Morning Ed: Science {2017.01.25.W}

In the wake of the Reproducibility Crisis, Richard Price argues that we need to strengthen peer review.

The Implicit Bias test may be a bunch of bunk. Also, microaggressions?

From Pangaea to Amasia.

Dogs remember things differently than people, but they do remember things.

Well, this sounds like a real mess. The laws for having (or trying to have) someone involuntarily committed vary a pretty great deal from state to state. Our current state is one of the most difficult to, but our previous was one of the most lax.

I’m willing to bet this is not specifically a psychology thing. At least two of the reasons for the pushback against the experts revolves around confidence levels and consensus.

Look, I understand. Physics people didn’t see Donald Trump winning either. No reason to rely on multiverses in explaining yourself.

Conflict in Canada as the University of Toronto as the psychiatry folks are rather pissed at a new scholarship for anti-psychiatry.


Editor-in-Chief
Home Page Twitter Google+ Pinterest 

Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

Please do be so kind as to share this post.
TwitterFacebookRedditEmailPrintFriendlyMore options

147 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Science {2017.01.25.W}

  1. Peer review: he does identify the correct problem, that tenure & grant committees are overly dependant upon the legacy model of publishing & determining impact. Until those groups accept newer ways of evaluating academic work, the issue will persist.

    Report

  2. The Harvard doctoral student story: It is a curious artifact of the magazine’s house style that the judge’s order is reported as requiring the professor stay at least “30.5 meters away” from the grad student. I did a double take, since there is precisely zero probability of a Massachusetts judge stating an order in those terms. Upon reflection, I am morally certain that the judge actually ordered that the professor stay at least “100 feet” away. 30.5 meters is very close to 100 feet, and as a pragmatic matter it is well within the range of error for such matters. And in fairness, the piece doesn’t claim to be quoting the order directly. This obviously happened because Science Magazine’s house style is to use metric, but this seems to me an instance where an exception would have been both clearer and more accurate.

    Report

  3. When it comes to peer review, I recently read an article that talked about the different level of blind studies and how we needed an additional blind to really fix things.

    Here’s the wiki page for blind studies.

    Single blind test: stuff like the Pepsi Challenge where only the test subject doesn’t know whether s/he’s drinking Pepsi. Maybe the scientist is giving unconscious non-verbal cues and is affecting the outcome!

    Double blind test: Set it up so that the guy giving out the glasses behind the signs saying Brand A or Brand B doesn’t know whether Brand A or Brand B is Coke or Pepsi.

    Triple blind test: Set it up so that the guy in charge of *COMPILING THE DATA* doesn’t know whether Brand A or Brand B was Coke or Pepsi.

    The essay that I read argued that there needed to be another layer of blind entirely: the first thing you do is tell the journals what the methods were in the scientific study. That’s it. Not the topic, not the outcome, not anything. All they get is the methods.

    They pick their favorite methods.

    THEN they find out that they’re doing a study on people taking the Pepsi Challenge in freakin’ Nature magazine when what they really wanted was a study on stem-cell transplant efficacy.

    The downside, of course, is that you’re going to get much, much less sexy results to publish. But you’ll be making fewer retractions. You’ll be wrong less often.

    What do you want most?

    Report

    • The old journals need to remain relevant and the determiners of impact & reputation, otherwise they can’t justify the prices they charge. That last blind study would threaten their relevance, so they won’t do it.

      Report

  4. Microaggressions: Here is the thing. They can exist and also not account for people like me who can space out from time to time. A year ago, I was buying something from the butcher section of a local grocery store and the person behind the counter was a black woman. For whatever reason, I spaced out when she handed me my item. A few seconds later she just said “thank you.” On my part, I wasn’t being racist, just spacy. But I can see that she might have to deal with these things more often than a white dude and it can add up and lead to ill feelings. I don’t think the problem is that microaggressions but that the theory is a little too total and doesn’t account for “people are spacey sometimes.”

    Psychology textbooks: I see the problem in presenting outdated and sometimes incorrect information but introductory textbooks are introductory for a reason. You build up to the more advanced and nuanced stuff, you don’t give it at 101. But I am getting tired of the pushback against experts as a knee jerk reaction. The right-wing seems to think that if they can find one or two people with decent enough credentials who go against the consensus of the field, all their theories are valid and the liberals are wrong. There are also plenty of right-wing prosecutors who have gotten in trouble (or at least been called out) for using wrong headed theories from discredited “experts” to rush people to the death penalty. Yet a lot of these discredited experts still make lots of money by offering nonsense to juries in capital trials.
    Just because there are a handful of psychologists who insist homosexuality can be “cured”, does not make them right and it does not make homosexuality wrong or immoral.

    I’m rather tired of the kneejerk anti-intellectualism which seems to inhabit a good plurality of this country. A reflexive anti-book smarts “common sense” which is starting to resemble Idiocracy more and more. Just because the big petrochemical and other industries can hire some PhDs to say that climate change is not real, does not make that claim so. People with PhDs are just as capable of fulfilling Upton Sinclair’s observations that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” And I suspect a lot of anti-expert pushback is from this and from the desire not to have worldviews challenged.

    Report

    • “And I suspect a lot of anti-expert pushback is from this and from the desire not to have worldviews challenged.”

      Well, if everyone did what you suggest, then the original consensus would still be the consensus. It’s hard living at the end of history.

      Report

    • “But I can see that she might have to deal with these things more often than a white dude and it can add up and lead to ill feelings.”

      Well, that’s on her now isn’t it? That’s her perception. No one has control over another’s perception, and if they don’t tell you they perceive you such and such, then why would you give a damn?

      “Just because the big universities/gov’ts and other public action groups can hire some PhDs to say that climate change is real, does not make that claim so.” I altered your comment to reflect the opposite. Both are absolutely true.

      Report

      • “But I can see that she might have to deal with these things more often than a white dude and it can add up and lead to ill feelings.”

        Well, that’s on her now isn’t it? That’s her perception. No one has control over another’s perception, and if they don’t tell you they perceive you such and such, then why would you give a damn?

        And yet it’s valid for Trump voters to be angry and feel put out because they perceive supposed elites at looking down at them and thinking they’re racist?

        Report

          • You mean you’ve perceived it.

            Microaggressions on the basis of not presenting as straight, cis, white, male – those are things other people have perceived. Whole different thing. That’s on them.

            Report

            • No you misunderstand. Mo’s comment was “And yet it’s valid for Trump voters to be angry and feel put out because they perceive supposed elites at looking down at them and thinking they’re racist?”

              And that’s why I used perception vs reality. It’s real when someone actually looks down at you and accused you of racism.

              Report

              • I would suspect that nowhere near a majority of elites look down at them or accuse them of racism. Most elites don’t give think about them. Much in the same way way that most Midwesterners don’t give much thought to folks in NY or LA.

                Report

            • The reality, as Saul laid it out, was that he was spacing out. The service worker may or may not have attributed his actions to racism. We don’t know what her perception was, but regardless of what she perceived, he wasn’t be racist (he claims) Ergo, what she perceived is irrelevant to the truth. Again, assuming Saul wasn’t being racist. We frankly, don’t know what she perceived since she didn’t communicate it.

              Report

              • Isn’t the reality also that she deals with those things more often than a white dude? Therefore it’s hard for her to tell which is genuine spacing out vs. malice.

                Report

                • Don’t go bringing tools of statistical measurement into determining what’s real! We’re talking about a single anecdatum! Anything outside that is non-real ivory tower business, since it involves math.

                  Report

        • Mo,
          they’re upset because they don’t have jobs, their towns are dying, and life’s pretty much so shitty that they’re getting addicted to opiates.

          Serious stuff, not just hurt feelings.

          Report

        • Depends. Is a Trump voter upset because an elite was ignoring them at the meat counter, or did the elite actually call them an ignorant racist.

          Seriously though, the problem of Trump voters and the elite comes back to the internet blows things out of proportion.

          Report

          • There’s also a lot of economic evidence that the Trump voter was voting for the candidate that made a better sell on their concerns.

            The kind of evidence that the Democratic party would ordinarily use to connect with a lot of those voters.

            So besides deploring the state of a fraction of their voters, the democratic party also managed to squander an issue they owned to an idiot like Trump. They had the charts and evidence and everything.

            Report

              • Funny.
                What happens when it’s unprofitable to drill for oil at the price people can afford to pay?
                The global economy contracts, globalization ends.
                The jobs come home. Fewer, more automated jobs, of course.

                Report

                • The price people can afford to pay? The price is down, but that doesn’t seem to be a function of everybody getting poorer. If we’re so poor we can’t afford even cheap oil, it sounds like your apocalypse scenario has already happened. The oil pumps stopping will be a symptom, not a cause.

                  Report

                  • I’m not sure I’m calling poverty. Lack of investment (Zero bound interest rates) doesn’t particularly mean we’re poor, after all. It means that people don’t think that investing will give better returns…

                    Report

                • What happens when it’s unprofitable to drill for oil at the price people can afford to pay?
                  The global economy contracts, globalization ends.
                  The jobs come home. Fewer, more automated jobs, of course.

                  I think this reverses things. New drilling is unprofitable when the price of oil is low, so the correlation would be the inverse of what you’re suggesting. Ie., lower oil prices mean jobs don’t come home, right?

                  Report

                  • They’re both true.

                    If international gas prices are too low because it’s cheaper from Saudi Arabia, then drilling becomes unprofitable.

                    If drilling becomes so difficult that it can’t be sold at the price that would be required to get it, then drilling becomes unprofitable.

                    Report

                    • There’s a major difference between what those two mean, though. One of them means we’re getting so much oil relative to our needs that it’s cheap and the other means we’re too poor to afford any oil. I’m not sure which scenario Kim is trying to describe here.

                      Report

                      • There’s a third possibility. That there is some oil that it is not profitable to extract at current prices. It would cost more to extract it than it could be sold for.

                        At some point, it may be the case that retrieval costs will be so high (because all the cheaper oil has been taken) that no one will be able to afford it. If extraction costs are so high that oil can’t be sold for less than $30/gal, then prices could be too high.

                        I suspect Kim means a combination between (a) we’re poorer and (b) extraction costs have gone up.

                        Report

                        • That’s not really a third possibility. That’s just a result of one of the first two. That’s why I’m never quite sure what Kim is trying to describe with her oil scenarios. Theres supply, there’s demand, and there’s the equilibrium. Oil could be “not worth extracting” because it’s hard or because demand is low, but in both cases it’s just a result of the equilibrium price.

                          Report

                        • I don’t see how this is the case. The last article you linked indicated pretty strongly that the drop in cost:market price ratio was mostly a result of the market price dropping from historical highs.

                          But this whole line of argument still seems to misunderstand supply and demand. Oil is currently about $53 a barrel. If it eventually costs more than that to extract, the price will go up above $53 a barrel to reflect that. Less oil will be consumed, but it’s not some hard stop where oil will stop flowing.

                          Report

                    • But in each case the jobs don’t come home, right?

                      To do that, you gotta separate the US economy from the global oil market, but then we’re no longer talking about domestic jobs being a function of market price.

                      Report

                            • Instability in oil prices is a different metric than low oil prices. As it is, tho, OPEC in general has given zero evidence of instability in oil prices. They went low for a long time by keeping the spigots open and recently signaled they’re gonna move the price up a notch by turning ’em down a bit.

                              Report

                              • Stillwater,
                                OPEC is not able to move the price, because they all still need the money from pumping as much as possible.
                                Instability is something that I can point to in Venezuela and in Iran and in Russia too. There’s a reason America managed to armtwist Iran into nuclear treaties.

                                Report

                  • Oil drives the global marketplace, because we use oil to get things from place to place. If oil prices are too low to be “profitable”, regimes change frequently (I’m taking a bit of a liberty with the word profit here — petroeconomies have based their entire country’s livelihood on oil. Large contractions in standard of living will cause political issues). Instability in pricing occurs, and people become less willing to invest in globalized markets, as they’re far more uncertain and less profitable.

                    Report

        • “And yet it’s valid for Trump voters to be angry and feel put out because they perceive supposed elites at looking down at them and thinking they’re racist?”

          You’re right, microaggressions are bullshit.

          (…is that where you were going with this?)

          Report

        • Mo: And yet it’s valid for Trump voters to be angry and feel put out because they perceive supposed elites at looking down at them and thinking they’re racist?

          These would be the same elites who are lowering our growth rate while enriching themselves.

          Most things make sense if you follow the money.

          Report

    • Except the textbook bit wasn’t about challenging worldviews, it was about badly presented controversy with a defined political bias.

      If an Intro to Earth Sciences text book had a section on Climate Change with a decided Malthusian slant to it, would you not find that problematic?

      These are College level intro texts, you can write as if your audience were adults and capable of some nuanced understanding of controversy. I don’t expect you to understand the complexity of computational & statistical climate models, but I can tell you that they have weaknesses, and that while the evidence available to us strongly suggests that the climate is changing and humans are contributing to it, there is still a lot we don’t know about the climate. Thus as climate scientists, care should be taken to not over or undersell an a theory or area of research.

      Report

    • Yeah, my default position, most of the time, is NOT “this person is trying to disrespect or dismiss me” but instead “They’re having a bad day” or “they’re worried about something else going on.”

      Because I know if I fail to say hello to someone it’s not that I want to ‘cut’ them (as the old Victorians would say) but it’s because my brain is so deep in whatever it’s working on (or I’m so deep in whatever I’m worried about) that I don’t notice the person, or their presence doesn’t trigger the controlling-part of my brain to go “Hey, don’t be rude! Say hello to them!”

      Then again, I have known a few people with whom apparent dismissal/disrespect seemed to be a pattern. I just tried to avoid those people. (And there was one who was out and out rude to me, I just figured, “I know what you are” and continued to avoid him)

      Report

      • I think people would be a lot less upset about slights if they realized the answer to, “What is this guy thinking about me?” is usually, “He not.” We all occupy a pretty small percentage of the thoughts of others, especially strangers / casual acquaintances. Don’t read too much into your interactions with them.

        Report

    • A year ago, I was buying something from the butcher section of a local grocery store and the person behind the counter was a black woman. For whatever reason, I spaced out when she handed me my item. A few seconds later she just said “thank you.” On my part, I wasn’t being racist, just spacy.

      Would you have allowed yourself to be spacy if a white man was giving you your food or would you have been attentive?

      Report

    • A reflexive anti-book smarts “common sense” which is starting to resemble Idiocracy more and more. Just because the big petrochemical and other industries can hire some PhDs to say that climate change is not real, does not make that claim so.

      I remember reading up on the Kyoto agreement. If correctly implemented, it would have delayed the world’s warming by 6 years over the course of a century. So what we would get in 100 years without it we’d get in 106.

      Of course the amount of economic pain it’d create (in terms of jobs lost, growth sacrificed, and taxes raised) was so bad that we didn’t follow it. Similarly until last year or two we saw a pause in warming for about 15 years or so.

      So based on that…
      …we need to sacrifice a lot of jobs, growth, use command and control to make sure various green causes succeed, because the planet is in danger.

      However even though the planet is in danger no green need give up anything, ever fish remains sacred so Hydro power remains evil, nuclear power remains EVIL and needs to be replaced with coal if need be.

      So the Greens only treat Global Warming as real when they want something, but when it’d make them give up something it gets a handwave.

      I think “common sense” is pretty good at telling people when they’re being had even if they get some of the details wrong.

      Report

      • Similarly until last year or two we saw a pause in warming for about 15 years or so.

        No we didn’t. The appearance of a pause was due to manipulating the data by choosing a very specific endpoint. That was due to choosing the year of a strong cyclical warming event (El Nino) and using it as the baseline. The thing is, the previous strong El Nino was about 15 years prior. That temperatures were at levels equivalent to a very strong El Nino year, when one would expect temperatures to be elevated, even in non-El Nino years is an indication that something is wrong.

        It is equivalent to saying that nothing is wrong with the economy because unemployment remains at 2008 rates.

        Report

      • Dark,
        I look forward to what the FUCK you’re going to say in 20 years when we have over a billion refugees with NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

        Doesn’t that just say National Security Issue? No, wait, Global Security Issue?

        I want hydropower, I want nuclear power, I want a ton of things.

        But for fuck’s sake, if you’re in Miami, prepare for a shitstorm (and I mean that literally.)
        Or, ya know, maybe think about moving.

        I’ll mostly give up meat, I don’t own a car, I’m a decent pick for “does the right thing.”

        Ain’t gonna matter though — not enough people are like me, and if everyone was, the US economy would collapse in weeks.

        Report

        • I look forward to what the FUCK you’re going to say in 20 years when we have over a billion refugees with NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

          The sea is currently rising 1.8 mm/yr (google), so 20 years means 40mm, which is about 1.5 inches, let’s double that to be absurdly generous and call it 3 inches.

          So… China disappears with 3 more inches of sea level? Russia? England? France? India?

          In the previous century, the sea rose 6 inches from 1900 to 2000. Our level of technology was a lot less then, why didn’t this produce hundreds of millions of refugees?

          Better yet, note that places like New York actually increased their amount of land over that period of time even though the sea rose. That happened because people adjust quickly when their financial interests are at stake while the planet is very slow.

          not enough people are like me, and if everyone was, the US economy would collapse in weeks. …if you’re in Miami, prepare…

          If the land is worth keeping, then let people pay to keep it. If it’s not, then let the ocean take it. Both of those options are way less expensive than the collapse of the US economy.

          I want hydropower, I want nuclear power, I want a ton of things.

          Life is about choices. The reality is no one is willing to crash the economy, and the Greens oppose nukes more than they do GW.

          If the Greens were willing to scream for nuke plants then they could make deals, form alliances, and make make it happen. Instead they need to be happy with promises that future politicians will deal with it, long after the current ones have died or retired.

          Report

          • If the land is worth keeping, then let people pay to keep it. If it’s not, then let the ocean take it.

            After all the other weak arguments, when the chips are finally on the table, THIS is your solution to the problem of AGW climate change.

            Report

            • Dark Matter: If the land is worth keeping, then let people pay to keep it. If it’s not, then let the ocean take it.

              Stillwater: After all the other weak arguments, when the chips are finally on the table, THIS is your solution to the problem of climate change.

              Yes. Paying for things you value has a grand tradition of Working.

              I figure that’s enough for a century or two, and somewhere in there the level of technology will rise enough to do something more direct if we actually feel the need.

              Put differently, if we wanted to spend a Trillion dollars on the environment for the planet, then, to get the most bang for the buck, we should give places clean water, get rid of malaria, and so forth. Asking people to go without clean water (or power, or whatever) so that we can delay the warming of the planet by a year over the next century doesn’t seem cost effective or moral.

              Report

                • Externalities.

                  Carbon has been the backbone of the industrial revolution, transportation, the generation of electricity, and a long list of other things I won’t go into.

                  If we look for people who have been hurt more than helped by carbon, we need to turn to not only the 3rd world, but people who are backward and poor even by those standards. Certainly they exist, but the solution isn’t to keep them poor.

                  Take externalities into effect and the winners still grossly outnumber the losers, and carbon’s benefits still grossly outweighs its side effects. The Externalities argument implies that demand for carbon would be less if it’s total effects were taken into account, but there’s such a vast positive effect on the economy that the answer is “mostly no”.

                  That’s why we hear absurd arguments like “malaria will come back” or “nuclear armed refugees”. Math isn’t in their favor so they need to pound on the table. If we actually make dollars and cents calculations, what we want to do is “deal with externalities piecemeal and wait for technology to improve”.

                  It’s a lot easier for the rich to deal with Climate Change than the poor, and burning carbon makes entire societies rich.

                  Report

                  • The Externalities argument implies that demand for carbon would be less if it’s total effects were taken into account, but there’s such a vast positive effect on the economy that the answer is “mostly no”.

                    I don’t think that’s quite right, Dark. The externalities argument is that the total cost of carbon emissions needs to be included in the economic calculus. So it’s not that including externalities would reduce demand, but that it would increase price (via regulation or tax, whatever) to reduce consumption.

                    To your last point, that’s not quite right either, seems to me. Taking the externality argument seriously doesn’t mean eliminating fossil fuels from the market, but merely reducing their use (via whatever mechanism) to mitigate against the economic costs such use incurs. Eg., on your assumption (I’m assuming this is your assumption :) unrestricted fossil fuel use results in a net-positive economic and restricting that use will lead to net-negative economic outcomes whereas taking the externality argument seriously merely means finding the opitmal balance between fossil fuel’s benefits and total costs.

                    Report

                    • So it’s not that including externalities would reduce demand, but that it would increase price (via regulation or tax, whatever) to reduce consumption.

                      Agreed, that is the theory exactly… but see below.

                      Taking the externality argument seriously doesn’t mean eliminating fossil fuels from the market, but merely reducing their use (via whatever mechanism) to mitigate against the economic costs such use incurs.

                      Also agreed, *however*, the “economic costs” their use incurs are exceptionally vague and ill defined (weather is not climate). There are a few people who are clearly having problems via the oceans rising, but often they’re not in the countries who are benefiting from carbon.

                      To a first approximation, the benefits are vast enough that everyone benefits, and the problems are small enough that that no one suffers. Now agreed, the benefits and the costs are not equally distributed, but it’s very rare to find someone in the first world who would (in theory) be better off if coal and oil hadn’t been discovered.

                      In theory, we’d have a carbon tax which matched it’s externalities cost. In theory, we’d use the money from that tax to repair or compensating people.

                      In practice, carbon is already taxed at a level which is probably higher than it’s externalities cost. Not because it’s carbon but because it’s a cash cow, and not uniformly but at various levels of gov, and not consistently but whatever.

                      In practice, we mostly don’t have a clue who is harmed by climate change, and the money from taxing oil companies goes into the general government funding where it’s spent on whatever. Political realities means the gov will help people when they have weather related acts of god drop on them. Political realities also mean the gov would misspend an additional carbon tax.

                      The world we already have is one where Green energy is greatly supported by the gov (and thus oil taxes), and carbon already sells at a price higher than it should because of the gov’s desire for other people’s money.

                      Report

              • Dark Matter,
                In 23 years, we will be unable to feed 2/3rds of America’s current population. Other countries will have it worse.

                We’re looking at the end of civilization, and if that’s in twenty years or fifty, we’re still looking at a global collapse in population.

                I’m not asking people to do without clean water. I’m asking people to do without babies.

                Because, believe me, we’re already above what the Earth can support. Every year the Ogallala gets drier, after all.

                Report

                • Every year the Ogallala gets drier, after all.

                  A situation which begs for market solutions. If we’d allow market pricing for water many of these nuttier endeavors would go away.

                  In 23 years, we will be unable to feed 2/3rds of America’s current population. Other countries will have it worse.

                  This is a Malthusian catastrophe prediction. They’ve been a staple since 1779, always a few years away, but somehow never showing up.

                  These predictions have been consistently wrong for the last 237 years because they assume there is no market and that people never change their behaviors.

                  Americans will starve to death rather than waste less food, change what we plant, raise the cost of food, and we’ll even continue to pay farmers to not plant crops. Even as people die in the streets, no one will recognize this as a money making opportunity.

                  Mass starvation is a result of the lack of money and/or war and not an issue of a lack of food. In the US the current number of people who starve to death is effectively zero (excluding mental illness, murder, being lost in the wilderness, etc).

                  My easy prediction is that in 23 years, the number of people who starve to death in the US will continue to be effectively zero, and there will continue to be predictions of mass starvation in two or three more decades.

                  Report

                  • I’m actually with you on the skepticism of mass starvation.
                    However, the aquifers are in fact shrinking.

                    What do you mean by a “market pricing for water”? Because there is a market in water, right now. How would you change it?

                    We’ve actually had a few very good explanations of water rights right here at OT, and the short answer seems to be Its Complicated, but The Government Decides Who Owns What, When, and How.

                    Report

                    • I’d also be deeply skeptical of the idea that America won’t be able to feed itself due to water issues, if no other reason than America is insanely capable of producing food by world standards (huge arable land, huge capital imputs, huge labour skill) as well has many inefficiencies in food production that can be cut back if push comes to shove and will likely continue be a massive exporter of food surplus.

                      Dark Matter is also right that the carbon economy has been a humongous net gain for humanity. The transition to industrial society wasn’t going to happen so easily without it. Also the coal economy is a lot more enviromentally friendly than the traditional wood one.

                      However, this carbon economy is creating a situtation we know is coming for us in the future. The timing is in doubt, but we know its happening, the broad trend speaks to this (don’t bring up the warming pause, that was the cherry picking of choosing a peak year as a baseline). So we have to deal with it before it happens, otherwise things get much more expensive fast. Its a bit like paying for national defense so the authoritarians won’t invade and ruin everything 30 years from now.

                      DM is also right that the Green movement has been awful for using the issue as a rhetorical cudgel rather than prioritizing avoiding incoming disaster. More people have been worse by ignoring the disaster at all. Turns out we are bad at collectively evaluating the risks of something horrible happening 100 years from now.

                      Not doing anything is still a dumb strategy. And its generally much cheaper to make changes earlier rather than latter. It doesn’t have to kill the economy to make gradual improvements, it would have hurt the economy much less if collective efforts were seriously taken back when we found out about the problem 3 decades ago, but nobody has a time machine to tell them to wisen up.

                      Plus, I think DM’s market instincts are the best way to fix it. Price the thing and let collective action work its magic rather than attempt command and control our way out of it (with the caveat that government is still the best at funding fundamental research and then letting its benefits defuse outward). However, waiting to a crisis point is going to force inefficient command and control methods, because that’s the only way to handle a crisis fast enough. Ignoring the problem is the surest way to make something like communism happen in the future. Most of us here don’t want communism so we should try to proactively avoid conditions that get you communism.

                      Report

                      • Not doing anything is still a dumb strategy. And its generally much cheaper to make changes earlier rather than latter.

                        It is probably worth doing a little, it’s not worth doing a lot.

                        The world’s median long term growth rate is roughly 3.75% (google). So in a hundred years we’ll be roughly 40x richer.

                        Explaining to someone who earns $10k a year that he needs to make sacrifices so someone who earns $400k won’t need to is a problem.

                        Similarly technology’s improvement is amazingly important. When the car was introduced en mass roughly a century ago, it was a HUGE anti-pollution device, because the alternative was breathing dust made from dried up horse shit.

                        Report

                        • Dude! That was organic dried up horse shit dust, man! Not filled with chemicals and shit, like car exhaust is!

                          It was probably healthy, because it was organic and not full of chemicals.

                          *end sarcasm*

                          Report

                      • Price the thing and let collective action work its magic rather than attempt command and control our way out of it

                        But who is doing the “pricing” with natural resources like water?

                        Its the government that defines what the resource is, and who owns it, and the basic structure of how it can be owned.
                        E.g., do you own the rainwater that falls on your roof? In some jurisdictions yes, in others no.
                        Who decided to give or withhold your property rights to that water?
                        The government did.

                        As we saw in our posts about water, just getting a handle on how rain that falls from the sky gets turned into property is itself a command and control exercise of political jousting.

                        Report

                        • But who is doing the “pricing” with natural resources like water?

                          …As we saw in our posts about water, just getting a handle on how rain that falls from the sky gets turned into property is itself a command and control exercise of political jousting.

                          That “command and control” is involved somewhere in the process does NOT mean the gov needs to set “pricing”. The expectation should be that full “command control” use of a resource ends with water hungry crops being grown in the middle of a desert, i.e. extremely poor allocation of resources.

                          Report

                    • …here is a market in water, right now. How would you change it?

                      …Its Complicated, but The Government Decides Who Owns What, When, and How.

                      Your first statement disagrees with your second. As far as I can tell it’s the second one which is correct, although it’s not my field nor am I especially educated on this one (I don’t live out West).

                      Good Governments exist to create property rights and markets.

                      So… something along the line of how the gov decides who gets how much bandwidth spectrum seems appropriate, i.e. because we’re looking at a naturally limited resource (I assume we’re talking about the farms in the middle of deserts out West). Have an auction, let people bid for their priority then be able to buy/sell that.

                      Report

                      • it’s not my field nor am I especially educated on this one

                        Nor mine, which is why I found the OT posts on water rights fascinating.

                        The long and short of it was that water is spectacularly unsuited for our conceptions of property and markets.

                        Report

                          • Mostly Good governments exist to deal with (prevent) market failures.

                            What this works out to in practice is…
                            Create a police department (it’s bad when the local rich guy pays for and thus owns the police)
                            Create an army (see the police)
                            Enforce contracts (ditto)
                            Create a Fire department (out of control fires are bad).
                            Create roads/bridges (the plan fails if one person won’t sell his land, law of averages says someone won’t).
                            Break up or regulate monopolies (electromagnetic spectrum is a naturally occurring monopoly)
                            And yes, deal with the externalities problem.

                            However not every problem is a market failure, not every solution is worth the cost of implementing it, gov solutions are not cost free or risk free, and every generation of politicians requires something to do in order to prove their worth.

                            Report

          • Dark Matter,
            Not sea level rise, that’s not the problem. Humidity and heat, those’ll kill India dead. All it takes is a day at a high enough temperature/humidity pairing and you get dead zones where all the people and animals die.

            Report

            • Humidity and heat, those’ll kill India dead. All it takes is a day at a high enough temperature/humidity pairing and you get dead zones where all the people and animals die.

              (All data from wiki)

              India had a really bad year for heat related deaths in 2015, killing roughly 2,500 people

              More than 20,000 people have died of heat-related causes in India since 1990.

              To put those numbers into perspective:
              238,562 people died from traffic related accidents for 2013 (the most recent data).

              Heat isn’t a problem in India compared to traffic accidents. Heat isn’t a problem in India compared to lots of things (diseases, clean water).

              Those other things are normally MUCH cheaper and easier to deal with than global warming, and don’t insist on you continuing to be poor.

              Report

  5. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/01/25/trump_is_planning_a_federal_investigation_into_mass_voter_fraud_which_does.html

    Trump is planning on studying something that does not exist. Seriously, has a more unhinged man ever held the office of the Presidency? The study means nothing because it will be jerry rigged to the conclusion Trump wants or Trump will ignore it if the result is unfavorable. It seems to foretell more voter suppression.

    Report

    • I have no doubt that they can find, if they look hard enough, a million technical violations of voter registration laws — dead people not purged, people who moved across state lines and didn’t get purged in the state they left, over-aggressive DMV clerks, etc. Heck, California has a significant problem with people moving within the state and being registered in two places because the state still hasn’t implemented the state-wide voter registration coordination system that the HAVA law required in 2002. Blue states will have more cases because, broadly speaking, they let people miss more elections before they purge them for being inactive.

      What they won’t come close to finding is that many fraudulent votes, and since Trump is being specific in his charges, they won’t find that many illegal aliens voting.

      Report

        • They can’t have looked very hard. There’s plenty of evidence that in a typical year in California, more dead people vote than that. But it’s still in the tens or maybe low hundreds range. Much of California’s historical problem could be traced to their lack of a central data base system. They finally got the system up and certified this past September.

          Report

          • IIRC, the single-digit number was the in-person representational fraud that all of the Voter ID laws are supposedly meant to address. There are far more along other vectors, even those unconnected to badly designed automated systems.
            But they can’t pass laws with “unintended” side effects to stop those.

            Report

          • Four years ago, county prosecutors found around 400 fraudulent votes in St. Clair County, Illinois (the county containing East St. Louis). It seems like this was only found because the names of people applying for early absentee ballots were prominently made available and the public was encouraged to look to see if their name was listed and to report irregulatories. This prosecutor has gotten a name for tackling corruption in the courts, the police departments and in politics; I’m guessing nobody else in Illinois is setting up systems to protect against voter fraud, certainly not the state legislature.

            Report

      • @richard-hershberger

        Bush II already looks like a wise and learned statesmen compared to Trump. You are both right probably. The problem with Trump is that he is not going to care and find a way to rage anyway. His inner-circle already is leaking to the press that he is a 70 year old manchild.

        I was not a fan of Ari Fleischer but he looked classy and intelligent compared to what we are getting from Kellyanne Conway, Spicer, and soon to be getting from Julia Hahn. The Trump admin is taking their cues from classic authoritarianism as far as I can tell. Divide the people on the media/press to render it toothless.

        Bush II’s ego was satisfied by terminated some DOJ lawyers. Trump’s will not be.

        The only thing that is keeping me from thinking Trump is not as bad as I thought is that I had dreams about waking up on January 21 and seeing tanks and troops occupy SF and every other blue city/state. Otherwise he is worse than I imagined.

        Report

        • When Bush the Younger was elected (sort of), I figured the main purpose of his administration was to transfer as many public dollars into private hands as possible. Remember ICBM defense, aka “Star Wars”? It was first floated by Reagan, but dropped as clearly impracticable. Bush II pushed it hard early on. There is a certain elegance to the idea. If you want to transfer public moneys to private industry, at some point people will notice if said private industry doesn’t actually produce something. Ordinarily, if that something doesn’t actually do anything, people will complain and you might have subpoenas to testify before oversight committee. But since no one ever thought that Star War would actually work, that problem is largely avoided. So in any case, I had this pegged as a straightforward financial issue: wasteful of tax dollars, but with no broader ramifications.

          Then came 9/11, and with it the sudden imperative to go invade somebody–who didn’t matter much, so long as it was somebody “evil,” and without the ability to really fight back. The result is uncounted tens of thousands of dead bodies.

          Trump may well produce those dead bodies. It would not be particularly surprising. But until he does, I am not prepared to compare Bush II favorably to Trump.

          Report

          • “Remember ICBM defense, aka “Star Wars”? It was first floated by Reagan, but dropped as clearly impracticable.”

            Reagan dropped it because his advisors convinced him (correctly) that it was strategically destabilizing. GWB went back to it because the strategic calculus had changed; once you’re no longer facing an existential threat, “losing one city” is a failure and not a win condition.

            Report

            • The general public has been largely mis-informed about the subject. ICBM defense has been viable technology since the Nikes in the 1960s (the key thing is while the missiles are really fast, they also have to go on predictible paths and a fast thing dies easy if it even gets a minor hit).

              Perfect ICBM defense wasn’t viable though. You can’t guarentee that you are going to hit the thing, just have 50%-90% chance at it. This made the concept less useful against the mass nuclear arsenal of the USSR, which could saturate a defense (not worthless though, there is considerable virtual attrition value to missile defense, just not to a level that can stop an attack cold).

              Report

    • Trump is planning on studying something that does not exist. Seriously, has a more unhinged man ever held the office of the Presidency?

      Rather than ranting about how unhinged Trump is, Saul, it might be useful to try to find the intellectual space where Trump’s actions are rational and serve a strategic or (perhaps … can’t rule it out a priori!!) ideological purpose. In this case, wrt an investigation into whether 3-5 million illegals cast fraudulent votes, ask yourself “what purpose does proposing this investigation serve?”

      Well, for starters, it’s massively distracting, right? And then ask yourself “what purpose would such a distraction serve?” Is it to distract folks from focusing on his own electoral shenanigans orchestrated by the Rooskies? To distract people from the outrageous claim that his inauguration was bigger than Obama’s? Is it to motivate the Trump base, one which believes as an article of faith that illegals are corrupting our country by not only taking our jobs but by illegally voting for the hated socialist (spit!) Democrats? Is it to follow-thru on his campaign assertion that the only reason he didn’t win (and he didn’t win the popular vote) is because the election was rigged for Hillary, and by doing so further obfuscate the truth about the US electoral process as well as blur “the facts” about who cheated who and when?

      Etc and so on.

      Or more to the point: viewing Trump’s actions as irrational plays right into his game. He wants you (me, all of us who oppose him) to think there’s no method to the madness. My guess is that there is.

      Report

      • It’s so much more comforting to believe he’s an 11D chess genius than a thin-skinned narcissist.

        At least with the former, anything he does is “part of the plan” whereas with the latter — he might do anything, no matter how awful the consequences.

        Of course, that’s just pure denialism talking.

        There’s no secret Trump. There’s just Trump, a thin-skinned narcissist whose last several bombshells have been entirely prompted by watching Fox News and reacting like a cranky grandpa, and a staff that has already transitioned to backbiting, gossip, leaks, and scrambling for power over each other.

        There’s no plan. There’s no goal. There’s just chaos, paranoia, and a cranky guy with a penchant for conspiracy theories and a firm belief the world revolves around him at the helm.

        Welcome to 2017.

        Report

        • It’s so much more comforting to believe he’s an 11D chess genius than a thin-skinned narcissist.

          He’s not playing 11D chess. In fact, he’s not playing chess at all. He’s playing a different game altogether.

          Report

            • I don’t know, actually. What I do know is that freaking out Every.Single.Day. is exactly what he wants people to do. He wants them riled up and frothing over what are, from his perspective, trivialities but which, at the end of the day, serves a purpose for him (eg., by demonstrating that liberals themselves are unhinged).

              But whatever game he’s playing, the normal political “rules” are thrown out the window. He views politicians and the media with a phenomenal level of contempt, and probably a majority of the public as well. Which is a radical departure from “normal” political gamesmanship, seems to me.

              The only game I can think of resembling the game he’s playing is the bait-and-switch, one where the “rules” of the game are to take advantage of the unwitting.

              Report

              • Sort of. Wanting a big investigation into voter fraud is not a new tactic. He hopes, and might actually believe, they will find something and it kicks the issue away for months. Nothing really new about that.

                He has always been exceptionally thin skinned. There is not strategy in his displaying his hurt ego and rage tweeting. It’s pure id with a smartphone. It certainly works to keep people frothing but i don’t think there is any deep strategy there. An old therapist supervisor of mine told me mentally ill people ( not saying Trump is MI, but the point still applies) often end up creating their own mental state in the people around them. Not consciously, but being with some people leads you to being like them. This is Trump. Frantic, overly sensitive, no focus and easily distracted.

                Report

                • Trump can be both a narcissistic megalomaniac AS WELL as a exhibit tactical rationality.

                  Those aren’t inconsistent, greg. In fact, my guess is that most functioning narcissists actually DO implement a high level of tactical strategery to achieve their goals.

                  Report

        • morat20,
          http://www.strangeguys.com/2009/11/27/george-w-bush-sucker-punches-a-rugby-opponent-at-yale/
          Secret Bush.
          Photos speak more than a thousand words, no?
          Trump’s been in the public eye a lot more than GWB. We pretty much know him. He’s not terribly smart. There is a plan and a goal, and it’s relatively small and petty. He’s not Nixon, who was actually decent at politics and a hell of a salesman. He’s not a real demagogue either.

          Report

        • Clearly you underestimate him. Only a master tactician (or a master of persuasion) would call and pretend to be his publicist and brag about himself without making any effort to disguise his very distinctive voice.

          Report

            • I think his gut and instincts about people and PR are good, but I think not as good as advertised. However, his gut and instincts about situations has proven to be pretty poor. He’s basically a 21st century John Brinkley.

              Report

            • I would say his instincts for building a brand, and (possibly) negotiating real estate deals aren’t bad. This carried over reasonably well to his campaign, were his instinct to say whatever came into his head (or lack of any sort of self reflection or filter) got him a great deal of free air time. His instinct, brought over from real estate deals, to say whatever he thought people wanted to hear (eg drain the swamp) was also beneficial. Whether those instincts translate into successfully implementing policy or reforming government isn’t yet clear (though the first few days don’t seem promising).

              Report

                • I’m with you on your main, and very depressing, point.

                  I remember talking with my wife about Trump’s less than true statements during the early campaign. I characterized him as a classic bullshitter, in that he didn’t really care whether what he said was true or not, and that people would get very tired of it very quickly. My wife disagreed and said a large number of people would view him as a truth teller (she was also sure he was going to win on a rural WWC vote). She was right, Trump’s bullshit was bought hook, line, and sinker.

                  Report

          • It really could be as simple as that, a silly game that everyone who’s been to grade school should have developed cultural immunities to.

            But unfortunately for all of us K-8 graduates (and even those of us who’ve gone beyond) there is, apparently, an adult version of that game which can be very profitably played as well.

            Report

  6. The piece on implicit bias lost me at the third paragraph, when it equated implicit bias with bigotry.

    This is a shameful piece of sleight of hand. Implicit bias is in no sense equivalent to bigotry, which we generally recognize to have elements of racial malice. The point of implicit bias research is to point out that there can be social injustice even where there is no malice at all.

    I tire of this shell game. White people tend to use the word ‘racist’ to mean ‘bigoted white supremacist’. By allowing no distinction between someone who might have learned, through contact with the culture to fear an otherwise unknown black man more than a white man, and someone who doesn’t want them to drink from the same water fountain, or join the same church, we make it easy to deny that any such structure exists, and we give a compelling reason for ignoring and rejecting any claim that the culture embeds bias.

    That paragraph was overly anthropomorphic, ascribing intention to some unnamed persons. I don’t actually think that’s how it generally happens. It’s more like this behavior is part of a stable system which can perpetuate itself, even in the absence of any people with actual malice. Though we do have a few people with recognizable malice, for instance, the now-notorious Richard Spencer.

    So, I stopped reading at the phrase ‘inner bigot’. Honestly, this reminds me of Vikram’s piece today where he complains of science being written by journalists seeking good prose or story.

    Report

    • New York has a good long-ish article about the IAT.

      I for one am shocked – SHOCKED! – to discover a test that reliably tells its proponents what they want to hear provides questionable results.

      If you go beyond the endless shout-outs and specialty-branded merchandise, the Clinton campaign did not seek to talk about race, but when she did so during the debate, she cited the IAT. It’s all part of the “‘I f*cking love science’ and thus all my political positions are empirically correct” tendency among the left, and it’s vulnerable to questionable people-pleasing results derived from bad methods.

      Report

    • Yes, but if a person was sufficiently self-aware and awoke, they would recognize their bias and strive to overcome it. This is known, so the fact that a person is not self-aware and awoke must be because they don’t want to be, so they must want to be a racist bigot and have chosen to remain ignorant.

      Report

      • There is definitely a strain of self-righteousness about. And yet if every single conversation about how bias works can be labelled as “self-righteous” and “smug”, then we can’t have the conversation about the material issues, can we?

        I think what’s going on is that there is an enormous debt of shame that we have inherited. We’ve added to it a bit, but most of it was handed on to us by prior generations, who couldn’t manage the courage to deal with it directly. And if we try to talk about race, we touch that place of shame, and either we distance ourselves from it, and that looks like self-righteous smugness, or we deny it altogether, and try to avoid the conversation, and that looks like complaints about smugness.

        I can’t blame those of earlier generations for avoiding these issues – touching the shame is a very unpleasant experience. But I do think we’re capable of managing it these days, in a way we couldn’t before.

        For the record though, I try hard to avoid any sort of rhetoric that divides people into sheep and goats. You know, the “woke” and the “unwoke” and so on.

        Report

        • I know, I’m just being glib. Crap like what I wrote above is about as helpful to the discussion as pretending it doesn’t exist.

          But you are right, it does hit some kind of inherited shame, which it shouldn’t, because we didn’t create the structure. Our shame, such as it is, has more to do with not demanding our politicians tear down that structure, because it will be hard.

          Report

          • There is no question in my mind that this entails hard work, and enduring some unpleasant feelings. (But nothing so unpleasant as what black Americans often are forced to endure!) I feel that we are at a point where we could maybe handle it.

            Report

    • I’m not so sure that’s what “Beware your inner bigot” means.

      I’d take it to mean exactly what you’re saying, but succinctly.

      “Sure, your intentions and conscious thoughts may have no bigotry in them. But be on the lookout – there still may be some inner, unconscious, bias in you that produces slightly racist actions. Like having one bigot on a committee of dozens of people, who doesn’t get to write the press releases, doesn’t even say anything openly bigoted in minuted conversations, but still subtly steers the outcomes away from the perfect fairness the organization is generally trying for. Except the committee is your mind, and its members are all your thought processes, associations, and mental models, most of which take place in a split second, too quickly to observe unless you really take the time afterward to examine them.”

      Report

      • That sounds an awful lot like gaslighting to me.

        See, there’s a malevolent force you’re emitting out into the world. You can’t see it. Only people who have built a personal brand around calling out racism can. But you have to fight it! Fight it through scrupulosity, through taking my seminar, through sitting down and shutting up when I say so.

        And to prove it, there’s this test. What, you claim it’s more rigged than a Scientology E-Meter? Doesn’t matter, the theory still holds!

        And when have you done your job? Paid off your debt and your parents’ debt, and the debt of people who aren’t related you you but kinda look like you in a crowd? When I say so. Which will be exactly … when I say so.

        Report

        • First, as the article noted, explicit bias is still a very good predictor of biased behavior. That holds true for people with racial biases as well. This is the: ‘black people are more likely to commit crime,’ so the person treats an individual black person like they are likely to/have commit a crime. There are a lot of people who are explicitly biased, as in the above example, but don’t think of themselves as biased.

          I would frame implicit bias as a part of human nature. We have evolved to categorize and put different people and things into different groups. We assign values or characters to those groups which may or may not be accurate. And we do all this subconsciously. Getting better at recognizing those biases and treating everybody as an individual is a worth goal.

          With that said, I think a lot of the discussion around these issues are framed to make the a certain type of person feel better about themselves, and not deal with any actual issues.

          Report

        • No, not “only people who have built a personal brand around calling out racism” can see racist prejudices we hold or emotional reactions we experience. Sometimes they can help us here or there by pointing out something we hadn’t noticed about our behaviour, but most of the work is for us ourselves to do.

          Like, for myself, of course I sometimes experience racist attitudes and emotional reactions in myself. I grew up white in Saskatchewan in the 80s and 90s; it would be impossible for me not to. But I can try to remain aware of them when they come up, and try to use rationality to counteract them where they might influence my decisions to someone’s detriment.

          Report

    • As a follow-up, in a blog post today, Scott Aaronsen protested Trumps decision to suspend all immigration from 11 primarily Muslim countries, including Iran. Scott, who is a professor, has a student who is Iranian, and knows many other scientists who are Iranian, and as a result, is not at all happy with this. As it turns out, Scott is also Jewish, and says this, in comment #17:

      I can’t understate the importance of actually meeting people from the groups that we want to avoid being scapegoated—and not in some staged way but for real.

      To take an example: I grew up in an environment where I’d hardly ever meet anyone of Muslim background, and where, if such people ever came up in conversation, then it was likely to be in the context of their killing Jews or wanting to kill Jews. And I mean, it’s not that another radical imam’s “kill the Jews” proclamation can’t be pretty salient to a Jewish person!

      But crucially, if that’s the main or only context in which Muslims come up, then you’re going to be left with an extremely skewed impression—no matter how well you understand intellectually that it’s skewed.

      Later, though, once I’d become an academic traveling all over the place for talks and conferences, I had occasions to meet dozens of wonderful people from Muslim backgrounds, Iranians and others—to befriend them, crash at their houses, eat their food, coauthor papers with them, have intellectual conversations with them about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, etc. etc. So then there’s a completely different set of salient examples to draw from.

      Report

  7. RE: lab dispute

    So what happened was, some kid figured that he was gonna Expose The Crime and be hailed as a hero for truth and justice, and part of the story he told himself was that the dirty, underhanded, evil bad guy would do everything possible to screw him over. He loved this story, he loved the idea that he was the beleaguered hero standing up for truth and justice, he rolled in it and wrapped himself up in it and did everything he could to make it real. And now, after all his hard work, it is.

    Report

    • Lesson learned: Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean someone is not out to get you.

      Its an odd story, that probably could be lifted for a one-hour police procedural. It looks to me like there was nothing odd about the legal procedures used to compel a mental health exam. There appear to be numerous pieces of evidence that independently pointed to him having some mental health issues (e.g., parents & absenteeism), but the judge who issued the restraining order found that the professor had concocted concerns and encouraged others to do the same. That’s a pretty intense finding, and I couldn’t find what type of legal framework the restraining order was operating under, because sometimes they are issued mainly on the same-so of the petitioner. That’s not true here because it looks like affidavits were submitted by others.

      Report

      • PD,
        Yes, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out to get you.
        Occasionally, this is someone’s parental units putting them in a sanitarium because they think you’re “just being paranoid.”

        Report

    • I don’t know what time of day that happened, but generally messing with people during their commutes is a bad idea. Messing with traffic or delaying public transportation is a pretty surefire way to piss people off.

      Report

        • Jaybird:
          To the extent that these anarchists are making normies conflate them with “the left”, these anarchists are doing “the left” a grave disservice.

          Doesn’t the left view them as members of the left?

          I don’t see much effort to distance themselves, much less to have them arrested, and I thought this protesting for the sake of protesting was pretty much a Left college standard?

          Report

          • Doesn’t the left view them as members of the left?

            No, and whenever they turn non-violent protests int violent ones, that’s made very clear., e.g at the 1999 Seattle WTO meetings. It’s not like the GOP, which does less and less to distinguish itself from the Klan.

            Report

            • Dark Matter: Doesn’t the left view them as members of the left?

              Mike: No, and whenever they turn non-violent protests int violent ones, that’s made very clear., e.g at the 1999 Seattle WTO meetings.

              By late morning, the black bloc had swelled to 200 people and smashed dozens of shops and police cars. This seems to have set off a chain reaction of sorts, with previously nonviolent protesters throwing bottles at police and joining in the vandalism shortly before noon.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_Seattle_WTO_protests

              Nor do I read how the left views those protests as failures because they got out of hand, nor is it clear to me that the left helped in their arrest (if they were arrested).

              It’s not like the GOP, which does less and less to distinguish itself from the Klan.

              Straw man much?

              Report

          • Protesting for the sake of protesting is still a college standard sure.

            The guys in the black masks who give the cops an easy excuse to beat on you at a protest because they consider it fun aren’t popular with those at a protest though. They’re doing a lot to kill the fun of it.

            Report

            • The guys in the black masks who give the cops an easy excuse to beat on you at a protest because they consider it fun aren’t popular with those at a protest though. They’re doing a lot to kill the fun of it.

              Does the Left make an effort to kick these guys out of the group? Have them arrested? Cooperate when the police try to?

              Report

        • Black Bloc/Anarchists are about as much of the left as the Anarcho Capitalists/New Hampshire Free Staters are a part of the right. That is, they are when people want to play affiliation games, but mostly not.

          Sure, anarchist share with other leftists some belief in some form of radical, anti-corporate, collectively owned, yet still democratic utopia, but there’s not a lot of mutual love between the balaclava crowd and the Democratic party.

          Report

          • Black Bloc/Anarchists are about as much of the left as the Anarcho Capitalists/New Hampshire Free Staters are a part of the right. That is, they are when people want to play affiliation games, but mostly not.

            If it were limited to affiliation games then I wouldn’t be listing them together.

            The guys who shoot abortion doctors are clearly affiliated with the Pro-Life movement, but the movement makes a strong enough effort to disavow them, discourage them, and arrest them that I don’t add them to the Right’s violence count.

            The WTO protests aren’t viewed as a failure by the Left because of the violence. The Black Bloc wasn’t disavowed and arrested, their actions are one of the reasons why the protest was a success. Speaking as Joe Normal, they hit the radar as footsoldiers, not random lunatics.

            Report

        • No one makes anyone believe anything. There is a weak affiliation/affinity between the anarchist left and the regular left, just like there’s a weak affiliation/affinity between the right and neo-Nazis. There’s something there, but the only reason to make more of it is to play status games.

          Report

Comments are closed.