Working with Trump?

Jack Stilgoe and Roger Pielke Jr have an article in the Guardian called They may not like it, but scientists must work with Donald Trump. My first impression was rather negative, but some on Twitter suggested that it was really just a suggestion that scientists should engage constructively. If so, I agree. However, it applies to all, not just to scientists; it’s not much good one group trying to engage constructively, if others are not doing the same.

However, I’m not really convinced that that was the basic message (or, if it was, it’s rather confused). They present some examples of situations where, presumably, scientists did not engage constructively. One related to supposed attacks on George Bush’s science advisor. However, the article they use as a reference suggests that it’s actually related to

accusations that the Bush administration has systematically distorted scientific fact and stacked technical advisory committees to advance favored policies on the environment, on biomedical research and ….

In fact, many of those quoted seemed quite sympathetic towards the science advisor, although I agree that the use of the term “prostitute” was not particularly constructive.

As far as I’m concerned, scientists/researchers should be speaking out if they think scientific evidence is being distorted to suit policy preferences, even if a couple of social scientists might later write an article suggesting that they shouldn’t have done so. Of course, they should aim to be constructive and should take into account, and be honest about, their position; are they speaking as someone with relevant expertise, are they speaking as a concerned member of the public, or are they speaking as a formal science advisor. What they say, and how they say it, might depend on what role they’re in, but – by and large – we should be encouraging people to speak out, not criticising them for doing so.

However, I think there is a more insidious issue with what is being implied in the article. There are clearly many important issues that will require us to make decisions, and the consequences of these decisions could be quite serious (climate change, how technological advances will influence society,…). The implication, in the article, is that scientists/researchers are in some way responsible for the decisions that are made, even if only indirectly. Well, in my view, they are mostly not.

Their role is to undertake research that helps us to understand whatever it is that is being studied and to communicate their understanding to the public and to policy makers. The mandate for making decisions lies primarily with those we have elected to do so. It is their responsibility to make the decisions and it is their responsibility to ensure that they are as informed as possible when doing so. Of course scientists/researchers should be willing to communicate with those who are likely to be making decisions, but they should not be held responsible for the decisions that are made and are certainly not at fault if the information they provide is ignored, or distorted.

Given that there is a very good chance that we will soon start to realise that we have collectively made some very poor decisions, I actually feel very strongly that we should be avoiding this kind of narrative. It’s quite possible that there will be attempts to find people to blame, and we really should be avoiding providing an opportunity to pass the blame onto those whose role was primarily to provide information, while having no mandate to actually make any decisions. If those who have a mandate to make decisions decide to surround themselves mostly with a group of people who hold contrarian views, then it’s certainly not the fault of those who chose to speak out, even if they didn’t always do so as constructively as was possible.

Maybe I misunderstand the intent of the article, and – if I have – feel free to point it out. I, of course, agree with the basic idea that scientists/researchers should be aiming to help policy makers to be properly informed when making decisions. However, the responsibility ultimately likes with the policy makers (and with us, collectively, for electing them) not with those whose role is mainly to inform.

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248 Responses to Working with Trump?

  1. I should add that I appreciate that this is a very complex issue and that my views may be somewhat simplistic. However, I do think we should be careful of what we regard as the role of scientists/researchers; it is mainly to do research and to inform, not to make policy decisions.

  2. Scientists are not the only ones that should take a constructive approach, we all should. Ironically skeptic scientists haven’t always taken a constructive approach with those calling for action on climate, it isn’t difficult to come up with examples. It is difficult to think of a more constructive approach than the work that has gone into the IPCC reports. Telling people what they want to hear is not a constructive approach.

  3. From the article, “Even those academics who lean Republican (many of whom are engineers, since you ask)” as an engineer/scientist, I hate this sort of lazy stereotyping, and I suspect it is just partisan rhetoric implying that republicans are more likely to be down-to-earth practical types rather than “ivory tower” theoreticians who know nothing of the real world. Can anyone provide a more charitable interpretation (as I am a believer in Hanlon’s razor, but sometimes I find it difficult to see the more charitable interpretation)?

    “Scientists should therefore ask themselves whether they would support policies that did what they regard as the right thing, but for the ‘wrong’ reasons.” Why single scientists out for this one, surely that is a question we all have to ask when supporting any political policy. With our “Scientist” hat on, we have to answer scientific questions with a straight bat, and if the justification for a policy is scientifically incorrect, then we have a duty to point it out. That doesn’t mean that with our “citizen” hat on we can’t support it anyway.

  4. Mitch says:

    My own experience is that the advice is not sought out by conservatives–too stressful for them. The fundamental approach has been to limit who is in the room a la Lamar Smith and the US Congressional Committee on Science Space and Technology. They invite a few people that give the answers that the committee chair wants to hear and no one else gets a chance to say differently.

    You have to realize that the conservatives in power don’t want science, they want confirmation of their views.

  5. Brigitte says:

    I had the same problems with the article as you have. I read it. I didn’t like it. I thought I was wrong about that. I read it again. I still didn’t like it. I think the issue for me are sentences like this one “Scientists who choose not to engage with a Trump Administration risk fueling the resentment and disenchantment that brought it to power.” That puts scientists in a VERY difficult position. And what should one make of this sentence “Science, along with other elites, has systematically ignored the concerns of people such as those who voted for Trump or for Brexit.” I’d like to see some evidence substantiating that claim. And finally, the word ‘must’ in the title leaves me a bit queasy.

  6. Attempt to engage, yes, and we’ve already seen them, from AAAS, and the Ecological Society of America, and others. But not just on any terms. In particular, it appears the Trumpistas value loyalty to them above all else, and where that is the case, at some point, agreement with them cannot be far behind. Obviously, scientists and other evidence-based people cannot put loyalty to anyone above such evidence and scientific fact.

    And, yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m sure I’d pushback on that if it were sufficiently publicized from people who challenged such “evidence” or “fact” as being inherently political. I have heard the same rubbish from lots of “progressives” and empathetic religious folk. There is a difference between allegorical or subjectively seen “reality”, and physical Reality. And if someone, anyone cannot perceive that difference, I don’t think there’s any conversation or engagement to be had.

  7. Phil says:

    “Mr President Trump, Sir. If you had been the CEO of a large oil, gas or coal company twenty years ago and you had been presented with convincing evidence that Climate Change was real and would extensively damage your companies revenues going forward, what, sir, would you have done ? Oh, and by the way, what was it you were saying about these corporate lobbyists that undermine democracy ?”

  8. JCH says:

    His base expects him to fire Gavin Schmidt and to prosecute him. Blood will squirt out their eyes if he doesn’t do it.

  9. Willard says:

    > the word ‘must’ in the title leaves me a bit queasy.

    I rather liked the “they may not like it.”

    The title is too long anyway.

    I’d suggest: Memo to Scientists: Suck It Up.

  10. Like politicians had been keen to act on scientific advice prior to Trump?

  11. JCH says:

    Cooperating NASA scientists can do things like launching the AMO satellite… an orbiting talisman for the stadium wave: build it and the negative phase of the AMO will come.

  12. Brigitte,
    Yes, I thought the “must” was a bit definitive. I also agree that suggesting that how scientists might chose to behave might influence the rise of people like Trump is problematic; they’re not public figures in any real sense and should have the freedom to engage as they see fit. They’re not really there to set some kind of example; their formal role is to do research and to communicate their results.

    Dikran,

    Why single scientists out for this one, surely that is a question we all have to ask when supporting any political policy.

    I agree; whether or not we support a political party, or a policy decision, is a decision we can all make as citizens; it’s not something specific to be a scientist. In fact, formally scientists/researchers should aim to be objective. If they do choose to express an opinion about a particular party, or policy, they should be clear that that is their personal opinion, not their professional opinion.

  13. Willard,

    I’d suggest: Memo to Scientists: Suck It Up.

    They’re probably going to have to. They don’t have to appear pleased about it, though.

  14. dana1981 says:

    My reaction is similar to Dikran’s. It’s up to scientists to work with Trump? How about putting some responsibility on Trump and Republican politicians to start actually listening to scientists?!?!

    Obviously scientists who do try to inform Trump should be encouraged and not attacked, but this piece reads as once again shifting the blame for inaction/science denial away from policymakers to scientists.

  15. How about putting some responsibility on Trump and Republican politicians to start actually listening to scientists?!?!

    Indeed, the responsibility should be on policy makers to be informed, not on others to ensure that they are; you can lead a horse to water…

    Obviously scientists who do try to inform Trump should be encouraged and not attacked, but this piece reads as once again shifting the blame for inaction/science denial away from policymakers to scientists.

    Yes, that was one of my issues too; if/when we realise that we’ve done too little too late, it is not going to be the fault of scientists, and we should be careful of creating a narrative that suggests that it is.

  16. semyorka says:

    A creationist as VP and a conspiracy theorist as president and RPJ sees scientists attitude as the big issue.

    Instructive.

  17. John Hartz says:

    Let’s get real about where the Trump Presidency is about to take us, Hint — it ain’t going to be into an age of Enlightenment.

    This administration may be the least science- and science education–friendly one in generations. One possible nominee for the education department, Ben Carson, is a young-Earth creationist. Vice President[–elect] Pence has supported antievolution legislation in Indiana and has even pronounced evolution as unscientific on the floor of the House of Representatives. At the National Center for Science Education, we found that creationists are emboldened to act locally and at the state level when the “bully pulpit” of the presidency favors them—even if the federal government has little or no role in determining local curricula. Nominees for Energy [the Department of Energy], EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency], NIH [National Institutes of Health], NSF (National Science Foundation] and other agencies are likely to be equally problematic and, of course, many members of the administration have declared their rejection of climate change. Should they and their appointees act upon that belief, agreements made with China and other nations by the current administration are at risk—which means that the future of the planet is at risk. Science and science education did not come out ahead in this election.

    —Eugenie Scott, founding executive director, National Center for Science Education

    Richard Dawkins and Other Prominent Scientists React to Trump’s Win by Andrea Gawrylewski, Politics & Ethics, Scientific America, Nov 10, 2016

  18. John Hartz says:

    I concur with Jacquelyn Gill’s assessment of what Trump’s election portends and her prescription for moving forward.

    Jacquelyn Gill, paleoecologist at the University of Maine: We have just elected the only climate denying president in the free world, with a Young Earth Creationist vice president. It’s hard to predict exactly how this will play out in terms of impacts to combat and mitigate against climate change, but one of the most immediate threats will be to the funding and agencies that support climate change research. Trump has gone on the record stating he’d cut funding for climate science, which will directly jeopardize ongoing efforts to understand how the climate system works, how to predict the impacts of climate change, and what the effective strategies for mitigation should be.

    I worry that Trump’s election will only rejuvenate the ongoing assault on climate scientists, both in terms of internet harassment and in Congress. In my opinion, scientists should be taking steps to protect the security of their online communications, their data, and their personal information. We should be supporting efforts like the Climate Legal Defense Fund. We should be careful about bringing new students into our labs while the future of science funding is so uncertain. We should be putting communication networks in place, reaching out to grant program officers, university administrators, and legislators, and doing what we can to advocate for the importance of our research and academic freedom at every level.

    And even though it’s scary, we need to be reaching out to the public, now more than ever. We need to find our own outreach communities and connect with those people, and to undertake efforts to humanize climate science. And we need to work with the folks who aren’t scientists who are on the ground, on the front lines of climate change and climate justice, to make sure that we amplify their voices and pitch in where we can. This is going to be especially crucial for those of us who are in the most protected groups — white men especially.

    Climate Experts Weigh in on Trump’s Election Win by Andrea Thompson, Climate Central, Nov 9, 2016

  19. Mal Adapted says:

    Phil:

    If you had been the CEO of a large oil, gas or coal company twenty years ago and you had been presented with convincing evidence that Climate Change was real and would extensively damage your companies revenues going forward, what, sir, would you have done?

    “I’d say it was a Chinese hoax!”

  20. Phil says:

    “I’d say it was a Chinese hoax!”

    If Trump really were to say this, then he would be acknowledging the fact that there is a “Business
    case” for the fossil fuel companies to put out climate science disinformation, preferably good climate science disinformation – good enough to convince, say, a billionaire property developer.
    So Trump’s business sense should lead him to conclude that, if Climate Change was real and serious, there would be climate science disinformation about that people would fall for, because that would be a good way to protect a fossil fuel’s companies bottom line.

    During this campaign Trump has been “economical with the truth“. A fact that I presume he knows and finds some way to justify (?). If so then he can presumably see the logic of a fossil fuel company disseminating lies about Climate Change for their own narrow interest – or am I being too naive ?

  21. Mal Adapted says:

    Professional scientists may have to work with the Trump administration. I’m strictly an amateur scientist, so I don’t. As a private citizen, though, I’m still going to be as constructive as I have been all along. I’m going to construct the most lacerating polemical responses to pernicious AGW-denialist nonsense that I can support with evidence, pulling no punches, because it would be hypocritical of me to do otherwise, and above all because AGW-denial should not be seen as respectable in an ostensibly literate society.

    Denial in the psychological sense, “in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence”, may deserve sympathy when it’s a response to severe person trauma. AGW-denial OTOH, whether informed by cultural identity, political ideology or merely a selfish desire to make other people pay for one’s personal comfort and convenience, deserves only scorn and derision. YMMV, but when Trump, his spokespeople or his allies publicly reject the overwhelming evidence for AGW, I see no reason for private citizens to be the least bit respectful in our responses.

  22. John Hartz says:

    Phil: Yes. you are being too naive..

    To better understand what a sleaze-ball bsuinessman Trump really is, check out:

    Donald Trump’s Companies Destroyed Emails in Defiance of Court Orders by Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek, Oct 31, 2016

    This is just one on many investigative reports about Trump written by Eichenwald and published in Newsweek over the course of the 2016 Presidential campaign.

  23. John Hartz says:

    Mal Adapted:

    If Trump were ever to accept the overwhelming body of scientific evidence about the reality of manmade climate shnge, his die-hard supporters would rise up against him. For example…

    Kathryn Stellmack expects the world from Donald Trump.

    After listening to his speeches and casting her vote for him, she expects Trump to toughen immigration laws, restore lost jobs, upend a corrupt political system, build a wall on the border, and be, as the millionaire put it, the “greatest jobs president that God has ever created.”

    “We expect him to move forward on all the items he has promised to move forward on,” said Stellmack, 69, a retiree in West Palm Beach, Florida. “And if he doesn’t, we will hold his feet to the fire.”

    Supporters Warn Trump To Deliver On Campaign Promises</strong, Reuters/Newsweek, Nov 12, 2016

  24. “From the article, “Even those academics who lean Republican (many of whom are engineers, since you ask)” as an engineer/scientist, I hate this sort of lazy stereotyping, and I suspect it is just partisan rhetoric implying that republicans are more likely to be down-to-earth practical types rather than “ivory tower” theoreticians who know nothing of the real world. Can anyone provide a more charitable interpretation (as I am a believer in Hanlon’s razor, but sometimes I find it difficult to see the more charitable interpretation)?”

    err. I didnt see that as a stereo type. basically by writing “since you ask” they are answering in advance an objection from the audience who believe there are no academics who lean republican. To be accurate they should have said engineering and business, since those two fields ( In the Toronto survey of 1600 US 4 year institutions) are about 50% conservative.

    as for the supposed implications (implying that republicans are practical and down to earth) that you hear. Hmm, let’s just say it’s not a very down to earth way of reading. In Theory I suppose you could infer that or suppose that, but practically having firm textual support would make your conclusion more practical,

  25. Pingback: Myron Ebell, Evil Arch Climate Uber Villain – Stoat

  26. MikeH says:

    I wonder how Pielke Jr’s colleagues, the ecomodernists from the BTI will react to the following. I agree with what he is saying but isn’t “the narrative of emancipatory technology” their narrative?

    “Trump’s campaign tapped into a constituency that had been largely shut out from the benefits of technological progress and disproportionately suffered the consequences of expanding global trade.”
    “US and European elites pretend that unfettered technology will not only grow the economy but also close the gap between rich and poor.”

    “Technology tends to widen the gap between rich and poor, simply because rich people are better able to take advantage of productivity gains than poor people. And yet the narrative of emancipatory technology continues. ”

  27. John Hartz says:

    Hot off the press and unwelcome news for the human race…

    Donald Trump is seeking quick ways of withdrawing from a global agreement to limit climate change, a source on his transition team said, defying widening international backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    Since the U.S. President-elect was chosen, governments ranging from China to small island states have reaffirmed support for the 2015 Paris Agreement at 200-nation climate talks running until Nov. 18 in Marrakesh, Morocco.

    Trump, who has called global warming a hoax and has promised to quit the Paris Agreement, was considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord, according to the source, who works on Trump’s transition team for international energy and climate policy.

    “It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election” on Tuesday, the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Paris Agreement won enough backing for entry into force on Nov. 4.

    Trump looking at fast ways to quit global climate deal: source by Valerie Volcovici & Alister Doyle, Reuters, Nov 12, 2016

  28. izen says:

    The way in which science can be ‘managed’ by an administration that finds evidence-based policy inconvenient is already well documented under G W Bush and Harper in Canada. Are memories so short ?

    https://www.thenation.com/article/junk-science-george-w-bush/
    “The Bush Administration’s first instinct when it comes to science has been to suppress, discredit or alter facts it doesn’t like. Probably the best-known case is global warming.”

    http://www.academicmatters.ca/2013/05/harpers-attack-on-science-no-science-no-evidence-no-truth-no-democracy/
    “Federal scientists, academics, journalists, and environmental organizations across Canada have complained of increasingly strict communications policies that prevent researchers from relaying crucial scientific information to the media or the public. … Beyond tight communications controls, the Harper Government has also constrained or eliminated several high-profile research labs, scientific institutions, and other data-gathering organizations. The effect of these closures is that the very building block of science—evidence—is cut off at its roots.”

    If that is all that a Trump administration does it is probably the best case scenario.

    Ever finer analysis of the psychology of Trump in an attempt to discern his future actions is probably as meaningful as trying to predict what Reagan would do from his pre-president statements. Trump, like Reagan, is the socially electable face of a GOP-Business faction within the US political conservatives. More might be gleaned about the future by looking at the agenda of the major financial backers of the Trump presidency and the ideology of those working (for?) him.

    The main damage to science will be to longitudinal studies. Maintaining a consistent record of natural phenomena has proved informative. Compare how little doubt is cast on the Keeling curve compared to the land or satellite temperature record.
    Keeling should probably be looking for Chinese funding about now!

  29. Ron Graf says:

    Mitch says: “My own experience is that the advice is not sought out by conservatives–too stressful for them. The fundamental approach has been to limit who is in the room a la Lamar Smith and the US Congressional Committee on Science Space and Technology. They invite a few people that give the answers that the committee chair wants to hear and no one else gets a chance to say differently.”

    All the science hearings I have witnessed have witnesses invited from the majority as well as minority sides, usually in ~ 2:1 ratio on politically devise issues.

    Believing that climate scientists do not let their political views bias them is something that I don’t believe anyone here truly believes. Or, perhaps bias is something that only affect the subhuman deniers like — (you know the list.) I agree that a levelheaded executive would make a point to get opposing viewpoints presented before making decisions. Is this what President Obama did? Hmm

  30. Willard says:

    > Is this what President Obama did? Hmm

    Not a good idea, RonG.

  31. Marco says:

    “I agree that a levelheaded executive would make a point to get opposing viewpoints presented before making decisions. Is this what President Obama did? Hmm”

    A levelheaded executive would not get his advise from people who constitute a very tiny minority and are almost invariably easily shown to be locked into an internal battle between their ideology and facts. Trump is going to get advise from people who will tell him what he wants to hear.

    “All the science hearings I have witnessed have witnesses invited from the majority as well as minority sides, usually in ~ 2:1 ratio on politically devise issues.”

    Just for the fun of it, list the witnesses used in climate hearings over the last few years. You will find such scientific luminaries like Christopher Monckton, Mark Steyn, and Calvin Beisner invited by the Republicans. Try finding anything in the same category who the Democrats invited.

  32. Bush the Younger once said “you don’t have to be smart [when you are the president], you can buy smart”. The problem then was that smart did not want to be bought. Pielke & Stilgoe argue that, this time, smart should be a willing seller — because the alternative to smart science advice is dumb science advice.

  33. angech says:

    ATTP
    “Given that there is a very good chance that we will soon start to realise that we have collectively made some very poor decisions, I actually feel very strongly that we should be avoiding this kind of narrative.”
    By very poor decisions,did you mean in electing Trump?
    as in “The mandate for making decisions lies primarily with those we have elected to do so”
    Or was this a reference to Climate scientists as in ” The implication, in the article, is that scientists/researchers are in some way responsible for the decisions that are made”
    Statements like ” I actually feel very strongly that we should be avoiding this kind of narrative. It’s quite possible that there will be attempts to find people to blame, and we really should be avoiding providing an opportunity to pass the blame onto those whose role was primarily to provide information”.
    and ” it’s certainly not the fault of those who chose to speak out, even if they didn’t always do so as constructively as was possible.”
    suggest a concern that scientists might be targeted by an incoming creationist government. A bit like the witches of Salem. As a scientific sceptic I would fear the attitude of those same people towards science in general just as much as you and hope the dipping tub for skeptics is at least 4 years away.

  34. angech says:

    Mal Adapted says: November 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm
    ” AGW-denial OTOH, whether informed by cultural identity, political ideology or merely a selfish desire to make other people pay for one’s personal comfort and convenience, deserves only scorn and derision. ”
    Are those the only choices?
    Cultural identity ? a bit harsh. No, extremely harsh and politically incorrect.
    Political ideology? There are Democrat deniers and Republican AGW er’s.
    Personal comfort and convenience? exactly the same as yours, hardly a reason at all.
    Opinionated and argumentative and lack of confidence. Maybe.
    Skeptical and needing proof? What I prefer to believe but probably only fooling myself.

  35. Toby Joyce says:

    Certainly, the signs are not good.

    To me, it looks like Trump is backtracking in so many areas (healthcare, walls, deportations) that he needs a piece of low hanging meat to throw to baying conservatives. Climate change may be (deceptively) a quick win, and one he can leverage to get come big Republican donors like the Kochs on side.

    A little illusion I had, that Trump will ask for a presentation on climate change from some of America’s top climate scientists, and listen with an open mind, will probably not happen. If it does, someone like Richard LIndzen will be on hand to totally dismiss the evidence presented. Just read James Hansen’s book on the results of his presentations.

    That being said, I had also hoped that his vaunted business instincts would quickly see the good value proposition in the renewable energy revolution. But there are no signs of that, his energy policy does not even mention it, and when he talks about wind or solar energy, he uses the same tired old themes that are now obsolete.

    It is not clear what “working with Trump” means. If it means good science guiding his policy choices, then I am all for it. If it means “adapting” science to pander to his expectations in the hope he may be somewhat mollified, I fear that slippery slope. Lysenkoism beckons.

  36. Toby Joyce says:

    izen: “Trump, like Reagan, is the socially electable face of a GOP-Business faction within the US political conservatives. ”

    But Reagan represented the fiscally-socially conservative wing of the party, who despise Trump, but who will have to work with him. Trump represents a radical right wing faction – the racists, the alt-righters, the extreme American nationalists. He draws very little support from American business, though his cabinet appointments look like leftovers who could not make it in the Bush Administration.

    Imagine Charles Lindbergh or Huey Long getting elected President of the USA in 1940, or Goldwater in 1964, and you might get an idea of the possible repercussions. Trump does not have support of a majority of the American people, as he seems to have lost the popular vote. That may paralyse his Administration, but I would not bet on it.

  37. Richard T.,

    The problem then was that smart did not want to be bought.

    Citation needed.

    Pielke & Stilgoe argue that, this time, smart should be a willing seller — because the alternative to smart science advice is dumb science advice.

    I don’t see how this is meant to work. If Trump would like to get a advice from a broad range of experts, I’m sure it would be quite easy to do. The information is out there; it’s essentially free. If he is going to surround himself with ideologues who hold minority scientific views, it seems unlikely that he’s going to listen to others, even if they do offer their advice. Also, there are plenty of scientists who are publicly commenting on the scientific positions held by various policy makers yet they article seems to be suggesting that they should avoid being too critical. Exactly how are they meant to provide this advice?

  38. dikranmarsupial says:

    “The problem then was that smart did not want to be bought. ”

    The obvious flaw there is that scientific advice generally doesn’t need to be bought, as ATTP suggests it is free, and arguably looses value when it is (because it is no longer independent). I think Bush’s comment can also me read in a different way ;o)

  39. Willard says:

    > Political ideology? There are Democrat deniers and Republican AGW er’s.

    See for yourself:

    Not the first time you pull that one, Doc.

  40. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    ==> It’s quite possible that there will be attempts to find people to blame, and we really should be avoiding providing an opportunity to pass the blame onto those whose role was primarily to provide information, while having no mandate to actually make any decisions. ==>

    Just curious, I suppose it’s kind of hard to know in advance…. but do you think you would extend that thinking towards Spencer, Christy, Lindzen, etc., should within your lifetime, the evidence of warming become so unambiguous that the public starts to select out people to blame for a lack of policy to address climate change?

    Obviously, they view their role, primarily, as providing information – although maybe with Spencer that is arguable.

    Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says:
    July 5, 2011 at 5:47 AM

    […]

    I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.

    […]

  41. @dikran, wotts
    I gather you have little experience working with the US federal administration.

    There are several layers between the guys and gals in the lab, and those who make decisions. The top layers are political appointees. If the good ones refuse political appointments, then good advice will never reach the decision makers.

  42. Joshua,

    Just curious, I suppose it’s kind of hard to know in advance…. but do you think you would extend that thinking towards Spencer, Christy, Lindzen,

    I think one can criticise them for promoting information that was almost certainly wrong and for not clearly acknowledging that they were in the minority, but ultimately I still think the real fault is with the policy makers for listening to those who hold (and promote) minority views and not with those who promote those views.

  43. Richard,

    I gather you have little experience working with the US federal administration.

    Indeed, I have never worked with the US federal administration.

    There are several layers between the guys and gals in the lab, and those who make decisions.

    As there probably should be. This is almost the point. It should be made clear who is being discussed in this context.

    The top layers are political appointees.

    Sure, but – given this – they can’t expect to not be perceived as supporting the political views of the administration. If the administration promotes scientific views that are wrong, or that primarily support their ideological bias, then we should be supportive of those who speak out about this. The political appointees cannot expect to be beyond criticism simply because they’re scientists who are advising the administration.

    If the good ones refuse political appointments, then good advice will never reach the decision makers.

    I didn’t say they should refuse them – I don’t think anyone has suggested any such things. I’m all for governments taking advice from a broad range of experts. However, if an administration choses to surround themselves with those who hold minority views, how can others present their advice? The responsibility is with the administration to get the best possible advice; there is little the scientific community can do if they choose not to do so.

  44. dhogaza says:

    “If the good ones refuse political appointments, then good advice will never reach the decision makers.”

    Of course this assumes political appointments will be offered to “good ones”. Which is quite unlikely to happen.

  45. izen says:

    @-RTol
    “The problem then was that smart did not want to be bought.”

    No, the problem under Bush the younger was they did not want smart. In fact in many cases the views of ‘smart’ were suppressed and the smart were fired.

    http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/24378/title/Sizing-Up-Bush-on-Science/

  46. izen says:

    Pielke has visited the subject of science advice to the US president before. In research he chronicled the slow decline of the role of science adviser from providing scientific advice to managing research budget allocation. Increasingly administrations have diminished the independence of scientific advice within a government in favour of selecting the advice it wants from a few and suppressing any other ‘smart’ input.

    In the first year of the Obama administration Pielke discusses that demotion of science as a source of policy advice within the presidential system since Eisenhower to budget management under Bush. He recognises that it is not the attitude of the scientists that shape how government and science interact, the dominant factor is the attitude and actions of the president.

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-2719-2009.05.pdf
    “It is difficult to imagine a president like George W. Bush, who relied on a close circle of political advisors for important decisions, using a science advisor in this manner, but less difficult to envision a president like Barack Obama doing so. This, perhaps more so than the other roles, depends a great deal on the personalities of the president, top staff, and the science
    advisor.”

    Perhaps the enthusiasm with which Pielke is now advising smart scientists to cooperate with a Trump administration is a result of the realisation that proffering the complimentary advice to the government that it should listen to smart advice, would fall on deafer ears.

  47. RickA says:

    For years the Right was complaining that the administration was not looking at all the evidence and was looking at the evidence through ideological lens. Now the Left will be saying the same thing.

    The science will be the same – but how it will be looked at will change.

    That it is warming is not really in dispute.

    But why it is warming is still an open question – no matter how settled the Left thought this was.

    Once a scientist takes a position in an administration they are no longer doing science, they are doing something political. Managing budgets or filtering science or providing justification for a policy position their bosses want or lobbying. That is what advocate scientists are doing also

    This is true no matter what party holds power.

  48. @izen
    I’ve heard people say they will not apply to a position in the Trump Administration. I’ve heard people say they will not accept when a position is offered. I’ve heard Obama staffers says they will resign in January, before their contract ends. I’ve heard people talk about broken friendships should one of their mates take up a position.

    Same happened in the Bush years, but it seems stronger now. This should be resisted. If anyone needs advice and restraint, it’s Trump.

  49. John Hartz says:

    Richard Tol:

    I’ve heard Obama staffers says they will resign in January, before their contract ends.

    The US President’s staff serves at the pleasure of the President. There are no contracts.

    Trump, however, may require all of his appontees to sign a non-disclosure statement as he has done in his business empire.

    Barring an unforeseen event, Trump will be sworn in as President on Jan 20th — a day that may very well go down in infamy..

  50. Rick,

    But why it is warming is still an open question – no matter how settled the Left thought this was.

    That it is mostly us is not simply what the Left thinks, it is what the relevant scientific community thinks.

  51. Steven Mosher says:

    “Same happened in the Bush years, but it seems stronger now. This should be resisted. If anyone needs advice and restraint, it’s Trump.

    The divestment mentality ( think virtue signalling) is strong with the left of center crowd.

  52. Steven Mosher says:

    “The science will be the same – but how it will be looked at will change.”

    Unless he withdraws from IPCC, Ar6 will have a Trump Brand

    the right will own every last word of the document.

    Best is to stay engaged.

  53. Steven Mosher says:

    “However, if an administration choses to surround themselves with those who hold minority views, how can others present their advice? ”

    MFR

    when you are an underling and the boss above you is ignoring your advice or playing games..

    you MFR

    Bosses hate MFR especially when they have a duty to preserve all records

    Its about all you can do

  54. I think that there is a window of opportunity, now that the Republicans have all 3 branches of power, with a “change” president, but before they set their policy direction in stone, for them to realign their position on climate change to better match scientific reality. Trump certainly has the capability to face down any blowback for changing his position on this – heck, it’s the perfect story about how only he can fix the mess that 30 years of Washington has been unable to solve.

    I think that anyone (scientist or other) who has the opportunity to influence the new regime should be trying to figure out strategies that fit with the political reality of Republican control over all 3 branches. The scope for federal action is wider, not only in the direction of propping up coal/oil/gas but also in the other direction – there are “republican friendly” policy positions that can form part of an effective climate change response.

    The Republicans have an opportunity now to get out of the corner they are boxed into with climate change denialism (a corner which will only get smaller in the future) and take over a broader position that is compatible with physical reality and allows for them to define and promote solutions that fit in with their philosophy (and I don’t think this is impossible – conservative parties around the world have managed this; Republicans in past decades have managed this).

  55. John Hartz says:

    William Thorpe: Unfortumnately Donald Trump and his inner circle are all idealogues about the need to mitigate manamde climate change. You are a rational thinker, they are not.

    To better understand my point, I recommend that you carefully read:

    9 Infuriating Things You Need to Know About the Man Donald Trump Is Appointing to Protect the Environment by Laura Beck, Cosmopolitan, Nov 12, 2016

  56. Steven Mosher says:

    Sorry. ..what William said

  57. I did wonder 🙂

    I certainly don’t disagree; I think it would be good if more engaged with finding ways to address these issues. I’m just not confident that it is likely to happen any time soon. More than happy to be proven wrong.

  58. Nick says:

    “Unless he withdraws from IPCC, Ar6 will have a Trump Brand
    the right will own every last word of the document.”
    No, they won’t, because the process just doesn’t enable it.
    Any divergence between SPM and chapters will be obvious.
    Any attempt at message shaping is always a subject of attention.

  59. Willard says:

    > MFR

    Marine Forces Reserve, Minimum Funding Requirement, Managing for Results,
    Memorandum For Record, Multifunction Radar, Marine Force Recon, Multi Frequency Receiver, Mobile Force Reserve, Mission Fired Report, Material Failure Report, Maintenance Fault Reporting, Maximum Fragment Range, Manipulator Foot Restraint, or Military Flight Release?

    My vote would go to 140-characters memos.

  60. John Hartz says:

    The Alt-right will reign supreme in the Trump inner circle. He just appointed Stave Bannon to be his chief strategitst and senior counsleor. Bannon served as CEO of Trump’s election campaign.
    Prior to that he was CEO of Brietbart News which is the leading mouthpiece for the Alt-right in the US. If you are not aware, Brierbart recently expanded its reach by creating the Brietbat UK website. James Delingpole now works for Brietbart UK.

  61. Willard says:

    Deferring Donald could listen to this guy:

  62. Willard says:

    > Prior to that he was CEO of Brietbart News which is the leading mouthpiece for the Alt-right in the US.

    That the alt-right identifies with teh Donald more than any otter doesn’t imply teh Donald identifies with the alt-right.

    Guilt by association has limits.

  63. dave s says:

    The Admiral advises …. “The climate community has a huge challenge ahead, to frame this issue in a way that will resonate with the likely president-elect. It may not be possible but it would be negligent to not even try.”
    David Titley in
    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/what-climate-experts-think-of-trumps-win-20860

  64. BBD says:

    But, but…

    America’s environmental agenda will be guided by true specialists in conservation, not those with radical political agendas.

    So:

    The Trump Administration will make America energy independent.

    […]

    In fact, America possesses more combined coal, oil, and natural gas resources than any other nation on Earth. These resources represent trillions of dollars in economic output and countless American jobs, particularly for the poorest Americans.

    It’ll be interesting to see how people in high places react to being told that they don’t know nuffin. Deffering Donald will have to shine.

  65. John Hartz says:

    To better undertand why Stephen Bannon should scare the bejesus out of everyone who values democaracy, read:

    The Radical Anti-Conservatism of Stephen Bannon by Conor Friedersdorf, Atlantic, Aug 25, 2016

    The sub-headline of the above story:

    Donald Trump’s campaign manager wants to destroy the left. And the GOP nominee is just the most recent vessel of convenience in his consequences-be-damned crusade.

  66. izen says:

    @-William Thorpe
    “I think that there is a window of opportunity, now that the Republicans have all 3 branches of power, with a “change” president, but before they set their policy direction in stone, for them to realign their position on climate change to better match scientific reality.”

    I admire your optimism.
    And there is some historical precedent for right-wing parties to enact progressive policies that would have been impossible for a left wing party to do because of the opposition. A flip-flop on climate from the Trump presidency, if followed by the congress and senate would certainly meet little Democratic opposition.

    Unfortunately Historical precedent also gives a clear indication of how a Trump presidency may manage science.
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/408236/the-anti-science-president/
    “July 12, 2007
    The news just gets worse about how politics has trumped science throughout the current White House administration’s tenure. Pick a topic–embryonic stem cells, global warming, mercury levels in the environment–and on each one, this administration has denied science when it interfered with the president’s ideology.”

    I suspect vehement pledges to boycott Trump are virtue signalling that would be overridden on grounds of moral pragmatism if the opportunity to provide a solid science evidence base was on offer. That has not been evident in the way congress and senate have acted during the last presidential administration. I doubt a Trump presidency is going to improve matters.
    It seems to be encouraging some ‘lukewarmers’ to retreat a stage back from;-
    Its warming,
    Its us,
    It may not be serious…
    to doubting it IS us.

    @Willard
    “Guilt by association has limits.”

    How about follow the money ?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Mercer_(businessman)

  67. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    ==> That the alt-right identifies with teh Donald more than any otter doesn’t imply teh Donald identifies with the alt-right. ==>

    Seems to me that hiring Bannon as “chief strategist” is a pretty clear statement of identifying with the alt-right.

  68. Willard says:

    > Seems to me that hiring Bannon as “chief strategist” is a pretty clear statement of identifying with the alt-right.

    Yet teh Donald hired Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff. If there’s something Donald should have teached anyone who followed the circus so far, it’s that Donald identifies first and foremost with teh Donald. He’ll associate himself with anyone he can exploit.

    So I see hiring Bannon as a Realpolitik move. He gets himself some air time at Breitbart’s. This offers an intriguing feedback loop of eyeballs for both sides, and gets teh Donald some leverage against Roger Ailes’ Fox News.

    I’ve started a new gig, BTW –

    https://donaldsomething.wordpress.com/

  69. John Hartz says:

    More about Steve Bannon and the Alt-right…

    What is there left to say about the alt-right? Let’s just start with the basics.

    Their numbers are hard to quantify, but they have a large social media presence, particularly on Twitter, which they use to harass journalists and conservatives, particularly Jewish ones. They’re fond of internet memes, have their own little shibboleths (such as their tactic of putting parenthesis around the names of Jewish users​), and are generally young, white, and male.

    They also have a presidential candidate they love, Donald Trump, and a conservative news site of their own: Breitbart, which up until a couple days ago was run by new Trump consigliere SteveBannon​.

    Bannon’s Breitbart distinguished itself from the rest of the conservative media in two significant ways this cycle. The first was becoming a mouthpiece for Trump while other, older conservative periodicals were declaring war on him​. The second was through their embrace of the alt-right, which mainstream conservatives tend to abhor.

    Steve Bannon and the alt-right: a primer by Will Rahn, CBS News, Aug 19, 2016

  70. John Hartz says:

    Willard: Donald is not a deep thinker on any topic. Bannon will be able to continue to manipulate him just as he has done since becoming CEO of Truimp’s campaign in August. Donals has been an avid reader of Brietbart for quite some time and will continue to do so in the Oval Office.

  71. Joshua says:

    Yes, it’s a Realpolitik move. No doubt. He’s going with what clearly worked. Saying it is a clear identification with the alt-right isn’t assigning guilt by association, it’s assigning association by association.

    It doesn’t imply that he exclusively identifies with the alt-right, but that he is more than willing to exploit the act of identifying with the alt-right for political advantage. That’s part of the reason to appoint Bannon.

  72. Mal Adapted says:

    RickA:

    But why it is warming is still an open question – no matter how settled the Left thought this was.

    Once again, RickA confirms that his motive for commenting on climate science blogs is culture war, and has nothing to do with science. For RickA, to accept the scientific consensus for anthropogenic global warming would be to give ground to “the Left”. He’s determined not to let that happen, not on his watch!

    It’s still mysterious to me just how a physical phenomenon so redundantly verified by multiple lines of empirical evidence and ineluctable logic, with such clear significance for literally everyone on Earth, became so strongly associated with “the Left”. That’s apparently not a problem for RickA; he simply takes it as given.

  73. Willard says:

    JH,

    Bannon is a nationalist. While nationalism is almost impossible to define (I’m a Quebecer and have a fairly solid background on that question), many aspects of teh Donald’s nationalism ain’t alt-right per se. Right-wing populism clashes with alt-right’s elitism, for instance.

    In that respect, teh Donald could change the alt-right’s branding, say by replacing “white” with “American.” It could also reorient Breitbart’s to fit his own program. Just like IKEA transforms the producers it contracts by the sheer size of its demand.

    Perhaps more importantly, Breitbart’s is an anti-establishment outlet that promotes the Fight for Freedom. It thus appeals to cultural libertarians, a faction of Freedom Fighters that have more in common with Bernie Bros than (say) the KKK.

    Let’s not forget that political parties are coalitions, which means any analysis that reduces them to a specific set of beliefs is doomed to failure.

  74. John Hartz says:

    Willard: You really need to read what’s posted on Brietbart news.

  75. Willard says:

    Thank you for your unsollicited advice, JH.

    Not only do I read Breitbart’s, but I exchange with those who cite it.

    If you accept that teh Donald suffers from narcissism, then it makes little sense to pontificate on his belief system. Narcissists don’t have deep values. Their hollowness makes them borrow the ones that increase eyeballs toward them.

    It’s hard to win an ad hominem slugfest against conservatives. Expressing indignation allows the “you poor snowflake” parry. Just look at Judy’s comment thread. Hurling “you’re racist” invites shirt ripping:

    [Deflecting Donald] called the ad shameful. He accused Clinton of hurling insults to deflect from a recent batch of embarrassing emails that sparked new questions about her ethics while secretary of state.

    She lies, and she smears, and she paints decent Americans — you — as racists,” he told supporters.

    Even if you could win a food fight against a Donald fan, it may be self-defeating.

    In doubt, revisit any episode you want from last election cycle.

    ***

    What you could say, though, is that teh Donald (or Bannon) promotes stuff that the alt-right buys. You could say that he dogwhistles reactionary values, or that he endorses (by retweeting) supremacist narratives.

    We might never know who teh Donald really is.

    We have a fairly good idea of what he does.

  76. John Hartz says:

    Willard: More on Steve Bannon and Brietbart News…:

    Bannon’s views often echo those of his devoted followers. He describes Islam as “a political ideology” and Sharia law as “like Nazism, fascism, and communism.” On his Sirius XM radio show, he heaped praise on Pamela Geller, whose American Freedom Defense Initiative has been labeled an anti-Muslim hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Bannon called her “one of the leading experts in the country, if not the world,” on Islam. And he basically endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan’s primary challenger, businessman Paul Nehlen, who floated the idea of deporting all Muslims from the United States.

    During our interview, Bannon took credit for fomenting “this populist nationalist movement” long before Trump came on the scene. He credited Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)—a Trump endorser and confidant who has suggested that civil rights advocacy groups were “un-American” and “Communist-inspired”—with laying the movement’s groundwork. Bannon also pointed to his own films, which include a Sarah Palin biopic and an “exposé” of the Occupy movement, as “very nationalistic films.” Trump, he said, “is very late to this party.”

    How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists by Sarah Posner, Mother Jones, Aug 22, 2016

  77. Willard says:

    > More on Steve Bannon and Brietbart News…:

    I already cited it, JH.

    Pray tell more about reading more.

  78. John Hartz says:

    Willard: My apologies. I did not notice the link you had embedded in the word nationalist.

  79. John Hartz says:

    This from another of Trump’s key campaign advisors, Stephen Moore,,,

    And few things about the Obama era rankle Moore worse than climate change measures and the shrinking of the American coal mining industry. ‘Obama has put tens of thousands of our coal miners out of work. These are great middle-class workers. Hillary and Obama had this ludicrous idea that the government would build 500million solar panels. What are you talking about? We’ve got the cheapest natural gas in 100 years. We should be producing every single barrel of oil we’ve got, producing as much coal as we can and producing as much natural gas as we can and become an energy superpower.’

    As for the Paris Accords on climate change under which governments have agreed to cut carbon emissions, Moore is blunt: ‘That is the stupidest agreement ever. You are not going to solve climate change by government. It happens through technological change, through economic growth and new technologies, not through Stalinistic regulations.’

    Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-3930382/Defy-Stalinist-global-warming-rules-burn-coal-says-Trump-s-key-economic-adviser.html#ixzz4PwJE464S

  80. Nick says:

    Bannon-Trump, the dilletante psychopath ticket…it does not seem any more complex than that, while being a massive problem.

  81. Steven Mosher says:

    “If you accept that teh Donald suffers from narcissism, then it makes little sense to pontificate on his belief system. Narcissists don’t have deep values. Their hollowness makes them borrow the ones that increase eyeballs toward them.”

    funny how people forget that

  82. Steven Mosher says:

  83. John Hartz says:

    More about Steve Bannon…

    Less than a week after Trump’s electoral victory, many reporters still seem confused about just what will come from a Trump administration. If they want to know what Trump truly has in mind for the country, they need to look at Bannon and his bigoted website.

    A White Nationalist Who Hates Jews Will Be Trump’s Right-Hand Man In The White House by Zachary Pleat, Media Matters for America, Nov 13, 2015

  84. Willard says:

    If what Mr. Pleat says is correct, then teh Donald might have some negotiating to do with his cadre of financiers.

    An interesting distinction:

    “I would make a distinction between the Alt Right (the movement with which I’m associated, and which is connected to nationalism, identitarianism, race-realism, etc.) and what could be called “Alt-Right Lite” (Breitbreit etc.). Alt Right Lite is not really a watering down of the Alt-Right so much as it represents a convergence. Bannon and Breitbart.com are not coming from the same place that I am; they’ve probably never heard of the term ‘identitarian’ nor read a word of the French New Right nor thought about the reality of race or critiques of Zionism too seriously.

    The guy who speaks in that quote is Richard Spencer.

    Let’s bear in mind that Bannon replaces Paul Manafort. Had I to pick up a fight between a mediatic clown or an oligarchic friend, I’d pick the clown.

  85. izen says:

    @-W
    “We might never know who teh Donald really is.”

    ‘Speak to the organ grinder not the monkey’ (Trad)

    Robert Mercer has positioned himself as a bit of a Republican rebel, a climate skeptic who distrusts government and shuns the traditional nexus between politics and the financial industry. He has invested heavily in the conservative media outlet breitbart.com despite the fact that he is personally loathe to speak with the press. It seems clear, though, that he’s motivated by ideology in addition to business interests.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/features/2016-01-20/what-kind-of-man-spends-millions-to-elect-ted-cruz-

    “Mercer is the biggest single donor in the race. Working with his daughter Rebekah, he’s spent tens of millions more to advance a conservative agenda, investing in think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, the media outlet Breitbart.com, and Cambridge Analytica, a data company that builds psychological profiles of voters. Groups he funds have attacked the science of global warming, published a book critical of Hillary Clinton, and bankrolled a documentary celebrating Ayn Rand.

    A surprising amount of Mercer’s attention and money finds its way to some of the most unusual fringes of the right wing. He’s attended and funded an annual conference organized by Jane Orient, an Arizona physician and activist who recently suggested in an opinion article that elements in the U.S. government might have taken part in the San Bernardino massacre. Mercer money also found its way to an Idaho activist named Fred Kelly Grant, who travels the country encouraging legal challenges to environmental laws, which he says are part of a sinister plot by the United Nations to depopulate rural America.”

    The alt-right are just the astro-turf useful idiots putting a populist gloss on dark money interests.

  86. izen says:

    @-W
    “So I see hiring Bannon as a Realpolitik move”

    Trump did not hire Bannon.
    Bannon was appointed by Bannon’s long-time paymaster and Trump’s financial backer.

  87. Nick says:

    Not a lot of swamp drainage skills in the Trump backers catalog…I guess that Alt-Right nag is a bit saddle sore after being ridden into Washington by Sneaky Steve Bannon

  88. John Hartz says:

    Izen:

    I presume that you are referring to Robert and Rebekah Mercer.

    From a Washington Post profile of their role in the Trump campaign…

    Galvanized in part by the Republicans’ 2012 White House loss, the middle daughter of billionaire hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer has rattled the status quo by directing her family’s resources into an array of investments on the right. In the past six years, the Mercers have poured tens of millions into Republican super PACs, Washington think tanks, state policy shops, a film-production company, a data analytics operation and one of the country’s most provocative online conservative news outlets.

    This year, Rebekah Mercer has emerged as a heavyweight presidential player, leading a super PAC financed by her father that was the biggest outside benefactor of Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) during the Republican primaries.

    After Donald Trump clinched the nomination, the Mercers rallied to his side. Their imprint is now evident on the real estate developer’s campaign, which is led by three close associates who ran Mercer-funded enterprises: former Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen Bannon, pollster Kellyanne Conway and Citizens United President David Bossie.

    Meanwhile, Rebekah Mercer has taken up the day-to-day management of her family’s super PAC, which is producing a string of searing ads attacking Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

    Mercer exemplifies a new breed of activist donors that has risen since the Supreme Court kicked off a flood of big money into elections in 2010. As one of the most influential figures in Trump’s orbit, she threatens to undercut the candidate’s insistence that he is free from the influence of elite contributors. And her access shows how donors can easily move between a campaign and a super PAC that is supposed to operate independently.

    The rise of GOP mega-donor Rebekah Mercer by Matea Gold, Washington Post, Sep 14, 2016

  89. Steven Mosher says:

    Its hard to do better than Milo on the Alt Right

    http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/03/29/an-establishment-conservatives-guide-to-the-alt-right/

    And of course my ole friend..

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/

    interesting group.

  90. angech says:

    Steven Mosher says: November 13, 2016 at 8:07 pm
    “However, if an administration chooses to surround themselves with those who hold minority views, how can others present their advice? ”
    MFR
    Memorandum for record I think he means for anyone who was worried out there.
    ATTP, is there concern that Trump might prosecute climate scientists for doing their jobs?

  91. Willard says:

  92. angech,

    ATTP, is there concern that Trump might prosecute climate scientists for doing their jobs?

    I don’t really know. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried, but I doubt he would succeed.

  93. izen says:

    @-angtech
    “… is there concern that Trump might prosecute climate scientists for doing their jobs?”

    Probably not.
    the evidence from the GW Bush administration is that the suppression of politically inconvenient science can be achieved by controlling their public statements and communications and de-funding any ‘problematic’ research. Ecology may be hardest hit because it is most likely to reveal climate damage and harm from the proposed de-regulation.

    Obsessing over whether the Alt-Right has infiltrated the GOP misses the point.

    Bannon and Breibart are not part of any real Alt-Right, Nationalist or Identarist movement. Although they have sought such grass roots groups as their audience.

    Breibart and Bannon are astro-turf. Whether the opinions they espouse and support are an accurate reflection of the man funding them is uncertain. Some of the rhetoric may be click-bait. However it is difficult to dismiss all the anti-science and crank economics as unrelated to the interests of the backer.

  94. Sadly I think there are those who are already too partisan to work with anybody that doesn’t already agree with them:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/11/11/gore-offers-to-work-with-trump-on-climate/

    Lets hope the Trump administration is a bit more reasonable.

  95. John Hartz says:

    Here’s what Republican moderates who don’t toe the line on rejecting the reality of manmade climate change are up against.

    Last week, Republican Kelly Ayotte narrowly lost her U.S Senate seat in New Hampshire to Democratic challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan. Although Hassan’s victory is good news for the lone 48 Democratic Senators standing up to a Republican majority and President-elect Donald Trump, Ayotte’s loss means that the GOP senators have one less member who believes that human activity causes climate change.

    Sen. Ayotte is no environmentalist, per se. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) gives her a dismal lifetime score of Submit35 percent for her environmental scorecard. However, as a Republican Senator who actually believes in climate change and one who voted in favor of President Obama’s historic Clean Power Plan, she’s somewhat of a unicorn.

    Even though the majority of Americans accept the scientific consensus that climate change is real, a majority of Republicans in office do not. A Submitreport from the Center for American Progress Action Fund found that 59 percent of the House Republican caucus and 70 percent of Senate Republicans refuse to accept this reality.

    Why? Let’s follow the money. Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries have played an outsized role in opposing climate change legislation. Their deep-pocketed network has dumped wild sums of money on conservative causes and campaigns, with more than $88 million in traceable funding to groups attacking climate change science, policy and regulation.

    So did Ayotte’s against-the-grain views cost her a set of billionaire oil barons? The Intercept’s Alleen Brown argues that the former incumbent’s cost her millions in campaign funding.

    Here’s What Happens When You’re a Republican and You Defy the Koch Brothers by Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, Nov 13, 2016

  96. verytallguy says:

    I think there is a genuine dilemma as to whether not just scientists, but *anyone* should cooperate with Trump.

    Is cooperating in order to minimise the impact, or refusing to normalise Trump by cooperating right?

    I don’t think there is an easy answer, but personally, I think Merkel has this balance right:

    Germany and America are connected by values of democracy, freedom, and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or political views.

    I offer the next President of the United States close cooperation on the basis of these values.

    John Oliver’s take on normalising is also good.

    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/nov/14/john-oliver-trump-wins-election-last-week-tonight

  97. I’ll give it a go ;o)

  98. John Hartz says:

    Another critical commentary on the Brietbart appointment:

    *The Breitbartization of America’s executive branch: Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign was alarming enough. The fact that he’s now moving into the West Wing to help guide the direction of the nation’s executive branch is, without a doubt, is a stark-raving-mad development.

    As NBC News’ report noted, “Under Bannon, Breitbart.com has embraced racist conspiracy theories and become what Bannon termed ‘a platform for the alt-right.’” Those who’ve accused Bannon’s enterprise of anti-Semitism and racism have done so with cause.

    There’s a school of thought, which I’ve never found persuasive, that says Trump isn’t a racist; he simply used racism as a tool, exploiting foolish voters’ hatreds to advance his ambitions. If this argument were true, Trump would’ve used Bannon’s extremism during the campaign, only to discard him once the votes were counted.

    Except, Trump’s done the opposite. He not only allowed Bannon to guide some of the most jaw-dropping nonsense from his campaign messaging, he’s now invited this extremist to be a senior counselor – with nearly unparalleled access – to a U.S. president.

    If you’re not worried, you’re not paying close enough attention.

    Trump makes cringe-worthy moves with top White House hires by Steve Benen, The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, Nov 14, 2016

  99. Steven Mosher says:

    John Oliver?

  100. Willard says:

  101. russellseitz says:

    Willard, the Troglodyte Narrrative was evidently bad enough to deserve a sequel:

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-troglodyte-narrative-did-not-work.html

  102. Steven Mosher says:

    its so funny you guys are falling for the “racist” framing twice.
    and still listening to the same people who got it wrong.

    ah yes, the virtues of a liberal education

  103. Steven Mosher says:

    yes angech

    MFR. memo for the record

  104. John Hartz says:

    Here’s another aspect of the Trump Presidency that cannot be ignored or swept under the rug…

    Last October, on a conservative talk radio show, Donald Trump said this: “I hear so much about the [National Institutes of Health], and it’s terrible.”

    Think about that for a second. The National Institutes of Health spends $32.3 billion a year on medical research. It saves lives. Its researchers have vastly advanced our understanding of diseases like cancer and diabetes.

    Though there is much that is uncertain about how Trump, president-elect of the United States, will govern and what it will mean for the future of our most critical science issues, he has a long history of casting doubt and ginning up conspiracy theories about scientific facts and institutions. He’s called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. He’s suggested he believes the thoroughly debunked link between vaccines and autism. He’s selected a noted climate change denier to lead the transition of the Environmental Protection Agency (which he has said he might abolish). He wants the US to withdraw from the Paris climate deal, which he can effectively do.

    “He seems like he’ll be a pretty clearly anti-science president,” says Fred Guterl, executive editor of Scientific American, which ran a scathing editorial against Trump. “Perhaps our first.” As the prestigious scientific journal Nature put it, “Trump is a demagogue not fit for high office, or for the responsibilities that come with it.”

    That’s gravely concerning, considering how much power the president has to direct health and science policy in America.

    As president, Trump will shape the future of science. And scientists are worried. by Brian Resnick, Vox, Nov 10, 2016

  105. Joshua says:

    So funny that Ben Shapiro is falling for the “racist framing.” must be his liberal education.

  106. Steven Mosher says:

    Too funny joshua. Ben was flat out wrong about fields.
    Lies about milo.. sour grapes. Who would trust him?
    Liberal education doesn’t mean what you think it means.

  107. Steven Mosher says:

    But Seriously Joshua if you want to use ben as your authority???

    http://www.dailywire.com/news/10770/3-thoughts-steve-bannon-white-house-chief-ben-shapiro#

    Is Bannon Anti-Semitic And Racist? I have no evidence that Bannon’s a racist or that he’s an anti-Semite;

    Smart enough not to fall for the racist framing I suppose

  108. Joshua says:

    ==> would trust him? ==>

    Good point, Steven. No one who is convinced that Bannon isn’t a racist would trust Shapiro when he says (based on first hand information) , Bannon is a racist (or comments on Milo or has an opinion about what happened with Fields).

    Or no one who isn’t omnicient line yourself and has supernatural power for sniffing out sour grapes.

    Confirmation bias is confirming, Steven.

  109. Joshua says:

    ==> Is Bannon Anti-Semitic And Racist? I have no evidence that Bannon’s a racist or that he’s an anti-Semite; ==>

    Of course you don’t. We knew that before you said anything on the topic.

    And you have such skills in anti-semeticism sleuthing. After all, you were able to sniff out my anti-semeticism, remember?

  110. Joshua says:

    Oy. antisemitism.

    BTW, Giuliani isn’t racist either, neither is David Duke for that matter.

  111. Joshua says:

    Oh, and Bannon is also deeply opposed to the media-government complex, and successfully fought off the danger of a foreign-born president.

  112. Joshua says:

    Open question to anyone interested in answering openly…(i. e., don’t bother, Steven) what is the difference between the beliefs of the alt-right and the beliefs of white supremacists?

  113. Joshua says:

    My bad

    ==> when he says (based on first hand information) , Bannon is a racist openly embraces racists (racism) and Antisemites (antisemitism).

  114. Joshua says:

    Is Steve Bannon a wife beater or sexual harasser? I have no evidence that Bannon hits or harasses women.

    https://www.google.com/amp/m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_582a1b0ee4b060adb56fbc71/amp?client=ms-android-verizon

  115. Willard says:

    There is a special section on Black Crime at Breitbart’s.

    That doesn’t mean Bannon is racist. For instance, we all know that he previously worked at Goldman Sachs.

  116. JCH says:

    Based upon modern rules, racism cannot exist.

  117. Roger Jones says:

    Forgive me if someone has suggested it, but the Grauniad op-ed might be a job application

  118. Matt B says:

    Well, Mosher may / may not be correct on Bannon’s enlightenment towards his fellow man, but I remain impressed with his powers of deduction from the Great Heartland Caper of 2012; it was Peter Gleick in the office with the fax machine. Dick Freakin Tracy….

  119. Willard says:

    Speaking of enlightenment:

    In a talk for the Third International Conference on Human Dignity, organized by a Christian NGO called the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, Bannon railed against a “form of capitalism that is taken away from the underlying spiritual and moral foundations of Christianity and — really — Judeo-Christian beliefs.”

    His argument almost could have been cribbed from Slavoj Žižek’s The Puppet and the Dwarf. Bannon explicitly defined two strands of this supposedly new and perverted form of capitalism, distinct from “enlightened capitalism.” First, the “state-sponsored capitalism” found in repressive regimes like China; second, the “Ayn Rand or the Objectivist school of libertarian capitalism.”

    Start here:

    This time, we should hope that Bannon doesn’t really believe what he’s saying.

  120. Steven Mosher says:

    “Is Steve Bannon a wife beater or sexual harasser? I have no evidence that Bannon hits or harasses women.”

    Hmm. He is in the car, she comes out of the house and asks for an american express card to
    buy groceries. he says use a check. She spits on him. he grabs her wrist and then her neck.
    She declines protective services.

    lovely couple there.

    Could also be another Carlos Danger who knows?

  121. Steven Mosher says:

    “what is the difference between the beliefs of the alt-right and the beliefs of white supremacists?”

    Milo gives you a pretty good guide to the 1488ers and there overlap with the alt-right

    my guess is that you never spent too much time in any “alt” groups… strange land and strange
    bedfellows..

    nothing beats original research.. dont expect us to do your homework for you

  122. Steven Mosher says:

    “Well, Mosher may / may not be correct on Bannon’s enlightenment towards his fellow man”

    I form no judgement on the man.

    What I do note is that some folks continue to fall for the easy framing..

    to the point where they cite ben shapiro without reading the full body of his work..

    Mostly I enjoy reading kneejerk scholarship.

    Just from a pragmatic standpoint the racist/anti semite.homophobe/islamophobe stuff
    has been worn out. What do I mean by that? Simple.. the terms have been used so loosely
    and so frequently that they have lost their meaning.. like a coin that has been passed around so much that all the markings of authenticity are rubbed away…

    Related…. the other day a conservative talk host suggested that his listeners label everything
    demovrats do as ‘racist’.. why is simple.. to sap the term of its remaining meaning.. ah well.

    The analog is godwin’s law.

    you can thank me for my concerns.

  123. Steven Mosher says:

    “==> Is Bannon Anti-Semitic And Racist? I have no evidence that Bannon’s a racist or that he’s an anti-Semite; ==>

    Of course you don’t. We knew that before you said anything on the topic.

    And you have such skills in anti-semeticism sleuthing. After all, you were able to sniff out my anti-semeticism, remember?

    #################

    “==> Is Bannon Anti-Semitic And Racist? I have no evidence that Bannon’s a racist or that he’s an anti-Semite; ==>

    THAT WAS A QUOTE FROM BEN SHAPIRO —-EINSTEIN

  124. Steven Mosher says:

    Too funny..

    Joshua quotes Ben Shapiro as his source of authority on Bannon and then fails to read the followup article that I linked to and quoted from

    here Joshua.. the longer quote from the source you used..

    “That decision paid off for Bannon – in August, he became Trump’s campaign “CEO.” At that point, I wrote this piece describing who Bannon was, and this one for The Washington Post describing his probable impact on the campaign.

    With Bannon’s accession to a top White House role, it’s time to answer some brief questions about the man and what he’s likely to do.

    Is Bannon Anti-Semitic And Racist? I have no evidence that Bannon’s a racist or that he’s an anti-Semite; the Huffington Post’s blaring headline “WHITE NATIONALIST IN THE WHITE HOUSE” is overstated, at the very least. With that said, as I wrote at The Washington Post in August, Bannon has openly embraced the racist and anti-Semitic alt-right – he called his Breitbart “the platform of the alt-right.” Milo Yiannopoulos, the star writer at the site, is an alt-right popularizer, even as he continuously declares with a wink that he’s not a member. The left’s opposition to Trump, and their attempts to declare all Trump support the alt-right have obfuscated what the movement is. The movement isn’t all Trump supporters. It’s not conservatives unsatisfied with Paul Ryan, nor is it people angry at the media. Bannon knows that. He’s a smart man, not an ignorant one. The alt-right, in a nutshell, believes that Western culture is inseparable from European ethnicity.

  125. Steven Mosher says:

    To recount

    Joshua “So funny that Ben Shapiro is falling for the “racist framing.” must be his liberal education.”

    What shapiro actually said:

    “Is Bannon Anti-Semitic And Racist? I have no evidence that Bannon’s a racist or that he’s an anti-Semite; the Huffington Post’s blaring headline “WHITE NATIONALIST IN THE WHITE HOUSE” is overstated, at the very least. ”

    Its not that hard Joshua. Shapiro may tell porkies about Milo, but he doesnt fall for the racist framing of bannon..

  126. Steven Mosher says:

  127. Steven Mosher says:

    short version

  128. Magma says:

    Mods take the evening off and S:N → 0

    And that’s why we can’t have nice things.

  129. Mods take the evening off and S:N → 0

    Yes, this has turned into a rather odd comment thread. I will endeavour to include an equation in my next post.

  130. Roger,

    Forgive me if someone has suggested it, but the Grauniad op-ed might be a job application

    I don’t think it’s been suggested here, but it certainly seems to be a possibility.

  131. izen says:

    @-SM
    “Bannon knows that. He’s a smart man, not an ignorant one.”

    He is also a paid hack whose job is to be the public face presenting views that presumably chime with his reclusive backer.

    Breibart is not a profitable enterprise. It may not be expensive, Milo Y and Delingpole might write for peanuts(?), but it is not a vehicle for the ideology of Bannon nor it is Bannon or the alt-right that is funding it.

    Giving a job to someone who is unqualified except for the fact they are the chosen representative of your biggest funder is not a new phenomena in US politics. They usually last until they do something so egregious they have to be promoted sideways. Or are eliminated in the internal faction fights between the various groups who think they should have exclusive influence over the direction of the presidency.
    Await the fallout from a conflict between the Trump family and friends, the GOP establishment and the Mercer radical right. Very few in the Trump circle have any interest in promoting white European ethnicity, it is too divisive and has little economic benefit. But not all will be in favour of eliminating income tax, reducing federal government to only overseeing military and homeland security, outlawing unions and re-introducing the Gold standard after abolishing the federal reserve bank.

  132. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    ==> Its not that hard Joshua. ==>

    No, it’s not. He said that he doesn’t know that Bannon is a racist or antisemite, only that Bannon openly embraces racism and antisemitism. And that’s not falling for the “racist framing.”

    ==> lovely couple there. ==>

    Yes. She deserved it. And the phone probably broke itself onto pieces (right after it dialed 911 itself) .

    You’re employing the same kind of plausible deniability that enables Bannon. We don’t know that Bannon is a racist or antisemite, only that he promoted a powerful mouthpiece for racism and antisemitism. We don’t know that Trump is a liar and demagogue, only that he was a leader of the birther movement. We don’t know that he assaulted women, only that he bragged about doing do. The list is endless.

    ==> I form no judgement on the man.==>

    My point, exactly. He ran an openly racist and and antisemitic website, and you form NO JUDGEMENT of the man. Now. THAT’S too funny.

  133. Joshua says:

    Funny to hear Milo talk about cultures of victimhood with no apparent sense of irony.

  134. Joshua says:

    ==> Mods take the evening off and S:N → 0. ==>

    Apologies for my part in that.

  135. JCH says:

    A friend of my daughter teaches kindergarten in a Texas grade school. On the morning after the election most of the kids in his classroom, mostly kids with brownish skin, were crying uncontrollably. They are terrorized because their parents are terrorized.

    Texas has hung out a sign beckoning the people of Mexico to swim across the river and work for Texans, of all colors, for as long as there have been white people living here.

    I look out this morning at the only house in my neighborhood I know of, 144 upper middle class homes behind a our beautiful brick wall, that put up a sign before the election: Trump Pence. The sign is still there. What is going on? Since the election a crew of Mexicans has mowed their yard, and a Mexican maid has cleaned their house.

  136. Joshua says:

    Always of dubious value to go Godwin, but I wonder when we last saw someone exploit a culture of victimhood on the scale that Bannon (an Trump) has done so?

    Don’t forget, there would be no problems related to climate change policy development if only those poopyheads would stop calling us poopyheads.

  137. Marco says:

    “…but I wonder when we last saw someone exploit a culture of victimhood on the scale that Bannon (an Trump) has done so”

    Recently? Some countries in the Middle East (and Africa) come to mind…

  138. Joshua says:

    Marco –

    What examples are you referring to? Perhaps the Hutus and the Tutsis? What were you thinking of in the ME?

  139. Willard says:

    > He ran an openly racist and and antisemitic website, and you form NO JUDGEMENT of the man.

    Come on, Joshua. We’re still far from being able to say that what Bannon said or did so far makes it hard to defend him anymore.

    Unless:

    We could say that Bannon’s involvement in Big Government makes it hard to defend his Goldilocks story of an enlightened capitalism.

  140. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    I must say, I am very impressed with Milo’s “virility” in self-victimizing about “framing” as a racist and antisemite, while “openly embrac[ing]” racism and antisemitism.

    –snip–

    On the subject of how he would handle ISIS if elected president, Trump said, “I’d bomb the shit of ‘em!”. This kind of overt bravado and rhetoric is extremely important to the alt-right as strength and “virility” are one of the core elements among almost all of the various groups that compose the alt-right. Whether it is the white supremacists, the nativists or neo-pagans, these groups are generally traditionalists or cultural revivalists in some sense. This means that, for the most part, the alt-right actively supports (or at least disapproves of what they see as left-wing attacks on) traditional social binaries. Of particular concern to these many groups is what they consider the erosion of manly virtue. This hyper-obsession with virility manifests itself as support for a strong military defense, criminal law, disdain for feminism and political correctness, and a love of all things that celebrate masculinity. A National Review article on the movement points out that this obsession with the virile seemingly borders on the homoerotic at times. Strangely enough, many alt-righters openly acknowledge and celebrate the intersection of the virile and homoerotic.

    –snip–

    That last part about homoeroticism is “hard to defend,” but the article is interesting:

    http://www.brockpress.com/2016/03/the-rise-of-the-alternative-alt-right/

    Particularly interesting, IMO, is this whole “virile masculinity” aspect.

    Check this out:

    I don’t know that Richard Spencer is a sexist….after all, he ‘prolly just doesn’t want to paper-over the differences between men and women – in the way that Milo is concerned about.

  141. Joshua says:

    Also good, IMO (hope you don’t consider this spamming, Anders).

    http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/investigations/politicsandgovernment/2284/meet_the_'spokesman'_of_the_alt-right/

    –snip–

    [Spencer] later amplified his appreciation of what he characterized as Trump “demystifying ‘racism’

    –snip–

    Thanks god that someone will address the concern that Steven about terms like racism losing their meaning.

    ==> the terms have been used so loosely and so frequently that they have lost their meaning.. ==

    Teh Donald will demystify the term and restore order to our language. We can all relax and know that the horrors and injustice and victimizing of “framing” someone as a racist simply because they openly embrace racism and antisemitism will come to an end. I just wonder if that will be before or after Trump ends crime and violence.

    “I have a message for all of you: The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon, and I mean very soon, will come to an end. Beginning on January 20th of 2017, safety will be restored,” he promised to rousing cheers from the party stalwarts.

  142. Willard says:

    > A National Review article on the movement points out that this obsession with the virile seemingly borders on the homoerotic at times.

    You might also like:

    [Daddy Donald] doesn’t read. But I still love him. And he’s still my daddy. Nobody’s perfect”

    — Milo Yiannopoulos, for whom nothing is too low-rent or dirty enough.

    https://donaldsomething.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/daddy-donald/

    ***

    And FYEO, Joshua:

    Asked recently by Internet TV host Dave Rubin about this very phenomenon, Yiannopoulos nonchalantly replied:

    Generation [Donald], the alt right people, the people who like me, they’re not anti-Semites. They don’t care about Jews. I mean, they may have some assumptions about things, how the Jews run everything; well, we do. How the Jews run the banks; well, we do. How the Jews run the media; well, we do. They’re right about all that stuff. … It’s a fact, this is not in debate. It’s a statistical fact … Jews are vastly disproportionately represented in all of these professions. It’s just a fact. It’s not anti-Semitic to point out statistics.

    It’s not anti-anything to point out statistics about whites, men, and Judeo-Christian capitalists.

  143. John Hartz says:

    Steve Bannon not only guided Donald Trump to victory but, according to the following, seems intent on doing the same with far-right political movements throughout Europe. Will he become Trump’s de facto Secretary of State?

    Trump’s enablers are feigning ignorance of the white nationalist, anti-Semitic pedigree of Trump’s campaign chairman, Steve Bannon, who has spent his time since election day courting cooperation from European far-right leaders, and whom Trump on Sunday tapped as the chief strategist for his administration. At the same time, they are still batting about the question of whether to pursue Trump’s promise to jail Clinton.

    Donald Trump Is Already Acting Like an Authoritarian by Brian Beutler, New Republic, Nov 14, 2016

  144. Joshua says:

    Thanks for that, willard. Interesting article.

  145. Marco says:

    Joshua, try Zimbabwe as an example of victimhood culture.

    And the Middle East…where to begin? Maybe this essay gives an idea:
    http://aljumhuriya.net/en/critical-thought/the-just-oppressors-the-middle-easts-victimhood-narratives-and-new-imagined-communities

  146. Joshua says:

    Thanks Marco. Now that I think about it, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict would be a no-brainer…but maybe it’s too close to me to see it that way right off the bat. I guess another part of it is that when I was thinking of a “victim culture” I was thinking of faux victimhood (e.g., Milo being a victim of “framing,” Germans being victims of Jews, American Christians being victims of liberals who prefer “Happy Holidays” to “Merry Christmas,” etc.) and not situations where the victim narrative has legitimate justification as in the case with Jews and Palestinians.

  147. Willard says:

    Speaking of the Middle-East:

    [Domestic Donald] wants to forbid his officials from lobbying for foreign governments, but one of his top national security advisers is being paid by a close ally of Turkey’s president.

    Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a vice chair of the [Domestic Donald] transition who is in the running for a top national security post in the new administration, runs a consulting firm that is lobbying for Turkish interests, an associate told POLITICO. Asked if Flynn’s firm was hired because of the general’s closeness to [Domestic Donald], the associate, Robert Kelley, said, “I hope so.”

    That Erdogan’s fan base shouts anti-Armenian slogans at rallies is a fact.

    This is not in debate.

  148. anoilman says:

    Anders: That article upsets me because it starts by implying that scientists are already working for other politicians. (i.e. left wing radicals… 🙂 ) It means the scientists were just doing what they were told, and not doing real work.

  149. John Hartz says:

    Geting back to the central issue raised in the OP….

    Jamie Henn’s presciption (see below) for moving forward strikes a chord with me. Barring a a catastrophic Black Swan event directly attributable manmade climate change, I foresee no opportunity for Climate Hawks to work with the Trump Administration on anything of major impact.

    Mass mobilization and bold action will be even more important in the years ahead. Our goal won’t just be to “convince” Trump that he needs to care about the climate or, as some suggest, figure out ways to partner with him. Our goal will be to build such massive political opposition to his agenda that he simply can’t move it forward without a vast majority of the country turning against him and the Republican party (and any weak-kneed Democrats who decide to go along with it).

    The fight to prevent climate catastrophe has always been a long shot. We know that Hillary Clinton’s plans weren’t going to save the day and now Trump makes our work much, much harder. But he doesn’t make it impossible. As Bill McKibben has often said, I don’t know if we’re going to win, but we’re going to fight like hell..

    How To Fight For The Climate During A Trump Administration by Jamie Henn*, Huffington Post, Nov 14, 2016

    *Co-founder and Communications Director, 350.org

  150. pete best says:

    BAU for a few more years. It does not mean that the rest of the world has to follow suit now does it, nor do individual Americans wither.

  151. Pingback: Tendenza - Ocasapiens - Blog - Repubblica.it

  152. John Hartz says:

    This just in…

    Breitbart News is planning to sue an unnamed media company “for its baseless and defamatory claim that Breitbart News is a ‘white nationalist website,’” the website said in a statement today.

    The statement, which was released to The Hill, describes Breitbart as a “pro-America, conservative website” and says it cannot stand by and allow “racial lies to go unchallenged, especially by cynical, politically-motivated competitors.”

    Breitbart News Plans Lawsuit Against Unnamed Media Company for ‘White Nationalist’ Label by Adam K. Raymond, The Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, Nov 15, 2016

  153. John Hartz says:

    The fact that the President-elect is said to be a “blank slate” by his advisors and GOP leaders is not a good omen for the future of the UA and indeed the world.

    If you’re one of the millions of Americans wrestling with the question of how Donald Trump will govern as president, consider this: His inner circle doesn’t know either. Since Tuesday’s stunning election result, I’ve spoken with Trump advisers and GOP officials in Washington about the state of Trump’s transition planning to get a sense of what kind of place the Trump White House will be. What they describe is a candidate who is still something of a mystery, even to them. “It is basically a blank slate that needs to be filled in,” one senior adviser says.

    Since his election victory, Trump has privately told his advisers that he intends to govern as a “pragmatic” commander-in-chief. But what counts as pragmatic for a politician who has proposed deportation forces and using nuclear weapons in regional wars? Until he reinvented himself as a fiery nativist, Trump’s politics — to the degree he had any — tilted mainly Democratic. But the best indicator of President Trump’s current political thinking and governing ethos will be the people he chooses to surround himself with in the White House. “In any administration, personnel equals policy,” a top GOP strategist told me.

    Even Trump’s Closest Advisers Aren’t Quite Sure How He’ll Govern by Gabriel Sherman, The Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, Nov 11, 2016

  154. Joshua says:

    JH –

    Classic. As a demonstration of championing free speech, and leading the charge against political correctness, and being tough and virile, and having a sense of humor, and not taking offense at someone’s words, and protesting against the culture of victimhood, Breirbart is going to sue because they were called white nationalist?

  155. Joshua says:

    Where Joel Pollak shows that if we can’t prove that Bannon is an antisemite or racist, it doesn’t matter that he openly embraces racism and antisemitism and that he provides a platform for the alt-right.

    Because it doesn’t matter what he does, what matters is whether he’s a victim of framing.

    Whoever publishes this rule book must be making a lot of money.

  156. Marco says:

    Joshua, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one tiny example of victimhood culture. Yes, there is real victimhood in that conflict, and also a lot of perceived victimhood, but it isn’t just because of the conflict it exists. The culture pervades the Middle East, best shown by the, in comparison to other parts of the world, extreme popularity of conspiracy theories. When something bad happens, it must be some kind of conspiracy. We often hear about the supposed conspiracies when Israel/the Jews/the West/the US are blamed, but there are plenty of other scapegoats (sunni, shia, alewites, kurds, whatever other group is *perceived* as being in charge of the strings). Some might even argue that the reason the Iranian revolution led to a theocratic regime is because the theocratic powers that were just a part of the revolutionary forces were better at cultivating the victimhood culture (against the West).

  157. Toby Joyce says:

    Bannon is not the major threat to the Climate Change Agreement. Preibus is. As Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Priebus was directly responsible for fundraising and will probably hasten to do the bidding of the GOP paymasters. Hailing his appointment as a victory for commonsense is a sign of how low the bar has been lowered for Trump.

    Neither Trump, Bannon nor Priebus have any government experience of even running a small state, so it is naive to expect any sort of a rational or coherent set of steps in withdrawing from an international agreement. So don’t expect to “engage” with the Trump Administration before they act, you probably will not get the chance. They are just as likely to do it, and say “F*ck you. Suck it up”.

    The being said, the appointment of Science Advisor will be interesting. As Trump’s executive right-hand, by the way, Priebus will be responsible for that.

  158. John Hartz says:

    Here is Dan Rather*’s response to the primary question posed by ATT in the OP. I wholeheartedly concur with Rather’s proposal. (The entire article is very well-written and inspiring.)

    This is why we need to radically rethink how the press, scientists and politicians place science in the national discourse. And we can’t afford to wait. The top priority must be for scientists to try to engage the incoming administration. While the early indications of how a President Trump may approach issues of science are concerning, we cannot afford not to try. I would suggest that a group of Nobel Prize winners, members of the National Academy of Sciences and other scientific leaders who may get his attention, offer to meet with the President-elect to lay out what they think the biggest issues are. Top of the list is to assert the special role of science in planning for our future, especially, of course, when it comes to climate change.

    Now, More Than Ever, We Must Stand Up for Scienceby Dan Rather, Guest Blog, Scientific American, Nov 14, 2016

    *Dan Rather spent 24 years as Anchor and Managing Editor for CBS News, and served as a correspondent for 60 Minutes. He has interviewed every President since Eisenhower, and covered major stories from Kennedy Assassination and Civil Rights movement to 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. He is the founder of News and Guts, production company committed to bringing important stories to life across a variety of media and genres.

  159. John Hartz says:

    Toby Joyce: Given the inability of Trump and his inner circle to get their act together and create an effective transition effort and slot people for key positions in the Administration, i.e., Cabinet Secretaries and on down, it will be quite a while before a “Scince Advisor” is named. I also sincerely doubt that Priebus will be calling the shots on that particular appointment.

  160. Willard says:

    Korean fans may disagree:

  161. John Hartz says:

    More about Steve Bannon and specifically his views on climate change and clean energy…

    Bannon’s litany of extreme views on the website Breitbart include the idea that climate change is an elaborate hoax and renewable energy is a scam.

    President-elect Donald Trump has famously called climate change a hoax invented by the
    Chinese, but the man he has chosen as his chief White House strategist advances a far more elaborate conspiracy.

    Stephen Bannon has called government support of alternative energy “madness.” His conservative website, Breitbart News, relentlessly pursues the idea that global warming is an invention of activists, university researchers and renewable energy industry profiteers determined to assert global governance for their own gain.

    “Pure scum” is how Breitbart News describes the alleged schemers, and the site suggested that the Vatican had been taken over by Marxists after Pope Francis urged the world to protect the environment and slow climate change. Bannon has cited a faked TIME magazine cover, purportedly from the 1970s, as evidence that scientists once thought the world was cooling.

    Global warming hoax theories are among a wide range of extremist views that were circulated on the pages of Breitbart News under its executive chairman, Bannon.

    Steve Bannon’s Trip from Climate Conspiracy Theorist to a Trump White House Post by Marianne Lavelle, InsideClimate News, Nov 16, 2016

  162. John Hartz says:

    For better or for worse, Gavin Schmidt has thrown down his gauntlet at the feet of Donld Trump.. Given how deeply climate science denial is baked into the mindset of Trump’s supporters, I doubt that Schmidt’s gambit will succeed.

    A senior Nasa scientist has told Donald Trump he is wrong if he thinks climate change is not happening and warned the President-elect that government scientists are “not going to stand” for any interference with their work.

    Mr Trump has described global warming as a “hoax” perpetrated by China, vowed to unratify the landmark Paris Agreement and appointed a renowned climate-change denier to a senior environmental position in his transition team.

    The science community and environmental campaigners in the US have already begun efforts to persuade Mr Trump that climate change is actually real before he takes office next year.

    Dr Gavin Schmidt, the director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, signalled they would have allies among the federal science agencies.

    Global warming doesn’t care about the election’: Nasa scientist warns Donald Trump over interference by Ian Johnston, The Independent, Nov 16, 2016

  163. Willard says:

  164. Steven Mosher says:

    too funny Willard. The most likely thing they will do ( given the short list for AG ) is just to re instate the program we had running from 2002-2011 that required certain immigrants from certain countries to register and check in every 6 months.. 25 nations were covered with this program.

  165. Steven Mosher says:

    Jeez Willard if you really want too understand alt right thinking

    You’ll have to listen to Theo.

    dont skip, dont hyperventilate, just listen. I havent talked to him in maybe 15 years but he hasnt changed much ( except for losing the purple mohawk)

    Just some background he is native American and Mexican..

  166. Willard says:

    > too funny

    Not a good idea.

    ***

    > I havent talked to him in maybe 15 years

    While I spent my last winter on that crap.

    Again, not a good idea.

  167. John Hartz says:

    Geiling’s article should dispell any notion that the Trump Adminsitration will be amenable to reconsidering Trump’s many campaign promises re climate change and the environment.

    Introducing the Five Horsemen of the Climate Apocalypse.

    Donald Trump’s first staff picks all deny the threat of climate change by Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, Nov 18, 2016

  168. Keith McClary says:

    If our experience with the Harper regime in Canada is any guide, American scientists should be making offshore backups of environmental and climate related data.

  169. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua,
    So if Blackboard folk are going to shoulder thump you till you go away, I guess the least I can do is make a good faith effort to match you and come visit over here. So – what are your thoughts on Trump? Total buffoon, evil genius, or something else entirely?
    BTW, Hello Anders, Willard, et al.

  170. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    Thanks for stopping by. Kind of beat tonight… I’ll write a comment to open the convo tomorrow.

  171. Mark Bofill says:

    Thanks Joshua, sounds good. Thanks again for reaching out. Looking forward to talking with you about whatever you’d like to discuss I think.

  172. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    Here is the comment of yours that I wanted to respond to:

    –snip–
    I think Trump might be some sort of genius. He might not be too. Or maybe genius is the wrong word. Trump appears to be special. I do have some evidence:
    1. Trump is a billionaire. There are a little over eighteen hundred billionaires in this world of seven billion people.
    2. Against all odds apparently, Trump won the Presidency.
    We can scoff at Trump the buffoon who doesn’t read all day, but it rings hollow in my ears. Unless the scoffers are former U.S. Presidents who happen to be billionaires.
    –snip–

    I assume that we could both agree that working backwards from Trump’s accomplishments is probably a problematic way to evaluate his genius (you and Carrick touched on some of those problems), or even his “special[ness].”

    So I’d like to know what (if anything) you observe about him, or about his actions, in a more specific way – (as opposed to trying to reverse engineer and deduce from his accomplishments –) that you might think reflects genius or specialness.

    I watched that presser the other day and I didn’t see anything that I considered even remotely admirable or genius-like or special about the man on display. Of course, I knew that the vast majority of people on the other side of the political aisle would be favorably impressed by his performance. Of that group, I would think that a significant % would be political partisans who would be inclined to overlook or romanticize any negative aspects of his character or actions because they align with the ideology he was defending. That is more or less the norm in the political realm.

    But I would think that there are some who would have to confront reconciling an agreement with him on ideological grounds with an observation that he seemed like a rather remarkably un-genius type of person; in fact a person with attributes that markedly suggest a lack of genius, e.g., a lack creativity, a lack of wisdom, a lack of astuteness, a lack of perceptiveness, a lack of segacity…. all of which are attributes that I would think are positively associated with genius, not negatively associated.

    What I thought I was seeing was just pretty much an open display of “id” or juvenility, or intellectual incuriosity, or idle boasting, of self-victimhood, of aggression, etc. But even if you didn’t agree with me about those characterizations (I make no assumption either way), I would be stymied as to how you might argue that the person on display was consistent with some kind of genius or specialness. I can get “different” than anyone who has been president before, but “special” or “genius” just defies my sense of the world.

    So maybe you could tell me what it is about him, or about what you’ve observed him do, that you think shows genius or specialness.

    I could go into why I’m curious about that, but I’ve already been too long-winded and I did say I’d try not to be.

    Oh, and BTW – I saw that you were talking about Haidt over at Lucia’s. I happen to disagree with Haidt about quite a bit: e.g., I think that he overweights the uniqueness of college students’ “victim culture” in comparison to the ubiquity of “victim culture,” (such as we see with the Donald or on Fox News), and I think that he falls into the trap of overweighting the diversity that exists across identity groups in comparison to the diversity that exists within cultural groups. That said, I think that he is an intellectual force to content with, and as such, I think it is interesting to contend with his work that shows that Trump supporters like authoritarianism:

  173. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua

    So I’d like to know what (if anything) you observe about him, or about his actions, in a more specific way – (as opposed to trying to reverse engineer and deduce from his accomplishments –) that you might think reflects genius or specialness.

    I don’t observe anything about him or his actions specifically that I think reflects genius. I can (and do) speculate without much basis, imagine without evidence, color generously and make assumptions in a perfectly outrageously factually unjustified way in Trump’s case. The only way I can think of to justify (to myself) these speculations are working backwards from the unusual facts in his case.
    Frankly, you are correct. I loathe the guy’s speaking style. I am a conservative, but I’d much prefer listening to Barrack Obama’s smooth and polished style over Trump’s endless wandering digression stream of consciousness style meandering verbal zig zags (heh, not unlike mine own. ) I think he’s full of himself, arrogant, and dumbs down issues. All of this is more my impression than my considered position; as I mentioned I don’t like listening to the guy speak. He comes across badly in a bigly way. In fact..
    …It’s just a largely indefensible impression I’ve got; a whim if you will, that for Trump to make such a spectacle of himself that it has to be deliberate. I mean, his campaign has struck me as a textbook example of demagoguery. I don’t know how often people just naturally stumble into that, without deliberate work. So on. I think he speaks down to the American people deliberately, acting the way he does because he thinks it will play with his base. I’ve got no evidence for any of this. It just tickles me to speculate.
    This is the short of it, really.
    Regarding Haidt, your comments and the video you linked, I’ve got to research the guy again. I don’t remember enough about him (if indeed I ever knew anything about him, which I’m starting to doubt) to comment intelligently about him. But I’ll get back to you on that.
    Thanks Joshua.

  174. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    Thanks for the response. Reading it actually makes me feel a bit better. I have to admit, Trump’s presidency has been a bit of an existential threat – as it has shaken up my view of reality. I never considered it a realistic possibility that someone shown on tape talking about grabbing pussies would be elected president. I never thought it realistic that someone advocating for a religious ban, or for a religious registry, would be elected president. I never thought it realistic that someone who repeats blatantly factually wrong statements would be elected president. I never thought it realistic that someone who mocks disabled people would be elected president. The list goes on and on.

    And within my previous set of beliefs about what’s possible was the belief that someone who openly advocates for an authoritarian state would not get elected president. And as a part of that, I never thought it realistic that this country could turn into a fascistic state.

    Now I still think that last statement is true….but I have to admit that i’m a beginning to wonder just a bit. And that begins to be a bit of an existential problem for me.

    So my sense of reality is a bit under fire. Things are happening that I didn’t think were possible. And along those lines, I never thought that someone, whom I might disagree with a lot but whom I generally think is a reasonable person, could look at the behavior of someone like Trump and tell me that they see behaviors that reflect genius or specialness. So in a small way, your comment helps me to feel a bit less like my understanding of reality is falling apart.

    =={ for Trump to make such a spectacle of himself that it has to be deliberate. }==

    Well I agree with that. I mean I think that part of what we see with Trump is the true id of an authoritarian boor. But I also think that part of his schtick is deliberate and crafted. When I think of Trump’s rhetoric about Muslims or the media, as examples, I see someone who is more than willing to exploit fear-mongering for political expediency. But if we look at his tweets about Ebola:

    We can see demagoguery, but we can also see a germaphobe and a paranoid and someone who is such a shallow thinker that he can’t think through the logic of how to respond to a threat properly. So it’s a mixed bag. His schtick isn’t only a deliberate tactic, but neither is it purely just an honest and straight up portrayal of someone who doesn’t pick and choose on the basis of self-interest and political expediency.

    =={ I mean, his campaign has struck me as a textbook example of demagoguery. I don’t know how often people just naturally stumble into that, without deliberate work. So on. I think he speaks down to the American people deliberately, acting the way he does because he thinks it will play with his base. I’ve got no evidence for any of this. It just tickles me to speculate. }==

    So I agree. But I fail to see how that is either genius or specialness. I don’t think that there’s anything particularly genius or special about demagoguery. And if you’re going to argue that his ability to leverage demagoguery to become president is somehow only possible because of genius or specialness, I don’t suppose that I have some absolute proof that you’re wrong. But I think that his success has at least as much to do with a coincidence of circumstance and timing and a time-honored, rather banal tradition throughout history of authoritarians exploiting demagoguery to obtain power.

    I doubt that you would argue that Duterte is a genius or special. Why would Trump be so, because he successfully leveraged demagoguery, but not Duterte?

  175. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    Response is in mod… too many links. It may not get out of comment prison until Anders gets off his lazy ass to take care of it. The nerve of that guy, sleeping when I might want to write a comment!

  176. Steven Mosher says:

  177. Joshua says:

    Saying what he wants to believe?

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/politics/donald-trump-alter-ego-barron/2016/05/12/02ac99ec-16fe-11e6-aa55-670cabef46e0_story.html?client=ms-android-verizon

    Did he believe he really was John Miller, when he called publicists and said he was John Miller? No. He lied.

    And later, when he said he didn’t call publicists as John Miller, was that just because he wanted to believe that he hadn’t done so? No. He lied.

    Or when he says that he “can’t” release his tax returns because he is under audit? Or when he says he has hired investigators who have proof that Obama wasn’t a citizen?

    This is not merely a matter of an everyday man using the common language of everyday speaking syntax.

    I don’t doubt in the least that the linguist is describing an aspect of Trump’s appeal to his base. Yes, they believe that he is a non – political everyday fella that is unafraid to be politically incorrect. But it is naive to think that his projection of that person is MERELY an outgrowth of an honest expression of who he is, and that the persona he honestly projects, just happens to be what his base wants. There is also an element where he strategically crafts what he projects for the purpose of political expediency and personal advantage.

  178. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua,

    So my sense of reality is a bit under fire. Things are happening that I didn’t think were possible. And along those lines, I never thought that someone, whom I might disagree with a lot but whom I generally think is a reasonable person, could look at the behavior of someone like Trump and tell me that they see behaviors that reflect genius or specialness.

    Working on my first cup of coffee, bear with me:
    1. Don’t be dismayed that you feel this way. Obviously it’s not news that Trump’s victory was largely unanticipated. I sat down November 8’th fully expecting (like everybody else) a mercifully short wrap-up. So if you feel like somebody dropped a piano on your psyche, you’ve got cause. Election time is often disturbing to me, but it has always turned out in the past that the rhetoric is largely just a lot of hot air and the country proceeds in much the same way as always. Nobody on the conservative side has had the testicular fortitude to voice such rhetoric as Trump in some time, and I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen the naked fear mongering Trump has used, so naturally it’s disturbing and shocking. I think Trump was also shooting for that. But I think it mostly amounts to just talk in the end.
    2. I started with this point because it helps explain where I am coming from as well. Over a year ago, my daughter asked me about the nominations, and I confidently assured her that Trump had *zero* chance, and that he knew it. I was again blindsided come election day. So – what I am doing now is trying to come to grips with why I have been mis-forcasting (no such word but you know what I mean) Trump. It’s clear to me that my usual predictive rules of thumbs are upset by the guy. What gives? I don’t know yet. One possibility is that ‘there’s something special’ about him.
    3. The discussion at the Blackboard touched on this. When I suggest that Trump might be a genius, I don’t strongly suggest that the man is simply extremely intelligent and/or well educated. Also, I do not mean to imply a moral dimension in my use of the term ‘genius’. I do mean that there may be something sufficiently unusual about him to merit distinction. But — I don’t really know what I think about this yet. I haven’t yet developed any good working hypothesis about why and/or how Trump came in twice under my radar, I’m still just looking at possibilities.
    I’d like to emphasize this last point. Often I like to stay on ‘safe ground’ when I engage in blog discussions; things I have thought through completely enough to feel that I can defend them reasonably well. My views on Trump are definitely not like that. Like lots of other people I imagine, I’m still trying to figure our new President out.

  179. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua,

    A few other thoughts:

    But it is naive to think that his projection of that person is MERELY an outgrowth of an honest expression of who he is, and that the persona he honestly projects, just happens to be what his base wants. There is also an element where he strategically crafts what he projects for the purpose of political expediency and personal advantage.

    (and the bit on demagoguery not being all that special):
    Yes. This is the sort of distinction I’m reaching for. Genius isn’t the right word. I doubt Trump is the complete buffoon he appears. So, how much of what he does is contrived, how much is real. Being politically manipulative or devious doesn’t make him a genius. –And yet; the man has accomplished surprising things. If we conclude that the buffoonery is an act, by what measures can we come to grips with who and what this guy really is? I don’t know and am still looking for answers to this question.
    I’ll say this as well, and I know this isn’t an original or earthshaking observation either. I don’t for a minute believe Trump has any deep attachment to conservative principles. He rode the GOP to power because it was more expedient than trying to ride the Democratic party. All that bit about Roe vs Wade – political porn. That dog isn’t going to leave the kennel, much less hunt. I think much of his propaganda was like that. Yet this leaves me in the dark as to what the man will really do.
    But when you get right down to it, it’s often more than a little bit of a toss of the dice, finding out what Presidents will really be like after electing them. I’ve been pleasantly surprised before. And of course the die is already cast in Trump’s case – might as well at least try to maintain some cautious optimism I guess.

  180. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    I think that you and I are pretty much in complete alignment on this aspect of Trump, at least.

    =={ Obviously it’s not news that Trump’s victory was largely unanticipated. }==

    It isn’t so much that I was so surprised that Trump won, (I largely followed Nate Silver’s line of reasoning that he had about a 1/3 chance and that there was a non-trivial possibility of him losing the popular vote while wining the EC vote)…but that someone who did some of the things that Trump did would be elected president. If you had asked me a year ago if I thought there was ANY likelihood that someone caught on tape talking about grabbing pussies would be elected president, I think I would have answered with a VERY HIGH level of confidence, “No way.”

    And it isn’t so much that he got elected that has me struggling with reconciling reality with my prior belief structure as it is that someone who so clearly dog whistles authoritarianism and demagougery would be elected president. I realize that the distinction I’m making there is kind of vague and I’m not saying it should make sense to anyone…just trying to explain my reaction.

    I have a similar reaction when I watch Conway or Spicer trot out the same fallacious arguments over and over (e.g., that dead people on the voter roles is authoritative evidence of millions of fraudulent votes). It isn’t like I would have said one year ago that it wouldn’t be possible (or even likely) that the next president’s spokespeople would present fallacious argument when dealing with the public. But watching such a naked abandonment of even a pretense of valid argumentation continues to amaze me even as I watch. Can I believe my lying eyes? I watch Conway and just sit back in amazement that someone can so effectively deflect each and every critique or even question of Trump’s behavior or actions without a hint of intellectual rigor or need to appear logically consistent. Her ability to turn each and every comment from a questioner, into an opportunity to repeat a talking point about how the president is a powerful and successful businessman who has been treated unfairly and who is only interested in protecting the public, is just something that I’ve never seen before.

    I have had similar discussion with friends as the one we’re having, where I tell them that I admire Spicey’s and Conway’s talents and discipline in approaching those engagements. My friends ask me how I can describe what they do as a talent, or something that I could admire, because they find it so odious. And I do find it odious also. But I am just amazed that (1) they have refined that skill to the level that they have – a level I’ve never seen before and, (2) that they had the vision to realize that they could be so blatantly contradictory at almost every turn, and still get away with not really being held accountable.

    So I can see, in an abstracted argument form, the logic of what you’re saying. I’m just saying that in Trump’s case, I don’t actually even see the kind of “specialness” or “talent” as what I see from Conway or Spicer. What they seems to me to very slick and very quick and a sign of intellect. That isn’t the case with what Trump does. To me, it isn’t that he’s talented so much as that he’s employing a banal form of fear-mongering. Not in any way special. And in fact, even if he has been “successful” in employing fear-mongering, he doesn’t appear to me to be particularly talented in doing so. It isn’t like we haven’t seen other politicians employing a similar level of demogoguery, but that other politicians haven’t been as successful. Does his success mean that my conclusion that he isn’t a particularly “talented” demagogue is illogical? Do we have to conclude that if he is “successful” he is necessarily particularly talented in some way? Well, maybe, but as I said above, I see some reasons to question such a reflexive reverse engineering, and so I am then trying to see if there is some concrete way to describe his “talent.”

    =={ Nobody on the conservative side has had the testicular fortitude to voice such rhetoric as Trump in some time, and I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen the naked fear mongering Trump has used, so naturally it’s disturbing and shocking. }==

    Is that true? Maybe. I heard a recording today where Nixon, in the secret of his office, was talking about how the “press is the enemy.” So saying that the press is the enemy isn’t new. But maybe it is new for someone to do so in such a direct fashion on the American political seen. Does that imply a talent? Would authoritarian rules who employed a similar tactic of attacking and undermining the press be considered “talented” because they, likewise, employed that same tactic although they did it in different countries?

    =={ This is the sort of distinction I’m reaching for. Genius isn’t the right word. }==

    Yes, you stated that earlier and I saw that you did that. I get that you’re trying to understand the phenomenon Donald, and I’m not entirely ruling out that it’s due to some “special” quality that he has.

    =={ That dog isn’t going to leave the kennel, much less hunt. }==

    Not sure exactly what you’re saying there. Do you doubt that with his (at least one) SCOTUS appointment, Roe v. Wade will be overturned, or that he will continue to pander to political expediency to advance such a cause?

    One final point (sorry for the long-windedness)…

    I am struck by how amusing it is that we find people saying that what Trump says isn’t important (Mosher has been making that lame argument for a while before he linked that clip), it’s what he does that’s important (and so people are foolish by focusing on what he says), but then turn around and talk about how Trump is so refreshing because he says exactly what he believes and is unprecedented in enacting exactly what he said he was going to do.

  181. Steven Mosher says:

    “I am struck by how amusing it is that we find people saying that what Trump says isn’t important (Mosher has been making that lame argument for a while before he linked that clip), it’s what he does that’s important (and so people are foolish by focusing on what he says), but then turn around and talk about how Trump is so refreshing because he says exactly what he believes and is unprecedented in enacting exactly what he said he was going to do.”

    wow that’s a really bad explanation of my position.

    Not too interested in correcting you, so dont bother.

    in other news

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/16/nra-republicans-gun-control-science

  182. Mark Bofill says:

    But watching such a naked abandonment of even a pretense of valid argumentation continues to amaze me even as I watch. Can I believe my lying eyes? I watch Conway and just sit back in amazement that someone can so effectively deflect each and every critique or even question of Trump’s behavior or actions without a hint of intellectual rigor or need to appear logically consistent.

    Yeah, it’s quite the spectacle. 🙂 It’s one thing to have a theoretical knowledge of the ways groups of people can respond to something in apparent defiance of all reason and an entirely different thing to experience / directly witness it.

    My friends ask me how I can describe what they do as a talent, or something that I could admire, because they find it so odious.

    Good, yes. I understand. This is also how I am proceeding.

    Does his success mean that my conclusion that he isn’t a particularly “talented” demagogue is illogical? Do we have to conclude that if he is “successful” he is necessarily particularly talented in some way? Well, maybe, but as I said above, I see some reasons to question such a reflexive reverse engineering, and so I am then trying to see if there is some concrete way to describe his “talent.”

    Ok. I understand you better now. I wish I could help, but. No. If we agree to set aside the fact that the guy is a billionaire and that he won the Presidency, I don’t think there’s evidence available in the public domain that shows that Trump is something special. Strictly speaking, I should say that such evidence is not obvious, as I have made no rigorous effort to go track down such evidence. It hasn’t fallen into my lap of its own. I’ll give it some thought, maybe this is a worthwhile thing to look into / way to attack the problem.

    Do you doubt that with his (at least one) SCOTUS appointment, Roe v. Wade will be overturned, or that he will continue to pander to political expediency to advance such a cause?

    Sorry this was unclear. I think that Trump could care less about the pro-life position. I think he (correctly) believes that Roe vs Wade is in no particular danger of being overturned (it’s fine if you disagree with me on this point, but I’m not holding my breath). I don’t know that I’d say I believe he particularly cares one way or the other though.

    I am struck by how amusing it is that we find people saying that what Trump says isn’t important (Mosher has been making that lame argument for a while before he linked that clip), it’s what he does that’s important (and so people are foolish by focusing on what he says), but then turn around and talk about how Trump is so refreshing because he says exactly what he believes and is unprecedented in enacting exactly what he said he was going to do.

    I haven’t been following Steven closely on this so am not in a position to say. Generally, I’ve found profit in listening to and thinking carefully about what Steven Mosher has to say. *shrug*
    Thanks Joshua. I’ll chew on what you’ve said, perhaps I’ll have something to add later. The wife wants to go to Lowes right now, so – gotta run!

  183. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    When you look at his press conference this way, it sheds an interesting light on Trump’s genius.

  184. izen says:

    It is very difficult to find a contemporary head of state who would talk (not speak!) to the public and the press in a similar manner. It is a minority of (Alt-R?) radical commentators who would voice such sentiments in that form. Most would be more articulate.

    Duterte, President in the Philippines comes close, he has just extended his list of enemies of the people to include the police after it became evident they were profiting nicely from acting as death squads against the first on the list – drug dealers.

    It is not much easier to find a historical example of any leading politician using that sort of talk. Nixon, LBJ in private perhaps, Huey long, McCarthy, A Jackson?
    Since classical Greek times, and until recently the art of oratory was considered a valuable skill in politics.

    The 140 Chr limit has obviously had a deleterious effect on extended discourse.

  185. Szilard says:

    Puzzling out how to apportion Trump-heit between cluelessness, guile, evil & mental deficit is interesting. But it misses the big question: how did so many people decide to vote for him? To “us”, he is so obviously devoid of positive qualities & brimming over with negatives; it’s hard to think of a worse choice. And this is mostly apart from any political or ideological judgements.

    The scary thing is that we suddenly find ourselves sharing a world with a large number of people who appear to be simply delusional.

  186. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua,
    😉 Sokay for me to admit that’s amusing? Only it seems to have an element of disparaging homosexuals. Say, you’re right! It does shed an interesting light on Trump’s genius; PC gone wild does resonate to a certain extent with me. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to admit to finding funny anymore.

    Izen,

    The 140 Chr limit has obviously had a deleterious effect on extended discourse.

    I couldn’t agree more. I think the Internet has intensified a lot of the more negative aspects of discourse and that this has taken a toll on politics and the quality of leaders we choose between.

    Szilard,
    Understanding the subtle differences that make ‘us’ and ‘them’ out of people I couldn’t select apart just from witnessing them in most settings is indeed the big question in my view. Honestly, I’ve yet to find someone with political views opposing my own who I really thought was crazy (well, who’s craziness had anything to do with their political views, I guess I should say. I think I know a couple of crazy people with political views.) I don’t generally find craziness or evil or retardation to be a differentiating factor. People keep pointing me to this Haidt fellow. I probably ought to spend some time reading about him.

    Thanks all.

  187. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    =={ Sokay for me to admit that’s amusing? Only it seems to have an element of disparaging homosexuals. }==

    I was also wondering if there is a disparaging element…but my guess that is very few homosexuals, if any, would take any offense. Ultimately, I think that is the way to evaluate political correctness of something. If someone that you think is a person reasonable takes offense, then perhaps you should consider reevaluating what you do. So I’m not sure that the condition that we now ask ourselves the question of whether something might be offensive to other people is such a bad problem – in particular if those people are members of a group that has been brutally discriminated against for a huge % of human history..

    Of course, what’s always amusing to me is when “skeptics” rail about political offense and then whine ’till the cows come home if someone calls them a “denier.” Similarly when conservatives whine about political correctness and then launch media campaigns to correct the horrible problem of departments stores having “happy holidays” messaging. Of course, there are countless other examples of conservatives whining about what they consider political incorrectness without acknowledging their own demands for political correctness.

    — [ Say, you’re right! It does shed an interesting light on Trump’s genius; PC gone wild does resonate to a certain extent with me. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to admit to finding funny anymore. }==

    So my thinking on that is yes, there is such a thing as PC gone wild…but that essentially the over the top aspect is mostly the noise amid the signal. The signal is that people are being held more accountable for the embedded prejudices in how they approach a slew of issues. The signal is that previously voiceless and powerless people have a vehicle for addressing imbalances. Over the long term, I think that is a good thing. The noise is that people extend that too far and are unreasonably sensitive, and sometimes react in equally insensitive manner. That “noise” and the echoes of that noise are real problems, but the notion that one particular segment of our society is being victimized by political correctness strikes me as essentially tribalistic self-victimization to create a sense of solidarity in opposition to those mean bad guys. The perfect example is when Breitbart wants to sue other media outlets for calling them a white nationalist website. Another great example is that you don’t hear a peep out of Trump-supporting climate warriors – who have dedicated threads to the “chilling effect” of Mann’s lawsuit – with reference to Trump’s avowal to make it easier to sue media outlets for libel.

    I agree with your comment to Szilard… the conclusion that there are a large # of people “who appear be simply delusional” seems to me to misinterpret the underlying dynamics of what is going on. It seems to me to conflate fact with opinion. Perhaps you might respond similarly when you read SteveF or David Young go on a rant about the characterological attributes of “the left?” (which, I will note, generally lack the “appear to be” qualifier that Szilard included, insufficient as it was).

  188. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua,

    but the notion that one particular segment of our society is being victimized by political correctness strikes me as essentially tribalistic self-victimization to create a sense of solidarity in opposition to those mean bad guys.

    Bravo! I’m not sure I agree, but I liked your response here anyway.

    Perhaps you might respond similarly when you read SteveF or David Young go on a rant about the characterological attributes of “the left?”

    Yes. This is one of the basic observations that got me interested in understanding the root causes behind political differences in the first place. A lot of the response / behavior / characterization between the two sides mirrors to such an extent. It’s too symmetrical – it’s the same thing in opposition. It doesn’t appear to be dependent on whatever the issue is, it’s just team psychology or something. Yet it influences us. Knowing and understanding this, is there a way (for me) to step through the mirror; cancel out the noise and get to the truth. Always intuitively seemed like something that might be possible and worth working toward. But.. not my field, really. I’m just a rank amateur hobbyist in this regard.
    I enjoy talking with you, I wanted to get back to something you said earlier than I didn’t really understand to ask you to elaborate. Sadly my free time is limited and I keep burning through it. I just finished watching the Haidt videos you and others have linked for me. So – do please take your time and understand that when my responses slow down it indicates a lack of opportunity rather than a lack of interest.
    Looking back at the item, I see that there are actually two items:

    I think that he overweights the uniqueness of college students’ “victim culture” in comparison to the ubiquity of “victim culture,” (such as we see with the Donald or on Fox News),

    and

    I think that he falls into the trap of overweighting the diversity that exists across identity groups in comparison to the diversity that exists within cultural groups.

    Would you care to elaborate on either of these? I haven’t really given much thought to what you might mean yet; really only enough to say that it’s not immediately apparent to me what you’re talking about here.
    Thanks!

  189. Joshua says:

    Mark –

    =={ Yes. This is one of the basic observations that got me interested in understanding the root causes behind political differences in the first place. A lot of the response / behavior / characterization between the two sides mirrors to such an extent. It’s too symmetrical – it’s the same thing in opposition. It doesn’t appear to be dependent on whatever the issue is, it’s just team psychology or something. Yet it influences us. Knowing and understanding this, is there a way (for me) to step through the mirror; cancel out the noise and get to the truth. }==

    Indeed. Again, you are in very close alignment. And theories about how identity biases the way people process information seem to me to predict exactly that mirroring. The basic point, IMO, is that there is an underlying pattern of “identity-protective cognition.” That comes in two forms, identity-protection and identity aggression. As such, people have a predisposition to filter out certain behaviors within their own group (defensively) and apply them to the “other” group (aggressively). There is no need for a scientific basis for evaluating the conclusions about disparity, but if there is any attempt to conduct a scientific analysis, it is easily dismissed as being biased (if you don’t like it).

    I think that he overweights the uniqueness of college students’ “victimhood culture” in comparison to the ubiquity of “victim culture,” (such as we see with the Donald or on Fox News),

    Haidt has gotten a lot of attention lately for his work on a “victim culture” that is putatively taking over colleges. He even goes so far as to describe it a kind of societal cultural evolution that has developed from previous “honor culture” and “dignity culture.”

    http://righteousmind.com/where-microaggressions-really-come-from/

    While I can certainly agree that there is a problem with self-victimization on college campuses…meaning where a legitimate concern about correcting for past discrimination and creating a more “fair” environment are taken too far (in fact, I have run into that myself, working in university and college campuses), I think that this idea of a massive cultural shift is too dramatic and too much of a “kids today” and “old man screaming at clouds” mentality that has been around since humans first started walking upright. As evidence for what I think is overreach on Haidt’s part, I think of the vast “victimhood culture” that we see in the powerful entities of the American political right. It isn’t that I think the “victimhood culture” is disproportionately a rightwing phenomenon, but that I question the uniqueness and relative unprecedented magnitude that Haidt seems to assign to questionable self-victimization on the left, or on college campuses in particular. IMO, the underlying mechanics of the “victimhood culture” are an outgrowth of cognitive and psychologically characteristics that are not meted out by evolutionary processes to be distributed in proportion to ideological orientation or even a particular time period in a culture’s developmental trajectory.

    I think that he falls into the trap of overweighting the diversity that exists across identity groups in comparison to the diversity that exists within cultural groups.

    As much as I respect Haidt…I have the same reaction to his work that I have to other people who present theories about major differences in people in association with ideological orientation (e.g., Mooney). My first take on such theories is one of extreme skepticism, because in my life experiences, the similarities between people of differing ideological orientation, particularly within a particular culture (as opposed to across cultures where I think the differences are more significant) are much greater than the differences. As such, when I see such theories I always want to see a particular question answered: How do these putative differences between groups associated with particular ideological groupings stack up to the level of diversity within groups.

    In other words, say we agreed that on average, liberals as compared to conservatives are hypocritical snowflakes who are incapable of sophisticated thinking, we might also agree that within the entire group of liberals there are at least some who aren’t complete poopyheads. And we might also agree that although on average conservatives are entirely consistent in their thinking and brilliant analysts, there might be at least a few who are a few fries short of a Happy Meal. So then if we’re looking at an individual, would we be better off by judging whether they’re a poopyhead or a brilliant analyst by considering their political orientation, or by assuming that their political orientation would not be a very reliable metric?

    We would need to know, it seems to me, how the within group variation compares to the between group variation.

  190. Joshua says:

    Speaking of the irony of political correctness, up until today Mosher’s friend Milo was a right wing champion of anti-political correctness….

    Now?

  191. Mark Bofill says:

    You’re an evil man Joshua. :p I tell you my free time is scarce, and you link me to a Haidt webpage full of interesting stuff.
    Thanks for the explanations. Milo? Haven’t heard any news of him since the Berkeley thing, don’t actually particularly follow Milo. So what happened today? I’m sure I’ll read about it at some point, let me finish my coffee and stuff. 🙂

  192. Mark Bofill says:

    Oh. Meh. I haven’t found a full transcript of his remarks, but. *shrug*
    I don’t know if it’s a symptom of PC or not, that I’m not going to talk about that. There are some topics these days for which I feel I need to take extraordinary measures to safely discuss them, analogous to building thick concrete shielding and maintaining clean-room discipline and so on. Why bother? I don’t perceive a possible gain to justify the cost in time spent speaking carefully. Suffice it to say I’m not impressed one way or the other I guess.
    Thanks Joshua.

  193. Joshua says:

    =={ I haven’t found a full transcript of his remarks, but. *shrug* }==

    Yeah. I started listening to a recording but it was like 90 minutes long and I just gave up. I would guess that the contention that he was making positive comments about pedophilia are questionable, but obviously, in the public arena, it’s just plain stupid to go anywhere near that topic with any degree of ambiguity.

    =={ Why bother? I don’t perceive a possible gain to justify the cost in time spent speaking carefully. }==

    I think that there is a reason to bother if your language offends people due to a reflection of ignorance or a lack of perspective. Why shouldn’t we try to correct for offense caused by ignorance or a lack of perspective on our part?

    =={ I don’t perceive a possible gain to justify the cost in time spent speaking carefully. }==

    The gain wouldn’t merely be the advantage of not being offensive, it would also be that correcting the problem would be addressing ignorance and adding perspective.

    That is a big part of what I am critical about in much of the anti-political correctness rhetoric: it amounts to a defense of ignorance and a lack of perspective. As much as political correctness can be over the top, in the end it can also be rooted in important principles of communication: to communicate effectively you need to be open to correcting for ignorance and you need to prioritize expanding your perspective. .

  194. Mark Bofill says:

    You (rather charitably I think 🙂 ) misunderstood me to actually be saying something more meaningful than I intended. Thank you. Let’s run with that and pretend I was referring to PC issues in general rather than Milo’s specific incident.
    .
    I don’t study this stuff. I don’t have any data on which to base opinions on what is prevalent. Usually as a result I speak from my own personal experience, which may or may not be representative of others. Also, I am distracted by technical / work issues occupying much of my thinking at the moment so maybe I am overlooking or not remembering something. Still, from what incidents I can recall, mostly what PC has meant for me is that I have to speak carefully. I don’t think because of my ignorance, I don’t believe that I’m usually all that ignorant of what might give offense to somebody. Would that I were more ignorant; I wouldn’t feel like being PC is so burdensome at times!
    .
    Take our example earlier with the Trump parody that was an example where somebody might well take offense. It’s not so much that we don’t know if it’s offensive, it’s that what is offensive can be subjective to some extent. If somebody comes to us and says that they found that Trump parody offensive and claimed it disparaged gay people, could we refute that? Personally I don’t think I could. If somebody came and said they absolutely DID NOT find that offensive, could I refute that? It’s opinion, I can’t refute anybody.
    .
    So where does this leave me? Well, if I pay attention I have to be generally as inoffensive as possible. OK, but it’s tedious. It impedes communication to worry excessively about these things.
    .
    But I question that it’s ignorance per se. It’s not that it doesn’t occur to me that group X Y or Z might be offended, it’s just that the bar for being offensive seems to be pretty low sometimes these days.

  195. Mark Bofill says:

    So – briefly (hopefully) let me say this,
    A lot of my blog comments are pretty flippant and silly. In them, I’m not saying much of substance because I don’t have much to say- because I don’t have the time to devote to produce quality. The regulars at the Blackboard (I think anyway) know this about me and don’t take offense. In talking with you Joshua, I do prefer to maintain a higher standard. Among ‘friends’, I can say mindless things I think are funny without much worrying about giving offense, for example. Among regulars, if some do take offense, well, for whatever reason they’ve become used to it and we’ve settled into a comfortable low energy stable state where we remain.
    Funny things aside. On occasion I speak seriously. When I do, the trouble is, when I don’t have time to carefully think through what I’m saying, I stay safe. By this I mean, I don’t offer unconventional ideas or .. much of anything different enough to be interesting. Staying safe makes for boring conversation. :/
    Normally, the remedy I prefer for this is to devote more time to developing and thinking through the intuitive ideas that occur to me while talking. I don’t have such time right now. So, this: I’m going to disable some of my safeties and run with some of the ideas that occur to me on the fly that I haven’t had time to think through carefully. It’s somewhat disrespectful of your time, but I ask you to appreciate that I don’t intend any disrespect. Just that it’s the best I can do (other than sticking with trivia) and that it’s the sort of casual presumption I only take around my friends. As a result, I’m likely to put forward some stupid shit. Don’t take offense. Please.
    There.

  196. Mark Bofill says:

    PC doesn’t replace good faith or good will. It’s an external thing / other punish you for specific missteps. Generalized sufficiently (that’s an offense against gays! Blacks! Asians! Millenials! etc. etc. etc.) maybe the thinking is that people will step back and learn to proceed using good faith / good will? Hah! I don’t think so.
    .
    It’s the wrong approach. It just shuts down conversation, drives ignorance and intolerance under ground. I think even among those of us we’d hold up as virtuous examples in this regard. Subjective offenses are like that – deep down we know when it’s just somebody’s opinion. ‘Why the heck should I have to speak respectfully in private here with my like minded friends to avoid crossing a line set by some opinion I don’t even necessarily agree with, no?’ I could hear me telling myself this.
    .
    It’s like trying to make people better by passing laws. Sort of. I think this is backwards. Sometimes the best we can do maybe, sometimes better than nothing, but a long long way from ideal.
    Hate doesn’t extinguish hate. Intolerance towards the incorrect only takes you so far, not very far. I don’t know how to characterize the right approach, but this ain’t it, in my view.
    .
    Take my comment above. When I speak frankly with you, it’s an act of good faith. I’m saying ‘I am extending trust that you will not deliberately misconstrue me, moreover, that you will actually make an effort to understand where I (the speaker) am coming from, and check before you assume the worst.’ I think this is a better way. Why? Well – because if I have to guard my tongue against any possible offense to anybody – in anybody’s opinion, I’m going to give it up. I’m not going to speak. Or more truthfully, I’ll conform to my own arbitrary notions of what is OK and what’s not. These notions are necessarily arbitrary if we accept that the standard of ‘somebody finds this offensive’ is subjective.
    .
    Anyway – that’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Unless I decide in a minute that it’s wrong. :p

  197. Steven Mosher says:

    “It’s the wrong approach. It just shuts down conversation, drives ignorance and intolerance under ground.”

    And then you get Trump and people are surprised.

    As much as I disagree with Milo, or BLM folks, radical islaam, the alt-right, and alt-white, and alt light, I prefer to hear what they have to say from their own mouths.

  198. Joshua says:

    Mark –

    First off, I’m getting the sense that, somewhat ironically, I may have said something to which you took offense. It seems to me that you thought I was intending to pass judgement on you in some way – when in fact, I wasn’t. If what I said came across that way, it wasn’t intended.

    But if it did, then it might help to illustrate my point. My thoughts in my own head only come from my own perspective. Through the process of dialog, I can help to gain a more elaborated perspective via feedback. My thoughts without feedback take on a form of one-dimensionality, and knowledge about how they are perceived and received by you can ad depth to my understanding.

    I take it that you are using this forum to explore your own thinking in very much the same way as I just described above. I am not taking your thoughts to be some perfectly formulated perspective. The fact that you are using this forum to explore is embedded in your syntax, IMO. In contrast to the vast majority of what I read in blog comments, I see an appropriate acknowledgement of uncertainty. throughout what you write. You are not afflicted by the DK effect so ubiquitous in blog comments which, in the case of the climate blogs at least, I attribute to the high prevalence of extremely smart and knowledgeable people who lack the attribute of well-developed introspection and the important discipline of opening up their own beliefs to the required due diligence that true skepticism requires. (Just as an FYI, I see a similar characteristic in what Anders writes, and that is why I respect this blog and his contributions).

    So since this has already gotten long, let me take one piece of what you said for a somewhat closer examination:

    =={ Still, from what incidents I can recall, mostly what PC has meant for me is that I have to speak carefully. I don’t think because of my ignorance, I don’t believe that I’m usually all that ignorant of what might give offense to somebody. Would that I were more ignorant; I wouldn’t feel like being PC is so burdensome at times! }==

    My point was not to (1) call you ignorant or (2) imply that you are particularly unaware of the perspective of others, or even that you are someone who makes less than a concerted effort to avoid being offensive or take into account the perspective of others. Blog comments set an incredibly low bar, but I do regard you as engaging in good faith to an extent that I have rarely seen in blog exchanges – precisely because I think that you do make a concerted effort to understand the perspective of your interlocutor and to run your own reasoning through some kind of subjectivity filter.

    As such, my earlier reference was neither to anything specific that you said nor based on any assumptions about your criticism of political correctness (i.e., that your criticisms implied a disrespect for being offensive to others nor a disregard for the perspective of others), but merely to frame the discussion about views on political correctness.

    My reaction to anti-political correctness rhetoric is that often, at least to me, it takes on a form that functions in service of an ideological agenda that undervalues the important role that political correctness can play in that at least at some level, an awareness of political correctness is a reflection of the importance of holding your own words to the potential for being offensive and to the importance of taking into consideration the perspective of others.

    It doesn’t mean that I think that everyone who criticizes political correctness necessarily disregards the value of not being offensive or the importance of understanding the perspective of others. I understand and appreciate the importance of taking a larger view of political correctness and not simply being enslaved into saying nothing at all for fear that something you might say might be deemed offensive by someone, somewhere, at some point in time.

    So yes, I agree as you say that:

    =={ It’s not so much that we don’t know if it’s offensive, it’s that what is offensive can be subjective to some extent. }==

    And as for this:

    =={ OK, but it’s tedious. It impedes communication to worry excessively about these things. {==

    No doubt, but first, to some extend, I think we have to be willing to accept that (1) effective communication can sometimes require a certain degree of tedium and (2) as tedious as it might be, the determination of “excessive” there is inherently subjective and thus, should at least sometimes be run through an anti-bias filter.

    OK. So just the first part of the first of your three comments resulted in a ton of verbiage. I will excuse you from the further pain of reading my exposition on the rest of your comments.

    At least for now. 🙂

  199. Joshua says:

    And Mark –

    ++{ My reaction to anti-political correctness rhetoric is that often, at least to me, it takes on a form that functions in service of an ideological agenda that undervalues the important role that political correctness can play in that at least at some level, an awareness of political correctness is a reflection of the importance of holding your own words to the potential for being offensive and to the importance of taking into consideration the perspective of others. }==

    Kudos to you (or anyone else, if anyone for that matter), if you can understand what that was supposed to mean.

  200. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua, really quickly – I haven’t thoroughly read and processed everything you said, but let me head this off – you absolutely gave no offense. It did not cross my mind that this would occur to you, reading my response. Looking back, perhaps I sounded a little defensive there because I realized I was waving my hands a bit while thinking how to explain my position. Once I got right down to it – how the heck would I know how ignorant I am in this regard, anyway? I’m not a ‘people person’, with diverse friends from all walks of life. What I finally came to was this: I wouldn’t know, far as I can see, if I was ignorant or not.
    I can speak to what I glean from popular culture I guess. If that doesn’t cover it, I probably don’t know about it, with respect to prejudices or false assumptions about different groups of people.
    So – thanks! But don’t worry too much. I’ll say so if you start seriously offending me.

  201. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua,

    My reaction to anti-political correctness rhetoric is that often, at least to me, it takes on a form that functions in service of an ideological agenda that undervalues the important role that political correctness can play in that at least at some level, an awareness of political correctness is a reflection of the importance of holding your own words to the potential for being offensive and to the importance of taking into consideration the perspective of others.

    No, I understand you. But OMG, that’s totally not what I think the term political correctness means. Self awareness and an appreciation of the viewpoints of others does not even approximately equate to political correctness in my lexicon.
    Thanks so much for drawing my attention to this though. If this is even vaguely what PC means to you, then we are at risk of substantial misunderstanding through different ideas about the definition and use of the word. I’ll bear this in mind!

  202. Joshua says:

    Mark –

    The first time I remember thinking about what has come to be termed as “political correctness” was laughing about calling people “sanitary engineer” rather than “garbageman.”

    =={ If this is even vaguely what PC means to you, }==

    I don’t see it as an either/or, but a continuum.

    I think that the use of “garbageman” is a great example because from one perspective at least, (the non-garbageman) it is completely absurd and laughable (afterall, the guy does pick up garbage, doesn’t he?). But I see that example as one end of a spectrum. At the other end is a (what I consider to be important) focus on becoming more aware of the ways that we are unaware of how our language, or actions, have an “implicit bias.” In the end, I see a lot of good that has taken place in our society as the result of the type of PC at that second end of the spectrum.

  203. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua,

    I’m still thinking about the spectrum you describe above. While I chew on that, I don’t want to spar with you regarding political correctness, I really do want to understand how you view it. When I put forward examples that give me trouble (as I’m about to) I’d like for you to honestly / as honestly as possible tell me how you reconcile them, or why they don’t trouble you, or why you think they are wrong, or whatever. Further, if you would, in addition to explaining why you don’t adhere to my perspective, if you could illuminate yours and why you hold to it, I’d be much obliged. Proceeding under ideas outlined before and looking to cancel out noise then:

    Is there not an element of affirmative action type thinking in political correctness? The ideas you outlined earlier – being aware of the potential to offend people and being considerate of other people’s perspectives – the virtue of these ideas are hard to argue with. Yet I wonder if they are not too general. In particular, I’d always thought that political correctness specifically protected minorities. An example – Black Lives Matter. One can say this. I have read that one cannot say ‘All Lives Matter’. This is incorrect, some even say this is racist. One cannot say ‘Blue Lives Matter’. So – in my view, political correctness is an awareness of and an attempt to avoid implicit bias towards certain groups only.
    Is this true, from your perspective? Is this OK? Is this right. Why or why not.
    Thanks Joshua.

  204. Mark Bofill says:

    Pretty sure I was clear, but just in case I wasn’t in what I said above – I fully expect that we don’t agree. I don’t want you to explain your position so I can tell you why you’re wrong. That’s not my purpose. I want you to explain your position so I can understand how and why we (and by extension others) can disagree about this and still all of us be essentially the same basically decent sort of people. If anything, tell me why I am wrong, but better, tell me how you see it as something positive.
    I apologize for the dead horse beating. I promise I’ll won’t do it more than fifty (50) or sixty (60) more times during our discussion. Honest. :p

  205. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    Thanks for the interesting, and good faith response.

    =={ I’d always thought that political correctness specifically protected minorities. }==

    I would say that is, in part, because that is how it is often framed by some people on “the right” (I don’t like generalizing like that but sometimes it seems unavoidable).

    Thus, offense at being called a “climate denier” or wishing someone “happy holidays” or Breitbart being called “white nationalist” or Bill Maher saying that 9/11 terrorists “staying in the airplane when it hits the building..it’s not cowardly,” or saying that it is likely counterproductive to use the term “Islamic terrorists” are excluded from falling under the umbrella of political correctness.

    And calling academics “librul elites” is just fine but referring to “fly-over country” is insultingly unacceptable..and, well… blah, blah, blah…

    And saying black lives matter is unacceptable because it is suggesting that black lives are more important than those of non-blacks, but saying that blue lives matter is just standing up for besieged law enforcement…and objections to the term “blue lives matter” are just snowflakes trying to enforce political correctness in order to shut down fee speech.

    I could give you an endless list of offense taken on the right from the use of language that offends their sensibilities. And sometimes the offense is taken by minorities, but minorities who are on the right. Let’s imagine that calling the cast of Duck Dynasty ignorant trailer trash and seeing what happens.

    So then, it goes back to what your definition of PC is. Yes, if your definition is that political correctness is when minorities take offense at language being used by majorities…well… then political correctness specifically protects minorities. But if your definition is that PC is when people of one group are taking offense to implicit bias in the language of people in other groups, then the majority ====} minority condition no longer applies.

    My contention is, to some extent, that the majority ===} minority condition is an arbitrary condition (not in the sense of random but in the sense of being subjective) that serves to advance a political agenda. Thereby, some folks on the right can exclude, what is essentially the same phenomenon originating in their midst, from the society-destroying implications of political correctness.

    ==} An example – Black Lives Matter. One can say this. I have read that one cannot say ‘All Lives Matter’. This is incorrect, some even say this is racist. One cannot say ‘Blue Lives Matter’. So – in my view, political correctness is an awareness of and an attempt to avoid implicit bias towards certain groups only. {==

    Point taken. But on the other hand…. what is the objection to black lives matter about? Does saying “black lives matter” necessarily mean that black people are saying that their lives matter more than the lives of other people? Or is it an expression of a sense of injustice, where hundreds of years of discrimination manifest as an explicit and institutionally functionalized de-valuing of black lives that was codified in the Constitution. And are objections to responding to the use of “black lives matter” with “blue lives matter” just a parallel sense of injustice (i.e,, self-victimization or “victimhood culture”} among the majority – not because there is an explicit devaluation of their lives or anything near a codification or functionalization of that de-valuation, but because that majority is being confronted with a shift of social norms?

    Consider that two decades ago, marching in the streets to protest the flying of Confederate flags might have been looked at as hysterical snowflakes whining for the nanny state to intervene and stifle free speech in order to protect their delicate sensibilities. Now, even among many on “the right” (I cringe every time I use that term), the flying of the Confederate flag is considered legitimately offensive and inflammatory and counterproductive. That represents a shift in the social norm. Is that, in the end, something good or something bad? Does it represent a stifling of free speech by a nanny state that is going to result in our country becoming a vast collection of coddled wimps? Or does it represent progress in terms of more fully integrating the Constitutional principle of “all men are created equal?”

    So at a personal level, I have no problem with someone saying “blue lives matter.” Of course, it is a legitimate point. There is no harm, IMO, in presenting that perspective. But it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Using that term has undertones and overtones and associated dog whistles, some of which I would say are over-sensitivity, but there is context for those sensitivities and having a dialog about that is complicated not only because of people on “the left” objecting to a reflexive shouting of “black lives matter” in response to a shouting of “black lives matter.”

    As I try to always remember when having…er….”discussions” with my “wife” there is almost always a “mirroring” aspect to when offense rears it’s head, and creates conflict.

    ==} Is this true, from your perspective? Is this OK? Is this right. Why or why not. {==

    OK? Yes, I think it is “OK” in the sense that I think that it is “OK” for anyone to say pretty much anything. I think it is “OK” for Milo to say what he said about 13 year-olds having sex with older men. But language has consequences. In the context of black people responding to the shooting of black kids by white (or non-white) cops by shouting “black lives matter,” responding with “blue lives matter” has a variety of connotations. Not responding to (or better yet, anticipating and being proactive about) those connotations and then denigrating responses as snowflake “political correctness” is, IMO, irresponsible and lacking in accountability.

    BTW. Just because it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to write a comment w/o giving you some reading….w/r/t the context for “black lives matter,” if you have an extra hours or so…some reading that I think is helpful… (it helps if you have read “The New Jim Crow,” but it isn’t necessary to get a lot out of this reading, IMO):

    http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4599&context=fss_papers

  206. Joshua says:

    Mark –

    Also, along similar lines as the reading assignment I gave you :-), you might want to Netflix “13th” (that is the full name). It covers some similar ground, although from a pretty different and not as in-depth perspective, but it requires less mental energy to process.

  207. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    It occurs to me that this example: “Let’s imagine that calling the cast of Duck Dynasty ignorant trailer trash and seeing what happens..”.

    Was a poor choice, because the language I’m describing there is very overtly insulting. Of course, much of the anti-political correctness rhetoric focuses on responses to overtly insulting language (e.g., what Milo says)….but there is also an element where much anti-political correct rhetoric focuses on “politically correct” objections to language which is not overtly offensive. As such, I would ask that you consider that example I gave as being hyperbolic, but also suggestive of an underlying point that isn’t hyperbolic. If you can’t do that, then I’ll try to think of some examples that still represent what I consider to be the underlying point, but don’t suffer from the same problem as that example.

  208. Joshua says:

    Mark –

    One more point.

    fully expect that we don’t agree. I don’t want you to explain your position so I can tell you why you’re wrong. That’s not my purpose. I want you to explain your position so I can understand how and why we (and by extension others) can disagree about this and still all of us be essentially the same basically decent sort of people. .

    Thanks for making that explicit. I think that is a nice and concrete way of framing what “good faith” dialog is about, and reading it adds to my ability to keep “good faith” concrete in my process of engaging.

    Along those lines….

    =={ If anything, tell me why I am wrong, but better, tell me how you see it as something positive }==

    I’d actually like to approach the dialog from a perspective which eliminates what I consider to be a counterproductive framework at least, and perhaps even a destructive illusion: that one of us is is “wrong.” That is, IMO, a destructive framework that underlies most blog comment exchanges…this notion of a search for proving that one person is right and the other is wrong.

    Understandably, it is clearer to see the illusory nature of that framework when people are very overtly discussing opinions, but IMO, even when discussing science, even if in the end there might be some objective determination of who is “right” and who is “wrong,” the underlying goal of establishing who is “right” and who is “wrong” has the effect of turning, what could be a legitimate exploration of our own understanding through dialog, into a pissing match that actually achieves no purpose other than to determine who can piss farther (which, of course, in a recursive fashion, is only a matter of perspective).

  209. Willard says:

    This could become a post, m&j.

  210. Joshua says:

    At least this one is shorter than the previous one:

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27/why-facts-dont-change-our-minds

    Consider how what that article has to say overlaps with perceptions about what is or isn’t political correctness, and whether PC is is a benefit or harm to our society’s future.

  211. Steven Mosher says:

    I like facts about why facts dont change our minds. those facts did in fact, change my mind.

    True story

    Listening to red eye radio– late night drive

    They discusss this experiment on liberal brains.. They agree Liberal brains are impervious to facts.

    Then the discuss the plan to test conservatives.

    Suddenly the two consversative hosts found all sorts of things they would object to if a study was done on conservatives… “are they really testing conservatives? I would want to see the questions etc etc etc

    It was funny.

  212. Willard says:

    The most obvious problem with Haidt’s take is that even if we agree that we need a variety of views, many conservative voices have now become so batshit insane (to say the least) that it’s hard to believe that the middle ground is between them and (say) Obama’s. For instance, here’s what conservativism looked like in the 50s:

    On federal assistance to low-income communities, the 1956 platform said the party would “promote fully the Republican-sponsored Rural Development Program to broaden the operation and increase the income of low income farm families and help tenant farmers.”

    On protecting Social Security, the platform touted the Eisenhower administration’s extension of Social Security to 10 million more workers and benefits hikes for 6.5 million Americans.

    On refugees, the platform spotlighted the administration’s work in sponsoring the Refugee Relief Act “to provide asylum for thousands of refugees, expellees and displaced persons,” promising its “wholehearted support” for additional efforts. M. Christine Anderson, a Xavier University historian, noted that many refugees were coming from communist countries in Eastern Europe, so this wasn’t an especially controversial issue during the Cold War era.

    On the minimum wage, the platform notes that the Eisenhower administration raised the minimum wage for more than 2 million workers. It urged extending minimum-wage protections “to as many more workers as is possible and practicable.”

    On improving the unemployment benefit system, the 1956 platform touted the administration’s actions to bring unemployment insurance to 4 million additional workers, and backed efforts to “improve the effectiveness of the unemployment insurance system.”

    On strengthening unions, the platform says the “protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy of the Eisenhower Administration.”

    This almost makes Bernie look like a freshwater economist.

  213. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua,

    Sorry for my prolonged absence. I’m an atheist, yet few things cause me to reconsider as much as having to personally use a tool (piece of software) I wrote for somebody else. Suddenly, it feels like there might indeed be a God. A just God, an angry God; a vengeful God. One bent on extracting restitution… Or maybe it’s just a balance of extremely bad karma for those who prefer that flavor.
    Yeah I’m still working. 😦 Hopefully I’ll be by later, if not I’m sure I’ll have some time to post tomorrow. Thanks for you patience!

  214. Joshua says:

    No probs. Mark. Please, take your time. You can’t rush genius. And maybe it isn’t a vengeful god that is making you use a piece of software you wrote for someone else, but just some godless universal law of karma.

  215. Mark Bofill says:

    Alright, a small smackerel before I start my day:

    Right so – offense on the right over PC involves hypocrisy. Good, we can agree there.
    Nobody likes hypocrisy or thinks that’s good, me included. Nobody on either side likes it.

    Different definitions of PC – Ok. I understand you. I like the idea. Yet I think I’d run into trouble using it, see below.

    You ask me why I object to the slogan, alright. I’ll explain where I’m coming from a little.
    I don’t object to the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ at all. Take Mr. Doe as an example; Mr. Doe
    is a fictious entity similar but not identical to me for illustrative purposes. John Doe hears stories in the media about black men being shot and killed by police. John hears the slogan and about the Black Lives Matter movement. Sounds great to John!

    But then John starts encountering stories about police officers being ambushed. Five police in Dallas are killed, and the gunman says he was trying to kill white police officers because he was upset about ‘Black Lives Matter’. Police are ambushed and killed in Florida, in Missouri, in Iowa.

    John notices new slogans circulating. ‘Blue Lives Matter’, ‘All Lives Matter’. Well, thinks John, maybe there is something to this. I sympathise with Black Lives Matter, but maybe people are losing their perspective.

    Yet John reads about pushback against this and finds little support, except from Breitbart.
    Vox lays out the reasons one shouldn’t say ‘All Lives Matter’, http://www.vox.com/2016/7/11/12136140/black-all-lives-matter
    Vanity Fair, USA Today, so on. The Huffington Post gently explains why saying this is racist. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-damiani/every-time-you-say-all-li_1_b_11004780.html

    So – ok. John, like you, has his own private opinion on what is politically correct and what constitutes racism. To John, looking for a way to bring a measure of reason and balance to the discussion that apparently has started a spontaneous non organized grassroots movement
    to ambush and execute police officers is not racist, nor is it incorrect. All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter.

    John likes to sanity check himself though. What does he have wrong here? Well, for starters, he looks into the term ‘politically correct’. Being lazy like everybody else, he goes first to Wikipedia:

    The term political correctness (adjectivally: politically correct; commonly abbreviated to PC[1] or P.C.) in modern usage, is used to describe language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society. In mainstream political discourse and media, the term is generally used as a pejorative, implying that these policies are excessive.

    Well, crud. Ok. Maybe people who tell me All Or Blue Lives Matter is not politically correct have a point. Are police one of the ‘particular groups’ this applies to? Certainly ‘All lives’ sounds too general to be a ‘particular group’. John had always applied the idea of political correctness with a healthy side order of common sense, but reading this he realizes that perhaps he is making a mistake. Does PC really mean what I’ve been telling myself it means? Well, it does to me and to sensible people. Maybe it doesn’t to Vanity Fair or Huffington Post or USA Today. Hmm. It’s confusing when people use the same term to mean different things, perhaps I ought to rethink doing that.

    So thinks John, if I accept this modified definition of PC, perhaps I shouldn’t care to be PC. Why should I care what is politically correct, if it means that I can’t speak out against retaliatory cop killing?

    And so on. This may be enough to illustrate where I’m coming from.

  216. Mark Bofill says:

    Gah sorry about the ugly formatting.

  217. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    =={ You ask me why I object to the slogan, alright. I’ll explain where I’m coming from a little.
    I don’t object to the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ at all. }==

    FWIW – I wasn’t focusing on why you object to the term. In fact, I had no idea whether you do. My question was rather imprecise, but what I meant was why is the reaction (often, not from you specifically) to “black llives matter,” something on the order of “blue lives matter?”

    I think that question goes to the heart of the issue, and to the heart of the divergence w/r/t “political correctness” and indeed, reading the links you gave seems to focus on precisely that question.

    =={ Take Mr. Doe as an example; Mr. Doe
    is a fictious entity similar but not identical to me for illustrative purposes. John Doe hears stories in the media about black men being shot and killed by police. John hears the slogan and about the Black Lives Matter movement. Sounds great to John! ==}

    And so here we have a bit of a dilemma, as you are talking about the reaction of a given individual in a specific circumstance. More specifically, you have a situation where a particular person hears “black lives matter” and does not directly respond by saying “blue lives matter.” In fact, this person says “Sounds great to me!” If such a case existed in isolation we might be able to continue our social experiment…but it doesn’t. In reality, what happened was that people like John got swept along with at least some % of people (let’s consider one example of a guy named Joe Schmoe) who heard “black lives matter” and responded directly with something more on the order of “There goes those black folks again, trying to blame everyone else for the criminality in their midst. They are playing the “race card” and the “victim card” to avoid the responsibility in their own community/culture for the conditions where cops, just trying to do their job, use lethal force because they, justifiably, fear for their lives. We eliminated slavery more than 150 years ago, and in America today there is actually very little racism against blacks, and in fact Black people are being given all kinds of advantages denied to white people, and actually that is racism against white people which is more of a problem than racism against black people!

    Now I don’t know what might be the actual ratio of Mr. Doe’s response to the # of responses of people who see it like Mr. Schmoe, but I certainly know that within the domain of public interaction, there are at least a non-trivial # who do respond like Mr. Schmoe.

    =={ But then John starts encountering stories about police officers being ambushed. Five police in Dallas are killed, and the gunman says he was trying to kill white police officers because he was upset about ‘Black Lives Matter’. Police are ambushed and killed in Florida, in Missouri, in Iowa.

    John notices new slogans circulating. ‘Blue Lives Matter’, ‘All Lives Matter’. Well, thinks John, maybe there is something to this. I sympathise with Black Lives Matter, but maybe people are losing their perspective.

    Yet John reads about pushback against this and finds little support, except from Breitbart.
    Vox lays out the reasons one shouldn’t say ‘All Lives Matter’, http://www.vox.com/2016/7/11/12136140/black-all-lives-matter
    Vanity Fair, USA Today, so on. The Huffington Post gently explains why saying this is racist. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-damiani/every-time-you-say-all-li_1_b_11004780.html

    So – ok. John, like you, has his own private opinion on what is politically correct and what constitutes racism. }==

    So up to here, I get where you’re going and have complete sympathy for Mr. Doe’s plight. But as I said before, this discussion takes place in a context. And Mr. Doe is not an idiot or someone who isn’t familiar with the larger context. So I would think that he would be able to ground his own reactions – in the larger context that not everyone who thinks that “blue lives matter” would reflexively respond to hearing “black lives matter,” and that some people who do so would be like Mr. Schmoe. And I would think that Mr. Doe would at least consider, instead of responding with “blue lives matter” respond instead with something like,”Yes, I agree that black lives matter and I get the context for saying that because there is a long history in this country of de-valuing the lives of black people, but this is a complex issue and I think it is worthwhile to make sure that in saying “black lives matter” no one confuses that with some kind of blanket assumption that cops killing black people is necessarily an expression of devaluing the lives of black people.”

    =={ To John, looking for a way to bring a measure of reason and balance to the discussion that apparently has started a spontaneous non organized grassroots movement
    to ambush and execute police officers is not racist, nor is it incorrect. All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter. }==

    I want to check this. Are you saying that because there the incidents where people justified killing cops with the rhetoric of “black lives matter,” you determined that some people saying that “black lives matter” created a “movement” to ambush and execute police officers?

    =={ Well, crud. Ok. Maybe people who tell me All Or Blue Lives Matter is not politically correct have a point. }==

    This is a problem, to me, with its circularity w/r/t the concept of of PC. I don’t think that people say “blue lives matter is not politically correct.” They might say that they consider “blue lives matter” to be an insensitive response if it is a reflexive response to someone saying “black lives matter.” Or, they may well skip right to saying that responding to “black lives matter” with “blue lives matter” is inherently racist.

    But it is others who then slap the label of out of control “political correctness” on either of those two responses. IMO, either of those responses are entirely to be expected when we look at how people interact – even if they are problematic (the 2nd in particular). The act of calling those responses “out of control politically correctness, something which, btw, is destroying our society and explains why we are in total decline as a culture and a “disaster” and why we need to Make America Great Again!!!!!!” is, IMO, an agenda-driven act (and, ironically, a form of political correctness).

    =={ John had always applied the idea of political correctness with a healthy side order of common sense, but reading this he realizes that perhaps he is making a mistake. Does PC really mean what I’ve been telling myself it means? }==

    Again, Mark, it seems to me that this goes back to the working definition of what “PC” means. Does it mean “over-the-top reactions to often unintended implications in what people say” then the answer is yes. But if it means “calling out implicit bias in our language, often due to a lack of perspective or ignorance,” then the answer might be no, depending on so much about the context.

    =={ Well, it does to me and to sensible people. Maybe it doesn’t to Vanity Fair or Huffington Post or USA Today. Hmm. It’s confusing when people use the same term to mean different things, perhaps I ought to rethink doing that. }==

    So are you saying that all people who respond in the manner of VF or HP are “unreasonable?” If so, I have some sympathy but can’t completely agree, because I would again point to Mr. Schmoe as an important part of the context.

    =={ So thinks John, if I accept this modified definition of PC, perhaps I shouldn’t care to be PC. }==

    Again, I think that this is circular, and also accepts a binary definition of PC…whereas I think it represents a spectrum. IMO, the definitions of terms always adhere to context and perspective.

    =={ Why should I care what is politically correct, if it means that I can’t speak out against retaliatory cop killing? }==

    I don’t think that there is some mutually exclusive condition between a desire to not offend people who think that “black lives matter” and speaking out against retaliatory cop killing. I would suggest that a belief that those two goals are incompatible would recommend dropping the whole focus (and I would add in some cases agenda-driven hobbyhorse) of PC, and instead focusing on finding a way to discuss the tensions between recognizing the meaning (of at least some people saying “black lives matter”) and the problem of cops getting killed. Obviously, there is a direct relationship between those two phenomena. This is, very much, a part of the tension between promoting “law and order” and increasing community support for police.

    Consider the implications, if you will, of someone asking Trump about his plans to address racial animosity, and getting the response of (paraphrasing), “Well, I am a big believer in law and order and we need to increase stop-and-frisk because it works.” Or, consider the “political correctness” of Trump saying that. Are those different considerations, or the same considerations?

    ——————-.

  218. Mark Bofill says:

    Alright. Let me break off some pieces and we can chew on them one at a time.

    And I would think that Mr. Doe would at least consider, instead of responding with “blue lives matter” respond instead with something like,”Yes, I agree that black lives matter and I get the context for saying that because there is a long history in this country of de-valuing the lives of black people, but this is a complex issue and I think it is worthwhile to make sure that in saying “black lives matter” no one confuses that with some kind of blanket assumption that cops killing black people is necessarily an expression of devaluing the lives of black people.”

    Sure. There’s no good substitute for saying what one really means I guess. So thanks, I see what you’re saying there and that doesn’t seem nutty to me.

  219. Mark Bofill says:

    I want to check this. Are you saying that because there the incidents where people justified killing cops with the rhetoric of “black lives matter,” you determined that some people saying that “black lives matter” created a “movement” to ambush and execute police officers?

    I’m not sure I am saying that. Lets examine it. In my example (and my example was loosely based on my inexact recollections of my own experience in following the stories to some extent), Mr. Doe thought there was some casual relationship. I certainly wouldn’t say ‘black lives matter deliberately, intentionally, and in an organized and coordinated manner started a movement to ambush and execute police.’. Nope. I might agree to this statement, ‘some nutcases heard about the black lives matter movement and took it upon themselves to murder some policemen.’
    See, I’d want to be careful to avoid blaming BLM for what any nutcase decides to do and try to justify in their name. Obviously nobody can control what crazy people do out there, or what the crazy people invoke as justification.

  220. Mark Bofill says:

    This is a problem, to me, with its circularity w/r/t the concept of of PC. I don’t think that people say “blue lives matter is not politically correct.” They might say that they consider “blue lives matter” to be an insensitive response if it is a reflexive response to someone saying “black lives matter.” Or, they may well skip right to saying that responding to “black lives matter” with “blue lives matter” is inherently racist.

    But it is others who then slap the label of out of control “political correctness” on either of those two responses. IMO, either of those responses are entirely to be expected when we look at how people interact – even if they are problematic (the 2nd in particular). The act of calling those responses “out of control politically correctness, something which, btw, is destroying our society and explains why we are in total decline as a culture and a “disaster” and why we need to Make America Great Again!!!!!!” is, IMO, an agenda-driven act (and, ironically, a form of political correctness).

    Thank you. I feel like this clarifies your viewpoint enough that I can start to understand it reasonably well.

  221. Mark Bofill says:

    Consider the implications, if you will, of someone asking Trump about his plans to address racial animosity, and getting the response of (paraphrasing), “Well, I am a big believer in law and order and we need to increase stop-and-frisk because it works.” Or, consider the “political correctness” of Trump saying that. Are those different considerations, or the same considerations?

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking. Are the implications the same as the ‘political correctness’ of Trump saying that, is what I think you’re asking me.
    Well, let’s think about the political correctness of Trump saying that. Using the term PC as it is normally used, I’d think there’d be no political correctness about it. I don’t think stop-and-frisk is a policy intended to promote racial harmony, and not being a Mr. Jack Shmoe if anything I’d expect that it promotes animosity rather than harmony. So there’s no regard for offending anyone or any consideration of a minorities perspective there; that’d be politically incorrect from that standpoint as well.
    The implications? I’m probably being dense Joshua (believe me, it happens. 😦 ) but I don’t know what implications you’re thinking of here. There are probably more implications than we could enumerate here. Probably there are some that are obviously pertinent if something would bring them to mind, but .. nothing’s coming to mind right now.

  222. Mark Bofill says:

    Sorry, I wasn’t quite right there. (He ain’t raight!)

    Are the implications the same as the ‘political correctness’ of Trump saying that, is what I think you’re asking me.

    Are the considerations the same is what you asked; the things I’m thinking about when I think about those two things. What am I thinking about when I’m thinking about the implications, what am I thinking about when I’m thinking about the political correctness of Trump saying that,
    Ok. Sure. Basically the same considerations I think.

  223. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    =={ I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking. …{==

    Totally unfair, asking me to later explain what I meant when I wrote something. If you had told me you might do that, I would never have agreed to start this convo with you in the first place. It’s like you have some kind of expectation that what I write makes sense, or at least that the meaning be decipherable. What a ridiculous expectation. But I guess that since we’ve already gotten this going and I didn’t declare the right to be nonsensical or indecipherable from the beginning, I can’t exclude those conditions at this point.

    Consider the implications, if you will, of someone asking Trump about his plans to address racial animosity, and getting the response of (paraphrasing), “Well, I am a big believer in law and order and we need to increase stop-and-frisk because it works.” Or, consider the “political correctness” of Trump saying that. Are those different considerations, or the same considerations?

    Basically, I was saying that it doesn’t really make a difference to me whether we consider the “implications” of him responding that way or the “political correctness” of him responding that way. In the end, whether we classify it as politically correct or not politically correct or don’t even evaluate its political correctness…the implications stand on their own.

    Speaking of which….I was thinking that one interpretation could be that he is completely unconcerned with the topic of the question he was asked: The problem of racial tension.

    Thus, he answers the question by saying that he would address the problem of racial tension by doubling down on a policing tactic that has, arguably, actually caused or at least exacerbated quite a bit or racial tension. In that sense, I would say that operating from that framework, his answer was politically incorrect and that the implications sucked. In other words, he was so completely insensitive to the likely reaction of many members of the black community (i.e, he was politically incorrect) that he is effectively saying that he doesn’t give a shit about racial tension felt in the black community and is playing to his base by saying that his way to deal with racial tensions is to make blacks feel like they are even more devalued than they currently feel, and making whites in his base feel more secure because after scare-mongering about how much danger they’re in and how the country is falling apart, “[He], alone, can fix it. [He] will restore law and order”…“The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th, 2017, safety will be restored.”.

    But if I were inclined to give Trump a break, I might think that what he was actually trying to say that he is concerned about racial tensions, and that he feels that reducing crime in black communities is the best way to address racial tensions and that stop-and-frisk is a good way to reduce crime in black communities. Although I think that there is a major problem with the logical flow there, probably due to an ignorance on his part about how much of the black community feels about the impact of how stop and frisk has been implemented (if not, necessarily, with the methodology in and of itself), if he actually thought through how to respond to questions instead of just going with his programmed rhetorical response that he needs to project a tough-guy, law and order image, he might have been legitimately trying to explain what he thinks he could do to address racial tensions. In that sense, maybe it would be politically incorrect in a sense, but in the sense that being politically incorrect is a rather irrelevant consideration…as what matters more than the political incorrectness is the underlying aspect of what he wants to try to do and how he intends to do that.

    I thought it was interesting when that reporter at the recent press conference asked him about interactions with the CBC, and his response (once she explained that she was referring to the Congressional Black Caucus) was to ask her if she were friends with them and whether she would schedule a meeting. Almost anyone with anything less than a completely tin ear probably cringed as soon as he responded, realizing the overtly patronizing and demeaning aspects of his response, and that practically any black person would be offended at the apparent implications that he thinks that all black people must be friends with each other and that it was appropriate for him, as someone who can hire a thousand secretaries to make appointments for him, to demean a professional reporter enough to ask her to schedule an appointment.

    But I watched a couple of interviews with the reporter afterwards, and she repeatedly insisted that she was determined to put the best light on his answer, and to not assume that it meant anything deeper than that he actually was expressing an interest in meeting with the CBC. A very classy act, I thought.

    That all just goes to show that not only is there a range to what PC what means, but likewise, there is a range as to how we might interpret the implications of the potentially politically incorrect things that someone (in this case Trump) might say.

    And what was up with how, when he was asked about what he might do about antisemitism, the one time he went on a rant about his YUGE electoral college victory and the other time he went on a rant about how we’ll never meet anyone less antisemitic than he? Again, is it meaningful that his response was not politically correct? Should we assume the implication is that he is antisemitic and doesn’t give a shit about antisemitism? Or should we assume that he’s pretty much a self-obsessed, thin-skinned idiot who turns every question into a need to promote himself, and that we can’t actually know whether his political incorrectness tells us that he doesn’t give a shit about antisemitism or actually probably that he is just ill-equipped for the job and as a result doesn’t have an answer to the question even if he weren’t so self-obsessed and could actually focus on answering the question that was asked?

    In the end, I am much less interested in the discussion about whether someone has been politically incorrect or whether concern about political correctness is turning us into a nanny state populated by snowflakes…than I am in the discussion about how people can communicate better. We can try to find things that our “enemies” do in order to justify our sense of tribal superiority, or we can discuss how to communicate more effectively, educate ourselves and reduce ignorance among others. I am interested in talking about where to draw the line between “shutting down free speech” and holding ourselves accountable for offending others (whether due to our ignorance, insensitivity, or lack of perspective) – but when someone starts whining about “political correctness,” I generally just quickly conclude that whining person isn’t actually interested in the convo I’m interested in.

    ———–

    Now I suspect that rather than clarify my question, I only muddied the waters even further. but I am also saying that I think that your answers came as close as possible to answering my vague questions as would be reasonably possible….and I the confusion that I added with my follow-on comment basically just hit on many of the same points of agreement.

  224. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    I was thinking about my use of the term “ignorance” while discussing what I think objections to “politically incorrectness” is about…and thinking of how that is a charged or judgmental term.

    I heard an interview with James Baldwin today…

    He said:

    Most white Americans I ever encountered, really, you know, had a negro friend or a Negro maid or somebody in high school, but they never, you know, or rarely, after school was over, you know, came to my kitchen, you know, we were segregated from the schoolhouse door. Therefore, he doesn’t know, he really does. not know, what is was like to leave my house, you know leave the school and go back to Harlem. He doesn’t know how Negroes live and it comes as a great surprise…to the Kennedy brothers, and everybody else in the country. I’m certain, again, that, like, again like most white Americans I have, you know, encountered, they have no…you know, I’m sure they they have nothing whatever against Negroes..that was never..that’s really not the question. The question is really a kind of apathy and ignorance, which is the price we pay for segregation, that’s what segregation means. You don’t know what’s happening on the other side of the wall, because you don’t want to know.

  225. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua,

    It’s funny you arrive here. One of the (admittedly few) observations I’d come up with so far sort of relates to this. Ignorance, and yes, whether or not its a pejorative term.
    I was thinking that a lot of the difference in our perspective on the BLM discussion might have grown out of assumptions. Pardon me for saying that, I mean, assumptions on my end. For example, when you said:

    And Mr. Doe is not an idiot or someone who isn’t familiar with the larger context. So I would think that he would be able to ground his own reactions – in the larger context that not everyone who thinks that “blue lives matter” would reflexively respond to hearing “black lives matter,” and that some people who do so would be like Mr. Schmoe. And I would think that Mr. Doe would at least consider, instead of responding with “blue lives matter” respond instead with something like,”Yes, I agree that black lives matter and I get the context for saying that because there is a long history in this country of de-valuing the lives of black people, but this is a complex issue and I think it is worthwhile to make sure that in saying “black lives matter” no one confuses that with some kind of blanket assumption that cops killing black people is necessarily an expression of devaluing the lives of black people.”

    See – I don’t actually know Mr. Schmoe. And I basically assumed Mr. Schmoe’s were few and far between, if existent at all. And I realized at this point that it’s likely I have a whole host of unchecked assumptions for which I really have no clear idea why I make them. In point of fact, I am ignorant. Not in the pejorative sense, in the literal sense.
    Like most of my observations, this isn’t really news. But it does appear to be another element that contributes to how and why you and I see things differently. I harbor different assumptions in the absence of facts than you, apparently.
    I expect this wasn’t really your point or where you were going, I just thought it was funny that I was thinking about something that seemed to relate.
    Anyway. I’ll post another comment that actually discusses what you’re talking about! 🙂
    Thanks Joshua.

  226. Mark Bofill says:

    So – apathy and ignorance, in the sense that we don’t really know people outside of our narrow ..castes?
    Is it just apathy? It seems like it can be a difficult slog sometimes to climb that wall and see what’s on the other side. There are those who welcome you and then there are those who really want no part of you. Take some of the responses you’ve gotten at the Blackboard for example; people don’t always welcome outsiders. Of course I could produce similar examples from my own experience.
    But ignorance. Yes. We don’t know, absolutely. I don’t know what it’s like in most cases.

  227. Mark Bofill says:

    In the end, I am much less interested in the discussion about whether someone has been politically incorrect or whether concern about political correctness is turning us into a nanny state populated by snowflakes…than I am in the discussion about how people can communicate better. We can try to find things that our “enemies” do in order to justify our sense of tribal superiority, or we can discuss how to communicate more effectively, educate ourselves and reduce ignorance among others. I am interested in talking about where to draw the line between “shutting down free speech” and holding ourselves accountable for offending others (whether due to our ignorance, insensitivity, or lack of perspective) – but when someone starts whining about “political correctness,” I generally just quickly conclude that whining person isn’t actually interested in the convo I’m interested in.

    There’s lots of interest to me here. I bolded what I’m most interested in.
    We humans are highly social animals. Mostly animals don’t go mentally screwy when isolated from others of their kind (I think? I thought I read this somewhere recently. Some ants go screwy too). Not being cut off from the rest of society is fundamentally important to us, it seems to me. When the tribe shuns us, it’s a terrible thing; a deadly thing.
    So there are stakes. Speech and the response to speech matters.
    I haven’t decided where I’m going with this yet.
    A question – holding ourselves accountable. What is your view of the role of the group or leaders holding other accountable for offending others? Personally, I think it’s an inevitable thing to consider, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Societies draw lines for various reasons, maybe.

  228. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    =={ See – I don’t actually know Mr. Schmoe. And I basically assumed Mr. Schmoe’s were few and far between, if existent at all. }==

    Yah.

    So I say “black lives matter” and Jill Q. Public responds by saying “blue lives matter.” Perhaps Jill says that because she thinks that I’m being politically incorrect (although she won’t use that term, she will use the term “racist” ) by saying that “black lives matter.” Perhaps she thinks that I am saying that black lives matter more than white lives. Perhaps she thinks that I hate white people. Perhaps she thinks that what I’m saying is that all black men who are shot by cops are shot by cops because the cops are racist and out gunning for black men. Perhaps she thinks what I’m saying is that a black gang dealer who kills people has no responsibility for his actions, and that white people are responsible for his behavior even though Jim Crow ended years ago, and, in Jill’s perspective white racism directed toward blacks is not a significant problem any more (as per that WaPo article I linked above).

    And when Jill Q. Public says “blue lives matter,” maybe I’ll think that Jill is politically incorrect (although I won’t use that term, I will use the term “racist”). Perhaps I will think that Jill thinks that there is no issue with racism in law enforcement. Perhaps I will think that Jill thinks that black men who get shot deserve to get shot because they are lazy and don’t want to work and only want to father kids out of wedlock so they can collect Welfare payments. Perhaps I will think that Jill thinks that black men are genetically inferior and less intelligent, and that explains why they do so poorly in school and that is why black communities are in “absolutely the worst shape ever.”

    My new most favorite word is: Apophenia

    So what we have is people who are responding from a position of ignorance. What we have is people walking around looking to confirm their identity-protective and identity-agressive biases. The they feed on the media that gives them exactly what they want. I don’t blame the media (although people on both sides, amusingly, employing exactly diametric reasoning, are convinced that the media are the problem). The problem with apophenia is hard-wired into our cognitive and psychological makeup.

    They don’t want to see on the other side of the wall.

    =={ Of course I could produce similar examples from my own experience. }==

    Indeed. Could you even count many times has this happened to you on the Internet? I know it has happened to me countless times. I express an opinion and someone who is absolutely wedded to their ignorance and their proclivity towards apophenia fits me right into a nice little box, amid the huge stack of boxes of …well…it could be “the left” boxes or it could be “alarmist” boxes or it could be “statist” boxes or it could be “intolerant, free-speech-hating, snowflake, who just wants to shut people down by playing the ‘politically incorrect’ card” boxes….

    =={ Is it just apathy? It seems like it can be a difficult slog sometimes to climb that wall and see what’s on the other side. }==

    Sure, it’s a difficult slog. And no, I don’t think that it is merely apathy, or even just apathy + ignorance. I wouldn’t guess that Baldwin was attempting to be exhaustive. But to me, a big piece of it is accountability.

    =={ When the tribe shuns us, it’s a terrible thing; a deadly thing. }==

    Kahan leans on reputational cost a lot. I think that is a big part of it, but I think that there are internal mechanism also. We, ourselves, want to think of ourselves as smart. What better way to prove to ourselves how smart we are than proving to ourselves that someone else is stupid? (as an aside…thinking of the Blackboard,…what better way to judge one student than to judge that student relative to another student via norm-referenced, as opposed to criterion referenced, standardized testing?). We want to be morally good. What better way to prove to ourselves our moral standing than to prove to our selves that we are morally superior to someone else? (e.g., “Free speech is noble, I believe in free speech. I love free speech. No one loves free speech as much as me. You will never meet someone who loves free speech more than I do. How can I prove that? Because I hate those people, and they hate free speech.”)

    =={ A question – holding ourselves accountable. What is your view of the role of the group or leaders holding other accountable for offending others? }==

    Dunno. Have to give it some thought. I don’t tend to think much about the role of groups (aren’t all groups made up of individuals?) or of leaders (because I never invest much into leaders).

  229. Joshua says:

    This figure, which consists of three circles and a line, is perceived as a face, despite having only a few of the features of an actual face.

  230. I thought it was those binoculaurs you put a coin into, at sightseeing spots, so as to look at the view.

  231. Joshua says:

    Seriously?

  232. Okay, no, but now that I’ve thought of it, it is what it looks like 🙂

  233. Joshua says:

    Funny how that works. Now, whenever I look at that drawing, that is probably what I will think of first.

  234. Mark Bofill says:

    Joshua,

    I have not run out of things to ask your views and opinions about, but free time is scarcer than ever for me. Normally I drop in and out of blog conversations as is feasible, but in this conversation where you and I were specifically talking I feel like it would be rude to just drop thread without warning. Additionally, I worry about presuming too far on Ander’s hospitality (and thank you again Anders).

    So rather than just disappear, I wanted to thank you for expressing the interest and taking the time out to communicate. It’s been interesting as it usually is when I get the chance to talk with you. Don’t be a stranger, I’ll make a point of trying not to be either.

    (BTW – I’m not preparing to go hike the AT or make a trip to Antarctica or anything like that; if there is anything else you’d specifically like to address before we wrap this up I will try to make time for it over the next few days.)

    Best regards.

  235. Joshua says:

    Hey Mark –

    Thanks. I think this convo had pretty much run its course anyway. I mostly just wanted to get something of a sanity check re: Trump and I kind of did that.

    If I feel like I start losing my grip again, I’ll drop a note over at Lucia’s.

  236. John Hartz says:

    Recommended supplemental reading…

    Beware the Trump brain rot: The cognitive effects of this administration’s actions could be disastrous

    Democracy isn’t all that’s at risk under Trump’s agenda. There’s a 5-point attack happening on our nation’s minds

    by Sophia McClennen, Salon, Feb 25, 2017

  237. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Thanks, John. That’s a keeper.

    While there is little question that the Trump team is set to unravel our democracy, our foreign relations and every stitch of political progress our nation has ever made; that isn’t all that is at stake here.

    – Sophia McClennen, Professor of Comparative Literature & International Affairs and Founding Director of the Center for Intellectual MonoculturesGlobal Studies at Penn State University

    If a lit prof can abuse semicolons like that, then so can I. Her article might come in handy.

  238. John Hartz says:

    Vinny Burgoo: It could also be an editing glitch.

  239. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Possibly, though McClennen has long been overfond of semicolons.

    And the disease seems to be spreading very quickly. Here is Tom Curtis at SkS today:

    If they are inspired by animus rather than (as has also been suggested), genuine fears that Trump is a knowing Russian plant; then they amount to an attempted coup by the intelligence services against a lawfully elected President (even if those laws are a perversion of democracy).

    TC’s comment also shows signs of the rogue-comma virus that affected my own comment here.

    (Well done, Tom Curtis, for being so un-tribal at SkS, by the way.)

  240. Mary P says:

    . com/2017/02/25/beware-the-trump-brain-rot-the-cognitive-effects-of-this-administrations-actions-could-be-disastrous/” / rel=”nofollow”>Beware the Trump brain rot: The cognitive effects of this administration’s actions could be disastrous
    Democracy isn’t all that’s at risk under Trump’s agenda.

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