• 9 Posts
Joined 1Y ago
Cake day: May 15, 2022


push back on the ‘woke mob

Exactly. I’m pushing back at people who derail conversations with their performative pedantry. They aren’t helping anything – they aren’t promoting social justice. They’re just preventing meaningful conversations and making it harder for society to function. I chose this topic because it’s one of the older and widespread ‘woke’ objections and I’ve encountered it in many contexts (not just online).

More generally, there is left-wing/globalist attitude that having a perspective is illegitimate (speaking about the experience of people in a specific location and time and culture). As if real objectivity were possible. I’m saying this as a left-wing globalist.

"Columbus discovered America" is an accurate statement
It's become fashionable to object whenever someone says "Columbus discovered the Americas", pointing out that other people discovered in the Americas long before him. This objection is just semantic quibbling, and rarely even addresses the real problem with how Columbus' discovery is emphasized in history curricula. 1) To say that 'Columbus discovered the Americas' does not imply that he was the first person to do so. Everyone knows that people were present in the Americas before Columbus -- it is usually even included in the story of Columbus' voyage. The pedantic objection that 'others discovered the Americas first' does not actually clarify or improve anybody's understanding of history. 2) By simply stating that Columbus did NOT discover the Americas, these objections seek to obliterate the importance of what he did (both historically and as a nautical accomplishment). If they wanted to be accurate, they would say "Columbus discovered how to sail between Europe and the Americas". However, this performative pedantry is usually content to denigrate Columbus' achievement rather than seeking greater specificity about it's nature (as if that were needed). 3) The impulse to denigrate Columbus' achievement is generally intended to shift historical narratives away from Eurocentrism. However, simply dismissing Columbus' achievement does not accomplish that goal. It does not expose the evil intent of Columbus' journey, nor the evil acts he committed in the Americas -- let alone the horrible long term consequences for the people of the Americas. It also brings no attention to the accomplishments of the people who already lived in the Americas, who discovered America via a fundamentally different process. It doesn't even correct the historical record in favor of the Viking explorers -- the reason we hear so little about them is because they did not spread the news of their discovery in the same way that Columbus did (e.g. not because Columbus took credit for their work). Ultimately, it is totally acceptable to use a term like 'discovery' in a subjective sense -- a person can discover something for themselves only or for their own society. It's fine to have a perspective. Columbus discovered the Americas for Christian Europe. If we want to expand our own perspective to include all people, we need to do better than create fake semantic objections to Eurocentric narratives.

Thanks. It seems to have the same big-picture effect as congestion fees, though it may be easier to administer and more egalitarian (at the expense of flexibility).

so I comment with ancap-leaning assumptions.

Ok. I’m not sure where to go with that, society would be radically different which makes it difficult to discuss any specifics. But I still think this would be an issue – but maybe the issue would be neighborhoods forming HOAs to buy up local roads or something (if they didn’t already belong to HOAs). Or maybe the issue would be how we assess damages for pollution/noise/hazards caused by cars… I assume that would be different depending on whether we considered cars the default way of getting around vs. a luxury.

well idk I had in mind a quick vehicle for emergencies, independence from bus or train times or things out of your control, etc. Frequently these things “other people” are running are unreliable so then people give up on them. And versus a lower tech option (walking, bikes, scooters, etc.), cars can shield from storms or snow a bit.

Cars are useful, but the question is whether they are worth the cost when the user has to pay all of the costs.

I’m not proposing any sort of car ban or rationing law. I just think that we shouldn’t be using them for every little thing and we shouldn’t build our infrastructure around the assumption that cars are the way to get around. Imagine a situation where there is (typically) one car per household rather than one car per driver. When I was young and single, I lived in a mid-sized city and didn’t feel any need to own a car because I could walk/bike wherever I needed to go (granted, I was near parents and could borrow a car in a pinch, but there are also car-sharing organizations that can provide cars for occasional use).

it seems possible. either devs can factor in building their own parking without it being required, or if there’s enough demand some spot could be created as private parking lot, or shuttles could take people to destination.

My point is that insufficient parking has a negative impact on the usability of roads. If the road manager can’t assuring that there is enough parking, then the road manager needs to find a way to keep vehicles off the roads in the first place.

But the car drivers probably think they’re plenty livable already. So, perhaps I might ask for more precise definition of goal or what livability means.

By ‘livability’ I mean favoring the interests of the city residents, and that cities are able to increase housing supply as population increases. The current layout of cities (or the city center) is often built to favor the interests of people who don’t live in the cities (e.g. suburban commuters and absentee property owners).

I don’t think that drivers find cities ‘livable’ – I constantly hear drivers complaining about driving.

  • Gas is too expensive
  • Traffic is too heavy
  • Parking is too hard to find
  • We can’t allow more housing to be built because it would create more traffic.

That’s not to mention that half the reason people move out to the suburbs is to escape the noise/dirt and hazard that cars create in urban neighoborhoods (motor vehicle fatalities are usually the leading cause of death among people <20, though gun fatalities were more common in 2020).

Our reliance on cars is holding us back because people are unwilling to change their assumptions. We’re in a horrible prisoner’s dillemma where we just keep doubling down on the activities that make everyone else worse off.

Some publications:

Any plan can’t be cookie cutter. Every city is different, and decisions need to be made based on what locally works.

Of course. These programs would have to be implemented by local political units, so they will be customized.

Nice bike paths won’t be nearly as useful for daily use in Anchorage as they might be in LA. Most people won’t be ok with riding a little bicycle in -50C in pitch blackness as they go to get groceries for the week.

When writing this, I was mainly thinking of the USA east of the Rockies. Other cities have their own issues to consider, but many of them (e.g. San Francisco, LA) face similar problems.

Reducing individual transportation options could probably help contribute to a growing distance between the rich and the poor.

Cars are a major contributor to disparities between economic classes. They promote social segregation and are often a way that the poor are made to pay for the convenience of the rich (e.g. by allowing rich people to use their neighborhoods as a throughfare)

private cities could…

Transit is inherently a public matter managed by the government. Massive expressways are just as much ‘big government’ as public transit. There are no constitutional or principled reasons to make cars/trucks the preferred transportation option. However, these changes would require support from state, county, and city governments (depending on the political structure for the metropolitian area)

I’m kind of anti-car so maybe we could talk out some solutions. but they also have a lot of benefits and the cons (as mentioned in the post) haven’t been seen as outweighing the benefits for a lot of people.

The apparent benefits are in part due to subsidies and other externalization of costs. Ideally we could address those externalities individually, but as long as cars are considered the default mode of transit (for the middle class), there will be continued political support for these externalizations of cost. Furthermore, much of the externalization is directly due to infrastructure. For instance, many zoning laws require developers to add parking spaces to their projects – it is not possible to eliminate those requirements without simultaneously making other changes to reduce overall traffic; otherwise, you end up with more cars than parking spaces, resulting in cars driving around the city looking for parking spots and creating even more traffic.

maybe getting rid of zoning would allow more housing and shops and things to be built next to each other?

High density housing is often opposed on the grounds that it would produce too much car traffic. Even if the local community supports it, it often doesn’t work well if through-traffic makes the area unpleasant and inconvenient for pedestrians.

idk has anyone hashed out a decent “urban planning” guide? also keeping in mind remote workers so the city may be less needed for collaboration?

There’s definitely been a lot of work on this. I don’t know the publications off the top of my head though. I’ll post them here if I find some good ones – please do the same. Some of these proposals have been implemented in places like Berkeley (side roads closed to through-traffic) – other communities have achieved the same effect by making tons of dead-end road sections, but this also blocks pedestrians and bikes from passing through, so it’s a pretty dysfunctional (and elitist) way of controlling car traffic.

because ironically if the OP anti-car points are for environmental reasons, cities themselves are kind of anti-environment. so maybe getting rid of cities is the outside the box solution to cars being bad in cities?

This is about the livability of cities (or high-density areas), but one benefit of high-density areas is lower environmental impact. For a given population size, high-density city centers are much less environmentally damaging than suburban sprawl (the current alternative). I can imagine some layouts that may be better (e.g. high-density urban nodes [small towns] surrounding interstate exit points or train stations), but any environmental conservation program needs to find a way to minimize high-energy transit (e.g. cars) and minimize gratuitous conversion of land to pavement/lawns.

Urban areas should restrict car/truck access (USA)
Heavy usage of cars and trucks is detrimental to urban communities; we should implement policies that reduce car-based access to city centers and other densely populated areas. This is mainly focused on the USA. Some points: 1. Cars interfere with the movement of pedestrians and small vehicles (bikes, scooters), making dense urban areas less usable. 2. Cars require a lot of space, both for roads and parking. This competes with housing and green-spaces in cities, making urban areas less accessible and pleasant. 3. Cars are dangerous and dirty - especially when at high densities, such as in cities. To address this, a variety of changes may be instituted: 1. Traffic arteries (e.g. expressways going to the city center) should be slowed and narrowed as it approaches the city center, so that passenger cars/trucks do not use it. Instead, they should be reserved mainly for motorcycles, buses, single-point delivery trucks (e.g. stores or to transfer packages, not trucks that will drive to each residence), and vehicles required for the disabled. 2. A portion of city roads should be closed to most cars, either by making barriers that they cannot pass through, or resurfacing and shaping them to be pedestrian focused rather than car-focused. It is especially important that side roads do not allow access towards the city center (so that commuters don't just drive on side roads when main roads are over-capacity). 3. Space reclaimed from cars should be re-engineered for greenspace, trees, mass-transit (trolleys), and pedestrians. 4. Cities should stop subsidizing the construction of massive attractions (e.g. pro sports stadiums), or at least move them to more peripheral locations that are accessible from suburbs while assuring good mass transit from the city center. 5. For situations where individuals feel that cars are essential, congestion fees should be charged and hefty penalties should be levied on traffic violations within dense urban areas -- including prohibition on driving in those areas. 6. Suburban communities will be told that if they wish to enjoy the ammenities of the central city, they will have to support the expansion of mass-transit networks into the suburbs. We will no longer tolerate the double standard where they insist on having access to urban neighborhoods via cars but intentionally block carless urban residents from accessing their neighborhoods.

The arguments for men dominating top leagues is irrelevant for non-professional sport leagues such as local competitions, where sport is aimed at fun and social interaction, which should not needlessly encourage sex segregation.

Another possible compromise for ‘classed’ sports (weight, age, etc) is to adjust the cutoff criteria for women to even out the matches. The ‘top’ class may still be dominated by men, but I don’t see that as an issue (any more than the fact that heavyweight wrestling in high-school is dominated by big guys)

The market could offer genderless competiions, men would tend to dominate them.

I think this is an overgeneralization. Women have advantages in some respect (flexibility, perhaps balance, perhaps ultra-endurance) so men there can be sports where they are equal or better than men. Even within a sport, it should be possible to adjust the rules to minimize the advantage that men have (think of ‘ninja warrior’ obstacle course without the items that benefit from upper body strength).

Yes, it seems like the Fediverse would be a great backbone on which to implement his proposal – but I have not seen it implemented like he proposed.

in many ways, his proposal seems analogous to a group blog.

The biggest problem with his proposal is that there’s no description of how it helps Twitter – so why would Twitter do it? It also sounds like users without a group affiliation would not be able to participate at all, though maybe it could be set up where these groups get certain privileges – like you can only follow a group feed, and not individual feeds. Maybe these groups could also be a way for writers to sort their material my content – for instance, there are many tweeters who I follow for their science tweets, but find their political tweets to be tedious.

do you want the thesis written in the post (and not just linking to an article)? Lanier presents a serious thesis – it is a bit hand-wavey and not anything we have the ability to implement, but there is still plenty of material to discuss the pros/cons of.

Lanier proposes that Twitter (or analogous publishing platforms) should enable or require writers to form groups under which they public -- so that they share a reputation and have incentive to police the behavior of their members, analogous to some financial co-ops. This is an intriguing proposal, but it's unclear to me whether this discards some of the more attractive features of Twitter or how it helps Twitter the corporation. However, I do think that it identifies one of the big problems with Twitter (lack of structure, ease of trolling/harassment), which could contribute to its eventual downfall.

This article is from mid-2021, but addresses a timely issue given the prominence of "replacement theory" among much of the right. Joe Pinsker at the Atlantic writes: > The two main ways to help people have the babies they want are to give them time and give them money. A country can offer financial support in the form of cash and tax credits; it can also promote job flexibility by funding parental-leave and child-care programs, and providing job protections to parents who opt into part-time work. These strategies, demographers told me, address two core reasons why many people who want kids hesitate to have them: because they can’t afford to, and because they don’t want to compromise on their career. What's notable about Pinsker's framing of the issue is his focus on evidence and individual preference. Pinsker is primarily concerned that adults feel like they cannot afford to have as many kids as they prefer, rather than fretting about racial or cultural 'replacement' or geopolitical power. It's also notable that the solution he promotes is to provide straight-forward economic assistance to parents rather than attempting to shame or coerce women into having more kids as Fox's pundits or Republican politicians do. I found a few other interesting facts while browsing the web for information (I don't have all citations, but the [PRB is good](https://www.prb.org/resources/why-is-the-u-s-birth-rate-declining/)). * The US birthrate dropped below replacement levels after the 2008 recession, and took another hit from the pandemic during the 2020 but rebounded during 2021. * The low US birth-rate is not limited to white people (unlike what racial fear-mongers suggest) * Low birth rates are seen in many other countries, including Europe and the Caribbean, with some East Asian nations having the lowest birth rates. Some recent news also has me wondering about some specific factors that may be stopping people from having more kids, including * rising maternal mortality (which has [more than](https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/maternal-mortality/2020/maternal-mortality-rates-2020.htm) [doubled since 1980](https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-brief-report/2020/dec/maternal-mortality-united-states-primer), and is likely to get higher as states ban abortion) * The strong incentive to move around the country during young adulthood in order to advance one's career and achieve financial stability -- something that is harder with kids and separates would-be parents from potential family assistance. * The rising cost of housing -- in addition to health care and schooling. If we are concerned about the societal consequences of low birth rates (and I'm not sure that I am), then we, as a society should at least make concrete efforts to assure that everyone who wants kids is able to have them.... instead of letting politicians use this as another culture war issue to divide us.

Are you suggesting that the Jews are so powerful that it’s now super easy to conclude the elites are basically all Jews…? No, I’m saying that

  1. Socially, this theory justifies attacks on minorities regardless of who is supposedly pulling the strings
  2. Cognitively, the important issue is the conspiracy theory. Once people live in a fantasy world full of conspiracies, they can find an excuse to lash out at anyone they want to.

The growth of non-white/anglo populations is not ‘replacement’ of white populations. The white Anglo population is not shrinking or being driven out by the non-white non-Anglo population, which is what ‘replacement’ means. When I look at that chart, I see America growing by including new groups of people. At a global level, “mixing” is the best description of what’s going on. Plenty of people have moved from Europe to other countries.

salami immigrants try to encourage more salami immigrantion so that samalis can vote for them

This idea that people immigrate in order to get political power is silly. Voting is such an abstract concern - people are more concerned with security, jobs, and building up community institutions like grocery stores and places of worship. Political representation follows immigration - it’s just paranoid to think it drives immigration.

Shapiro’s definition has three parts – two of them are being promoted by the pundits Serwer quotes:

  1. white people are being replaced in white nations
  2. replacement is encouraged by an elite group as a way of expanding their control
  3. that elite group is Jews.

Shapiro and the rest are arguing for the first two positions. That’s 99% of the work – they’re promoting an paranoid conspiracy theory. It doesn’t really matter who they place at the core of the conspiracy – it’ll be whomever is convenient for them. Anyway, this appeals to anti-Semites just as much as an openly anti-Semitic narrative would: it’s easy enough to treat “Democrat” as code for “Jew”.

I do think immigration is on purpose. I think politicians use it to get votes.

The idea that politicians are promoting immigration to get votes from those future immigrants (as opposed to embodying the policy preference of existing voters and donors) is absurd. It takes 30+ years for a generation of immigrant to develop into a voting block big enough to influence elections. Democrat politicians are short-sighted careerists.

The idea of “white people being replaced” is far from obvious. Immigration is not causing the population of white people to drop. Anyway, the idea of ‘white nations’ is racist. I assume you just used clumsy wording … but I have no sympathy for people promoting those ideas.

The economic version is out there too – and it actually is fairly appealing to Democrats (they don’t want US workers to compete with other workers).

Coulter takes her quotes out of context. For instance, I dug up her Patrick Reddy quote (which she did not properly cite, of course), and Reddy did not assume that immigrants inevitably vote for Democrats. Instead, he said that their support for Democrats was a reaction to anti-immigrant actions from Republicans.

Coulter and Carlson also use equivocation to confuse the issue – they act as though building a political coalition that includes immigrants and their children is the same thing as engineering a demographic change to create a new majority. To see those two things as being even remotely connected, you have to assume that immigrants inevitably favor Democrats.

This article has an excellent roundup of how conservative pundits have doubled-down on the 'great replacement' conspiracy theory in the wake of the Buffalo shooting. It also explains the various flaws of reasoning in that narrative. I'm really disappointed by this reaction from the conservative media elite -- I had expected them to shy away from it for a while, but instead they have decided to own it. That is troubling, to say the least. I'll come back later to discuss why I think these pundits are promoting a genocidal conspiracy theory (if anyone has questions). Serwer does a good job of breaking it down. In short, there are several flaws: 1. Political identity/ideology is not fixed, especially not across generations. 2. Democrats are not openly advocating for 'replacement' (Carlsons' clips show nothing of the sort). 3. The problems with this conspiracy theory are not mitigated by replacing "Jews" with "Democrats" -- it still has 99% of the genocidal potential, and 99% of the logical fallacies. Edit: Here's [an Ann Coulter piece](https://www.breitbart.com/the-media/2022/05/18/ann-coulter-here-are-the-nutcases-who-believe-in-replacement/) that Serwer did not include, but shows the same rhetoric.

Ok. This post is confusing. Since you made the post, I thought that the title was your assertion “Capitalism Favors Intelligence”, but it seems like you actually reject that assertion.

I think I may be most partial to 2 & 3… but of course, I’m probably not willing to jump through any substantial hoops required by gate-keepers… unless I was confident that I was joining a really productive community.

Long ago, I participated in a forum called ‘swords crossed’, where people basically chose flair to announce their political position, then argued over a variety of topics. It was pretty effective, but small (maybe 30 people). It lasted for awhile, then faded away. I suspect that the small size was a big part of what made it effective discussion. For instance, on reddit, I don’t think I ever see the same person twice.

Do you think Mao adhered to the system described in that paragraph?

Based on that essay, it’s not clear how the dictatorship identifies ‘the enemy’ – "the social forces and groups which resist the socialist revolution and are hostile to or sabotage socialist construction are all enemies of the people. "

As long as some of ‘the people’ are at risk of being designated ‘the enemy’ without clear criteia, there cannot be democracy.

My fist point was that capitalism often favors con-artists and lobbyists.

If arguing with such people is not productive, how can we establish discussion fora/community where willfully ignorant and argumentative people don’t take up space/attention?

I’m going to start from the assumption that there is value in having these online discussions. If not, what is the alternative (short if full detachment from society)?

How does this forum grow?
Hello. I'm wondering what is the vision for this forum, and how can users be attracted to these discussions?

This episode of "The Fire These Times" has an interview with a Syrian activist to discuss the war in Ukraine. They discuss several interesting issues, starting with how Syrians and Ukrainians are facing a shared enemy in the Russian military; they also talk about how the shared experience of being refugees can build solidarity between Syrians and Ukrainians, particularly if they end up in the same cities as they flee the Russians. Finally they spoke about the delicate balance required to connect the Syrian experience to the Ukrainian one without distracting attention from the urgency of the Ukrainians' needs at the moment. To start a discussion, how do you think the media and politicians (and people) of your country are keeping a proper perspective about the war in Ukraine and seeing the full context?

This podcast describes what we can infer about the "Indo-Aryans" who moved into South Asia around ~1700 BCE. Lets discuss! To start, the historian-narrator has a preface about how he does not want to discuss the modern political interpretations of "Aryans" -- whether that is neo-Nazi or Indian nationalist. Do you think this is generally a good rule -- that people living 3000 years ago are not relevant to modern politics and identity? Or should we *consciously* look to these ancient people to provide a foundation for modern identities?

How do you handle arguments with ignorant people?
I came to this forum in part because I'm getting tired of arguing with ignorant people on Reddit. I wish there was a way to find a community where people have some basic understanding about how the world work (or recognize when they are talking about something they don't understand) -- and we can agree on a definitions for our discussion. For example, I recently got into fruitless arguments with people on reddit who 1. insisted that 'race' and 'ethnicity' are the same thing 2. insisted that 'sexual harassment' and 'sexual assault' are the same thing. Do you think it's productive to even debate with those people (in online forums). I feel like the best discussions must come from some shared frame of reference... so maybe they would be best centered around some recorded/written content.