Wednesday assorted links

by on April 5, 2017 at 11:26 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Anonymous April 5, 2017 at 11:47 am

You had to be cracking yourself up as you titled #6.


2 prior_test2 April 5, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Or anticipating pushing several commenter’s buttons when it comes to gender.

Wait, I forgot, Prof. Cowen only occasionally reads the comments. So occasionally that he still hasn’t discovered that using ‘ensure’ in place of ‘insure’ makes him look fairly incompetent when presenting information concerning the ‘ensurance’ industry. No complacency there, it seems


3 Moo cow April 5, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Gender? It’s a different Jender.


4 WC Varones April 5, 2017 at 11:54 am

1. GFC-delayed Millenials finally moving to the burbs to buy houses and start families.


5 ChrisA April 5, 2017 at 12:45 pm

A years data does not make a trend.


6 ricardo April 6, 2017 at 11:04 am
7 rayward April 5, 2017 at 11:58 am

3. People in the red states favor “freedom”, and that includes freedom from the restraints of seat belts. It reminds me of the “freedom” from having to wear a helmet while riding a motor cycle: the requirement was eliminated in Florida as part of the “freedom” agenda of the rising Republican majority. As for single-payer, it’s an element of the alt-right’s and the Trump administration’s appeal to ordinary working Americans for the economic nationalism agenda. Of course, the Trump administration won’t actually deliver single-payer anymore than the Trump administration will deliver tax cuts for working Americans, manufacturing jobs for working Americans, and “infrastructure” for working Americans. It’s all farce. What they will deliver is “freedom” from Obamacare. People will believe anything.


8 The Other Jim April 5, 2017 at 12:08 pm

>People will believe anything.

No kidding. Look how many people believed Susan Rice when she said she “knew nothing” about Trump&Co being wiretapped for a year.

Now of course they believe her when she says “Well sure they were wiretapped for a year, but it wasn’t political or anything.”


9 A Crook April 5, 2017 at 12:15 pm

I hate it when law enforcement does their job!


10 Milo Minderbinder April 5, 2017 at 3:12 pm

The National Security Advisor is not a law-enforcement position.


11 Dick the Butcher April 5, 2017 at 5:55 pm

You meant to type, “I hate it when the gestapo does their job!”

Hitler and Stalin also did stuff like that, and made for it your excuse.


12 Anonymous April 6, 2017 at 4:45 pm
13 Moo cow April 5, 2017 at 12:40 pm

“Our decade-long investigation into organized crime and money laundering initiating from offices in the Trump Tower is picking up Trump campaign workers.”

“Oh. Shut it down, I guess. He says he’s gonna make America great again.”


14 Dick the Butcher April 5, 2017 at 5:58 pm

If you verbalized that, it would be slander. You wrote it, ergo it’s libel. That’s all you have.


15 Troll Me April 6, 2017 at 12:12 am

Trump sexually harassed numerous women. He also engaged in fraud against people who were struggling hard to get a chance and spent tens of thousands on a bogus uni program.

Trump also indicated an interested to make it easier for politicians to sue newspaper. Which would reduce the number of people discussing his molestations and fraudulent behaviour.

Not to mention the racism.

But anyways, you’re the one throwing around words that constitute an attack on fundamental liberties. Rule number 1 as it were.

I dare say, it is a crime in many states to “conspire” to “deprive of rights”. Are you trying to deprive someone of their enjoyment of rights for no good reason?

16 rayward April 5, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Allowing Russians to undermine American elections is part of the “freedom” agenda.


17 The Anti-Gnostic April 5, 2017 at 1:28 pm

How did the Russians undermine American elections? Be specific.


18 prior_test2 April 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Well, we don’t want to unmask anyone by attaching their names to communication intercepts, right? At least that seems to be the current Trump Administration party line.


19 The Centrist April 5, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Aren’t you the Wikipedia guy?

Why don’t you post something about the fact that it was standard legal practice to redact names picked up in the trawling? You know that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. We all suffer, some actually and some potentially, when privacy laws are ignored.

20 Dain April 5, 2017 at 2:14 pm

FINALLY y’all come around to the Birch position. It only took five decades.


21 Dick the Butcher April 5, 2017 at 5:59 pm

That is 100% bullshit. It’s the same bullshit Hitler and Stalin used.


22 XVO April 5, 2017 at 12:30 pm

What’s interesting about #3b isn’t the content, but that vox is giving such an honest and fair assessment of the alt-right. Hardly any condescension and popularizing alt-right figures and media. Really something is going on, the alt-right is influencing the mainstream.


23 Anonymous April 5, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Vox: Please alt-right, don’t throw us in the single payer briar patch!


24 Hazel Meade April 5, 2017 at 1:55 pm

They noticed that national socialists are socialists?


25 prior_test2 April 5, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Not to mention murderous genocidal fanatics.


26 Hazel Meade April 5, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Well they seem to be enthusiastically ignoring that bit in this piece.

27 Humperdinck April 6, 2017 at 11:58 am

It’s the thought that counts

28 Dain April 5, 2017 at 2:14 pm

If you want to make progressives give up on single-payer, make it known the alt-right supports it.


29 msgkings April 5, 2017 at 2:22 pm

And vice versa?


30 Hazel Meade April 5, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Please let this be true.


31 Daniel Weber April 5, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Early South Park did a whole episode about this, with the local KKK chapter proclaiming opposition for things it supported so that people would vote them into law.


32 Jeff R April 5, 2017 at 12:53 pm

3b: does this mean the left and the alt-right will collaborate on healthcare reform?


33 The Anti-Gnostic April 5, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Right now the Left is too occupied with trying to keep its coalition of groups who actually don’t like each other very much united against Da Man.


34 Hazel Meade April 5, 2017 at 1:53 pm

As for single-payer, it’s an element of the alt-right’s and the Trump administration’s appeal to ordinary working Americans for the economic nationalism agenda.

How is this any different from “a chicken in every pot”? Socialism has ALWAYS been about offering benefits to “ordinary working people”. They just used to call it the proletariat. They’re basically offering old-school 1930s New Deal socialism wrapped up in an American flag. With a lot of extra rhetoric about the evils of Muslims and Mexicans.


35 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm

New Deal socialism was wrapped in an American flag.

The traditional socialist position was that working people were entitled to benefits as it was the product of their labor, expropriated by the capitalist class through the unfair capitalist structure, and justly redistributed back to the workers. Thus, if the socialist government of state A wanted to give to the people of state B, it was an act of generosity. The modern Leftist position, in contrast, is that wealth just rains down from heaven, it isn’t created, and thus everyone has equal entitlement to it, if some countries have more than others, that is due to some unfair “privilege.” Thus, providing benefits only to people of country A is “welfare chauvinism,” the people of country B should be able to immigrate and receive the exact same benefits, or be given them indirectly in the form of foreign aid.


36 Troll Me April 5, 2017 at 11:43 pm

Social benefits in countries that receive foreign aid are not remotely generous compared to wealthy countries. Most especially, there are no benefits for able-bodied people unless as a means to ensure their kids are getting food, education and access to health care. (E.g., cash transfers to mothers, conditional on regular health checkups and regular attendance at school.)

Also, it can involve as much effort to build analytical capacity so that programs can evolve efficiently, or at least in a context of good information and analysis being available prior to the political process.

Exceptions mainly relate to military aid. Which is not the sort of aid you’re talking about. For example, Israel, Egypt, Pakistan. So that’s a different story.


37 Slocum April 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm

” People in the red states favor “freedom”, and that includes freedom from the restraints of seat belts. It reminds me of the “freedom” from having to wear a helmet while riding a motor cycle: the requirement was eliminated in Florida as part of the “freedom” agenda of the rising Republican majority.”

Presumably, you support mandatory helmets while riding a motorcycle? What about when riding a bike? Skiing? Jogging? Horseback riding? Playing basketball? Cheer-leading (lots of falls and concussions). Taking a shower (bathrooms are notorious for slip-and-fall accidents)? Would you put ‘freedom’ in sneer quotes if anybody opposed mandatory helmets in any of these cases?


38 JWatts April 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm

“3. People in the red states favor “freedom”, and that includes freedom from the restraints of seat belts. ”

The map doesn’t show this being a red state / blue state issue. Massachusetts is worse than Texas.


39 Thiago Ribeiro April 5, 2017 at 11:59 am

#4 By “extraordinary” I just mean ‘far beyond ordinary experience.’ People who take sci-fi scenarios seriously may find this category hopelessly vague, but it’s clear enough to me.”

I have no idea what it means. Nuclear bombing it is outside most peope’s oedinary experience and was outside any people’s experiences until 1945 (even 1930’s or even 1942 Fermi’s). The point is, are we as close to real AI as 1942 Fermi and Friends was to the Bomb? Who knows?

# 6 “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”


40 Pshrnk April 5, 2017 at 1:41 pm

And, hey, if we are living in a simulation, then that, and AI is not “unprecedented.”


41 Thiago Ribeiro April 5, 2017 at 1:47 pm

In fact, in this case, it is pretty common.


42 The Original D April 6, 2017 at 3:12 am

Fun fact: there is only one American still alive who has personally witnessed a nuclear detonation. He worked for the government filming atomic tests. I saw him give a presentation in late 2015.


43 Anonymous April 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm

I feel like I should defend the “rationalists” even if I am not part of the “community.” Caplan seems to capture my feeling pretty exactly. People should try to use their brains. They can reject old frameworks, but they can go off the rails and get all silly about brain uploads or living in a simulation. By your “more critical” do you mean you like the silly parts?

(To be honest I didn’t follow the consequentialist/utilitarian bit. I assume he is talking about more extreme practitioners who do not set limits, or balance with any idea of personal sovereignty.)


44 Daniel Weber April 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Thesis: There is a constant amount of “silly stuff” a person must believe.

Question: Where should we direct that “silly stuff” to be least damaging? Debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin sounds like a good place to target that energy.

(Comparison Question: Since people will display tribalness, where should that be channeled? Answer: Sports teams with loyalty decided by the arbitrariness of locality.)


45 Anonymous April 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm

I liked 1b. While cities do have natural advantages I think it is true that policies have helped drain rural areas of talent and innovation. I’d be fine with rural-centered remedies .. but perhaps the rub is that I’d be more in favor of new tech colleges, more wind and solar farms, more jobs programs than “the rurals” would themselves. They’re still waiting for the border wall to bring jobs .. John Frum style


46 ChrisA April 5, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Re: Caplan, there is no “true” ethical system so it cannot be rational to espouse it so strongly. So it seems fair to be critical of a community of people who call themselves rationalists who insist that you must accept
Utilitarianism to be rational. But on the sci-fi scenarios, I think Caplan is wrong to criticise AI fear, even in the case where we do manage to find some kind of protocols like the three laws of robotics there will be governments and individuals who will want AI without them.


47 Donald Pretari April 5, 2017 at 1:04 pm

3b…I agree with some of these alt-right positions, but not for nationalistic , Bismarckian reasons. Following Henry Simons and Michael Oakeshott, I believe the main problem is concentration of power by any group. A guaranteed income and single-payer plan render these parts of the economy less susceptible to over-powerful interest groups, which we have now.


48 Joe April 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm

My initial reaction is single-payer health care concentrates power in the hands of our government.


49 Donald Pretari April 5, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Joe, Here is what I am for… A plan by Milton Friedman…

And here’s an interview of Milton Friedman by Robert Kuttner that explains that, in the real world, it has worked out that we have adopted the worst aspects of a governmental role and a private market role. Nostrums are fine, but the real world often doesn’t exactly match them.


50 Cooper April 5, 2017 at 1:15 pm

#1, Rents don’t go up in perfectly straight line forever. There are always going to be some bumps but over the long run rents in San Francisco can be modeled quite accurately by assuming a 2.5% annual inflation adjusted increase.


51 Pshrnk April 5, 2017 at 1:37 pm

“The second blind spot is credulous openness to what I call “sci-fi” scenarios. Claims about brain emulations, singularities, living in a simulation, hostile AI, and so on are all classic “extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence.” Yes, weird, unprecedented things occasionally happen. But we should assign microscopic prior probabilities to the idea that any of these specific weird, unprecedented things will happen. Strangely, though, many people in the rationality community treat them as serious possibilities, or even likely outcomes. Why? Again, I say it’s aesthetic.”

Gee Bryan! When criticizing the rationality commending, I recommend more than hand waving about your own priors and the Ad Hominem of calling them aesthetes.


52 Pshrnk April 5, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Should have been COMMUNITY. But, I certainly believe in COMMENDING the COMMUNITY.


53 Hazel Meade April 5, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Insofar as the alt-right, and the Trump-supporting right more generally, have a coherent economic agenda, it’s a vehement rejection of the free market ideology crucial to post–World War II American conservatism. While Paul Ryan reportedly makes all his interns read Atlas Shrugged, figures like Cernovich, Spencer, and Derbyshire are trying to build an American right where race and identity are more central and laissez-faire economics is ignored or actively avoided.

Indeed. National socialists.
Can we stop pretending that the alt-right isn’t fundamentally antithetical to libertarianism?
Can we stop pretending it isn’t basically race-based socialism that they believe in?
Can we stop pretending that their philosophy doesn’t fundamentally resemble fascism in it’s basic philosophical principles?


54 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 2:24 pm

The American government pays more for healthcare for one slice of the American population than European countries do for all of their population. So the latter is not necessarily any more socialist than the former.


55 The Anti-Gnostic April 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm

We’ve socialized medical coverage for the poor, the elderly, and government employees. Extending it to the rest of us is just a matter of fiscal priorities.


56 Hazel Meade April 5, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Gimme my cut! I want my cut of the loot!


57 albatross April 5, 2017 at 2:53 pm

What does a reasonable free-market alternative look like in the modern US healthcare market, where nobody can tell you a price ahead of time, almost nobody is paying their own money for the services they’re receiving, and most of the spending is done by people who are far too ill to do any shooping around for bargains?

58 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Why not? Why’s a universal program worse than a means-tested program?

And I noticed you ignored my point about cost.

59 Hazel Meade April 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm

An actual free market can bring down costs without sacrificing choice.
Actual free markets are almost universally more efficient at allocating resources than centrally planned systems. There is no reason to believe that an actual free market wouldn’t substantially reduce costs and improve outcomes at the same time. The market has been warped by employer-based care since the 1930s, which is why we don’t have price transparency or any meaningful price signals.
Get rid of the employer based system, and get rid of the regulations on insurance under the ACA and the market will right itself.

60 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Hazel Meade,

That was the point John Derbyshire made, but he pointed out that people aren’t going to support it, so single payer was the next best thing. You may have missed it if you were reading it in order to play “pin the red flag on the alt-Right.”

The main problem with moving to either a free market or a single payer is that the insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals love the current system. No one, not Democrats, not Republicans, wants to piss them off. Observe, in comment sections, how so many of the arguments boil down to “the successful people support us, the losers support them.” And this is a good argument, for all the talk about “the politics of envy,” people love the successful, and so no politician will touch this class of people.

61 Hazel Meade April 5, 2017 at 4:26 pm

but he pointed out that people aren’t going to support it, so single payer was the next best thing

“Just accept it. Socialism is going to win. Give up already”

Says the national socialist.

62 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 4:41 pm

“Just accept it. Socialism is going to win. Give up already”

That wasn’t his point. His point was “I prefer A, but people won’t support it, and so I support C as a better alternative to B.”

Do you understand that someone might see a single payer system as less socialist than the current one?

63 msgkings April 5, 2017 at 5:11 pm

“Someone” might see it that way, but they would be wrong.

64 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 5:55 pm

msgkings, you can look it up, America’s healthcare system is so expensive that it costs more for the government to provide the limited coverage that America provides than it is to provide for everyone in Europe.

65 albatross April 6, 2017 at 9:52 am


Is there any way to try out your ideas on a small scale and see how they work, say, within a state or something? Or can you point to someplace where a free market such as you imagine is working well, somewhere in the world, that we can copy?

66 Dain April 5, 2017 at 3:59 pm

“Showing actual oppression is not a condition of identity politics. Israeli Jews rule the roost in Israel, and proudly and unabashedly practice identity politics. The Dominicans exert a lot of effort keeping their half of Hispaniola Dominican as opposed to whatever Haitian-Dominican hybrid would otherwise result. They don’t seem to be troubled by a failure to show actual oppression in maintaining their distinctive Dominican identity.”

Replying here because I can’t above. This is a good point. The idea that identity politics need be animated by a legitimate grievance is historically contingent and not, well, how it usually plays out. Power is power. Rhetoric enables it. It just so happens that victimhood is how we do it currently. See Haidt on this.


67 msgkings April 5, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Whatever the causes or current methods, I will always maintain that identity politics are inferior to the American Way. And since Superman agrees with me, I win.

68 Anonymous April 5, 2017 at 4:36 pm

It may be good, but it is rather far afield.

I think “identity politics” in the U.S. maps into one fairness claim or another.

69 Hazel Meade April 5, 2017 at 5:28 pm

For sure, white people don’t have much of anything resembling a “legitimate grievance”.
They do however, have power.

70 Chip April 5, 2017 at 9:15 pm

“For sure, white people don’t have much of anything resembling a “legitimate grievance”. They do however, have power.”

Tribalism and primitivism still carry weight, as this comment shows. The world is complex and individuals are complicated. It takes time and effort to understand our environment and the people we meet.

For many, like Hazel, this effort is too much. So they fall back on tribal instincts and impulses, organizing the world and its people into neat colour-coded blocks.

This smearing of individual identity into a negative group stereotype is exactly the kind of idiocy that eventually excuses slavery and genocide.

71 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Much as you may not like it, the movements are both similar in many ways. They are both marketed to and both appeal to the same class of people, young white men. I know, partly, because I used to be libertarian and now I’m alt-Right.(in the Steve Sailer sense, not the Richard Spencer sense) Both promise freedom from feminism, affirmative action, foreign policy stupidity, the nanny state, and the bureaucratic state. Both recognize that, no, people aren’t equal, and both celebrate accomplishment rather than victimhood. The alt-Right however, recognizes the importance of inequality in the national and racial as well as individual sense. While libertarians accept individual inequality within an ethnicity or a state, it takes a liberal position with respect to differences between nations and races, that failure has nothing to do with the people or culture. While libertarians valorize the achievement of individuals(while minimizing collective achievement, like the Moon landing) they lack a framework for assuring that such individual genius will continue in further generations, libertarians have no answer if college professors are having 1.1 children and Mexican immigrants are having 3 children. If they can’t find a “free market” solution, the go-to response is to deny that it’s a problem in the first place. Libertarianism is thus a dysgenic ideology.

But race is not the only way I, at least, differ from libertarians. A night-watchman state would only be possible in an environment of both generous private charity and a strict cultural belief in meritocracy. Otherwise, you’d have a huge class of people living off of inherited wealth that grows every generation, and they’d be able to buy their way into institutions despite deficiencies in merit, and make those institutions less efficient. Libertarians recognize that the safety net has perverse effects, that, if people’s fall is comforted by the net, they will work less hard to avoid falling. But if they work harder to avoid falling, that could have negative effects as well. Without a safety net to cushion his fall, I’m more likely to hire my nephew for a job in my company rather than hire the most qualified candidate. You’d see a lot of that with a night-watchman state, as people attempt to construct private safety nets to replace the public one, but they may be even more inefficient and less fair.


72 Hazel Meade April 5, 2017 at 3:25 pm

What answer does the alt-right have to when below-average-IQ white people have 3 children and college professors have 1.1?
I mean this is a movement which revolves around the interests of below-average-IQ white people, after all.


73 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 3:41 pm

“What answer does the alt-right have to when below-average-IQ white people have 3 children and college professors have 1.1?”

That’s also dysgenics. It’s not just about race.

“I mean this is a movement which revolves around the interests of below-average-IQ white people, after all.”

We noticed that no one was appealing to the WWC, and we took the opportunity. Since you’re libertarian, a movement almost exclusive to white, male, upper income people, I ask, how’s it working out for you?


74 Hazel Meade April 5, 2017 at 4:24 pm

We’re not after a system that benefits ourselves at the expense of other racial/ethnic groups. We’re after universal justice.
The world is not zero sum. It’s not all about which ethnic group dominates the other groups. We’re not chimpanzees.

75 The Anti-Gnostic April 5, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Humans are pack animals and people make countries. It’s not the Magic Dirt.

76 msgkings April 5, 2017 at 5:10 pm

If the pack believes in higher ideals, their country can be run aiming for them. You can aim high or just say we’re all animals.

77 The Anti-Gnostic April 5, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Here’s a link to Liberia’s Constitution. It’s pretty idealistic.

78 msgkings April 5, 2017 at 5:34 pm

I prefer the ideals in the US constitution. Why do you hate America?

79 The Anti-Gnostic April 5, 2017 at 5:43 pm

The point remains, the words on your magic piece of paper are meaningless if you’ve got a low IQ, high time preference population.

The US Constitution has become a totem for some people, like the Plains Indians’ ghost shirt. They drape it reverently over their shoulders and dance around in it, chanting “Equal protection!” and praying for the old gods to drive the bad people back into the sea.

80 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Hazel, you’re after a system where, it is a big fucking coincidence, which would most benefit “successful” people like yourself.(If indeed you are successful rather than a race traitor who imagines himself to be successful because he holds the same views as that of the successful.)

The alt-Right is not about ruling other groups. We want, to the extent that it is possible, fair, and humane, for each group to have it’s own state, to pursue it’s own prosperity to the extent it is capable.

81 Aretino April 5, 2017 at 4:12 pm

“What answer does the alt-right have to when below-average-IQ white people have 3 children and college professors have 1.1?”

1. This is inevitable, since libido is inversely correlated with IQ. See

2. Conservatism can deal with this. As Russell Kirk pointed out in his book The Conservative Mind, one plus of conservative government is that it can be run by people of modest IQ; it doesn’t require any particular degree of genius.


82 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 4:28 pm

I disagree with your first point. With birth control, sex has been separated from reproduction. A lot of the lowest IQ people, of any race, don’t particularly want kids, they want to party all day. They just have trouble using modern forms of birth control. Provide a small amount of compensation to go on long term birth control and they will eagerly accept. Others have an urge to reproduce, but this often occurs, today, as single parent reproduction with the first man available who doesn’t want to be in the child’s life.(often he’s tricked into doing it) Usually, this closest man available isn’t particularly smart. We can fix that, if women are going to give birth to bastards, we can compensate them to be inseminated with sperm of the smartest men available. Do this and in a few generations your underclass disappears.

Of course, we may never have to try such a crude method if embryo selection and CRISPR modification becomes possible.

83 asdf April 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Below average IQ white people have replacement fertility. Above average IQ white that go to church and have conservative views also have replacement fertility.

Smart liberal whites have low TFR. They are trying to replace themselves with other peoples babies to maintain power.


84 A Definite Beta Guy April 5, 2017 at 5:33 pm

Why is it poor results are only considered heritable (whether culturally or genetically) when lower-class whites are the subject matter?


85 Hazel Meade April 6, 2017 at 11:18 am

LOL, why is it that results are only considered heritable when the assumption is that whites have superior intelligence?

86 Milo Fan April 6, 2017 at 6:51 pm

Because that’s where the evidence points to. If you want to hypothesize about alternate universes, be my guest.

87 JonF April 6, 2017 at 3:05 pm

I’m not alt right but the answer is Regression to the Mean.


88 Milo Fan April 6, 2017 at 6:48 pm

That effect is over-hyped.

89 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 2:25 pm

6. I encourage you guys to watch the ad, it’s cringeworthy with it’s promotion of general virtue signalling, marching in some protest with nothing about what the protest is about, and at the end they all cheer after Kendall Jenner gives a can of coke to the cop. Much easier than actually accomplishing anything.

I wonder if this kind of virtue-signalling advertising works. I personally prefer Coke to Pepsi(Coke is sweet enough for me), but would I consider changing just because Coke of Pepsi supported my ideology? Well, there actually is one of the “off-brands” which openly supports a certain “alt-Right” website.(Though not one I ever read, and, no, I won’t tell you which it is.) That fact did motivate me to go out and buy a bottle of the stuff, even though it wasn’t any cheaper than the name brand.


90 albatross April 5, 2017 at 2:42 pm

I assume the goal of the ad was to cause a pseudo-controversy and get lots of people talking about it. Looks like it was successful.


91 msgkings April 5, 2017 at 2:50 pm



92 Anonymous April 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Someone on Twitter called it an example of old guys trying to sell Pepsi with “what is going on with you, fellow kids?”

I like that explanation better.


93 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm

I thought of that, but that’s giving them too much credit. Most likely it’s just simple stupidity from old people who don’t understand that, for the millennials, virtue-signalling has to be at least a little subtle.


94 Roy LC April 5, 2017 at 6:23 pm

I doubt it, it felt like the 1970s all over again, a long list of vague feel good notions wrapped up in an aura of some sort of vague non specific change the world stuff. Buying the world a Coke combined with Shelly Hack era Charlie and a healthy dose of:

If they had wanted controversy it would have been less mentos and more Enjoli.


95 Anon_senpai April 5, 2017 at 7:41 pm

Muslim women with hijabs bravely protesting is the meme of the hour. I swear I see more photos of them than ever before. How the Left fetishizes them!


96 Troll Me April 5, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Has anyone figured out yet what colour you can make the deserts of the Middle East glow?

Seeing the obsessions by Trumpistas relating to things statistically less dangerous than slippery bathtubs, perhaps it’s not difficult to understand why people are being proactive in stating their desire and intent to allow freedom of religion (etc.) to be something other than the freedom to think like me.


97 Anonymous April 6, 2017 at 9:16 am

Ah, but the hijab was balanced by a Levi’s denim jacket, making her a cultural neutral.


98 Viking April 5, 2017 at 2:36 pm

#1b, dark side of cities

How much of the growth differential of bigger cities versus flyover country comes from a shift where FIRE ( ) has gobbled up a bigger part of the economic pie due to regulatory capture, and the Erdmanian successful rent seeking through limited housing supply.

My recollection is that in broad terms, the FIRE part of the economy has grown from 1/8 to 1/4 of the total pie. The I (insurance) part would have captured a fraction of the above inflation increases in insurance costs. The pure welfare part of the government transfer programs are likely concentrated in metropolitan areas, as is much of federal spending on education, although many universities are in small and medium cities.

The F (finance) part of FIRE benefits from issuing municipal debt, and despite what Erdmann and Cole might think, GSE loans have pushed up housing prices, supporting the RE in FIRE.

How much of extra productivity of larger cities come from government spending?

I will wager Silicon Valley would gain in status, and New York would decline if these market distortions were subtracted.


99 joe April 5, 2017 at 3:38 pm

“Productivity is high when there are perpetually more jobs than workers, forcing companies to do more with less. Without that constant pressure, businesses get fat and lazy.”

This must be why we still have hand-harvested farm produce


100 Gerber Baby April 5, 2017 at 3:44 pm

That an an ever flowing river of illegal labor, privatized profits and socialized costs ftw!

But I don’t think it’s the main cause of lower productivity. Labor costs should be incentive enough.


101 Troll Me April 6, 2017 at 12:05 am

The privatized profits are taxed.

And when labour is cheaper, world competing firms might afford some worker for $90k instead of $100k because of cost of living effects of various services and manual labour being cheaper.

So, I do think that should also benefit the people who at present are not all that often grouped among the winners of this situation. But I do not see that this requires changes that would significantly increase the cost of living for those global competitors. (So, denser living in SF, etc., might make sense too.)


102 Roy LC April 5, 2017 at 6:10 pm

I almost didn’t click that quora link, but I have fat fingers, and all I can say is that it is the first quora answer I have ever read that wasn’t complete BS. Every book on it may be, but the two answers I saw were mostly honest and probably based, other than stuff like Sun Tzu, on the writer’s actual knowledge. So clearly these can not be considered representative quora contributors.

They should be rewarded with lifetime subscriptions to Reader’s Digest.


103 byomtov April 5, 2017 at 6:14 pm

The rationality community is one of the brightest lights in the modern intellectual firmament. Its fundamentals – applied Bayesianism and hyper-awareness of psychological bias – provide the one true, objective vantage point.

Whatever you say, Bryan. You and your gang are collectively the greatest intellects ever to walk the Earth. Guess I’ll go now.


104 A B April 5, 2017 at 10:21 pm

#5 part 2: Larry Cahill’s commentary on this topic is extraordinary– one can only imagine how the world would be different if the science had not been so politicized for so long:


105 albatross April 7, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Random speculative comment: I wonder if Eliezer Yudkowsky is this generation’s version of Ayn Rand, and likewise with his movement. This isn’t intended to be a criticism, exactly–however much I think Rand got some stuff wrong, she also got some stuff right and introduced a lot of 18 year olds (including me) to important philosophical/moral questions and ideas in a way that made sense to me and mattered. And I think Eliezer and the rationality movement have done the same thing. Learning their conclusions isn’t nearly so valuable as beginning to realize that some of the things they’re discussing are actually things you should be thinking about.


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