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?