Wednesday assorted links

by on July 12, 2017 at 11:11 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Lessons from German labor market reforms.

2. Some of the recent attacks on David Brooks indicate a) the current Left doesn’t understand its own intellectual history very well, and b) many of the attackers are part of the problem and cannot stand being told so.  Here is a Rod Dreher response.  Here is Monkey Cage.

3. Chinese researchers teleport a Gobi desert photon to a satellite orbiting the earth.

4. Science writers on the books that inspired them.

5. Scott Sumner argues China will democratize with p = 0.95.

6. Milton Friedman circa 1946.  And the economics of why the NBA West is so much better than the NBA East.

7. Amartya Sen not allowed to utter the word “cow” in a movie, rules India’s film censor.

1 Scott Sumner July 12, 2017 at 11:23 am

Just to be clear, I am saying there is a 5% chance that China will never democratize, even in a billion years. The odds of them democratizing in my lifetime is far below 95%. Maybe 50%.

I was responding to Tyler’s Bloomberg story, the headline of which suggested China might never democratize. (Author’s don’t always write headlines.)

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2 Thiago Ribeiro July 12, 2017 at 11:37 am

“Just to be clear, I am saying there is a 5% chance that China will never democratize, even in a billion years.”
Would you like to make a bet?

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3 Garrett July 12, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Binary bets aren’t as interesting when the term is so far out. Better to make bets on shorter term events that would bring the probability of democratization up or down.

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4 Thiago Ribeiro July 12, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Which events make democracy a bigger possibility a billion years from now? In 1949, the Nationalists taking Taiwan made democracy there and in the Mainladn more probable (their totalitarian regime lasted four decades, you know)?

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5 rayward July 12, 2017 at 12:56 pm

If Sumner’s point is that China’s history is cyclical, I get it. But those cycles have taught the Chinese to value order and stability above all else (including individual liberty). On the other hand, we keep repeating the same mistakes, even mistakes of the recent past, and there’s no reason to believe the Chinese won’t; indeed, the cycles prove they likely will.

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6 Anonymous July 12, 2017 at 12:59 pm

That’s crazy. (1) That’s three million dynastic cycles. If human civilization lasts that long, it is much more likely than 95% that any particular country will go through cycles of democracy and authoritarianism, even if there’s a break from the historical pattern. (2) The time period during which intercultural exchange is significant will begin to dominate the history of every country much sooner than that.

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7 Alistair July 13, 2017 at 7:07 am

If civilisation lasts that long, the term “democracy” will probably be archaic or meaningless for reasons we can’t begin to guess at.

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8 Tyler July 12, 2017 at 9:12 pm

The other relevant question is whether China will remain as is in terms of borders. China’s population and land area are currently an order of magnitude or more larger than Japan/Korea/Taiwan, so it’s hard to say whether it would follow a similar path. But in pieces (Taiwan being an example of a “piece” of China), things seem more comparable. Guangdong in isolation might be able to replicate the Taiwan experience. But could the whole of China? One of the major projects of the PRC over the past 68 years has been turning a diverse empire into a more culturally/linguistically unified nation-state. That work is moving swiftly, but is not so complete that it couldn’t be undone with the help of an external shock of some sort, economic, military, or otherwise.

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9 albert magnus July 12, 2017 at 11:25 am

#4. I very much liked Isaac Asimov’s Guide to Earth and Science and George Gamow’s Thirty Years That Shook Physics when I was in early high school. I would have found a lot of works they mentioned in the article too difficult for me. (Though today I would just be watching science stuff on youtube).

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10 chuck martel July 12, 2017 at 11:25 am

5. What does the term “democracy” even mean in this context? Almost every country now has elections of one sort or another ergo they’re “democratic”. In the US, bastion of democracy, the popular vote for president is negated by the Electoral College, so much for democracy. No wonder the Hillaryites are upset. Obviously, the supposed glorious democratic process mostly serves as a validation of the wishes of the oligarchy that makes the most important decisions. A construction worker in the US doesn’t have any more influence on political or governmental policy than his counterpart in China.

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11 A Black Man July 12, 2017 at 11:46 am

I forget who made this point, but if you look at most of the rhetoric from these guys and replace “democracy” with your favorite supernatural entity, it becomes clear that these people have imbued the word with magical qualities. To normal people, “democracy” just means participatory government. For the neo-liberals, it means a collection of chants and rituals to please the gods.

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12 Anon July 12, 2017 at 12:26 pm

Please the gods or please the US overlords? There is no democratic country that is antagonist to the US. A democracy is a democracy if we say so. Want to earn the magical democracy label? Tow the US line.

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13 anon July 12, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Walt a second .. weren’t you one of those guys who said democracy wasn’t working, elect Donald Trump to fix things? How’s that goin?

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14 TMC July 12, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Better, from a really low bar.

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15 Art Deco July 12, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Almost every country now has elections of one sort or another ergo they’re “democratic”.

They do not. Competitive elections to consequential conciliar bodies are not to be found in Cuba, China, North Korea, multiple states in S.E. Asia; about 1/2 the states in the Near East, Central Asia, and North Africa; and about 10 states in Tropical and Southern Africa. Some of the places they are found are wretched for disorder (Iraq) or abuse (Zimbabwe).

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16 Benny Lava July 12, 2017 at 11:26 am

2. These defenses of Brooks are pitiful. Even the poorest of America’s poor trash have smartphones and can easily Google “capicola”. If Brooks had a point it was lost in that pathetic example.

Or maybe this is an example of the previous post and how there are no conservative intellectuals. A Straussian reading?

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17 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ July 12, 2017 at 11:35 am

To give the guy a break, it is required form in this kind of essay to root a social problem in a personal experience. An anecdote.

So he had a piece on privilege he wanted to write, and that was the anecdote he had. Or the best he could recall before deadline.

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18 Daniel Weber July 12, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Right, David Brooks is saying there is such a thing as upper-class privilege. The fact that some people on the left lose their heads at this ought to be infuriating.

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19 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ July 12, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Sure. But as I say, I think much is more superficial, like “Subway uses Italian words, how can that be elitist?”

I would be interested in seeing a serious left’think piece disputing the notion, and not something just hung up on “sandwiches!”

Link?

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20 Anonymous July 12, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Brooks is well known for pulling his anecdotes out of thin air. See http://www.phillymag.com/articles/david-brooks-booboos-in-paradise/

This clearly never happened and he should have invented something more plausible.

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21 Daniel Weber July 12, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Why do you think it didn’t happen?

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22 Boonton July 13, 2017 at 9:25 pm

She said nothing yet he knows she was silent because she was uncomfortable with the words on the menu….as opposed to simply not being her type of food….he also knew she didn’t get the words because she grew up “not elite”.

I wonder, though, in this age of billionaires that dress like skateboard bandits….just how far is “elite culture” from “Walmart”? I believe a century ago the wealthy literally spoke with a different accent.

23 Ricardo July 12, 2017 at 11:36 am

I think part of Brooks’s point is that some people use terms like “poor trash” in order to exclude others from their social circle — perhaps unintentionally — and that this is one (of many) causes of inequality in America.

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24 Benny Lava July 12, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Brook’s point was that inequality was as much about socialization as it is about tax policy and insurance access. But then his anecdote did nothing to demonstrate his thesis and he comes off, as usual looking like a retard. And this is the best that conservative intellectuals have to offer. Sad.

It might have worked better if he had not, you know, taken his friend there. Since that implies he too like misspelled capicola. Instead he might have invented a story about a blue collar friend that didn’t even know about spelling bee tutors or some such thing. It might have lensed to his point maybe?

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25 gab July 12, 2017 at 11:41 am

The funniest part of this whole thing to me is that it’s really spelled “capocollo.” We’ve Americanized it into capicolla or whatever and his “guest,” if she even existed, supposedly didn’t even recognize the Americanization.

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26 DBN July 12, 2017 at 12:20 pm

I’m not sure there’s a “real” spelling. They spell it and pronounce it differently in every region of Italy depending on the local dialect.

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27 Slocum July 12, 2017 at 1:31 pm

I thought it was spelled Gabbagool

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28 carlospln July 12, 2017 at 4:41 pm

So what is it?

An Italian tampon?

No WONDER his ‘friend’ was uncomfortable!

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29 expsure to everything July 12, 2017 at 11:47 am

As an immigrant to this country whose parents weren’t all that embracing of assimilation I call BS.

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30 Cmot July 12, 2017 at 2:09 pm

Neither Brooks or his detractors understand what he is describing: not a ‘cognitive elite’ but rather mandarin class.

When markets are functioning properly there’s very little room for mandarins. The solution to the problem isn’t teaching poor kids the names of fancy meats but creating thriving markets where people only care about how well you do your job. And where displaying your mastery of upperclass tastes counts for nothing when it comes to getting ahead.

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31 Ricardo July 12, 2017 at 7:22 pm

There isn’t much evidence of this, though. There are plenty of examples of rich, successful people with decidedly non-elite tastes (in food, clothing, cars, preferences in music, etc.). Not that many people care about these things.

Moreover, the fact that “fancy meat” is available at Subway could just as easily be cited to demonstrate how rapidly “fancy” things in America can go mainstream and become available to everyone. There are many better examples of barriers to class mobility, as the Monkey Cage response makes clear.

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32 Anon7 July 12, 2017 at 4:08 pm

She could also have availed herself of an Ivy League university’s OCW on her smartphone (that she may or may not possess) in order to fake familiarity with the latest theories of intersectionality (which the left hypocritically ignores in practice).

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33 Thiago Ribeiro July 12, 2017 at 4:13 pm

They should give up their iPhones and pay for their healthcare.

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34 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ July 12, 2017 at 11:33 am

I read the Brooks column before seeing the “outrage.” it seemed a bit off kilter in its examples, but essentially correct.

When things started frothing on Twitter I didn’t quite get it. Now a day later, I think I might see it more as an example of social media superficial snark, rather than serious disagreement.

And now there are think pieces on the snark. Such is our modern world.

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35 Daniel Weber July 12, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Have you seen Eric Posner’s “Theses About Twitter”? http://ericposner.com/twenty-theses-about-twitter/

Twitter is the boiled-down essence of social media, by (accidental) design just barely profitable enough to allow the petty primate status games to be the dominant factor.

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36 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ July 12, 2017 at 12:55 pm

There is much truth to those criticisms, and any user of Twitter should recognize and seek to mitigate those dangers. Choose a thoughtful list to follow, and a good indication of that would be many links to long reads.

The main advantage of Twitter is that it is fast, but going hand in hand with that, you have to read it with a skeptical eye, especially the you have not found to be trusted sources. (lol, POTUS)

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37 Thiago Ribeiro July 12, 2017 at 11:33 am

4 – America’s history of supporting savage regimes and groups (be them the Saudis, the Pakistanis, the Mujahideen or India) never ceases to amaze me. But it is Braziljans who need to lectured by Lawrence Summers and his ilk.

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38 Meh July 12, 2017 at 4:54 pm

>> savage regimes and groups (be them the Saudis, the Pakistanis, the Mujahideen or India)

One of those things is not like the others.

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39 Thiago Ribeiro July 12, 2017 at 5:25 pm

The Saudi tyrants are rich, but wealth by itself is not a virtue.

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40 rayward July 12, 2017 at 11:42 am

2. Of course, ridiculing Mr. Brooks for blaming declining opportunities for the lesser classes and rising inequality on menus that can’t be read by the lesser classes diverts attention from rising inequality and the actual causes of it. Sure, Mr. Brooks’ explanation is ridiculous, but no more ridiculous than many of the explanations we’ve heard over the past ten to fifteen years. From the skills gap to video games to complacency to culture to sun spots (I made that up, but it’s about as good an explanation as the others), they all serve to divert attention while placing the blame on the lesser classes: what the lesser classes need to do is toughen up (or learn to read menus), just like the upper classes. For all we know, Brooks’ essay about menus was intended as satire.

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41 DBN July 12, 2017 at 12:29 pm

It’s not that ridiculous. The idea that what we call social classes more accurately describe distinct cultures, not just culturally identical people with more or less money is both a mainstream sociological perspective and so obvious that “switching places” has been a trope of popular entertainment for over a century (see “The Prince and the Pauper”, “My Fair Lady”, “Trading Places”, etc.)

The idea that the necessity of crossing cultural barriers impairs socioeconomic mobility is also mainstream, though not just because it’s difficult for many adults to adapt to a strange milieu. People usually LIKE their culture that they grew up in, and don’t want to have to give it up just to make more money.

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42 Daniel Weber July 12, 2017 at 12:52 pm

Brooks isn’t blaming the poor for not learning social cues. The social cues are designed (maybe unintentionally, maybe not) to exclude them.

If I went out and taught classes to poor people about what all the words on fancy menus mean, the fancy places would just come up with a bunch of new words. They do this anyway; it’s trivial to learn one new menu item when you go there once a week, impossible if you can only go once a year and because it’s expensive you can’t risk hating your meal. (And food allergies make confusing menus downright dangerous.)

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43 morgan July 12, 2017 at 11:42 am

i think the problem w/ brooks argument is he correctly pointed out the structural problems in the first half of his post but then basically dismissed them for weird sandwich commentary. and even if his sandwich commentary is true, it’s not a universal experience and it’s definitely not something worth targeting policy wise. the structural problems definitely are.

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44 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ July 12, 2017 at 11:46 am

It would be sad if a better first draft was returned “needs more cowbell.”

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45 rayward July 12, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Don’t fear the reaper!

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46 P Burgos July 12, 2017 at 11:51 am

I would think the left’s biggest criticism of Brooks’ commentary was that he assumed that the country and the economy should only work well for those with a college education, instead of working well for most everyone. Whether or not you can secure a stable middle class existence shouldn’t depend on having a sheepskin or knowing ethnic names for common menu items. Brooks assumes that you should need a college degree and that kind of cultural knowledge to be able to secure a decent wage, which is itself a large part of the problem.

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47 Art Deco July 12, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Here is a Rod Dreher response

A ‘response’ from an opinion journalist who breaks the douche meter every day of the week. something Mr. Brooks could never manage.

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48 Sam Haysom July 12, 2017 at 1:28 pm

It is kind of amazing to see just how much Rod Dreher clings to his friendship to Brooks. Kind of like it vindicates his claim to belong to the social milieu that led to his self alienation from his family. “My dad resents me because I know David Brooks.”

Guess it kind of makes sense for a LSU boy trying to play in the big leagues.

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49 Jaunty Rockefeller July 12, 2017 at 12:25 pm

No doubt invisible class barriers exist, as they have for…well, forever. Just google “comedy of manners.” My issue with Brooks’s column is that I strongly suspect the sandwich incident never happened. Brooks has a well-documented history of fabricating facts and anecdotes to provide support for his homilies. If you strip the unverifiable anecdotes and outright falsehoods out of Brooks’s work, you’re left with observations unworthy of a Jeff Foxworthy routine.

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50 Sieben July 12, 2017 at 12:47 pm

#2

Christ that was tone deaf.

The anecdotes about the poors experiencing crippling anxiety at fancy restaurants are more likely due to those people having actual anxiety issues rather than reflective of class. In addition to the smartphone solution above, one could simply ask what things on the menu were. Being able to plow through awkward situations with grace is part of being an adult.

The whole piece also implies that there are these *other* richers out there who would judge a poor for not knowing names of Italian sandwiches. Is this actually the default? Why isn’t the author’s reaction of empathy the default?

Okay but let’s say we accept that there’s a huge problem and that knowing “the rich code” is the secret to getting high-paying jobs. WHY IS THERE NOT A PDF CHEATSHEET FOR THIS? Giant bags of money await, but I guess that doesn’t motivate you enough to learn the names of sandwiches.

Rich signifiers used to be hard to learn, like knowing Latin, Greek, and German to pass the entrance exam to Harvard. Now the barrier to entry is much lower. Maybe the reason we’re even reading/writing these thinkpieces is because we’re obsessed with witch hunts and “checking our privilege”. Not because privilege is particularly problematic at the moment.

“…for years I had to live with the disdain of some members of my Louisiana family for my allegedly fancypants and inauthentic tastes. It was all class anxiety on their part”

Why is it class anxiety? Why aren’t your tastes actually fancypants and inauthentic? Rich food tends to be low calorie and difficult to digest. Working class food tends to be calorie dense and palatable. Almost as if someone who has to get up and do manual labor would prefer to eat meat and potatoes instead of some handcrafted prosciutto flatbread.

“He talks about social science findings that conservatives tend to be “low openness” individuals — that is, people who are much less willing to try new and unfamiliar things”

This comment is on the heels of how the author could not navigate a swamp the same way the author’s father would not navigate Paris. Aren’t they both “low-openness” by this criterion?

“It’s not really the prices that ensure 80 percent of your co-shoppers at Whole Foods are, comfortingly, also college grads; it’s the cultural codes.”

See also the point about food density and palatability. I stopped shopping at WF primarily because their meats are all ~2 days off of expiration and I don’t want to go to the store 3 days a week. There are similar problems with their fresh fruits. The author can’t even see this point because the eating algorithms of fops are unimportant. But construction workers can’t replace fajitas with kale smoothies. Prices aside, the thermodynamics just won’t work.

Also, the WF crowd isn’t “in”. It’s part of the health-fitness industry trying to sell status to young people who have nothing else going for them. They went to college. They have some mediocre mid-tier job in a big city. Whole Foods is their church. It makes them real. It makes them not just another corporate drone who stands for nothing. But it doesn’t make them part of the upper class.

Maybe the author doesn’t know or doesn’t have a coherent definition of what “upper class” means.

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51 Nicholas Marsh July 12, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Way back I spent many years working as a waiter in the UK.

I observed that may customers, even in pretty modest establishments, experienced a high degree of anxiety dealing with things like ordering off a wine list, which knives and forks to use etc. They were always working class (its easy to tell in the UK) and were out for some special occasion such as a husband taking his wife out on her birthday. They’d probably very rarely had to choose between four different forks on a table.

Part of my role was to put them at ease, eg suggesting that if they gave me a budget I could recommend a bottle of wine that they’d like, or pointing out that no one cared which knife they used.

The social anxiety is real. Interesting that people in the US are debating the existence of something that is obvious to all elsewhere.

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52 Daniel Weber July 12, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Part of privilege is not knowing you have it, and denying it when pointed out you do.

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53 Sieben July 12, 2017 at 2:12 pm

I don’t know the names of anything fancy. Perhaps I have the privilege of self-esteem.

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54 Sieben July 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm

So from the perspective of poors, there are two solutions:

1) Learn the names of fancy breads and wines
2) Don’t be embarrassed for not knowing the names of fancy breads and wines

Those are both reasonable suggestions. Maybe the problem isn’t “privilege”, but an inability to navigate the world like adults.

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55 Mike W July 12, 2017 at 6:40 pm

And you think that suggesting they give you a budget will put them at ease? That’s Brooks point.

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56 Stubbs July 12, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Tyler, thanks for the link to the Dreher column. I’m over the monthly limit for the Times. Dreher’s column was right on the mark about the way class is maintained for this former pig slopper.

Now on with the sharp elbows and witty comparisons to Jeff Foxworthy routines.

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57 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ July 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

A positive social media message then:

https://youtu.be/Rl56Ti1LXWM

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58 Patrick M July 12, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Try opening NY Times articles in an incognito window.

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59 Patrick M July 12, 2017 at 1:06 pm

2. “b) many of the attackers are part of the problem and cannot stand being told so.”

I would put it more charitably and say that they may not necessarily be a part of the problem, but they’re certainly participants in and benefit from it.

The term “basic” didn’t enter modern lexicon as a point of irony.

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60 rayward July 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm

2. For those who aren’t familiar with Dreher, he belongs to a very conservative Christian community, what I would call sectarian. Thus, Dreher may have the worldly experiences to read the menu at Brooks deli, he chooses to stay in his community rather than to flow with the tide. The people in his community share his values, while those who flow with the tide likely don’t. Of course, Dreher is part of a trend, a trend in which Americans seek a community of the like-minded. Some find that community on-line, whole others (including Dreher) find it in the space where they live. So-called community churches (evangelical Protestant churches located mainly in the South) are similar, although the members have secular lives too as bankers, barristers, barbers, and bakers. What I’ve noticed about the members of the community church where I reside is that they view non-members as, well, lesser than themselves. That’s the problem with sectarianism. And it comes in all shapes and sizes.

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61 Frederic Bush July 12, 2017 at 2:39 pm

It is hard for me to take Dreher seriously when I read a passage like this: “More prosaically, a man who can walk into a gourmet sandwich shop and roll with it is enormously advantaged over the man who cannot.” Brooks’ friend is a woman. Dreher has not only deployed sexist language but he has misgendered the source of the anecdote.

I feel like, why should I take your ideas seriously if your mental state seems to be stuck in the 50s? What else are you missing?

I imagine some of your other readers would have a similar reaction coming across a casual mention of “whitey”.

I’m not sure if this is a useful heuristic or if I am missing valuable information dismissing people in this way.

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62 Ted Craig July 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm

“I’m not sure if this is a useful heuristic or if I am missing valuable information dismissing people in this way.”
The latter.

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63 Frederic Bush July 12, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Possibly. But most of the time the “flawed thinker + flawed editor” combo is best ignored. The question is whether you gain more by culling the weak and focusing your attention on better argument or lose more by passing on lazily written/sloppily thought out articles that might nonetheless have value.

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64 Hazel Meade July 12, 2017 at 5:38 pm

#1. This is like an object lesson in why Twitter is a horrible medium for discussing anything of substance.

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65 clamence July 12, 2017 at 11:54 pm

1/123 why do people think that
2/123 this is a good way of making
3/123 a coherent point?
4/123 blogs are 20 year old technologies
5/123 far superior to twatter
…[117 sentence fragments later]
123/123 everyone still with me???

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66 Hazel Meade July 13, 2017 at 9:26 am

1/10 How can we make 2/10 a simple and concise point 3/10 into an indecipherable 4/10 and unreadable word jumble 5/10 in order to sell more ad revenue?

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67 Mr. Econotarian July 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm

1) Odendahl says “Third, there are smarter ways to reform labour market in a slump: cut taxes on wages & invest in training first, deregulate second”

Really? Is there any evidence of that? Show me a country that has significantly cut taxes on wages and saw the AMAZING reduction in unemployment like Germany did with the Hartz policies.

Not that it is a bad idea, but I think you need to First deregulate AND First cut taxes on wages, but frankly all of the studies I’ve seen on training appear to never pan out. But better to spend money on training (which has a chance of being useful) than say a border wall with Mexico…

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68 Evans_KY July 12, 2017 at 7:27 pm

2. We are in the Golden Age of Outrage. What a stupid controversy (?). http://www.theonion.com/article/nations-liberals-suffering-from-outrage-fatigue-1190

Headwinds/tailwinds asymmetry was my first thought on reading David’s article, not a sandwich/burrito joke.

4. Rachel Carson, Silent Spring. E.O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life.

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69 Barkley Rosser July 12, 2017 at 9:48 pm

I guess I am completely out of it, although I am highly privileged and snobby. But I do not know what all these people “on the Left” are criticizing Brooks for over his anecdote, aside from all these people who think he made it up. Maybe he made it up, but I have no doubt that such things happen, and that there are people who are nervous about going into restaurants that they are not familiar with and may end up being uncomfortable and uhappy about being in them when they do not know what things are. As a snob, I know that there are lots of people who do not know all the weird things that I do.

However, my takeaway from Brooks’s anecdote is that if one is an al;-knowing snob and one does want to try to do a favor or take someone out to someplace and you know that this person is not at your level of sophistication and blah blah blah, you should make an effort to take them to a place that they will be comfortable in, not some place that might excite them out of its exoticism. But, I guess Brooks is making some broader point, blaming all the sophisticated chi chis for alienating all the poor unsophisticates so that they all want to get revenge on all the meanie sophisticates by voting for Trump or whatever.

Beyond that, well, it has always been true that there are invisible class barriers out there, and people have long resented them. Does Brooks argue that the problem has gotten worse, and that it it all the fault of all these snooty full-of-themselves sophisticates who go around embarrassing and discriminating against the poor unsophisticates in some manner that is much worse than it used to be in the past? I don’t get it.

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70 Potato July 13, 2017 at 12:10 am

I don’t disagree. I just cringed while reading the article. It’s embarrassingly tone deaf.

He’s not wrong, he just expressed his opinion in such an asinine way that it became open to mockery.

That’s the ultimate purpose of the internet. To immediately mock and dismiss views that do not conform to your priors. If you give them ammunition by being tone deaf, the story becomes : David brooks thinks inequality, poverty and AIDS are caused by Italian sandwiches.

He loses immediately.

Meanwhile the critical part of the story, that upper middle class types who fear their kids will be idiots pull the drawbridge up behind them with school and zoning restrictions, is lost in the cacophony of mockery.

The greatest 21st century civil rights issue is : letting any kid within 30 miles attend whatever school he wants to. And giving vouchers to kids if the mandarin class moves to private schools.

Ymmv

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71 dux.ie July 12, 2017 at 10:39 pm

#5 Just to be nitpicking, it should be stated as Pr=0.95.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-value#Definition_and_interpretation

“””The p-value is defined as the probability, under the null hypothesis H, of obtaining a result equal to or more extreme than what was actually observed.”””

The context is “China becoming democratic’. Null hypothesis is “China not becoming democratic”, which are the second and third assertions and summed up to p=0.05 . Stating p=0.95 gives the completely reverse of what Sumner asserted.

“””The smaller the p-value, the larger the significance … Fisher reiterated the p = 0.05 threshold and explained its rationale, stating: It is usual and convenient for experimenters to take 5 per cent as a standard level of significance”””

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