Rhetoric so often fails to achieve what we wish to achieve

Mr. Obama also said, “It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country.” But negative searches about Syrian refugees rose 60 percent. Searches asking how to help Syrian refugees dropped 35 percent. The president asked us to “not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear.” But searches for “kill Muslims” tripled during his speech.

There was one line, however, that did trigger the type of response Mr. Obama might have wanted. He said, “Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes and yes, they are our men and women in uniform, who are willing to die in defense of our country.”

After this line, for the first time in more than a year, the top Googled noun after “Muslim” was not “terrorists,” “extremists” or “refugees.” It was “athletes,” followed by “soldiers.” And, in fact, “athletes” kept the top spot for a full day afterward.

That is from a fascinating new piece by Evan Soltas and Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.


Still pro-syrian refugee post-San Bernadino, huh? LOLZ.

Not everybody is a coward

Yes it is tragic for the people who died but deaths at the hands of immigrant terrorists are minuscule.

The clearest example was anti-war folks running around screaming Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, which then created a connection between Saddam and 9/11 in people's minds. It was amazing to behold and I still don't think they realize they created the meme.

It also explains why Trump seems like a hot knife battling against butter. Trump intentionally makes a statement that "must" be answered, and his opponents, such as Obama in this case, make unforced errors by spreading the meme and widening its appeal. Trump can hit them over and over, repeating the process endlessly. Adams discussed this tangentially when he called him a Master Wizard.

Um, no. William Safire published an op-ed in the New York Times 8 months after September 11 alleging that Muhammed Atta had met with Iraqi intelligence agents in Prague. The article is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/09/opinion/mr-atta-goes-to-prague.html . I even remember reading it at the time and it was the first time I encountered a serious person alleging a connection between Iraq and 9/11. If you want to assign a role to the anti-war people in terms of unintentionally spreading the meme, there may or may not evidence in support of that. But the idea that they "created" the meme is rewriting very recent history.

"I still don’t think they realize they created the meme." And yet the notion of that connection was being entertained in the White House immediately after 9/11. (For evidence, see the memoirs of the British Ambassador of the time, Christopher Meyer.)

I see this on FB with Trump. People are endlessly posting about his proposals, thinking they are bashing him.

Instead he is always "trending" and some people, seeing who bashes him, may decide he's worth a look. Social shaming is particularly obnoxious, and on social media its often done poorly, which backfires.

Same thing happens with the media's favorite Republican. Huntsman, for example. When the media starts pushing him, and praising him, he actually loses support as most right-leaning people figure if the media likes him, he must not be good.

There are just over 600 Muslims in the British armed forces.

Over 700 British Muslims have joined ISIS.

Will a large Muslim minority in America be any different.

U.S. armed forces is much larger as a share of the population than in Britain, right?

'er Majesty's Forces are downsizing while ISIS is seemingly hiring anyone who applies.

Two or three American Muslim soldiers have died fighting in Iraq.

Obama has killed four American Muslim terrorists by drone.

I just rode in a cab with a Kurdish guy who came to the US 21 years ago (sponsored by Mormons!) and fought 3 tours in Iraq.

Think of all the translators the Army employs. Most of them I would think would be Muslim.

Sometimes it seems like diehard conservatives are the only ones paying attention to Obama. This seems to support that perception.

High level politicians can almost never say the thing supporters actually want them to say, so they're largely ignored. Everyone pays attention to a) attack dogs on their side ("yeah, feel the Bern!"), b) attack dogs on the other side ("omg Trump said a bad thing I'm ashamed to be American, stop this man now"), and the other side in power (remember when Bush could do no right?). But when it's your own guy? No one gives a shit. What have you done for me lateeellllyyyyy

Final year of a presidency is always like that. They all disappoint, and thus the true believers have to tune out, or carry large slopping buckets of water, which is not fun.

Whenever Muslims do anything exceptionally egregious, there's an immediate frontlash from the media and politicians shaming Americans for noticing.

Whenever white people do anything exceptionally egregious, there's an immediate frontlash from the Steve Sailer circle-jerk pointing out how awful those 20 year old students, blacks, muslims, (insert hated minority here)

When was the last time White people did anything exceptionally egregious? If Whites did to Blacks what a reasonable number of Blacks do to Whites, it would be a national scandal. The UN would hold hearings.

And yet our rulers hate and fear ordinary law-abiding White people. Which is why their only response to Muslim terrorism is to try to head off White violence. Even though this backlash is non-existent. This is why Trump is doing so well. He doesn't hate the voters.

We're killing a lot more of them then they are killing of us.

Also, "white people" completely invaded many foreign countries.

How many mass murders this year by white people? How come the only ones that matter to Trump et al are the ones by some Muslims?

Most white mass killers have a feel of "one offs" done by crazies.

Sometimes their motivations are simply unfathomable.

Islam is political. And its international. You can't segregate out Muslim mass shootings in America from ISIS beheadings on youtube and shootings in Paris.

But if you went back to the 70's and 80's and we had Red Army Faction terror attacks in the USA and Europe, I think people like Trump would take them equally seriously.

The reason we see a lot of resentment of attention to Islam, is that our progressive mental model is that we want everyone to live in secular harmony, and freedom of religion is deeply ingrained. Political Islamism really rocks that boat, and its espoused by just enough people to make it different from random crazy guy with weird political agenda. There may also be an issue that we don't think Dylan Roof is on the right side of history, and its last gasp stuff, whereas ISIS appears to be gaining momentum.

Most white mass killers have a feel of “one offs” done by crazies.

Lol. Here we go again.

Islam is political. And its international. You can’t segregate out Muslim mass shootings in America from ISIS beheadings on youtube and shootings in Paris.

You cant segregate the Wisconsin temple shootings from the South Carolina church shootings either. If they are both visiting Steve Sailer's website, there's a connection.

The reason we see a lot of resentment of attention to Islam, is that our progressive mental model is that we want everyone to live in secular harmony, and freedom of religion is deeply ingrained. Political Islamism really rocks that boat, and its espoused by just enough people to make it different from random crazy guy with weird political agenda. There may also be an issue that we don’t think Dylan Roof is on the right side of history, and its last gasp stuff, whereas ISIS appears to be gaining momentum.

The bigots fail distinguish between the doctrine of Islam (which can be criticized) and Muslims. This is why protesting outside of mosques calling those entrants "terrorists" (when there is no evidence of that) and telling them to go home is bigoted and wrong. For some people, despite the flaws of their religion it is genuinely important to them, and just because they defend their religion does not make them an Islamist. Some of the most vocal critics of Islam (like Maryam Namazie) are able to understand the difference.

Your knowledge of American history is staggering. Not to excuse current behavior (of anyone), but the KKK did some pretty egregious things - and in the not too distant past. I believe they were White people. And I believe they targeted Blacks.

Not to excuse current behavior (of anyone), but the KKK did some pretty egregious things – and in the not too distant past.

Just to point out that the 2d incarnation of the KKK was a fad organization which went from a seven-digit membership to a five-digit membership in the space of less than 10 years. The frequency of lynchings was in a state of almost monotonic decline from 1894 to 1946, at which point the practice disappeared almost entirely. This decline continued scarcely abated during the heyday of Klan II (1920-30).

As for the 3d incarnation of the Klan, it is fragmented among a mess of little splinters, has in toto a membership under 3,000, and is shot-through with FBI informants. Klaverns were responsible for a single digit population of homicides between 1953 and 1982 (and none since).

Didn't stop Dylan Roof.


Or do we just care when minorities commit crimes?

Why are our Steve Sailers not noticing? Who Whom?

This is why Trump is doing so well. He doesn’t hate the voters

It is telling that SMFS thinks that voters = whites.

What percentage of the searches were from Steve and E.Harding's computers? Must account for the outliers.

TheAJ doesn't get the picture at all. Being a minority that gets attention is important to that minority. Being accepted/ignored is a disaster for them. See native Americans. That's a big part of what the "Black Lives Matter" thing is all about. Focusing on the domestic Arab/Islamic issue diverts liberal concern, and money, from the never-ending guilt trip that's being plastered on white America. In reality, the overwhelming majority of Americans don't take any notice of blacks unless they hit a home run, catch a touchdown pass or demand their wallet. Self-appointed leaders like the Reverend Jackson can't give up their position in the conscience of the collective to guys running around in turbans and bathrobes.

Sometimes it's rational to adjust your beliefs in the opposite direction of what you're being told. Suppose I believed X so strongly that I thought nobody could believe ~X. If someone tells me X, then they must have a reasonable expectation that I believe ~X. That means that some people believe ~X, so those people must perceive some evidence for ~X. Therefore, I adjust my belief in X downwards in response to this new information.

Lots of people probably have no fear of being killed by a refugee. But you hammer them over the head with, "look, refugees are DEFINITELY not going to MURDER YOU," day in and day out, and now they're not so sure.

I'm a huge fan of Seth Stephens-Davidowitz but this article is horrific. The data supports absolutely none of what is being said.
I'm in shock that Seth could have written something this specious.

Seth argues google searches predict hate crimes; yet according to him, Jews are 5X more likely to be the victim of a hate crime than muslim, but receive far less google searches. uchh

I agree. The work was based on loads of questionable assumptions.

They don't show the results of their supposed correlation between hate crimes and Google searches, either.

We are going to post more detailed notes/data shortly. We wanted to have it up at same time as article but got totally crunched finishing the piece.

Thanks, it is nice to know this will be coming. But is it really justifiable to print the conclusions first without any supporting evidence? Particularly when the conclusion is a quite dramatic prediction of increased hate crimes?

It seems that this would be quite hard to do accurately, since anti-Muslim hate crimes are rare, you don't have a huge number of weekly data points, and there seem to be obvious problems with confounding, that would make it hard to assess causality. But you have put a specific number for predicted level of hate crimes out there, without any context about the certainty of that number or how it was derived.

A narrative is halfway around the world, while the data is still being crunched.

Do you have data about anti-muslim feelings in other countries

My Indian experience is that people who live near muslim ghettos, feel the full force of political islam and most of them vote for the anti-muslim bjp

BJP wins 80% of its seats from seats where Muslims > 20%

People who dont live near muslim pockets, dont feel the islamic heat and vote congress

BJP wins all seats from Bangalore and Mumbai, both of which have plenty of muslim no-go zones

Narendra Modi got his political boost after he organised anti-muslim reprisals, following the islamist train burning in Godhra, Gujarat

I have to call BS on this based on the self-evident claim that says: intolerance/xenophobia/racism is the product of ignorance.

Your claims seems to contradict this.


Same for my nice Midwest neighbors, who just cannot understand why we left our muslim infested Amsterdam neighborhood for the US.

Thank you for the kind first half of the first sentence. I was surprised by the level of anti-Jewish hate crimes, which I had not known. This is also consistent with the data from Stormfront, which I also found surprising. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/opinion/sunday/seth-stephens-davidowitz-the-data-of-hate.html
Evan's and my model suggests that, while hate crimes were higher against Jews in 2014, they are higher against Muslims, per capita, now. Anti-Semitism is horrible. Islamophobia is horrible. Our article is just pointing to a very clear, off-the-charts flare-up of Islamophobia over the past few weeks -- one that, we believe, will have real consequences in hate crimes.

Hopefully New York Times readers will look at your chart and realize Stormfront is more popular in the Northeast than in the south and adjust their biases.

" I was surprised by the level of anti-Jewish hate crimes, which I had not known."

That is quite an admission. Try reading things other than the NYT or CAIR handouts. Even in 2001/2002 this was the case.

"very clear, off-the-charts flare-up of Islamophobia"

Where are my smelling salts? People will say mean things.


I can imagine that they also mixed up "Muslims kill" with "kill Muslims". Google doesn't distinguish between those two phrasings at all except if you use quotation marks. Most people don't use quotation marks in Google search.

Let's assume somebody is really hating Muslims. Would he really use a search term like "kill muslims"?! That makes no sense to me. Why would you ask Google such a question? What result would you expect? The search term makes no sense at all. And not only from an ethical point of view but from a logical point of view also.

Even if someone legitimately was searching for "kill Muslims", does that mean this expresses their desire, or they are searching for anti-Musliim rhetoric on the web (either out of curiosity or for a specific reason like research or journalism)? In the latter case it actually makes sense to search Google for those words, unlike in the former.

Similarly, does searching for "Muslim athletes" after Obama's speech really represent "the type of response [he] wanted", or are skeptical partisans fact-checking his claims?

This and about a thousand other reasons are why google searches not be viewed as real data, and studies based on them are all crap.

Umm...ok. But it is real data about what people searched for, and studies of what people searched for are potentially interesting. The problems are over-interpretation and trying to study things the data can't answer.

Its real data about what some people searched for, maybe, if we are interpreting it right, and its not overwhelmed by searches that we didnt think to search for. Its also assuming, dubiously, that searches has some useful correlation to what people are actually interested in. Im sure everyone that comes here types "economics good" or something into google before landing here, right? We can simply sum up all those searches and the result is 'interest'.

This is classic garbage in garbage out, i could go on for hours about why google searches are horrid metrics for damn near anything.

Seems more like fact checking.

Frankly, telling me about "sports heroes" doesn't impress much with what we now know about athletes: see the NFL's list of scumbags.

However, Obama loves sports and ESPN. I wonder if that's his touch.

Are Muslim pimps a problem anywhere in the U.S. the way they (both Pakistanis and Albanians) are in England?

I don't know - are Russian pimps the same problem in the U.S. as in Germany?

Not that someone as well educated as yourself would ever be taken in by any rhetoric suggesting that Russian Orthodox churches are anything but a breeding ground for mercenaries attacking peaceful nations like the Ukraine, pimps, and violent criminals engaged in all manner of organized crime.

After all, someone able to tell an 'ethnic Catholic' on sight is certainly able to do the same with ethnic Orthodox believers.

Let's be real now. If they're just off the plane from Volgograd they don't exactly blend into a Western milieu.

And Albanians and Pakistanis blend in effortlessly?

What is your weird obsession with "ethnic Catholics"? It was a term used to describe various groups of non-Irish Catholics like Lithuanians, Poles, etc. See this:


or this famous book:


You act like its made up or something.

Re: More Recent Foreign Fighters Analysis

Previously the data from ICSR were presumably from end of 2014. A few days ago
TSG has released a report with official data from end of 2015. There appears
to have a large jump in the number of foreign fighters. Further analysis of
the data shows that Finland and Belgium are still the top two with the highest
ratios of radicalization (Rtsg15), and a few countries' values have exceeded
that for Denmark, in particular that for Austria has increased 140%. The
number of Jihadis per million pop (Jtsg15) is more a measure of the human
resources available for dealing with the radicalization problems.

Country Ricsr14 Rtsg15 %RadInc Jicsr14 Jtsg15

Finland 14.29 16.67 16.67 11.59 13.52

Belgium 6.90 7.37 6.82 42.70 45.61

Ireland 6.98 6.98 0.00 7.89 7.89

Sweden 3.66 6.65 81.82 18.59 33.80

Austria 2.63 6.32 140.00 15.44 37.06

Denmark 5.53 5.53 0.00 23.41 23.41

France 2.55 3.61 41.67 20.24 28.68

Australia 4.39 3.01 -31.43 9.18 6.29

United Kingdom 1.92 2.65 38.18 9.37 12.95

Germany 1.34 1.85 38.18 6.68 9.23

United States 0.39 0.58 50.00 0.35 0.53

Further analysis of the reported data shows that the natures for
radicalization seem to have changed though so far IQGap2 is still the
dominant variable for explaining the trends.

Previously the Gini Coeff was found to be significant at p=0.05 but the
its effect was not significant when IQGap2 was considered concurrently.
This time Gini Coeff is simply not significant on radicalization. Hence
the usefulness of the persistent studies on economic discrimination are
out of sync with the urgency at this critical times.

Previously religion has only set the general environment and
it did not influence the magnitude of the radicalization. However, with
the various events with respect to the mosques and the trumpeting against
Muslims by the politicians, PctPopMus now significantly influences the
magnitude of radicalization.

lm(formula = JTsg15 ~ IQGap2 + PctPopMus)


Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)

(Intercept) -2.7796 5.2444 -0.530 0.6044

IQGap2 -1.8016 0.6366 -2.830 0.0134 *

PctPopMus 2.0375 0.9158 2.225 0.0431 *

This implies that now there is an additional component for the fighters not
convered by IQGap2 (i.e. religious, more intelligent, most probably with
professional careers and might appear to have already assimilated, much
like the two involved in the San Bernardino event.)
(Note: the data were from Oct 2015. If the data were released earlier the same
conclusions would still be reached even before the incident of San Bernardino.)

In the above I found there is a need for a metric for estimating the human resources needed to handle the radicalization problems. That was before I read this article http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/12/terrorism-donald-trump-gop-2016-213434

'British counterterrorism officials have for years spoken of their 3,000 individuals “of concern”—a figure that never varies because, as they point out, they don’t have the manpower to cover more.'

Now I have a single data point :) May be the zero increases for Denmark and Ireland above might be because of this also.

Abu bakr al baghdadi was the star soccer player of his mosque team.

Why waste my time, but yes, the last six decades of an ever expanding EU certainly point out just how relevant that observation is - '“Diversity+proximity=war” -Roissy'

I'm glad to hear constitutional gun rights are safe.
The president asked us to “not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear.”

>>The top Google search in California with the word “Muslims” in it was “kill Muslims.”<<

This "fascinating piece" seems way off. I bet they mixed up "Muslims kill" with "kill Muslims". The first search makes way more sense after an Islamic terrorist attack than the last one. Most people don't use quotation marks so Google won't differ between those two phrasings at all.

I also used Google Trends for a little research and for both terms I found only around 100 searches in December within the whole US. This is hardly relevant. Not to mention that most of those searches might be triggered by this useless NYT article.

Thanks for the comment, CL. The 100 number is because Google Trends is search rates, normalized so the top search has a score of 100. According to Google AdWords, there were 2,400 such searches in November 2015, which, as we mention in the piece, we suspect represent a small fraction of people who had that thought. Searches are about 53 percent higher thus far in December than in November, and the time series doesn't show any meaningful effect from our article on these searches.
It is true that Google Trends does not distinguish searches for "kill Muslims" and "Muslims kill." Google AdWords does. According to their more recent data, searches for "kill Muslims" were 34 times more common than searches for "Muslims kill." It is very unlikely that searches for "kill Muslims" make up more than a tiny percent of the patterns we discussed.

I wonder if the reaction to Obama's speech was the reverse of what he wanted because Obama has recently made several declarations about ISIS that turned out to be very untrue the next day.

Obama called them the JV team. Ooops.

Obama said they were contained the day before Paris. Oooops.

Same thing before San Bernadino.

He also had the gall to say "other countries don't have mass shootings" while in Paris.

Yeah, we're degrading and destroying ISIS by not attacking their oil tanker trucks for more than a year.

Everything he says turns to, or already is sh*t.

Help me out here.

Soltas and Stevens-Davidowitz report that searches for “kill Muslims” tripled during Obama's speech.

Surely that is wrong. Internet searches are generally not whole phrases or sentences but key words. (Unless the quote marks were supplied by the searchers, which I doubt). So the searches were actually for "Kill" "Muslims" which can have a completely different sense. It might, for example, be a search for killings by or involving Muslims rather than of Muslims.

Why did they choose that phrase, too?

It would be really easy to want a value like "more than tripled!" and thus choose that one vs. "deport Muslims."

Ideally, they would set up their search terms before the speech to avoid this.

I'm just surprised that anyone is still listening to obama's speeches

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