Posts by Neil

  • Hard News: They want to blow it all up,

    The Dems weren’t responsible for Trump – the racists and misogynists – mostiy not economically deprived – who voted for him were. In conjunction with an electoral system that strips votes from ethnic groups that vote for the Dems allowing Trump to win with 3 million less votes than Clinton.

    Plus Putin’ s interference and the alt world waging a vicious and dishonest campaign against Clinton.

    Since Nov 2016 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: They want to blow it all up,

    Mass shootings show why we must stop pandering to white male fragility

    “In many of these mass shootings,” Jennifer Wright observed at Harper’s Bazaar, “the desire to kill seems to be driven by a catastrophic sense of male entitlement.” That sense of entitlement may well be the greatest threat to what remains of civil society.

    Since Nov 2016 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: They want to blow it all up,

    It might be worth looking at some of this as the consequences of Man with Grudge.

    The guy responsible for the Capital Gazette killings might not have been directly motivated by Trunp calling the media the enemy – the guys’s grudge appears to be long standing and specific to that media outlet.

    But nothing Trump has done would in anyway give such males any cause to step back from violence. Rather, Trump role models acting out on your grudge irrespective of harm caused.

    Trump’s life has been dominated by the slight he felt from being excluded from the Manhattan set and he destroyed a number of New York neighborhoods to prove he was more powerful than them. He’s continually trying to prove something and now he can do so on a bigger stage.

    Similarly with Putin – he mourns the death of the Soviet Union, seeks revenge on the West and currently the people of Syria are paying the price for that grudge.

    Since Nov 2016 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Let Canada do our cannabis homework,

    I have heard some very good reports of Canadian oil. Marijuana seems a bit like whiskey – highly sensitive to the idiosyncrasies of the manufacturing process, but more than taste is at stake.

    Since Nov 2016 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: They want to blow it all up,

    But anyway, my reference to the Pinker-Gould debate was initially just a bleak joke on whether we have any grounds to be optimistic.

    With in the US the increasing virilance of white identity politics and increased volume of the alt world via social media it’s looking bleak.

    If there’s a fault in Pinker’s reasoning it may be in the area of communication. I think the role of unexpected consequences of changes in modes of communication is under appreciated.

    Alt world types have always been with us but now their voice can be amplified via social media. Putin, Trump, Assad all benefit from that.

    Since Nov 2016 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: They want to blow it all up, in reply to andin,

    No, but he pussyfoots around why it happened. People were at fault, they took up ideas based only on how it benefited them and they had no wider obligation than that.

    He’s written quite extensively on why he thinks people (men predominantly) so often treat others so profoundly badly and what he thinks prevents that from happening.

    We have a police force that now treats male violence against woman far more seriously and intervenes to prevent it more assertively than a generation ago. That didn’t happen by chance.

    Since Nov 2016 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: They want to blow it all up,

    So no I don’t accept the thesis that things can only get better and I have little patience for Pinker and his ilk because frankly, whether he intends it or not, his ideas are being used to justify harm.

    I don’t think Pinker is arguing things can only get better - rather they have got better and better for various well defined (in his opinion) reasons. He’s not arguing that it got better for everyone at all times, clearly that’s not the case. But to argue that the failure of liberal values to take hold in some areas proves him wrong doesn’t make sense.

    If history is just noise there is no hope.

    Spandrel was of course a reference to Stephen Jay Gould who famously held very different views to those of Pinker and Dawkins. And one could argue that the Marxism of Gould caused a lot more harm than any misapplication of Punker’s views - which I haven’t seen much of.

    But that would miss completely engaging with Gould’s ideas and miss completely the very important differences between the two views.

    Personally, I shifted from Gould to the Dawkins camp but now believe there is good evidence for group selection playing a role. But group selection isn’t necessarily a positive thing.

    Migration, the movement of groups, played a large part in forming us as a species and in forming our societies. However we are also prone to be highly territorial. That contradiction has been playing out with genocidal results for a very long time and is currently the source of a great deal of political conflict that could derail a lot of gains. Pinker thinks there are ways we have developed to prevent this, not completely but to an extent, and that we can continue to implement these to counter people like Trump.

    I’d like to think that was possible,

    Since Nov 2016 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: They want to blow it all up, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Now that’s fine if you are dealing with maths but when you are dealing with people there really is no fundamental reason to believe that a trend will continue.

    I think it would be a reasonable thing to say – if we continue advances in public health then overall the health of the population will improve. That’s been shown with vaccinations, fresh water supply etc.

    Those were all the result of concerted action and application of liberal ideals but yes the trend may not continue if Trump et al get their way. Which is where I’m not completely convinced by his optimism.

    Pinker argues “don’t worry about it”

    That’s a very unfair characterisation of his views. If you read him he’s got a fair amount to say on how we deal with charasmatic authoritarian males – they don’t go away, there needs to be strategy to deal with them.

    Since Nov 2016 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: They want to blow it all up, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Yeah, this is exactly Pinker’s modus operadi, and my biggest problem with his hypothesis.

    I think his argument has a lot of merit - the success of liberal values has made life better for a great number of people. Vastly lower mortality rates in child birth for example.

    His optimism about just how stable liberal societies are is something that’s possibly being put to the test by the likes of Trump and Putin.

    Since Nov 2016 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: They want to blow it all up, in reply to Russell Brown,


    Authoritarian males in general.

    As much as I agree with just about everything Pinker says I’m not quite convinced that the success of liberal values may not turn out to be anything other than a short lived spandrel.

    Since Nov 2016 • 203 posts Report Reply

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