Wednesday assorted links


McArdle needs to get out more, as politics is not the subject that 'people talk about the most.'

yeah, great putdown clock!

My reaction exactly. All it tells you about is Ms McArdle's circle. Her first tells you about the girl herself: she's right about kindness. She returns to the subject in her ninth. She means it.

'the words “You are amazing, and here’s why” never get old': USA! USA! USA!

"If one of you wants skim milk and the other drinks whole ..": that's rather a limited choice. Surely she has access to semi-skimmed, Jersey, goat's milk, buffalo milk and so on. Yak's milk too? Lash out, lassie, there's a whole world of milks out there. If you turn out not to like one, make some cheese with it. How about Alpaca milk? I've never tried it. Bison?

Megan is deeply annoying, in that she's just another boilerplate lefty pretending to listen to others and be objective, but this list was actually the LEAST navel-gazing and virtually-signally Rules List that I've read for some time.

It was clear to me she meant: the subject that people talk about the most ONLINE. You don't have to rip her for that one.

Reserve your snark for her next piece where she contemplates whether people outside the far left may have a point about something, but ultimately concludes that they don't.

Why do you consider her a lefty? She self-identifies as a libertarian and most people would classify her as "right of center."

She's actually been the rare honest broker for a dozen years or more, I think because she knows what she thinks, she's consistent, and she's quite comfortable in her skin doing that. Ann Althouse is like that as well. Some of the softer NeverTrumpers may be able to assume that role going forward. Most people who attempt to assume that role sound like poseurs, I'm wagering because they are poseurs.

TPM is one of those. Everyone besides Ron Paul, Patrick Buchanan, and Hayek is a lefty. Actually those frauds are too.

I enjoy her articles. They’re intelligent and nuanced.

But after apparently very careful deliberation she does seem to reach nutty conclusions.

For example, she argues for libertarian policies, but proudly voted for Obama, who put the state on steroids. She actually admitted crying when he was elected, which may explain why her abilities to reason doesn’t lead to logical outcomes.

She also argued that Republicans should vote for Clinton, and as recently as November wrote the following about Trump:

“More than likely, the second year of Trump’s presidency will look a lot like his first: shambolic, unfocused, and largely driven by external events.”

Really? Love him or hate him, but is there any dispute that Trump is having a transformative effect on regulations, taxes, the judiciary and foreign policy.

And there’s this article too:

“Obama Stayed Out of the Swamp, and That Hurt Him”
His purist approach to making policy was squeaky clean. It also weakened him and his party.”

As I said, smart person, but her judgment is appalling.

"her judgment is appalling": alas, you've made a good case for that. But I don't read her for her judgement - she's a journalist, for heaven's sake - but for her high spirits. She ain't dreary.

True. I enjoy her writing for the argument and the tone, which usually avoids the partisan hackery of so much political commentary today.

It’s just that her intellectual journey always seems to be pointing towards individual liberty but arriving at statism.

I find that she is very good job threading the needle of being libertarian and working for Bloomberg, which is absurdly statist and has TDS.

Libertarians should naturally oppose Trump, AI. He's as statist (America First!) as they come.

1. 45 is so so young. The forties are the best years, old and experienced enough to know yet young enough not to. McArdle's list is fine enough for someone 45, but does she even realize that, for example, advice 6 and 8 provide, well, opposite advice. What she doesn't know is that 45 to 65 happens in a blur. I kinda wish I knew that, but maybe not.

5. I am old enough to know better than to offer a comment on this one. My favorite birthday card, which I received many years ago from my dearest friends, reads: My friends are the family that I choose. All I would add is so are our enemies.

They absolutely shouldn't try and compete for Amazon's second HQ, although especially not if you're not in the eastern US. I'm pretty positive Amazon is going to put their HQ in the DC Area, and this is all to see whether they can force DC to offer them some generous inducements by way of competition.

I cannot see how relocation incentives are not unconstitutional. How is it not a violation of equal protection to charge different tax rates or offer different benefits to different businesses?

The same way that I pay a marginal tax rate of 33%, some of my neighbors pay 39.6%, and a lot of people pay nothing.

The exact same tax rules apply to you and your neighbors. That is not true of companies that have received relocation incentives and their neighbors that have not.

#2 :
"But when Amazon dangles the opportunity to host its HQ2, asking the most progressive mayors on the planet to bend over backward to lavish it with corporate welfare... It is a disgrace."

it is not a legitimate function of any level of American government to subsidize any private business nor pick winners & losers in the marketplace. but any supposed limits on American government actions have long ago become moot

Yeah, I'm >90% certain that they went into this process knowing exactly where they wanted to locate, and the "competition" has just been to leverage the best deal from that city.

Of course. Bezos didn't become a centi-billionaire by being stupid.

The "you shouldn't do that" principle fails if paying for Amazon's 2nd HQ is, in fact, a good deal. And thus the Prisoner's Dilemma model.

BUT (as with financial assets) the question isn't so much whether Amazon's second HQ would be a good thing to have, but whether it's worth the price. It's sorta like a stock that's selling for a p/e of 100: perhaps it is a really fine company with excellent prospects (etc.), but, maybe, not quite THAT good.

ARE bidding wars are not infrequently won by those who overvalue what's being bid on?

(BTW, AMZN's p/e ratio is over 300)

1. 6 and 8 are mutually contradictory. Sky diving is an expensive hobby. So are most other things that people really want to try.

Trying skydiving once isn’t going to blow the retirement fund surely? It’s not original to me but buying experiences are usually much cheaper than buying stuff and the memory lasts much longer. Buy an old car and do the skydiving I say.

Well, you can't really skydive once, unless you just want to do a single tandem jump with an instructor. Nobody's going to let you jump out of a plane with no instruction. There's usually a series of mandatory training classes and a couple of tandem jumps before anyone will allow you to skydive solo.
Same with scuba-diving. It involves a significant number of hours of instruction.

I did it with one day training, and I chose to jump solo the first time. Glad I did it, but not appealing enough to do again.

The most important part of the training was practising the movements: hand here, foot here, hand there, foot there, lift off feet, let go. You have to do it mechanically, because if you start thinking you'll realise it's crazy to jump out of a plane.

I agree they are mutually contradictory. The idea behind 8 is good, but the idea behind 6 is fundamental.

Being able to afford a great retirement beats having a lot of expensive hobbies and working till your 75. At least for most people.

Now if number 8 is relatively cheap for you, then go for it. My wife and I have done literally 1 jump (tandem with an instructor), using a groupon. It's an awesome experience for $125.

Skydiving is a fine idea when you don't have dependents.

That said, I enjoyed reading Megan's "12 rules" since many of them are so true or applicable to situations that I've encountered, especially the stuff about being kind (I see too many bullies around), going to parties (do it for your spouse), giving compliments (not many people do it unfortunately), and resolving conflicts. I don't agree with the extra dinner rolls unless you're at a restaurant and there is a long wait for the main course.

I also like that, unlike Tyler and the professor in Canada, Megan went into some detail and examples with each rule that were clear.

I'm surprised that several people find 6. and 8. so contradictory. It appears to me implicit that when she writes "Don't wait, do that think you really want to do before it's too late" she doesn't mean giving in to the consumerist brainwashing we're all subjected to constantly. That is, she is not saying that wasting money gives pleasure.

There's a difference putting a priority on doing things that you will regret not doing, and giving in to trying every fancy restaurant, spending good money for things like coffee and alcohol and socializing that can be had for next to nothing, engaging in expensive hobbies, and generally wasting money needlessly. My mother was a depression baby, and somehow learned to live a very good life, with lots of world travel, beautiful clothes, artwork and rugs and antiques she loved, and still saving a substantial nestegg. All on a modest solo income with no help from anyone else. It's always amazing me how well one can live (at least in western societies) without being wealthy. It's really not a contradiction unless you lack thoughtfulness and common sense and a little bit of discipline.

Logging my request that we change the "12 Rules" format to the Bull Durham "I believe" speech format.

Oh my! +1

#5: What the heck is that person really talking about? What Sullivan and others were trying to say is that people men can get "too" excited and this expectation that "non-verbal cues" are enough is just stupid. Women need to understand that and act in their best interest. Aziz did stop once the woman said she did not want to have sex. She should have left once he started to kiss her again. I know this is not what people want to hear, but this fairy tale that we can get to a point where men will read women's minds and relationships will not involve any type of pain (after all, you only say stop once you do feel something is wrong) is just that, a fantasy.

Ansari’s accuser publically tweeted about him until Twitter suspended her account in January 2018. But newspapers conceal her name. She will not give interviews to the Daily Beast or other publications.

The writer is making the same point Sullivan/you are making about men, except about women. If a man can get "too" excited to stop a sexual encounter that the woman is not particularly excited by, women can get "too" non-confrontational to stop a sexual encounter that she is not particularly excited by.

I don't think the writer would disagree with you on the idea that women have to understand this and act in their best interest. Women understand very well that men get too excited and sometimes hurt women through that excitement, because many of them have had the experience. The point is that men need to understand the other side of the equation, that women sometimes act too passive and non-confrontational even when they are distressed. Until recently, men didn't have to pay too close attention to this, because their was no cost to not understanding it. Today, there is a cost: you'll be talked about, you'll be put on a list, you'll be written about, you'll be publicly shamed, lose your job, etc. Men don't have to become mind-readers, but they do have to become better at communicating, reading cues, understanding female biology, etc. (by "have to" I don't mean because of moral imperative, I mean just for the sake of minimizing risk, just as women "have to" be careful about drinking too much around men; in neither case is the "punishment" or risk thereof necessarily fair or just, but it does exist, and that's what matters).

If there's a difference between Sullivan and the writer, it's that she believes these are socialized behaviors (for both men and women) rather than biological ones. This distinction doesn't matter for the analysis, but socialized behaviors are, presumably, more elastic, and so there's more hope of both men avoiding getting "too" excited and women getting "too" non-confrontational if we socialize men and women better. If you believe this is possible, then long term we may reach more Pareto optimal solutions, where sexual encounters never end either in sexual assault/rape or social tarring and feathering or any other disproportional outcome (obviously, as you say, you can't do away with all pain, but you could do away with its excesses). If you don't believe that this is possible, then we'll just see a movement to a different equilibrium, as the total sum pain of resulting from sexual encounters shifts from being borne almost entirely by women to being borne more equitably between the sexes (so, on average, less rape/assault/harassment against women and more men losing their careers and social standing).

Well, at least your message is articulate (the article was barely readable). I agree with you that, at the end of the day, there is no perfect solution. However, I am actually more optimistic than you. I think part of this is biological (mostly what we associate with men's behavior, which is sex drive) and part of it is social (women's fear of verbally expressing their desire to either engage or not in sex). So yes, I think there is a better equilibrium but the way to get there is a message directly to women that they should own their choices and learn to stand up for them.

What if people only has sex with their spouses? That might help.

Certainly better than the current practice of consent made on the fly.

It's a fallacy to believe that socialized behaviors are more elastic than biological ones: which is easier, to buy some eyeglasses or to learn a new language? (HT: Thomas Sowell.)

That's a pretty bad analogy for what we're talking about. Maybe: what's easier, training your eyes to be able to biologically withstand higher levels of UV rays or becoming comfortable with wearing dorky sunglasses that people make fun of you for?

Excellent comment.

The author is a kook.

She makes this claim:

"The real problem isn't that we — as a culture — don't sufficiently consider men's biological reality. The problem is rather that theirs is literally the only biological reality we ever bother to consider."

That's a ridiculously, easily disprovable assertion. Almost every married man on the planet deals with the biological reality of their partner on a regular basis. Indeed, any regular relationship deals with these issues.

"So let's actually talk bodies. Let's take bodies and the facts of sex seriously for a change. And let's allow some women back into the equation, shall we? "

Here the author claims that women aren't allowed to talk about their bodies to men. Again, that's a ridiculous claim. This article is just tripe.

The biggest problem I have with this article is that it assumes that women aren't rational agents capable of being mature adults. It infantilizes women.

Unfortunately, that's not exactly anything new from the feminists

I hear this view point very often, but am not sure I can relate to it: they are not infantilizing women, they are trying to get the best of both worlds. In other words, they want the concessions of infants without actually being considered so.

Perhaps one should be careful about not falling into the following trap: in trying to push the idea that the biggest problem with feminism is how it is unfair to women, one is acquiescing, if only temporarily, to the societal norm that discourse has to be gynocentric, merely driven by considerations of womens' interest.

The old Yale 81 myth of the dennis détente. Palaksara is sanguine, it means blood, it means blood inks from the well and tops cake dust with rice methods.

Once I had a pizza at Roberta's in Bushwick, where clothes go to mourn. Inside, Robert the Doll holds no enemies, no bars, no shame, he lets those eat pizza in peace, in privacy, where their bodies do no occupy a public space. Private parts are something else. Private parts are more important. they are reproductive. To touch a private part is not right.

It is ablative. *h₁sh₂-én-, oblique stem of *h₁ésh₂r̥ (“blood”); compare Old Latin assyr, aser, Hittite

If you assume that most people are fully rational actors, then you probably will have problems with the feminist-y discourse around these topics, but I think it's important to point out that a lot of this discourse assumes that neither men nor women possess full agency, but that this lack costs women more than it does men. In that sense, I don't think it's fair to say the article uniquely infantilizes women, because it is written from a point of view that sees men being infantilized already. That's a bit vague, so:

Let's assume the ideal man is, among other qualities, empathetic, comfortable communicating his desires, wants to listen to women, wants women to enjoy sex, etc. And let's assume the ideal woman is, among other qualities, not afraid to communicate hard boundaries and leave a situation that feels bad or uncomfortable. If the ideal man and the ideal woman engage in sex, there will almost never be a big problem. If even one partner in a sexual encounter meets these ideals, an unpleasant experience will also probably be avoided.

If both partners in a sexual encounter fail to meet this standard (even if the gender/attribute is reversed), then there's a risk. The woman may not disengage herself, and the man may push ahead blindly without realizing her hesitation, leading to an unpleasant result. So, who gets the blame? It's absolutely denying a portion of the woman's agency to say she couldn't disengage, but it's also denying a portion of the man's agency to say he couldn't notice her hesitation. Are men really so sex-crazed and blind to other people that they would ignore the fact that someone doesn't particularly want to have sex with them? Whenever I hear someone like the first commenter on this thread say that men sometimes get too excited and can't control themselves, I feel like that's pretty infantilzing to men. Sometimes people seem to argue this by suggesting that empathy is some kind of "mind-reading" whereas decisiveness is a skill that anyone with half a brain is born with is, but that seems like a distinction that's convenient to... men.

If it was as simple as women should just be decisive, and for some sinister reason they weren't doing this because feminists brainwashed them, then men could just nip this problem right in the bud by all becoming more empathetic and patient. I'm hopeful that over time there will be some convergence and general shift toward these values, but in the meantime, we're going to have the problem that when unideal men and unideal women shack up, sometimes something bad will happen. So then, who pays the cost? Up until recently, it was basically just women. For whatever reasons you want to name, biological, social, psychological, as the writer points out, "bad sex" for men is boring but not deeply unpleasant, whereas for many women it is. At the same time, there were lots of barriers against women going around and talking about unpleasant sexual experiences, not least because women were stigmatized more for ambiguous sexual liaisons. Now, though, many people think this is unfair, and the risk of public shaming is being raised to redistribute the costs of these unpleasant experiences. Of course, I think everyone's first choice would be for people to be strong, independent, willing to be vulnerable, good communicators and aware of their desires, but in a world where that many people, equally men and women, fall short of those qualities, the pain caused by their failings should at least be distributed equally.

"It’s absolutely denying a portion of the woman’s agency to say she couldn’t disengage, but it’s also denying a portion of the man’s agency to say he couldn’t notice her hesitation. Are men really so sex-crazed and blind to other people that they would ignore the fact that someone doesn’t particularly want to have sex with them?"

The statement is true but the question is wrong because there is a difference one is an individual acting for itself and the other is an obligation for a separate individual to act for another. Many people reject in ethical terms the imposition unto themselves, of responsibility for others.


You're free to reject it, but you'll be treated that way in return. Your accuser won't be ethically bothered by the fact that you'll lose your reputation if they publicize what they perceive as your bad behavior. If the vague carrot of morality won't guide you to take responsibility for others, then you'll be threatened with the stick of social cost. That's always been the case, but in the past year the stick for male sexual misconduct has gotten a lot bigger. Personally, I recommend freely choosing taking responsibility for others. "None is a slave whose acts are free." And it makes for a more interesting life besides.

I must say I wonder how people who write #5 actually handle their relationships. Are any of them capable of acting like adults with a degree of emotional and intellectual resilience? What is _wrong_ with these people? How do they get themselves into such a hyperventilated mess? Do they really just enjoy the misery and attention?

I'm vaguely horrified at what awaits the first guy to make a move on Ms Loufborouw.

Here's a picture of her:

I wouldn't discount the idea that she has been excluded from the world of sexual pleasure, and much of her work is dedicated to trying to deny others the joy of sex that she hasn't been desirable enough for.


the risk of public shaming is being raised to redistribute the costs of these unpleasant experiences.

This sounds like raising the risk of being randomly caught and being punished for stealing, to mitigate the risk of thievery. Punishing random men or attacking all men as a group (which will only upset sensitive men, and not jerks who actually behave badly with women) is not redistribution.


To some extent, I think you're right, but I think it's important to realize that this is the situation that women are already facing. Every once in a while, as a cost for being a sexually active being, a woman experiences something unpleasant, whether criminal or just creepy. Unless you're a "she secretly wanted it!" person, women are not at fault; maybe at times more imprudent than others, but it's basically the cost of doing business. It's not necessarily even *that* common, and some girls (like the jerks in your analogy) soldier on indifferent to bad experiences, whereas sensitive girls who may never have had a bad sexual experience nonetheless fear that it will happen to them. So, the cost of male sexual assholery is already concentrated on random girls at the individual level but affects women as a group as well, through no fault of theirs.

Given that, while I don't like the fact that innocent men will bear some of the redistributed cost, I think that since the cost is already unfairly distributed, I'd rather it be borne by both men and women as a group. I don't actually believe that the men who bear the cost will be totally random. We'll tend to believe accusations about men who have multiple accusers. The biggest jerks will lose their jobs and their social connections. That may not make other jerks empathetic, but it will make them more careful. Men will learn to communicate better. And, yes, once in a while, an innocent man will be dragged down by a vengeful ex-partner. That's a non-trivial injustice. But, in the absence of a perfect system, am I willing, as a hopefully innocent man, to risk being falsely accused of sexual misconduct to reduce the risk for innocent women having to deal with the sexual misconduct of another man? Yes, I am.

I don’t actually believe that the men who bear the cost will be totally random. ... The biggest jerks will lose their jobs and their social connections. That may not make other jerks empathetic, but it will make them more careful. Men will learn to communicate better.

These are beliefs, as you yourself write. But to justify imposing medieval standards of proof on men, which you endorse, one needs more than beliefs, not just a vague strategization.

There is a reason why criminal jurisprudence requires high standards of proof; if you want more people to be punished, the onus is on you to furnish evidence.

By the way, do you realize that a statement like "Men will learn to communicate better", if written about any other group of people on the planet, will seem like hate-speech?

@JSC: You're right - it won't be random who bears the cost. It'll be the people with less social credibility. The people who might be a little "weird" anyways. The exchange student, the nerd, the people without the social support to engage in retribution. It won't be the biggest "jerks": most of those will still be socially gifted enough to manipulate their way through the edge of the boundary and out of consequences, just like they do now.

@blah Most people in the US don't ever have anything to do with the justice system, but all of us are punished/rewarded every day by our bosses, friends, partners, etc. based on incomplete, misconstrued and insignificant evidence. We're social beings, we talk about each other, we're generous or cruel to one another, without any court judging whether any of those actions are fair or whatever. This just adds a dimension to what is already happening. If you screw around without being mindful of how your actions affect other people, people will talk about you and not invite you to their parties and not introduce you to their friends, just like if you get a reputation for trying to pressure-sell people vacuum cleaners at their home you won't be invited over for dinner.

Re: hate speech. I don't see it. The flip side of that statement, which is also true, is that women will learn to be less non-confrontational in uncomfortable situations. "Learn" doesn't imply either men or women are dumb now and have to figure something out, just that those behaviors are socialized and we hopefully won't teach them to our kids so the next generation won't make quite as many mistakes.

" “Until recently, men didn’t have to pay too close attention to this, because their was no cost to not understanding it. Today, there is a cost: you’ll be talked about, you’ll be put on a list, you’ll be written about, you’ll be publicly shamed, lose your job, etc. Men don’t have to become mind-readers, but they do have to become better at communicating, reading cues, understanding female biology, etc. (By "have to” I don’t mean because of moral imperative, I mean just for the sake of minimizing risk, just as women “have to” be careful about drinking too much around men; in neither case is the “punishment” or risk thereof necessarily fair or just, but it does exist, and that’s what matters"

You're comparing an actual crime to the violation of a social taboo. The risk of the latter is entirely the result of the decision of society to gibe a shit about it. If you think it should, you can't turn around and feign sympathy for the taboo-breakers.

I think the distinction between the two is one of kind rather than degree. First, many things that are treated as taboos eventually become enshrined in law. Second, there are plenty of laws that we don't enforce if society doesn't give a shit about them (why do some cities ticket people for jaywalking and others don't?). Third, there should be things that we disapprove of and penalize people for even if we do it through extralegal channels. I wouldn't want a law against meanness or creepiness or un-empathetic sexual proclivities, because they're so vague, but I'm fine with shaming people for being mean. Obviously this instrument of punishment is pretty blunt, so it may in many cases be "unfair" (so, though, are many jail sentences), but if they keep people behaving better on the whole, I'm fine with them.

"You’re comparing an actual crime to the violation of a social taboo". No, this is not the comparison made by the author, I think you missed a turn (admittedly she is not always perfectly clear).

The comparison is between the woman (in general) who is not careful in choosing with whom she spends time, where, after having absorbed how much alcohol, and between the man who is not careful when having sex or trying to with a woman of what are at each instant her feelings and level of consents. The author says that in both case, the persons risks a lot (in the first case being sexually assaulted or being raped, in the second being public shamed or losing one's job and career) and finds some justice in this symmetry.

The comparison is thus not between the perpetrator of the crime (e.g. rape, sexual assault) and the violator of a social taboo (e.g. the man who proposes wine to a woman without letting her choose
between white and red). It is between the victim of the said crime and the violator of the social taboo.

In other words, the comparison made is between the rapist and the women complaining on tweeter. I find this comparison quite apt.

In order to garner an historical perspective we can look to the Antioch College Sexual Offense Prevention Policy of 1990.

This policy was initiated after two date rapes reportedly occurred on the Antioch College campus during the 1990–91 academic year.

In 1991 a group of students formed under the name "Womyn of Antioch" to address their concern that sexual offenses in general were not being taken seriously enough by the administration or some in the campus community. A "Sexual Offense Policy," was created during a couple of late-night meetings in the campus Womyn's Center, as the Antioch College website commented "this original policy was questionable. It was not legally binding, no rights were given to the accused, and it called for immediate expulsion of the accused with no formal process." The policy was presented when the Womyn of Antioch stormed a community meeting a few days later.

In 1991-2 the college employed a part-time advocate, as the start of the Sexual Offenses Prevention and Survivors’ Advocacy Program (SOP/SAP), who developed with the aid of the community the Antioch Sexual Offense Policy. Thus Antioch College became the first in America to mandate ongoing verbal affirmation during sexual encounters.[62] Under this policy, consent for sexual behavior must be "(a) verbal, (b) mutual, and (c) reiterated for every new level of sexual behavior."

This policy was the subject of media satire, such as a parody sketch in 1993 on Saturday Night Live titled "Is It Date Rape?" Some media outlets voiced support for the policy. For example, syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman asserted that most "sexual policy makers write like lawyers in love," and that, likewise, "at Antioch the authors could use some poetry, and passion." But she was ultimately sympathetic to their goals of leveling the sexual playing field and making students think about what consent means, saying that the Antioch campus "has the plot line just about right."

By 2015, similar affirmative consent standards would have been adopted by colleges across the nation, including every Ivy League university except Harvard, as well as by state legislatures including California, Michigan, and New York.

"Until recently, men didn’t have to pay too close attention to this, because their was no cost to not understanding it."

There was certainly a cost to a man who was married or in a relationship, but in the case of a man who is just going to use a woman and then discard her, yes, there was 'no cost.' Why should he? And why should I care that he doesn't care? As is usual with feminists, they promote dumb behavior and then get angry with the inevitable result.

Well, you don't have to care, but many people are trying to impose a cost even on such use/discard behavior if it comes at an emotional cost for women. There are plenty of women out there who "just want sex" at various points in their life, plenty enough that womanizing men can sleep with them and not hurt women who aren't looking for that. If they can't tell the difference, I'm happy to do my part to publicly shame them until they put the effort into figuring it out. With the right incentives, I don't think what you call an inevitable result has to be inevitable.

They aren't going to fuck you, JSC7. They will keep fucking the men who "can’t tell the difference."

@Anonymous I guess you'd be surprised :)

Also, you say there were certainly costs to a man who was married, but to the extent that it's true, it's a historically recent phenomenon. E.g. marital rape was only enshrined in law in all 50 states in 1993.

The cost Kevin. E was mentioning was the cost for the man having an affair for his wife to learn it and not take it good, for instance asking for a divorce, or having a nasty argument, etc. What does it has to do with marital rape?

@Joel I assumed he meant that there was a cost to married men of ignoring their wife's interests/desires/discomforts/etc.

If some men are too excited to stop and some women too demure to stop, then perhaps both of them should stay home and leave the streets free for grown up human beings who've got over the whole frontal cortex / control of basic drives thing.

Jeez, where do such people come from?

That was my thought too. What kind of men are these women having sex with?

In addition, the argument seems to be that women somehow collectively decided, around 1968, that they could have sex with anyone they wanted with no forethought or consequences, as men have always wanted to be able to do, and that, after fifty (!) years, more than a few of them are discovering that this is not always a good idea. While the concept of free sex and free love are appealing, given human nature they might not be all that practical, and rather than uncritically submitting to men's desires they might want to consider saying "no" a little more often, instead of saying "maybe" and then publicly complaining when that turns out to mean "sure." I realize I sound like an old reactionary, but this is supposed to be a forum for open discussion.

How many people do you know who, prior to having sex with someone (who they are already nervous around and trying not to embarrass themselves in front of), feel comfortable talking openly about what they're into sexually, what their expectations are, what they might be sensitive about, etc.? I think it's pretty rare.

but they do have to become better at communicating, reading cues, understanding female biology, etc.

Or, if they prove to be incapable of doing so (for biological reasons or otherwise), return to the sexual mores of a previous era: abstention, prudery...

That seems to be were we are heading....

Ha! How the wheel turns!

The Gods of the copybook heading...

When you start insisting on these ultra subtle, barely perceptible cues, you're a long way from the clarity of simple yes and nos beforehand.

You're a long way to Rashomon and to people reconceptualizing events after they have passed - "Obviously, I must've given a clear cue that I really hated this", when in actual fact they were ambiguous and ambivalent at the time, and not clearly negative by any means.

The idea that a man who has sought sexual consent, who have no position of power over a woman, who doesn't restrict a woman's movements, should face some of stigma for not picking up on some subtle cues that this unreliable, partial witness says exist, which may or may not have been there at the time.... It's against common sense to imagine there would not be pushback.

Thanks for writing this in a readable manner, I couldn't stand the way that author was writing.

It still think it's bullshit though. Ironically, because it's leaving out half of the equation - namely, the mens. The author acts as if for men, sex is a business entirely for their advantage, while it's entirely at the womans disadvantage. Which should seem ridiculous to any man trying to hit on a girl in a bar.

The core issue here at work is sex drive. Men have a much, much higher sex drive on average, and the evidence for that is pretty much undeniable. To make matters worse, there are more men than women in the first place, and Tyler already showed us that even small amounts in absolute number can have a big effect on the bargaining power. They can use this bargaining power in any way they want, from simply being able to have sex whenever they want up to often being in control of a relationship and if not, being more willing to break relationships up. Especially high sex drive woman are in a great position, because they a) want something and b) it's there in AMPLE amounts.
On the other hand, the disadvantage here is the one mentioned in the article - of course if someone wants something from me that badly, it can happen that it gets uncomfortable. But as long as he stops if I clearly say no, this is not such a huge disadvantage compared to the advantage (though if not, I certainly agree it is!).

For men, it's the other way around: Men have much less bargaining power, so they have to struggle more to even have sex in the first place, not to mention lots of it, but also to get a relationship and keep it going. But on the bright side, at least they don't need to fear someone trying to coerce them into something - because they don't have anything anyone wants that badly anyway!

If I were snarky, I could mention here that this sounds a bit like the rich complaining that it's unfair that they need to fear the poor robbing them, while the poor don't because they don't have anything worth robbing. And even there you could point out that the rich are right to some degree because physical assault is very unpleasant indeed.

So men already bear a cost, just as women do. Only that women often can't relate to the costs that men bear, and nobody wants to hear about the feelings of men anyway, so they entirely ignore them. While the media on the other hand can't shut up about all the costs that women have to bear.
But at least I think the tides are turning to some degree. My girlfriend often tells me she thinks it's unfair that men are expected to 'hit on' women, while the women can just lie back and take the one she likes the most and I need to remind her that, well, at least the men don't need to fear physical coercement. And hear an increasing amount of this sentiment among women.

I would also argue that the increasing sexlessness of society is related to this. Women prefer to be hit on instead of needing to hit on men, but it's getting increasingly dangerous to do that for a man, so they stay away from doing so. The result is less sex overall. So with the shaming etc. you're mostly just punishing the few men that are still willing to do that, decreasing their numbers further.

Mind you that, just as the original author did, I'm talking averages here. So of course you'll be able to find some cases of women coercing men, etc.

Well said! The imbalances you described make a good case for legalized prostitution. Being purely commercial transactions, consent can also be recorded in a legal manner, without fear of ambiguity.

In my country we have legalized prostitution, so I can only agree: Yes, it's a very good idea. It's also known to reduce sex-related crimes, for obvious reasons.

I don't really buy that the pain men experience when they haven't had sex for a while is equivalent to an unpleasant sexual encounter, risk of physical coercion, etc. I mean, that stuff is so hard to compare, but in my (male) experience, my guess is that the latter feels more like the times when I've either been (a) physically threatened by other men, even in a jokey, hassling kind of way, usually when traveling abroad, or (b) at a predominantly gay bar/club. There's just this sense of, hmm, something physically unpleasant could happen to me, and I've never felt anything remotely similar in any sexual encounter I've had with a woman. Yeah, sometimes you don't have sex for a while and you feel kind of down and like maybe you've lost it, but that seems more akin to like, I'm spinning my wheels at work or whatever.

And as for increasing sexlessness, I'm skeptical that we're losing much good sex. I agree that at the margin some "bad sex" (boring for man, unpleasant for woman) is being turned into no sex, but who cares? That's like saying we're buying less junk. And I don't really think "hitting on women" is really as fraught as a lot of men are making it out to be. Online dating seems to obviate a lot of the risk for both men and women by moving it to text exchanges at a distance, and if you think online dating is boring, then, I don't know, you go to a party or an event, you talk to a girl, you see if you can make her laugh and if she's having a good time talking to you, and if you can keep it up long enough eventually you say I find myself quite attracted to you, do you want to go out sometime? And that's it! If she responds well, great, and if not, say it was nice getting to know you and wish her good night. The hard part for many men seems to be what to do if she seems sort of wishy-washy or awkward or embarrassed (in that moment or after your first date or whenever), and the answer is stop hitting on her. You will avoid 99% of unpleasant sexual encounters that way. It's like, green light go, red light stop, and yellow light slow down, don't accelerate.

I imagine there are a lot of perfectly normal and sensible men out there who think this whole movement is an attack against them, or are at least fearful of what might happen to them in some bad imaginary circumstance, but even as a man who is likes to hit on women and take a degree of risk in my sexual life, I'm consistently shocked by the stories that my female friends tell me about some men (the point being, women are not out for the scalps of normal dudes! relax! you probably don't know how bad it gets!). I mean, endless barrages of text messages, dick pics out of nowhere a year after the last communication, taking any trivial social nicety as an excuse to impose themselves interminably on the woman's time... Stuff that any of these men would be embarrassed to have other people know about them. So why do it? Because they get away with it and once in a while it works. Sometimes I think the PUA craze convinced men to act like used car salesmen, and it became so blatant and bad that women are making a better business bureau to put an end to the worst of it, and good for them. I feel bad for men who got sold on the idea that they were betas or whatever and the only way out for them was by using these high-pressure sales tactics, the way poor people get roped into pyramid schemes, and now they think the big bad feminists are coming for them. There's no such thing as betas! You're all beautiful people worthy of love! Stop listening to the internet!

See, guys? This is how you do it.

Well, that's why I said 'as long as he stops when I say no'. If a sexual encounter is uncomfortable, I can say no and stop it. I can't get coerced if he doesn't anything after I said no etc.
I certainly agree with you that if he doesn't, it's much worse than not having sex! But as long as he does, don't forget that it's not just about sex, women have much more leverage when it comes to relationships in general, that shouldn't be underestimated. Just as you have stories of terrible men, there are also quite a few terrible stories of women, who usually use just that leverage to impose their will on men (just like men use their physical advantages).
Now you might say that even if he stops when I say no, I might feel too threatened to say it in the first place. But I think a man can't always do much about that, because we are by bare biology already a lot stronger. I certainly know that I sometimes feel uncomfortable around very big, buffed gay guys no matter how nice they are. One possible way to ameliorate this are more self-defense courses for women and women taking pepper spray with them, to level the playing field.

And the big problem I see with just looking at the uncomfortableness is that even that can be very hard to notice. For example, my girlfriend tends to giggle when she feels uncomfortable. But just like anyone, she also giggles for various other reasons, having a good time, being sleep-deprived , etc. .
So sometimes even I mistake her giggling because of something else, and the only reason why 'she is uncomfortable' comes to mind is because I already know that this is her reaction.
But if even I can't readily tell apart 'good' giggling from 'bad' giggling with absolute certainty, how should somebody who doesn't know her? Or, the other way around, how should I tell it apart for other women who might react differently to being uncomfortable?
I had a talk with her about it and she told me that one big problem is that at least one part of her DOESN'T want the men to notice. If you like someone, you don't want to make him feel bad (especially if it's about something that he can hardly be blamed for), but also if you fear someone, you don't want him to feel bad (because he might take it out on you).
In fact, because of this, I'm willing to bet that even if we could institute some courses for men telling them how to tell apart being uncomfortable (which I don't think is really possible because it's too dependent on the person), we would just end up with women trying even harder not to let the men notice. Btw, I'm also willing to bet that a good part of the women you thought were uncomfortable weren't, while for a good part you didn't even notice. But maybe you're just better than average, I don't know.

For the sexlessness, that can certainly be argued. I'd also wager that it's to some degree simply in the favor of women, because they don't want that much sex anyway. Though I do know quite a few women complaining about how men don't hit on women anymore, how wimpy they are now, that they want 'real men' back etc. So it seems there are some women who'd disagree with that.

And for the other stuff:
Endless messages: That's what blocking features are for, and the state also has mechanics to force men to stop with that if they continue anyway.
dick pics: Same as above, and also I think I need to talk with game of thrones and westworld, I certainly was shown quite a few dicks I didn't expect nor wanted to see!(okay, yes, that was a bit snarky...)
Social niceties: I actually think that's a good point, because that pretty much exemplifies what I mean with 'hard to notice'. If you tell men that they just have to 'take a hint' and the women doesn't need to explicitly say her wishes, sometimes, this will be the result. Because some men are just socially awkward (and some women as well, our female neighbour certainly bores everyone to death who dares being nice to her, and I know a lot of women like that). So either you're okay with sometimes getting annoyed, or you need to say what you want. You can't always get the whole cake and eat it.

To the beta part, well, it's nice of you to say that, but there will always be losers. That's just how a competitive society works, and we're definitely one. Whether you call them betas or whatever doesn't really matter, and even though I agree with you that they are 'worthy of love', they'll still have a harder time to actually get a girl. Be it because they're ugly, they're socially awkward, etc. And since there are more men than women, some wil necessarily fall over the edge no matter how hard they try.

One nice thing about the PUA scene is that at least the nicer portion of them actually tries to teach men how to understand women, which I think is a good thing. And also the nice thing about sex is that unlike cars, even if you notice later on that you got screwed (pun intended), you didn't actually lose anything (unless you didn't use contraceptives, in which case it's definitely you're own fault). So as long as PUAs don't force anyone, I see little reason why I should shame them. In fact, it's not that hard to find women arguing how it's nice if the men put more work into their 'game', so it's not like any girl going into bed with one is always the unknowing victim. Especially if she also just wants sex without any strings attached, it's basically win-win for her.


I agree that communication is incredibly nuanced and complicated, as your giggling examples demonstrates very well (and it also demonstrates - not that it's for me to judge - that you communicate well your girlfriend; just the fact that you can lay out the scenario with that degree of nuance shows you're way ahead of the pack, and maybe you and I have somewhat different priors but in practice we're probably living in a similar way). I agree it's never going to be perfect, and that's life, but for me the most salient point is the one you make about how she sometimes doesn't want men to notice her giggling because to reject a man represents a risk (however small) of reprisal. Even if you didn't mean the risk of physical reprisal, the language you used (take it out on her) is suggestive of that. Most men aren't violent, but, as you suggest, there's something about male physicality that affects us, even if it's largely symbolic. I've never had the equivalent fear when interacting with women. I've never, in trying to cover all the bases one tries to cover in a conversation on a first date, had to also worry about covering the base of "let's make sure I don't say anything that makes her impose herself physically on me". Obviously, I've experienced heartbreak, rejection, humiliation, emotional manipulation, but none of that affected me nearly as deeply, all things considered, as the times in my life when I've been at the receiving end of physical force (I once, for example, got manhandled by some cops abroad over a miscommunication, and that shit sticks with you). I think it was Orwell who wrote something about how nothing in the world is worse than physical pain, and I'm with him. So when you talk about women's relationship/emotional leverage as balancing out men's physical advantages, on some gut level I can't buy it. I could make some arguments (plenty of men are emotionally manipulative too, women lose their looks faster, women lose more earning power if the couple has children), but more than any of that, I know that I won't have to internalize the risk of violence as a factor in my dating life, and that makes me reflexively more sympathetic to the women than men.

Of course, you're right that sometimes I misjudge, but typically it's when a woman is annoyed to be asked what she wants, or is willing to do something that makes her uncomfortable, rather than that she's totally comfortable and I read it as discomfort. People want sex, but there's still the general sense of sex being icky and wrong, so people can't admit they want sex, so they hope to have their cake and not talk about it. This applies to men too (how many men feel comfortable admitting their sexual desires to someone they just met?). I don't know, maybe it's because I want a degree of (consensual, duh) violence in my sex life or because I get a weird pleasure out of hearing people say things they want to say but don't feel comfortable saying, but I'd rather have an uncomfortable conversation than uncomfortable sex. My hope for is that, as a society, at the margin we'll have more of the former than the latter.

Re: betas, I think there's a difference between the inevitable left tail of a standard distribution and creating a label like "beta". I'm reminded of the Slate Star Codex post about how differences in IQ aren't worth worrying about on a personal level. Yes, some people will lose out in a competitive society, but life is long and strange and I know both plenty of weird dudes who I wouldn't want to invite to a family function who have happy relationships or out-there sex lives, and also Norse gods who people admire when they walk into the room but who are so ashamed of themselves they can't manage basic intimacy. Especially if you're under 25, there's no need to draw any drastic conclusions about one's Self, especially not discouraging ones.

Re: PUAs, sure, at the level of any individual sexual transaction, I'd probably agree with you. And I guess it's nice that some men are out there teaching other men about women. But isn't there something weird about that? If you were interested in learning about women, why would you ask... men? So maybe you can't get a girlfriend yet, but can you at least get a female friend, someone with whom you can exchange some kind of knowledge about one another's life experiences? If you can't find a female friend, can you talk to women online? Can you read novels written by women? Essays? This is one of the reasons why I got on this comment horse in the first place, because the piece Tyler linked to, I thought, had a lot of really smart points about the female experience, especially in terms of how the fact that a woman is told sex will hurt the first time could impact how she approaches sex. Yes, some of the rhetoric and language in the piece was aimed at a New York City media feminist academic circle rather than the MR crowd, and yes some stuff that gets written by women, as by men, is ridiculous and motivated to score points, but if you read widely enough, you'll be able to tell the difference, just like, if you get to know enough women, you'll be able to figure how to interact with them. PUA sites sometimes feel like 18th century manuals written by Christians for how to do business with Jews: oh, sure, you can do business with them, but you have to learn how to do it from us, because everything they say is lies! (of course, there is one reason you'd turn to men, which is that for many men having sex with women isn't about women but about impressing other men, so of course you'd want to learn precisely what kind of conquests impressed men, but in that case, resolve your daddy issues in some other way, boys). That creates a dynamic where, to many men, women seem like a problem to solve, and while at the individual level it's not a problem, the social externalities aren't good. Now, of course, we're seeing what it looks like when many women see men as a problem to solve.

Well, I've accomplished what I set out to do, which was to get my girlfriend to brag to her female friends that I'm "defending feminism on his weird economics blogs", which I'm hoping increases the odds that we get to sleep with one of said friends. ✌

Great, insightful comments, JSC7, thanks!

Yeah JSC7 owns this thread, bravo.

#5, is this a joke? This woman complaining about Aziz Ansari must have experienced physical pain from giving him (to be crude) a oral sex, a pain that is unknowable to the gay Andrew Sullivan? That young, physically healthy women who wear sneakers and no makeup are perceived as unattractive? That male genitals are somehow immune to pain from sex rubbing them the wrong way when female ones aren't?

Exactly. Besides, any man experiencing penile pain during sex is very likely to immediately display it through the loss of erection, which is very easily perceived by their partner. The inverse is not at all true.

Re: Icelanders

I think #3 is a fluff piece, how to use a few thousand words without saying much!

As a Norwegian in exile, visiting Iceland was a lot like visiting the western coastal small towns of Norway from my youth, or like visiting Nanaimo, BC. The Icelanders are our wilder cousins, who were not complacent, went and colonized an island, got some Irish wenches in addition to those they brought, and tried out an early version of the now defunct tradition of democracy.

A Norwegian expression is "Nød lærer naken kvinne å spinne", meaning lack of resources triggers creativity. Except for energy, water and some amount of fish, lack of resources is exactly what characterizes Iceland. Those people trying to farm Iceland are even bigger suckers than those Scandinavians ending up in North Dakota. My hat is off to them for their courage and determination. That Midwestern KU academic should retract his article, it is all BS, and while he is at it, probably return his paycheck for the time he spent on that paper or article!

Lastly, if you're not into binge drinking, all that lack of sunshine in the winter half of the year is an excellent motivation to write a book. I wanted to say, Iceland is a lot like Norway 50 years ago, in terms of smaller welfare state, more dependence on fishing, but with better tourism revenue per capita, but without the crappy cars of the 60s, and no oil, just like Norway in the 1960s, and of course internet and better English skills. I couldn't really tell the size of the welfare state from visiting 5 days, but it was telling that the maid at the B&B we stayed at was very happy her son was in Norway, for his sake.

With oil everything goes down more smoothly. What will happen to Norway after solar panels are diffused enough to make oil obsolete (which will happen in about 15-20 years)?

"What will happen to Norway after solar panels are diffused enough to make oil obsolete (which will happen in about 15-20 years)?"

Oil is a very energy dense form of fuel. Solar power is not. Batteries are not. We probably will transition to battery powered passenger vehicles. We might use some battery powered cargo vehicles. We'll still use plenty of oil to move planes around.

Don't worry about Norway, it has seen the light!

Norway's own Solyndra has lost 99.9% of it's value: Opens yahoo finance 10 year chart of REC, Renewable Energy Corporation.

Good luck with your solar powered aircraft.

5. Women I know are not nearly as dumb as portrayed in that article.

Yeah, but they're probably suffering and in pain and miserable and acting and uncomfortable and trying to please and being programmed and Andrew Sullivan is bad.

What surprises me about the leftist female articles is the surprising underlap of many of the core beliefs:

1. A woman can speak for all women
2. It is wrong to generalise to all women
3. All cultures are different

That article speaks for all women, about a topic in the USA, and generalises to the 4 billion women on the planet. I mean, it is self contradictory across any dimension.

On top of that, the whole idea that female beauty is designed for male pleasure is just weird. I mean, I have no idea which shoes go with what top - have never, ever noticed - and many fashion trends leave me baffled (those high cut pants looked awful). says it best - "All the girls walk by dressed up for each other". This seems like yet another example of "even when men aren;t to blame, it is still their fault".

Don't forget to add to your list of contradictions:
4. Women are strong and powerful and independent, but totally powerless in the face of vague social expectations when with a man. This is apparently why one would go back to a man's apartment with him, strip naked and "blow" him, then be uncomfortable with the idea he might for some reason believe you're interested in sex as a result and thus not feel like you can leave, despite all evidence to the contrary.
5. Her statement "The old implied social bargain between women and men is that one side will endure a great deal of discomfort and pain for the other's pleasure and delight." completely ignores the reality of men enduring discomfort and pain for hours/day/months/years in order to please the woman they are/or hope to be involved with. Back in the day, they called it coal mining, or firefighting, or lumber-jacking, or soldiering, or... you get the idea.

Lumber-jacking is probably some sort of porn term these days anyway.

Well, in feminist circles, evolutionary psychology is often just a patriarchal plot of oppression. The idea that women are playing a sexual selection game as well never seems to enter their minds.

33. Iceland's education system is well worth studying and emulating, particularly in comparison to the more traditional Bolshevist educational systems like that in the US. Iceland treats students as individuals and has minimal interference at local level from the top of the hierarchy. The tradeoff Iceland makes by allowing individuals to flourish is that it performs below average on collaborative problem solving and also scores very low on immigrant equity. Unlike in the US, Iceland's refugee resettlement strategy is not to dump refugees into poorer small town schools that are already financially strapped in an attempt to equalize educational outcomes between urban public schools and rural public schools. This illustrates another advantage of small countries over large countries: less room for elites to impose the cost of their moral preening on remote, less powerful communities.

It's amusing when people use Iceland as an example of what any actual country of size should do about anything. Iceland isn't just a small country, it has as many (as few) people as a smallish city. Even Singapore, much smaller in area, is more useful as a comparison to a real country. Comparing the 'refugee resettlement strategy', or anything else, of the US to Iceland is about as useful as comparing it to Aurora, Colorado.

Same goes for Denmark, the Netherlands, and several other "countries."

The Netherlands is 51 times larger than Iceland. Stupid comparison

Not sure those are as true. Denmark and the Netherlands and least have reasonable land areas and populations. Denmark has 5.7 million people (basically the same as Singapore actually) and the Netherlands 17 million. Iceland has 332,000. It's a big town not a country.

But yes it's kind of pointless to use even small countries like Denmark to compare to the US for most things. Then again, the biggest countries are all pretty unique. There are 13 countries with over 100 million people, and they are all very different places. Cross country comparisons are just difficult in general.

Bottom line, though, is Iceland is not really a country. It's a small city with a lot of area.

IIRC, Denmark has a population 15x that of Iceland and an urban core 4x the population of all of Iceland. A country that population with Denmark's productive base can support an array of the most sophisticated institutions you see in great powers: a research university, university hospital complex, full-service bourse, &c. They're dependent on patrons for their external security, but otherwise independent.

No one cares about the iceberg anymore or that motta on the titantic that you are descendent of. The age of the little bee in flatiron is over. the age of tintin is over. The duckweed and the malicious finger fuck are over Art Deco. Go back to Ithaca, go back to Eastman, go back to the bondage from which you were born.

Twitter is great for learning languages, especially if you already know the basics. Follow some people in a foreign language and you don't have to plan for it, it'll just show up in your feed. No reason you can't learn Portuguese.

I'm fond of McArdle and respect her as an advocate more than just about anyone else. There's nothing wrong with the list, but there are missing pieces, perhaps because it was intended to be a list about the mundane (for the most part) or perhaps because there were things she herself didn't wish to acknowledge (perhaps because it's overly personal). By way of example, two things you shouldn't put off are marriage and children.

If marriage and children are what you want, you shouldn't out them longer than is prudent. But you also shouldn't rush into them just for the sake of crossing off lines on a bucket list.

There might just be some spots in the gray area between 'rushing into them just for the sake of crossing lines on a bucket list' and 'married at 37, too old to get pregnant'.

My mother was 37 when I was born (although she had been married and trying to conceive for some years before that). 37 is not too old to bear a child for most women.

#5: Blah blah blah. What George Will said a generation ago: society gets a drizzle of dumb little laws when it neglects big wise laws. Or, in this case, large volumes of gassy blather from the women's mag set. It's quite difficult to care about these people and their self-inflicted problems.

2. Mayors shouldn't compete for anything. They should keep their eye out for best practices in various realms. 'Competing' for something means you toss out bon bons for locating your enterprise in my back yard - at the expense of businessmen who were willing to locate there without the Milk Duds.

The Amazon hq is a great example of the prisoner's dilemma.

Not really: there's very little lost for the places that make failed bids. Hell, as an Amazon customer in a city that probably won't win, I'm going to benefit from this, as the competition will presumably allow Amazon to have (very slightly) lower prices

You know, as long as you don't go and do

#2 is the commerce clause good for anything?

Barring the silly asides against Sullivan and the science, I found the section on lack of research on female pain-related disorders/diseases and the survey instrument omissions.

I think its a push to connect that to patriarchal norms since its probably that more men probalistically suffer from ED and for much of the last fifty years, (older) men had far more money to spend. Seems like it would a far greater use of research funding than feminist takes on pop culture or any take on pop culture for that matter.

I agree about her probability error (which is analogous to an error some MRAs make on breast vs testicular cancer), but are you sure older men have had more money to spend: a woman married to a richer guy would have access to his resources for her treatment.

The whole subject has too many confounding factors given the way insurance works (e.g., having more surgeries might affect the reimbursement rates, as would the level of predictability of the types of surgery involved), which makes it a fertile ground for statistically wrong but superficially appealing feminist arguments.

#4: I await an argument that Russian is structurally simple.

Russian is, in fact, the simplest of the modern European languages (with which I am familiar - including, more or less, basically everything less unusual than Albanian or Basque).

Once you know classical Latin (declensions, conjugations, unusual genders for nouns, and those beautiful ways to shift words in a sentence - "rem acu tetigisti" was Jeeve's favorite way of saying you made a good point --- 'point good you have made' --- as the lesser Jeeves, Yoda, liked to say back in the day) , the only three things you need to know to figure out the unfamiliar aspects of Russian are (a) the classical Greek aorist, which still survives in Russian (and the 'Greek aorist' is simple - a Greek child who knew all the rest of Greek at a first grade level would have figured out the Greek aorist, were it to be invented anew in one day, after reading a 20 page picture book explaining it); (b) the simple rules of palatalization (no harder to learn than it would be to learn to say Puhlain sometimes and Plain sometimes, as if sometimes you had been born in the Valley (near LA) and sometimes you had been born in my beloved Pittsburgh (plain in the Valley, Puhlain in Pittsburgh, and even more so in Chicago); (c) and how to pronounce some of the vowels (Arensky, Lermontov, Tchaikovsky, Pushkin, Bunin (A-E-I-U) and all that gang have names with vowels that are real close to vowels in other European languages - the vowels I am talking about are the third vowel in A.S. Dargomyshky - sort of like the "i" in "wit' but much more far back and strangely resonant- and the "o" sound in middle syllable of the modern pronunciation of Voronezh or Tchaikovsky, which is a more resonant 'aw' that we are used to).

All the Slavic languages are structurally simple, in the sense that a well painted portrait with a High Renaissance landscape behind it is structurally simple. Polish and others have a few more faux amis, so Russian might be the easiest for a foreigner not to be confused by. Almost every word in Russian has a different etymology than we are used to , with a few major exceptions (sadly, rose is just Rawza in Russian, accent on first syllable, and moon is just Loona, accent on second syllable) but there are ways to avoid those similarities - call a rose by its other Russian name (Dal's 1890s dictionary is a good guide here) and call the moon by the words Pushkin called it by, that night when he was lost in thought and the horse carried him out of the pinewood into the Northern hill and lake country under the never trivial selenean night-glow.

Anyway, with a good teacher, the effort to learn Russian well enough to understand Russian poetry and have conversations with indulgent Russians who will try to talk with you in a way you can understand is not that large: if, for example, you are a good chess player (say, exponentially - by one exponential measure - out of (that is, below) grandmaster status, but still good - and that includes almost everyone slightly better than a patzer player who might think to herself, hey, I would like to learn Russian) and your ability at language acquisition is fairly commensurate with your chess skills, then the investment in time to learn Russian would be, given a good teacher, a couple hours a day for most of a year, at most. You could start in February and be, due to the simple stucture of the Russian language, fairly close to decent human understanding of the language before Christmas. If you have never been a good chess player, but are not bad with languages - the State Department used to say 2 years, at 40 hours a week, is enough for most purposes - but with a good teacher or two, and Russian friends, that time scale can be halved, or diminished even more than that.

Of course, almost all of us have jobs, and responsibilities, and the idea of learning a new language alongside of all that is usually just a dream. I understand that. Better, of course, to learn to cook a little better (this week I learned to make a simple sauerbraten type stew) , so that those we cook for are happier at mealtimes, and better to spend more time with people who enjoy spending time with you, and are saddened when you do not spent time with them.

That being said, both George Steiner and J.R.R. Tolkien, two people who are rarely mentioned in the same sentence, expressed regret that they had not learned Russian.

This post has gone on too long, so I do not have space to describe why French and German and the Scandinavian languages and my beloved English abandoned, long ago, structural simplicity, in a way that, one could argue, Russian did not. Well, maybe Russian did too. Who knows?

The hardest thing for non-English speakers to understand about English are the long lists of what words go with other words in phrases, and which don't.

Such lists of phraselogical kinship take years to differentiate and swamp any imagined simpler structures.

In Russian, 'am I right', 'right am I' , 'i right am' are all acceptable. In English, only one of those phrases is colloquial. The others are either "humorous" or "wrong". It is not easy to learn, in English, the difference between being "colloquial", "humorously wrong", and "wrong". Learning English means memorizing phrases and parroting them, until one is confident that the phrase is not mismatched: in other words, there are not only code words but also coded ways to arrange those words. That is true of all languages but, I think, more true of English. "Structurally simple indeed." Don't give me that! (in English don't give me that does not mean, do not provide me with that: it means don't try and pretend that you are giving me something truthful. There is absolutely no way to figure that out until you have heard it in context, right? Tell me, ammiright? Like I said, ammiright does not mean "you should like what I have said, am I right, it means - one more time let me say am I right?).

All that being said, one of the few social science rules that you can count on is that no language can be determined to be simpler than any other language without several years of investigation.

one last comment, for any Russian reading these comments on their language: "and call a rose by its other Russian name" is not a statement that there is any need to remind Russians that another word for rose is "shipovnik", and suggesting they needed to go to the back in the day wordbook of V.I. Dal' was a way to pass the time, nothing more: it is a reference to Shakespeare.

I often picture Camus rising from his desk, reluctantly setting his work aside. Observed by the ghoast of a girl, he descends the stairs, follows the same route, past the clock tower with a latin inscription: the hours hat pass devour us. He lights a cigarette at Café de L'Ormeau and has a coffee, surrendering to the village hum.

I used to hang out with people like that. We had good times.

Eventually, I would say, observing their unhappiness with the "dates" they had with women who wanted someone else: she does not love you. And you are my friend, Albert, but I cannot imagine looking into your eyes and saying to myself, I am looking into the eyes of someone I love, and who loves me. Not the sort of thing anyone likes to say, or even think about saying: but it is what it is.

I fixed him (not "the" Albert but "an" Albert up with the slightly overweight, very cheerful, and relatively free from disease sister of one of my best pals.

And he said to me, years later: "back when I was an existentialist, Efim, I had no idea of what the world is. Thanks for your help."

Of course none of my friends were ever as famous as Camus, but that is insignificant. It is no small thing to be a friend to someone who never had a friend in this world. True story.

I fixed him (not "the" Albert but "an" Albert) up with the slightly overweight, very cheerful, and relatively free from disease sister of one of my pals.

Watch the Formula 3 championships. Do you think they did not get lots of good advice?

It is what it is ....

It is the same for an American to understand classical music. To understand Beethoven was a human, and he and George Bridgetower performed like two blokes in Vienna at 8am in 1803, after Beethoven had stayed up the whole night. And Beethoven embraced the African prince like a bloke embraces another bloke and asked to repeat the presto, a portion at least, and then to realize the presto was sexual in nature. Piano lessons were portrayed as sexual. Pianos were objects for women to gaze at. Music was effeminate. This is not how an American can think. Tolstoy's narrator was a helluva narrator, to be sure.

Thanks for replying, clockwork. I know what you want me to say.
No, clockwork, my young friend, it is simpler than that.

I could explain to you, in Yazoo City, or in Northern Virginia, what it was the great European artists thought they heard.

C.S. Lewis, surprisingly, never complained that he, of all people - an aesthete, a lover of art - had to spend time in the trenches.

Flannery O'Connor could not dance, never wrote a catchy song, and never had the energy to fall in love, unrequited or not - but she understood, in a way that can make one almost infinitely happy, that God loves us in our individuality.

It is all so simple. There is no art. There is no way to criticize people for not having access to art. None of us will ever be happy on our own. Nobody cares about anybody, unless God wants us to care. With a few exceptions who do not mean much to the rest of us.

All there ever is - ever - is that feeling of hope and love, thinking: I want someone else to be happy. I know their name. Maybe I even chose their name. We all like to create songs, we all like to make others laugh, we all want to be, at the very ends of the earth, on the last day before the last day of the world, a friend to some creature who never had a friend in this world.

Trust me. clockwork.

In the deepest loneliest saddest most forgotten provinces of any world any temporary prince of this world can rejoice at ruling - trust me - I can make you laugh. I helped you choose the name of your favorite dog, right? at least?

And when you are done laughing, all you will want to do is be a friend to someone who never had a friend in this world. We can do things nobody else can, because of where we have been placed, whether we wanted it or not. Casterbridge, Pleasanton, the North Pole, the middle of the Pacific, that day all those years ago. Try and remember.

Paragraph 6 (all there ever is,,,,) . Read it again. Not perfect, but close, and as perfect as I will ever get, doing what I can with this English language that I have decided will eternally be foreign to me (hi Isabelle!) Thanks for reading.

like a flourishing basil, for it drew,
Nuture besides, and life, from human errors
eunuchs and fears
from the fast mouldering head shut from view:
so that the jewel, safely casketed,
came forth, and in perfumed leaflits spread.

For I am but Lorenzo.

In case you missed the bible reference, clockwork, that would be John 15:13. Take my word for it, though, it sounds like a big deal "giving up [something] ... et cetera" but it is not all that big a deal. Consider such things in context. One last time: it is no small thing to be a friend to someone who never had a friend in the world. You will understand one day. And you will understand correctly, not in some "maybe" sort of way. Magna est veritas et praevalebit. Trust me. God may or may not be on my side (Stony Brook, 1977, and another much poorer town whose name I hate to think I forget, but I do) but God is on your side

Keats should not be blamed for his poverty of imagination.

God may or may not be on my side - we are friends, and well, whatever God wants, whatever he prefers (Harvey, we were pals too, no, there were no two schools of thought on that), that is fine with me, I trust Him ---- but maybe you don't trust Him. Well you should.

On my 100th birthday nobody will remember, in the town where I was born.

Almost nobody.

Paragraph six. That feeling of hope. I'll remember.

Not just me, either.

A shipovnik I believe is more specifically a briarrose. The first element, ship, is the word for "thorn".

Re: Russian is, in fact, the simplest of the modern European languages

Then you apparently know Basque, Magyar and maybe some Caucasus languages if those count.

Re: the classical Greek aorist, which still survives in Russian

Actually, no. While South Slavic languages still have an aorist/preterite tense, Russian lost it. The forms which are often called the "Russian past tense" are in fact some old verbal adjectives as witness the fact they are inflected for gender. And the Russian prefect/imperfect distinction is much more complex than just a simple past vs imperfect past difference (true of Slavic languages in general).
Also messily complex are the uses of the various cases, especially the confusion about forms after numerals and negations.
I do agree that the pronunciation is not that hard, though for English speakers Russian does pile up more consonants that we are used to (though not as bad as Georgian in that respect).

JonFraz - Thanks for reading! I am glad you read my comments.. I have no significant arguments with any of the factual statements you made, however: I did state that (First line at 10:50 last night) I am familiar with "basically everything less unusual than Albanian or Basque". I studied Magyar for awhile, in a limited way, in the 80s and am not familiar with it any more, but since it is as unusual or Albanian or Basque, I don't think I was being untruthful in my first line at 10:50 last night - I can still talk about Finnish, though, with some knowledge, both as studied for its influence on Tolkien and as studied on its own, and I remember a few anecdotes I once read about some unusual people who were only fluent in two languages - Finnish and Magyar. Their observations, which I read in an English translation, were fascinating.

You are right about shipovnik, my disappointment with the lexicological Russian poverty re 'amicis nostris de familia rosarum' is that in all these years they (the Russians, not the roses) have not come up with a word that is not in the rose, rose, Roza, rosa, Ros, line, to designate those beautiful flowers with that distinctive and heavenly smell. It is a linguistic deprivation that Russians associate "shipovnik", their beautiful Slavic word, with the roses (briar roses) that have almost no smell, whereas all the other roses get the basic r-o-s-e- treatment. (Hebrew has a different word for Rose, that is one of the first things a Hebrew student learns -Shoshanna!)

I was not claiming, by the way, Russian has an aorist tense - my point was that Russian is less structurally complicated than Greek, which in itself is not all that structurally 'complicated' (the same way the Parthenon is not and was not) and which (old Greek) does have such a tense. Although I was mitigating my claim a little by pointing out that, if Greek did not have an aorist tense yesterday, and had one today, a Greek person could learn the aorist tense in about 40 minutes.

Sure Caucasian languages are European, why not?, but they are very unusual, too. I consider Aramaic, Hittite, and other Mediterranean languages - not to mention Black Sea Gothic and the Celtic language of the vanished people who received the letter to the Galatians - languages that the allies of Troy might have spoken - to be European too, but again, they are "unusual (except Gothic and the Celtic language of the Galatians) , from my point of view. (I have studied Gothic, though - but there is not enough information about it to say much, comparatively).

Were roses first cultivated in the Mediterranean? Because the Latin word has naturalized itself in a number of non-Romance language families, including both Germanic and Slavic. "Rose" after all is not a native English word either, though it is cognate to our "red". We also do not have an alternative word for the flower, though we do have our own color word ("pink") to compete with "rose" as a color.

Re: Russian is less structurally complicated than Greek

Most European languages aren't. Even Latin was simpler, if only because more regular and with fewer verb forms overall.

Rule 13:

Make sure at least one of your 12 rules, preferably the very last, is random, trivial, and oddly specific. Your readers need to know that while you're remarkably deep, insightful and well balanced, you're also totally fun and quirky and don't take yourself too seriously.

Example (this should immediately follow a particularly profound rule about love, children, life's impermanence, etc.): Never press down on your hamburger patty with your spatula, it only causes the juices to rush out. No one likes a dry burger.

#1: Normal 45 year olds have the ability to learn a new language or learn a musical instrument. Even retirees at much older ages do that. The bigger issue is why? And what will give you the motivation to persist at it? Most people of every age group lose interest in those types of hobbies. If learning a foreign language or musical instrument has some deep meaning to you, it's completely possible.

#4: Hmmm. I did a search on the document and the words "Latin" and "Greek" did not occur.

#1. Re rule #9. What's wrong with sewers? They're the basis for civilization, health, and wealth, though admittedly, not for crawling around, though rule #8 might...I'll stop there.

"6. How to show off your civilization at a distance."

I'm sure this guy is brilliant, but he comes off as being an idiot.

"Let’s say we had a way to distribute beacons around our solar system (or beyond) that could survive for billions of years, recording what our civilization has achieved. What should they be like?"

Then he labels previous attempts, such as the Pioneer/Voyager disks as sophomoric. That's not accurate.

"But, OK, so what’s the problem? Basically it’s about communicating meaning or knowledge outside of our current cultural and intellectual context. We just have to think about archaeology to know this is hard. What exactly was some arrangement of stones from a few thousand years ago for? Sometimes we can pretty much tell, because it’s close to something in our current culture. But a lot of the time it’s really hard to tell."

And this is just stupid. Those arrangements of stone weren't intended to be communication. So sure it's hard to extract data from them. However, we don't really have a problem figuring out what cave paintings represent.

And then he says this:

"But, OK, let’s come back to the question of what things mean. In a cave painting from 7000 years ago, we can recognize shapes of animals, and hand stencils that we can see were made with hands. But what do the configurations of these things mean? Realistically at this point we have no serious idea."

Sure, there's disagreement on the fine details, but these were literally cave paintings. And it's probable that the grandfather of the painter didn't understand everything his no good graffiti spewing layabout grandson meant either.

I do agree with his premise that math won't be some pure language that every star faring alien race will understand. However, I also don't think it's impossible to communicate well into the future. The most likely way to communicate is to build really big, obviously artificial constructs.

"The most likely way to communicate is to build really big, obviously artificial constructs."
Grow up, freak!

The best way to commumicate is with the language of kings, Portuguese. Leading scientists agree it is the greatest of all languages.

Nobody is fooled.

Don't you see it is the 50 Cent Party acting?

That's right I do acting too! I was in Escape Plan, Entourage, Spy, and Den of Thieves (in theaters now!)

If only anyone else could pronounce it.

saudede is Portuguese. Hikikimori is Japanese. Weltschmerz is German. Sentiment, well that's Ben Franklin.

pesky pole, count it!


I glanced at it. Sounds exactly like Adam Smith's 1761 essay on language.

#5. "The real problem isn't that we — as a culture — don't sufficiently consider men's biological reality. The problem is rather that theirs is literally the only biological reality we ever bother to consider."

My eyes were rolling so uncontrollably at that point that I was physically unable to keep reading.

#5 .. so a feminist is all upset about how women frequently aren't happy while being sexually promiscuous. And her solution is to somehow rewrite the rules of promiscuity.

I have better a much better solution: be monogamous and non-promiscuous. Join a socially conservative religious community if you find that really difficult.

Surely, to be fair, we must also recommend the same for men who are worried that being unable to read social and physical cues will lead them to unintentionally do something to a woman that might be construed as creepy or unempathetic.

> Surely, to be fair, we must also recommend the same for men

Absolutely. Though "fairness" has nothing to do with it.

> who are worried that being unable to read social and physical cues will lead them to unintentionally do something to a woman that might be construed as creepy or unempathetic.

other men too.

McArdle's was one of the better lists. I suppose I should feel guilty, because I wasn't kind to people who think "but we exhale!" is an excellent argument .. but maybe I can cop rule 4.

Also I think extended exercise should get higher notice in these lists (I'm just getting back in my 3-hour hike routine), but perhaps the hikers and runners and mountain bikers arent the list-makers.

Andrew Sullivan's getting dragged into this business for not having the precisely correct "take" inevitably prompts the thought that these developing #metoo rules - there must be no contact if there's a disparity in age and position; the seeking of permission at each step, the insistence on the explicit over the coded and mysterious; and finally, this expectation that there be not a moment's discomfort, ever - means feminists and gays may have gone as far as they can together.

Or maybe we're going to remake gay #too. Maybe we've taken a roundabout route to becoming that "Puritan" nation they've always been saying we are, without a shred of evidence.

When norms change this quickly, there's some incoherence at first. We'll eventually settle into a new, better equilibrium.

I'll trust you on that, but with the proviso that you not get your hopes up that the sign this equilibrium has been reached, will be women's reporting that they are happy.

Some women will be, and some won't, just like now.

I suspect that we'll reach an equilibrium closer to modern Japan, though perhaps not as far. Many men will opt out of the dating market in favor of video games, porn and sex bots. The cost to men of female companionship and sex has risen. Therefore, less men will buy.

It's a classic demand and supply curve.

I think Japan got into that situation for other reasons but yes, I do think this current feminist craze has many dangers that people are not considering...

@JWatts: Strangely, Tyler also believes in "the joys of monogamy and matrimony".

An interesting question here is how a select elite, which includes the cognitively privileged Tyler, manage to hold in their heads a belief that men would be well-advised to pursue monogamous relationships with women, while simultaneously having extreme creativity in speculatively reading criminality into almost any action men actually take in this regard.

Is that one of the ways wild animals are broken to be enslaved?

You wouldn't expect all women to be happy in the new equilibrium. You'd just expect the number of unhappy women to be the same as the number of unhappy men, and that the total number of unhappy people overall would lower.

What will be better about it?

"Feminism will become more sane as it acquires more power."

"In this, the best of all possible worlds." God, you are contemptible.

You're not so great yourself, buster.

4 was fascinating but I know very little about linguistics. Are their stated observations generally agreed upon (more speakers ==> larger vocabulary, simple syntax)?

It is surely that case the pidgin languages -- a nice example of increasing the number of speakers but having to create a new language in the process -- have simpler syntaxes than their parent languages. But I wonder about the resulting Creole languages, do they retain simple syntaxes?

#5. May be one should start promoting sexbots as the only option to "cruelty free sex", just like "Impossible foods" and "Memphis meats".

People like #5 would complain anyway, like:

"Sexbots" are a patriarchal way of "othering" women, negating them from the private space, and appropriating the genitive power of women through an idealised masculine lens; reducing sex to a mechanical, and hence controllable, function with male pleasure at the centre. By refusing to engage with the "shrieking harridans" men are actually revealing their insecurities; their passive withdrawal from dating constitutes a violence of absence upon women...."

I stand corrected :)

1. Rule #1.
Jeb Bush: "You can't insult your way to the presidency, Donald."
Donald Trump: "Si se puede, you low energy LOSER!"

How to show off your civilization at a distance.

This one is a great post, buy Wolfram. He knows, but doesn't mention the relationship connecting patterns and computational equivalence; the connection is the algebra of the aggregate. When nature makes a pattern, then it leaves a grid of symmetric points so one can 'hop' through the pattern systematically, back to where you start often. Like a ruler. The pattern yields a ratio function, or a short cut method for aggregate processes to stabilize.

He hints at a law of physics, but won't quite say it. If the fundamental law of aggregates is to make more complex algebras, then what is the limit? And, more importantly, when you reach the limit of the algebra, you lose causality and big bang, is the likely outcome.

One fact seems really hard to ignore: Male pleasure is literally built into the propagation of the species.

Well, female pleasure apparently is too -'Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.'

#5: The old implied social bargain between women and men (which Andrew Sullivan calls "natural") is that one side will endure a great deal of discomfort and pain for the other's pleasure and delight.

Really? Was this ever true? Outside of war zones or brothels, that is?

#1....You can certainly learn new languages. To understand why, read the following book about one of the most important discoveries in recent science..."The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science" by Norman Doidge.

Although sacred texts are an endless study, they have one helpful quality...a limited vocabulary. You will receive a major payoff after you have even a couple hundred words under your belt.

Best principles of living yet:

5. I think that was the longest and most boring thing I have looked at in my life.

The longest?

Suns were born and died while I tried to navigate the turgidity.

Oh wow Stephen Wolfram thinks his cellular automata are the solution to something. This has never happened before.

I often enjoy Megan McArdle's commentary and think she's pretty smart. But she misfires on two fronts with this list.
First - by age 45 you can't learn a new language? That's absurd. I learned French in my late 40s and had no difficulty, and I don't think I'm particularly an outlier there. These self-limiting beliefs about the decline of our abilities with age puzzle me. Why buy into it.

And #6 on her list is nuts. Save 25% of your income so you'll achieve financial security? Some people might value other things - like not living in a hovel, or sending their kids to college - more than they would value financial security. I would love to be financially secure. But it's a misfire for her to assign such a high value to security without qualification.

'by age 45 you can’t learn a new language?'

Well, maybe she cannot?

'like not living in a hovel, or sending their kids to college'

I'm still not motivated enough to check, but it seems as if she has no children. As anyone who has ever actually listened to a parent knows, children tend to be a much bigger topic of conversation than politics.

Megan's posts on retirement income seem to assume that we will all live to 105 and try to live like gods on a holiday.

They asked 15 Icelanders how creative they are, so they know.
And the Icelanders themselves disagree with their conclusion!

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