Open Thread and Link Farm, Human Tower Edition

  1. Who Decides When Pain is “Intolerable”? – Brute Reason
    “‘Not all pain is intolerable’ means acknowledging the fact that some pain is intolerable, and any way you slice it, you have people other than the patient determining if their pain is tolerable or not.” Thanks to Mandolin for the link!
  2. If You’re Worried About Free Speech, Stand Up for Prisoners – Pacific Standard
    “The shuttering of a prison debate club shows the precarious nature of free-speech rights among American inmates.” I think that prisoners – along with sex workers and undocumented immigrants – are the people in the U.S. whose free speech is most often suppressed. But the issue gets almost no attention from mainstream free speech pundits.
  3. “Free” Tablets Are Costing Prison Inmates a Fortune – Mother Jones
  4. The Callout : NPR
    This episode of the “Invisibelia” podcast is about the “callout culture” in the hardcore music scene in Richmond, Virginia, and more generally about “the role of pain in making social change.” To me, this story is about the problem of having a set way of dealing with transgressions (something all communities need), but no set way for anyone to come back, and no distinction between minor and major transgressions.
  5. What is restorative justice? A practitioner explains how it works. – Vox
    “{The process invites truth-telling on all sides by replacing punitive approaches to wrongdoing in favor of collective healing and solutions.”
  6. What are we teaching boys when we discourage them from reading books about girls? – The Washington Post
    I’ve seen the same thing happen with my books; lots of boys read my books, and lots of parents assume boys won’t.
  7. This film – of how a complex shot in a TV show was choreographed – is amazing. I recommend watching the right half only all the way through, with the sound off, and then watching the left half with the sound on.
  8. Why the Democratic Party has to “fight dirty” if they want to beat the Republicans – Vox
    Suggestions include breaking up California into seven states and packing the Supreme Court.
  9. The Socal Affair in Context.This 1997 paper by Stephen Hilgartner has some interesting discussion of which scholarly hoaxes are seen as credible and which are not. (Hint: It has nothing to do with how rigorous the hoax’s methodology are.)
  10. All the men who never assaulted me – Vox
  11. Billionaires Are the Leading Cause of Climate Change | GQ
    A crucial example – maybe the most crucial example – of how our democracy is broken.
  12. Female Supreme Court Justices Are Interrupted More by Male Justices and Advocates
    “What our findings additionally suggest is that there is no point at which a woman is high-status enough to avoid being interrupted.”
  13. Tyrannosaurus Redesign 2018 — Saurian
    “We are proud to present our results: what we believe to be the most accurate Tyrannosaurus rex reconstruction ever. Here’s a look into the design process and research that went into this massive project.” And the current thinking is: no feathers!
  14. This Is How Sex-Trafficking Panic Gets Made : Reason.com
    “One hundred and twenty-three missing Michigan minors were found during a one-day ‘sex trafficking operation,’ the New York Post reported… What the associated articles fail to mention for multiple paragraphs is that only three of the minors are even suspected of having been involved in prostitution.”
  15. I’ve been watching the animated show “People Watching,” and so far it’s good. Very talky, very focused on social anxiety.
  16. The gender studies fakery (“Sokal Squared”) doesn’t help – it hinders (and it’s meant to) – Ketan Joshi
  17. How members of the ultra-rich are preparing to survive the collapse of civilization.
    “What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival.” (I’d like to credit the person I swiped these links from, but I lost the tweet, sorry.)
  18. Free Busing: A Way to Combat Global Warming | Dean Baker on Patreon
  19. It turns out Taylor Swift isn’t alt-right; 4-chan is despondent.
  20. A defense of “A Feminist Glaciology Framework.”
    Jeffrey Sachs argues that this much-maligned paper was actually making reasonable arguments that, whether or not one agrees with them, should not be out of the bounds of what we’re willing to think about.
  21. Photos found at: Human Towers in Catalonia Rally for Independence and Catalonia’s 36-foot-tall Human Towers Look Even More Amazing from the Air
    “If you’re not there, or if you don’t do your part, the castell will fall. It’s a really special feeling.”

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45 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Human Tower Edition

  1. 3
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks for the link, Ben David, that was great.

  2. 4
    RonF says:

    Re: #8 – I don’t recall this spate of leftist complaints about the structure of the Supreme Court, the Electoral College and the Senate when the Democrats held the White House and the Senate and had a liberal majority on the Supreme Court. I also don’t recall the GOP at that time demanding rule changes. I *do* recall them working to win elections within the existing rules.

    This is worth unpacking:

    The way I look at it, Democrats have won the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections.

    Since the author claims that this supports the position that the voters thereby clearly indicated their preference that the Democrats populate the Federal judiciary, I think it’s worth pointing out that in fact the only Democratic President to win a majority of the popular vote in that time was Barack Obama (2x). Since 1964, the only other ones to do so were Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter. Whereas in that time period GOP Presidents Nixon, Reagan (2x), Bush I and Bush II did so. Everyone else got elected by a plurality, not a majority, and to claim that a plurality = an electoral mandate for that one party’s control is fallacious.

    And in any case, using a total of the State popular votes to create a national popular vote and projecting that as the overall will of the American electorate is a fallacy. Since we do NOT, in fact, have a national popular vote where everyone’s vote counts at the national level but 51 separate State (+ D.C.) votes with differing conditions in each State and where the electorate well knows that the effects of the Electoral College means that their votes’ influence ends at the State border, it is simply wrong to equate that total as one that reflects the popular will. This also is the issue with claiming that the collective Senate vote totals indicate that the electorate as a whole preferred the Democrats. Heck, in California people often don’t even get to vote for a GOP candidate in the general election due to their open primary system.

    The central fact is that if the Democratic party wants to win control of the Senate it is going to have to modify its platform to appeal to a broader constituency than it presently does. States are recognized as sovereign entities invested with the individual right to vote in one of the houses of our Federal legislature. They are going to have to convince the people of a majority of those States that they are worthy of a majority. That means that they are going to have to find a way to appeal to people in States that do not have a majority (or at least a sizable plurality) of their population in a major urban center.

    The excursion into fantasy about splitting up California into 7 States seems to presume that all 7 of those States will vote for Democratic Senators. I wonder how true that is. While Congressional districts get pretty heavily gerrymandered, my guess is that State boundaries that would be so irregular will not be easy to get through Congress, and there are plenty of conservative areas of California.

    Term limiting SCOTUS and other Federal judges? Let’s see. First a bill is introduced to do so. Then it passes the House and the Senate. Then the President signs it. Then someone sues in Federal Court. Regardless of which side wins the matter gets appealed up to the Supreme Court. What are the odds that a majority of the Supreme Court will overturn 242 years of American judicial precedent and vote to limit their own terms? Plus, for what it’s worth, there’s the centuries of precedent for life terms in the English judiciary that our judiciary was modeled after. The very language used in Article III regarding this was derived from English law and would therefore influence the analysis of what that language meant when it was written.

  3. 5
    Erin says:

    Something to keep in mind with regard to the popular vote: If the Constitution were amended to provide for a popular vote instead of the electoral college, the candidates would campaign based on that. It is not written in stone that Hillary Clinton, for instance, would have won the popular vote if that were the measure of gaining office. The campaigns would have been much different.

  4. 6
    Michael says:

    @RonF- When was the last time the person that didn’t get the most votes in the popular vote became President before 2000? 1888. This is a situation that’s happened twice in the last 20 years but never happened before that for over a century! It’s understandable that people are angry.
    (I do agree that complaints about the Supreme Court being antidemocratic depend on whether you agree with their current decision. But Kavanaugh is a uniquely divisive justice since half the country believes he committed a serious crime and the other half doesn’t.)

  5. 7
    Sebastian H says:

    I think you’re right. One of the big things with callout culture is a refusal to distinguish between minor and major transgressions. The problem is that callouts function in exactly one mode—ostracism, so you can’t calibrate it.

  6. 8
    Sebastian H says:

    Erin, it would be very difficult for Trump to have made up enough votes through alternate campaign techniques. You might have a case in Gore/Bush, but for Clinton/Trump the popular vote loss is enormous. You’d have to posit millions of disaffected CA/NY voters and essentially no similar voters in red states. Impossible is a strong word, but it’s close.

  7. 9
    Kate says:

    Amp link #4

    To me, this story is about the problem of having a set way of dealing with transgressions (something all communities need), but no set way for anyone to come back, and no distinction between minor and major transgressions.

    I think the model of restorative justice described in link #5 is far superior to both callout culture and the criminal justice system when it works. It works well in schools, for example. If we were actually catching children when they bully, harass and assault and really dealing with that in schools, I think we’d have a lot fewer adult offenders to cope with. We’d also have adults in communities like Emily’s with experience of that process who might be able to manage callout culture better.

    However, remember that before callout culture developed in these communities, there was still ostracism – victims of slut-shaming and on-line harassment faced ostracism and victims of sexual assault who spoke out often faced ostracism, or stayed silent out of the legitimate fear of ostracism. Also, in the cases of sexual assault and some of the online harassment the alternative to ostracism may well be prison time. As harsh as ostracism is, prison is worse.
    While I certainly do feel for Emily, what she was experiencing for her cruelty to others is very similar to what she inflicted on her victims unprovoked, when they had done nothing wrong. Without a restorative justice system in place (although Emily’s ticket-taking seems like it might be playing that role), the alternative to ostracising Emily is forcing her victims to socialize with her.
    Also, slut-shaming may seem like a “minor transgression”, but in many communities, it is not merely name-calling, but also marks one as a target. Once labeled a slut, you are considered sort of community property, and as a result are much more likely to be sexually assaulted. It is actually a much bigger deal than people make it out to be.

  8. 10
    Michael says:

    I think the problem with using Emily’s case as an indictment of callout culture is she basically admitted to harassing a particular person for years. I often think callout culture is too harsh- but in most cases that’s because the offense didn’t involve harm to a particular individual (e.g. Justine Sacco and the AIDS comment) or it was a one off incident that resulted in slight harm. In this case it was a pattern of behavior directed at a particular person for years.
    Moreover, I don’t think Emily ever changed- she just changed sides. Look at the anecdote about how she punched the guy for singing her song. She was still a bully- just a self-righteous one.

  9. 12
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    I agree that restorative justice can be superior to the alternatives. However, the article is quite problematic in that it seems to assume that any allegation is correct. I think that the judicial system is not just about punishment, but very much also about fact-finding and introducing a less biased perspective.

    The downside of the judicial system is that it strongly encourages an adversarial and defensive stance. One of the advantages of restorative justice is that it can get past this. However, when the accused is presumed to be in the wrong, that causes a problem that we see in the justice system as well: accused who feel that their perspective is not being fairly considered and that the best way to deal with this is to present a facade. This is a problem for both the accuser and the accused, both of whom are then denied the honesty that is important for the process to work well.

    Speaking of being fair to the accused or convicted, the second and third links also address this. Being abusive to prisoners teaches them that abuse is normal, which is not the right lesson for them to reintegrate successfully.

  10. 13
    LT says:

    I listened to the callout culture podcast and the one thing that stuck out to me was how, towards the very end, the man who called out Emily described the feeling of doing so as akin to sexual climax. He sounded like he took a great deal of visceral personal delight in inserting himself into a situation where he wasn’t personally wronged to take down a popular person for thrills.

    To me, his interview turned all the convulsions in the Richmond hardcore scene from a reckoning with bad actors to a weaponized popularity contest, with the big targets put on the big players.

    Whether or not Emily deserved it, the callout culture appears to be designed for s***-stirrers like that guy.

  11. 14
    Tatterdemalion1983 says:

    I’m not impressed by the Hilgartner paper at number 9. Comparing the Sokal hoax with the Epstein experiment makes me think that either he’s totally misunderstood at least one of them, or (more likely, I fear) that he’s trying to discredit Sokal in a way that I consider intellectually dishonest, disingenuous and contemptible.

    Epstein’s goal was to answer a question; to do that he organised a rigorous experiment.

    Sokal’s goal was to draw attention to something; to do that he conducted a publicity stunt.

    Hilgartner correctly points out that Sokal does not meet a set of goalposts he was never aiming for and never claimed to have reached, and attaches significance to that point that it doesn’t warrant.

    Also, unless I’ve missed it (which, to be fair, I may have – I’m skimreading this on a Sunday evening while trying to keep a pet rat from running over my keyboard) his comparison of the two papers misses (or, I fear, deliberately obfuscates) a couple of key distinctions.

    Most importantly, Sokal’s paper was far more absurd than Epstein’s. Epstein used somewhat dodgy methodology, whereas Sokal used gibberish; Sokal’s paper getting accepted even once is revealing and damning in a way that any one of Epstein’s wouldn’t be.

    Secondly, Epstein’s papers apparently purport to present actual data that someone could, conceivably be mislead by, whereas Sokal’s (I believe – I may be wrong) was purely an expression of his thoughts. I think the people raising ethical objections to either hoax are completely wrong – I think that both Sokal and Epstein were doing massive public services by exposing problems, just as undercover journalists are – but it’s marginally less indefensible to object to Epstein’s than to Sokal’s for those reasons.

    We desperately need more exposes like both of these. Hilgartner’s interest is clearly in undermining Sokal, not in defending Epstein, and I think he’s totally wrong do do that.

  12. 15
    Ampersand says:

    I’m skimreading this on a Sunday evening while trying to keep a pet rat from running over my keyboard

    A pet rat trying to run over your keyboard is a sign of a life well-lived. :-)

  13. 16
    Ampersand says:

    Michael, yes, Emily harassed someone for years – when she was a teenager. I was bullied a lot, but I don’t think we should hold that against people forever.

    Look at the anecdote about how she punched the guy for singing her song. She was still a bully- just a self-righteous one.

    According to someone who is from that scene, who I read on a thread on Reddit, there’s nothing especially unusual about a lead singer punching someone in the mosh pit in the Richmond hardcore scene. I don’t know if that’s true or not. (Some people disagreed, but they didn’t seem to be from Richmond specifically).

    In any case, I disagree with you that Emily is a bad example. No one is perfect; if that’s our standard (she was a bully as a teen and threw a punch in a mosh pit in her 30s!), then there will never be a time when we can say compassion or forgiveness is called for.

  14. 17
    Ampersand says:

    However, remember that before callout culture developed in these communities, there was still ostracism – victims of slut-shaming and on-line harassment faced ostracism and victims of sexual assault who spoke out often faced ostracism, or stayed silent out of the legitimate fear of ostracism. Also, in the cases of sexual assault and some of the online harassment the alternative to ostracism may well be prison time. As harsh as ostracism is, prison is worse.

    I agree. Callout culture is better than the status quo that preceded it. But (as you said in your comment) we could do much better still.

    Also, slut-shaming may seem like a “minor transgression”, but in many communities, it is not merely name-calling, but also marks one as a target. Once labeled a slut, you are considered sort of community property, and as a result are much more likely to be sexually assaulted. It is actually a much bigger deal than people make it out to be.

    Doesn’t it make a difference, though, that she’s been ostracized for being an asshole and bully as a teen, although she’s now in her 30s?

  15. 18
    Kate says:

    Doesn’t it make a difference, though, that she’s been ostracized for being an asshole and bully as a teen, although she’s now in her 30s?

    I totally agree that it makes a difference, provided the person acknowledges the wrong and apologizes (if they lie, or minimize, that speaks to their character in the present). But, often something more is needed – using the language of restorative justice, the responsible party needs to actually do something to make amends to the survivor(s) and the community. I also think that there are probably a lot people who did similar things who got away with it. So, it’s pretty random who gets called to account and who gets a pass.

    He sounded like he took a great deal of visceral personal delight in inserting himself into a situation where he wasn’t personally wronged to take down a popular person for thrills.

    This made me uncomfortable as well.

  16. 19
    Michael says:

    @Ampersand#16- Yes, I agree that the fact this happened when she was a teenager makes a huge difference.
    I guess part of the issue is I’m pattern matching her to feminists who have done horribly wrong things, claim to have reformed and then act like that gives them the right to criticize the rest of us for comparatively minor gaffes. The most obvious example is Hugo Schwyzer, who try to kill his girlfriend and then supported shaming people for saying sexist things in their dating profiles. But there’s also Doctor Nerdlove, who was a former pickup artist and has no qualms about shaming people for blog posts he deems sexist. Of course, there are many more examples of the same type of behavior from religious people. Someone that’s truly sorry over doing something hugely wrong and wants to be forgiven doesn’t get judgmental of people that have committed relatively minor sins.
    Of course, nothing Emily was accused of doing is that bad. But the way she condemned her best friend without hearing his side of the story caused me to wonder if she might be cut from the same cloth.
    (We would have been better able to judge if the story told us exactly how Emily harassed the girl for years. Obviously, it’s different if Emily sent her death threats or just told her her mother dresses her funny.)
    “He sounded like he took a great deal of visceral personal delight in inserting himself into a situation where he wasn’t personally wronged to take down a popular person for thrills.
    This made me uncomfortable as well.”

    Me three.

  17. 20
    Gracchus says:

    ” there’s nothing especially unusual about a lead singer punching someone in the mosh pit in the Richmond hardcore scene. ”

    I don’t know anything about the Richmond hardcore scene or hardcore scenes in general (or Richmond really), but just because a small subculture condones something, does that make it excusable?

    If a subculture has a norm that violence is acceptable, I’d say that maybe there’s a problem with the subculture, and to a degree with people who participate in it.

  18. 21
    Michael says:

    Conor Friedersdorf has an interesting discussion of anonymity relating to Stephen Elliot’s lawsuit against Moira Donegan here:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/stephen-elliott-moira-donegan-shitty-media-men/573223/

  19. 22
    RonF says:

    I just want to know why the hell I have *two* cats if they can’t even catch *one* mouse. Chased it all over the house – even chased it into the shower stall WHILE I WAS TAKING A SHOWER. Oh, they chased it all over and even had it cornered, but they didn’t “close the deal”. They need training…. Actually, it looked more like a chipmunk, it had a pretty bushy tail. I live near a rather large forest preserve.

  20. 23
    RonF says:

    Maybe I should stop feeding them until they catch the damn thing.

  21. 24
    Harlequin says:

    Thought you all might like this link about SciHub and Elsevier: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/03/balkanizing-the-balkanizers.html

  22. 25
    nobody.really says:

    What happened when they ended legalized housing discrimination?

    Upwardly mobile people moved out. Neighborhoods emptied. Marriage rates declined as men without prospects find fewer women interested in them. The embittered men, former liberal protestors, now adopt right-wing, nativist views. They rage against immigrants (even when there aren’t a lot around)—and they resent the success of the upwardly mobile women who used to be their neighbors. And in particular they resent … Angela Merkel.

  23. 26
    Harlequin says:

    And, a sigh of fucking relief that at least we got the House.

  24. 27
    J. Squid says:

    And, a sigh of fucking relief that at least we got the House.

    We accomplished what we needed to do in this election. There’s a lot of work to be done for the next 7 to 12 elections, yet.

  25. 28
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    nobody.really,

    Yep, these East German men just want a moderately good life, with a decent job and partner, in the place where they grew up. Nothing outrageous. Yet these basic desires are considered toxic because it’s men who want them and the bias against men makes the mainstream unwilling to care about their desires/issues. So of course these men then feel abandoned and looked down upon, because they actually are.

    A good illustration of the neglect of these men is this part of your article:

    The shortfall of women is not visible in everyday life.

    “Men don’t know it’s there and if you show them the numbers, they’re often surprised,” Mr. Klingholz said. “All they know is that they have trouble finding a partner.”

    The lack of interest in the well-being of these communities is so extreme that the media didn’t even investigate their problems and spread awareness among the German people. So these men lack even the most basic information of why they have the problems they have. Then when they draw the wrong conclusions and/or take steps to try to fix their problems that cannot work, those in power and the media are there to chastise them for being misinformed.

    Well, perhaps that wouldn’t be the case if those in power and the media would have shown an interest in the well-being of these people before they became a nuisance to the elite by refusing to quietly suffer, but started voting for the populists who do care.

  26. 29
    Ampersand says:

    And, a sigh of fucking relief that at least we got the House.

    Yes!

    I am looking forward to a whole lot of subpoenas, frankly.

    And here in Oregon, it’s virtually all good news – Kate Brown is re-elected, four bad ballot measures went down, a good one passed.

  27. 30
    lurker23 says:

    “Ampersand says:
    I am looking forward to a whole lot of subpoenas, frankly.”
    i hope not, because i do not want the republicans to win again in 2020 and i do not think there should be a president pence?

    the republican party in US has done some bad and stupid things but one thing they did NOT do is to use their new power to open up a lot of investigations on their political opponents, that was a wise move for them and the democrats should be very careful before they decide to do that on their side. it is a very dangerous thing to do.

    it is good that they took the house because it will mean that the republicans cannot pass a lot of bad laws. that alone is a very good thing, i hope they do not try to push the limits of power though.

  28. 31
    TedK says:

    “the republican party in US has done some bad and stupid things but one thing they did NOT do is to use their new power to open up a lot of investigations on their political opponents, that was a wise move for them and the democrats should be very careful before they decide to do that on their side. it is a very dangerous thing to do.”

    What are you talking about? When the Republicans took control of the House and Senate during Obama’s term, they spent a massive amount of time on investigations of the Obama administration. Benghazi is the most memorable example, but there were many others.

    And Republicans during the Clinton administration conducted investigation after investigation after investigation trying to find evidence of actual wrongdoing, until finally they impeached the President for lying about an affair, which seems remarkably quaint now.

  29. 32
    Celeste says:

    Yes, Republican restraint in matters of investigating Democrats is legendary.

    Did anyone else notice how when Republican operatives cooked up a false sexual assault allegation against Robert Muller, the very first thing he did was refer it to the FBI?

    That’s the difference between him and someone like Trump or someone like Kavanaugh. He’s innocent, so he wants the investigation.

  30. 33
    nobody.really says:

    Yes, Republican restraint in matters of investigating Democrats is legendary.

    Beyond legendary. Mythical, I’d say.

  31. 34
    Harlequin says:

    Framing the issue as one of partisan symmetry can only go so far when the parties are, in reality, asymmetric. Even leaving aside Trump and his family, can you think of anything in the Obama administration like the financial grifting ans/or conflicts of interest of people like Wilbur Ross, Scott Pruitt, and Ryan Zinke?

  32. 35
    Ampersand says:

    The 2018 Midterms Did Not Vindicate Your Policy Preferences

    The article is aimed at both lefty and moderate Dems, but I think the message is more broadly applicable.

  33. 36
    Sebastian H says:

    Ugh. We can’t even have one nice day. Sessions being fired means the Meuller shut down is here.

  34. 37
    lurker23 says:

    Harlequin says:
    November 7, 2018 at 1:54 pm
    Even leaving aside Trump and his family, can you think of anything in the Obama administration like the financial grifting ans/or conflicts of interest of people like Wilbur Ross, Scott Pruitt, and Ryan Zinke?

    if this was for me: no.

  35. 38
    J. Squid says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s too late for Trump to gain any benefit from firing Mueller and ending his investigation. We know he’s been sharing with states’ Attorneys General. The Dems now control the House so they can investigate. I’m sure they’ll have access to Mueller’s files and they can even hire Mueller to run an investigation for them.

  36. 39
    nobody.really says:

    As a first-order estimate of likely outcomes in a 2020 presidential race, FiveThirtyEight calculates total Democratic/Republican votes cast in each state for House members. Verdict: The pattern looks a lot like the 2012 election–Democrats win.

    But this was a “Blue Wave” year, so they re-ran the analysis, shaving down the Democratic turn-out by six points to make the results more “typical.” Verdict: same.

    Elections are a matter of 1) motivating people to become voters, and 2) persuading voter to vote for you. Trump won in 2016 by motivating previously unmotivated while male conservatives to vote. But how much more juice can he squeeze out of that demographic? True, it would be similarly foolish for Democrats to count on a higher turn-out among white women–but it’s entirely reasonable to expect to persuade these voters to shift their votes away from Trump and his apologists. And it’s always been clear that there was plenty of juice to squeeze out of the Hispanic demographic. I expect election returns will reveal that Trump has had unprecedented success in prompting Hispanics to vote–much to the detriment of the GOP.

    Theoretically Trump could boost his numbers by boosting immigration from white male conservatives. I previously noted the NYT’s thought-provoking article about the incels of Eastern Germany. But this strategy faces a number of obstacles. It would conflict with Trump’s general anti-immigration posture, and potentially piss off people who don’t want to face more competition for jobs (or women). It would seem racist on its face. And there’s no evidence that these German incels have special qualities that might make them a logical target for special visa status. To the contrary, their most noteworthy feature is their devotion to staying in their hometowns even as the women leave for greener pastures in Western Germany. Not obvious candidates for emigration.

    So if it’s getting ever harder to run up your score, your only hope lies in running down your opponent’s score. Ergo I expect ever more voter suppression–not because Republicans are evil, but because they’re desperate. They’re simply going to run out of viable alternative strategies for winning a Presidential race. Plenty of Republican strategists will recoil at this idea–and thus will sit out the presidential race, leaving the field to Republican strategist who have reconciled themselves to this dynamic.

    So, Trump has utterly screwed the conservative cause, heh? Maybe not.

    Trump has inspired the rise of bold, progressive Democrats. And during the midterms, plenty of those Democrats … lost. Meanwhile, the moderate Democrats seemed to fare well. So how ’bout this for a bank shot: In 2020, the Democrats run … Mike Bloomberg? Or Mitt Romney? Or MA governor Charlie Baker? Each of these men have worn the Republican label; Romney and Baker still do. But they were/are “Republicans” in the sense of “policy wonks who consider market consequences of public policy, but to the left of Paul Ryan.” They’re not Republicans in the sense of “raging vehicle for the resentments of white men without college educations.” Which is to say, they’re not contemporary Republicans. In all but name, they’re moderate Democrats.

    Admittedly, Democrats do not lack for tribalism, so a history of wearing the “Republican” label will be an impediment. But Trump has been so successful in normalizing far right views, he may have rendered conventional Republican views more acceptable to Democrats. Conservatives may yet win the game of Good Cop/Bad Cop.

    I’m not betting on this outcome. But if this actually occurred–Trumpism makes conventional conservatism acceptable in the eyes of Democrats–I’d have to finally concede that Trump really is the Master of the Deal.

  37. 40
    J. Squid says:

    They’re not Republicans in the sense of “raging vehicle for the resentments of white men without college educations.”

    What? Mitt “47%” Romney? He’d lose both Democratic & Republican voters, so that may not be the best (or good, or sane) choice.

  38. 41
    Michael says:

    @J. Squid#38- But if the Democrats hire him, he won’t have prosecutorial power. The real question is whether there are sealed indictments Mueller filed before Sessions left.

  39. 42
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    @nobody.really

    Those East German men want jobs and partners, which they are not going to find if they migrate in large numbers to rural America. In Germany, jobs and potential partners are mainly in the cities in West Germany (although those jobs may not match their skills and education). It makes more sense for them to migrate there than to cities in America.

  40. 43
    lurker23 says:

    i have sometimes read about the adoption problem (conflict of religious and nonreligious) and it seems hard to solve, for me anyway, but i think this is an interesting discussion between smart people and was interesting to read.
    https://www.cato.org/policy-report/septemberoctober-2018/adoption-anti-discrimination-wars

    one thing that i am starting to really get more and more as i age is that things which look political are sometimes really economic, right? and so maybe political solutions sometimes do not work as well as economic solutions, even for things where they LOOK like they are political problems, i think. i guess the thing some people are saying is that lawmaking i hard to be perfect, and maybe an economic system will let people find something better.

    anyway it is an interesting article, maybe you will like it?

  41. 44
    Michael says:

    Conor Friedersdorf has an interesting article about how statements like “White women vote GOP” distort reality:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/white-women-2018-midterms/575437/

  42. 45
    JTV says:

    I know that this would be problematic under the Constitution (Full Faith & Credit to start with), but what would you think about this as a thought experiment:

    California (or California, Oregon and Washington) could open the borders to immigrants and the border to the rest of the United States could be drawn at the border of California. So there would be border enforcement between California and the rest of the US. People who are already citizens of the US can come across just by quickly showing an ID; undocumented immigrants can do whatever is allowed for them in California, but they cannot cross the border to the rest of the US.

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