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ForumsDiscussion Forum → Inauguration Day, Inauguration Hooooooraaay!
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Inauguration Day, Inauguration Hooooooraaay!
2018-03-04, 11:48 AM #8001
Originally posted by Steven:
My point is, it's making a mountain of a molehill when there are already mountains to be concerned about.

Had Obama or Bush or Clinton made that joke during a correspondents dinner, it wouldn't be a big deal. It was a comment behind closed doors in an apparently jovial conversation and likely not cause for concern.

Edit: the tariffs on raw materials are far more noteworthy than his comment. He almost certainly won't even be a two-term president, and definitely not Mr. President-for-life.


If Obama said that Republicans would have starting the impeachment process immediately..
2018-03-04, 11:50 AM #8002
Originally posted by Reid:
Some things shouldn't be joked about. The leader of a country shouldn't joke about consolidating power. Especially when his actions have appeared to be just that at times.


The leader of the United States probably shouldn't open his mouth about anything, but I think it's mostly safe to ignore since he's still too weak for it to matter. But if fascism ever came to the United States, I'm sure anything they let him get away with will be Clinton's fault anyway.
2018-03-04, 11:52 AM #8003
Originally posted by Reid:
If Obama said that Republicans would have starting the impeachment process immediately..


I doubt it. It would just be another episode of the Sean Hannity conspiracy theory show. Like when they kept *****ing about this.
2018-03-04, 11:55 AM #8004
Remember Reagan's "new world order?" :)
2018-03-04, 12:11 PM #8005
Alex Jones got enough mileage out of that phrase to more or less launch himself into becoming a celebrity. (Although I remember the tape of the President using that phrase in a speech was actually Bush Sr., although Reagan certainly may have used it first.)

Sean Hannity's behavior in the age of Trump makes a bit more sense when you assume that Hannity might be trying to do similar things with all the other conspiracy theories out there.
2018-03-04, 1:23 PM #8006
I wonder how the alt. right will interpret the President saying that a black congresswoman "has to immediately take an IQ test."

Quote:
"Trump saved some of his sharpest lines for Democrats, including when he said of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA): “She has to immediately take an IQ test.”


https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/read-trump-says-rep-maxine-waters-needs-an-iq-test-at-gridiron-dinner
2018-03-04, 2:35 PM #8007
Originally posted by Steven:
My point is, it's making a mountain of a molehill when there are already mountains to be concerned about.

Had Obama or Bush or Clinton made that joke during a correspondents dinner, it wouldn't be a big deal. It was a comment behind closed doors in an apparently jovial conversation and likely not cause for concern.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't be concerned. Humor is a time-honored means for extremists to normalize their opinions. Example:

http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/05/the-online-radicalization-were-not-talking-about.html
Quote:
Like radical Islamists, the far right has developed strategies that exploit the sweet spot between disillusionment and extremism. One of their main tactics is purposely diluting their most extreme views to woo a broader audience. The neo-Nazi blog the Daily Stormer hosts a “memetic Monday,” where community members create image macros designed to be shared on Facebook and Twitter; these images, which espouse ideas from the openly racist to the mainstream conservative, function as “gateway drugs” to more radical ideas.

It helps that the extremists are also extremely adept at making their ideas palatable, by using irony and humor. Internet trolls have been using racist and sexist language as a shock tactic for years, giving it a veneer of edgy irreverence. Actual hate groups can draw people in using humor, while also normalizing their most extreme ideas.


https://newrepublic.com/article/139004/ironic-nazis-still-nazis
Quote:
The conference held in Washington, D.C., last Saturday by the National Policy Institute should have dispelled any lingering illusions about the “alt-right.” In the final speech of the night, Richard Spencer, the movement’s de factor leader, referred to the press as “soulless golem” and, with a conspiratorial grin, recommended referring to them “in the original German” as the l├╝genpresse (lying press), a phrase popularized by the Nazis in the 1920s and 1930s. In a further echo of the European far right, Spencer shouted out, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” which members of the crowd answered with arms upraised in the familiar Nazi manner.


But Spencer doesn’t think that these Nazi salutes are the smoking gun proving that his white-nationalist movement is fascist. He texted PBS Newshour producer P.J. Tobia that they were “clearly done in a spirit of irony and exuberance.” On the program NewsOne Now, Spencer said the Nazi salute was done “in fun.”

Spencer’s defense of his followers making a Nazi gesture as being little more than a joke is a familiar protective gesture. Anyone who has dealt with online far-right trolls—the kinds of people who love to photoshop images of contemporary people being sent to concentration camps, along with more clearly jocular cartoons featuring Pepe the Frog—will be familiar with the way grisly, would-be humor is intermixed with bigotry. The intent seems to be to create a kind of plausible deniability, so if the racism is challenged, there is a prepared rejoinder: Can’t you take a joke?



And Sartre (famously) said of Nazis, as a contemporary of the time:
Quote:
Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play.

They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.


(Also cited by the previous article.)

So the real question is, what kind of person is Trump? Is he a joyous, boisterous man who jokes about dictatorship in the United States because he considers the idea so absurd that it's beyond concern? Or is he more like the above?

Quote:
Edit: the tariffs on raw materials are far more noteworthy than his comment.


Absolutely.

This goes beyond a price hike for US steel consumers:

Someone inside the White House confirmed today that Canada wouldn't be exempted from the tariff. The US is a net exporter of steel to Canada and Mexico. Canada, in particular, imports $2bn more steel from than we export to the US per year*. This is due to our integrated supply chains: most of our steel trade is cross-border exchanges between proximate consumers and suppliers. A 25% tariff would absolutely demand a targeted countervailing tariff on US steel, putting US steel at a major price disadvantage in all other countries. The US tariff won't stop US companies from importing steel (ask if you don't understand why), but the countervailing tariffs absolutely would prevent people from importing US steel, because they could get a much lower price anywhere else.

The problem, then, is where these US mills fit in the integrated supply chain. Mills built to be proximate to Canadian and Mexican consumers, or which focus on specialty goods for those consumers, will have to slash their prices at least 20% in order to remain competitive in their current export markets.

At least, that's the situation in the short term. In the long term these integrated supply chains will have to be unwound, and more steel producers might pop up in the US (have fun with that overproduction crisis when the tariff ends, by the way).

* The one catch is, it's hard to suss out the truth from most trade figures. One major concern about e.g. NAFTA that nobody's really talking about is the fear of non-NAFTA countries using Canada and Mexico to launder their products to evade US tariffs. Canada considers such goods to be of foreign origin, and I believe they aren't reflected in our trade statistics. However, the United States trade statistics considers them to be Canadian, or at worst they are fraudulently imported into the US as Canadian. Only something like 45% of Canadian exports to the US are exported under NAFTA rules anyway.
2018-03-04, 2:57 PM #8008
Note the above also assumes that foreign retaliation stops at steel and aluminum, and doesn't extend to more valuable US export industries like finished goods and intellectual property.

The latter is a juicy target. Tariffs on intellectual property would be especially damaging to the United States. Intellectual property accounts for almost a trillion dollars of exports per year, and almost 40% of US GDP. It's also much easier to argue in favor of intellectual property tariffs on the basis of national security, than for something like unfinished steel.
2018-03-08, 8:24 AM #8009
I honestly have a hard time wrapping my mind around how dumb Trump's tariff idea is. I mean that super literally. Trump is dumb. He's a moron. And this idea is the dumb idea of a dumb brain, with dumb reasoning.

Western countries are (rightly) worried about the increasing economic influence of China. Of course, people aren't questioning exactly why inferior state-heavy mildly liberal policies have been drastically more effective than Friedman-inspired radically liberal free market policies. Just look at when Friedman went to China and embarrassed himself. China wanted practical solutions to real problems. They wanted to learn various economic theories, learn from history, and pick from the best. Which they probably did pick up an idea or two from him, but it's clear that Friedman was first and foremost interested in promoting his free markets religion, which the Chinese really didn't care about. His advocacy was radical and untenable for the Chinese.

This starry-eyed economic idealism is basically defining the United States as of late: it honestly feels to me like this country is incapable of seeing the writing on the wall in really key ways, and economic doublethink on China is just one part. How can China both have an inferior economic system, yet be the biggest economic threat? How can the United States have the superior economic system, yet is struggling and lagging? While Friedman thought the Chinese were "unbelievably ignorant about how a market or capitalist system works", they rose to power. Not to mention the complete failure of Western economies in 2008, and the subsequent inability to deal adequately with the problem through monetary policy.

Which isn't to say China hasn't adopted any modes of western economic thought. It certainly has, and many of these changes have been very good for China. At the same time, China appears to have accepted that quantitative easing would work, that the recession would be just a recession, and business would continue - that's why they built up so much debt, expecting growth to return to historic trends. It hasn't, and China's currency depends so heavily on the dollar, so they're stuck. The only way for China to free up the Yuan would be to internationalize the currency. How will the United States respond to attempts such as these? I'm not sure what the future holds, but the current situation is Trump shooting us in the foot and people complaining that China isn't following the rules.

That's why TPP could have been good: if all other countries outside of China can agree to trade freely, then they implicitly tariff China. This would inhibit China's growth and probably lead to more growth outside of China. That's probably good insofar as China is fairly totalitarian, so we'd prefer them not to have more control. But the authors of these deals can't help themselves, they can't write trade deals that are structured neutrally, they have to try to double dip and advantage themselves. At the same time, American workers lose out to foreign competition. If we're going to have free trade, it should benefit all, and not just by giving us cheaper TVs.

My point is, free trade is not the issue here. The problems in America are our own, we allow the elites to continue to rob from us, at no actual economic benefits, suffering produced for no valid reason. It's they who are the problem, not trade.

At this point, basically what Jon`C said. Pay people to sit around and masturbate. Obama tried a tariff on Chinese tires and it ended up costing us so much money, it would have been cheaper to just pay all of the at-risk employees $100,000/year. ****, liberalize trade deeply then just make sure there's good tools to prevent people from being dumped off to suffer when they lose employment.

But Trump's solution is just ****, it's going to lose us jobs and not help anyone except a few particular elite interests.
2018-03-08, 11:38 AM #8010
Originally posted by Reid:
This starry-eyed economic idealism is basically defining the United States as of late: it honestly feels to me like this country is incapable of seeing the writing on the wall in really key ways, and economic doublethink on China is just one part. How can China both have an inferior economic system, yet be the biggest economic threat? How can the United States have the superior economic system, yet is struggling and lagging?


I like these questions. This doesn't really answer any of the questions directly (and I know they aren't real questions, so much as a rhetorical device to demonstrate contradictory claims of voices representing the economic elite), but one thing they made me think of is how China has built entire cities worth of housing supply, but nobody has moved in, because the demand doesn't exist. Its not uncommon for China to spend massive amounts of money on big building projects only to have them go unused. That sort of waste is common in controlled economies. But it's also one way that China could have a higher GDP than us without having a better economic system: because of massively expensive spending projects that produce goods that aren't actually used. (Not that we're so allergic to wasteful spending.)
former entrepreneur
2018-03-08, 11:44 AM #8011
Originally posted by Reid:
This starry-eyed economic idealism is basically defining the United States as of late: it honestly feels to me like this country is incapable of seeing the writing on the wall in really key ways, and economic doublethink on China is just one part. How can China both have an inferior economic system, yet be the biggest economic threat?
It's not doublethink.

The Chinese economic system is inferior. It's deeply wasteful and riddled with externalities like nothing the world has ever seen. It squanders wealth on economic engineering, wholly discounts the safety and welfare of its people, and seizes all of the surplus of its workers to enrich an economic, political, and racial elite. For as many flaws as America has, it's never been as bad as China, and you never want it to be.

The mistake you've made is to assume China is a country. It's not a country, it's a corporation. They are the biggest economic threat because they don't compete as a country against other countries on trade, they compete as a corporation against other corporations to control markets. And they're winning because unlike western corporations they have no compunctions against anticompetitive practices, suffer no effective regulation, pay no taxes anywhere, and are not subject to law. Basically they've answered the theory of the firm, but unless you're okay with being even more exploited by capital you probably won't like their answer.

Quote:
How can the United States have the superior economic system, yet is struggling and lagging?
Apples and oranges. You're contrasting the success of the Chinese state corporation to the welfare of the American people. This is nonsense. The correct comparison is to American corporations, and they've never been more profitable. It's the American people who are lagging. If you want struggling, you'd best look at non-Han Chinese.


p.s. please don't be an apologist for those *******s.
2018-03-08, 11:46 AM #8012
But in terms of not seeing the writing on the wall, I disagree with that. We've been infatuated with our own decline for two decades, at least. We obsess now about the rise of China, and before that, in the 80s, were in a panic about Japan. And furthermore, it's pretty clear that America's unipolar dominance of global affairs, if it isn't being contested, is being undone. Our government is increasingly talking about the return of great power conflict, so it is preparing for a world where America can no longer dictate terms. I don't know what it means to say nobody knows the writing is on the wall. I think we all got the memo.
former entrepreneur
2018-03-08, 12:04 PM #8013
Originally posted by Eversor:
I like these questions. This doesn't really answer any of the questions directly (and I know they aren't real questions, so much as a rhetorical device to demonstrate contradictory claims of voices representing the economic elite), but one thing they made me think of is how China has built entire cities worth of housing supply, but nobody has moved in, because the demand doesn't exist. Its not uncommon for China to spend massive amounts of money on big building projects only to have them go unused. That sort of waste is common in controlled economies. But it's also one way that China could have a higher GDP than us without having a better economic system: because of massively expensive spending projects that produce goods that aren't actually used. (Not that we're so allergic to wasteful spending.)


I hated these questions and it took me a long time to formulate a response more detailed than "what the ****?". The questions strongly implied that whatever China is doing is better than whatever America is doing, when the truth is that capitalism simply rewards the richest person who extracts the most wealth from its workers and welp China Inc., has a billion low paid employees and a $29 trillion market cap, sooooo....

Also, I've never understood the prevailing assumption that China overbuilt housing and infrastructure as a stimulus measure. Bunch of western populist horse****. Chinese buildings built using Chinese state steel and Chinese state concrete and Chinese state labor when global prices are low for all of those things. We joke about their ghost cities (and I've gotten in on it too) but if any other corporation made capital investments during an economic downturn we'd be applauding them for their prudence.
2018-03-08, 12:49 PM #8014
Originally posted by Jon`C:
It's not doublethink.

The Chinese economic system is inferior. It's deeply wasteful and riddled with externalities like nothing the world has ever seen. It squanders wealth on economic engineering, wholly discounts the safety and welfare of its people, and seizes all of the surplus of its workers to enrich an economic, political, and racial elite. For as many flaws as America has, it's never been as bad as China, and you never want it to be.


I think I wrote the wrong thing, I shouldn't have tried to compare the United States to China, what I was intending to point to before my thoughts were sidetracked was China's success relative to other developing nations. That, the United States' idea of growing developing nations is inferior to the Chinese one, not the United States' system itself. I definitely do not think China is economically superior to the United States, not by a far margin.

Originally posted by Jon`C:
The mistake you've made is to assume China is a country. It's not a country, it's a corporation. They are the biggest economic threat because they don't compete as a country against other countries on trade, they compete as a corporation against other corporations to control markets. And they're winning because unlike western corporations they have no compunctions against anticompetitive practices, suffer no effective regulation, pay no taxes anywhere, and are not subject to law. Basically they've answered the theory of the firm, but unless you're okay with being even more exploited by capital you probably won't like their answer.


The United States shouldn't become anything more like China, other than maybe stepping a few steps back from neoliberal doctrine.

Originally posted by Jon`C:
Apples and oranges. You're contrasting the success of the Chinese state corporation to the welfare of the American people. This is nonsense. The correct comparison is to American corporations, and they've never been more profitable. It's the American people who are lagging. If you want struggling, you'd best look at non-Han Chinese.


Fair point.

Originally posted by Jon`C:
p.s. please don't be an apologist for those *******s.


**** no, I think the west needs to work harder to keep China from expanding and work to develop other nations on our terms. I just think our strategy for doing this is not very good. And that's largely because we virtually ignore voices that aren't from the privileged elite here, when e.g. negotiating NAFTA. We should strive to be more egalitarian and focus on growing other countries in a way that helps them sustain growth, which means maybe not liberalizing all markets to an extreme immediately, Chicago style.
2018-03-08, 12:52 PM #8015
Originally posted by Eversor:
I like these questions. This doesn't really answer any of the questions directly (and I know they aren't real questions, so much as a rhetorical device to demonstrate contradictory claims of voices representing the economic elite), but one thing they made me think of is how China has built entire cities worth of housing supply, but nobody has moved in, because the demand doesn't exist. Its not uncommon for China to spend massive amounts of money on big building projects only to have them go unused. That sort of waste is common in controlled economies. But it's also one way that China could have a higher GDP than us without having a better economic system: because of massively expensive spending projects that produce goods that aren't actually used. (Not that we're so allergic to wasteful spending.)


The real reason U.S. growth should be slower is because the U.S. is a developed nation, yeah?
2018-03-08, 12:57 PM #8016
Originally posted by Jon`C:
I hated these questions and it took me a long time to formulate a response more detailed than "what the ****?". The questions strongly implied that whatever China is doing is better than whatever America is doing, when the truth is that capitalism simply rewards the richest person who extracts the most wealth from its workers and welp China Inc., has a billion low paid employees and a $29 trillion market cap, sooooo....


A problem I have with Trump is he seems to want to crush the U.S. labor force back into that low wage bull**** from 100 years ago, i.e. he wants us to be more like China. I communicated very poorly.

Originally posted by Jon`C:
Also, I've never understood the prevailing assumption that China overbuilt housing and infrastructure as a stimulus measure. Bunch of western populist horse****. Chinese buildings built using Chinese state steel and Chinese state concrete and Chinese state labor when global prices are low for all of those things. We joke about their ghost cities (and I've gotten in on it too) but if any other corporation made capital investments during an economic downturn we'd be applauding them for their prudence.


Not to mention their vast overproduction of steel and aluminum, the things Trump is trying to tariff for being "unfair", actually just makes it really cheap for businesses that use steel and aluminum to operate. It's basically them selling at a near loss to cover their inefficiencies.
2018-03-08, 1:14 PM #8017
Originally posted by Eversor:
But in terms of not seeing the writing on the wall, I disagree with that. We've been infatuated with our own decline for two decades, at least. We obsess now about the rise of China, and before that, in the 80s, were in a panic about Japan. And furthermore, it's pretty clear that America's unipolar dominance of global affairs, if it isn't being contested, is being undone. Our government is increasingly talking about the return of great power conflict, so it is preparing for a world where America can no longer dictate terms. I don't know what it means to say nobody knows the writing is on the wall. I think we all got the memo.


Yeah, this is certainly true. We're having to enter a new era in world politics, and it's one the U.S. is faceplanting into.
2018-03-08, 1:15 PM #8018
Well, he did it, 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminum, telling countries they can "negotiate" lower ones. Which means trying to force Canada to give concessions on NAFTA.

I think this is what Trump thinks "dealmaking" is: you get a position over power over someone, then you abuse them until they give you what you want.
2018-03-08, 1:17 PM #8019
China sells steel globally below their domestic price - and below their cost of production. The purpose is to drive other steel producers out of business. There's a legitimate concern about Chinese steel, even a national security one - but the answer isn't tariffs, and certainly not blanket tariffs. China's end goal is the same as any other corporation's, to drive literally everybody else out of business.
2018-03-08, 1:21 PM #8020
Originally posted by Jon`C:
China sells steel globally below their domestic price - and below their cost of production. The purpose is to drive other steel producers out of business. There's a legitimate concern about Chinese steel, even a national security one - but the answer isn't tariffs, and certainly not blanket tariffs. China's end goal is the same as any other corporation's, to drive literally everybody else out of business.


How do we know it's intentional?

Edit: I suppose it's a fair assumption, I'm just not sure what China stands to gain by doing so, just cornering the market at a loss seems pointless, unless they're gambling that an international economic boom will make them some real cash once their competitors are out and can't start up in time?
2018-03-08, 1:35 PM #8021
Originally posted by Reid:
How do we know it's intentional?


Because they haven't only done it for steel, and it's not the kind of thing you can do by accident.
2018-03-08, 2:14 PM #8022
Originally posted by Reid:
Edit: I suppose it's a fair assumption, I'm just not sure what China stands to gain by doing so, just cornering the market at a loss seems pointless, unless they're gambling that an international economic boom will make them some real cash once their competitors are out and can't start up in time?


Once they've cornered the market they reduce supply (impose export quotas) and raise export prices. In addition to making extra money from cornering the market, other Chinese goods have an artificial advantage due to factor price/availability.

For example, China currently controls something like 95% of the world's supply of rare earth metals (this includes controlling interests in foreign mines, even one in the United States). If you want to build an efficient electric motor in the United States, you need neodymium. But China won't sell it to you, at least not at a reasonable price. That means you'll never be able to compete on price against a Chinese-made motor, or even quality, because you don't have access to modern materials. Try changing the situation by opening up a new mine, and China will flood the market again until you go out of business. Because they aren't just trying to keep you from selling neodymium, they're trying to keep you from making motors.

It's hard because westerners do not think this way anymore. It's big picture, multi-factor stuff. Most of our companies still only do one thing, and aren't big enough yet to play the game China has been playing. Sadly, that's slowly beginning to change.
2018-03-08, 3:03 PM #8023
They did the same thing with Bitcoin mining lmao
Epstein didn't kill himself.
2018-03-08, 3:29 PM #8024
The US-China dominated futures depicted in Firefly and whatever else are actually going to be Amazon-China dominated futures.
2018-03-09, 1:00 AM #8025
So how do you fight a 1.4 billion person large corporation, then?
2018-03-09, 1:07 AM #8026
Originally posted by saberopus:
The US-China dominated futures depicted in Firefly and whatever else are actually going to be Amazon-China dominated futures.


Some people say the US federal government is effectively a healthcare insurance provider with a standing army. Now that Amazon is going into to healthcare, they're only halfway there!
former entrepreneur
2018-03-09, 1:12 AM #8027
Originally posted by Eversor:
Some people say the US federal government is effectively a healthcare insurance provider with a standing army. Now that Amazon is going into to healthcare, they're only halfway there!


All hail Premier Bezos
2018-03-09, 1:17 AM #8028
Originally posted by Reid:
Yeah, this is certainly true. We're having to enter a new era in world politics, and it's one the U.S. is faceplanting into.


To be honest I don't know if I really see it. The big sell of Hillary Clinton was that we'd have technocratic, policy-based rule. Because Trump has effectively delegated every aspect of foreign policy to the department of defense, we effectively have that. There are some big problems having to do with Trump antagonizing allies, for example, and the whole Twitter side show. The biggest problem, I think, is that there is no consistent messaging between key officials (Tillerson, Trump, Mathis, Haley), which is a massive blow to diplomacy. It would be wrong to understate the blow that Trump's presidency is to America's image as a global leader. But it's also be easy to overstate. Especially because Europe is effectively going through the same kind of convulsions that we are, with left-wing and right-wing populism aggravated over an irresponsive elite ruling class. So the collapse of the US-led order isn't simply an up-down phenomenon being dictated by the US. And much of what is happening would be happening no matter who was president. Trump has said some pretty brash things about NATO, for instance, but Obama said almost the exact same things. He just wasn't such a dick about it.
former entrepreneur
2018-03-09, 1:20 AM #8029
Originally posted by Reid:
So how do you fight a 1.4 billion person large corporation, then?


Boycott them.
2018-03-09, 1:15 PM #8030
Good news: Martin Shkreli is going to prison for 7 years.

Still far too little, compared to **** like e.g. drug possession charges, but still.
2018-03-09, 1:50 PM #8031
Originally posted by Reid:
Good news: Martin Shkreli is going to prison for 7 years.

Still far too little, compared to **** like e.g. drug possession charges, but still.


Eh. An obnoxious and tactless man with a ****-eating grin gains national attention because he unreasonably raises drug prices (and buys a rare Wu-Tang Clan album in an auction for some ridiculous amount of money), and then he goes to jail for something completely unrelated. Who cares? It's not as if drug companies can't do the exact thing that he did anymore. He's just an unpopular person that people love to hate, and for some reason, even though we on the left are supposed to object to incarceration, we're supposed to celebrate that this guy is in jail? Society is no different because Shkreli is going to be in jail.
former entrepreneur
2018-03-09, 1:58 PM #8032
Originally posted by Reid:
Still far too little, compared to **** like e.g. drug possession charges, but still.


The obvious answer to this is that people who get busted on drug possession charges should go to jail for less time than they currently do (if at all), rather than that Shkreli should go to jail for longer.
former entrepreneur
2018-03-09, 1:59 PM #8033
Originally posted by Eversor:
even though we on the left are supposed to object to incarceration, we're supposed to celebrate that this guy is in jail?


Not to mention all the comments I've seen cheekily implying they hope he gets raped in prison. Jesus Christ.
2018-03-09, 2:27 PM #8034
Originally posted by saberopus:
Not to mention all the comments I've seen cheekily implying they hope he gets raped in prison. Jesus Christ.


They probably just want him to have a complete and fulfilling experience.
Epstein didn't kill himself.
2018-03-09, 2:34 PM #8035
-_______________________-
2018-03-09, 2:53 PM #8036
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/opinion/sunday/smug-liberals-conservative-trolls.html

So what we have here is one of the worst articles I've read in a long while. Let's break it down, because it's errors aren't all surface level.

Quote:
It’s hard to tell who started it.

Was it the populist right, reared in the meme swamps of Reddit and 4chan, who emerged blinking into the daylight of politics and set about baiting anyone who disagreed with their chosen Republican king?

Or was it liberals, cozy in their elite enclaves on the coasts, who burrowed down into self-righteousness, lecturing working-class Republicans about how they misunderstand their own interests?


This begs the question, did either of these two "start it"? Also note the unusual comparison of basically typical Democrats to 4chan trolls, as though there's a real comparison to be made there.

You're going to notice this alot: assertions with no evidence, and a bunch of blame and causality ascribed with no argument.

Quote:
Modern American political discourse can seem disjointed to the point of absurdism. But the problem isn’t just filter bubbles, echo chambers or alternative facts. It’s tone: When the loudest voices on the left talk about people on the right, it is with an air of barely concealed smugness, quick to declare them either beyond the pale or dupes of their betters.


Okay, you're totally fine to complain about discourse. Yeah, people can be rude to each other. Political opponents don't like each other. That's certainly not new or unique to America, nor is it particularly bad historically, even if things are much worse.

But the point is, you hear lots of complaints about tone. It's a weak-ass, uninteresting position. A better question to ask is are the assertions true? Asking whether Republican voters are dupes is a valid question, although the article seems to imply even asking such things is absurd. It's putting off-limits the possibility of being wrong in politics.

I feel very strongly that this forced "must always respect the other side" view is much more destructive and harmful than some "smugness". It's possible, and not even uncommon, for people to be just flat wrong. A good example: climate change. Every single Republican 2016 candidate was a climate change skeptic or denier. Every single one. That's a wrong view. There is no compromise, no politeness. If you deny climate change, you are just plain wrong.

Quote:
Two terrible tendencies now feed off each other, growing stronger every day: the more smugness, the more satisfying to poke holes in it; the more toxic the trolling, the greater the sense of moral superiority. The result: an odoriferous stew of political rhetoric that is nearly irresistible to those on the inside and confusingly abhorrent to those on the outside.


A misunderstanding of causation. She's attacking the symptom here, which is very very very typical for these sorts of people.

Quote:
Around the same time, New York University psychologist Jonathan Haidt was formulating a theory about why liberals and conservatives have such a hard time productively conversing. After mucking around in a lot of survey data, he came up with this basic idea: Liberals and people of the left underpin their politics with moral concerns about harm and fairness; they are driven by the imperative to help the vulnerable and see justice done. Conservatives and people of the right value these things as well but have several additional moral touchstones — loyalty, respect and sanctity. They value in-group solidarity, deference to authority, and the protection of purity in mind and body. To liberals, those sincerely held values can look a lot like, in Dr. Haidt’s words, “xenophobia, authoritarianism and Puritanism.” This asymmetry is the fountainhead of mutual incomprehension and disdain.


"The real problem is people are so partisan and hostile. Now let me tell you why we have fundamental differences that can't be overcome."

Or maybe, people can learn and understand fundamentals of thought and come to conclusions about them? People can change, you can discuss fundamentals, people can adapt. This is why I feel philosophy education is sorely lacking in America; a philosophical education can help people learn how to analyze things beyond just thoughts, but also the frameworks themselves, and how to adapt. Assuming conservatives and liberals are "just different" works against our ability to work together and adapt, in fact. It's not about demanding everyone respect everyone's frame of reasoning, that's bull****.

Quote:
Much of Mr. Haidt’s subsequent work has been trying to find ways to bridge this political empathy gap, to foster ways of thinking about each other that will minimize polarization. But he is swimming against a rising tide.


Or maybe his entire framework of understanding is weak.

Quote:
So maybe it makes sense that political squabbling across much of America has become increasingly aesthetics-focused and content devoid:


That's exactly what you're doing ya dunce. This entire article is devoid of actual political content.

Quote:
But that has done little to restrain the all-consuming ferocity of the fighting. Nor have the consequences been restricted to the internet. The tonal differences go all the way to the top: If Barack Obama’s “cling to guns or religion” statement was a perfect distillation of the smug style in liberal politics, Donald Trump is impeccably suited to an increasingly post-ideological Republican landscape, where the point-scoring is the prize.


Again, this person is talking only about superficial tone. The question that's actually important is: are Obama's comments accurate?

Quote:
One of the primary reactions to this new framing of the political debate has been exactly what you’d expect: Many sane, self-respecting people no longer want anything to do with either side. Barely half of the respondents to the last round of Gallup’s long-running question about partisan affiliation could bring themselves to pick a party at all, with just 28 percent identifying as Republicans and 27 percent as Democrats.


Attacking symptoms, not causes, again.

Quote:
The notion that there are sensible political coalitions to be had outside of partisan paradigms is a cherished American idea.


Cherished by whom?
2018-03-09, 2:54 PM #8037
Originally posted by Eversor:
Eh. An obnoxious and tactless man with a ****-eating grin gains national attention because he unreasonably raises drug prices (and buys a rare Wu-Tang Clan album in an auction for some ridiculous amount of money), and then he goes to jail for something completely unrelated. Who cares? It's not as if drug companies can't do the exact thing that he did anymore. He's just an unpopular person that people love to hate, and for some reason, even though we on the left are supposed to object to incarceration, we're supposed to celebrate that this guy is in jail? Society is no different because Shkreli is going to be in jail.


Sometimes it's the little victories.
2018-03-09, 2:54 PM #8038
Originally posted by Eversor:
The obvious answer to this is that people who get busted on drug possession charges should go to jail for less time than they currently do (if at all), rather than that Shkreli should go to jail for longer.


Agreed!
2018-03-09, 3:03 PM #8039
Originally posted by Reid:
But the point is, you hear lots of complaints about tone. It's a weak-ass, uninteresting position. A better question to ask is are the assertions true?


That might be true, but I think at least some portion of the people concerning themselves with issues of tone do so out of pragmatism. I know myself and a lot of people like me came of age really believing in the importance of objective truths, of rationality, in a pro-science optimism, etc. And while I certainly still believe in all those things, I think an evidence-based mindset has to recognize the possibility that certain arguments and dialogue that appeal to reason, tone be damned, might not be "getting the job done," as it were. In this case, if a liberal wants to convince a conservative of something, and (say) it's empirically true that a smug tone significantly lessens the likelihood that the conservative will be convinced by the argument, isn't that worth paying attention to?
2018-03-09, 3:09 PM #8040
Originally posted by saberopus:
That might be true, but I think at least some portion of the people concerning themselves with issues of tone do so out of pragmatism. I know myself and a lot of people like me came of age really believing in the importance of objective truths, of rationality, in a pro-science optimism, etc. And while I certainly still believe in all those things, I think an evidence-based mindset has to recognize the possibility that certain arguments and dialogue that appeal to reason, tone be damned, might not be "getting the job done," as it were. In this case, if a liberal wants to convince a conservative of something, and (say) it's empirically true that a smug tone significantly lessens the likelihood that the conservative will be convinced by the argument, isn't that worth paying attention to?


That's one of the primary arguments concerning this sort of thing, yeah. That being rude or whatever is counter-productive. And it does have some merit, right, it's pretty clear without thinking too much that blatant, unremitting rudeness is not going to do very much. My criticism of this would be that, this viewpoint has been pushed for a long time, as long as I can remember, yet it's apparently not been effective. I don't think decades of "polite discourse" actually had much of a tangible effect on how Americans perceive the world. Most discussions are still done very poorly, very few people are ever convinced, and I feel this politeness has the negative effect of allowing bad, toxic ideas to persistent when they ought to be pressured more thoroughly.
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