Tuesday assorted links


6: Extremely low-hanging fruit for taxation. Do it.

Tax what?

Thats how Mexico's gonna pay for the wall, silly!


So that is what we become: a country who hears Petersons, Žižeks and Afro-Futurists...

Is that so bad!? Many of the thinkers who I believe are wrong about many things also seem to be the ones who are right about some very important things. For me at least, that makes them rather interesting to read, even if there is much disagreement...

1. I think the important thing is to be so over this. Let all the simplifications cancel each other out.

#1 Fans of funny voices...start your engines lol!

#6 I find TransferWise to have the lowest fees. You need a bank account on either end and the transfer is not next day but usually several business days. It does not cover every country. Western Union is a lot more expensive but you don’t need a bank account at either end. They have ( often small) offices everywhere where you can walk in in person.

TransferWise also has very good exchange rates. Some example fees , I checked just now on my phone to send from the US. India : $200, fee $ 2.58 . Philippines $ 200, fee $5.26. Mexico $ 200 fee $2.93

I am also using Transferwise. But the way it works also means that transfers are only possible between countries with relatively balanced transfer volumes (say Germany-Canada as opposed to Canada-Ghana).

The Žižek piece was pretty unsatisfying. If he had previously called Peterson a alt-right figure and then decided to write a follow-up to explain himself, you would expect Žižek to connect those dots. Instead, his focus is on how Peterson is using the wrong label to describe his adversaries (not exactly a damning charge, even if it had been convincing). And then Žižek goes on to say a bunch of stuff about schisms on the left, stuff that sounds a lot like what Peterson often says with some mutatis-mutandis relabeling. So I didn't see any explanation about what made Peterson deserve this association with the alt-right, unless it's Žižek's weird way of saying that Peterson's alt-right and Žižek-style leftism are now brothers in arms, with a common goal and a common adversary.

Žižek stands in solidarity with Peterson on the podium. The cameras avoid Žižek.

Žižek grabs Peterson's hand in a strong handshake and lifts it high for the crowd. He says, "See this man? He's not that great. He's nothing, really, compared to me. See how hard it is for me to get my voice out there? No, I do not tweet."

Peterson replies politely, "Please step off the podium."

Exactly why I want to be over this. Cults and banner slogans.

1. I would assume that Cowen views the shift from economic Marxism to cultural Marxism as a great leap forward; after all, the economic Marxists wanted to redistribute wealth, whereas all the cultural Marxists want is to be noticed. I consider today's cultural Marxism as a manifestation of today's self-absorption, not unlike the selfies that take up all the space on smart phones. The self-absorbed are far more likely to be libertarian than the proletarian revolutionaries. Let the self-absorbed be self-absorbed, and be thankful for it. Just don't dis them.

Actually, Cultural Marxists want to redistribute Privilege (TM), and don't care how destructively it is done. For while their intellectual motivation is uplifting those who are oppressed, their emotional motivation is tearing down those they decide are oppressors. And at least there is some falsifiable definition of wealth, privilege is as unfalsifiable as patriarchy; merely questioning it in any one instance only proves its existence ever more!

The implication being that they are ultimately redistributing Privilege (TM) to themselves, by setting themselves up as the ruling Cultural Administration that serves as judge, jury, and executioner of civil society, with all the benefits, prestige, and influence that accrue as a result.

This is something late Marxist Paul Piccone began pointing out in the 80s: http://www.c2cjournal.ca/2009/06/where-marx-and-conservatives-meet-the-writings-of-paul-piccone/

There is no such things as "Cultural Marxism" The identity politics on the Left has no link to Marx, Communism or the Cold War. when the Right makes this error it fails to understand what it is dealing with. Time to let the old Cold War become history and deal with the present on its own terms.

I disagree that identity politics has no link to Marx. Marx didn't use race or gender, he used class. One of his main points was that the bourgeoisie can't help but make rules that reflect bourgeois values and benefit its members. Very much like critical studies, which argues that political and legal institutions in the US today are made by whites and inherently enforce white superiority and benefit whites at the expense of other races. Ditto for gender--made by men to benefit men. You don't even have to intentionally discriminate, you can't help but wield power to benefit those who are in your identity group.

Even proponents of critical theory acknowledge the link to Marx.

1. I assume this was a Straussian link description with the intended message being "Do not click on this."

Fans of funny voices...start your engines!!

1. I would enjoy such a debate.

4. Very good as usual, but overly pessimistic, I think. One thing that jumps out at me from the analysis is the slide in manufacturing jobs coinciding with China's WTO entry. I agree that there is a long-term trend around male LFPR, but there was a disruptive accelerant in the early 2000s that we didn't appreciate until years later. Great for China and humanity, but tough on manufacturing jobs here.

Let us be blunt: we sold our firstborn right for a mess of cheap underpants and trinkets.

1. Shows that you're a gay, nerd, cuck

don't forget snowflake!

you poor little racist loser - you do know, don't you, that if you live in the United States you can access psychiatric help for free? Call one of those hotlines that exist to help people like you - find a local one, and if you get a stupid person on the other end of the line, try again. Good luck, my poor little friend!

and you are welcome for the good advice! nobody should have to live the way you do. After you get better, say a prayer for those who pitied you when you were sick at heart and in your soul: even racists like you are forgiven when they repent

I agree re: China fx on lfpr, manufactures. I have also read that resilient US widget output hides drops in widget,s ex-computers

Re: benefits for humanity too early to tell IMO. Great power rivalry seems tough and dangerous, based on my reading of Cold War history

Well, we've had our unipolar moment since the Berlin War came down and history came to an end, and it's been an unmitigated fucking disaster for foreign policy. I for one welcome China to the stage of World Powers.

Berlin Wall.

Many said the same about Hitler's Germany standing to Bolshevism and Anglo-American interests.

4. It is a bit odd to think automation pushes some down into underemployment while not pushing others into retirement or "disability."


I don't find Žižek particularly compelling here. I think he isolates Peterson's critique of "cultural Marxism" and then mischaracterizes it as a "conspiracy theory" in which there is some invisible puppetmaster.

Suppose Peterson's critique of cultural Marxism is identifying a pervasive spirit, rather than a discrete agent, at work on society? I think that is closer to an honest representation of Peterson's position than to claim it is a conspiracy theory.

Secondly, criticism of cultural Marxism isn't necessarily a cornerstone of Peterson's thinking in the first place.

Finally, while I'm not too familiar with Žižek or his thinking, and find some of his attitudes off-putting, it seems to be the case that both he and Peterson broadly agree, except insofar as Žižek is unapologetically progressive and seems to needlessly cling to some dubious claims, like the idea that Women occupy an 'inferior' place in western society and that any differences between men and women could not be the consequence of free choice.

The cuckoldry of discussing a Žižek v. Peterson debate exposes the commentors here as gay, nerd, snowflake, cuckolds.


Interesting, I don't think there are many gay male cuckolds.

You’re all cuckold snowflakes trying to escape from black cock humiliation.

#4 is pointless. McCormick's reaper already took 98% of the jobs. We're only talking about the last 2% - unless you think after 2% of the labor force could feed the entire country that the rest of the workers would be able to find something useful to do. But 98%? It's just too big a hill to climb. To find jobs for all those people, you'd have to pay people to do trifling things like play act or sing music for money, basic tasks like making coffee or bringing food to the table, taking each other's pets for a walk, distributing a person's messages or pictures or videos to their friends, or getting people to different parts of the world for petty travel adventures. None of that is realistic. Surely Cyrus McCormick has already brought dystopia.

4. I almost stopped reading after the thought experiment with the $10 robot. How did the economy ever reach equilibrium at that price for a robot when it puts every single person who would buy one out of a job? I guess robot early adopters will really cash in before the deflationary economic death spiral hits. Using the robot thought experiment as a counter argument to the real bank teller data really weakens the author's point. Also, Horses are not consumers providing demand of goods and services in the human money economy, and (guess what) there are still a lot of horses. Weak. I did read further, I am still not convinced, but there seem to be some nicely put together observations and data sets here (to an economic layperson like me they look nice at least, though given the logical fallacies in the initial paragraphs I should probably be careful putting too much stock in them I guess). Rant for the day as I sit here getting my oil changed. Sorry to be a bit negative. I may still bookmark the blog, especially if any economic gurus can give me feedback the charts and datasets are right-ish.

All the best,

To be brutal about it, you could consider horses as really stupid people. They did consume hay, grain, and gear, with help. As long as they could work. Then they could not find work with the grocer or even the army, and now they are almost entirely charity cases.

As far as the "$10 robot" example, I've used it myself, but not being so brave I threw out prices like $45k. Would a $45k "worker" requiring maybe $2k maintenance per yer replace many jobs? I think yes, but for better and worse, that is a long ways off.

Yes, any serious argument about "technological unemployment" needs to directly confront the standard comparative advantage arguments about trade and explain why they don't apply. (Then again, some people make anti-trade arguments without mentioning comparative advantage.) One can think of robot owners as belonging to one country and humans that don't own robots as belonging to another. Even if the robots have an absolute advantage over humans in producing everything, why would that imply that robots would end up producing everything? If robots produce X and Y better than humans, but produce X even "more better" than they produce Y, then why would a robot owner use his robot to produce Y? He can produce X, trade some of that X with a human for Y, and have some X left over. That's the reason why *comparative* advantage, not *absolute* advantage, is what matters. A robot owner doesn't ask, "What is the better way to produce Y, a robot or a human?" He asks, "What should I use my robot for, producing X or Y?" The opportunity cost of producing Y is that the robot owner can't use that robot to produce X instead. Prices are not exogenously set, like slatestarcodex tries to do. Prices adjust to reflect opportunity costs so that, if robots have a comparative advantage in producing X, then the robot owner will find that the best way to obtain Y is to produce X and trade for Y.

The horse example is an interesting one as we need to ask why the comparative advantage argument doesn't apply. That's because horses are more like machines (capital) than humans. (Sorry, animal rights people.) Machines/horses/technologies become obsolete all the time. When they become obsolete at producing X, unlike humans, that doesn't mean that they will have a comparative advantage in producing Y. A potential horse (or machine) owner can decide whether to spend resources to obtain and maintain a horse or spend those same resources to obtain some other machine. That's a different type of opportunity cost decision. No one owns a human, not even the parents. I suppose if parents did own their children, i.e., they owned all of their childrens' future output, then some of them might decide to buy a robot instead of having kids. Even then, however, those non-existent kids would not be around to grow up to become unemployed. Because parents don't own their children's future output, they must have kids for some other reason, which robots can't fulfill. So, those parents will continue having kids, who will grow up to trade with robot owners.

BC, thanks for the additional background. Well said.

I think your horse as machine thing breaks down because of the obvious human parallels.

"Lumberjacks are really just machines."

"Accountants are really just machines."


Your first part only works if there is a strictly finite amount of robots. The point about the robot revolution however is that the robots can do anything, including building robots, so there is an in principle infinite supply for them. So, if robots can do X best, Y second best, Z third etc. then I first build robots to do X, then robots to do Y, then robots to do Z etc.

Meanwhile, humans will still have some stuff to do, but increasingly less. Until there are enough robots to do all the important things, at which point humans will be left with very little. I guess it depends on whether you think how limited the amount of work is. If you think that with a growing workforce(thanks to robots), the demand will rise accordingly, so the work that needs to be done will also rise, then there might always be something to do for people. But I fear that this might not happen infinitely. Especially because a growing workforce of robots has little demands on their own, unlike humans, so it's hard to predict based on our economic data.

Even worse, the argument that robots should be cheap doesn't work imo, because the alternative to getting a robot will always be hiring a human. At the start, literally everyone who employs a human will consider getting a robot. So if someone actually would sell those robots for 10$, they will be sold out immediately, and the new owners will be able to loan them to everyone else for slightly less than what a human doing the same job would cost. Since that would result in huge profits for the new owners, the original sellers will wise up very fast, and start selling the robots for an amount which reflects it's possible returns, which will be somewhere in the thousands. Considering that the highest paying jobs could be the ones that are replaced first (because they have the highest returns, obviously), this amount might easily be in the tens of thousands. Which isn't really possible to pay for most poor people today and certainly not once there are very few jobs left to do. The robots will get cheaper over time, but to exactly the same extent that people will only be able to work at worse and worse jobs.

So my worst vision for the future is that only upper class people will be able to afford even a single robot, while everyone else will be progressively less able to get one until they are just barely scrapping by and lastly literally starving because the robots will eventually be more efficient at almost any relevant task.

My second worst vision is that the rich will still be humans, so they will still value human attention, having power over humans, etc. so they will hire people as basically house slaves ('slaves' because those humans will have no other option except starving to death). They might not even treat them terribly, but also not too well, and possibly worst of all, even tell themselves how grateful they should be that they got 'saved from the street'. In history, this was all too often the case.

Also remember that usually the limiting factors of an economy are labor and ressources. Since labor will be near infinitely avaible with robots, that only leaves ressources. This should result in them inflating in cost very fast in the robot economy, so even buying land to live on once they're useless for the economy won't be affordable for the poor.

One positive possibility might be that in the end the robots won't actually be that cheap compared to humans. Robots might need precious metals that might become hard to get by etc. Which will result in your scenario. But it seems ironic to me that limiting the supply of basically free labor might end up being positive for the majority of people.

1. Zizek is right that PC has nothing to do with "cultural Marxism", whatever that is supposed to mean. Is it Marxist to say that there should be informal social norms which limit certain kinds of offensive behavior, in order to make society more inclusive? In what way is that Marxist? Last time I checked, Marxism was a theory about economics- it had little if anything to say about race or prejudice. This is not to say that Marxists might not try to hijack PC and equate capitalism to white male privilege, or whatever, but taking the opposite tactic, that all complaints about power inequalities or white privilege are equivalent to Marxism is equally bad. You can be concerned about racism and prejudice, and subtle forms of social inequality, and not be a Marxist. You can be in favor of capitalism, and not take attacks on "white privilege" as an attack on capitalism, because it's not. The segregated south was not a free market - they banned blacks from owning property. it's pretty hard to have a free market system when some people do not have the same legal right to do business as everyone else. And by extension, if there's a lot of informal prejudice against some group of people, the market is not going to produce equal results (obviously). You want to reduce social prejudice so that the market can function efficiently and fairly. You want the outcomes of the market to be based purely on merit and not based on formal or informal barriers to participation.

While that is good analysis, it is overthinking.

1. PC is wrong.

2. Things I don't like are PC.

3. Therefore things I like are correct!

This is the logic that got us an anti-PC imbecile as President of the United States.

> You can be in favor of capitalism, and not take attacks on “white privilege” as an attack on capitalism, because it’s not


Some academics have apparently applied Marx-like approach to social issues. It's not just about capitalism. To them, it seems, capitalism is just one more institution of oppression like the patriarchy or racism.

There seems to be some traces of that in social movements (complaints about the "cis white male" sounds a lot like complaints about the "bourgeois") so there's likely some influence.

I'm not an expert in any of this though but just trying to connect the dots from what I've been hearing. I could be entirely wrong. I'm also not claiming that PC is only Marxism, only that there seems to be some influence based on the ideas common between Marxism and social justice movement that is pushing PC.

Right, they're trying to unify all poor and oppressed people behind one unified banner against capitalism. But the ways in which those various groups are oppressed isn't intrinsically linked to capitalism per se. They just want to craft an argument that claims that the patriarchy/white privilege extends directly from capitalism ,so the only way to get rid of the patriarchy/white privilege is to get rid of capitalism. But it *doesn't* extend from capitalism. It's just their tortured logic trying to link everything back to the struggle against capitalism. For instance, the idea that science is intrinsically white and male - it's an effort to link social inequality to economic inequality. If the capitalist system unfairly rewards "white male" scientific endeavors, that has to be rectified with economic redistribution . I get it. The problem is that if you don't believe that science is somehow structurally white and male, then those rewards don't have to be unequally distributed - anyone can be a scientist. Anyone can do STEM. You don't have to be culturally colonized by "western logic" (among other ridiculous arguments), to benefit from the capitalist system. So the people arguing that non-white males can't do science (among other things) are actually helping the left's argument here. When someone argues that free markets, liberty, etc. are intrinsically white European, they're really supporting the argument of the Marxist left that capitalism is a system of white, male, European, cultural hegemony.

You’re assuming that if we get rid of oppression (however we define it), we’ll achieve total symmetrical equality between identity groups. There’ll still be rich and poor, but the Forbes 400 will contain exactly the same proportion of nonwhite, female, trans and disabled billionaires as their share of the population. There’ll still be geniuses and dullards, but the proportion of science Nobel Prizes won by Ashkenazi Jews will fall from 25% to 0.2%. And so on.

And if we don’t achieve that equal distribution, you’ll take the disparity alone as proof that oppression is the cause of the disparity.

The problem is, even the data for where we are now doesn’t fit well with a straightforward oppression narrative. Currently, America’s most prosperous ethnic group are upper caste Hindus, followed by Ashkenazi Jews and Taiwanese Americans; but Hindu Brahmin privilege isn’t a thing. Nigerian and Ghanaian Americans have a higher average income than non-Jewish Whites; but Nigerian privilege isn’t a thing.

Consider a country which has real institutional racism and is defiantly proud of it. Malaysia has Bumiputera laws which mandate racism against Indian and Chinese Malays. Quite literally, you can be fined for failing to be racist towards members of these groups. Yet in spite of all this overt institutional oppression, Chinese Malays are easily the country’s richest ethnic group.

No, actually, I expect that in a perfect market, rewards would *not* be statistically equally distributed across race and gender, or that employment in various fields would *not* be statistically equally distributed. However, I DO want to make sure that those unequal statistical distributions are NOT caused by structural power inequalities or prejudice or whatever you want to call it. Or at least minimize any reason anyone might have to claim that unequal outcomes are in any way due to such structural inequalities. And above all, I want individuals to be treated like individuals and not judged based on the statistical properties of people who happen to look similar.

But what if a perfect market in practice produces an even more statistically unequal race/gender distribution than at present? It’s perfectly possible that it might. The Australian government persuaded businesses and public services to adopt gender-blind recruitment procedures, where the employer cannot tell the gender of candidates, in order to boost female enrolment to senior positions. It was dropped when it was shown to increase the number of men selected.

This is the central problem of multiculturalism. There has never been a multicultural society where all groups are equally prosperous. And it may well be the case than the more perfect the market, the more there will tend to be market-dominant minorities like the Chinese in South East Asia, who tend to be massively more successful than other groups. In the abstract, according to the principle of equality of opportunity, that might be 100% fair. But it will tend to be politically very unstable.

"Cultural Marxism" doesn't have anything to do with economics. It's the equalization of cultures. They're pushing that genderqueer neuroatypical islamic mysticism should be on par with the cishet white secular capitalist patriarchy.

Well, when it comes to who is going to be socially accepted , why not? I don't see any reason why people should be nicer to white cishet males than to Queer autistic sufis.

In theoretical tabula rasa land, no property correlates with any other property. Clearly, we should be nice to everyone by default!

In real life, on the other hand...

What if the white cishet male is broke and homeless and the Queer autistic Sufi inherited a Fortune 500 company from dad?

I would argue that PC has a subset that is cultural marxist. My understanding is that, as economic marxism concerns the power structures stemming from different economic systems, cultural marxism concerns the power structures from cultural structures (mostly patriarchy, kyriarchy, and in the basest form, white cishet male oppression of everyone else).

It sounds like you include yourself in the PC crowd. But don't you see that your location within the PC density cloud, and the location of say, Amanda Marcotte, are quite different in both underlying philosophy and in practice?

This is not meant as an endorsement of those who deride every notion of decency as PC gone mad.

Gramsci is the link between the cultural ("cultural hegemony") and the economic. And it's worth noting that the left itself sees them as linked. It's not the right making it up.


Have you ever read Gramsci? A quick rundown is this: He urged the working class to create its own genuine culture rather than adopting the culture of the owning class, which he saw as responsible for creating false consciousness. This has nothing to do with the sexual revolution or today's identity politics, both of which are largely a product not of the working class but of the owning class, or at least the upper middle class. Marxists as a rule tend to be puritanical in public (in private some of them may enjoy their "joy girls"). To this day Cuba is not a good place to be gay. Poor Gramsci is probably spinning in his grave to be associated with the decadent American bourgeois Left.

I'd say that I think there is a role for PC (aka, social norms), in regulating bigotry out of mainstream society. I agree with the anti-PC crowd that the campus PC people frequently go too far, and often misapply it to suppressing reasonable speech they just happen not to like. But I really, really disagree with the alt-right types who argue that it should not only be legal for individuals to discriminate on the basis of race/sex/etc. but that it should be socially acceptable to do so. The legitimate role for PC is in making it NOT socially acceptable. There's this argument that being called a racist is just like censorship, and that people should be free to express racist views without suffering social or economic exclusion. Well, I think people should be MORE free to express melanin in their skin pigment without suffering social or economic exclusion.

"The legitimate role for PC is in making it NOT socially acceptable. There’s this argument that being called a racist is just like censorship, and that people should be free to express racist views without suffering social or economic exclusion. Well, I think people should be MORE free to express melanin in their skin pigment without suffering social or economic exclusion."

i.e. "Muh identity politics"

How the hell is it identity politics to advocate people being allowed to be black and NOT have to self segregate into black identity groups in order to be treated like equals?

Improving things for white-liberal-approved minority groups is the definition of identity politics.

Because you if you use state violence to FORCE racists to associate with ethnic minorities, then you are the one in the Moral Wrong, not the racists. Try to reason coherently from moral principles rather than backwards from your desired outcomes.

The hallmark of an moral intellect is to separate ethics from aesthetics and hortatives from imperatives and realise that there are Things Which are Moral which You Don't Like. And don't call yourself a libertarian until you get to that point

Above @ Hazel, obviously.

One thing I thought was obvious is that the left and the right simplify the positions of their (broadly speaking and often wrongly categorized) opponents.

If you are on the right and you see an objection to something you believe in, this is "PC gone mad."

If you are on the right and you see an objection to something you believe in, this is "tyranny of the establishment."

This should be utterly boring to anyone actually discussing an idea.

> " Last time I checked, Marxism was a theory about economics- it had little if anything to say about race or prejudice."

Back in 1922, white mineworkers in South Africa went on strike when the mining companies considered weakening the so-called "colour bar", which reserved certain types of jobs for white workers. The South African Communist Party played a central role in the strike, with slogans like "workers of the world unite, to keep South Africa white".

Good comment. Zizeks whole problem is that he's pissed off that people aren't spending more time attacking capitalism, and less time attacking white privilege.

Cultural marxism is an application of marxism model of class warfare into cultural subjects and social groups: instead of capitalists who dominates the workers it is the class of white men who dominate non-white men. It is a perversion of the liberal idea that individuals should be free to live the way they want to live (hence, allowing homosexuals, transsexuals, blacks and women to do stuff that conservative society historically does not allow) that has been appropriated by marxists and transformed into an instrument of class warfare, now morphed into "identity politics warfare".

While Zizec is right that there is no conspiracy to destroy Western civilization through cultural marxism he is wrong in dissociating marxist from identity politics: the core idea of identity politics is that one's "socially constructed identity" determines individual character and "privilege rank" in society, which is analogous to the marxist concept of social class.

Well if you can separate the identity as social construct concept from the socialism, what's wrong with the former?

That still has nothing to do with Marxism. Drop the Cold War rhetoric and see the present as it is. The current Social Justice Warriors don't give two figs for Marx and are no more linked to him that they are to the Illuminati or the Popish Plot. They are something unique to our day and must be understood as such.

You're thinking like a political philosopher and not a sociologist. I agree that looking for hints of Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack in Das Kapital will be fruitless. That's not the point. Today's identity-oriented SJWs are still rhetorically associated with Marx and have "warm" (rather than "cold") feelings toward him and his intellectual descendants relative to their political opponents (paleoconservatives, libertarians et al.). The modern-day Marxists at Jacobin Magazine are far more enamored of women's rights, black empowerment and yes "identity politics" and all the rest relative to conservatives (https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/08/identity-politics-gay-rights-neoliberalism-stonewall-feminism-race).

Stop comparing footnotes and just look around to see who's aligned with who. William Graham Sumner or Lysander Spooner would seem to have shit-all to do with what most of the modern classical liberals and libertarians are talking about, but they're still "owned" by that crowd.

The Frankfurt School (the original cultural Marxists) took Marxism completely away from proletarianism. They remade it as something profoundly snobbish and elitist - what Lukács referred to disdainfully as the Grand Hotel Abyss: “A beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered.”

The School was funded by German-Jewish billionaire Hermann Weil, who was then the world’s largest grain trader. So they had an incentive to move away from demanding the expropriation of grain traders to the serious work of complaining about how oppressive popular music and movies were.

I’ve read a lot of Adorno, and he was so haughty he basically had no time for anyone who didn’t enjoy Schoenberg’s serial music. I suspect he’d have preferred the company of a reactionary sophisticate like T.S. Eliot to that of a proletarian socialist son-of-a-coal-miner like Aneurin Bevan.

I think Hazel is right. Traditional marxism has not much to do with the PC ideology.

It is true that traditional marxism thinks that history has a direction and see certains aim as "progressive", and is ready to ally with (or to hijack) movements in favor of these aims, but without stopping criticizing these movements for their partial and inadequate objectives, and without losing sight of the final aim: the society without classes.

Thus Marxists in various times have supported the abolition of slavery, the equality between races, the right of votes (and other rights) for women, the independence rights of colonized people, etc. But this is a far cry from the point of view of "defending minorities" of modern SJWs. Traditional marxists, if they still existed, would see this as a Bourgeois conspiracy to divide and conquer the immense majority of proletarians (defined as people living from the income of their work).


Concerning the idea that Marxists consider certain things as "social constructs", while other do not, and that in that way they are similar to the identity left, I think that this idea is very overrated. Many people things many things are social construct (and to my opinion, often they are right). For marxists, mainly, the most important thing that they see as a social construct is "private property". They do not think that the owner has a "natural" relation to his owned thing, and a "natural right" to use it as he pleases, as would say for instance some classical liberal (such as Basquiat).
They would say that the only things that ties the owner to his property is social convention, eventually backed by the armed force of the state, and that this convention can be changed (and is indeed changed) at any time. Now this conception is shared by many people, for instance Milton Friedman doesn't say otherwise in "capitalism and freedom" -- simply he sees the socially constructed institution of private property has extremely beneficial for the freedom and happiness of humanity, while marxists see it as bad (or at least, having done its time and hampering the future progress of humanity).

Thus observing that the new left now sees "gender" or "knowledge" or many other things as social construct doesn't make them any more marxist than say someone like Milton Friedman.

Thus observing that the new left now sees “gender” or “knowledge” or many other things as social construct doesn’t make them any more marxist than say someone like Milton Friedman.

Would you agree with the following qualifiers:

(a) The correlation between the rise of the SJW's and the number of people who support very leftist - socialist though probably not all the way marxist - economics, is to a substantial degree causal.

(b) Even where their philosophies do not overlap, they have shared diplomatic interests much like modern states; for instance common enemies. This is relevant because politics is mostly determined by umbrella-coalitions of distinct interest groups; so the simplifying "left vs right" model is far from useless.

Yes, we'll it is to our benefit to separate the legitimate complaints about racial privilege from the "therefore we must abolish capitalism" conclusion.

I completely agree with (b).

For (a) I am not so sure I even see the (positive) correlation. The accelerating rise of the SJW crowd since the 70's until today seems to correspond to a decline of the idea that the structure of the economy should be completely changed and reorganized on a collectivist basis. That's what I see at least for the western world as a whole -- while writing this, I realize it must be less obvious from a purely American perspective, where communists ideas were never strong to begin with.

In any case, on my campus and others I heard about, I don't see much if any discussions about capitalism, the way the economy goes, and even economic inequalities and redistribution in the way an anti-marxist such as Piketty would discuss those subjects. It is almost like if speaking of economic inequality nowadays on campuses signals you as somewhat Trumpian. Instead, what make you a good leftist now is to profess that there are different and irreconcilable races, and that there is a precise hierarchy between them; that the best races must be advantaged in every possible way, while the other are "toxic" by their sole existence, and should be humiliated and punished. If Hazel wants to call this "legitimate complaints", I want to believe she doesn't have the same experience as I have.

Instead, what make you a good leftist now is to profess that there are different and irreconcilable races, and that there is a precise hierarchy between them;

It wasn't THAT long ago I was on a university campus, and I don't recall anyone making this argument. The people arguing for different and irreconcilable races are mostly on the alt-right right now.

Also, if you stop being emotionally attached to your whiteness, you might stop feeling humiliated and punished when people complain about white privilege. It's the concept of allegiance to other people just on the basis that they have the same gender or skin color that is at the core of identity politics.

Well, I am currently on campus, and everyday I open my ears or read emails from the administration or go to some administrative meeting I an required to attend (that is, fortunately, not every day), I hear the words "toxic whiteness", "toxic males", proposals to skip certain academic body of their right to vote in senate decision because they are "predominantly white", ideas that certain academic can only be understood and taught by persons of certain races. Falsification (mixed with a healthy dose of ignorance, to be fair) of history is also widespread, always in the sense of disparaging the Western culture.

FYI, I am not white, rather brown. Somewhere in the middle of the hierarchy.

Yeah, ok, I hate those people too.
This doesn't negate the argument that there are actual effects of prejudice remaining in society that ought to be addressed. i.e. in criminal justice and police behavior towards African Americans.

I was thinking of articles like this one:


And some (admittedly anecdotal) facts like Corbyin being to the left of Blair etc.

Though probably I see your point since (i) Socialism is not quite marxism and as you say even Piketty is anti-Marxist; (ii) There is no good way to compare the first link's revelations with what must have been the case several years ago; (iii) Blair's was a temporary Reagan-Clintonomics bump.

While we are on this topic, I am curious to know if you share the following impression about theoretical researchers. I am inclined to believe that among theoretical researchers such as mathematicians, the number of those with communist sympathies used to be pretty high but has declined: do you know about this? It seems to me that there is currently a lot of what Timur Kuran calls "preference falsification" among these people: they believe that academics have to be leftists, so they amplify leftist ideas a lot while talking to each other - exaggerate their own leftist views and keep relatively quiet about their non-leftist ones.

@Hazel - I doubt that most of the protests regarding the "white privilege" discussion have anything to do with "emotional attachment to whiteness" (this may be true of a lot of the alt-right, but they don't form a majority of those who protest the "white privilege" narrative).

It has rather to do with guilt-tripping, shaming and pigeon-holing. Seriously, do you consider it acceptable that there are loud proclamations of "Do not stereotype any group of people" together with a completely contradictory acceptance and even official taxpayer-funded promotion of narratives involving "toxic whiteness" and "toxic masculinity" - does this look to you like genuine concern for justice, or a mix of a bit of that with a lot of psychological warfare?

You yourself started talking about *privileges* and then quietly shifted to "*prejudices* facing African Americans"; if the issue is one of prejudice, why use a word like "privilege" which conveys an impression of undeserving access and has a guilt-tripping-function? And, if the privilege narratives had any sincerity, why do we not hear from them of how midwestern whites or those from various other poor white communities are not as privileged as jewish/east coast liberal whites who send their kids to expensive private schools?

So here is the problem: far from a genuine concern for justice, it looks like a coalition of lobbying agents for specific interest groups that resort to tactics of psychological warfare.

FYI, I too am brown, though probably a different kind of brown from Professor Joel's. And I admit that much of my sympathy to the protests against shaming white males comes by analogy with my own feelings regarding shamed for being male: Tyler shames males pretty frequently in these articles.

Hazel's probably right that they don't have much intellectual pedigree in common. The SJW's are at best lumpen Marxists.

That said, Marxism attracts authoritarian personalities like sh*t attracts flies. So I'm not surprised to find the hoary old corpse of socialism wheeled out by SJWs when it is useful for them.

How dare you insult the gay, nerd, beta-cuck snowflakes who populate this blog's comment section!

re #4 - consider two different lines of thought.

A. Unemployment, underemployment, and the like, are about mismatches in complementing entities. Or a person's skills abilities and motivations are no longer good complements for what the political economy demands. But growth from automation is about one part of a complementary set becoming cheaper, which raises the value of the other side. So if robot welders become cheap, then people who can make robot welders productive become more valuable.

B. The poor, in dispair, disabled, may well be caught in misadjustment traps - such as being unable to earn a decent wage as a nurse because of a miscoupling of educational costs. But there may well be other things going on. Things related to concentration in cities, the effects of the web on social interactions, and like things that can make being "a non successful participant" worse, while making them more visible to everybody else. In other words, it's not about employment so much as about all of the other social constructions that go with employment. Changes in the boundaries of the Church, the neighborhood, the Firm...

Side note - the (well repeated) note that employed people are much more likely to report themselves in great health, and the split in risk pools between those with wage jobs and those on Obamacare, help to explain why Obamacare by itself is largely doomed. You'd have to combine the risk pools to make it work.

Or a person’s skills abilities and motivations are no longer good complements for what the political economy demands

In the friction-free economist dream world, there is apparently no such thing as the up-or-our labor market. After all, if someone has skills and motivation, then the economy should be able to use them.

But up-or-our labor market exists and is increasing (to the applause of some SV management gurus). Notably in management consulting, tech, law, and academia, but in a lot of other sectors also.

Being concentrated in an urban area is not itself a cause for poverty: After all, cities are where the bulk of the jobs are at. Not to mention rural poverty is very much a reality too.

#5. Ryan Coogler says slavery was a product of colonialism. It wasn't. I'm sure this crowd is familiar with the plain truth red pill version. Europeans enslaved other Europeans, Greek and Roman civilizations widely practiced slavery. Native Americans practiced human slavery extensively before 1492 and contact with Europeans. Africans extensively practiced slavery before widespread contact with Europeans and after the days of colonialism. Also, the Arabs, the Chinese + Japanese, every culture of humans practiced slavery. Today's political progressive have a vested political interest in painting whites as villains and blacks as victims and twist the slavery story to suit their political interests. And it's the left-wing political version of the story that Ryan Coogler is innately familiar with.

I think it is fair to say the particulars of slavery during colonialism were definitely a product of colonialism. Slavery is, as you pointed out, fairly universal, but colonialism fostered an intercontinental slave trade in the way it fostered intercontinental trade of goods.

Not sure about that. There was intercontinental trade in goods and people before the colonial era. The Radhanites took slaves from Poland and sold them in China. The Arab slave trade transported African slaves across the Indian Ocean from Zanzibar to Yemen.

The Christian Church early on took a dim view of Christians enslaving other Christians, which is why enslavement of Europeans (when done by other Europeans) was limited to instances of convicted petty criminals and the like (we can probably add debtors sentenced to indenture for a limited term). Christians were allowed to enslave "heathens", with the understanding they should seek their conversion and eventually free them, though the latter was eventually forgotten in New World slavery.

Already in the 4th century Gregory of Nyssa declared all forms of enslavement (including of non-Christians) to be absolutely against God’s will.

#2 was excellent. Charles seemed very level headed, as makes sense for someone of his level of success.

#4 he does end on a high note: “The prospect of educational, social, or political intervention remains murky.” one can only hope.

#5 hahaha

#6 no talk about regulation? Amazing. I kid, it is our media I don’t find it at all amazing.

1. It's nice to see commenters state their interpretation of JP instead of writing a useless variant of "his critics don't understand him."

#6 being poor is expensive.

SWIFT transfers can be as low as 20 USD, fixed cost no matter the amount. The problem is migrants sending money weekly. It will always be a low amount.

The communist hellhole of the EU got rid of all this with SEPA. A worker can get the salary in a bank account in the country of origin. Zero fees if the account is in EUR.

Both Zizek and Peterson are correct in their own way.

Zizek sees that modern identity-politics feminism is more concerned with elite females (POCs, LGBTs etc) achieving executive parity with elite males; rather than with, say, rectifying gender disparity among sewage workers or garbage collectors. The logic seems to be that, as long as it’s a female POTUS ordering drone strikes against third world villagers, or a female CEO of Goldman Sachs crushing the poor, everything will be just fine.

For an old-Marxist like Zizek, class is still the main social division. Capitalism can happily accommodate new preferred pronouns, CEOs self-identifying as otherkin etc, as long as private property and the limited liability corporation are protected.

One bizarre effect of this supposedly progressive ideology is it’s now completely okay for elite academics, journalists and commentators to advocate for a metropolitan class war against the provincial working class, just as long as it’s phrased in terms of the hicks’ alleged racism, homophobia, love of guns etc. It’s the old aristocratic joke about the peasants are revolting, now invoked as a serious policy proposal.

Peterson sees that this identity politics ideology is deeply authoritarian. Whether he’s correct about its origin in the Frankfurt School or Derrida’s deconstructionism may not matter. Long before Marx, the Münster rebellion, the Cromwellian commonwealth and the French revolutionary terror showed us how ideological purity spirals can lead to hell.

Personally I’d love to hear Peterson debate an old-Marxist Catholic thinker like Terry Eagleton.

"One bizarre effect of this supposedly progressive ideology is it’s now completely okay for elite academics, journalists and commentators to advocate for a metropolitan class war against the provincial working class, just as long as it’s phrased in terms of the hicks’ alleged racism, homophobia, love of guns etc. It’s the old aristocratic joke about the peasants are revolting, now invoked as a serious policy proposal."


So your position is that the capitalist system needs to be overthrown on behalf of the oppressed white rural working class proletariat?
Is this one of those things where the right wing gets so far right that it starts looking like the left?
Because that's pretty consistent with Trump's anti-free-trade, and spend money on infrastructure projects. Any day now, we're going to start seeing posters of burly men wielding hammers all over the place.

What a fantasy. Hillbilly Elegy got its play. The left wing media spilled endless column inches trying for sympathetic attachment to the radical right. What did they get back?

That it is "class war" not to accept every demand of the radical right.

What are their actual demands, anyway?
It appears to be:
1. No more immigration, especially by Hispanics.
2. Down with free trade.
3. Stop complaining about racism and sexism.

The first two are items on which the left has actually been fairly supportive, and the general bitching about the culture wars is not something that anyone can do anything about policy wise.
What are you going to do, force Hollywood to make more movies in which white men save the world ?
I know the sad puppies hate it when someone writes a science fiction book in which the protagonist is someone other than a white man, but it's not exactly possible to force people to cast white males in the lead of all the movies.

This week the demand is that minority views on gun control override the majority.

I know the sad puppies hate it when someone writes a science fiction book in which the protagonist is someone other than a white man

Just curious how you reconcile this "knowledge" of yours with the fact that most of the sad puppies are women and some of them write for example, minority homosexuals as the main characters of their novels?

You appear to have a very distorted view of the sad puppies movement's point, so just curious how you arrived at it. Do you not read very widely? Or only from left-wing sources?



This is a profoundly anti-democratic movement embracing victimhood as self-justification.

Be careful about implying the working class is largely rural. Most working class people also live in cities or suburbs.


The SJW's are pure authoritarians in a purity signalling contest. A generation ago they would be Red Guards. Only the names of the ideologies change; the naked drive for power does not

Zizek offers better drinking game than Peterson, and so on and so on.

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