Friday, June 26, 2020

shared on June 26ths

Civility is not niceness or etiquette. It is only the most formal form of politeness. It is loved by diplomats and hated by people who love war.

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The rightwing and leftwing fans of incivility have confused changing the world with having a hissyfit.

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I long thought the "civil" in "civil disobedience" meant "polite" because Gandhi, King, and Malcolm X were polite, even—or especially—when they were angriest.

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Neoliberals hate being called neoliberals for the same reason racists hate being called racists: they know many people hate what they promote.

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Dear people still struggling to understand that neoliberalism is a descriptor, not an insult:

Under the old liberalism, the wealth gap was narrowing. Under the new liberalism that began with Jimmy Carter, the wealth gap is expanding. The new liberalism's name is neoliberalism.

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

shared on June 25ths

Insults are how arrogant people admit defeat.

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Anyone who claims to be objective is a liar or a fool. The latter is the safer bet.

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To people who see the world in black and white, gray is evil and color is madness.

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Batman's greatest foes should be Broom Guy and Tennis Racket Girl.

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Stereotypes come in three forms, the idealized, the demonized, and the comic.

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In English, metaphorical truth trumps literal truth. A "real gentleman" isn't an actual nobleman.

Monday, June 22, 2020

securing your garage

A simple trick that thwarted someone who tried to break into our garage

Yesterday, I found the handle of my garage door was broken. Someone had twisted it hard to get in.

But we had put a bolt in one of the holes of the door's track so it couldn't be raised. A more committed thief would've broken a window or broken the door down, but most thieves want to get in and out fast. The bolt was enough to make this thief move along.

Obviously, putting a pin in the track adds a little nuisance if you have a garage door opener, but it doesn't take long to pull the pin before you go out and put it back in after you return.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

shared on June 21sts

I wish people who say civility is a tool of the upper class would go up to the biggest guy in a working-class bar and be rude to him.

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You cannot shame the rich. You can only make them furious at the idea they are not as admired as they think they should be.

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Why I don't like the term "gaslighting".

1. If someone's lying, be blunt: say they're lying.

2. If you say someone's gaslighting you, we have to wonder if you're paranoid.

ETA: This complaint is about the general use of the term. When used precisely to describe one person's manipulation of another in an intimate relationship, it can still be useful shorthand, but the second reservation still applies.

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Why do people feed alt-right trolls by protesting them? So far, they haven't been able to get a thousand supporters to show up for a rally. That's about as many people as show up at a mid-sized science fiction convention, and no one thinks they're news. This is a nation of 328 million. A thousand idiots can be safely ignored, and should be ignored when they're craving publicity.

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Today's reason I will unfriend or block someone: Insisting your definition of a term trumps the common dictionary and encyclopedia definitions. Both the left and the right love to do this—see conservatives insisting "concentration camp" only refers to Nazi extermination camps.

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The people who say calls for civility benefit the powerful tend to be graduates of expensive schools. Working people tend to like politeness.

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Privileged people oppose free speech because they believe their government would censor responsibly. History says they're wrong.

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Most evils are done by leaders who turn the good intentions of young people into weapons.

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In the hell for libertarian socialists, I'll have to choose between supporting the libertarian right or the authoritarian left.

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The turtles of appropriation go all the way down.

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Strange reader trick #1: Assuming that writers never fail to communicate perfectly, so if they upset some readers, they must have meant to.

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If you know a cult's buzzwords, you know when people who say they want discussion are only after your conversion.

Secular cults are harder to spot than religious ones. But not much harder.

Cultists always give themselves away when they get angry: they love the insults for outsiders that their group uses.

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Astonishing Ignorance of Nathan J. Robinson

This is a collection of tweets I made today:

Instead of writing "The Astonishing Ignorance of @NathanJRobinson", I will make a thread about Isn’t “Right-Wing Populism” Just Fascism?
"Socialists like Martin Luther King and the Black Panther Party have believed in radical economic equality but have also made it clear that specifically racial harms cannot be considered secondary issues. Their approach is “intersectional,”..."
That sentence is pure ignorance.

"Intersectionality" was coined by Kimberle Crenshaw, a neoliberal who wanted to talk about identity without talking about class. The original "intersectionality" was exclusively about race and gender. Like her mentor, Derrick Bell, Crenshaw had no interest in socialism.

When identitarians realized they could not continue to ignore class, they framed it as a social identity, not an economic relationship. This is why they talk about "classism" and want rich people to treat poor people with the capitalist equivalent of noblesse oblige.

The Panthers were class-first:
“we believe our fight is a class struggle, not a race struggle.” — Bobby Seale, co-founder Black Panther Party
King was class-first:
"...there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike." —Martin Luther King
The hardest thing for identitarians to grasp is that class-first is not class-only. Adolph Reed saw that years ago when he noted that for identitarians "there can be only the Manichean dichotomy of those who admit racism’s existence and those who deny it."

To be class-first is to put material needs first. While identitarians want to discuss racism and sexism endlessly without offering practical solutions, class-first socialists want to end poverty immediately. (King's solution, Basic Income, would end poverty in a month.)

This is class-first:
"when I talk about the masses, I’m talking about the white masses, I’m talking about the black masses, and the brown masses, and the yellow masses, too. ...We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity.” —Fred Hampton
Hampton's use of "solidarity" points to the conceptual flaw of intersectionality. The intersectional model says there are many disconnected forms of oppression that occasionally intersect. The solidarity model says we must unite because the division that matters most is class.

Two useful articles on the reality of identity reductionism and the myth of class reductionism:

The Myth of Class Reductionism by Adolph Reed

Beware the Race Reductionist by Briahna Gray

I may start a thread later on Robinson's inability to see gradations of conservatism. He links two fascist dictators, Hitler and Mussolini, to Saagar Enjeti, who strikes me as an Eisenhower Republican. This seems like pure Manichaeism to me.

Relevant:

 

shared on June 19ths

I wish people who say "It's not my job to educate you" would stop trying to educate me.

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Annoying phrase of the day: "and you know it." When I hear someone use it, I wonder if they're in the habit of saying what they know isn't true. I'd rather be called ignorant or stupid than a liar.

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Only safe ideas are permitted in safe spaces.

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You're offended? That's fine. #FreeSpeech includes the right to be offended.

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"We used to own our slaves; now we just rent them." —Anonymous Florida farmer, 1960 (Harvest of Shame, CBS documentary)

Thursday, June 18, 2020

shared on June 18ths

Watching billboards along the road, I wondered, How many encouragements to eat does the average American see in a day, and how many did the average American see 150 years ago?

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I have an awful memory for faces, so if I know you & appear to ignore you, say hi. Or if I don't know you, say hi & pretend I know you. It's all good.

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Now that the rich favor inconspicuous consumption and diversity, the Monopoly man should be slender, androgynous, and casually dressed, perhaps in the Steve Jobs/Elizabeth Holmes black turtleneck.

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Identitarians insist the voices of white men have dominated for centuries, but the voices of working-class white men have always benn heard less often than the voices of bourgeois women and people of color.

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The villain in the killing of Philando Castile is not a frightened cop. It's a system that trains cops to react quickly with deadly force.

Monday, June 15, 2020

shared on June 15ths

We live in a world where it's possible to make eighty million dollars in a year. Well, a few people live in that world. Not you or me.

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Tired of articles about Einstein being racist because of what he wrote in his youth. The man of the 1920s was not the man of the 1950s.

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Humans should not go to another planet until we’ve proved we can take care of this one.

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Online, the outraged only share what outrages them, so they believe the world looks like their outrage.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

shared on June 13ths

I've been thinking about whether powerless people can be called part of a powerful group. Tentative conclusion: Only if you think pawns are powerful.

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If "political correctness" was just another name for politeness, social justice warriors would never complain about civility or "tone policing".

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If responding to speech with violence helped our cause, the police would not pay provocateurs to do that. #antifa #freespeech

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Whenever I read Forbes' lists of self-made billionaires, I am struck by how many overcame the handicaps of rich parents and expensive private schools.

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Dear far left, it would be nice to have a more sophisticated position on speech than "If you say something we don't like, we'll hit you." #antifa

Monday, June 8, 2020

shared on June 8ths

US serving sizes are ridiculous. Who would limit themselves to two tablespoons of guacamole?

Guacamole haters, shut up.

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An interesting difference between alcohol during Prohibition and marijuana where it's been illegal: the 18th Amendment was only about the “manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating liquors”—it was legal to drink and own alcohol, and homebrew was mostly ignored.

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On the list of words that have been made meaningless when used politically: antisemite. It now means anyone who thinks Israel should treat Palestinians better.

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For most of us, changing your mind is a sign that you can listen and adapt.

For a politician during a campaign, changing your mind is a sign that you’ll say anything to win.

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The current generation will have as many genders as they can imagine. The next will have none.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

shared on June 7ths: free speech absolutists, wonder woman, more

No tolerance means no opportunity to learn from a mistake.

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A free speech absolutist does not believe in a right to make other people listen or to speak anywhere we want. That's an asshole.

A free speech absolutist believes adults should be free to discuss any subject in their own spaces or in common spaces without fear of punishment.

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Think carefully about the principles you support and the exceptions you allow. If they can be used against you, they will be.

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When people complain about white men, I wonder if they're antiracists being sexist or feminists being racist. They don't see that privileged people of all races and genders share similar traits: arrogance, self-righteousness, and an indifference to the needs of the working class.

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On Amazon Island, lesbians are the norm. A non-conforming Wonder Woman is an amazon who loves a man.

Friday, June 5, 2020

shared on June 5ths

I'm a stranger from the internet, and I'd like to know why you don't want to engage with a talking point you've heard 1000 times before.

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There's a missing book of Genesis where Adam and Eve whine about how spoiled the kids are.

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Pride events should have an expiration date, maybe twenty-five years after a group has full legal equality.

Sorry, St. Patrick’s Day.

(Since gay folks only got the right to marry recently, gay pride would be around for a couple of decades.)

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#TrollLogic Anyone who says anything you disagree with must be called out and shamed.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

The very white, very Antifa origin of the Minneapolis riots (Expanded June 4)

Because I support the protesters and have been a critic of black bloc tactics ever since I saw them used two decades ago at a protest against the Iraq sanctions (which gave the police an excuse to move in and end the protest early), I have written this explanation for why I believe fans of antifa's black bloc tactics began the riots.

While the black organizers were calling for peaceful protests, the police were holding back and letting people protest. This shows the heavily white black bloc fans ignoring the black organizers and breaking into the parking lot to smashing cars.



This shows more destruction and the police response. Note the white man at 0:30 who is dressed in classic antifa gear.



This is the white Umbrella Man who broke windows at Autozone, which was then looted and burned. The use of umbrellas is rare in Minneapolis, but common in west coast protests.



These are white kids who were stopped by other white kids.



And here's a look at who was trashing the police station before it burned.

shared on June 4ths

My procrastinating is so good it makes everyone else's look like fancrastinating.

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Resolved: Tomorrow, I will stop procrastinating.

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Proper consequences of free speech: Being refuted or mocked. Improper: Being jailed or fired.

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Where governments can jail you or the rich can fire you for speaking, speech is not free.

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Conservatives think free speech is a right to fire workers who say things you don't like.

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My angry politics show I'm righteous; yours shows you're deluded and dangerous.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

shared on June 3rds

Capitalist libertarians think the people with the most money should have the most liberty.

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Star Wars Storm Troopers miss on purpose because they've been forced to fight for something they don't believe in.

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The craziest thing about our legal system is it's based on the belief humans are sane.

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The First Amendment has nothing to do with free speech. It only puts limits on government censorship. #freespeech

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Few things spoil my day like a touching story about rich people spending a whole lot of money to make their children happy. (This comment was inspired by a parent who paid an unspecified amount of money to scalpers so his daughter could see Hamilton at the height of its popularity.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

shared on June 2nds

Writers, every word is a victory. Do not feel bad if you only write one today.

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Brutal oligarchs have one-party systems. Clever oligarchs have two-party systems.

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Authoritarians assume you use force to impose what you believe, so they can't understand that there are right and left libertarians who think things like abortion are morally wrong, but the law is the wrong tool to use for their cause.

Monday, June 1, 2020

shared on June 1sts

Why Antifa and the KKK should both be ignored:

We don’t fight wars until every idiot hiding in the woods has been defeated. We declare victory and move on, and eventually the idiots die or rejoin society.

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The internet is full of people proudly fighting wars that have already been won.

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Coolest thing about Wonder Woman toys: boys will want to play with their sisters' swords.

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Capitalism is very effective when someone will profit. Alas, there's no profit in saving the Earth from ecological disaster.