with his (keyboard) fury.

BTW - I must have missed it where the bakers' (homosexual) potential customers were in breach of contract, thereby justifying a refusal to provide a service on the basis of sexual preference.

But yeah, except for that fundamental difference between the two situations that makes them not at all alike, the arguments are basically the same. :-)

August 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"BTW - I must have missed it where the bakers' (homosexual) potential customers were in breach of contract, thereby justifying a refusal to provide a service on the basis of sexual preference."

The way shops work is that they offer a contract exchanging one from an offered list of services in exchange for money. Once the sale is agreed, the shop must deliver and the customer must pay. But until agreed, neither side has any contractual obligation top do anything. And customers cannot demand services that have not been offered - like going into a cake shop and asking for a massage.

Under any other circumstances, a shop could refuse to offer services freely. They can discriminate on the grounds of politics, social class, shoe size, the football team you support, your career, your wealth, obesity, beauty, whether you smoke and drink, or your style of hat. They can refuse to bake cakes with slogans about cats, or fish, or Philadelphia, or poems by dead Presidents. If you went in to a Democrat-run bakers' and asked them to put on a political slogan in praise of President Trump, they're perfectly entitled to refuse, and they'll not get into any legal trouble for it. In most things, shops can do what they like. But they can't discriminate in the services they offer on the basis of the protected categories of race, sex, sexual orientation, or disability; and only those categories.

It's got nothing to do with contracts or their breach. The significant legal difference is simply that some subjects of discrimination have political support for preventing it by law, but nobody else does. For exactly the same reason, an ISP could not legally chuck somebody off their site for being homosexual or expressing views supporting that, they wouldn't even be allowed to write that condition into their contract, but they absolutely can do if the customer is a homophobe.

It's a nullification of freedom of contract, and freedom of association. But as ever, people see their own way of life as right and good, and don't even understand how there could be any sort of a moral problem in enforcing that on other people. Seventy years ago they regarded homosexuality as the worst sort of disgusting and depraved moral degeneracy and wouldn't have understood how there could be any problem in suppressing it, or open support for it, in much the same way. Celebration of 'gay marriage' would have been censored under obscenity laws.

It's exactly the same mindset. The in-group defines 'good' and it's only reasonable for society to encourage that, and the out-group represents the worst sort of moral depravity and evil, to be hated, rejected, excluded, and justifiably persecuted. And even though the target changes with every passing generation, those subject to it in full have literally no idea how any reasonable and moral person could possibly disagree with them. It just is.

It explains sooo much history.

August 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

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