Tuesday assorted links


Build the wall. MAGA

We got the"circuses" part down.

White males. Terrified of brown children.

Terrified of brown families escaping poverty and crime.

USA showing it’s true colors.


We don't hordes of illiterate unskilled people crowding our country. We don't want to pay for the education of their numerous underperforming children. We don't want then competing for jobs with our less educated or lower IQ citizens. We don't want them on our welfare roles, crowding our cities, or forcing us to pay for section 8 housing.

Color has nothing to do with it, but race sure seems to work as a cudgel for the whacky racist left.

So they commit fewer crimes and have better graduation rates than your white trash natives.

Apparently it’s hordes of people who want to better their lives.

But since they commit fewer crimes I guess it comes down to...the color...of their skin.

Oh and they speak Spanish. Which should become the national language. There’s no logical reason that we speak English anymore. Time to transition: teach every child Spanish.

"We don't want then competing for jobs ... don't want them on our welfare roles"
This is proof that immigrants are being scapegoated. They take jobs and go on welfare at the same time!
You call your opponents racist yet a name like "WhiteManBrownWife" is 50% about race and 100% unnecessary to bring up.

You do understand that any number of illegal immigrants greater than two could in fact take our jobs AND be on welfare. You do understand the math don't you???

If you believe that illegal immigrants do not commit more crimes then you are drinking the koolaid. That was a fake study to prop up the alt-left open borders crowd. One fact is absolute and undeniable; EVERY illegal alien is a criminal the second they cross the border illegally.

They're not entitled to any brown privilege and need to wait in line like everyone else around the world, many of whom face similar situations.

10 foot walls. 11 foot ladders. MAGA maggots lack brains.

I like how Trump keeps downgrading his wall from a barrier to all the way down now to a fence. Soon he'll end up with a wall made out of LEGOs, if that. That's Art of the Deal TM for you.

5. I liked that one too. Other variations would be "slow trips" down the Mississippi, or the California coast.

Or any of the fractal sets or cellular automatia .. a slow Conway's Life. Or a slow game in demo mode.

That just reminded me. Travel by bicycle is enormously underrated.

There is an enormous difference between city-airport-city-train-city and the flowing dynamic world you experience on a bike.

The Dutch have an unparalleled network bicycle infrastructure. A bike tour through Holland, even only a few days, and for 3-4 hours in the saddle per day, is accessible to practically anyone.

Oh and you can get high while doing it.

6. Unadulterated bovine excrement from both The New Yorker and The New York Times.

Cannabis was CRIMINALIZED in the latter 1930s as a sop to the failed constituencies of alcohol Prohibition: the moral puritans of the day just had to be appeased.

Cannabis has NO BUSINESS appearing on the DEA's dread and punitive Schedule I class of controlled substances, since the drug has been admitting therapeutic applications for some time now. (Ditto for LSD, a chemical also plainly admitting therapeutic applications, hence ineligible for classification as a Federally-controlled Schedule I substance.)

Complete legalization of both cannabis and LSC should have been accomplished decades ago.

Agreed! It all started with Reefer Madness. Although conservatives may disagree with the legalization/ decriminalization but that’s because they haven’t smoked a decent blunt.

I have never smoked a joint in my life, and I am fairly conservative. I still agree that recreational drugs should be legal. It's no business of the government what I put into my body; that's my choice. And everyone else has that same right.

Believe or no, I am amply conservative myself, but I have no more moral scruples about cannabis cultivation than my immediate ancestors had about growing tobacco profitably.

As to LSD's status, one informed perspective:


My 81yo dad is a staunch conservative, and has always believed that drugs should be legalized.

Critical to conservatism is not wasting money, and he saw the War on Drugs as a huge waste of money.


It's really depressing, from a certain perspective, that so few people have tried psychedelics or other entheogens.

The conversation could (and should) be about the harms of the Drug Scheduling act in restricting the exploration of good and useful drugs.

The conversation could also be about the fruitless limitation of people's exploration of consciousness through drugs, exuding those which are (in this moment) culturally acceptable.

It also struck me as odd that there's a debate about nicotine -- cigarettes are very bad. Nicotine? Nicotine isn't much better or worse than Caffeine. Nicotine is surprisingly benign.

I appreciate the pearl clutching on the behalf of drug users. Some of it comes from a place of love. I wouldn't want to give myself schizophrenia. I would love to see research done, those questions answered, so I can make better decisions.

But before that can happen we need to dismantle the unethical legal framework and the stigma towards the use of mind altering drugs.

Delete the FDA.

And yet when calling BS you see fit to repeat untruths yourself.

Cannabis was made illegal long before Prohibition in most of the US. New Jersey, for instance, criminalized recreational cannabis no later than 1886. Kentucky took steps to limit cannabis sales in 1872. In 1914, five years before the Volestead Act, medical experts debated adding cannabis right next to opium in the Harrison Narcotics Act (i.e. exactly the way Jersey did almost 30 years prior). Further there is the whole question of how cannabis was made illegal throughout the world on the strength of American political vicissitudes; somehow Prohibition's "failure" in the US in the 30s resulted in Mexico making Cannabis illegal in 1920.

Schedule I, sure that is stupidity. But so is skipping all the way down to Schedule V or below. Marijuana easily has high "mental addiction" potential and abuse is well known (e.g. people whose marijuana use causes memory impairment and social dysfunction sufficient to disrupt relationships, employment, and meeting daily living requirements).

The truth is, marijuana is misused and causes ill effects. Legalization in various states has not lead to reductions in property or violent crimes. It has lead to increases in intoxicated driving and arguably increased crimes. Moving slowly and, actually observing changes, would be most warranted.

Unfortunately, the wealthy and educated are so hell bent on not being discomforted while indulging they will willingly or ignorantly repeat any lie that might make legalization happen sooner. The truth and the dead be damned.

Yet other facts meriting citation (source: Understanding Marijuana/Mitch Earleywine [OUP: 2002], p. 14f.):

The 1868 U. S. Dispensatory listed pages of medical uses for tincture of cannabis, an extract often formed by soaking marijuana in alcohol.

In the early 1900s, the Squibb Company offered a cannabis and morphine combination called Chlorodyne for stomach problems.
Labels from medical marijuana products of the period claimed antispasmodic, sedating, analgesic, and hypnotic effects. By the 1930s both Eli Lilly and Parke-Davis marketed such products. Nevertheless, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which required a special fee for the transport of marijuana, decreased medical use.

The U. S. Pharmacopoeia, which originally listed cannabis in 1850 as a cure for many ailments, removed the drug by 1941.

Ahh so we should treat it like Strychnine, for which similar claims were made?

Marijuana legalizationd desperately needs a rational cost benefit analysis with real research. Instead we, invariably, get a bunch of word salad about how there was a mythical era when it was widely used without fear. Rather than actually study the medicine and history we get endlessly reported talking points.

I do not have time to check all the sources these articles reference, but from what I see on the ground treating people ... their claims are completely consistent with my own experiences. Roughly, most marijuana (at least 9 in 10) users are fine in the short term (though I suspect the average marijuana user is increasing their lung cancer risk a lot), 1 in 10 have problems, and 1 in 100 are way off the deep end. Unfortunately that 1 will drive the vast majority of society's costs from marijuana.

The key thing is to point out it is possible that the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of DMH-THC-qq_oic acid can depend on the ability to inhibit Cox-2 rather than on its ability to interact with cannabinoid receptors. Medicinal/Clinical/Biological What do we hear about? Social. So for half a century people smoked Marijuana without knowledge of what CB1 and CB2 are?

4. Maybe it's a new generation, or the influence of 4Chan. Or maybe it's a conspiracy orchestrated by a media intent of "proving" that tech culture is hostile towards women (not my experience). But the nerds of my day weren't mysogynistic - they couldn't afford to be, the few girls dorky enough to want to play D&D were their only opportunities to get laid. The tech nerds I knew back in the 90s were if anything more socially tolerant. A disproportionate percentage were closeted gays or bisexual, or transvestites in private. Or autistic. Or just wierd in other dimensions. That's what makes people nerds - they are social outcasts because their wierd in some way that makes them not fit in. And all the nerds would get together in a motley group of misfits because those were the friends they could get. And that included the wierd girls who liked playing video games and were good at math.
And honestly, still working in a tech field, I still don't see significant amounts of mysogyny. So I'm inclined to think that the answer is more that this is a perception created by the media, who assume that "few women in field" = "hostile climate towards women". And that the incels and such don't actually have jobs but are still living in their moms basements and hence are not representative of real nerds.

My experience also. I was an athlete but a scholar too, and sometimes I preferred the company of nerds because they were more interesting (and even likeable) than my jock friends, who, it should be added, were more likely to be misogynistic.

“So I'm inclined to think that the answer is more that this is a perception created by the media”: should be corrected to: ...” created by a percentage of militant feminists who rarely get pushback.

I don't think it's created by militant feminists. it's possible that the sort of women who become feminists largely don't hang out with nerds and thus don't know what they are talking about and assume that the absence of women in tech must be caused by social intolerance and misogyny when it is not.

I’ve consulted some of the major tech companies, and I always give them this offhand out of scope advice:

Keep enough women as a bulwark against lawsuits
Fire any nerd that expresses an opinion that could be an exhibit
One of the benefit of talented women is that they destroy a certain type of male engineer’s esteem, this is important to keeping salaries low
Male engineers who see a woman destroying them in productivity rate themselves less highly
You can use this innate sexism among male software engineers to lower their compensation value in negotiations

The major tech companies pay some of the highest salaries out there. I imagine this advice would work better for small/medium size companies that can't compete on paying top dollar.

Or on major ones who want to reinvest more of their profits or distribute higher dividends.

That's not what's going on there. FANG want to be seen as paying top dollar to sccop up top talent, it's a big part of their recruitment Policy.

i before e ... except after c, or in the word weird

Proper spelling is for people who type, and think, slowly.

Yes of course. I'm not completely tone deaf myself, but I've spent a lot of my life in the nerd milieu. Ladies, if you're looking for alpha shitlords, this ain't it chief.

Robin Hanson (mentioned in the article) is so brilliant and endearingly autistic/tone-deaf that I don't see how he isn't utterly consumed if he doesn't get the hell off Twitter.

This is a fairly revealing comic, if poorly produced, that captures in large part what occurs to highly cooperative groups.


What I think has happened, in addition to the media bending perception, has been repeated invasion of "nerd" spaces by "non-original" members. I think one of the reasons for this has been the tremendous money and revenue generated by traditional nerd hobbies.

There have always been nerdy women in traditional "nerd" circles, though. So I think the comic really gets the sequence of events incorrect.

True, but every single group I've ever seen have them (the ones that aren't attached to someone else in the group) in very small quantities or nerd girls tend to group with other nerd girls.

The comic could also be changed to represent nerd girl spaces, who I've also seen get broken up by men entering the group if they pair off with one of the members.

Perhaps this is just a natural results of modern American life becoming less co-ed, in all aspects. The feminists feel their spaces are getting invaded and the nerds feel they are too...they represent extremist poles on the distribution curve.

Yeah, nerd girls do tend to be kind of rare. Likewise guys in girl spaces, which might be kind of unfair to the men that enjoy knitting. (I have noticed that girls tend to be allowed to do "boy" stuff to a greater extent then boys get to do "girl" stuff , though that's not caused by feminists but by general homophobia. It's unfair that my sons boy cloths are all grey and brown instead of bright "fun" colors).

Smart old guys take cooking classes, join knitting and garden clubs, and take French classes cause that's where the chicks are.

Exactly. It's like my older single sister, who complains she doesn't know how to meet guys and then says "i can't join the astronomy club, it's all men!"

Just natural outcomes of women vs men. Men more systematizing, sensitive to competitive relationships (individual and group); women more empathisizing, sensitive to kin relationships (including "fictive kinship").

Relatively (not absolutely or in every instance):

Girls get all up on building "geek scene" relationships over shared bonding about the Top 10 Most Emotional Dr Who moments or whatever, while the boys furrow their brows over how The Point (for "True Nerds") is really about being The Best at memorizing the total layout of the USS Enterprise or the entire WH40K canon or somesuch (at which point girls roll their eyes in boredom).

People then clump according to preference.

Nowadays chicks can shred on the guitar but dudes want to ask them about gear.

"Hey, what pedal you using on that song?"

Chicks don't do that.

It's about toys.

I work in geology, which is apparently supposed to be a male-dominated field. I'd say between 50 and 60% of my colleagues are female. I won't say I've seen no mysogeny, but it's certainly limited and there's a culture of intolerance for such behavior everywhere I've worked.

The thing is, no one I know cares if you're male or female, black or white, straight or homosexual; they care whether you can handle field work, whether you keep your notes up to date, whether you decon properly. There are objective measures of efficacy. And as nerds, we embrace those to the exclusion of most other factors, including cultural conditioning and often common sense!

Yes. One of the fringe benefits of being on the autism spectrum is that the lack of ability to absorb and understand cultural norms also implies the failure to ingest gender stereotypes. A male nerd will simply not notice that there is anything weird about a woman that wears men's shoes and cuts her hair short any more than he will notice that wearing the same pair of pants three days in a row is strange.

What's wrong with wearing the same pants three days in a row if they aren't dirty?

You have change your underwear and socks and shower everyday.

Do normal guys wear 7pairs of pants per week? That's a lot of water, energy, and carbon.

You have to keep your carbon footprint small because Paris.

So nerds are autistic and gendered clothing is immutable. Interesting. Not logical, historically literate, or even sane, but interesting.

I'm going to chalk this up to "troll" and move on.

I don't think things have changed that much. Most geek hangouts are still populated by "please like me" slightly desperate males who can't afford to be less than gushing towards women.

But there is a change - you didn't grow up in the era of pop feminism! Which has radicalised some male nerds a fair bit.

Back in the good ol' days, nerds might not have got any attention from girls, and sort of been stepped on by tough guys. Oh sure. But they didn't live around feminist claims that :

a) if they make anything of themselves in tech, they're "tech bros" who should be somehow censured and made to give up their jobs

b) "nice guys" with a lack of assertiveness and classical masculinity who get put in the "friendzone" are actually always deeply lacking and entitled, creepy stalkers who unworthy of love. that if you don't have a relationship as a man, there's actually something deeply wrong with you, rather than because perhaps women are a bit shallow and nasty themselves.

c) if there's anything wrong with how society treats men, women are never responsible; only "toxic masculinity" created by "the patriarchy" is.

It's one thing to get shat on or ignored by cute girls and hot guys daily, and then have everyone feel a bit guilty about the whole thing and sort of sympathize with you, support your successes, and claim that really society ought to be better than it is.

It's quite another thing to be shat on daily, and then be told that this is perfectly legitimate because you're a male abuser and oppressor whose successes are from privilege and theft from women, and who still enjoys a far better quality of life than in a fair world they ought to.

No idea why some cute girl hasn't snapped you up yet. Self-pity is hot.

I can't say I've ever experienced the apparently rampant sexism in nerd culture, and I agree - for most of my memory nerds couldn't afford to be mean to women, and mostly didn't have the intent either.

I think the more relevant part is the attitude of the left towards nerds intolerance for sacred cows. And I broadly agree with the claim. The left in the 70s had few sacred cows and was happy pitching hand grenades from the sidelines, and disruptive original debate helps that out. But I agree, that's not so popular when so many cultural institutions have internalised left positions, and they have their own settled cultural and political allegiances and lobbies. Random thoughts from people like Robin Hanson are now unwelcome disruptions to stable alliances and political supporters.

(As if to prove this out - the annual leftish 'Festival of Dangerous Ideas' in Sydney has never contained any dangerous ideas in the first place. When they got close once or twice the venue had to be changed, protests were organised, and board members accused of connections with unpopular government policies. The event has been moved to a lower profile venue and replaced with a less controversial event that focuses more clearly on progressive activism.)

My gut tells me this is where the apparent nerd misogyny/ alt right keyboard warrior claim comes from: a way to deal with a political opponent that's now causing problems.

I think the issue is more that nerds by definition have difficulty understanding social norms, and the norms have changed. The norms used to be "women are supposed to wear dresses", but now they are "don't say that women/black people are mentally inferior". Though I kind of think that the latter is generally a good norm to have. It's probably a bad idea for society to be having public debates about which ethnic/racial/sex groupings are mentally superior/inferior.

Science has long established that women are biologically problematic in carrying traits that make them unsuitable for higher mathematics and computer science.

#4. What a waste of space. Something has changed since 2010; who knew? Is it a good thing that TC's tolerance for vitriol is so high? Hmm, I wonder how often he links to Mein Kampf (and The Bell Curve, for that matter)?...
#6. Can someone explain why/how "decriminalization" (of anything) is a morally justifiable position?

Decriminalization leads to fewer dead people.

For instance, in Germany prostitution is fully legalized. In Sweden it is legal to sell sexual services, but not to buy them or broker them. Every year a few dozen German prostitutes, often trafficking victims, are killed by their "customers" or "employers"; every year virtually no prostitutes die under similar circumstances in Sweden.

So why does legalization fail? Largely because you have a needle in a haystack problem. There will always be some bad actors in the vice sector and legalization makes it harder to prove that they have violated a law and be shut down (e.g. human traffickers in Germany often claim that they merely "rent rooms" and the girls in the rooms are lying about coercion). In Sweden, the cops can easily fall back on the "this is still illegal" and go after bad apples without having to bring down the full freight of law.

So aside from keeping people alive what else is there? Well another thing is that decriminalization appears to make the vice behavior less normative. This makes it much easier to stop it from causing problems.

For instance, marijuana is illegal everywhere in the US, great we can just test folks and any repeatedly detectable amount is sufficient to deny you employment operating heavy machinery, as a surgeon, or other places where intoxication is highly problematic. In contrast, such zero tolerance policies are impossible for legalized products (e.g. alcohol). So every year we have far more cases where we should have a professional license pulled or be jailing someone based on what they actually did ... but by the time we collect evidence we cannot prove they were intoxicated at the time thanks to variation in metabolism.

For vices which are not safe for everyone at all times there is an inherent trade off between enforcement costs and negative consequences of unsafe use. It really is not surprising that some things occupy an area where the optimal trade off is neither no enforcement or high priority enforcement. Decriminalization makes it easy to enforce against the vice when it is coupled with problematic behavior that is too costly to enforce on its own without paying the full cost of straight criminalization.

Now sure, you can go full Libertarian and say that liberty or some such is worth more than people's lives. But for most systems of morality the fact that a tradeoff exists is not that perplexing.

Your argument assumes that police and prosecutors will only go after the bad guys and leave the good guys alone. I find that assumption problematical.

Seems to be what happened in Sweden. In general, decriminalization is better at limiting BS prosecutions than full prohibition but still retains the ability to begin investigations and the like without having to prove he-said, they-saids.

In general, one-sided decriminalization works pretty well for protecting the "good guys" and harming the "bad guys". In Sweden the people who generally bore the brunt of prostitution were the sellers, so they get decriminalized. In drug markets the marks who typically get preyed upon are the users.

I suspect that for a lot of analyses the sweet spot for marijuana will be to decriminalize use and minor possession while still having good statutes on the books against trafficking. Like with Sweden and prostitution, we can expect the dealers to be much more constrained than the users.

But maybe you prefer having more people die.

"For instance, in Germany prostitution is fully legalized. In Sweden it is legal to sell sexual services, but not to buy them or broker them. Every year a few dozen German prostitutes, often trafficking victims, are killed by their "customers" or "employers"; every year virtually no prostitutes die under similar circumstances in Sweden."

This isn't what decriminalization is about. Sweden has its laws set up that way because the government that passed it followed a feminist philosophy in regards to sex workers: arresting or fining prostitutes harms women, who are often desperate or trafficked, while men who pay for sex or arrange the prostituting services are exploiting desperate women, so punishment is appropriate.

Decriminalization of marijuana doesn't mean that it will be legal to sell weed, but illegal to purchase it. Rather, the sale and purchase of it will be highly regulated and restricted, like gambling in many U.S. states.

No, highly regulated and restrict sale is the exact pitch made for legalization. It is exactly what Canada did when it legalized weed not too long ago. It is also how a number of states run alcohol (e.g. state monopoly on spirits distribution) which nobody says in decriminalized.

Decriminalization is where you allow an offense to escape prosecution while not granting it the cover of legality; exactly what Sweden did even if not for the reasons that ended up proving out.

4. The obsession on the right with the far left continues. I certainly understand the political advantage to the right of highlighting the views of the far left (Cowen points this out in his post today at Bloomberg), but wouldn't it make more sense as a matter of policy to concentrate on the small space between the center left and center right? Of course, there is a difference between the far right and the far left: the far right actually has influence in Republican Administrations (the current administration especially but not exclusively) whereas the far left has never had influence in any Democratic administration.

I think different people fixate on the far left for different reasons. In the cace of the Fox news types, its definitely political. They vilify the left in an attempt to command more media attention in order to get republicans elected and to advance republican legislative agendas.

But contrast that with the IDW, which is mostly unconcerned with party politics, and to the extent they are partisans, it is towards the democrats. They focus on the far left because they are naturally at ideological odds, and (for the ones from the academy) they consider the excesses of the left to be damaging to their institutions and fields. (Also worth noting that the far left has a lot more pull in the academy than the far right, so it's not a coincidence the academy would produce so many critics of the far left)

Outside of the partisan press, political motives in attacking the left (or the right for that matter) are pretty limited in my experience. When people talk about the fringes, it is usually in a cultural context, and the complaints are about the social and cultural norms, beliefs and practices, not about electoral politics or legislative agendas.

> The obsession on the right with the far left continues

If you could be troubled to read the article you'd note that evidence is presented that helps clarify that while the 'far left' is not numerically dominant, they are absolutely dominating institutions, especially media institutions.

Personally, I'd distinguish the popular progressive left from the far left, because just like there are literal nazis in the world, there are people that literally fetishize stalinism.

So, again, the deeply progressive, illiberal and mildly authoritarian views held by about 8% of Americans are exactly the views promoted by the most commonly viewed and successful media producers.

So, it's like the claim that you're making

"the far right actually has influence in Republican Administrations"

except, you know, with like evidence and a chain of reasoning and stuff.

And, don't mistake me, I'm not trying to say anything about the far right having or not having political influence, mostly because we'd probably end up confusing definitions and terms here.

For example, if the far right is characterized first and foremost by antisemitism, it's purely idiotic to say that the current administration is far right.

"far left has never had influence in any Democratic administration."

Obama was far left. But, he didn't listen to anybody, so ok, maybe you are a little right, I mean left, oops I mean correct.

#1 "Close to 8 people die a day on the network, according to rail officials.” There is a disturbing trend going on in India right now of suicide by train. I wonder if these are part of that statistic or something else.

#3 In a transliteration of the tongue-in-cheek meme regarding US military bases and Russia: See how big a threat terrorism is to the USA! Look at how close it puts itself next to our military bases!

#4 This is what comes from too much Mi'lady. Jimmy Fallon's famous SNL representation of your company's preachy IT guy, constantly shouting "MOVE!" gets really really tiresome after a while.

The term 'decriminalization' can mean one of two things:

1. Putting sellers of drugs in prison, which is morally reprehensible, racially biased, and extremely costly in terms of resources.
In addition, it's not actually "decriminalization".

2. No prison, but have sellers of drugs pay a fine. That's basically the same as legalization plus heavy taxes.

Perhaps there's a third option that I missed?

Option 3. Stand over the sellers and force them to smoke their whole stash.

Works for cigarettes, pretty sure.

There is a tight Don DeLillo novelinho that focuses in part on a version of the movie "Psycho" slowed down so as to last 24 hours.

If u r a FL voter please click my name to be taken to https://www.regulateflorida.com/printpetition/ where u can sign a legalization petition that, signed 700k times, would mount a 2020 ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in FL. Please sign only 1x yourself, but relay the url to friends via email and text message, and print extra copies to concerts, sporting events, social functions, party meetings, and other gatherings.

4. "It’s how we arrived at the notion that milquetoast New York Times writer Bari Weiss—who helped bring attention to the IDW—is a “provocateur.” (And that was the charitable interpretation of her place in the journosphere! The less charitable take is that she’s s “troll.”)"

Looks like someone leaked more NYT Slack channels.

The author asserts that unpopular opinions challenging progressive viewpoints are shunned and suppressed, offering up Robin Hanson as as example.

Except...Hanson wasn't suppressed at all. I had never heard of him until the lefties started mocking and ridiculing him, bringing him to a wider audience than he had ever in his life enjoyed.

"Everyone discussing and laughing at my ideas" is not grounds for self-professed martyrdom.

> "Everyone discussing and laughing at my ideas" is not grounds for self-professed martyrdom.

That would be one thing, but they weren't discussing his ideas at all.

One hallmark of a lot of the "problematizing" news coverage is that it refuses to link to primary sources. It misrepresents, takes out of context, and (too often) deliberately misquotes or lies.

Nobody that only read pop-media responses to Robin Hansens ideas was ever exposed to his viewpoint.

That viewpoint was effectively suppressed, because it was misrepresented, dismissed, and new readers were deliberately dissuaded from exposing themselves to it.

This pattern is blindingly obvious as soon as you know to look for it.

Right. Sure he was made famous, but in doing so he gained an unearned reputation as a creepy asshole.

Agreed! Sure, there are some people who would rather be better known but face rampant attacks and distortion of their opinions. I don't think this appeals to most serious thinkers.

It must be really fatiguing - if not plain irksome - to see people willfully and purposely distorting your views in a way that can hurt your reputation. And in today's world, who had time to respond to the internet mob?

Yikes! Sorry about the typos!

The right is too quick to cry censorship when people disagree with their ideas. What a goofy bunch of snowflakes.

Blue collar drugs are overrated.

6. I'm surprised to see an economist endorse decriminalization (that is, of possession) over legalization (of production and selling). Decriminalization shifts the demand curve out but maintains highly inelastic and constrained supply - leading to more black market profits and extralegal struggle over the trade.

If anything, the case for legalization is by far stronger than the case for decriminalization. If worries remain about negative externalities of consumption, isn't a utilitarian response a Pigovian tax?

Consider me entirely in your camp. I live in a prohibition state, but spend a lot of time in Washington and California. The "legalization in CA hasn't stopped the black market" screeds are comical. It's actually really hard to get legal weed in CA, as regulatory red tape hell and localities have made it nigh impossible. So people still use the black market. Or the burgeoning gray market of seedy stores with no windows, restricted access, and poorly or unlabeled products.

Contrast this to WA, where stores are accessible, well-lit, and everything is incredibly well-labeled, including strains, THC content, etc. And where there are extremely low-dose products available, and employees who are helpful in finding them.

Then there's my current state, where pot's illegal but in this county is effectively decriminalized. Guess who I still have to go to to get pot? A dealer, whose selection, labeling (let alone testing), etc. are all a lot more like California (but worse) than Washington.

All because sometimes I'd rather relax some evenings with a tiny-dose edible instead of a glass of wine (few people have discussed the substitutability effects, which I suspect are not insignificant, and we know alcohol isn't good for you, either).

'few people have discussed the substitutability effects, which I suspect are not insignificant'

A few people, particularly a couple with the last name of Coors seemed to be clued in on that fact more than 4 decades ago.

Just say no was a not unsurprising result of how freely - and effectively - their money flowed into the political system back in the 70s.

Brad, it's really easy to get weed and edibles in CA, at least in the major cities. The dispensaries look just like the WA ones you described.

6. Sherrington the poet: artistic handling of words… herrington's poetic side was inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Sherrington was fond of Goethe the poet, but not Goethe the scientist. Speaking of Goethe's scientific writings, Sherrington said "to appraise them is not a congenial task."[1]

Pigovian taxes only work when you are willing and able to enforce them. New York, for instance, has a majority of their cigarettes being sold on the black market. The price difference between paying what New York believes to be an internalizing tax and what profit margin attracts organized crime long ago flipped.

Nor is this uncommon. After all a century ago there was brisk trade in contraband - of imported furs. The tariffs were allegedly to protect domestic industries and the dominant view at the time was that imports weakened the state. Yet in spite of that international cartels smuggled all manner of goods rather than pay for the "jobs they destroyed". I don't buy the Pigovian nature of those taxes ... but both the cops and the robbers back then did.

Any tax is only going to be paid if there is a high willingness to voluntarily pay it (e.g. social custom), enforcement costs applied to gather it (e.g. audits and police), or greater benefit to the one who pays via some other mechanism (e.g. federal tax deductions).

So what is equilibrium? Well, from the case of cigarettes, well below the actual social costs. Which is how we end up with alcohol and cigarettes both being taxed far below the externalized costs of their use.

So what does decriminalization gain you? Lower enforcement costs without the social normalization that leads to increased use. When society cannot come ahead per transaction, then the only economically efficient policy is one that limits transactions cost effectively.

Actually, cigarettes are probably taxed in most places well above the rate necessary to internalize their full social cost. Their social cost - that is, apart from their private cost - is quite low.

Whether decriminalization normalizes consumption less than legalization is an empirical question, but I am dubious, esp. given the data on teen use coming out of Colorado & Washington.

#6 It makes sense that the weak (lower numbers in a democracy) would support liberty while the strong want to dominate.

And in terms of the latter: perhaps the only standing issue prior to Federal LEGALIZATION (meaning too: the removal of cannabis from the DEA's pernicious and self-contradictory Schedule I) is any ongoing dispute between our existing beverage (intoxication) industries (not overly keen for product competition) and the tobacco industries keen to capitalize upon sales of new brands of smokable products (capable of even safer and more efficient vaping).

2018's late Farm Bill with its provisions for industrial hemp production no doubt will set some avalanche(s) to rolling.

Except for the fact that Anheuser-Busch InBev just dumped millions into buying a strong position in the cannabis market. MolsonCoors and Constellation also have invested heavily in cannabis. Heineken was there before either of them. These top four alcohol companies represent well over 60% of the alcohol trade in the US. And for good measure the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America has already announced that they support cannabis legalization.

In short, no, big beer is not opposed to marijuana. They, like pretty much every other purveyor of a vice with heavily externalized costs, is on the marijuana train and has been for some time (the cynic in me guesses about the time legalization crested 40% popular support).

what is the difference between decriminalization and a capriciously enforced heavy taxation scheme?

#1. Life is cheap in India. Very cheap.

As a cow, do you approve or disapprove of all the cow vigilantes over there?

#5 Who needs flying cars when we have dithered 7.4 inch black and white displays that update in tenths of a second showing frames from old movies?

But it has a 3d printed case! Can you imagine trying to build that case out of wood or metal?

Flying cars are stupid. What a waste of energy, holding a big hunk of metal with one person inside in the air, to move around from place to place.

Cars are stupid too for similar reasons.

Ok fair point still that this project isn't exactly curing cancer or whatever, but it's a good example of a new kind of recreation.

Somebody designing a weird product that integrates art, design, computer science etc. all in one package.

Those skills, developed by this project, are applicable to other domains. E-paper is a really cool product in general, too.

Surely any “public health” discussion around the legality of drugs has to include the violence surrounding black markets and resources used to enforce the law. The entirety of the Western Hemisphere has been disrupted by the money and subsequent violence that follows black markets. Fully legalized recreational drugs are far safer for the user, do not inflict systematic violence and wasted resources on the public at large, and removes a key motive for corruption world wide.

Public health should concentrate on the public as a whole and empower individuals to make good decisions for themselves.

Surely any discussion of "violence surrounding black markets" has to note that legalization has never actually reduced the amount of such violence. WA, OR, AK, CO, Uruguay, and basically every other jurisdiction that has ever legalized marijuana has seen no drop in violent crime rates and may sometimes see relative increases (e.g. since legalization WA has had double the violent crime increase of the country as a whole).

Or perhaps we can look back at the end of Prohibition. After the mob quit selling alcohol they moved into loansharking, union capture, and sundry other black markets. According to actual data, they became more violent.

So once again, I will ask my usual question here: What data do you have that legalization actually reduces violence? I keep waiting to see something robust from Washington or somewhere out west. I keep waiting to see some robust Finnish data from when they ended prohibition of alcohol. Or heck, when the Qing ended prohibition of opium.

Somehow I keep hearing this talking point but never see, you know, rigorous data.

What is the link between marijuana and violent crime? I would assume it's marginal at best. The win doesn't come in the reduction in violent crime but in many other areas.

I don't know. It could be that people's baseline "calm" drops when they become habituated to marijuana and they become more violent when they go off marijuana. It couple be that marijuana complements alcohol use (which appears to be the case for alcohol sales tax data in the legalization states) and we know alcohol has a major impact on violent crime rates. It could be that using marijuana disrupts social bonds and the weakness of such bonds has been correlated with violent crime.

I do not pretend to know why we have seen increases in violence from trend line with marijuana legalization, I just know that some numbers show it. Maybe they are wrong. Maybe their was something special that was happening completely unrelated to marijuana.

But what is garbage is insisting that legalization will somehow reduce violent crime or even seriously impact the prison census. The data just do not show that.

Is there any doubt that organized crime violence went down once alcohol was legalized is the US? Would there have been the gang wars over crack distribution in the 90s if it had been legal? Would we have seen the same level of militarization of the police in the US if they didn’t feel they needed to match the ruthlessness and danger of black market drug markets?

Of course the US exported most of the worst violence caused by the war on drugs to other countries. As I mentioned before, most of the Western Hemisphere has been disrupted by the money and associated violence that came from the black market for drugs in the US.

Decriminalization only removes penalties on the users but keeps all of the terrible externalities of black markets around. The drugs will still be more potent, of unknown quality and purity, mislabled, supplied by organized crime that competes through violent subjugation of rivals, and requires an enormous amount of resources to combat all of the ancillary crime that surrounds the black market even if the users don’t get in trouble. The inflated profits of the black market will continue to be a source of corruption all over the world.

3. The data source is an anti-war center at Brown University. Caveat lector.

Yes. "Caveat lector" is always a good advice on the internet. For instance the first linked map in 3. indicates the presence of US military bases in France. There are none since the sixties, when De Gaulle famously had them closed. I wonder how many other mistakes there are in this map.

The icons are in France but there's a leader pointing to Belgium.

Hey the dimwitted troll showed up. Hi there short bus.

Ah yes, I missed that. Difficult to see.

@IBM patents more Germany is quite misleading. As the tweet further down writes "It’s only for US patents and I have no idea how many US companies had European divisions that contributed."

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