Tolerance

Tolerance doesn’t mean approval. I think some people get confused on this.

Libs talk about tolerance being good. But what is tolerance?

Oxford English dictionary says:

The action or practice of tolerating; toleration; the disposition to be patient with or indulgent to the opinions or practices of others; freedom from bigotry or undue severity in judging the conduct of others; forbearance; catholicity of spirit.

The spirit of this is NOT that you think the stuff you are tolerating is great or wonderful. It’s that you will deal with the fact that people do the tolerated stuff, and won’t be too harsh towards people because they do that stuff.

Suppose you say something like “Well I think transgender stuff is kinda weird, but whatever, if people want to do that, that’s their life I guess. I’ll treat them normally when dealing with them.” That is a tolerant attitude. It is clearly expressing some disapproval but isn’t nasty to transgenders.

That kind of sentiment is not nearly enough for libs though. They want acceptance and approval. They are very pushy about this.

And they want acceptance and approval without having any good args about why their pet causes should be accepted and approved.

What do they do instead of offering args? Generally, they assert people who disagree with them are hateful bigots.

This is an irrational act of intimidation. It is immoral and they should stop.

The libs think they are on the side of tolerance/progress/justice. But due to the irrationality of their approach, they risk pushing acceptance for stuff that is actually bad.

And also, because of the revolutionary nature of their approach (which focuses on using cultural pressure and intimidation over reason), they risk triggering an intolerant backlash, which would hurt the people they are supposedly campaigning for the most.

Another thing libs do is demand attention for their lib stuff.

Many libs think people should have an active interest in stuff like the various pronouns for different gender identities etc. Or that libs have a right to harass people at brunch in order to “raise awareness” for their causes.

But why should I have interest in their stuff? Why should I be aware of it? I have better things to do with my life. My awareness and attention are valuable. I don’t care about the stuff they care about. They are being intolerant in asserting a right to my attention and energy and effort.

The spirit of tolerance doesn’t mean I have to learn a bunch about what you are into or try and cater to your idiosyncratic preferences or anything like that.

Here is an analogy: if I’m running a normal American diner, it’s a tolerant attitude if I’m willing to serve anyone who wants to eat my food, regardless of what they look like, sound like, where they are from, etc. That stuff doesn’t matter to the interaction of serving them food.

That doesn’t mean I have to cater to every religious or dietary restriction, though. It’s not wrong or intolerant of me to simply not serve vegan or kosher food. It’s not intolerant of me to have zero interest in learning about halal. Maybe I just want to make pancakes and cheeseburgers and milkshakes! That’s fine. It’s my life, my diner, my choice as to what to spend time. Other people should respect and tolerate that.

Misinterpreting Trump

Lots of people attacking Trump are willfully misinterpreting stuff he says because they are political hacks.

However, I think there is some amount misinterpretation that is genuine, and can be explained by a similar sort of phenomenon I’ve seen on Fallible Ideas List. Essentially, the mistake involves applying one’s conventional ideas about the non-literal meaning of statements in a context and to a person where those conventional ideas are inappropriate.

Let’s consider a recent example of something Trump said regarding NATO:

SANGER: But I guess the question is, If we can’t, do you think that your presidency, let’s assume for a moment that they contribute what they are contributing today, or what they have contributed historically, your presidency would be one of pulling back and saying, “You know, we’re not going to invest in these alliances with NATO, we are not going to invest as much as we have in Asia since the end of the Korean War because we can’t afford it and it’s really not in our interest to do so.”

TRUMP: If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries, and in many cases the countries I’m talking about are extremely rich. Then if we cannot make a deal, which I believe we will be able to, and which I would prefer being able to, but if we cannot make a deal, I would like you to say, I would prefer being able to, some people, the one thing they took out of your last story, you know, some people, the fools and the haters, they said, “Oh, Trump doesn’t want to protect you.” I would prefer that we be able to continue, but if we are not going to be reasonably reimbursed for the tremendous cost of protecting these massive nations with tremendous wealth — you have the tape going on?

SANGER: We do.

HABERMAN: We both do.

TRUMP: With massive wealth. Massive wealth. We’re talking about countries that are doing very well. Then yes, I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, “Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.”

SANGER: That suggests that our forward deployments around the world are based on their interests — they’re not really based on our interests. And yet I think many in your party would say that the reason that we have troops in Europe, the reason that we keep 60,000 troops in Asia, is that it’s in our interest to keep open trading lines, it’s in our interest to keep the North Koreans in check, you do that much better out away from the United States.

TRUMP: I think it’s a mutual interest, but we’re being reimbursed like it’s only in our interest. I think it’s a mutual interest. …

Some people are reading this to mean something like, Trump will immediately stop defending countries that aren’t pulling their weight in NATO, or something similar.

I think that’s a really unfair reading of what he actually says. Now, I could go into why, and also go into background context about Trump’s PUBLISHED strategy of being willing to walk away from the table in order to get a better deal, but that’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is to talk about why various people might mishear/misinterpret/misunderstand Trump’s statement. Trump’s statement is it is not what a normal POTUS candidate would say. Any candidate from like the past 60 years or so would never say of a member of NATO (even with a bunch of qualifiers and talk about hoping we make a deal) that they might hear “Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.” This is very blunt, and direct, and concretely describes a consequence in a specific circumstance. These are things many people find frightening!

The conventional political world is filled with excessive politeness, lies, doublespeak, evasion, understatement, etc. In the conventional political context as defined by conventional politicians and diplomats and those kinda people, Trump’s statement almost amounts to an announced intention to start cutting people out of the NATO right away if he thinks they aren’t pulling their weight. Since if a conventional politician said that kinda thing, that’s what it would mean. And political reporters are part of this world too (since these are the people they cover) and so that’s how they interpret the Trump stuff as well.

I think if a lot of regularly people heard this exchange though, they’d think “Well, it sounds like he really wants to make a deal and just wants other people to pull their own weight. What’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t they be pulling their weight?”

The lying/evasion/doublespeak culture of the political ELITES actually prevents them from hearing the simple meaning of Trump’s stuff. They interpret it according to what it would mean if one of *them* said it. But that leads to big mistakes.

The thing I was reminded of on Fallible Ideas List was the phenomenon of various people (in particular Elliot) just making blunt, honest statements with no intent of malice and no anger, and people interpreting those statements as malicious and angry. Because in conventional social interaction world, if someone made a similar kinda statement, that’s what it would mean.

People bring their conventional social stuff to Fallible Ideas List and get all confused. And people bring their conventional politician stuff to Trump and likewise get confused.

Amusement at Incompetence and Confusion

Comments on the article here:

It’s been a rough week in the news. And it’s been a rough week in comment sections … and Facebook posts … and Twitter.

If you, like us, could use a bit of Internet delight right now, consider this:

Politeness memes are silly. At best they add unnecessary delay to stating an idea. (I wonder how many days over the course of a lifetime are spent on politeness BS.)

At worst, if you don’t get them correct, people can actually get upset and refuse to interact with you over them. Which is maybe why Nan is careful to even put them in her google searches JUST IN CASE. sad story :(

Also they are forced on children without explanation.

That’s a tweet by 25-year-old Ben Eckersley, who lives near Manchester, England. He was visiting his grandmother’s place to do laundry — he and his boyfriend don’t have a dryer, he told the BBC.

Then he happened to notice this eminently charming search, and decided to share it with the world.

“I asked my nan why she used ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and it seemed she thinks that there is someone — a physical person — at Google’s headquarters who looks after the searches,” he told the BBC.

“She thought that by being polite and using her manners, the search would be quicker.”

Now this explanation is deficient for several reasons.

But first, I could see this sort of thing making sense to say a very young child who doesn’t know much about the world.

But how do you get to old age and have this kinda stuff make sense?

Also, Nan apparently knows enough to USE GOOGLE, albeit not super effectively. But still, that beats not being able to use google at all by quite a lot.

So she could try and refute this theory of hers, if she cared to. She could find out, for instance, that …

1) approximately 40,000 searches per second occur on google.
2) google has only 57,100 full time employees

These numbers don’t bode well for what we might call the “telephone switchboard operator theory of Google searches.”

Also does she think the searches are CONSTRUCTED in real time by a person? Or that there’s some huge archive of every possible search that individual humans somehow access and provide?

Doesn’t she notice how fast Google is already? How much does she think politeness helps?

Has she tried comparing the speediness of polite and non-polite searches?

If Google worked at all like she imagined, wouldn’t you expect Google to have very fast, standard response times required of its Google operators?

I worked in a McDonald’s for a while and we had to hit certain minimum speeds for making burgers etc. They tracked the speed. I would imagine Google would do the same if it worked at all like how Nan thought it did…so there wouldn’t be much room for the Google operators to treat stuff preferentially based on stuff like liking politeness.

It might not have helped speed up the servers, but it certainly warmed many an Internet-hardened heart.

The grandma in question — May Ashworth, who was born in 1930 — spoke to the CBCafter her grandson’s tweet went viral.

She said she’s not very computer-savvy; she uses Google only a few times a week.

“I thought, well somebody’s put it in, so you’re thanking them,” she told the radio network.

Very vague what “somebody’s put it in” means…

“I don’t know how it works to be honest. It’s all a mystery to me.”

No surprise here.

Google UK and the main Google account have both responded on Twitter — politely, of course.

Gross pandering.

Meanwhile, how did Ben and his grandmother celebrate her new Internet celebrity?

“We’ve gone really British and she just made me a cup of tea,” Eckersley told the CBC.

People’s amusement at incompetence and confusion seems disgusting to me. What do people like about it?

Myth About American History

I’ve heard for a long time that Americans were split about equally into three factions in their attitude towards the American “Revolution”: about a third favored it, about a third were against it, and about a third were ambivalent.

I was looking for a cite for this when I came across articles, including this one:

I quote a bit below:

When any citation is offered for this “well known” estimate, it is to a letter which Adams wrote to James Lloyd, dated January, 1813.[3] A close examination of that letter should convince an intelligent reader that John Adams never said any such thing! It is clear that Adams, in point of fact, was writing about American opinion of the French Revolution and the subsequent struggle between England and France which had a considerable impact on the United States in the 1790’s during the period of his presidency from 1797 to 1801. Without taking the space to quote the entire letter, which runs over two printed pages, or discussing all of the specific points of evidence to sustain that view, the data to destroy the misreading can be provided simply by examining a part of one sentence. After mentioning a third “averse” to the Revolution, and a third “enthusiastic,” Adams observed: “The middle third, composed principally of the yeomanry, the soundest part of the nation, and always averse to war, were rather lukewarm both to England and France….” If it was the American Revolution toward which this “lukewarm” group was neutral, does it make any sense at all that a staunch patriot such as Adams would have praised it as “the soundest part of the nation”? Of course not! He did so because that group shared his own view toward the struggle between France and England.

(Note the point above also appears on various “Did you know???” type myth-busting articles on the internet. That’s how I originally started on this research trail. This appears to be the more thoroughly argued/original paper on the issue though)

It actually does make perfect sense to me that Adams could describe the “soundest part of the nation” as “lukewarm” to the Revolution.

He could think something along the lines of “These are good solid folks who don’t like war because they just want to be left alone to tend their farms and raise their families.” Just cuz he disagreed with their views on the war doesn’t mean he’s going to trash them or change his overall opinion about them.

As a general methodological crit I don’t think it’s very wise to present sentence fragments written two centuries ago as having self-evident meanings on a controversial point.

So I’m not going to do that! I found the whole letter and on the internet there’s no space constraints. I’ll comment on what I think each passage is saying. I didn’t do the entire letter — I cut out some intro fluff and only went up to the point in dispute. If you want fuller context though you can go here:

Note that numbers in [brackets] are dead-tree version page numbers

TO JAMES LLOYD.↩

There is not, Sir, in your masterly letter a more correct or important observation than that of “the unhappy ignorance which exists among the members of this great family, but resident in different sections of it, with regard to the objects and qualities of each other. This ignorance, the offspring of narrow prejudice and illiberality, is now presenting brimful the chalice of envy and hatred, where it should offer nothing but the cup of conciliation and confidence. It sprang from the little intercourse and less knowledge which the people of the then British Provinces possessed of each other antecedently to the American revolution, and instead of being dissipated by an event so honorable [110] to them all, has been cherished and perpetuated for political party purposes, and for the promotion of the sinister views and ambitious projects of a few restless and unprincipled individuals, until the present period.”

I think this is talking about some sort of simmering political/cultural tensions between the USA and UK which are still unresolved. And basically, that these are due to ignorance, and instead of getting better after the Revolution they’ve continued because of the actions of sinister political types who gain from them somehow.

Of this ignorance, when I went to Congress in 1774, I can assure you, Sir, I had a most painful consciousness in my own bosom. There I had the disappointment to find, that almost every gentleman in that assembly was, in this kind of information, nearly as ignorant as myself; and what was a more cruel mortification than all the rest, the greatest part even of the most intelligent, full of prejudices and jealousies, which I had never before even suspected.

Adams saying that he and 1774 Congress were super ignorant.

Between 1774 and 1797, an interval of twenty-three years, this ignorance was in some measure removed from some minds. But some had retired in disgust, some had gone into the army, some had been turned out for timidity, some had deserted to the enemy, and all the old, steadfast patriots, weary of the service, always irksome in Congress, had retired to their families and States, to be made governors, judges, marshals, collectors, &c., &c. So that in 1797, there was not an individual in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, or in either of the executive departments of government, who had been in the national controversy from the beginning.

Adams saying that the 1774 Congress guys got less ignorant over time, but there was big turnover, so by 1797 Congress and the Executive were all ignorant newb statesmen again. (Side note: this letter was literally written in the middle of the War of 1812 with the U.K. so that may be some relevant background here — like explaining how relations came to become bad with UK again).

Mr. Jefferson himself, the Vice-President, the oldest in service of them all, was but a young and a new man in comparison with the earliest conductors of the cause of the country, the real founders and legitimate fathers of the American republic.

Even Jefferson, who was like an elder statesman in 1797, was young newb compared to “real founders” of America.

The most of them had been but a very few years in public business, and a large proportion of these were of a party which had been opposed to the revolution, at least in the beginning of it.

So I think this is referring to the newb 1797 statesmen. Adams is saying they’re newbs, and a lot of them were opposed to the Revolution.

If he’s talking about the French Revolution, this seems like a big topic change.

If I were called to calculate the divisions among the people of America, as Mr. Burke did those of the people of England,

(Any Burke experts reading this, please provide insight here as to what this is referring to)

I should say that full one third were averse to the revolution.

Given the preceding context, (but in light of not knowing what the Burke reference is about), I have two thoughts:

1. This appears to be about the American Revolution, not the French Revolution. Adams had just been talking about 1797 Congressnewbs and how a bunch of them (or their party, at least), who had replaced the “real founders” of America, had opposed the Revolution.

2. I think the most natural reading is that he is talking about the people’s sentiment towards the Revolution at the time it happened, and not in 1797. Cuz he was just talking about the 1797 newb statesman’s (or their party’s) attitudes towards the revolution “at least at the beginning of it.”

These, retaining that overweening fondness, in which they had been educated, for the English, could not cordially like the French;

Note that part of the context of the American revolution was that, from a pretty early point, we were getting help from the French. So this could explain the issue of framing stuff in terms of liking England vs France. And in particular in terms of the anti-Revolution side being pro-English and the pro-Revolution side being pro-French.

indeed, they most heartily detested them. An opposite third conceived a hatred of the English, and gave themselves up to an enthusiastic gratitude

Gratitude sounds like something you give someone who helps you. Not something you give to somebody who is doing something you approve of. Of course, the connotations of the word could have changed over time.

to France. The middle third, composed principally of the yeomanry, the soundest part of the nation, and always averse to war, were rather lukewarm both to England and France;

See my comments above and also note Adams’ framing … on the one hand, you have some people detesting the French. On the other hand, you have some people hating the English. And then you have the calm yeoman farmer guys, averse to war and not really hating either side.

and sometimes stragglers [111] from them, and sometimes the whole body, united with the first or the last third, according to circumstances.

I have trouble interpreting this last bit. It could be about attitudes shifting during the war of independence but could be about stuff over time.

The depredations of France upon our commerce, and her insolence to our ambassadors,

The ambassadors thing could be reference to XYZ Affair, which happened in 1797. So what he’s talking about seems later in time now.

and even to the government, united, though for a short time, with infinite reluctance, the second third with the first,

So this I read as him saying that the factions he describes shift over time. Since he described the anti-revolution, pro-English faction first, and the pro-Revolution, anti-English faction second, he’s saying that France acted so badly that they managed to get these two sides together for a bit, politically.

and produced that burst of applause to the administration, in which you concurred, though it gave much offence to Mr. Randolph.

Overall I think Adams was talking about the attitudes to the American revolution, but the letter seemed significantly more ambiguous than I’d have expected given the treatment of the topic from both the “HISTORICAL FACT: Adams said opinion on American revolution was split 33-33-33” side, as well as the “HISTORICAL MYTH DEBUNKED” side.
But even IF Adams was talking about American attitudes to the American revolution, his like vague general impressions of people’s opinion is pretty poor evidence for making any kind of generalizations of what people thought of the revolution at the time.

Apple vs. FBI

Apple recently wrote a public letter explaining its refusal to comply with a government request to create a special version of the iPhone’s operating system designed to circumvent phone security. The government wants this tool in order to get around the security of a phone seized from one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

Robert Spencer, who is very knowledgeable about Islamic terrorist issues, comments, quotes a bit of Apple’s letter and comments:

Point taken. So create the technology, get the contents of this criminal murderer’s phone, give it to the FBI, and destroy the technology.

I think this is mistaken.

Is Apple going to have to recreate the software tool the next time the government asks? Or refuse that time?

How do we judge what’s good enough to warrant such a one-time special exception, imposing the obligation to create potentially dangerous tools on private companies, and why does this qualify?

Claiming this will be a one-off thing isn’t realistic when we are dealing with a big public company and government requests. Whatever they might claim in their legal briefs or PR statements, the government isn’t really asking for a one time special favor. “Okay but just this once” is not the actual impact here if Apple backs down in this case.  If you believe that, I’d like you to consider the purchase of a lovely bridge I’ve recently acquired.

What this situation illustrates is the desperate need for an immigration policy that doesn’t create situations where we try and dragoon companies into doing stuff that is harmful to their customers.

A President for All Americans

Pundits often ask about how a President will be a “President for all Americans.” They mean something like: “Given that you have strong views on things, how will you be President for everyone when people have strong views that disagree with yours?” And a politician’s typical response to this might be something about how all Americans want more opportunity, better jobs, a strong military, etc., and just disagree some on means.

Both the question and the typical response to it are bad.

People have different ideas about what policies the government should enact. Democracy is about providing a peaceful means for people to get their competing ideas enacted. Since people disagree, one political side winning and the other side losing means that some people won’t have their preferences enacted (at least not right away). This is because the differing sides have different worldviews and different explanations of the right policy regarding some particular issue, and so their policy solutions clash in ways that cannot be resolved.

What’s a “President for all Americans” look like on immigration, given that some Americans want open borders and some want a wall?

What’s a “President for all Americans” look like on economic issues, given that some Americans want socialism and some are Objectivists?

What’s a “President for all Americans’ look like on self-defense rights, given that some people think you should be able to carry guns openly in public places, and others want to ban guns?

You get the idea.

Americans don’t all want the same things while disagreeing about means. Some might claim we all want to find ways to increase government revenue while lowering taxes. Who could be opposed? But Obama was famously unmoved by “raising taxes will lower revenue” arguments regarding raising the capital gains tax because of his moral views on what’s fair.

A “President for all Americans” doesn’t make much sense as a concept, nor is it laudable as a goal. Trying to be a President to all Americans would mean trying to reconcile that which can’t be reconciled. A President should try to strongly enact the ideas that he told voters he believes in (which is, presumably, what they voted him into office to do). And if some voters decide his ideas are wrong, there’s always the next election.

 

Paul Krugman Is Terrible

Paul Krugman is a big prestigious NYTimes columnist with a Nobel Prize. He also has some fascinating quotes:

This is what can pass for a serious public intellectual these days. At least if you have the right politics.

“Who Should Rule?” and the Administrative State

Alan wrote a post over at his blog discussing the EU from a Popperian perspective (read his whole post, especially if you don’t know what a Popperian perspective on “Who Should Rule?” questions means):

The short version of how the EU works runs as follows. The heads of EU states form the European Council. The European council picks a group of politicians called the European commission who are responsible for originating and writing EU regulations and that sort of thing. The European parliament is an elected body who can vote up or down legislation written by the European commission, or amend it, but are not allowed to originate legislation. So the people who are legally supposed to originate and write all the laws can’t be voted out of office by the public. The people who are subject to being removed by the public always have the excuse that they aren’t allowed to originate laws, so they can’t deliver any specific policy.
By contrast, an MP in the British parliament can originate, amend or revoke laws and can be voted out for failing to deliver on policy promises.
The competition for which set of institutions is better isn’t even close.

This sounds really dumb. It also got me thinking about the administrative state in the United States, which has similar accountability problems to the EU and is basically a big rights-violating scam.

There’s a bunch of agencies under the Executive Branch, the administrative agencies, which do a lot of the actual law-writing (in the form of issuing regulations).

How the scam works is: Congress writes a law which empowers some agency to do something. But the law is pretty vague, and leaves a lot of the implementation details up to the agency.

So then an agency issues some regulation pursuant to the law. Since the heads of the agencies are appointed by the President and since the agencies are in the Executive Branch, the President gets to exert a lot of control over the general shape of how the regulations come out.

So then some regulation comes out. Say it’s a terrible regulation. Tons of people are mad. But Congress shrugs and says “Hey man we just wrote the Making America Healthier and Happier Act, we had no idea HHS would take that act and hire a bunch of people to force-feed Americans their broccoli!!”

And some Congressmen maybe try and change the law to stop the agency from doing the bad regulation, but changing laws is actually quite hard. And maybe they try and do something else to deal with the regulation (using control over funding, using some kinda congressional veto they made up, whatever) but those efforts fail because politics. And maybe some people try and sue and maybe they win cases or maybe we’re stuck with a bad regulation until we GET A NEW PRESIDENT. Or maybe we’re stuck with it FOREVER.

One example of this is the Waters of the United States rule, a recent rule which greatly expands the EPA’s regulatory powers over private land by changing the definition of “waters of the U.S.” The EPA’s authority here comes from the Clean Water Act (who can oppose clean water right??) The EPA has been strongly opposed on this by Congress. But what has it come to? Well, some people in Congress tried to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the rule, but Obama vetoed them and they didn’t have enough votes to override his veto.

That’s not what the procedure should be like. It shouldn’t be the same procedure to overturn a bad regulation as it is to enact an entire law in the first place. The current system makes it way way too hard for there to be any accountability.

Ideally, Congress should be able to overturn any regulation of any administrative agency that it doesn’t like with a simple majority vote that the President can’t veto. And if there’s a Constitutional issue with that, we should amend the Constitution to fix it. That’d be a pretty big change, but we need some big change in order to get the out-of-control administrative state under control and fix the system.

The current system of hoping you get a favorable President to fix a bad regulation rom the EPA is ridiculous. Presidents are elected only every four years and have a lot on their plate. Fixing some dumb regulations isn’t going to be a huge priority for most of them. Ted Cruz, to his great credit, has talked repeatedly about the Waters of the United States rule and his intent to repeal it. But there needs to be some delegation of these issues to people like Congressmen who can be held accountable. Otherwise, we might as well be Europeans!

Daniel Pipes vs. Trump

Daniel Pipes writes on Twitter:

But see this article:

 

After Hamid and three others, all wearing stars reminiscent of those worn by Jews during the Holocaust, were escorted out by police and Trump campaign officials, Trump commented on the disturbance.

Hamid joined a group of people — some friends, others strangers — who wanted to silently protest Trump’s proposals, which are viewed by some as anti-Muslim.

Several of those other people attended Trump’s rally in Aiken, South Carolina, last month, including Jibril Hough.

Unlike Hamid, Hough did not stay silent, shouting “Islam is not the problem” as Trump spoke about radical Islamic extemism.

So it sounds like: after one guy in a group wearing these yellow stars (with “Muslim” written on them instead of “Jude”) had caused a ruckus, all the star-wearers got escorted out?

Given the common tactic of having multiple hecklers do sequential interruptions— where one person causes a ruckus, then another, then another, then another, in order to cause maximum disruption and wasted time for the attendees of private events  — is it unreasonable to eject the heckler and their accomplices en masse when they’ve conveniently labeled themselves? I don’t think so.

There’s also the issue of the grotesque and anti-Semitic yellow stars. There’s  no equivalence at all between the way Muslims are treated in the United States, or the way they are proposed to be treated by Trump, and the way Jews were treated in the Third Reich. To say there is involves a massive denial of reality. It minimizes the actual Holocaust by faking the reality of what Jews experienced. Holocaust denialism is anti-Semitic. It’s slightly trickier to see here, perhaps, because the hecklers weren’t actually denying the Holocaust outright. Instead, they were super whitewashing it, while also partially relying on its accepted badness for the strength of their message. But when you whitewash the Holocaust to the extent these guys did, that starts to come pretty close to outright denial.

Also, rather than damaging anti-Islamist efforts, I think Trump is helping them. For years the left has gotten away with weaponizing designated victim groups in order to advance their agenda. Trump is basically immune to that tactic. People look at his unfazed response to stuff like this and feel less emotionally blackmailed themselves. It’s a good thing.

So why is Pipes, who knows a lot about the problem of Islamism, trashing Trump and buying into/amplifying the media narrative? He should be more careful about sanctioning that kind of stuff. It’s way more harmful to the cause of fighting Islamism than anything Trump’s accused of doing.

Update:

Breitbart points out that Hamid is an anti-Israel activist who says things like:

On September 3, 2014, she commented on the Jewish state: “Israel does not want peace, they want land and they want to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from that land they have lived on for generations.”

So basically she’s a monstrous anti-Semite playing the part of a poor innocent Muslim victimized by the nascent Trump-reich. Utterly predictable outcome.

Marriage/Social Conformity Propaganda at FrontPageMag

The site http://www.frontpagemag.com mostly does political commentary. I like them quite a lot and read them regularly. But they had a cultural/social commentary type thing recently which i thought was quite bad and wanted to comment on.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/261286/im-not-ready-get-married-dennis-prager

‘I’M NOT READY TO GET MARRIED’
Love and Marriage: Putting the Horse before the Carriage.
December 30, 2015 Dennis Prager

Part I in a series of widely held beliefs that are either untrue or meaningless:

In every age, people say and believe things that aren’t true but somehow become accepted as “conventional wisdom.”

Note btw, he’s posing as a challenger of conventional wisdom up front, but his basic message in his article is: get married young. Don’t wait. Just do it and it will probably work out fine. Ladies, if you don’t marry young, no good men will want you. Gents, grow up, and stop being so self-involved.

Lots of people agree with large parts of this. Even the people he’s criticizing, which seems to include people getting married in their early 30s, are typically just haggling a bit over specific timelines while accepting basic conventional premises regarding marriage, romance, etc. Even lots of self-described feminists worry about things like becoming undesirable as they age, etc.

The statement “I’m not ready to get married” is a current example. Said by more and more Americans between the ages of 21 and 40 (and some who are older than that), it usually qualifies as both meaningless

The statement conveys a meaning. It may not do so very precisely, but there’s meaning behind it.

Often I think the meaning is something like: I feel some pressure to get married but don’t wanna rush into it, want to wait for the right person.

and untrue. And it is one reason a smaller percentage of Americans are marrying than ever before.

So, here’s a truth that young Americans need to hear:

Most people become “ready to get married” when they get married. Throughout history most people got married at a much younger age than people today. They were hardly “ready.” They got married because society and/or their religion expected them to. And then, once married, people tended to rise to the occasion.

So Prager says that people used to make lifelong commitments to live with/have children with/share resources with someone at very young ages due to social pressure from one’s coreligionists or society at large. His attitude is basically that this was fine and produced overall good results as “people tended to rise to the occasion.”

Except stuff like generally unhappy marriages, feeling trapped in a role, or like you’ve “wasted your life”, or cheating, or financial hardship due to divorce, or even stuff like domestic violence, are well known problems that come up with marriage (and some of these come up in other long term relationships too). These issues weren’t invented by lefties as a false narrative. Lots of them have been issues for long time.

Some have become more of an issue recently due to stuff like: people are wealthier, and not so grindingly poor that they don’t have the time or energy to worry about wanting more out of life. Or, laws liberalized in the direction of more freedom, including allowing divorce. Or, being unmarried past a certain age, or divorced, does not make one a social pariah anymore. So in other words, not stuff we’d want to roll back…

I suspect what’s behind this “people tended to rise to the occasion” stuff is incredibly low standards.

The same holds true for becoming a parent. Very few people are “ready” to become a parent. They become ready … once they become a parent.

This is really dumb.

Parents would benefit ENORMOUSLY from preparing and thinking carefully about whether they want a kid, and engaging with good ideas on parenting like TCS. Most don’t think about it, just have kids, and then do a very bad job of it.

So yeah this guy has low standards.

In fact, the same holds true for any difficult job. What new lawyer was “ready” to take on his or her first clients?

I think the idea is that they will be prepared after the four years of undergraduate education, three years of law school, mandatory bar examination covering both state and federal law, mandatory ethics examination, and (rather intrusive) character and fitness assessment required of new lawyers in most states.

I don’t think we’ve got a great system for lawyers at all, but like, this guy should maybe pick his examples better if he wants to make out a case for the virtues of “just doing stuff” without being prepared. Judging by the way our social institutions are structured, it seems that quite a lot of people think lawyers need quite a lot of preparation. But he’s appealing to his lawyer example like it will be super obvious for any reader.

The only worse example he could have picked for his case that I can think of off the top of my head is doctors….

What new teacher, policeman, firefighter is “ready?”

Again, there’s various certifications/examinations/etc for these professions as well…

You get ready to do something by doing it.

Lots of people try “JUST DO IT” and fail.

Going back to lawyers example, lots of people say “I’M GONNA GO SOLO!” (i.e. set up their own one person law firm) by getting pumped up over a solo success story they read, and then they fail…

And people tend to be much *less* irrational about how they run their business than about stuff like romance.

In addition, at least two bad things happen the longer you wait to get “ready” to be married.

One is that, if you are a woman, the number of quality single men declines. Among deniers of unpleasant realities — people known as progressives, leftists, and feminists — this truth is denied and labelled “sexist.” But, as Susan Patton, a Princeton graduate, wrote in an article titled “Advice for the young women of Princeton,” published in Princeton’s student newspaper: “Find a husband on campus before you graduate. … From a sheer numbers perspective, the odds will never be as good to be surrounded by all of these extraordinary men.”

Now, I think if you have conventional goals and are on conventional life track, this is true.

But why be on that track? WHERE IS ARG?

And if someone’s doing something like a deviation from life track by not getting married, why try to push them back on that track? Maybe take the hint they want something a bit different than life, and stop being pushy towards people trying to live their own lives?

The other bad thing that happens when people wait until they are “ready” to get married is that they often end up waiting longer and longer. After a certain point, being single becomes the norm and the thought of marrying becomes less, not more, appealing. So over time you can actually become less “ready” to get married.

So basically here he’s saying, if you wait, you might realize marriage isn’t so great or important. SO BETTER GET LOCKED IN NOW!!

And one more thing: If you’re 25 and not ready to commit to another person, in most cases — even if you are a kind person, and a responsible worker or serious student — “I’m not ready to get married” means “I’m not ready to stop being preoccupied with myself,” or to put it as directly as possible, “I’m not ready to grow up.” (No job on earth makes you grow up like getting married does.)

If you get married, you can more fully adopt the grown-up social role, and condescend with authority at younger people with different ideas about life!

People didn’t marry in the past only because they fell in love.

Right, as he said earlier, people married cuz of social or religious pressure. Which he thinks is good…

And people can fall in love and not marry — as happens frequently today. People married because it was a primary societal value. People understood that it was better for society and for the vast majority of its members that as many individuals as possible commit to someone and take care of that person. Among other things, when people stop taking care of one another, the state usually ends up doing so. Just compare the percentage of single people receiving welfare versus the percentage of married people.

What does he mean by “take care”?

He mentions welfare. So like, financial help in tough times?

I don’t really see the argument here. Like, I guess if one spouse loses their job, another working spouse could take care of the bills for a while (does Prager approve of two-income households btw?)

But there could be a variety of ways of solving this issue that don’t involve the state or marriage. Like private charity, or help from family members, or real (private) unemployment or other kinda hardship insurance, or a cultural shift towards people being more thrifty and thus being able to weather unexpected stuff better, etc.

I don’t really see the necessity of having this sort of financial arrangement be packaged in the form of a purportedly lifelong cohabitation/sexual/coparenting relationship with big problems and potential MASSIVE financial liability if the arrangement fails.

Notice by the way the structure of the argument here. He mentions this argument after “[a]mong other things.” So if he gets rekt on this argument, he can say “oh that was only a tiny incidental thing which came to mind in addition to all the big obvious stuff.” He’s pretending he’s appealing to some big body of well-known and well-understood args, but really what is being appealed to is the social authority/approval of his position, which he is masking as an appeal to some unspecified rational arguments.

If you know that tons of people are rejecting marriage, and you think this is a problem, and you want to persuade them with REASON about why it’s good to take care of other people, you don’t hide your arguments under a bushel. But he does, cuz he’s not really very interested in reason. He’s not making THE CASE for marriage to skeptics. He’s trying to pressure/bully them, and topping this pressure off with some incidental attempts at argument.

Also, what about individual responsibility? People taking care of themselves?

Nor is the argument that the older people are when they marry, the less likely they are to divorce. This only applies in any significant way to those who marry as teenagers versus those who marry later. Moreover, the latest data are that those who marry in their early 30s are more likely to divorce than those who marry on their late 20s.

I totally buy that people who marry as teens are more likely to have buyers’ remorse and people who marry in their 30s are more likely to be extra picky.

And then there is the economic argument. Many single men, for example, say they are not ready to get married because they don’t have the income they would like to have prior to getting married. As responsible as this may sound, however, this is not a particularly rational argument. Why is marrying while at a low income a bad idea?

I bet some of this is low-income bros rationalizing their inability to find the mates they want, honestly…

In fact, marriage may be the best way to increase one’s income. Men’s income rises after marriage.

Citation needed, at least if he’s trying to link these causally… (like, the likelihood of getting married and of having more job experience/skill both go up with age…)

They have less time to waste,

?

and someone to help support — two spurs to hard work and ambition,

Heh I guess he doesn’t approve of two income marriage…

Also lots of guys don’t feel this “spur” is a very positive/nice thing…and can be resentful of their stay-at-home wife.

not to mention that most employers prefer men who are married.

So this means “it’s easier to navigate common employment-related social situations when married, and this can lead to higher income”?

And can’t two people live on less money than each would need if they lived on their own, paying for two apartments?

Yeah, though roommates can have big drawbacks too … wait this is an argument for marriage? <_<

In addition to economic benefits, the vast majority of human beings do better when they have someone to come home to, someone to care for, and someone to care for them. And, no matter how much feminists and other progressives deny it, children do best when raised by a married couple.

Lots of single parents have bad values and are thus on stuff like welfare cuz they can’t support themselves. I think the bad values are big driver here in whatever bad outcomes he’s thinking of.

Also you can have parental helpers without marriage.

There are, most certainly, superb single parents. But every superb single parent I have ever spoken to wishes they had had a spouse with whom to raise their children.

I not really impressed with his anecdata.

Throughout history, and in every society, people married not when they were “ready” to marry, but when they reached marriageable age and were expected to assume adult responsibilities.

Finally, this statement reflects another negative trend in society — that of people being guided by feelings rather than by standards or obligations.
We live in an Age of Feelings. Aside from the rational and moral problems that derive from being guided by feelings rather than by reason and values, there is one other problem. In life, behavior shapes feelings. Act happy, you’ll feel happy. Act single, you’ll feel single. Act married, you’ll feel married.

If you don’t have some plan to avoid the common, KNOWN pitfalls of some project, and just DO IT, you are acting irresponsibly and giving into cultural pressure. You’re hurting yourself, will hurt people engaged in the project with you, and in the context of marriage, will likely hurt children.

Do it, in other words. Then you’ll be “ready.”

In summary: submit. Conform. Give in.

In a recent post I wrote (replying to an Anon, who is quoted with two quote levels here, me one)

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/fallible-ideas/conversations/messages/13796

Can early crit potentially derail the process a bit?  Especially compared to a situation where a person has gotten the idea to a place where it WAS worked out with sufficient thoroughness and detail.  Are early ideas fragile in this way?

Well, consider if someone was gonna work on the idea of figuring out induction or arguing for marriage. Even if there were something there to figure out (so let’s assume it’s not totally a bad problem for the sake of argument), wouldn’t it be hugely beneficial to them to know FI crits on these issues in order to be able to address them, instead of spending a bunch of time thinking about and writing up already-refuted args?

This Prager guy does a bad job of addressing even pretty conventional concerns. Like someone in the FPM article comments points out the huge financial risks involved in marriage, which he doesn’t address. Forget about addressing the relevant stuff at http://fallibleideas.com/

I don’t think his efforts to work out his ideas with sufficient thoroughness and detail have yielded much fruit. And he puts effort into it. He’s like a noted author, columnist, speaker. What’s the issue, then? Well, I think he’s probably not very interested in getting crit on his stuff. He wants to lecture others with his wisdom and grown-up role, not improve his own ideas.