Friday assorted links


The Thiel article keeps locking up. I don't think it's my computer.

lots of people working in the internet industry spend a lot of their free time locking up stuff they do not agree with.

God knows why, there actions are the equivalent of someone going into a basement at a university and heading to the bulletin board and writing negative words on anything tacked to the bulletin board they do not like.

Effective? Who knows. A clear waste of part of your one chance in the history of the universe to spend time as a human being? Without a doubt.

(i am not a big fan of young Thiel, by the way, but he is sometimes worth listening to).

on the other hand, we need to distinguish the useful deleting of comments on websites (particularly websites like this where you can leave a comment but you can't delete it) from the sort of nasty little "secret adviser to the king" shenanigans you described in your 2:44 pm comment.

I think about half of my comments on Marginal Revolution over the years could have been deleted with no loss to humanity's effort to speak among itself with the goal of TRUTH.

Well, maybe not half, but 20 percent anyway.

and speaking as a friend would speak to a friend, rayeward (i have never met you and i never will but i remember lots of details about the world you and every one else who comments here has lived in) , if i had only read the best one out of ten of your comments, i would think you are a reliably fascinating individual.

well, God loves us all, and it is worth trying to figure out why that is.

i mean, i figured it out a long time ago, then i forgot it, then i figured it out again .... and forgot it again, and so on.

i am describing not the "eternal recurrence" beloved of the poor Schopenhauerians of my grandparents' day but something more real than that. Proverbs 8.

Why yes, I am actually having a good time in Vegas tonight.

Why do you ask?

(hint - if you like to read histories of philosophy for the fun of it, or even if you think you would like to do that, you probably know the connection between Schopenhauer and Vegas. if you don't ---- remember, Schopenhauer (correctly, in my view) considered himself to be a lot brighter than Kant.
Next summer I am gonna post on the Amazon site my reviews of all the targeted - at - mystery novel buyer - level histories of philosophy - Russell with his dumb pipe, Anthony Flew, Will Durant with his beautiful wife: and I am also gonna post reviews of the histories like the one that el padre de Marias wrote, and Coppleston, who understood it all, and Guthrie, who understood the Greeks, wrote - check it out in 2021 \\ and if I don't bother to do that in 2021, that is ok, there will be other good reviews to read.
eternal recurrence is not a real thing but Proverbs 8 is.

as always thanks for reading, and if you regret reading, and think you had better things to do with your time, well, i am not like other writers, i am not like other commenters, i actually spend a lot of time praying to God that he recompenses every single person who feels that i have wasted their time - so there's that ------- and as God is my witness, if you think i wasted your time by recommending Proverbs 8 as a better reading source than the German Romanticists with their sad outdated love for the idiotic idea of "eternal recurrence", well, if you think i wasted your time by TRYING TO GIVE YOU SOME GOOD ADVICE, well, i am fine with that.

you know something ----- you remember a lot more about your past than you think.

I live along a highway and I do not sleep well (never have, never will) and every night I hear tens of thousands of vehicles go by (the trucks, sometimes grinding their gears (find 'em, don't grind em, is a phrase I remember from my years hanging out at the army base motor pool, the cars that go fast, the cars with bad mufflers, the cars with noisy tires, I could go on for hours ---- trust me you have no idea what it is like to sleep lightly and live a few hundred yards from an interstate highway FOR YEARS ---- but if you can imagine such a thing, imagine this too ----

PROVERBS 8 describes the world you live in, the phony kitsch of sub-gemutlichkeit (Trust me I know every letter I write is correct) "eternal recurrence" does not describe the world you live in. AND PROVERBS 8 DESCRIBES THE WORLD WHERE YOU CAN be everything everybody who loves you wants you to be.

Trust me, I have fought against the phony troops of eternal recurrence much more than you could imagine, and i have always won.

the key line of persuasion there was

"you remember a lot more about your past than you think".

try and remember how much you remember. forget about poor Kant and my old drinking buddy Schopenhauer, reflect on proverbs 8 instead.

not for long, but for long enough.

you do, don't you?

please please please remember how much God loves you, and how much God always loved you (imagining, for a moment, that God could understand the past tense - well, in a way similar to the way you remember the past).

I am sorry it did not always seem that way but if you are reading this you know that the evildoers lost, or are about to lose.
Joy in the morning, and so on.

and yes i realize maybe i have never persuaded anyone about anything. better people than me have overestimated their persuasiveness!

then again, i also realize this .....

I have fought against the phony troops of eternal recurrence much more than I ever would have believed, and I have always won.

read again, and try and figure out why I think Schopenhauer was closer than Kant to the truth, the simple truth, which is that God loves us all.
Especially you who are reading this and who just looked up Schopenhauer (German journalist from 150 years ago) and Kant (German autist from 200 years ago)- imagine that, please. Don't be impressed by anybody who is not telling you the whole truth!

and remember i do not get a cent for this, i do not get any praise, i do not get a "boost" in my career -----
i just know what i know.

Trust me, I have fought against the phony troops of eternal recurrence much more than you could imagine,and i have always won.
and yes i lived along an interstate and i am a light sleeper and i have heard millions (no exaggeration) of vehicles drive by, as God is my witness I could enchant the CEOs of every car and tire company with the descriptions I could give ..... but I don't, and I won't.

"you remember a lot more of your past than you think" , and there are millions of Americans who have no idea that I have heard them drive by and that I know who has been praying for them.

but what is important is not what i am saying but what you remember.

and remember, you can remember the past in a way nobody else can.

nothing good should ever be forgotten.

Pleasanton 1974. I remember.


I made a bunch of money commercializing applications on a government-funded government-created technology, and acquiring government-issued patent monopolies, while exploiting the preferential tax break created by government for internet sales and transactions.

Now I'm an outspoken libertarian-utopianist.

competition is for losers

1. Ultimately, I think few people are persuaded to change their views. Society only progresses when a new generation that is less racist comes in. Fortunately, the new generation of young people does seem much less racist than ones before it—it is very common today to see interracial neighborhoods, groups of friends, and even couples walking down the street, whereas in my youth, such things were rare enough to be a novelty. The multiracial population is also fast-growing and will scramble existing racial divisions. Progress is happening, and quite rapidly. Let’s remember that as recently as 1995, the majority of whites in the US disapproved of interracial marriage; today, that view would be considered fringe racist, not even mainstream racist: So I think the US race problem will shrink significantly due to this demographic change and will hopefully be largely moot in time for the 100th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement.

yeah. hopeful and generally agree on progress and all. but your 'rapidly' doesn't seem near fast enough for lots of folks, me included, and possibly for society.

"Let’s remember that as recently as 1995, the majority of whites in the US disapproved of interracial marriage;"

The poll doesn't show that. In 1994, 48% of whites approved, 41% disapproved and 145 didn't have an opinion about interracial marriage.
In 1983, 38% of whites approved, 56% disapproved and 6% didn't have an opinion.

(14% didn't have an opinion in 1994.)

One more try...

In 1994, 45% of whites approved of interracial marriage, 41% opposed and 14% had no opinion. pedantically miss his point.

Not at all. How would you know if I missed his point simply by stating what poll actually showed?

If I'm wrong, please tell me what you think it was?

The 14% did not answer because they didn't believe race existed? Didn't want to tell the truth because they believed they would be judged a racist by the pollster?

The only way you can say a majority did not oppose is by arguing 14% do not know what race is, or are unwilling to answer in opposition to the racists who oppose mixing of races constructed by racists.

After all, the question did not ask what you would do personally but what rules or judgement you want imposed on two people you will never know or meet.


Apparently, you are a little slow in the head. Take 600 mg of NR since that may help your synapses but not sure until 2021 or 2022. It may help against Covid-19 as well. A two-fer.

Before you think any neighborhood or city is less racist, look up the demographic mix of the local public schools. That one data point is a great tell on what is really going on in a neighborhood. Remember the public schools in NYC are only 15% non-Hispanic whites and that is counting a lot of recent immigrants as whites.

The difference in 2020 between conservatives and liberals is that liberals know to keep their mouths shut on racial issues.

I think it was Gary Becker who pointed out that de facto segregation can be explained in many cases by the fact that no one wants to be a member of a small minority in their community or school system. Absent a return to busing and mandatory racial quotas in schools, de facto segregation in schools will probably persist for another few generations.

What will end de facto segregation is the diminishing numbers of non-hispanic whites in the U.S. Currently the U.S. public schools are less than 50% non-hispanic white and more than 50% of the children are eligible for free/reduced lunch. Not exactly the kind of community that is going to encourage middle class and upper middle class whites to actually have children and form families.

What the children of upper middle class whites have learned is to keep their mouths shut, repeat what they are told is correct, and keep their heads down so as not to attract attention.

Black people are only about 13% of the US population. That means per force they will either be isolated in seas of non-Black people (the only Black people in the neighborhood), or they'll be segregated at some level. (If not in the neighborhoods of Minneapolis then in Atlanta vs Minneapolis.)

One might imagine a world where there wasn't so much pointless ethnic friction, and so it wouldn't matter, but no such world has arisen in the last centuries. (It's been observed that a great deal of what Eastern European states are about is ethnic identity of their populations.)

Patterson's remarks on bylaws miss a reality - the well-off people (often white) will buy all the houses and hold them, or all move to the next suburb out, or all move across the state line. They'll take the best schools and contacts with them. They've been doing it for decades. I think it's more about general status and well-off vs poor than pure racism per se - but maybe that's my naivete.

One could imagine structural changes in policing that would help, but that won't fix everything, and I'm not even holding my breath for that.

What are the chances a professor at Harvard will deviate from the official line of Racism! and call BLA exactly what it is - a fraud?

Thomas Sowell (2016):

"We keep hearing that 'black lives matter,' but they seem to matter only when that helps politicians to get votes, or when that slogan helps demagogues demonize the police. The other 99 percent of black lives destroyed by people who are not police do not seem to attract nearly as much attention in the media.

What about black success? Does that matter? Apparently not so much..."

Black success matters a lot to Sowell, so much that he devoted a lot of time attacking a very successful black man, the same one that Trump has been attacking for more than a decade for being more successful and admired than Trump, or Sowell.

You are wrong. I’ve read Sowell, lots of Sowell. He writes about statism and the failures of the command economy model, and how governments are mostly inferior to markets. Just look at the books, just look at the articles.

It's just such a relief that someone has the guts to bring up the topic of racism in America in 2020.

Hey man, you have to speak truth to power—"power" of course being defined as "the people who have to agree with everything you say, or else they get #cancelled". Such Orwellian times we live in.

Looking at it broadly, I think the historical figure Trump most resembles is Alexander Kerensky. Good luck and good night!

So you think the Bolsheviks are next? I don’t think so; all the firepower is on the other side.

Bizarre but interesting comparison. Can you give it some substance?

Changing opinions is hard, but it happens and it's not just generational change, though that's a huge factor. The number of people willing to post Black Lives Matter this week compared to 5 years ago I think is indication of that. Many of these same people would not have even remotely considered doing such posts 5 years ago. Public opinion on gay marriage is another example of this. But, it's hard to predict.

I’ve never had a problem with black lives matter, bitching about land use regulation, the war on drugs or anything else that is implicitly segregationist.

However, these protests aren’t about black lives. Maybe some of it is about police brutality but this is about rejecting capitalism and overthrowing the entire system. The bolsheviks are at the gate.

Please don’t kid yourself into thinking these protests are about protecting black people....

You are confusing the protestors with the looters/anarchists. They are mainly different people. Any time there's a crowd big enough, the looters come out to steal and the anarchists come out to make mayhem.

The protests are indeed about mistreatment of blacks by police (and redneck father and son wannabe police)

Is this the latest meme circulating in the right-wing -- that black lives matter = communism?

Just goes to show how little things change. The civil rights movement was hit with the same smear decades ago. The abolitionist movement probably would have been hit with the same accusation had Karl Marx (who wrote articles in support of Lincoln and the Union) been famous at the time.

I think you’re mistaken in assuming that race is what actually matters, when it’s really racial/ethnic identity. If a light skinned Hispanic person can think of himself as non-white while a darker skinned Greek-American thinks of himself as white, then skin color doesn’t seem like they point. You also seem to be assuming that only ‘purely’ white people are capable of widespread discriminatory attitudes or behavior, and members of hypothetical future multiracial generations would never deploy group-based identity in an adversarial way against people identified as members of other groups. I would bet that in 2060, while inter-ethnic variation in income will be much smaller, for example, that ethnicity-based affirmative action will not only still exist but be more widely used than today. Ethnic identity will be just as intense, and just as wound up in politics, even if with different categories (e.g. many people will not identify with specific ethnic groups but just as ‘people of color’). Many people will still be identifiable as just white. Those people will still be wealthier on average and disproportionately represented in high places, and thus the conflicts will rage on, IMO.

1 - "What’s terrifying about this moment is that the foundational institutions of our democracy are under assault, that the fundamental norms upon which our Constitution and our system of government rests are being threatened." This is so clear and so true and yet it seems most people who have a platform either don't care or are spineless.

I think a lot of people, even those who think of themselves as leaders, are just constitutionally submissive. Not as overtly so as Lindsey Graham, but in the same style.

submissive, for sure. shameless opportunists with few real principles and/or a moral compass, yes. And as insufferable as graham is, there is worse, and we've elected him. one who gets joy out of hurting others.

1. Well, that and the naked authoritarianism.

You know, I look back to my own sentiment in 2017, and I (correctly) saw DJT was a fanboy of Duterte and Putin. I (correctly) said that he aspired to the same sort of authoritarianism or oligarchy.

But I really didn't think he had it in him to try. I didn't think we'd have Little Green Men on the streets of our nation's capital. I thought he would remain a fanboy.

But I was wrong. With AG Barr's help he planned, our slouched, his way out to the limit.

He actually made the US Armed Forces say "no."

Thank God.

And God in Heaven, he actually tried to use the race issue to make his move.

so far, they've said no. The GOP has said 'yes.'

I am more hopeful on that.

In the past I have grouped Trumpists with Republicans because there wasn't that much light between them.

I think that's a change in the last few days. There are a lot more Republicans who are now quietly "not supporting."

Yes, I am so sure you have your finger on the pulse of Republican thought.

Don't worry -- your party may well have a shot in 2024.

Like this, fwiw

LOL, you need an example of having a finger on the pulse of Republican thought, and you pick Bill Kristol?

You didn't click through, did you.

I wouldn't give Republicans too much credit on this. They know that federal troops in American cities -- especially if they are sent there without the consent of local political leaders -- is a bad look and will damage the party in the upcoming election.

I'm so old I remember when leftists were screaming that Orange Man wasn't being authoritarian enough in battling coronavirus. (Remember coronavirus? Seems like forever ago.)

It's pretty simple. This is where the right wing paranoia (supporting Trumpism) leads:

Just decide if that's still you.

It's pretty rich to accuse other people of "paranoia" when you post something like that.

Which do you want? Professionals protecting life and property, or people like that? Because if you and your leftist buddies get your way regarding "police reform" (that is, making them impotent) people are going to take their security upon themselves, and I don't mean just "Trumpists", whoever that is.

The supreme irony in all this is that all the limp-wristed leftists who virtue-signal away their police protection are the ones least able to defend themselves, least of all against those with whom they want to be an "ally".

Try actually reading the story.

Well, that and the naked authoritarianism.

When Trump had the once-in-a-millennium golden opportunity for big ticket authoritarianism -- namely declaring a national state of emergency and lock-down that would have allowed him to dictate the rules of the economy and daily personal life down to the smallest of details -- a declaration that some of his political opponents were calling for and polls showed would have been popular -- he resisted and allowed states to handle things. Whereupon, of course, those with the strongest authoritarian tendencies (and also the greatest number of deaths) turned out to be Democratic governors.

I worry a hell of a less about a few 'little green men' showing up during riots in DC than I do about government officials dictating the smallest details of my own damn daily life. Though perhaps I shouldn't be so sensitive. After all I can now legally, by the grace of a recent edict by our madam governor, get together with 10 -- but not 11! -- of my friends and/or family members as long as we observe social distancing. Unless of course we want to hold a combination family-reunion/protest march (for a left-approved a politically urgent cause only) THEN we can gather together as many as we want and not sweat the social distancing.

You wouldn't know authoritarianism unless it bit you in the ass. A hundred times. And probably not even then if the biter shared you politics.

In all of Los Angeles, tens of millions of people, I think a couple surfers were arrested for violating lockdown.

No old men were beaten to the ground.

If you think I'm defending the behavior of the police, you're nuts. But try to remember for a few seconds that those abusive cops in your videos don't work for Trump or the federal government, THEY WORK FOR CITIES THAT HAVE BEEN RUN BY DEMOCRATS FOR DECADES. Democratic officials negotiated and signed all the terrible contracts that protect violent cops from discipline and dismissal.

...that it's a good thing that this unrest might be enough to push those officials to make some changes for the better? That's good, right?

Oh, yes, It will be a good thing if local officials actually focus on those changes that will make a difference (like getting rid of the bad contracts, getting rid of surplus military gear, stopping the use of midnight SWAT raids, and asset forfeiture and excessive fines and fees). But will they? I'm afraid we're going to see little more than cheap, symbolic, feel-good, do-nothing BS like this.

...that change is only symbolic and ineffectual, but this moment feels a bit different. It will be much harder for police unions to defend keeping idiots like Chauvin on the force going forward.

Follow the money. Watch who gets the contracts and the improvements over the next decade.

...then I'm for it

Oh, boy! I get to be the first one to bring up what's certainly one of the most egregious features of the coercion complex, K-9 cops. When they are no longer a part of police work we'll all be able to breathe more easily.

Maybe in a day or two you will wake up and realize "but the police are all Democrats" was not such a strong answer.

-1, he didn't say that

Right, he thought he was doing some slight of hand when he shouted this:


I'm saying I'm not falling for it.

Yes, responding in all caps really makes you look like you are completely on top of the issues.

Quoting caps, son.

It's no sleight of hand -- the police really do work for (D) officials who've negotiated and signed the contracts that provide such strong job security for bad cops. I'm sorry if this causes you cognitive dissonance, but it's simply, obviously true. But the other side of the coin is that these same Democratic urban officials have all the power they need to change things if they're willing to use it. But doing so will mean offending some interest groups, so most probably won't.

As for Republicans -- they really don't have much of a role or personal interest here. Few of them live in major cities. There aren't protesters shutting down the streets in their towns, there are no smashed windows or looted stores, their local cops aren't abusing anybody, etc. For the vast majority of Republicans, this is something that's happening only on TV.

This happened this week:

A girl was sitting on the curb, sobbing, her head in her hands.

A cop walked up and kicked her in the head.

Your answer is "but the city was controlled by Democrats for years."

Could you be any morally and ethically bankrupt?

it's okay though--those were all white people in those clips. what part of BLM do you not get?

Your answer is "but the city was controlled by Democrats for years."

The point of that is that urban Democrats who run big cities are the ones with the power to reform their police forces. They can change the contracts and the rules. Do you deny this? The video of the woman (not girl) being kicked over (but not in the head) is obviously bad but also so far from the worst of police abuses. I've been reading Reason for a very long time. I could probably find you a hundred cases police abuse worse than that one. And now a lot more people on the left have noticed and care -- great! But they also very much want to deflect blame from their own side and onto Trump and conservatives. I'm neither a Trump supporter or conservative, so this doesn't matter to me except to the extent that I think this deflection is going to result in nothing useful being done. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think big city mayors are going to do any of the things I listed that would make a real difference (getting rid of the bad contracts, getting rid of all the military gear, banning the use of midnight SWAT raids, and getting rid of asset forfeiture and excessive fines and fees).

What are you hoping to convince me of by posting more videos that I've already seen? That this stuff is bad? That police forces should be reformed? Sorry -- way ahead of you on all that.

"Any more morally and ethically bankrupt?"

Because this incident was so cut and dried (awful policing, all on tape), the people who want to signal their opposition to BLM have mostly resorted to blaming the Democrats and the police unions.

So it's not the reflexive cultural defense of police by the right that needs to be addressed, the Democrats actually like keeping idiot cops on the payroll.

It's confusing to say the least...we are supposed to support the police, but not their union. In any case, it's dumb to make it partisan. If there's going to be change, both sides have to work on it.

If there's going to be change, both sides have to work on it.

No, they really don't. It's entirely within the power of local officials to reform their police forces and change the rules under which they operate. Conservatives probably won't agree with the changes, but they don't have to agree -- very few of them live (or vote) in city elections. The mayors of Chicago, New York, et al really have no reason to listen to Republican objections. They don't need to win Republicans over, they just need to grow a pair.

`...the current moment helps them grow their pairs. Should be easier to take on the police unions now.

I'm just glad the police themselves have no moral agency!

Or at least you are able to say they do.

Don't forget this one:

"Whereupon, of course, those with the strongest authoritarian tendencies (and also the greatest number of deaths) turned out to be Democratic governors."

Again, the obvious explanation for this pattern is that most governors regardless of party waited until there was evidence the virus had infected a critical mass of the population before locking down. The U.S. response lagged behind most of the rest of the world and that fact alone is enough to explain the poor outcomes in places where the virus was allowed to take root.

One outlier is California which locked down earlier than almost any other state in the U.S. (and the Bay Area counties locked down earlier than the rest of the state) and did relatively well in terms of deaths per capita. The city and county of San Francisco is one of the most densely populated counties in the U.S. and yet had only 43 deaths from covid-19.

In short, if you want to characterize California's policies as "authoritarian," go ahead, but the evidence is that they did the right thing. On other hand, several other Democratic-led states had to be dragged kicking and screaming into locking down as they regarded it as a last resort and they implemented it only when it was too late.

"1. Orlando Patterson on racism."

That was a good article, particularly his suggestions:
1) reduce bylaws restrict the building of multi-occupancy housing
2) de-ghettoization.
3) reducing prison populations and mass incarceration

Yes, I assumed that those tiny threads of agreement between the left and libertarians is a major reason why that piece was highlighted.

As long as he chooses not to mention which party has been running the major cities and their police departments for the last fifty years and instead jumps to the fiction that police violence is a Trump problem, he's just someone else's useful idiot.

This guy gets it.

It's not only that... Is that we have black judges (including SCOTUS), black president, black teachers, black senators, black CEOs, black holywood stars... and yet, you keep hearing the exact same definition of the problem by people like this guy. Well, it cannot just be that simple. Not to mention all the data we have around Asians integrating (and surpassing whites in several measures!) and even illegal latinos doing better than blacks! Racism exists and it is a social issue but it just cannot be this powerful, all encompassing issue that some people insist in believe. The data simply does not support that.

Patterson was born, raised and educated in Jamaica and the West Indies. No doubt he has some familiarity with social conditions in the US but his personal experience of life there is as a member of academia, which says something about the opportunities for blacks.

On the other hand, while black inmates make up nearly 40% of the prison population, they only make up 13.40% of the total US population. Native Americans represent 2.30% of the incarcerated population and only 1.30% of the population. Nobody seems to care much about that, however.

I am always curious about this incarceration point. What exactly are you saying here? That blacks don't actually commit crimes at a higher rate? I mean, look at murders. The FBI has years and years of data that clearly shows black rates being higher than their % of population. Is that made up? If not, why would blacks commit only this crime in higher proportion and not others?

-the leftists dont much care about violent crime/violent crime statistics
unless they fit their agenda.
- its all about their poorly defined "mass incarceration meme"
they are willing to accept a higher violent crime rate if it reduces

about "mass incarceration" yet another poorly defined sociology meme
they redefine violent crime as non violent

On the concrete proposal, the issue would seem to be (and I have no dog in the fight on US zoning laws) that it really only creates, at the margin, a space for a new sort of colony in the suburbs of moderate-income folks of all races.

So would probably be much used by moderate-income folk of other groups like Hispanics, Asians and Whites, and possibly destined for gentrification in the longer term.

How much will that really restructure and integrate American society? This seems like the issue with some of these libertarian ideas that create more opportunity at the margin for Black folk by deregulation; they often only seem to apply for a small subset of Black folk, and the actual use is then less because of other groups who are also interested in using them and have more advantages (e.g. in employment, the hoary old story that opening up of employment meant White women often succeeded most in those new environments).

That's not *bad* as the argument here as those groups also have rights and you can argue it on a principled basis that these laws are unnecessarily restrictive, but it does mean that these proposals will tend to possibly to not have much affect on the overall racial dynamic. (And hence why Black activists often seem to tend to prefer specific state-funded set asides.)

As for the incarceration rate issue, that's not so much of a concrete proposal but I would say it's worth saying:

1) The US needs to focus on getting incarceration:crime to "normal OECD" levels, if anything.

US prison incarceration rate is about 5x England & Wales. That's not so bad if your crime rate is also 5x England & Wales! If your crime rate is 6x England & Wales, that's about in line.

Your latest US homicide rate is about 4x England & Wales. So if that's a proxy for "crime", then US incarceration is not necessarily so high. Plus, much of this incarceration still dates to the 90s, when the differential crime rate was more pronounced. (And the UK is not a European outlier on incarceration rate, not among Western Europe and not among Anglo countries).

2) "Skyrocketing incarceration" is a bit out of date - incarceration rates seem to have been dropping in the US since 2000, under Dubya and Obama:, and Black incarceration rate in particular.

It seems a big spike of incarceration tracked peak homicide up to 1993, then overshot a bit.

Rising population and shift share of Whites->Hispanics probably masks this out if you look at total prison population.

Anyway, it's one thing to say "Oh, the incarceration is too high!" but it's another to prove that it's high in the US relative to the burden of crime. (It likely is somewhat high, but by a less dramatic amount).

If incarceration:crime in the US is only a little bit high, and probably because the US is a rich country than can afford prisons, then the thing that needs doing is to question why the crime rate is so high, not to cut incarceration so incarceration:crime is lower than peers...

"that it really only creates, at the margin, "

True, but this is the blog Marginal Revolution.

Regarding the incarceration, once again a marginal but clearly positive change in the correct direction would be helpful.

Sure, and that's reasonable. Managing expectations and being open about downsides is pretty important, though.

Another point about incarceration is that, where US crime is not clearly higher than Western Europe (as it is with homicide), some of the US advantage or lack of disadvantage can probably be attributed to greater incarceration. See the "reversal of misfortunes" - - where American incarceration policy change probably led to a step change in suppression of burglary, robbery. Tradeoffs. While getting to a European crime:incarceration rate as I've implied above *may* be goal, there might be some tradeoffs in terms of actual crime - a future US may decide that suppressing crime is less important than having a smaller prison population, but this is unlikely to have zero downsides. US incarceration relative to OECD is probably some mix of actual higher crime and actual suppression of crime; it's probably not just irrationally higher in a way that can get a quick fix.

Complaints about the 'incarceration rate' are witless humbug. We don't have Switzerland's population. We have ours, which contains a large mass of feral slum dwellers who require deterrence, punishment, and sequestration.


Somewhat fair until it goes a off the deep end in the closing paragraphs. Still pretty good for "journalism" today, very little judgement, mostly reporting select facts from conversations (of course this can be a problem).


In this interview, the former Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff lays out when it is appropriate to use the military to put down riots. His criteria: "when state governments are unable to convene."

So, I started thinking, what incidents have led to that level of disruption?

Hey George, remind me how many people were hurt/killed, how much property was damaged, and how long these awful armed protestors occupied the state capitol.

George doesn't care about that, he just wants to see the boot brought down on the Right wingers he doesn't like. Why else would he even post that comment?

why else indeed.

limited imagination much?

It doesn't take much of an imagination, that A) you did post the comment and B) you don't bother denying that you would like to see the anti-Lockdown protestors suppressed.

But here's your chance to correct the record, just come out and say that the military shouldn't be used against non-violent protests and specifically the protestors in Michigan. That shouldn't be a hard statement to make.

I think armed occupations of government buildings are violent occupations.

What do you think should happen to violent takeovers of government buildings?

I am from Michigan. My understanding is that the demonstration you refer to was entirely legal and peaceful, and a that a similar event happens regularly once per year to celebrate the right to do so. If this is wrong, let me know.

The Michigan state legislature disagrees. See the Bloomberg link above

There's a word for armed thugs who force government sessions to close, the word is terrorists.

You really are peeing your pants over this aren't you?

You can imagine what would happen if those armed violent terrorist thugs actually did anything with those firearms other than carry them.

It's a mixed bag, because it shows the left doesn't have any teeth and only act out because we allow them, but the trajectory of the country means normal people are going to be forced to stop allowing them sooner or later.

Hey Shark, you can ask the the Chair of the JCoS why he lists the right wing armed occupation as the most worrisome.

Setting aside the facetious nature of your comment, I don't have to; the answer is "politics" since they are not by any objective measure (unless you mean dangerous to the racket our overlords are running on us, which as a useful idiot to them, you probably are).

I love the way you keep saying 'useful idiot' like you just made the word up all by yourself. It's precious

"right wing armed occupation"

Yes, in just the last few days, there was video on the news of right wing armed occupiers shooting cops, burning cars, looting, smashing windows, attempting to steal the cameras from reporters and screaming at secret service agents.

Oh wait, no, that only happened in George's bizarro reality. It wasn't the right doing any of that.

Lol if a couple dozen of those protestors were armed with assault rifles and body armor you'd wet yourself and never come out of your basement while screeching for napalm

More of George's bizarro reality.

It is rich for progressives to complain about assaults on the Constitution and other foundational institutions and norms when they--especially the professoriate--have led the way on that assault for more than a century. Reap what you sow.

Do you think a police state is the correct answer to too much government power?

What is this police state you are referring to? The lockdowns? One would have thought that the president would be praised by the left for ensuring social distancing, but, of course, the intersectional ranking means that race trumps killing old people.

Yet more evidence that we must evict leftists from the country before they wreck it even more than they already have. The correct answer to any of them complaining about their Constitutional rights is to laugh in their face. They haven't been worried about them for the past sixty-plus years, why start now?

"we must evict leftists from the country"

Even if this wasn't written in Saint Petersburg, they are eating it up.

Right, it's not the three-plus years of conspiracy theorizing by the media and leftist politicians to undo an election, or wrecking the economy over a glorified flu (also to undo an election), or coordinated riots across the country (you guessed it). It's a call to strengthen America by weeding out the traitors and saboteurs that really revs Putin's engines.

You couldn't ask for a better definition of "useful idiot" than the Very Smart And Serious People™ on this website, our hosts included.

If you want to be honest with yourself, you really have to own this:

FBI Director Christopher Wray Says A Majority of Domestic Terrorism Cases are Motivated by White Supremacist Violence (2019)

The paranoia is driven by mythology.

Well, if you can't trust Christopher Wray and the FBI to be impartial and unbiased, who can you trust?

Thank you for bringing unbiased fairness to this blog!

I'm a much more reliable arbiter of bias and fairness than the agency we just found out repeatedly fabricated evidence and lied to the FISA court as a pretext to spy on a presidential campaign, spy on the POTUS outright, and attempt a coup via a sham impeachment, purely for political reasons, as well as the director who's still trying to obstruct an investigation into it. Not to mention the fact that the FBI's actions at Ruby Ridge and Waco show they have an axe to grind against white whateverists, although even if the Very Smart and Serious People here are old enough to remember such events, there's no doubt that, true to form, they uncritically accepted the media/government reports of them.

But it's an anonymous message board so we all can type whatever nonsense we want.

The FBI! A descpicable liberal institution, filled to the brim with leftists plotting anarchy and communism! They hope to defund the police and resurrect MLK!

Is your reality so easily manipulated by the relentless spewing of Fuhrer Orange? As soon as someone presents a fact that is unfavorable to your dear leader, they instantly become untrustworthy liars. There is no rational debate to be had with someone like you. You are a blind animal, filled with hate and rage-- ready to lash out against whoever Donald demonizes next.

You'd have been better off getting your last word in with a weak "I know you are, but what am I" concession like everyone else is tonight. The FBI didn't become untrustworthy liars when they spun terror stats to blame white whateverists, they became untrustworthy liars when they lied. Most recently, as I noted, when committing treason against a duly-elected POTUS. Do you deny they did this?

The difficulties faced by minorities are largely policy made:

-Ghettoization persists on account of white flight from terrible schooling. Voucherize schooling and the problem starts to fix itself.

-Abolish public housing, dens of crime and squalor. Voucherize if need be.

-Explosion of prison population came as a result of the War on Drugs. Abolish the prohibitions. Instead, regulate and tax, tax and regulate.

-Abolish the minimum wage in states and at the national level.

1- Ending the war of drugs seems like a good a idea as well as reforming the qualified immunity police receive. However, African Americans still commit disproportionately more violent crimes (thus are arrested and killed more) and guns are ubiquitous so I just don't see a violence deescalation anytime soon.

#1 the first time I read it as 20-25% of whites hold some [sic] white supremacist views and then quit reading when he re-itterated that "likely 25 percent of Americans who are hardcore racist".

Maybe he defines "hardcore racist" differently than I would but I think that would imply Jim Crow-like behavior of 25% of Americans.

High standards at Harvard.

Yes, I thought that was Left wing hyperbole also. But hey it's possible that Harvard professors are that detached from the actual facts.

Here's a trend that as of 1995, over 95% of white Americans supported integrated schools. That would indicate there were less than 5% hardcore white racists 25 years ago.

Seems like a low percentage, given that things like correct spelling and grammar have been declared an element of white supremacism.

I suspect the argument that there is a hard, clear divide between 75% whites good, inheritors of the north in civil war, while 25% whites bad and devilish, inheritors of the south, which must be purged from society in every sense, is a calculated pitch that exists because it's election year and to best harness the protests.

Give the "good" a chance to demonstrate they're a good 75%er by doing what they're told and supporting his program.

I suspect once that's achieved, it'll be back to the more usual "all whites are kinda racist and must pay their personal racism tax" sort of thing.

It's hugely accelerationistic towards civil war tho! It perhaps "helps" you get civil war 2 by telling people they're already basically reenacting it. (Who needs "boogaloo bois" when you already have academia pushing things towards stark and hostile absolute two way social division like this?)

I guess #1 boils down to "build cheap apartments everywhere."

I recommend starting with ZIP Code 98039. Then we can do ZIP Codes 94301 thru 94309. There's a lot of East Coast ZIPs in need of low-cost housing enrichment as well.

3: I'm sorry, but did Trump say something positive about kitchen fans? Did he say he used them, or liked them? Did he suggest that kitchen fans are somehow contributing to American Greatness?

Why the hell would anyone write the words "Are kitchen fans a problem?"

Given Tyler and Alex's high propensity to rely on the NYT for facts and opinions, I strongly recommend reading

I enjoyed the Thiel article (#6). I was an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins when Girard was there. He gave a lecture on cultural relativity during freshman orientation; that's probably the first lecture I heard at Hopkins. I'm sure he lectured in one or more classes I took with Dick Macksey, so I'm familiar with the notion of memetic desire, but forget the deep substance of his analysis of ritual (I read the English translation of Violence and the Sacred when it came out in the early 1970s). There's got to be more to it than shows up in that, and similar, articles. In any event, I ended up more interested in Lévi-Strauss (for his analysis of myth) than Girard.

I was struck by this statement: When resentful people see the world as a zero-sum place, they start redistributing assets, assigning guilt and blame to scapegoats. Instead, Kawas explains, “You can do magic. You can do tech.” This is, he insists, a “deeply Christian idea.” I wonder if Thiel has read NonZero: The Logic of Human Destiny (1999), but Robert Wright. He takes a long view of human history, from origins up to the present, and argues that we are moving toward ever more sophisticated modes of cooperative interaction via ideas and institutions that support the proliferation of non-zero-sum games.

"zero to one" could've been meant as riff off "NonZero"!?
sh*t that would be awesome

When I was a child, I enjoyed the kids' books of Madeleine L'Engle, that introduced me to a WASP-ish world of light Yankee intellectualism and Christianity as liberal idealism (or indistinguishable). Her characters often attended schools that were a sort of United Nations of the natural aristocracy of the whole world. I was captivated by the idea of going to such a school, in the way that later on, kids would wish for an owl post inviting them to Hogwarts. I asked my mother if I might at last go to private school, but she only repeated some vague version of what was then the common wisdom - public school is where you toughen up, experience the real world, grasp that you are not special surrounded by kids who are also not special - where Americans go to school, in short.

It is a commonplace - in the utterances, the premises of their research, their proposals - of the do-gooding left and among the engineers of the social science department, that black people must *never* be left alone to just be themselves. Though these bien-pensants are putatively acting in a spirit of generosity, on the side of the angels, it is always there in some way: you've missed the mark again, blacks. Now that the word whiteness (that used to embarrass us) is in everyone's mouths all the time, one may at least feel that a *subset* of whites now receive the same disapprobation. Always be disappointing, whites!

It is still somewhat surprising to find that Harvard even in the person of Orlando Patterson succumbs to this ... I don't know what to call it at this point - trope? Sure, he couches the prescription in terms of white kids (in a state like mine, a commodity in short supply, but I've got some Hispanic children here in my case, that hopefully will serve nicely!) being around black kids so they're not awkward with them, presumably in some numerical formula bound to give a precise result ... but it is telling that his prescription is: kids should hang out in the neighborhood of/attend the "Cambridge Rindge and Latin School", which wikipedia tells me "remains one of the most diverse schools in the nation, with over 83 different countries represented within its halls."

This is a famous intellectual in love with the same utopian dream I nursed when I was twelve.

To ponder: Rindge Latin may represent 83 countries but it also represents the top 1-10% of future GRE scores.

#1 - How is this notable? An old guy pontificating. Is he some expert on the way "the working class" on the street (note the contradiction) act. I think racism is a problem, I'm unconvinced that white racism is any more of an intrinsic problem than any other flavor. Extrinsically, given their cultural and economic dominance, its a different story.

My name is Allan Yakir. I am a Russian-American voter and I am appaled by how Trumps supports Putin's nefarious regime and slanders Brazil. I think I will do something I thought I would never have done: vote for a Democ-rat. Trump is trashing our standing in the world.

Thank you, Mr. Yakir. I am an English-American voter, and I too am fed up with the treachery of our president. I will be voting for Joe Biden to help restore our American standing.

Thanks. I think it is the best any American can do.

Thank you both for your bravery and patriotism. I hope that this country wakes up!

I surely hope so.

Yes I hope so as well.

Wow, thank you both for your heroism! I am an Uzbekistani-American voter and World War 2 veteran and I too am fed up with Trump’s treachery, bigotry, and flatulence. I’ve voted for every Republican since Rutherford Hayes and was a card carrying member of the NRA, the John Birch society, and the Eagle Scouts until this year, but I’ve seen the light and am voting for Joe Biden as well.

Thank you as well! Together we can defeat the traitor Donald Trump.

-1, Bring back Thiago, the Best Troll!

That obviously is Thiago

It most certainly is not. It is an American Patriot.

#3 Really counter-productive speculating. They have no evidence whatsoever. They're just spit-balling. And now this is going to be treated like actual evidence, just like the study where the scientists speculate -- with no evidence whatsoever -- that the AC unit spread the virus within a restaurant. Now AC units are constantly being mentioned as distributors of the virus in the media despite no evidence of it and no testing to see if it's even possible or probable. These officials just need to keep their speculation to themselves until there is at least an accumulation of real evidence pointing in that direction.

Is it just me or is Girard a Jordan Peterson lookalike who, coincidentally, came to public perception right after Girard died?

The word racism is commonly used to mean stereotype about a race that has basis in reality.

For example, viewing blacks as more violent is viewed as racist. Yet, on average, blacks commit more violent crime. Viewing blacks as poor and maybe attaching the stereotypes about the poor is also considered racist. But again, blacks are poorer on average and a stereotype about the poor is not racist.

Rather than trying to shame people into not holding views consistent with statistical facts it might be better to change those facts and expect people to update their priors.

But your comment is a pretty good illustration of it.

Yes, it is used that way.

And go on, elucidate for us all why the comment is racist. Are facts racist?

1. Blah blah blah. These could be written with a template. You recommend them just why?

To irk you, of course.

#1. Trump, the most racist Political stand-in in the last 150 years, will be the agent of America finally reconciling? LMFAO! Rush Limbaugh in the Breakfast Club tho. Could happen indeed.

Fuck George Floyd. He was a petty violent criminal and a drug dealer...a waste of skin. He was no Rosa Parks. While he didn't deserve to die because an ignorant racist cop kneeled on his airway, he also doesn't deserve to be a martyr.
Alameda County announced new health guidelines Friday that include allowing “social bubbles,” child care and extracurricular activities for children, and the reopening of some businesses.

A "social bubble" is defined as a group of 12 or fewer people from different households that should be maintained for a minimum of three weeks. Members are still encouraged to wear face coverings at all times and practice social distancing. The social bubble should still only meet outdoors and agree to follow all the same rules.
Triadic response in action exactly as predicted by one of the models posted here. The idea is to keep R0 < 1 from some table 'neighborhood', then respond specifically to that neighborhood on outbreak.

This is equivalent to following the Lucas criteria, account for the shifting number of people, N. If one thing good happens it is the extra knowledge that economists learn about what exactly meets the Lucas criteria. It is not rational expectations, it is closure.

Who cares what Orlando Patterson says about racism in an interview? I just want him to finish and publish Volume II of his "Freedom" books (he published Vol. I *twenty-nine* years ago!). Still waiting. {taps foot impatiently}

I only wish I had Thiel's money and well-placed sanctuary hideaways. I would just withdraw from this world and live in lavish comfort. I fear the next few decades will only get worse socially, no matter how many scientific and technical breakthroughs we manage to eke out. Given the choice, I'd live in a nice bubble.

Chinese kitchen exhaust fans are no joke. They are advertised regularly on Chinese TV as staples of a modern household. The one in my apartment is so powerful that when I turn it on with the windows closed it causes my sink or toilet to backflow.

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