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I don't know if you followed what happened to the Atheist community in the US, but its downfall was essentially the kind of witch hunt you're trying to incite. The level of virtue signaling demanded gradually increases until no one is left in the community. This invariably happens because the question you're asking ("does intolerant belief X threaten society?") has no absolute answer, so there is always a higher level of purity to declare a community standard.

When I was younger I used to watch The Daily Show and laugh at how dumb the conservatives where -- they were trying to suppress rock and roll for fear of the devil's influence, etc. As I grew older I came to realize it wasn't conservatives generally who were the awful/dumb ones, it was a particular kind of person in a context where they felt they could dictate to others what was ethically right. Moral fashion police if you will.

I've lately seen more and more Moral Fashion Police on the democratic side of the isle, and I find it considerably more awful (it's closer to home). You might even say that I view these people as intolerant to the point that they threaten society.

However I wouldn't in a million years fire someone or yell at them, hate them, etc for being fashion police, even though I think they threaten society. Experience is the best teacher, and sometimes a person needs to make mistakes / destroy something beautiful in order to find the next level of understanding. Maybe for you that means destroying YC (though I hope you fail), and maybe for Trump voters that means (in a small way) destroying the US Government. I just wish you both wouldn't.




> more and more Moral Fashion Police on the democratic side of the isle

This hits the nail on the head. It's a moralistic sort of righteous indignation and it's profoundly, dangerously illiberal.

In addition, many of these are the same people who are pleased that HRC is not being challenged over the revelations in the email leaks so far.

I want whoever takes office to have been vetted as much as possible by journalists. How could anyone want their "side" to win so badly that they'd prefer their own candidate evade accountability (or vindication!) for alleged wrongdoing?

There has been very little adversarial press behavior toward either candidate... the press in this election has simply focused on stories that will get lots of clicks, such as those about sex, money, etc.


People keep claiming that this sentiment is "profoundly illiberal". Those people should read more liberal philosophy, because it is not as if this is the first time this issue has come up. You can bring it back to John Stuart Mill if you like, but (very unsurprisingly) it's also one of the major themes of post-World-War-2 liberal philosophy. We are not required to tolerate intolerance when intolerance poses a threat to society.

If you don't believe Trump's intolerance poses a real threat, you're on safe ground arguing against appeals agains Trump. But Altman and Graham do not agree with you.


I do not believe Trump is significantly more intolerant than HRC or any other likely presidential candidate, he simply focuses his rhetoric on populist ire across all of his positions. It's the only trick he knows so he does it again and again.

Additionally, HRC has in the past advocated a nearly identical "wall" policy but used softer rhetoric:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gUAdAYFbIc

GOP candidates for several elections have said much the same stuff Trump is saying only with a rhetorical style more like HRC's. Trump borrows economic populism (and its racist undertones) from the rust belt rhetoric of democrats.

> If you don't believe Trump's intolerance poses a real threat

This is not my belief. I believe both Trump's and HRC's intolerance both pose a major threat. I also believe that the trend toward unabashed executive power is the biggest threat to stability. HRC and Trump both show a similar chance of abusing this, and fortunately congress would be more vigilant about preventing Trump from abusing it, since he has not spent years aligning interest groups in preparation for his day in power.

I could not vote for either of the two major party candidates, my position is not to defend Trump but to apply some of the same criticisms to HRC which seemingly exist in the blind spot of Altman, Graham, and other HRC supporters.


That's fine. I mean, again: I would urge you to reconsider. But we otherwise don't have a live debate, I don't think.

I am not here to argue that people who oppose Hillary Clinton should change their minds (they should, though!). I'm here to urge Sam Altman, who does not agree with you, that his continued support for Peter Thiel is harming the goal he shares with me of preventing a Trump Presidency now, or in 2020.


Do you realize how despotic that is? Whether or not you and Sam Altman share the same goals I'd consider it deplorable if he used his power to punish Peter Thiel for his political views. Just because you agree with the underlying root issue doesn't make it any more just -- consider the reverse, if you would. Should Thiel remove acquaintances who support Hillary?


I find it ironic that Thiel, who claims that democracy and capitalism are no longer compatible (and it appears if he were forced to choose he'd ditch democracy) is being defended by calling someone else "despotic".


Actual Thiel quote is "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible,"[1]. It is nice to see that capitalism is equated with freedom, that's the right mindset but not what Thiel actually said.

If one is forced to choose between freedom and democracy, I don't see any moral choice but to choose freedom. After all, when slavery was democratically supported in the US, was it still wrong? I think it was. Do you think it is a "despotic" opinion?

[1] https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/...


>If one is forced to choose between freedom and democracy, I don't see any moral choice but to choose freedom.

An odd choice to equate freedom with capitalism but not with democracy. You are holding the right to control private trade more free than the right of some to representative government; in other words, the freedom of few over many.


Why is it odd? Democracy, strictly meant as rule by the majority, voting, etc. by itself is not freedom. Majority can oppress minority in a very democratic manner. Of course, modern democracy implies many freedoms built in, so when we say "democracy" we should be aware which meaning we consider.

> You are holding the right to control private trade

Capitalism is the opposite of "right to control private trade" - it's the right to own and exchange property voluntarily, without forceful intervention. So it is part of the freedoms. Of course, it can exist in theory without representative government, though in practice such government very soon takes control over economics and thus capitalism can exist only within limits it prescribes.


Unless you're a utopian anarchist some form of government is essential to the operation of society. The alternative to democracy is non-representational government. In other words, democracy may not define freedom by itself, but it's absence is certainly non-free. Feel free to point to a government that is non-democratic or imposes significant restrictions on democracy that has a free society.

On the other hand there are a number of countries that restrict capitalism in some way but have free societies.

Of course it depends on what you mean by "freedom"; if you mean it is "free to move capital around" but not "everyone is free to elect their leaders" then sure, but that is not how I understand the term.

[OT but pretty pathetic that I got downvoted for my previous comment by someone. Tempting to speculate it was (hilariously and ironically) by a Thiel supporter sore at the idea that he might have his views being suppressed.]


There is a large gap between "democracy" and "representation".

I feel this is instinctively understood by every Sanders supporter who claims "we're not in a real democracy!" or "we don't have enough democracy", but they are using the wrong word. They are living in a republic with a democracy but they aren't seriously represented.

Representation is the telos of democracy but it does not always achieve it.

And that is why everybody should become a reactionary. Only by returning to first principals will everybody get what they really want. There's too much cruft!

> Feel free to point to a government that is non-democratic or imposes significant restrictions on democracy that has a free society.

China. Singapore. Japan. Korea.

All these states have some kind of democracy. Yes, even Communist China does have some democracy. All these states have significant restrictions on it. In the most democratic ones power has been in the same hands about 90% of the time.

> Of course it depends on what you mean by "freedom"; if you mean it is "free to move capital around" but not "everyone is free to elect their leaders" then sure, but that is not how I understand the term.

Let me help you out. It is certainly the case that the word freedom has become seriously overloaded, much like the word democracy. Most of us see freedom to mean autonomy in this context.

In a practical example if the BBC requires you to pay for a TV license because you own a visual display then your freedom is reduced because your number of choices is being narrowed. You have less autonomy because even if you don't watch TV or the BBC channels you are forced to pay for their services anyway.

Another practical example is I hear the people in Flint are paying for poisoned water and have no choice in the matter otherwise their houses and belongings may be possessed by the state sending debt collectors.


Well, Peter Thiel does think freedom and democracy are compatible, just only when the democracy is restricted to people who think and vote like Peter Thiel.

And, well, "Democracy is great as long as the franchise is restricted to people like me" is not exactly democracy, and not exactly something with great historical precedents on its side, y'know?


> Peter Thiel does think freedom and democracy are compatible, just only when the democracy is restricted to people who think and vote like Peter Thiel.

This claim is based on what exactly?

> Democracy is great as long as the franchise is restricted to people like me" is not exactly democracy,

True but why you mention it here? Surely neither Thiel nor anybody here advocated such point of view. So who you are arguing with?


Thiel has openly commented, for example, that he thinks "democratic capitalism" has been harmed, if not outright destroyed, by extending the franchise to women. And of course Trump's own supporters had their "repeal the 19th" trending moment on Twitter over the discovery that women voting could make the difference in their candidate winning or losing.

So... I'm arguing with the public, verifiable actions and statements of Trump and his supporters, among whom one finds Peter Thiel.


> Thiel has openly commented, for example, that he thinks "democratic capitalism" has been harmed, if not outright destroyed, by extending the franchise to women

Actual quote:

The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.[1]

As we can see, especially if we read the whole article and grasp the context, Thiel is not arguing that women voting per se is bad. He is arguing that the consequences of woman suffrage and other changes since 1920s were summarily bad, because it led to increase of government intervention.

Imagine somebody saying "last redistricting led to Trump supporters now having majority in my state's Senate, this is awful" - do you think he argues against Trump voters having voting rights or against concept of electoral districts? He is unhappy with the outcome, not the process that led to it.

Thus, it is clear that what Thiel objects is removal of freedoms and not giving it to somebody who is "not like him".

[1] https://www.cato-unbound.org/2009/04/13/peter-thiel/educatio...


Thank you for this.

Part of the reason I've mostly checked out of political discussion is because it's so partisan. I flat out don't believe half the things people claim Trump said. In most cases either the quote is cherry picked or the context is flat out misconstrued.

I've lost count of how many times I've seen outrage at something Hilary or Trump said or wrote, only to conclude what was said was reasonable and the outrage was manufactured for and by stupid people.


That's some interesting goal-post moving you're doing there, from "women are problematic voters" to "this district's voting is problematic". Here, let me help you with something Trump hasn't said directly, but has implied repeatedly over the last week: "black people have the right to vote, this is awful".


So you can move the goal post both others can't. Got it.


There are great historical precedents. The first democracy, Athenian democracy, allowed only 50,000 out of 300,000 citizens to vote. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athenian_democracy


No, I'm sorry, you'll have to do a better job at connecting the dots between political criticism and despotism.


Political criticism would be Sam Altman telling Thiel he disagrees with his views, or better yet donating money/time to his own candidate.

It becomes despotism when someone uses their role in a non-political organization to silence (yes, donations are free speech) Trump supporters.


(a) Pretty sure that's not what "despotism" means.

(b) Pretty sure Thiel isn't going to shut up no matter what Sam Altman does.

(c) Pretty sure political criticism doesn't mean "the kinds of criticism I am comfortable hearing" --- in fact, pretty sure John Stuart Mill specifically warns against using discomfort as a litmus test for criticism.

(d) Pretty sure Thiel did more than simply donate to Donald Trump.

(e) Pretty sure the declaration that YC is a "non-political organization" is one you made, not one that YC did, and further pretty sure that nobody at YC agrees that their actions are cabined by your (so-far-unstated) definition of what a "non-political organization" is.

(f) Pretty sure YC has already threatened to blacklist organizations that disagree with them politically.

Oh, I could go on, and on, and on. But do we really need to?


I really suggest you take each of these points in turn and consider how you would feel if the candidate in question was HRC instead of Trump.

You're also missing the issue. It's not so much about Thiel but the message it sends: your professional career is at stake if you support the wrong candidate. I do not support Trump but I find that completely unacceptable.


I don't give a damn who you vote for in the privacy of the voting booth, and I'm not going to go digging in your background to figure out who you might have voted for. But when you make an announcement to the world that "This is what I am for", I'm damn well going to judge you for it.


Go right ahead and judge all you want. The question is, are you then going to try to get that person fired for the crime of stating their beliefs in public?


@jowiar: when you adopt that stance, you really have to be sure you are on the "right" side of every important position. I hope you are and will be so that you never have to face tangible oppression for your beliefs.


I was bullied out of my Catholic youth group in high school for my beliefs (read: A bunch of people I had considered friends started calling me a baby killer). It happens. It pushed me to hanging out with better people (read: The new youth minister was a total tool. He replaced a great guy).

Consequences of being on the "wrong" side of things will cause people to think first and speak later, rather than loudly stake out territory without thinking things through. I'm all for that.


Sure, but is it okay with you if these "consequences" are being unable to work and provide for one's family? Because that's the sort of "consequences" the media -- and useful idiots like the author of the original article -- are ordering us to believe are appropriate for disagreeing with their politics.


Woe is me, poor little billionaire, unable to work because I managed to find more money than most people will see in their lives burning a hole in my pocket and, in my billionaire wisdom, thought it was worth trying to elect the closest thing the US has seen to Benito Mussolini.

Look, I didn't like GW Bush, I didn't like Mitt Romney, but I would not shun folks who voted for them, or donated to their campaigns. Donald Trump is running on a platform centered around the belief that certain people deserve fewer rights than others. Donating to the Prop 8 campaign was taking an explicit position that certain people deserve fewer rights than others.


>Woe is me, poor little billionaire...

What's the monetary threshold beyond which it's okay to harass people and fire them for their jobs for their political beliefs? Let's have a number.


The number where you use it to harass others?

"Political beliefs" is another word for "opinions", and the crazy thing about opinions is you can change them. And the ones that you hold reflect on you.


>The number where you use it to harass others?

Who, specifically, is Thiel harassing? Let's have some names, since you seem so confident in your accusation.

>"Political beliefs" is another word for "opinions", and the crazy thing about opinions is you can change them. And the ones that you hold reflect on you.

Exactly. All those screenwriters have to do is change their opinions about Communism, and they're good to go.


Depending on what their beliefs are, I may well choose not to engage in business with them, or hang out where they hang out, or whatnot. Others may choose to do the same. This may result in firing. So it goes.


Exactly. Because those writers and directors held Communist views, Hollywood executives chose not to engage in business with them. That may have resulted in firing. So it goes.

Or is that different somehow?


Sorry, I am really not too concerned about the career implications of suggesting that someone who owns multiple McLarens stop endorsing someone who could plausibly purchase McLaren Automotive.


Again, that's not what we're talking about. Suggest away, until you're blue in the face. I encourage it. The problem is when you advocate actionable, tangible retribution against people not listening to those suggestions.


Well, we're not exactly talking about HRC either. Focus, don't dilute the topic. There are actual words by PG, SA that can be compared to Thiel's. The dissonance between them is the problem here, especially as relates to YC policies.

tl;dr: does YC doing nothing about Thiel mean "culture fit" is dead as a concept?


Suggest away, we say, as long as you don't suggest something that makes us uncomfortable.


Who's talking about feeling uncomfortable? We're talking about actively punishing people for their political opinions. I can't tell if you're deliberately misreading the discussion.


Are you categorically opposed to punishing people for political opinions, or is it a matter of crossing a certain threshold? For instance, what if Trump had openly advocated putting Muslims in "internment camps" and Thiel had donated a billion dollars to his campaign? Would you still believe that severing a business relationship with him would be immoral?


But Trump HADN'T suggested that; and THAT is why it is immoral. He's a major party candidate supported by 40% of the American population, not Adolph Hitler.


So in your opinion is there any logically-possible situation in which it is morally acceptable to choose to cease associating with someone over incommensurable views? Have you ever done it yourself? Do you feel morally obligated to be a business partner of people who support Hillary Clinton, since to choose not to would "punish" and "silence" their speech?


> it is morally acceptable to choose to cease associating with someone over incommensurable views

For you? A lot of situations are morally acceptable. For you to demand others to do it, even though they clearly not inclined to? Very narrow set of situations, mostly involving heinous crimes.


Citizen! You have attempted to influence the thoughts or actions of another! Hold position and await the arrival of constables who will arrest you for violating the Anti-Groupthink Act 2016!


Your thoughts jump to police and coercion all the time. Why is that? Nobody is trying to coerce you to anything, unless you see other individuals voluntarily associating as some kind of coercion on you.


People discussing with whom they will or will not associate is, in this very HN thread, referred to as "tyranny", "despotism", "blackmail", "extortion", and of course you yourself went for the oppression/"thoughtcrime" angle.

Yet one satirical comment lampooning it is "jump to police and coercion all the time" and "why is that".

I suggest you get checked out, you've got more projection going on than an overbooked IMAX theater.


I'm perfectly ok with that, I'm just not ok with pushing others to do likewise.


So it's OK to speak as long as you don't try to persuade someone of something?

If somebody's up on a soapbox giving speeches about their views, and I disagree with their views, should I not get up on my own soapbox and explain why I disagree and think people shouldn't buy that other guy's arguments?

If I think someone has a poor business history, should I keep silent when somebody else considers a partnership? Or should I speak up and say "I think that's a bad partnership" and try to persuade them?

You seem to have a view of speech being allowed so long as the first speaker is privileged never to be disagreed with by a later speaker, and never to have anyone try to persuade others not to accept the first speaker's argument. That's not how free speech works.


You are over-generalizing. Trying to persuade others in "something" is completely fine. Unless "something" happens to be "let's institute groupthink and shun anybody who dares to disagree with our views" and then it's terrible. Not the fact of persuading is terrible, but the content of this particular persuasion.


So... people with similar views can't congregate together, and people with irreconcilable views can't just decide to stay away from each other, in your world.

Or is it a percentage thing? When 50.0000001% of a group of people share an opinion, would you like the police to swoop in and start forcibly preventing speech just in case more people might be persuaded of the idea and join the "groupthink"?

(also, funny thing, there's a lot of diversity in the anti-Thiel/anti-Trump opinions, but a whole lot of "wow, these people all seem to be reading the same script" in the pro-Thiel/pro-Trump, so maybe consider carefully who you'd like to accuse of groupthink. Oh wait, crap, I just tried to persuade someone to take an action; never mind, I'll see myself off to the labor camp)


> people with similar views can't congregate together, and people with irreconcilable views can't just decide to stay away from each other, in your world.

Oh, surely they can. I just won't be a part of a groupthink community and would oppose the effort of turning whole technology community into such. If you want to organize "Trump haters of Silicon Valley" meetup, feel free to. As long as you are not going to demand that "Trump lovers of Silicon Valley" meetup is shut down and meetup.com deletes their account. See the difference?

> Or is it a percentage thing?

It's not a percentage thing, it's a mindset thing. The fact that you turn to police and coercion all the time is another sign. The point is that we need to be open to coexisting with people that disagree with us, and that's a good thing. The urge to run for a safe space and surround oneself with a warm fuzzy cloak of groupthink is a natural one, but it's not a good thing if you want a healthy and intellectually honest and vibrant community around you.

> but a whole lot of "wow, these people all seem to be reading the same script" in the pro-Thiel/pro-Trump,

Of course, people that agree with you are all independent intellectual powerhouses, and people that disagree with you are all mindless drones zombified by Evil Powers. Funny how it happens like that all the time, eh?


Funny. People suggest exercising their right to associate or not, freely as they choose, and exercising their right to use persuasive speech, and you equate it to the use of force, to censorship, to silencing.

And double funny: it started with trying to persuade someone to disassociate from the campaign/supporters of a man who literally talks about wielding the law to silence journalism he doesn't like.


I don't see anything funny with it. It's not the fact they speak or associate that is a problem. It's the goal of that speech and association - ensure that voicing dissent and disagreeing with orthodoxy would endanger one's economic and social well-being, to the point that nobody dares to do so.

> who literally talks about wielding the law to silence journalism

This is, of course, despicable and should be condemned. I certainly think it's one of the worst qualities in Trump and understand how that could be a deal-breaker for people not to vote for him.

On the other hand, he is running against the candidate who has promised to use not just private libel law, but the full force of federal government regulatory machine to suppress the speech of her political opponents (and when I say "her opponents" I am not being rhetorical - it's the speech against her personally that she found so objectionable that needed the First Amendment to be overridden). And who was the member of the administration that was documented to use federal government to oppress political opponents.

So I can also understand how for other people it can look prudent to choose the lesser evil (private lawsuits) over the bigger evil (systematic governmental oppression).

In any case, both positions are legitimate and should be debated and put forward on the market of ideas. The idea, however, that association with one of these must make you a pariah - I don't think that will market very well. Or that I want to visit a market where it markets well.


You can try to persuade someone but I think public shaming and blackmail are across the line.


It's way beyond mere feeling uncomfortable, it's building a community based on groupthink and intolerance to dissent. At this point, plain uncomfortable is a distant dream we yearn for.


Okay, now we're talking. So what's the maximum amount of money someone is allowed to have before they are no longer allowed to express political opinions you, personally, don't like? $10 million? $1 million? $100,000?


Well, what if Thiel supports David Duke or comes out as a holocaust denier -- would you still claim that Thiel's professional career can't be at stake?


There's a difference between David Duke and a mainstream party candidate supported by roughly 40% of the American population.


In the July 1932 German Federal Election, the National Socialist German Workers Party received 37.3% of the vote. [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_federal_election,_July_...


First, Trump is supported by roughly 40% of likely voters, not all Americans. Second, just because a belief is widely held doesn't automatically make it more acceptable than it would be if it were less common.


> [Sam's] continued support for Peter Thiel is harming the goal he shares with me of preventing a Trump Presidency now, or in 2020

> (b) Pretty sure Thiel isn't going to shut up no matter what Sam Altman does.

The seeming dissonance here is interesting to me. Can you explain in more detail what outcome you're expecting will occur if Thiel is removed from YC, and how that will impact the election?


(b) Then what's the point? Just hurt Thiel? Demand virtue signal from Altman? Ritual purity?

(c) Surely so, but I am inclined to draw the distinction between "policies X advocating are wrong" and "Y must shun X for advocating the policies or be shunned himself". The first promotes the conversation, the second shuts it down.

(f) Prooflink?


pg: Several of those companies send people to Demo Day, and when I saw the list I thought: we should stop inviting them. So yes, we'll remove anyone from those companies from the Demo Day invite list.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3382765


I don't know the context of that decision but I'm fairly sure even if pg is being inconsistent that two wrongs would not make a right so I hate seeing that kind of rebuttal being handed out as if it's a QED. It is not. It's whataboutism.


thank you!


> donations are free speech

It's a donation so large that it would be impossible for the vast majority of Americans to participate in the same conversation. I question the decision to categorize it as pure free speech. It's qualitatively different from a $100 donation.


No it is not. It's like saying since New York Times has more circulation than my blog they don't get to enjoy the First Amendment like I do. The underlying premise of it is "I'm ok with dissent but only when it does not really matter". No, quite the opposite - it is important to be OK with dissent exactly when it does matter. That's why the First Amendment exists - to protect speech that matters.

And it's quite possible for vast majority of Americans to participate - they are doing it right now, before your very eyes, it's an undeniable fact that this is exactly what is happening right now.


The first amendment protects you from government interference. It doesn't protect people from deciding not to do business with the New York Times because they don't like what the paper says. NYT is definitely big enough to not need that extreme level of protection.


Nobody gets that kind of protection, so the size is irrelevant in each case. That's the point - the size of it only matters if tolerance depends on ineffectiveness.


There are plenty of people on this page insisting that politics should be countered only with politics, not with shunning. That can be a good policy at a small scale, don't fire people because of how they vote, etc. But it's not a good policy at a large scale, of deciding whether you work with a big corporate institution (or someone with as much money and public face as one).


> There are plenty of people on this page insisting that politics should be countered only with politics, not with shunning

In most cases (BOCTAOE) this sounds like a good idea.

> But it's not a good policy at a large scale

What you mean by large scale? Like when you're state senator or president? Sure, you are welcome to cross that bridge when you come to it :)


> What you mean by large scale?

One qualifier would be giving a full speech at either the democrat or republican convention. That's intentionally putting yourself into the political system, and it's okay if people make business decisions based on it.


I think it's stupid to make business decisions based on just that (of course, the content of the speech matters - e.g. if you are a coal miner and the speaker says she will bankrupt coal miners, it's prudent for you to exercise extreme caution in dealing with such person). But that's not where we are at. We are at people trying to shame YC into making business decisions they obviously don't want to make based on shaming mob's political preferences.


OK, you're now forced to read the New York Times, and Drudge, and any other political publication, blog, rant, whatever.

Refusing to do so would infringe on their rights to free speech, so get to reading.


Sorry, you probably wanted to make a point but it makes no sense. Nobody said free speech requires to force anybody to read anything, and certainly Thiel's donation did not force anybody to do anything. Well, except for the obvjous thing of all citizens being forced to accept whoever is elected president, but that's the question of legitimacy of government which Thiel has nothing to do with.


Well, you're arguing that someone doesn't get to "enjoy the First Amendment" if we don't nod along and provide a compliant audience. Disagreeing or, worse, choosing not to associate with someone based on what they say is, to gauge from this thread, considered a terrible sin.

So: why aren't you out there providing an audience to speech you don't like?


> Well, you're arguing that someone doesn't get to "enjoy the First Amendment" if we don't nod along and provide a compliant audience.

No, that's not what I am arguing. What I am arguing is demanding that people will be purged from the community and everybody cuts ties with them because they views do not agree with yours is not a good thing. You can disagree with Thiel, you can argue with Thiel, you can ignore Thiel, you can do whatever you want. But if you demand that YC severs ties with Thiel because he committed thoughtcrimes - that's where lose my goodwill completely.

> Disagreeing or, worse, choosing not to associate with someone based on what they say is, to gauge from this thread, considered a terrible sin.

No, it's not. Nobody, including me, ever said disagreeing with Thiel is a "sin", let alone "terrible" one. Demanding that YC shuns him - even though they themselves obviously don't want to do it - because you are disagreeing with him - yes, that would be terrible.

> So: why aren't you out there providing an audience to speech you don't like?

Because I don't want to?


> No, that's not what I am arguing. What I am arguing is demanding that people will be purged from the community and everybody cuts ties with them because they views do not agree with yours is not a good thing. You can disagree with Thiel, you can argue with Thiel, you can ignore Thiel, you can do whatever you want. But if you demand that YC severs ties with Thiel because he committed thoughtcrimes - that's where lose my goodwill completely.

Thiel voluntarily choose to strongly support Trump without thinking he owed anyone an explanation. That's his prerogative, but it doesn't afford him much favors in the form of being a part of the community. People have the right not to support Thiel or organizations he is a part of. What do you suggest they do? Is it more fair to boycott YC and the companies they have invested in rather than to ask for the resignation of Thiel?


> Theil voluntarily choose to strongly support Trump without thinking he owed anyone an explanation.

He is right that he doesn't owe anybody anything, but he provided ample explanations for his actions anyway. They are easily accessible too.

> but it doesn't afford him much favors in the form of being a part of the community.

Is it me or you feel like you can decide who is part of the community and who is not? Why is that?

> People have the right not to support Thiel or organizations he is a part of.

Sure, they do. It's not what we are talking about. We are talking about people wanting the situation to be that "not to support Thiel" - including mandatory declaration of such non-support and cutting all ties with him - be the only right possible in this community. I don't want such a community. Such community sucks big time.

There's a big diff between "you are allowed to be vegetarian or to eat pork, as you wish" and "if you eat pork, you are outta here and everybody must never speak to you again". First is normal, second sounds like a totalitarian sect.

> Is it more fair to boycott YC and the companies they have invested in rather than to ask for the resignation of Thiel?

Neither is fair or sane.


> [...] but he provided ample explanations for his actions anyway.

As far as I know he hasn't provided any explanation for what people are actually concerned about.

> Is it me or you feel like you can decide who is part of the community and who is not? Why is that?

If you can decide that he is, why can't I decide that he isn't? In a society that respect the individual we can all decide who we want to associate with.

> Neither is fair or sane.

If people have the right not to support him then it's also their right to not support YC or any other organization they think is benefiting Thiel. You seem to expect a scenario where people should dismiss their own opinions so Thiel can enjoy more freedom.


> he hasn't provided any explanation for what people are actually concerned about.

That is kinda vague. His views and ideals are known, he wrote several essays on that AFAIK.

> If you can decide that he is, why can't I decide that he isn't?

I don't decide that he is, he is by the fact of the involvement. If he weren't, the calls to purge him would be not necessary.

> In a society that respect the individual we can all decide who we want to associate with.

Surely, but I see no respect to that right of the YC members - in fact, they are being shamed for exercising this right.

> f people have the right not to support him then it's also their right to not support YC or any other organization they think is benefiting Thiel.

Of course they have the right. It's the cause that they are promoting in their exercise of this right - the cause of groupthink, intellectual conformity and intolerance to dissent - that is terrible.


So, how legally punishable should a boycott be, in your view of the world?

And how do you justify, on free-speech grounds, trying to take away the right of people to engage in persuasive speech (hint: that's what it is when someone urges a boycott, or otherwise tries to urge someone to do something)?

Finally, are you consistent in this position? Or is it only when the victim is someone you like that you break out the insipid "thoughtcrime" lines?


Ellen Pao is free to boycott Thiel if she wishes. It becomes a gray area when she boycotts third parties. The only reason why it's a gray area though is because she has little to no power over them.

A boycott is fair if it is below. Consumers choosing not to buy products, investors deciding not to buy stock, halting a newspaper subscription or not associating with former friends.

But a boycott from above is a tyranny. Firing employees for their political views, trying to get your mutual friends to disassociate with your former friend.


So if it's me calling for a boycott of a bunch of people richer than me, is that OK? All the YC partners, part- or full-time, are richer than me.

Because I can say right now: if I ever need another job or want to start a company, I'm not going to work for a YC-funded company or accept money from YC, and I encourage others to do the same. If that means, in your eyes, that I am the most brutal extortionate blackmailing tyrannical despot in the history of brutal extortionate blackmailing tyrannical despots, and will single-handedly destroy the American republic forever by being Literally Worse Than Hitler™, I can live with that.

However, I can predict with some certainty that someday somebody's going to do something you don't like, you're going to make an argument that crosses the line you yourself drew, and that I'm going to be really amused when someone gives you the lecture you're giving other people right now, because ultimately the harshest thing I can do to someone like you is hope you someday get to live in a world that holds the values you've espoused.


> So if it's me calling for a boycott of a bunch of people richer than me, is that OK? All the YC partners, part- or full-time, are richer than me.

Not advocating it of course, but you are within your rights to do so. It is not illegal or immoral. A boycott is very different to an employer punishing employees with firings for their political views.

That said; I also believe (not talking legal, this is my opinion) employers are within their rights to hire whoever they wish. Particularly they are not obligated to hire people who they believe will disrupt their company. It is best practice to separate politics from business, and still be aware that humans are political animals at the same time, I hope that makes sense.

Ellen Pao is unlikely to hire a libertarian, technocommerialist or neoreactionary but that is okay. However she cannot advocate against them by blackmailing other people, that would be stepping over the line. It would be wrong were Peter Thiel to lean on companies to fire Democrats and hippies, though he is highly suspicious about hippies.

> However, I can predict with some certainty that someday somebody's going to do something you don't like, you're going to make an argument that crosses the line you yourself drew, and that I'm going to be really amused when someone gives you the lecture you're giving other people right now, because ultimately the harshest thing I can do to someone like you is hope you someday get to live in a world that holds the values you've espoused.

Maybe. I cannot know future-me. However I do know I'm content for Communists to exist and they represent the furthest political position from mine.

My position is that exit (voting with feet) is preferable to voice (voting/media), so that if we have lots of variety intellectually and people are free to move from one position to another it shall produce more productive outcomes. That means that even groups of people I heavily dislike would have room to spread their wings.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with our political ideas but since they will be located in an independent Seastead or SEZ (similar to the factions in the Diamond Age) the fallout from awful policies won't affect me personally. At most interventions would only occur if people were being prevented from leaving. I think this would produce interesting results and a faster political evolution than the world witnesses today. After all I'm sure you'll agree, it is highly likely we both have strongly held priors that are false, but cannot know it until it is demonstrated. With competition and natural selection we can be more scientific about politics.


You are spectacularly missing the point. You are not required to listen to anything Thiel says. But you are required to tolerate the fact that he says things.


Except according to all these eerily-similar HN commenters, if I speak up and say I don't like what he says, or that I'll refuse to associate with him or his supporters, or encourage other people to do the same, well, clutch my pearls and fetch the smelling salts! That's tyranny! Despotism! Bullying! Shaming! Witch hunting! Extortion! Blackmail! Coercion! Censorship! Oppression! Groupthink! Punishing thoughtcrime!

So what it seems these folks really want is "Trump and Thiel can say what they want and nobody's allowed to speak up or out against them, and must associate with and financially aid them or else". Which is not how I envision freedom of speech working.


What was your opinion of the Hollywood blacklists?


Given that they were largely government-imposed (in the sense that the government actively threatened businesses who didn't blacklist suspected "Communists"), I don't see an analogy to private individuals advocating for/against particular views or associations.

If Trump called for a boycott of a company, would you condemn him for it?


Those "threats" were prominent politicians saying negative things about the businesses. So the blacklists were exactly as "government-imposed" as boycotts of Trump, given the many prominent politicians saying negative things about Trump and his voters today.

That is to say, not at all.

>If Trump called for a boycott of a company, would you condemn him for it?

Depends on the reason for the boycott, of course. If he was calling for the boycott of a company because its founder donated to Hillary Clinton, or Jill Stein, or American Socialist Party nominee Mimi Soltysik, or even the Devil himself, then of course I would condemn him for it. I'm sorry to hear you wouldn't have the same resolve.

(I'll save you a few minutes of Googling, by the way, and pre-emptively condemn him just in case he has done something like that and I haven't heard about it. Trump is a jackass.)


Ah yes, "politicians saying negative things". That's a nice euphemism for "Congressional hearings".

Let me just ask, then: were you this vocal and this active on the internet when the whole "people don't want to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples" stuff was making news, and lots of people were showing support for the cake-bakers and encouraging association/disassociation based on "beliefs"?

Just asking because despite claims, an awful lot of y'all who make these arguments seem to be inconsistent on that stuff (I think pg describes it as a "blind spot").


I have no idea what trap you think you're setting here. Perhaps you should rephrase your statement in a less roundabout way.


So where do you draw the dollar line of protected free speech versus it's ok to punish that person for their political views?

$100 dollars is apparently protected free speech by your logic, but $1.25 million dollars is a punishable offense.

Is $1000 dollars ok? $10,000?, $100,000? Where are you going to draw the line.

Also, by this line of thinking then the converse must also apply; if someone donates to Clinton and someone in a position holding power over them supports Trump then they can equally dole out punishments...


When liberal pundits get a platform from the NYT, his speech is qualitatively different than the opinion I write in my blog, yet I don't think we should legalize political retribution or censure against pundits who use too large a platform. Hopefully you agree?


And a celebrity's Tweet to 10 million followers is speech so large it would be impossible for the vast majority of Americans to rival. Doesn't mean it's not speech, and doesn't mean it shouldn't be protected—legally and socially.


> it would be impossible for the vast majority of Americans to participate in the same conversation

But isn't the majority of funding Trump is receiving coming from small donations from lots of Americans?

I get that money in politics is a frequent source of concern but this doesn't look like one of those occasions.


> yes, donations are free speech

Donations are free speech with respect to the government. No one is questioning Thiel's free speech rights. People are responding with more free speech as is their right. No one is silencing Trump supporters.

Democracy is not a safe space.


I'm sorry, I do not understand how Thiel or any other Trump supporter would be harmed if Sam or Paul exercised their rights to terminate their relationship with him. It would be an act of expression, would it not, to abrogate their partnership? Are you suggesting a chilling effect similar to that caused by surveillance?

Honestly, there's so much vitriol being hosed on everything this election touches, if one stops and looks objectively at the YC/Thiel equation, is it any more than this:

Thiel's views are not compatible with the culture that YC espouses (citations already offered in other comments). Thiel has exercised his right to express his beliefs by supporting a particular political candidate, and direct harm to others as a result cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. YC has the right to express their beliefs by ending their agreement with Thiel, and direct harm to others as a result cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. It's therefore a purely ethical choice, which by definition, is subjective, and either results in YC exercising their right to express themselves freely, or YC opting to withhold that expression without giving up their right to any future expression.

I don't support YC's position in this matter, but I do support their right to have one. I don't support Thiel or Trump either, but I do support the rights that enable their expression. It is my right to expression that enables me to speak out, and hope, yes, to change the minds of others; not to convince anyone to agree with me, mind you, but to be honest with themselves, and to be principled in their actions.


True. FWIW I think Thiel's goal is to take the opportunity to be on the national stage a bit, expecting to have a bit more involvement in future elections.

Also, FWIW, I think people who live in CA should seriously consider voting for a third party candidate, since HRC is certain to win the state.


I think a lot of people are chill about Trump and Trumpism because they're sure Hillary Clinton is going to win. They're not taking the time to really internalize what a Trump presidency would mean, because nothing is forcing them to.

They, too, should reconsider.

First: Trump could very well win. The polls before Brexit leaned slightly towards its success, but that depended on how you read them: almost as many polls showed it headed for defeat as success. Brexit took Europe by surprise. It's part of a wave of populist nationalism that we can recognize in many countries. Trump, too, is a part of the popular nationalism movement. Not only that, but there's still 3 weeks of election to go. If you believe Sam Wang, this has been an extremely stable election, and it's unlikely to tip. But if you believe Nate Silver, this has been one of the most volatile elections since we've begun tracking it, and the two previous big swings in opinion took less than a week each.

Second: there will be no getting around the tens of millions of people who will cast a vote, in effect, for American Fascism. If Trump loses, he'll create his own cable news network, which will have a built-in audience of millions. That network will drag Fox News further to the right. Trump will spend four years running a campaign against the legitimacy of the 2016 election, and will probably have little trouble capturing the nomination in 2020.

Remember: the GOP may not have believe Trump to be an existential threat to democracy in 2015, but they were sure as shit aware that Trump was a grave threat to their chances at re-taking the White House. His was a joke campaign. And yet he took the nomination from the party establishment, almost effortlessly. He will do it again. The forces aligned against him in the GOP proved themselves impotent.


> It's part of a wave of populist nationalism that we can recognize in many countries

Who's "we"? Learned economists/sociologists, or internet randomers?

Trump wants to "make america great again", Brexiters want to regain their sovereignty from an unaccountable other; they aren't the same thing.

> in effect, for American Fascism

Which way do you think the country was going before Trump came along? Greater freedom, accountability and transparency of government? Does prism, Snowden etc not mean anything?


No, they're not the same thing. #MAGA is the American populist nationalist movement. Brexit is the British populist nationalist movement. As you have adroitly detected, they are in fact two different countries.

But I'm glad you brought Snowden up. Because that gives me the opportunity to remind you that one of Donald Trump's campaign promises is to put Edward Snowden to death.


They aren't the same kind of thing either, America isn't voting to remove itself from any kind of union.

I guess we'll see what happens.


> one of Donald Trump's campaign promises is to put Edward Snowden to death.

That is heartbreaking. Thank you for informing me. Whoever we elect, this absolutely cannot happen.

He has also suggested, "going after their families" as a strategy to combat terrorism. Can we elect someone, to stand over the world, who has made such statements? We really need a third option. A quote from some wise-guy somewhere [0]: "315 to 320 million people; this is the best two that we can come up with?"

0: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3O01EfM5fU&t=37


Also one of Hillary's campaign promises. And basically what Obama has been trying to do.

Remember Hillary suggested that we should use a drone to take out Julian Assange.

But we should be reminded about Trump taking this position and we should all forget that Obama and Hillary are arguably worse?


> Remember Hillary suggested that we should use a drone to take out Julian Assange.

There is no reliable original source for this. Try not to present unsubstantiated quotes as fact.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12736568


No, Clinton has not made a public declaration that Snowden should be put to death, as Trump has.


To be fair, I thought it wasn't actually Hillary that suggested that. But yes, Obama has ordered quite a few strikes.


No, that is a false statement.


No, it isn't.


So provide a reliable source as citation.


"Does prism, Snowden etc not mean anything?"

I certainly haven't heard Trump defending Snowden or promising to get rid of programs like Prism.


How would it help? He hasn't said he'd extend either program either.


And he's never actually meant anything he's ever said, and then he usually goes on to contradict himself if he ever mentions anything more than once, so it really doesn't matter that he hasn't said anything about it either way.


Man isn't telling anyone what he plans to actually do. I hope it's "fuck up the crypto-fascist institution" ...


This is not even about Trump, he is just the most blatantly visible artifact of a movement that enjoys calling people names and delegitimizing. Trump did this in 2008 and again in 2012, he did it with the whole racist birther routine which few Republican leaders denounced - they were perfectly happy to ride the coat tails of delegitimizing a sitting president. Perfectly happy to continue to do it this year by not even holding hearings on his Supreme Court nominee. And then just yesterday McCain proposes delegitimizing Hillary in advance by blocking any of her nominees.

I agree with you, I think this is playing with fire. But I have no idea if getting a little bit burned is what's needed, or if it quickly turns into Donald actually trying to get the Speaker of the House removed.

"They'll be there...I would think that Ryan wouldn't be there--maybe he would be in a different position," Trump said on The O'Reilly Factor.[1]

Does he really think he can do this? i.e. autocrat. Or does he not know how our government works? i.e imbecile. Or is he trolling? i.e. troll as head of state is great! I mean really? People are so deranged with anti-Hillary sentiment they don't really get how unstable a presidency this would be, just like this whole 18 month shit show has been.

http://insider.foxnews.com/2016/10/11/donald-trump-speaker-p...


> They're not taking the time to really internalize what a Trump presidency would mean,

They don't agree with you. Why should they take the time to internalize what you think a Trump presidency would mean, if you're wrong?

Have you followed all the problems related to people losing their jobs because of tweets, and Nobel laureates losing their jobs because of jokes that got blown out of proportion?

This is not quite the same as that; Trump's statements are not one-off tweets or jokes.

But you assume Trump's statements are literally what he wants to enact. Only #nevertrump actually believes that; everyone else thinks Trump is making statements that are just the right-wing version of Open Borders and Universal Income, and Trump and his supporters actually expect those radical right-wing positions (consider them an initial negotiation position) to be negotiated down to something centrist. They don't want all Muslims banned (well, some Trump supporters do, but not many), nor an economy-damaging trade war with China, nor a literal wall running the entire Mexican border, nor refusal to defend NATO allies. What they do want is some respect for enforcing existing immigration laws (congress made it illegal to immigrate by walking across the border, but the Democrat propaganda seeks to frame Trump as a bad person for suggesting enforcing the law Congress wrote). They want some attention paid to long-term economic consequences of outsourcing so much production, and restructuring the costs of the U.S. playing World Policeperson. They want some indication that the government is aware of the difficulty of "vetting" immigrants from a war-torn region without stable government, and that there are social and political externalities from accepting not-well-vettable immigrants when those war-torn regions are known for terrorism (that we may or may not be funding to try to topple Assad), and when even those who are not "terrorists" have what most Americans would consider an undesirable propensity for supporting things like Sharia law.

You and other Thiel-haters reject the principle of charity as it applies both to Trump and to Thiel; you paint a caricature of someone's positions, and go on a witch hunt against anyone who supports those people. When that isn't enough, you go on a witch-hunt against anyone who associates with those people. I consider that dangerous and politically damaging. Obviously everyone has a right to express their opinions, and to choose their associations, but that presumes some level of respect, caution and restraint that is not generally being shown by modern liberals.


"But you assume Trump's statements are literally what he wants to enact."

I am exhausted by all of the requests by Trump supporters to somehow magically read the tea leaves and interpret what Trump really means to do, while ignoring everything he consistently says he will do.

Like how Trump claimed he sexually assaulted women, then many women came forward and said, yes, he sexually assaulted them, and now we are expected to not believe Trump then, and not believe any of these dozen or so women, but instead only believe Trump today, who of course would never possibly be trying to deny something that's true but politically (and maybe criminally) damaging to himself.

How about we just go back to people running for office actually saying what they intend to do, and voters taking them at face value?

(Which, by the way, is surprisingly close to how most politicians actually behave. George W. promised to cut taxes, and cut taxes. Obama actually passed something embodying a lot of his health care ideas and negotiated with our enemies like Iran. There are many other examples of politicians actually trying to do what they promised, so I think it's a little dangerous to assume a politician won't actually try to do what he says he will do.)


> I am exhausted by all of the requests

Well get un-exhausted and stop pretending not to understand negotiation techniques (this community is primarily about start-ups, is it not?).

Trump is a negotiator. He has been a negotiator his whole life. An aggressive opening bid is openly part of his style.

Trump is also an entertainer, he knows how to push people's buttons and get people engaged using visual imagery and drama. He does this to combat the hostile and equally (usually more) dishonest mudslinging that all modern politicians engage in.

He also knows how to use his skill at PR as leverage. Someone negotiating with him knows that he can rally the public to push for, say, Term Limits or something. Or, if you're cooperative, maybe he'll use that same rhetorical entertainer skill to help you out. Have you noticed how often Trump, usually in a seeming offhand manner, praises the people and groups who do business with him?

It's really not that hard to understand. You should not be getting exhausted over this.

> How about we just go back to people running for office actually saying what they intend to do, and voters taking them at face value?

This is due to the methods that modern politicians use to win votes. Their published platforms are always vague and lack REAL details. And even if and when they have real details, any thinking person knows that there are two huge problems to implementing any proposed change: (1) opposition from system (eg congress) (2) circumstances change and the policy no longer makes sense. So instead of going into all the details about how they're going to implement their free ice cream policy, they spend massive amounts of money on PR (friendly press hits, TV ads, attack ads) to influence voters using rhetoric and exposure.

Of course Clinton's campaign has been legendarily dishonest and unethical [1]. But they all do it to some extent.

You cite Obama's campaign? Other than healthcare, what do you actually remember about his platform? What I remember is a lot of vague rhetoric about "Hope and Change." He was heavily critical of Bush's wars, and yet Obama's foreign policy has been full of violence and war.

> Which, by the way, is surprisingly close to how most politicians actually behave. George W. promised to cut taxes, and cut taxes.

GW Bush invaded Iraq. I don't remember that being on his platform, do you?

[1] http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/10/17/exclusive...

> Like how Trump claimed he sexually assaulted women,

Except he didn't. This is a blatantly ignorant interpretation of the conversation that ignores the implied levity and non-seriousness of the exchange and the explicit claim that consent is granted.


In one breath, you say that the problem with how I view Trump is that I take him at his word. In the next, you accuse me of caricaturing his positions. The problem I have engaging with your argument is that I cannot crawl inside your head to discover what your perceptions of Donald Trump are, and those appear to be the only terms on which you're comfortable discussing Donald Trump.

But of course, the bigger problem here is that I'm not here to convince you not to support Donald Trump. I hope you won't. But if you do: fine. Sam Altman does not agree with you. He likens Trump to a dictator. If you're a Trump supporter, you are not the audience to whom my argument is addressed.


> The problem I have engaging with your argument is that I cannot crawl inside your head to discover what your perceptions of Donald Trump are, and those appear to be the only terms on which you're comfortable discussing Donald Trump.

Oh come now. The reason you shouldn't have to crawl inside his head is that you can engage in discussion to learn what he thinks.

If the issue is a dispute between what I believe Trump is saying and what you believe Trump is saying, we could have a discussion where we break it down and identify what parts we share and what parts we don't share, and why.

For example, we could start by agreeing that Trump is opposed to immigration. You could claim that this is racist. I would suspect this is a deeply held prejudice so I would just dispute it and move on. I would claim that "Building a Wall" is just a rhetorical device to focus people's attention on the more abstract and tedious problem of an insecure border. You could point out how Trump or his surrogates have used various examples of actual border walls in other parts of the world, which would lend credibility it being a real promise, not mere rhetoric. We'd both have learned something. And so on.

Alternately, you could just go opposite direction and just start throwing around vague, obsolete terms like Fascism and the discussion would go nowhere.


I always find it laughable (in a very sad way) when people support a political candidate based on the active belief that they won't actually do what they say.

If your best chance is that the president has been lying and exaggerating things for the last year and a half, you're totally screwed.

I also don't believe his positions exaggerate his beliefs. He is a racist sexist xenophobic con man, and his policies reflect that.

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time", said Maya Angelou. Trump has been showing us who he is for decades, yet people like you still think maybe he's someone else. Fancy.


> I always find it laughable (in a very sad way) when people support a political candidate based on the active belief that they won't actually do what they say.

I always find it laughable (in a very sad way) when people forget that solving the problems of tomorrow with the solutions of today usually doesn't work very well.


You realize that a US President merely hinting that we won't defend our NATO allies is a direct path to World War III?

This "he doesn't really mean what he says" defense is not only naive: even saying what he says with such blatant disregard for civil society invites violence against non-whites, against politicians, against voters!

Enough of his supporters legitimately believe the election is rigged that we're looking at the delegitimization not only of our likely next president but the entire political system. "Burn it down" sounds fun until you realize Venezuela or Zimbabwe are potential outcomes.


> You realize that a US President merely hinting that we won't defend our NATO allies is a direct path to World War III?

You realize that any attempt to implement Hillary's proposed no-fly zone in Syria would require the US to shoot down Russian aircraft? You realize that is an act of war?

We are way closer to World War III than you realize, and it's most definitely not Trump's rhetoric that has brought us here.

> Enough of his supporters legitimately believe the election is rigged that we're looking at the delegitimization not only of our likely next president but the entire political system.

Hillary's team[1] is the one training protesters in methods of provocation and escalation to violence and then sending them to Trump rallies to cause chaos and anarchy. Hillary's team is the one celebrating that their covert operations succeeded in having a rally in Chicago shut down. Hillary's team is the one subverting democratic institutions and promoting escalations of violence and anarchy.

These shenanigans wouldn't even have been attempted if the Clinton Machine operatives thought that the press would cover the stories fairly and objectively. (Or, if they really buy into their own propaganda that bird-dogging provocation is somehow blameless, they would claim hostile press). Either way, it took an independent journalist (who is maligned and whose credibility is still attacked by corporate media) to expose the operation and offer the people the chance to really understand what happened in Chicago, San Jose, and elsewhere.

Without a functioning 4th estate, you cannot have real democracy.

[1] Yes, she had "plausible deniability" but that's irrelevant at this point. Whether Hillary is actually the calling shots makes very little difference. Her so-called "political machine" is all she has going for her.


Do you know why he made the comment? I don't think you do.

He did it because Europa isn't spending the promised bnp on military spending and he is saying they need to step up their game and can't just expect for the US to come saving them every time.

Some of Trumps comments are obviously absurd, but many of them are taken out of context just like you did here.


I understand his motivation. I'm pointing out there are severe consequences to his stream of consciousness approach.

Russia will reclaim the Baltic states if we give Putin reason to believe we won't honor our commitments. Hell, Trump's been so eager to embrace Russian propaganda he'll probably just gift them.


> Russia will reclaim the Baltic states

There is no point to wild speculation about Russia invading the Baltic states at some future date when the possibility of war with Russia exists RIGHT NOW over Syria and the allegations of cyberwarfare from Hillary Clinton and the current administration.

Trump's rhetoric is entirely focused on doing what's best for the American People, without regard to idealistic, imperialistic, abstract Neocon ideology of expanding US hegemony and influence.


> But you assume Trump's statements are literally what he wants to enact.

The usual complaint about politicians is that they rarely make good on their pre-election promises. It is interesting that even Trump's supporters are fervently hoping that he won't be true to his campaign proposals.


And each Trump supporter, no matter what their ideology is, believes that they are the special snowflake who knows what Trump really believes in his heart of hearts. They believe Trump actually agrees with them just because they're smart and they believe he's smart too. They project their own hopes and needs and prejudices and bigotry onto him, ignore what he actually says while claiming to agree with what he is not actually saying, and cut him slack for lying about it in public, because of their special insight into Trump's true beliefs which just happen to align with their own that they're also afraid to say in public. That's exactly how dog whistles work: "You know what I'm talking about, right." [1] They've fallen hook line and sinker for a con-man whose only interest is the naked pursuit of power and self aggrandization.

[1] http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/donal...


> And each Trump supporter, no matter what their ideology is, believes that they are the special snowflake who knows what Trump really believes in his heart of hearts.

Well I think he is less likely to start a war with Russia. I base that on the evidence I have observed about the behaviors of each candidate.


> fervently hoping that he won't be true to his campaign proposals.

Which ones?

The only serious one I oppose is aggressive rounding up of illegals. Others I oppose are relatively minor, compared to my opposition to the massively corrupt and sick Hillary Clinton


>Trump will spend four years running a campaign against the legitimacy of the 2016 election, and will probably have little trouble capturing the nomination in 2020.

I was hoping his nomination will serve as a wake-up call for the GOP. More specifically, I'm hoping they drop the strict requirement to pretend to be a fundamentalist Christian lunatic in order to have a real shot at running as a republican. We need more moderates from both major parties. Partisan politics are destroying us.


> More specifically, I'm hoping they drop the strict requirement to pretend to be a fundamentalist Christian lunatic in order to have a real shot at running as a republican.

This is how we got to Trump in the first place.

> Partisan politics are destroying us.

I absolutely agree, though I don't see how all this demonizing of conservatives is going to help.


> His was a joke campaign. And yet he took the nomination from the party establishment, almost effortlessly. He will do it again. The forces aligned against him in the GOP proved themselves impotent.

IMHO The forces against Trump acted too late. In a field with 17 candidates, one of whom appeals to a significant percentage of the base, the outlier will usually win. I wouldn't be surprised if the RNC forces out weaker candidates earlier in the process next cycle.


There are a lot of insightful comments here, I'll respond to a few:

> It's part of a wave of populist nationalism that we can recognize in many countries.

True, HRC too makes many, many appeals to populist sentiments. Hers is less of a "National Greatness" populism, mainly because Trump has cornered the market for that in this election.

Trump has appealed to all the people who buy American cars because they are American or who think that eating a burrito will give them diarrhea (and assume that all people who routinely eat burritos must be plagued by it constantly), etc. etc.

I see this as less of a threat because frankly most of those people are simply old, and they are dying off rapidly. HRC and Obama support gay marriage today because enough of them died off to make homophobia a losing political position.

In the next four years, many more will die off, and that element of society that idealizes 1950s America will be much smaller. Though there is a younger generation that is sympathetic to the 1950s narrative... The television show Mad Men has been hugely popular, and its protagonist is essentially a more handsome Donald Trump. He grabs women and kisses them, he's erratic, he's loud, he's a womanizer, a self-saboteur. This television show captured the imagination of millennials because Don Draper is unlike most young men today. It's that same virility and unapologetic machismo that has led Trump voters to rally behind him. How can we go from being a society that loves Don Draper to a society that hates Don Trump? I don't think it's possible, and I think Trump's ideas will be around for a while even in the younger generation, albeit with a different spokesperson. This is why focusing on the surface layer of Trump is a mistake and why we should be addressing the deeper themes that are going to be alive and well no matter what happens in November.

We'd previously had a lot of presidents who tried to embody the cowboy aesthetic. GWB, born in Connecticut, talked about how much he loves "cold beer and barbecue", owns a ranch, etc. Chris Matthews claims that the winner is always the one the American people can picture squinting into a sunset.

> tens of millions of people who will cast a vote, in effect, for American Fascism

Totally agree, I believe a vote for Trump or HRC counts as this.

> Trump will spend four years running a campaign against the legitimacy of the 2016 election, and will probably have little trouble capturing the nomination in 2020.

TV news is now predominantly entertainment. This is a problem that goes deeper than Trump. It seems natural that an entertainment industry guy like Trump would want to get in on it now that there's zero need for any journalistic merit.


"I see this as less of a threat because frankly most of those people are simply old, and they are dying off rapidly."

You are also out of touch with reality like Altman admitted about liberals not understanding almost half of America. He was right that they've totally ignored their motivations. The Trump supporters are mostly Republicans and people in rural areas. These people have kids, raise them to mostly have similar beliefs, watch similar media that's pro-Right, and often vote for same people. Trump supporters in Mid-South are across all ages with more older ones but plenty in 20's-30's. Almost all the rural people I've asked are pro-Trump because they'd never vote for Democrats but especially not Hillary. They think Trump is more likely to deal with things they care about than a "snobby city-dweller" who doesn't care about them at all.

This will take a long time to die off thanks to the effects of isolation and close-knit communities on new generations. It's not going away in 4 years. Best thing to do is get some Republican candidates in that tap into that who aren't as dangerous as Trump for next election.


I don't think I'm out of touch. Anyone young enough to have the internet, Reddit, and modern social media is very unlikely to be socially conservative over the medium term.

Why? Because young people everywhere (red states and blue states) all like sex (gay and straight), drugs (legal and illegal), and music (country, hiphop, pop). The top 100 list on Apple Music is 50/50 country and poppy hip hop, for example.

The main reason young people affiliate with socially conservative groups (churches, etc.) is to signal membership in a system engineered to get them into a relationship (aka attraction, flirting, sex, etc.). A young male joins the group and immediately gains credibility as being a good person, etc. A young female joins the group and immediately can relax because the males she's meeting are vetted via their membership in the group. A young gay person joins because his/her young gay friends are also members, and they can use the org as cover to spend time together without needing to come out.

Institutions have a label, but their purposes can change very rapidly. Humans are superb at leveraging institutions to achieve their goals.

There are going to be some groups of young people who claim to have highly prejudiced beliefs, etc., but those are fairly common and rarely hold up to scrutiny as the belief holder gets older.

In other words, there is not any sort of youth-oriented grassroots social conservatism in the US. There will always be economic populism, but increasingly there is not a "golden era" in memory for young people to harken back to. Chances are among the stereotypical Trump demographic things were never very cushy economically, and chances are very high that all have had good friends who are African American, latino, hispanic, asian, or any variety of multi-racial backgrounds. Chances are they've had a crush on a multi-racial person and consider the person's humanity far more heavily than their isolated grandparents did (who likely never had many peers or friends from other groups).


> I don't think I'm out of touch. Anyone young enough to have the internet, Reddit, and modern social media is very unlikely to be socially conservative over the medium term.

I think the Internet will take us to a new age that looks strangely like a much older one.

New social conservatism on the Internet does not look like old social conservatism because it is out of living memory. It is a return to what I could only describe as aspirational Victorian Era with updates from the Diamond Age. It pines for a new Golden Age. Exploration and feats of strength. Great Men and Women. Charity for the weak. Gifts for the strong. Perhaps people can earn points to elevate themselves in the class system, which you can think of as an immersive MMORPG with AR but with real life consequences and rewards. There would be tea, iron railings, umbrellas, crumpets and art galleries with beautiful art once more. All UPVC would be replaced with timber.

The neoreactionaries would produce a government and society focused on artificial intelligence, advanced genetic engineering, nuclear power. The history books would be written to explain to schoolchildren that an evil cabal of religious marxists attempted to wrest control of the West. You may have formerly known these people as 'Social Democrats' (shudder). The entire history of the 20th century would be reframed in Spenglerian terms. A typical school exercise might read "Compare and contrast the 3 Demotic Terrors: Democracy, Fascism and Communism" and it should be understood that democracy and religion would be considered socially inappropriate since they were the reason the Third World War began. You can believe in them, but proper people don't. We shall also have an excellent array of hats to choose from, far from the dismal hatless tyranny we reside in today.

Since this world knows a vast amount about people's preferences, voting is not required. Your interests are duly noted and factored into a personalization of your local government's offerings. You are of course free to leave to the next Seastead or Landstead (formed by Climate Change and Demotic Warfare!), since each group has different interpretations we take the ability to opt out seriously.

Would this be a dystopia? Or a radical improvement on our age?


Interesting. I agree that we've seen a great decline both in the practice of democracy and in the public appreciation for it and participation in it.

This is largely because our powerful class has found ways to circumvent it democracy... no matter which party wins, things will stay pretty much the same. Voter turnout reflects this.

I find your point interesting. I think the deep question at the heart of it has to do with the idea of "how important are rules if we can just change them as we go and be better off?"

Economic examples abound, but we've also seen our system of laws evolve into a vastly weakened rule of law such that law enforcement can simply choose from any number of laws that a person might have wittingly or unwittingly violated. This is not an outrage because we are trained to trust those in power.

Notably, Justice Sotomayor on the SCOTUS is "liberal" in some ways but very compliant when it comes to issues of law enforcement privilege, etc.


Good counterpoints. :)


Snobby city-dweller? Unlike... Trump?


Oh i agree. That's the hilarity. The difference is Trumps campaign aims at benefiting the rural people where Hillary appears to not care.


I disagree that Trump would be such a shoe-in for 2020. The Democrats just need a better candidate.

I think with the currently developing scandals (especially sexual assault allegations), and likely many more scandals between 2016 and 2020, they'd need someone even less liked than Hillary for him to have a shot.

The bigger threat is indeed whatever media empire he might try to launch after the election. (Scarily, I could picture him doing so whether he wins or loses.)


> I disagree that Trump would be such a shoe-in for 2020. The Democrats just need a better candidate.

Note that it's almost unheard-of for the sitting president not to run for a second term. (I certainly can't remember a case in my short life.) So either Trump or Clinton will almost certainly be on the ballot in 4 years.


If Hillary isn't in a relatively strong position by 2020, I suspect she'd be reasonable enough to switch with someone else.


LBJ didn't run for reelection.


Yes, he did. Johnson was forced out of the primaries by Sen. McCarthy.


Hear hear. I usually don't post my political views online, but deserves affirmation.


Your comment is a lot of projection of why people might support Trump. I'm not a fan of Trump, and my vote would go to Gary Johnson, but I hope Trump wins. Here's why:

1. I'm gay. Hillary Clinton has campaigned against gay marriage here entire career. Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (not coincidentally on the day I stopped being a democrat.) Trump doesn't care about homosexuality (literally when asked what he would do if he found out an employee was gay he said "it makes no difference"). While HRC supporters like to portray him as anti-gay and wanting to overturn the decision legalizing gay marriage, that's not honest. He correctly disagrees with the basis on which the decision was made, which is different from disagreeing on the outcome. (There really is no power for government to regulate marriage, especially at the federal level.)

So, I hope Trump wins because Hillary is the anti-gay bigot between the two.

I'm not even going to get into the allegations of racism because that boy-who-cried wolf has been going on since Obama got elected and merely disagreeing with him makes you a "racist" now.

2. The claim that Trump represents "american facsism" is a misrepresentation of Fascism. Fascism is an economic system whereby the economy is privately owned but controlled dictatorially by a central government. That means Obamacare ("private" insurance companies, total control over the government) and the GM takeover are examples of American Fascism. The total surveillance society we have under Obama and W and would continue under Hillary is fascist.

To portray this as "liberalism" vs "fascsim" is wrong, and more right if you reverse the roles. (at least Trump is a bit economically liberal.)

3. You guys seem to grab "code phrases" and repeat them as mantras. The one you used is "existential threat to democracy". Remember in 2000 when Gore lost the election and we had 8 years of W as a result? Remember the massive scandal about voting fraud and how widespread it was? That's a literal threat to democracy. Like the Snowden revelations it was news for awhile, and there was talk of reform, but nothing was ever done.

How can there be a democracy when the votes are not even honestly counted? How about the fact that we cannot audit the software of the counting machines?

Isn't that a literal threat to democracy? Much more serious than some obnoxious reality TV star who's slightly more economically liberal than a woman whose entire career has been beset with scandal and allegations of misconduct-- almost all of which were just proven true with email leaks? Who had an investigation by the FBI where the agents say the outcome was predetermined? Isn't that level of corruption a serious existential threat to democracy?

You don't have to agree with me, that's fine- MY objection is to this delusion that there is a only one way to look at this and anyone who disagrees is somehow evil.

I'ma gay guy who wants to legally marry and I'm not going to vote for someone who has denied me my rights.

Tell me that makes me immoral!


This is such absurd mental gymnastics, I think this amounts to trolling.

1. Hillary never voted against marriage equality as a senator. You blame her for what her husband did in 1996, which he has since said was a mistake. Do you hold any of the over 300 Republicans who voted in favor of DOMA accountable? Do you hold any of the Republicans to this day who disagree with the Obergefell ruling, including Donald Trump, and want to unwind it at a local level?

Saying Hillary is a bigot is demonstrably wrong, at least she is completely committed to the Obergefell ruling at the national and local level. Unlike Trump who has clearly said he does not favor gay marriage.

And yes, Trump is a blatant racist. You have to be exceptionally oblivious to ignore even the recent examples of birtherism, and the Central Park 5 - who by the way are innocent and Trump still said last week nope, nope, they were guilty. He's a loon or he's a con, take your pick.

3. Wrong, something was done. Counties across the country got conned into buying fancy electronic voting machines, which are now sufficiently obsolete the companies that sold them do not exist, do not support that hardware anymore, and we're at a net higher risk than we were before. We had a bunch of high tech nut cases who sold governments across the country a bill of goods. Next time, try pen and paper.


1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I1-r1YgK9I

She was against it at some point, for sure.


Do you realize that video is her arguing against a constitutional amendment to define marriage as ONLY between a man and a women?

And which is the better moral position: flip flopping, if in fact she did, on gay marriage where today she very clearly supports it and has precisely articulated why including fully supporting the Obergefell vs Hodges ruling; or someone who explicitly stands against it, in favor of states making their own decisions, and is in favor of a judge who was no friend of the LGBT community?

Trump says he would defend the LGBTQ community. How? By nominating another Scalia, he has said.

Scalia in Lawrence vs Texas, is lamenting that mere disagreement with people's choices (i.e. sexual behavior) can no longer be a reason for putting them in jail. That's who Donald consistently claims he wants as a judge on the Supreme Court.

Whether it's bigotry or bad judgement, it is bad policy. And only one party right now stands on the side of LGBT rights, and it is not the Republican party at all by a very wide margin.


She gets no credit for pretending to be pro-gay rights after the fact. IT's not flip flopping its pandering.

Trump doesn't pander. He doesn't care about gays much he's not courting the gay vote, but that's appropriate- government should be out of our lives not denying our rights.

Obama could have taken action in 2008. He didn't. He continued to oppose gay marriage.

Did hillary stand up to him? Of course not.

You guys think we have to vote for you otherwise we're self hating or some other bullshit.... but we don't. You are going to be in big trouble when the republicans implode and are replaced by libertarians, or they loosen up on social issues and obsolete the libertarian that way.

The religious right is dying out. So when a serious party offers both economic freedom and social freedom, the democrats-- who pretend to offer social freedom and don't even pretend to offer economic freedom -- are going to be DOA.

Unless you fool all the people all the time that all the people are racist and sexist.


I applaud you for standing up to those who would defend your rights as a gay man, asserting your strength of character and courage of conviction. I have nothing I'll to say about your choosing to support a candidate who gives you that freedom to fight your own battles as you see fit.

Consider this, in addition to your position: Your assertion that Hillary is pandering to the LGBTQ community may be based on a faulty premise. You're convinced of Donald's position on gay rights as laissez-faire, and that informs your view of Hillary's "pandering". But what if, as is the hope of anyone who speaks out about their beliefs to a political leader whose support would help their cause, Hillary was truly convinced that she was wrong, and has legitimately changed her mind? Isn't that the outcome the LGBTQ community would want? To have effectively changed the mind of such a political leader?

Further, is it possible that it's closed-minded to refuse to acknowledge that Hillary may have learned something? That she accepted new facts, and adjusted her position as a result of them?

Finally, can you appreciate the perspective that others may have, when they witness a gay man deny that Hillary may have actually, sincerely, really and truly changed her mind, and that she now stands with the gay community? The perspective: "This guy is just as closed minded as he claims Hillary is."


You cannot prove she's pretended or pandering. But let's play a game where we have proof she's merely accommodating gay marriage advocacy, but personally doesn't actually agree with it.

Which is the better political bet? To vote for the person who gives you what you seek? Or vote for the person who states, without reservation that they are opposed to gay marriage, support states right to unwind the Obergefell ruling, and nominate socially conservative judges like Antonin Scalia who happened to vote against Obergefell, the very ruling that grants you that which you claim to seek.

You're simply not credible on this. You're willfully delusional or ignorant on the topic. You have grossly and very obviously mistaken the forest for the trees.


O'REILLY: All right. Gay marriage, favor it?

TRUMP: I'm against it.

O'REILLY: Why?

TRUMP: I just don't feel good about it. I don't feel right about it. I'm against it and I take a lot of heat because I come from New York. You know, for New York it's like, how can you be against gay marriage? But I'm opposed to gay marriage.

O'REILLY: They say, the gays, that this violates their rights, that they are American citizens and they should have a right to live the same way heterosexuals live, and you say?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's a tough situation, and I'll tell you what I say. I say that we have other problems. We have other problems in this country. And I don't think a president should be elected on gay marriage or not gay marriage because we have some very big problems. Based on everything I see, Obama, who said basically the same thing as I do, I think he is going to come out in favor of gay marriage.

O'REILLY: Yes, he will. But you remain opposed?

TRUMP: I am opposed, yes.

http://www.foxnews.com/transcript/2011/03/30/donald-trump-si...


Thanks for that, I hadn't reached back to 2011 for my research. First off, reading this the way you intend, that makes him still less homophobic than hillary. When Oreilley says "they say this violates their rights" he says "this is a tough situation and we have other problems" which in Trump Speak means "yeah it violates their rights but this isn't the first thing to fix so I'm not going to make it a major part of a campaign".

That's hugely softer than Hillaries absolute denouncement of it.

He was spot on about Obama pretending to be in favor of gay marriage (though wrong in his timing- Obama didn't "learn his lesson" until after the Supreme Court ruling. Talk about leading from the rear.)

Like his comments about the court ruling, I read this as him being opposed to the issue as an issue, not the right.

This is the guy who invited Theil to speak at the republican convention-- the first openly gay speaker who in fact stated he was gay at the podium and was applauded for it.

That sure undermines the spin democrats want to spin, but it's the reality.

And basically, this is a turning point for republicans. Trump is the first non-openly homophobic candidate from either party to run for president. It sucks that he's such a doofus and doesn't give good soundbites, but there it is.


> Trump is the first non-openly homophobic candidate from either party to run for president

You believe it's a good thing that he's homophobic but not open about it? So he denies his homophobia in public, but hates gays in private anyway. And chooses Mike Pence as his running mate. You call that progress?

Next you're going to tell me that gay people can't be homophobic or act against their own self interest [1], like you appear to be doing. Good luck overcoming your own self-hatred, and achieving your own Sister Souljah moment.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Mehlman


I wonder if the people who accuse Obama of Fascism have ever even looked up what it means. Here you go: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

"Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties. Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society. Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation. Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies."

What does that sound like to you? Far-right, encourage violence, strong leadership, protectionism. Obama? HARDLY! Trump in a nutshell!


You really should try to at least figure out what the position of your favorite candidate is before you make up your mind to vote. Trumps position is the exact opposite of what you claim it is.

https://ballotpedia.org/2016_presidential_candidates_on_LGBT...


"Remember the massive scandal about voting fraud and how widespread it was?"

Will need a citation for that one. Just saw a headline about a study saying about 13 counts of fraudulent votes were found over a period when 1 billion votes were cast.

Which shouldn't convince you (I don't even have a link right now), but I hope you understand why I'm not just going to take your word for it, either.

"I'ma gay guy who wants to legally marry and I'm not going to vote for someone who has denied me my rights."

Which is your prerogative, but aren't you also concerned about rights for other groups of people? (And if you're denying there haven't been any statements by Trump indicating he wants to deny rights to certain groups of people, you need to pay closer attention.)


>(There really is no power for government to regulate marriage, especially at the federal level.)

That might be true in theory, but the federal government has pretty unrestricted power to e.g. say gay marriage spouses "don't count" for purposes of SS benefits, for income taxation, for adoption benefits, etc.


IF by "in theory" you mean "under the constitution" and by "but" you mean "but in practice" then I agree with you completely.

That is my point. In this area and many other areas of human rights, the government is corrupt and a criminal organization violating these rights.

Have an upvote for a reasonable reply.


I admit I'm very confused about the dismissal of claims of racism. I'm Chinese in America and trumps focus on China and it's evils is very uncomfortable for me and many other Chinese people who want to be seen as American citizens and part of America. This is him spouting hatred to a country whose people have come to this country to make opportunity as they have always had even during such times as the Chinese exclusion act. I'm sure many other immigrants from Latin America or Mexico may feel the same when he goes on many-minute long tirades about Mexico...


> Trump doesn't care about homosexuality (literally when asked what he would do if he found out an employee was gay he said "it makes no difference").

Yeah, right. You do know that Trump wants to appoint clones of Scalia to the Supreme Court, right[1]? The same Scalia who was opposed to gay marriage and gay rights? [2]

> I'm a gay guy who wants to legally marry and I'm not going to vote for someone who has denied me my rights.

... but you don't mind supporting someone who will continue to deny you your rights?

[1] http://www.advocate.com/election/2016/10/10/donald-trump-vow...

[2] http://www.towleroad.com/2016/02/302540/


>Yeah, right. You do know that Trump wants to appoint clones of Scalia to the Supreme Court, right[1]? The same Scalia who was opposed to gay marriage and gay rights? [2]

Scalia's arguments weren't completely unreasonable. His dissent essentially said that the matter should have been solved by a constitutional amendment.

I think the best possible solution would have been to introduce an amendment that clearly states the federal government has no authority to regulate marriage while also clearly stating that the right to pursue a marriage to the consenting adult of our choice falls under the protection of "inalienable rights", thus stripping from the states the ability to individually pass laws oppressing homosexuals.

However, I think that the passing of such an amendment was and is unlikely. So, while I see Scalia's point on that particular issue, I don't necessarily think the rest of the supreme court had much of a choice.

There are many other decisions where I disagreed with Scalia, but I think there's something to be said for maintaining a somewhat balanced supreme court (not that I'm willing to vote for Trump to make that happen).

The supreme court was designed in a way that was intended to keep the justices free from the influence of politics. However, it has pretty much always been a political competition.


> His dissent essentially said that the matter should have been solved by a constitutional amendment.

Why should a fundamental right require a constitutional amendment? IMHO, this is a cop-out for Scalia: he knows how hard it is to put together a constitutional amendment, so instead of just saying "no" and appearing like a bigot, he punted the question as a constitutional amendment. I'm sorry, but I don't buy his argument.


>Why should a fundamental right require a constitutional amendment? IMHO, this is a cop-out for Scalia: he knows how hard it is to put together a constitutional amendment, so instead of just saying "no" and appearing like a bigot, he punted the question as a constitutional amendment. I'm sorry, but I don't buy his argument.

Because the constitution says what it says and it doesn't say what it doesn't say. It is a fundamental right, but the drafters of the constitution failed to mention it in explicit enough terms to adequately protect people. In fact, the people that voted in favor of gay marriage must have agreed that the constitution didn't adequately protect these rights, because they heavily referenced amendments (AKA modifications) to the constitution in their decision.

The constitution isn't perfect. If it was, we wouldn't have needed amendments to give women the right to vote, or to make minorities count as whole people. We need amendments to make it better.

For all I know, Scalia may have had bigoted alterior motives for his vote. However, I'm simply evaluating his argument (which if you'll reread my statement I wasn't actually agreeing with).


The Constitution does not mention marriage at all (AFAICT). So why do you need an amendment to allow gay marriage? What are you amending, if it does not exist?


I didn't suggest an amendment to allow gay marriage, I suggested an amendment that would explicitly prohibit the state and federal governments from attempting to regulate any marriage between two consenting adults.

In an academic manner, you are right. Its silly that we have to do anything to keep any government from interfering with things that we consider to be fundamental rights.

I didn't suggest that the constitution mentions marriage. However, its failure to explicitly state it as a fundamental right is a large part of the reason gay people were oppressed for so long in our country. Historically, rights not outlined in the constitution fall under the authority of state governments.

Also note that the constitution and the bill of rights are more of a statement of rights we already have. The document isn't intended to actually grant the rights. No one can grant fundamental rights. However, having a constitution as a statement of rights can help protect them when others want to take them away.


> Why should a fundamental right require a constitutional amendment?

Why do the Bill of Rights, the 13th, and the 19th amendments exist? They're all designed to protect fundamental rights. An amendment would afford non-traditional marriage the same protection.


The Ninth Amendment, my friend:

  “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
When the Supreme Court "creates" new rights, they are acting under the aegis of the Ninth Amendment, and simply recognizing a right that is retained by the people. For all fundamental rights to be explicitly enumerated in the Constitution is something that the Founders explicitly knew they could not do.


And yet, the end of slavery and enactment of women's suffrage were both strengthened by amendments, rather than supreme court decisions (which is why I included those in my list). So I think that my question still stands. Why would an amendment be necessary to force a right that should've been held by the people already in one case, but not another?


SATSQ: A Constitutional amendment is necessary to establish a right when the Courts do not recognize that right.

An Amendment is also useful to avoid a right being lost in future rulings, or to raise the bar on what is considered a compelling reason to abridge that right. Remember, DOMA was overturned not just because the Courts recognized freedom to marry as a right, but because the Federal government was unable to offer a compelling reason why it was in the public interest to remove that right from same-sex couples.

Consequently, a Constitutional amendment may well have been necessary to end slavery, because even if the Courts were willing to recognize both slaves as citizens deserving of rights and "not being a slave" as an unenumerated right in 1865 (hint: they weren't), the Courts almost certainly would have been willing to hear arguments that slavery was in the public interest, even if it was an abridgement of the rights of slaves. They are certainly willing to allow de facto slavery of non-citizens and of prison inmates to continue.

In any case, demanding that we refuse to recognize a right until it is enumerated in the Constitution or its Amendments, when the Constitution itself both declares the existence of unenumerated rights and demands they be recognized is just fucking asinine.


Where do you get off calling my question stupid? Condescending asshole.

To be clear: I don't have a problem with your answer itself, but the tone in both of your replies to my honest questions hasn't been helpful. You need to work on your presentation, or you're going to turn more potentially interesting information into something of shit value.


Right, which is why given there is no enumerated power clause giving them one the federal government has no power to regulate marriage.

The problem is, the states legalized gay marriage at the state level, and DOMA which is invalid under the 9th amendment and powers clause caused a problem.

They should have struck down DOMA and let the states have their choice, as they do under the 9th amendment.


The courts actually did both.

When Section 3 of DOMA (the portion prohibiting the Federal government from recognizing same sex marriages) was overturned, it was partially on a Tenth Amendment argument.

It was in overturning Section 2 of DOMA (the portion allowing States not to recognize same sex marriages performed in other States) that the Supreme Court recognized marriage rights as something which could not be restricted on the basis of the sex of the participants.

I am not certain you could construct an argument that would allow the Supreme Court to overturn Section 2 of DOMA without also declaring all State laws unconstitutional; once the Supreme Court recognized that right, the 14th Amendment applies.


Uh, aren't all our fundamental rights part of why the constitution was written? It's not like the founders where n00bs when they realized a Bill of Rights was needed. They still didn't even get it right by still allowing slavery. Seems like the lesson should be, get more rights into the constitution.


No, they are not. Read the pre-amble to the bill of rights. It makes it clear the rights are broad and pre-existing for the Bill of Rights and the Bill of Rights merely clarifies.

This is why the right to self defense cannot be restricted by any interpretation of the second amendment. Same with speech and the first amendment.

Those amendments are restrictions on government, not creators of rights.


Fair enough, so maybe some clarification needs to be added?


Very well put. I'm glad to see someone calling out HRC's career of homophobia and correctly describing fascism -- among other well-made points.


Telling people who will vote for a candidate that is 'certain to win' to vote for another candidate that has very little chance of winning benefits the candidate that is 'certain to come second', in fact if enough people do this the candidate that was 'certain to win' could easily lose.


* his continued support for Peter Thiel is harming the goal he shares with me of preventing a Trump Presidency now, or in 2020.*

You're worried that someone might read his endorsement of Hillary , then realise a business partner of his suppprts Trump and decide to vote for Trump instead?

I fail to see how anyone who knows who Sam Altman or Y Combinator is would follow that line of thought.


I don't have to worry about it. I can just read threads on Hacker News and see people rationalize Thiel's involvement and suggest that it implies a Trump Presidency is less dangerous than we think it is. I can look at this exact thread and see numerous people arguing that Trump isn't dangerous at all.

People can believe what they want. But Altman and Graham have a stated objective to convince people not to support Donald Trump. I'm doing them no favors by hiding the fact of how their actions work against that goal.


So, your argument is that people who, because of Thiel's donation, aren't as afraid of a Trump presidency as they should be, those people need to know that Graham and Altman have cut their ties with Thiel, rather than that they simply disagree with him, and that, by insufficiently ostracizing their friend and business partner, Graham and Altman are somehow sabotaging their stated goal of reducing Trump's support?


You also have to consider that Thiel himself very likely is not a racist (and obviously not a homophobe etc.). He likely does not see Trump as racist or sexist. He may be misguided and may hold some crazy and infeasible ideas, but Thiel doesn't seem evil to me. He's probably attracted to Trump's other features and rationalizes the rest of his behavior.


This is the problem with the needle Altman is trying to thread: he is leaving open the question of whether Trump is as bad as Altman himself says he is. I agree strongly with Altman --- as you can probably tell --- that Trump is exactly this bad. If Altman means what he says, he should do what he can to shut this question down.


Maybe his goals include more than just preventing Trump Presidency? I mean, it may be that somebody thinks literally nothing is more important than preventing Trump from becoming President - after all, there was already a guy who tried to assassinate Trump - but I think claiming that's only possible way to think is going too far. There might be other priorities in life too.


To be more precise, you're here to make demands that people who disagree with you politically be exiled from polite society.

No. In fact, not just no, but hell no.


>I am not here to argue that people who oppose Hillary Clinton should change their minds (they should, though!).

This probably isn't the appropriate place for it, but have you written about your reasons that people should support Clinton anywhere else?


> I could not vote for either of the two major party candidates

That's the worst part of this election. I really dislike HRC. Her alleged crimes to me are much more significant than even the rape allegations against Trump. They affect more people, and they move our country in the direction of a corporate oligarchy.

But my alternative is Trump? Sexist, racist, and has unresolved sexual assault allegations against him? That's who you want me to vote for to keep HRC out of office?

Holy shit!


I dislike the entire primary system, party system, and all of the other baggage that goes with it.

I feel like my voice as a voter isn't adequately represented by EITHER candidate that is left.

Maybe instant runoff disapproval voting would be a better option; remove the most hated candidate from each iteration until a winner is left.


This person gets it. Our society is under threat by more than just Trump or Hilary.


>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gUAdAYFbIc

Highly disingenuous. First of all, even Bernie Sanders agrees that having open borders will causes wages to plummet. It's the dream of the Koch brothers.

Second, Hillary didn't vote for 10 ft wall and never proposed a 10ft wall. She voted for the Secure Fence act of 2006:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/109/hr6061

This isn't a wall, it's fencing placed at various spots across the border.

Stop lying.


The question is not who scores more imaginary points on John Stuart Mill's or anybody else's "liberality scale". They question is whether we want to have a community in which one has to constantly look over one's shoulder to not run afoul of the thought police, and where virtue signaling and participating in Two Minutes Hate becomes mandatory, or else. Programming and software community turning into this scares me much more than any presidential election could.

> We are not required to tolerate intolerance when intolerance poses a threat to society.

This is too easy. You just declare "this guy poses threat to society" and you don't have to play by the rules anymore.


This.

Around 40% of Americans support Trump. Can you reasonably declare that 40% of society is a danger to itself?

You win over people with empathy and reasoned appeals to shared values, not firing them and refusing to associate at all with them -- that just drives them further away.


> Can you reasonably declare that 40% of society is a danger to itself?

Yes.

Has 40% been on the wrong side of slavery, voting rights, civil rights, women's rights, gay rights?

Has more progress been made through war/assassinations/violence/riots/protest, or empathy/reasoned appeals?

There is a time for empathy, a time to ignore, and a time to fight. It's not a matter of percentage, it's a matter of wrong. Unfortunately, we don't usually have a consensus on what views are wrong until decades later.


    > Has more progress been made through
      war/assassinations/violence/riots/protest, or   
      empathy/reasoned appeals?
That's a difficult question, and I'm not sure what the actual empirical answer is. And that's ignoring the obvious deficiency that we need to define progress -- progress to what?

    > it's a matter of wrong.
Most great evils that have been committed in history have been caused by groups thinking that their perceived moral superiority grants them license to act violently against opposition. Be it a witch-hunt, genocide of Native Americans, etc. there is always an element of moral superiority.

This sort of comment is displaying that same kind of attitude, an attitude which is actually dangerous to society. If your side is encouraging violence, and your opposition knows you are encouraging violence, then it is only rational for them to also consider violence and to adopt a first-strike policy. This leads to actual civil war. War is the opposite of progress -- it's the destruction of capital, families, and individual. That's regressive.

The people who oppose these things are not monsters. They have lives as rich and meaningful as your own. They attend church, they donate to charity, they tuck their children into bed at night. They are __not__ some radical fringe minority, hell-bent on imposing an ideology upon the world.

We are all basically decent people. Our democracy is destroyed when one group believes it has a moral license to incite violence to achieve its ends rather than work in the system. When that happens, we have stopped listening.

When we stop listening, we stop learning.


> If your side is encouraging violence

I haven't picked a side on this thread and I haven't encouraged violence. I pointed out that empathy isn't always the solution. I wonder if your comment also applies to American conflicts in the Middle-East.

I do empathize with Graham/Atman's position and many of the commenters here.

1) We all agree firing an employee over politics is wrong.

2) Graham/Altman say Thiel is basically an employee and ending the part-time partnership is basically firing him. We should take their word.

3) If Trump is as bad as Graham/Altman describe, Thiel actually isn't an employee, and smart/rich guys with great lawyers couldn't figure out how to distance themselves, it will look bad.

But "if" arguments are weak. There is disagreement over how bad Trump is, I think time will tell. In the meantime, from a PR standpoint, I think Y Combinator didn't handle this well. Keeping Thiel on board didn't cause this outrage, Atman's explanation and Graham's Twitter arguments did.

Empathy and fighting weren't my only options, ignore is a choice. I wonder if Atman/Graham had stayed silent for three more weeks until the election is over, would this have blown over. I also wonder how hard they fought to keep Project Include as a partner.


>Has more progress been made through war/assassinations/violence/riots/protest, or empathy/reasoned appeals?

You can bully people into a resentful silence temporarily with war, assassinations, violence, riots, (angry) protests. But if you want to build something that lasts and doesn't require an army of policemen to keep it in power, you have to go with the empathy and reasoned appeals.


I didn't say anything about silence or bullying. Some people can't be won over with empathy and reasoned appeals. That's why I listed other options, including ignore. And yes, an army of policemen is required to stay power regardless of ideology. See every society.


North Korea requires a far bigger army of policemen to keep everyone in line than South Korea. Do you want to be North Korea, or South Korea?


I don't disagree regarding Trump, but where do we draw the line? Should any employer who's executive board strongly denounces Trump's views and rhetoric fire employees who support him via donations? Should Google suppress his website?

I don't think Trump is the real threat to society, but rather that he is able to garner such widespread support in American society in 2016, and I don't think that's going to be fixed by taking punitive actions against his supporters.


@ggggtez Those who think that Trump is the most divisive and dangerous candidate ever have short memories or don't remember Richard Nixon or Barry Goldwater. I certainly do not support Trump and wholly disagree with whatever little bits of policy that he has discussed throughout his campaign, but I also try to be historically honest about context.

For example, some might forget the things that Bill Clinton did before and during his Presidency which were opportunistic, sexist, and at times, borderline racist. For example, things like personally overseeing the execution of a mentally deficient inmate to show that he was tough on crime (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricky_Ray_Rector), or chasing a woman around his office and biting her (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juanita_Broaddrick).

I realize Hillary is not Bill, however she supported him throughout his career through numerous serious ethical and character missteps, never left him, and now has him stumping for her on the campaign trail, which sort of makes her a de facto supporter of his behavior. Is Thiel's support of Trump really so bad that he should be ostracized and cut off? That doesn't solve the root problem of Trump's support, and it's not something I believe has any place in an enlightened society.


Agreed - open up any religious text. There are a few pages that make Trump's talking points sound progressive by comparison. We don't marginalize religious donors. We should not marginalize Trump donors. It is a dangerous and divisive sort of tribalism that we should not engage in.

If religion X rules the world, it's possible that there will be bad consequences. If Trump becomes President, it's possible there will be bad consequences. Should our confidence score for either of these eventualities determine how we treat those who think the opposite? I think that is at the heart of these issues.


Theil's not an employee. What are you suggesting when asking where do we draw the line? To require defining how racist is racist enough? I think we all know the line for Trump was crossed. Money is political speech, which Theil can legally do. But no one has to accept his collaboration.


> To require defining how racist is racist enough?

That word just never ceases to be a source of power and comfort to you, doesn't it? Liberals have used that word too often to shut down debate and dehumanize their opponent or victim. We're done giving you that super power anymore. Now you'll have to make real arguments.

It's not racist to wish to enforce current immigration law. It's not racist to wish to protect the jobs and lives of American citizens.

Hey, why didn't you talk about what a homophobe he is? Well, I'm sure you'll use it next time, when Thiel is not the subject of your outrage.


sigh

Just a coincidence Trump continues to accuse the Central Park teenagers of a murder for which they were acquited long ago.

Just a coincidence Trump supports "stop and frisk", even though it has been shown to be applied disproportionately to African Americans.

Just a coincidence Trump said a Mexican judge could not fairly adjudicate his case because he was Mexican.

I could go on and on and on until my fingers got tired typing.

Racist objectively applies to Donald Trump, its just what the word means.


I don't think it's fair to paint supporters of 'stop and frisk' as racists. A friend of mine is a cop in Chicago and told me recently, to my surprise, that the biggest supporters of these policies are actually the ordinary families living in bad neighborhoods who have a "do whatever it takes" attitude towards reducing the violent crime on their doorsteps. Personally I would support pushing decisions like this down to the most local level possible. If the residents of Fuller Park or Englewood or other neighborhoods in Chicago want stop and frisk, then let them vote for it in the affirmitive, and let it be enforced only in those areas, as an act of self-governance, implemented in a transparent and accountable way that will satisfy critics as to its constitutionality.


I live near the corner of Austin and Madison in Chicago (you seem familiar with the geography and that you'd know what that implies) and I do not believe it is the case that residents of that neighborhood have a general attitude of "let the police do whatever they need to to reduce crime". I can be more specific if we need to be.

More importantly, we have a Constitution precisely so that the residents of crime-stricken neighborhoods cannot simply vote to repeal protections they've stopped liking. By the way? If neighborhoods had that ability, I'm fairly certain Kenilworth would make a lot more use of it than Englewood.


Q: Was the police technique of “stop-and-frisk” found unconstitutional?

A: The practice is not unconstitutional, but a judge ruled in 2013 that New York City’s stop-and-frisk program was carried out in a manner that violated the U.S. Constitution.

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/09/is-stop-and-frisk-unconstit...


You are not responding to my comment.


Presumably if it was implemented in a Constitutional way then you wouldn't be as opposed to a community electing to self-impose it. I see that as extension of the community policing movement. As to what the voting majorities in these communities actually believe (or would vote for), I doubt it's possible to know unless put to the test (despite anecdotes from both of us).


I'm sorry, but I must ask your fingers to become more tired, as your three cases are not the smoking gun of the dreaded racism that you seem to believe they are.

The Central Park Five have a lot more people than Donald Trump believing they were falsely acquitted. There were multiple confessions. "I didn't rape her, all I did was feel her tits, but I know who did". Kind of shit, before the body was even discovered. That's not racist, that's just disagreement with a verdict.

The "Mexican Judge", as you call it, has a name. His name is Gonzalo Curiel, and he is a prominent member of La Raza Lawyers. La Raza, meaning "The Race", is a pro mexican organization that would be understandably adversarial to Trump's position of enforcing existing immigration laws and building a wall with Mexico. That Trump would feel that such a judge is not impartial, given his stange rulings in the case that far, is not racist, it's deductive logic.

"Stop and Frisk" is problematic. Stop and Frisk can be said to be a tread on your 4th Amendment "search and seizure" protection. We can both agree that this freedom is rapidly being violated in a number of ways today already. I am torn between the need to do something different to keep Chicago black youth from killing each other in such large numbers and the desire to not add yet another stain on the fourth amendment. The contention that "stop and frisk" is bad because of profiling, misses several points. It is quite possible that a version of "stop and frisk" that would satisfy the profiling objection that you have, could satisfy method of reducing Chicago black homicides. Somebody talking about "Stop and Frisk" as a possible way to save lives, is not racist, they are looking for answers.


The line you're repeating about the Central Park Five is a pernicious lie, and you should stop using it. The actual assailants involved --- not the five juveniles convicted --- both confessed and were tied to the crime through DNA evidence.


What is the standard for being racist then? When Trump says that a judge isn't fit to do his job because his parents were Mexican, what do we call that? His continued persecution of the Central Park 5?


I can only point to my own government and it's laws (Sweden), but "threat to society" is not an exception in our free speech laws. Threat to individuals or identifiable groups (ie, minorities) are.

There is a distinction between someone speaking words of non-violent revolution, ie a explicit threat to society, and words that encourage violence against a group of people. The first is not illegal, and both the law and the philosophy that created that law do not make claims that it should be illegal. The second form is, which is a direct result of that post-World-War-2 liberal philosophy. It is important to distinguish the two, and free speech laws is a good hint that society has already done this in the past.


In general, groups that want to suspend tolerance do so because they believe tolerating such behavior/people poses a threat to society. The people you are telling to read more liberal philosophy clearly believe that the real threat to a tolerant society is suspending tolerance itself.


Just to start things off, you do realize that firing him would appear to be illegal? At least, assuming there are no arcane reasons why California's laws do not apply here:

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToFileLinkCodeSections.htm

Labor Code section 1101

Protects employees who engage or participate in politics or who become candidates for public office. An employer may not make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation or policy that forbids, controls, directs or tends to direct the political activities or affiliations of employees.

---

On to the philosophical point, why not go back to Karl Popper? If we look carefully, though, we see that he predicated this intolerance of intolerance on protection from violence. He was not afraid of any intolerance of words so much as those who would close their ears and swing their fists. So it was more a sort of right of self defense against anyone who would use violence and not persuasion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper

Note how his argument is predicated on the need to protect people from violence. Unless that is a need there simply isn't a reason to ban things.

But wait, the Trump supporters have been violent, right? That was all over the news, I'm sure. Everyone saw that. So we have good reason to suppress a violent movement now, do we not? Well, maybe, if we didn't see this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=5IuJGHuIkzY

Wait, no, that guy made ACORN videos. Can't be trusted! Must be fake! But, umm, we've seen that lady before. At about 17:40 in this video, you see the same person: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uMzYaO2syE

You can even see a tiny mole on her chest in the same place. She's there, blocking the road and doing everything possible to delay the cops from clearing that out. But how do we know who she really works for? Well, what do you know, she's listed on the FEC website, they can tell us! (We can trust the FEC... right?)

https://beta.fec.gov/data/disbursements/?two_year_transactio...

Spender Recipient State Purpose Disbursement date Amount STAND UP FOR OHIO PAC RODRIGUEZ, ZULEMA AZ REIMBURSEMENT FOR T-SHIRT PRINTING 06-10-2016 $320.00 STAND UP FOR OHIO PAC RODRIGUEZ, ZULEMA AZ POLITICAL CONSULTING FEE 06-01-2016 $17,500.00 MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION ZULEMA RODRIGUEZ AZ TRAVEL EXP 05-24-2016 $1,108.97 MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION RODRIGUEZ, ZULEMA AZ REIMBURSEMENT 05-24-2016 $1,108.97 HILLARY FOR AMERICA RODRIGUEZ, ZULEMA AZ PHONE 02-29-2016 $30.00 HILLARY FOR AMERICA RODRIGUEZ, ZULEMA AZ PAYROLL 02-29-2016 $1,610.24

In other news, she brags about her work at other protests where you may have seen pictures of a very injured cop. Lest we forget, remember that they also framed Sanders supporters for some of this stuff.

Given that this violence was deliberate, do you also, based on that philosophic reasoning, support the same censure of anyone who supports Hillary? It would appear to be the logical conclusion to your argument given the campaign's deliberate violence, would it not?

For the record, I find Trump a deplorable candidate. But the very idea that people would attempt to force us into a one party system by means of organized violence or excommunication from society won't sit well with many people. Especially not when it also appears that people are also herein advocating an action that appears to be flat-out illegal!


In addition to being QUITE POSSIBLY ILLEGAL, it would also be QUITE THE MAGIC TRICK, since Peter Thiel is not an employee of Sam Altman, and the organization Sam Altman runs is famous for being built around the essay "How To Start A Startup", which suggests that a unique strength of startups versus normal companies is that they aren't bound by discrimination laws, and so Paul Graham can choose not to start companies with mothers of young children.


Wait, are you trying to say something about Paul Graham, or something about Sam Altman? Because one of those wrote that essay, and the other heads YC right now.

You had a point somewhere up around "Peter Thiel is not an employee of Sam Altman [but rather a partner that can be let go of at any time for any reason]" but what happened to the rest of your comment?


Thomas is one of the more intellectually honest guys I've met. I'm hopeful that he's still looking through the evidence presented, corroborating the facts contained therein, and coming to his own conclusions based on evidence. That's a huge info dump and I would be charitable enough to give someone time to process all that because there are quite a few pieces to put together, but it looks pretty damning when you add everything up. You might discount the video guy for having done ACORN videos or something, but it's hard to look at the FEC data and the video of the protest and not see that it presents a rather compelling case.

To be fair, I won't claim that's the last word, either, and I'm interested if there are any breaks in that chain of logic which I've missed. Whatever faults I may have, I'm always open to revising my positions based on new evidence and I am not enthusiastic about either Trump or Hillary. But if you can get people for stuff like that on video and corroborate it, I will want to see federal charges explored for whoever is truly responsible, regardless of party affiliation.


I will defer to your knowledge of YC's corporate legal structure on that point, but I'd note that the rest appears to be left untouched at present.


If you do not believe that Trump is an existential threat to American democracy, then, while I implore you to reconsider, I am content to agree to disagree.

But you might take that disagreement up first with Paul Graham and Sam Altman. They do not agree with you. They aggressively don't agree with you. They compare Donald Trump with a fascist dictator. I think they're right about Trump, and therefore that they're very wrong about continuing to endorse Thiel.

I would be doing Sam Altman no favors to pretend otherwise.


>They compare Donald Trump with a fascist dictator.

A bit childish, considering the slot the candidate is running for is not in a dictatorship. If you think Trump could convert the US to a dictatorship, I would like to see the evidence supporting this.


Nobody ever ran for the Presidency of a dictatorship, that's kinda like their defining feature.

I'd point to Putin, Erdogan and Victor Orban as current strongmen who were elected democratically and slowly transformed their countries towards authoritarianism.

The parallels are undeniable: a bit of hatred against the "other", a lot of complaining about the media (and calling for laws to stop their "lying"), the hyper-masculine rhetoric and so on.


From what I understand of the US Constitution, there is a very good degree of separation of powers along with checks and balances to make this very difficult to implement in a practical sense, and would necessarily require both houses of congress as well as the supreme court to all be complicit in the act, thus requiring more than just one immoral person to pull off.


Indeed, but it's not one person. It's him and apparently 40% of the population, and large parts of the Republican establishment have also fallen in line (and many more would have if another 5% had switched to his side and made him the frontrunner).

These things don't happen overnight, and the single most important firewall may be the presidential term limit, and the absence of any similar office (like Russia's "prime minister" that Putin switched to when he was term-limited, installing Medvedev as his puppet in the meantime).

I'd hope that the limit is such a binary line that 8 year's aren't enough to change that perception. But who knows? Maybe he could have created a narrative to legitimize another term. Some sort of crisis... The usual.

But, luckily, the worst now seems unlikely to happen. It still seems important to run up the score, and then we'll see how his party deals with it. Ideologically, at least on economics, there isn't much left of what was called conservatism a year ago.


> Indeed, but it's not one person. It's him and apparently 40% of the population, and large parts of the Republican establishment have also fallen in line (and many more would have if another 5% had switched to his side and made him the frontrunner).

I don't agree with this 40% thing because it's not sufficient to say that because they support him, they support his worst ideas. Maybe they support his best ideas, and have a high degree of confidence that the worst will not happen. Nobody has foreknowledge of what a President will actually do in office. We can choose to use our best judgment and apply it while voting - that is why everyone gets one vote, to exercise that judgment.

To argue that those who are voting for him are in favor of racism, bigotry, etc. is a generalization. Would you generalize this way about followers of any religion? Many religions advocate some oppressive ideas, but we give followers the benefit of the doubt beforehand by saying that unless proved otherwise, let's first assume that they are peace-loving tolerant people of faith who believe only the "good parts" of this book, and not the violent parts. We don't seem to be doing that in politics, and I think that's wrong.


This is the situation: Identity politics makes gross hyperbole socially acceptable with ~50% of the population and "fightin words" with the other half.


Again, this is an argument you might first take up with Paul Graham and Sam Altman, because they disagree with you.


If you won't defend it, don't parrot it.


Again: I actually appreciate the comments here strenuously suggesting that Trump is no real threat to democracy. This is the sentiment Altman is making room for by continuing to endorse Thiel. Their relationship works to normalize Donald Trump.

If Sam Altman is comfortable with that, he should remain affiliated with Thiel.


I am really confused by your comments here. You keep invoking Sam and Paul, but what does their business relationship with Thiel have to do with political support? Should they delete him from their contact list, too? What level of separation would you, tptacek, require of someone to disassociate themselves from a political opponent?

Your comments are infuriating in another way, because you're not actually debating what many people here are trying to talk about. You are dodging any defense of your assertions that Trump would be like a dictator, while backhandedly repeating it. That's not a conversation. That's preaching, and dodging.

Postscript: Trump can only "act like a dictator" so far as he can abuse the massive expansion of presidential power granted as much by the Democratic party as from Republicans. But I won't defend that here. I'll just tell you that other, smarter people think it too, and you should ask them about it.


>Your comments are infuriating in another way, because you're not actually debating what many people here are trying to talk about.

tptacek is focusing on the article. He has a very simple argument that Altman is acting shamefully.

This argument depends on Altman believing that Trump is a threat to democracy. It does not depend on anyone else believing that Trump is a threat to democracy.

tptacek wants to settle that, rather than get mired in arguing about Trump.

It's not preaching and dodging. It's focusing.


tptacek is arguing Sam A and Paul G are being inconsistent. I think maybe he could've made that point more clear by being a little less clever with his comments. :)


He is arguing with prejudice, so "clever" comments are by design.


I'm not discussing whether Trump would be a dictator because that's not my argument. If you believe Trump wouldn't be a dictator, I am entirely comfortable with your support of Peter Thiel.


Lol. "I appreciate this discussion because, just the fact that there is a discussion, proves I'm right"?

It proves your beliefs are not universally held by the community. It supports my points, not yours.


No one has the influence to convert the US to anything overnight. However, I do think that normalizing the language of authoritarianism can have long-term negative effects on our democratic process.


The same thing can be said about the normalization of globalization and technological progress which allowed the politicians and the companies who pay for their campaigns to trade jobs for cheap flat screens.

Ignoring one just because the other is more obvious isn't any better in my book.


No need to assume that I'm ignoring anything. I'm willing to accept globalization and technological progress despite their many imperfections because they have real, tangible benefits to humanity. On the other hand, the only person that stands to gain from authoritarianism is its leader.


Yeah so you are willing to accept the collateral damage of those who don't stand to benefit and whose lives are being destroyed from that. This is just another version of the same. Not better, not worse, just different.


This is exactly why the anti-Trump hyperbole is dangerous.


If the world is ending and the country is at stake then both sides take up pitchforks.


Trumps authoritarianism is much less threatening than the same rhetoric from Obama or Hillary.

A lot of people are advocating authoritarianism- in fact thats the point of this whole thread- whether we should "excommunicate" Peter Theil.

But they don't seem to realize that leftism is essentially more authoritarian than rightism. Rightists want economic freedom, Leftists don't. (On social freedom neither of them want it- which is why Obama didn't try to legalize gay marriage, and picked Joe Biden the architect of the war on teen pot smokers as a running mate.)

Why don't liberals recognized that Hillary and Obama are authoritarians?


They're authoritarian in a sense too, but only in the ways you would expect people inside of an institution wanting to expand that institution's powers.

Trump is authoritarian in a different, more overt way. He's proposed extreme authoritarian moves like mass deportation, religious tests for entry to the US, camps, and directing the justice system at political enemies.

Maybe you don't see the difference between their versions of authoritarianism, but I do, and a lot of other people do too. It's an unfair comparison, and I think you should be able to recognize that.


There's historical evidence of people being elected, in democracies, and turning them into dictatorships. Part of the process looks the same as what Trump is doing. (e.g. saying the election is rigged therefore calling the process illegitimate, saying he'd put his political opponent in jail).

If that doesn't persuade you, what kind of evidence would persuade you?


Oh, I'm persuaded- just look at the actions of W and Obama - both moved the presidency closer to dictatorship.

As for elections not being legitimate, that clam was made repeatedly, with merit, after 2000. The democrats lost, and they lost due to widespread fraud.

Finally, Hillary belongs in jail. Basically all of the allegations have been proven by the wikileaks email releases.

When your opponent is a blatant criminal it's quite fair to say "you'll be in jail" and quite different than saying "I'm going to jail you for disagreeing with me" which is what people seem to want to clam he said (so basically they are lying about him. If he's so obviously reprehensible, why the need to lie about him?)


"Basically all of the allegations have been proven by the wikileaks email releases."

Hmm. Interesting. What allegations do you think were proven? I was under the (mistaken?) impression that they mostly proved things that seem bad, nothing that was specifically criminal. It's not like we didn't know the details of the whole email situation beforehand.

Also, thought experiment - how would you react if Hillary Clinton were to say that she would appoint a special prosecutor to jail Trump for sexual harassment?

Edit: BTW, afaik, the democrats' allegations in 2000 came after the results of the election. They didn't repeatedly claim ahead of time that the election was rigged. Not sure if this is a huge difference, just putting it out there.


"When your opponent is a blatant criminal it's quite fair to say "you'll be in jail" and quite different than saying "I'm going to jail you for disagreeing with me""

sigh

No, you still can't say that. Presidents cannot tell their attorney general who to prosecute or not to prosecute, even if the President thinks the person is a blatant criminal.

Maybe if you stopped to think about it a little bit, you would understand why allowing this could lead to very bad abuses of power?


Historical footnote that is not news to 'jimbokun but which I get the sense might be news to some of the people in this thread: the last time a President tried to interfere with the prerogative of their Attorney General, their administration collapsed as a result.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturday_Night_Massacre


Also odd considering Trump spent the entire nomination campaign shilling his deal making abilities, and how he would lead by consensus instead of executive orders.

I don't see how YC denying Peter Thiel is anything more than political theatre it has no bearing on whether Trump will win or not.

All these distractions when the US has two states CT and IL in near bankruptcy due to pensions being 200%+ over state revenues, and a frightening national debt meaning Feds will likely not be able to bail them out. Wish everybody could panic over that not Thiel being involved with YC.


States can go bankrupt. The Federal government cannot.


"A bit childish, considering the slot the candidate is running for is not in a dictatorship."

True, but Trump's rhetoric indicates he has not grasped the distinction.


You sound just like the republicans in 2008 when a gasp black president was elected. Oh dear, the world is ending, the end times are coming! What's the world coming to! We are doomed. A socialist Kenyan Muslim is in the whitehouse!

What actually happened? Nothing. If you looked at the country for the last 8 years you wouldn't be able to tell whether a republican or democratic was in the whitehouse.

Same thing will happen if trump gets in. A lot of talk, but little action.


> If you looked at the country for the last 8 years you wouldn't be able to tell whether a republican or democratic was in the whitehouse.

Millions more people have health insurance. States have legalized marijuana without federal intervention. Relations have opened with Cuba. A climate treaty and Iran nuclear deal were reached. The supreme court (with two Obama appointees) has legalized gay marriage. Maybe none of this stuff has affected you but trust me, millions of people can tell there's been a democrat in the white house.

The same thing applies with Trump. It might not effect you much if he gets elected, but it would have dire consequences for millions of people if he accomplishes a fraction of the things he's talked about.


You really think that opposing Obama because he's black is comparable to opposing Trump because he incites violence and encourages racism and xenophobia and speaks highly of dictators and brags about sexual assault?

You want to rethink that?


I consider Obama one of the best most rational presidents the US have ever had.

But that rationality also gave us execution by drone without trial.

Don't take a beautiful and cool facade for anything than that. Behind the scenes its raw power and they are all, everyone of them, in the game for the power.


I'm not asserting that in any way Obama is perfect and have no problem with people criticizing his actions. I do take issue with comparing opposition of Obama based on his race with opposition of Trump based on his positions.

It does not follow that because a black president did an acceptable job that any president would do an acceptable job. Nor is opposing a president for being black morally equivalent to opposing a president for the things he says he wants to do.


Obama also lied about a lot and yet the world didn't end. Something about "transparent administration" ring a bell? "Closing Guantanamo" perhaps? Doesn't this set the precedent that you can't really believe anything a candidate says before he is elected? To be fair I don't single out Obama for lying. All candidates do it.which is why I don't worry about trump.


And again, I am in no way saying that Obama is above criticism. I'm saying that opposing him for being black is not at all the same as opposing Trump for his positions.

I think it's also not wise to treat all broken campaign promises equally. There's a big difference in voting for someone expecting that they won't accomplish everything they promise and voting for someone hoping that they won't accomplish everything that they promise. The former is hope that your candidate will do what they say. The latter is hope that your candidate is an outright liar or incompetent.

I find it so bizarre that supporters look at Trump and say, "oh, he's just making empty promises and he'll never do that." His empty promises are that he'll violate the constitution to enshrine religious discrimination into laws! It seems so fucked up to vote for someone hoping that they're just a pandering amoral liar who won't deliver on their promises.


Republicans were not opposed to Obama because of his race, though for the past 8 years that has been the excuse to avoid talking about the issues.

And once again, Liberals are not talking about Trumps positions, but merely calling him racist and sexist.

"It seems so fucked up to vote for someone hoping that they're just a pandering amoral liar who won't deliver on their promises."

Well, the charitable view of Hillary supporters is that this is what they are doing. Otherwise, you really think journalists should be taken out by drone for publishing things embarrassing to hillary?

You really think free speech rights should be taken away from people who make a movie critical of hillary? (That's what "Citizens United" was about - the supreme court defended free speech for a group that made a movie critical of hillary-- and since then we've been hearing how evil that ruling is.)


> Republicans were not opposed to Obama because of his race, though for the past 8 years that has been the excuse to avoid talking about the issues.

Sure. The birther movement was about the issues.

> And once again, Liberals are not talking about Trumps positions, but merely calling him racist and sexist.

This is patently untrue. Trumps positions have been widely derided as unconstitutional and poorly thought out. The fact that his racism and sexism are talked about doesn't mean his positions haven't also been widely criticized.

> Well, the charitable view of Hillary supporters is that this is what they are doing. Otherwise, you really think journalists should be taken out by drone for publishing things embarrassing to hillary?

What are you talking about?

> You really think free speech rights should be taken away from people who make a movie critical of hillary? (That's what "Citizens United" was about - the supreme court defended free speech for a group that made a movie critical of hillary-- and since then we've been hearing how evil that ruling is.)

Citizens United was about political ad spending by corporations. It's a mischaracterization to present the case as if it were about Hillary trying to shut down a critical film. It was the FEC trying to enforce the BCRA.


> Well, the charitable view of Hillary supporters is that this is what they are doing. Otherwise, you really think journalists should be taken out by drone for publishing things embarrassing to hillary?

> What are you talking about?

I think they are trying to make a reference to a previously-unknown conservative blog which claimed they had an anonymous quote from a "State Department source" saying that HRC asked about approving a drone strike on Julian Assange.

The claimed source has not gone to any professional news outlets. The blog has not published anything else of note, and by quick survey of other posts, its author has a clear agenda against HRC. I'll let you all draw your own conclusions.


"Republicans were not opposed to Obama because of his race"

Many, maybe most Republicans were not opposed to Obama for that reason.

But the Trump campaign and his supporters have made it clear a non-trivial number of Republicans oppose him for that reason.


hey now, the blame for Guantanomo not being closed falls directly on congressional republicans, not on Obama's lack of trying. this is the case for most of his failed endeavors (nominating court justices ring a bell?). there's plenty of stuff he does deserve blame for. most notable i think is that although he effectively ended the Iraq war, he rescinded his decision to end the Afghanistan war in 2014. regardless, Obama and Trump are not in the same category in any respect, not even as politicians.


You reinforce my point. The blame for what goes on in Washington does not fall on the president! The older I get the more I think "commander in chief" is just a fancy title for "talking bobble head". We're not electing a leader. We're electing a media personality.


The President of the United States is not commander in chief of the country or even the government.

He is commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States

US Constitution, Art 2. Sec 2. https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleii#section2


> I consider Obama one of the best most rational presidents the US have ever had. > But that rationality also gave us execution by drone without trial.

Well, no; technology gave us drones, not rationality. The US has always killed what it identifies as enemy combatants without a trial, whether its through war, covert operations or drones. Obama at least doesn't match the death count of the Bush years.


He inherited the middle east from GWB, I don't think we'd have the drone program we do if we hadn't invaded twice.


>> But that rationality also gave us execution by drone without trial.

The point with smart weapons like drones is that they kill people in a few meters radius. They don't take out a whole village, or more.

If a country should be in war and/or hunt irregular terror organizations is debatable. It should be debated.

But complaining about one of the most humane (relative the alternatives) ways of waging war seems just weird.

The negative thing I have to say about Obama is that he didn't do more to stop the horror in Syria, with chemical weapons, millions driven from the country and hundreds of thousands dead. But I am not certain I have a better solution either.


I understand the point about smart weapons it does not change the fact that the US is doing targeted killing without trial or are still keep people in guantanamo and so many other things that we are fine with.

Yet somehow the rhetorics of Trump trumps all that.


Well Trump openly claimed he wanted to torture terrorist suspects and kill terrorists' families. So yeah, I think that's worse than targeted drone strikes on terrorists. While I have significant concerns about the drone program, I also recognize that we are at war with certain groups and capturing these people in order to get them to trial is mostly infeasible. I don't consider drone strikes to be worse than special forces strikes. I do consider torture and murdering families to be considerably worse.

I find Guantanamo morally indefensible.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/06/politics/donald-trump-torture/...

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/03/politics/donald-trump-kill-ter...


Please explain this, I really don't understand this argument:

>> I find Guantanamo morally indefensible.

Guantanamo -- afaik, you can keep enemy combatants in prison until after the war. E.g. the conflict in Afghanistan is still active. So what is the problem?

(Then we have the whole point about the people at Guantanamo being combatants that didn't follow the war of laws. Do they have any rights, at all? Please use very good primary sources if you somehow argue that combatants that targets civilians have more rights than prisoners of war... That is contradicting the idea of those laws.)


The fundamental problem is that we are not at war with any nation here. We have repeatedly stated that we are at war with terrorism. So we've got a bunch of citizens of foreign nations that we took captive on the suspicion that they were engaged in terrorist activity, but we can't prove it. They aren't really prisoners of war, and there is no war at the end of which we can reasonably expect an exchange of prisoners. They're stuck in indefinite limbo with no trial and no expectation of release.

I don't know how we can defend indefinite detention of people on the suspicion that they might have engaged in terrorist activity. It's basically just kidnapping to hold them this way forever. I think there's a legitimate argument that taking them captive to interrogate them is reasonable, and perhaps even some moderate time of detention. Giving them a trial would also be reasonable. I don't think there's a legitimate argument for holding foreign nationals without trial indefinitely.


Your whole position is based on a claim that there must exist a nation state to have a "war".

You also claim that the laws of war are not applicable to the remaining types of military conflicts (with clans/tribes, any organization that is geographically spread, etc, etc).

Do you have references? [Edit: The references need to show that the laws of war don't apply to these other conflicts, too.] Also not that the world's law experts don't seem to agree [Edit: with you. See link in edit at bottom.]

(Note that by your definition we need a new word for civil wars -- at least one side is not a nation state. We also need a new word for most of the military conflicts through history -- and today. And so on.)

(Also, you shouldn't argue against what politicians say in public speeches, for the same reason you shouldn't believe advertisements...)

----

Re Guantanamo:

You ignored my argument.

Again: Afaik, you can keep combatants prisoner until after the hostilities. Which are still continuing. [Edit: This seems to be the relevant part in the Geneva Conventions -- https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Article.xs... ]

The Taliban had a government, they were a nation. So it qualify as a "war", even according to your definition.

The Taliban and their allies are still fighting.

Are you claiming that conflict stopped being a war when they lost the capital? Please give good references...

[Edit: Here seems to be the relevant definitions in USA, I saw in another place that their High Court argued that the Geneva conventions was relevant under US law also for unlawful combatants: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Commissions_Act_of_20... ]


Just to provide a reference for what you say: to have a "war", one does not need a nation state. And the Geneva conventions on laws of war do apply to armies and militias regardless of whether they are of a recognized nation state. The conventions apply in civil wars, too.

The Daish (IS) fighters are in gross breach of laws of war even though no one recognizes their "state".

The collection of the Geneva conventions is available in many places, here is the site of IRCR:

https://www.icrc.org/en/war-and-law/treaties-customary-law/g...

There used to be a nice, simple presentation of the laws of war at http://avalon.law.yale.edu/ but now you get 500 Internal Server Error for the archives.

However, to be "at war with terrorism" is unfortunately a very difficult position. Definition of terrorism if by necessity quite vague and problematic. (What is "freedom fighter" for one party or at one time may be a "terrorist" for another or at another time).

-- Edit: I see you sourced the ICRC site for conventions yourself.


> Your whole position is based on a claim that there must exist a nation state to have a "war".

No, my position is based on the fact that our treaties on the treatment of prisoners of war apply to nation states. Certainly we can be at war with a non-state actor (we clearly are). But our treaties around prisoners of war are not directly applicable, as the past administrations have made clear.

For wars not against nation states, there must still be some sort of due process for prisoners. The idea that being at war with some entity gives us the right to retain arbitrary people indefinitely, without even proving that they have participated in that entity, is morally unacceptable.

> Do you have references? The world's law experts don't seem to agree...

Do you have an references to the claim that law experts don't agree? There are a few treaties about war prisoners but they apply to signatories, which clans etc are not.

Beyond that, "laws of war" have historically been defined by the victors. I'm not aware of a body of law that applies to wars universally, nor do I believe one could exist. (Who could enforce it?)

> that by your definition we need a new word for civil wars -- at least one side is not a nation state.

You could argue that for civil wars at least both sides would effectively be signatories if the nation as a whole was a signatory before the war began.

> You also claim that the Taliban never was a government? They had control of a large part of Afghanistan. And they are still fighting, along with their allies. I assume you don't argue that a war stops being a war when one side lose control of their capital?

I don't claim any of that. I claim that Afghanistan is at least officially no longer ruled by the Taliban. We don't recognize them as the legitimate government. If we accept that we are no longer at war with Afghanistan then we must according to the Geneva conventions release any prisoners of war captured during the war with Afghanistan.

Any enemy combatants not deemed prisoners of war should be given some sort of due process. Again, the idea that being at war against terrorism gives us the right to indefinitely detain arbitrary people is morally unacceptable.

> You ignored my argument. > Again: Afaik, you can keep combatants prisoner until after the hostilities. Which are still continuing. [Edit: This seems to be the relevant part in the Geneva Conventions -- https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Article.xs.... ] > The Taliban had a government, they were a nation. So it qualify as a "war", even according to your definition. > The Taliban and their allies are still fighting. > Are you claiming that conflict stopped being a war when they lost the capital? Please give good references...

I don't see that I made any of those claims, nor do I feel like I ignored your argument. I don't believe that being a signatory on the Geneva convention in any way gives us a right to indefinitely detain people with no reasonable path to release and no proof of involvement in the conflict. Even if legally we can make that argument, I think it's morally repugnant.


>> No, my position is based on the fact that our treaties on the treatment of prisoners of war apply to nation states. [...] our treaties around prisoners of war are not directly applicable, as the past administrations have made clear.

(I asked for references to support that claim already -- got nothing from dpark...)

What your position is based on, according to yourself, is wrong. I added this link around ten minutes before you posted that:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Commissions_Act_of_20...

It address exactly those unlawful combatants and laws.

It was drafted as a result of a decision by the US the Supreme Court. (As I noted, another Supreme Court decision was that the Geneva Convention do cover unlawful combatants.)

(I also added a link to the Geneva Protocols, discussing when a POW can be sent home.)

Enough, bye.


> I asked for references to support that claim already -- got nothing from dpark...

Where in the Geneva conventions does it say that they apply to all warring parties? I'm genuinely asking. My understanding is that they apply to signatories only:

https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/ART/375-59...

In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peace time, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance. Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.

So, it applies to conflicts between signatories or conflicts involving a signatory and a non-signatory who accepts the terms of the convention. So you're right that it's not strictly nation states. But it's also not every combat participant by my reading.

> What your position is based on, according to yourself, is wrong. I added this link around ten minutes before you posted that:

> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Commissions_Act_of_20...

> It address exactly those unlawful combatants and laws.*

This is not a treaty. Also, the problem with retaining people indefinitely doesn't go away because we pass a law declaring that we can call them combatants. We know that we have detained innocent people in Guantanamo for extended periods of time. You can legally call them whatever you want, but it's still morally repugnant to hold innocent people indefinitely. (It is morally repugnant to hold anyone indefinitely without trial because it indicates an unwillingness or inability to establish guilt.)


>> Where in the Geneva conventions does it say that they apply to all warring parties?

[Edit: ptaipale discussed that here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12738768 too.]

Unlawful combatants don't have access to the rights under war laws, except Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions (see quote below).

Hence, the question is not if you treat them as POWs or as civilians -- but if they have the protection of a POW at all.

That is more than enough to show my argument correct.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unlawful_combatant

The Geneva Conventions do not recognize any lawful status for combatants in conflicts not involving two or more nation states. A state in such a conflict is legally bound only to observe Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and may ignore all the other Articles. But each one of them is completely free to apply all or part of the remaining Articles of the Convention.[6]

Since you have no foot to stand on -- bye.

------

(A note that doesn't matter for my argument: Out of interest you might want to read this and the "See also" for the page, especially the "No longer enemy combatant" link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unlawful_combatant#Internation... The US Supreme Court seems to agree that unlawful combatants should get protection by the Geneva Conventions -- but this doesn't matter for my argument anyway.)


>No, my position is based on the fact that our treaties on the treatment of prisoners of war apply to nation states.

No, they do not apply only to nation states. They apply to combatants, whether of a nation state or not. See the Geneva conventions.


Generally referring to the "Geneva conventions" is not a useful citation. There are hundreds of articles in the conventions. Can you point out where the conventions purport to apply to all combatants?

https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/ART/375-59...

In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peace time, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance. Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.

By my reading, this applies to conflicts between signatories or conflicts involving a signatory and a non-signatory who accepts the terms of the convention. So not strictly nation states, but also not every party to every conflict.


GCIV, Article 3 i.e. the "Next" after your link is about conflicts within a country, in cases where the parties are not High Contracting Parties.

This is treated as customary international law, based on a UN Security Council conclusion in 1993 making it binding also for non-signatories.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Geneva_Convention

For instance, break it anywhere in the world by killing civilians, and enter my country (say, as a refugee), and you'll be prosecuted if caught. There's even a recent example (a man got life sentence for what he did in Rwandan conflict; the life sentence here is practically something like 12 years).


Interesting. I didn't realize the UN Security Council had passed such a resolution. Thanks.

I'm still not clear that this applies since our enemies do not meet the requirements outlined beyond being signatories (what with insignia and organized ranks etc). Article 3 also refers to conflicts not of an international nature. I'm not sure how that's interpreted. Is that civil wars? Or just wars involving non-state actors? The "war on terror" certainly has an international character.


You knew that 3 hours earlier, when I wrote this in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12738620

[...]

Unlawful combatants don't have access to the rights under war laws, except Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions (see quote below).

Hence, the question is not if you treat them as POWs or as civilians -- but if they have the protection of a POW at all.

-----

[This was my reference for the previous claims. The Wikipedia link go to the Convention. I earlier referenced the relevant US law and their Supreme Court, which also discuss this.]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unlawful_combatant

The Geneva Conventions do not recognize any lawful status for combatants in conflicts not involving two or more nation states. A state in such a conflict is legally bound only to observe Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and may ignore all the other Articles. But each one of them is completely free to apply all or part of the remaining Articles of the Convention.[6]


> You knew that 3 hours earlier, when I wrote this

First, no. You asserted it repeatedly without a compelling reference. Ptaipale provided a verifiable claim about the UN Security Council affirming that this had become international law. You linked to an article that happened to make a similar claim but had no reference to the UN Security Council decision (nor does the citation it references so far as I can see).

Second, I admitted a gap in my knowledge and your response was to come in and assert that you told me the same earlier (which you actually didn't). If the point of your arguing was to educate, this is a really poor technique. Don't respond to someone acknowledging a mistake/misunderstanding/knowlege gap by trying to make it about how "right" you are. It comes off as petty.


If a Wikipedia link with multiple good sources already in the introduction isn't enough for someone without a clue on a subject, I should have left the discussion.

My personal heuristic to avoid grief in the future: Don't discuss with anyone that dismiss Wikipedia without references... no, without having primary sources for references.

Thank you for that. The net and HN will be better for me.

(Edit: The UN and the UN Security council make resolutions all the time. I doubt a majority are followed. :-) E.g. http://articles.latimes.com/2002/oct/17/world/fg-resolution1... )


Your wikipedia link doesn't cover the UN resolution, nor does the citation, which appears to be ICRC's commentary of the treaty. The article you linked does assert it, but without any significant support aside from the ICRC's commentary.

I'm glad I could help.


"Then we have the whole point about the people at Guantanamo being combatants that didn't follow the war of laws."

The problem is we know now many of the people at Guantanamo do not fit that description. And we don't know how many do and how many don't, because there is no legal process to make the determination.

After WWII, at least there was some kind of war crimes tribunal before executing people for war crimes. But Guantanamo is some kind of horrific, Kafka-esque limbo, where people can be sent for being in the wrong place at the wrong time or accused by someone just wanting to collect a bounty, where people can be held forever and tortured on a whim, with no prospect for any kind of closure, ever.


>> But Guantanamo is some kind of horrific, Kafka-esque limbo

You ignored the main point on what you comment on. To quote myself: afaik, you can keep enemy combatants in prison until after the war

>> The problem is we know now many of the people at Guantanamo do not fit that description.

Of course, most everyone claim to be innocent everywhere. Is there a legal process on a battle field when POWs are taken? (Rhetorical question.)

(I might note that I can't see how Guantanamo is much worse than the rest of the horrible US prison system.)

Here is the US law about unlawful combatants, etc. It seems the US is bound to the Geneva Convention also for them, according to their Supreme court.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Commissions_Act_of_20...

Please discuss it with the law professors in the Supreme Court, they claim that the US handling also of unlawful combatants must follow the Geneva Conventions.


> You ignored the main point on what you comment on. To quote myself: afaik, you can keep enemy combatants in prison until after the war

We have detained people that we know are not and were not enemy combatants. Your assertion that we can detain enemy combatants is not without merit. The foundation of that claim is unsound, though, because we know we are detaining people who are not enemy combatants.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Guantanamo_Bay_detaine...


... which were released when determined not to be enemy combatants. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_longer_enemy_combatant

(If you want to accuse someone of breaking war laws, go to ICC in Hague...)

I think you're trolling me by now. You have no foot to stand on. (I'm not arguing that the US handling of POWs can't be criticized. Of course. All states can be criticized. But their Supreme Court system do seems to work.)


I'm not comfortable with asserting that the people sitting in Gitmo are all combatants since we know that we've gotten that determination wrong multiple times and we're not giving them trials. The blind assertion that they are enemy combatants rings hollow.

Even if we are legally right to run Gitmo the way we do, I think it is still morally wrong. You can call that trolling if you want, but locking people up indefinitely with no proof of criminal or even combat activity and no path to resolution is immoral.


Condemn Guantanamo from a moral viewpoint if you want.

(Note that all POW camps will certainly have innocents, so the same moral apply to the whole Geneva Convention.)

But stop arguing against legal facts when you don't have a clue... Don't trust the media to inform you.

----

(I'm not doing the moral argument, but: Do note that if the Geneva conventions was too mild, there will be fewer POWs taken... instead lots of more people will die before capture. E.g. Iraq handles captured terrorists by execution a lot, because they know people will get back out and kill again, by bribing themselves out of prisons etc.)


If you go to the great*5 grandparent of this post, you asked for the statement "I find Guantanamo morally indefensible" to be defended.

You were the one, in that very post, who started confusing morality with law, leading to the jumble of responses since.


1. That Guantanamo discussion was a continuation of the content came right before.

2. I started to argue that everything was legal re Guantanamo, as a reply to the moral claim.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12736070

Others started to claim weird illegal content in US law, until me and 'ptaipale' dug up the relevant Geneva conventions and decisions by the US Supreme Court based on them.

(But sure, a relevant answer to me might have been "I don't care about the law or if my way gets more people killed or not -- this is my personal moral and I'm ready to let lots of others suffer and die for it.")


> 1. That Guantanamo discussion was a continuation of the content came right before.

Yes, and what came before was a discussion of the morality of drone strikes. There was never a discussion of the legality of anything except maybe Trump's claimed sexual conquests.

> 2. I started to argue that everything was legal re Guantanamo, as a reply to the moral claim.

So paddyoloughlin is 100% right and "You were the one, in that very post, who started confusing morality with law, leading to the jumble of responses since."


Discussing a person is what follows after you're shown to be wrong. :-)

Never mind. I have stopped discussing with people that dismiss Wikipedia pages with good sources -- when they have neither references nor understanding of a subject.


> Condemn Guantanamo from a moral viewpoint if you want.

That's what I did from the very beginning. And repeatedly throughout this discussion.

> (Note that all POW camps will certainly have innocents, so the same moral apply to the whole Geneva Convention.)

No, my moral problem is that there's no clear path to resolution for Guantanamo detainees, not just that some are innocent. I feel like I made that clear in my first response to you about Guantanamo. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12736359

> But stop arguing against legal facts when you don't have a clue... Don't trust the media to inform you.

"Don't have a clue" is rather unfair since I provided citations into the text of the Geneva conventions to support my understanding. You on the other hand have been flip-flopping between different interpretations, claiming first the relevance of article 118 and later stating that only article 3 protections are provided. I don't think you're as well informed as you'd like to be perceived.

I also don't think "the media" has any relevance here.


You just repeated your position and ignored what I wrote. I will assume that means you have no serious arguments.

If you really don't understand: A serious argument would be showing that it is not a war situation -- or that you have to put enemy combatants into a court before you can shoot at them.

(Edit: To argue that it is wrong or illegal to declare war and hunt e.g. alQ is not relevant either. I made that distinction in the previous comment -- and didn't take a position.)


I don't agree with the interpretation of war. Lets just start there.


So, give references to international law about what exactly qualify as a war -- and what does not?

Because obviously, the top law specialists don't agree with you -- presidents aren't above the law.

Edit: Here is the US law about unlawful combatants: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Commissions_Act_of_20... It came after a decision from the US Supreme Court. (Another Supreme Court decision says the unlawful combatants are protected by the Geneva protocols.)

Edit 2: I asked for references and got nothing in the answer below. Enough for me.


You mean just like when 9/11 allowed for the idea of pre-emptive strikes to be legalized?

Law specialist have no understanding of what is the right law, they have an understanding of how you can interpret the law.

These are two very different things you don't need to be a law specialist to have an informed opinion about the definition of what constitutes war.


I do not think you hit on any of the things that make Trump a potential danger to our system of government.

It is his blatant contempt for our Constitution, rule of law, and our political traditions that makes him an existential threat. Support for torture. Jailing political opponents. Wanting to jail journalists saying things he doesn't like. Making religious tests for entering the country. (Many more I'm sure I'm forgetting.)

I think way to little has been made of this as the key reason Trump is not fit to hold the office of President.


Does painting all of your opposition's supporters as racist/sexist/xenophobic/ignorant/violent count as inciting violence? Or is protesters attacking Trump supporters across the country Trump's fault too?


> Does painting all of your opposition's supporters as racist/sexist/xenophobic/ignorant/violent count as inciting violence?

Absolutely not.

Unless you somehow equate the phrase "criticizing behavior" with "inciting violence".

At the worst, that sentence uses the word "all" where the phrase "non-trivial subset" would be more appropriate.


"Does painting all of your opposition's supporters as racist/sexist/xenophobic/ignorant/violent count as inciting violence?"

No.



> brags

I think that if any other celebrity said what he said, you'd think it's a little off color, but not bragging about criminal actions. His statements verbatim do not imply anything criminal, unless you fill in extra words yourself.

If you don't hate the guy, you could easily fill in extra words the other way, that is, to make it sound like he's saying something less ambiguous and more reasonable.


So ignore the part about sexual assault and there's still a laundry list of stuff that Trump has said on the record that is terrifying in a major party political candidate. Complementing dictators for running countries well? Proposing a ban on Muslims in direct contradiction of the bill of rights?


As I understand, even at the farthest point he was talking about non-citizens of this country. I don't personally believe we need a reason to stop a non-citizen from coming here. I also don't see any reference in the Bill of Rights concerning that - it's certainly a presidential power that has been exercised before.

It is worth noting he has since backed (evolved if you will) that position down to "extreme vetting" to "certain parts of the world" (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, etc.)


There has never to my knowledge been a president who banned immigration based on religion. If it's happened it was unconstitutional then as well. Certainly it's within the government's scope to ban immigration but not based on a religious test.


Obama in 2011? He certainly didn't say it was based on religion, but these were almost all muslim countries of origin:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/04/presi...


Did you link to the wrong proclamation? There are no countries even specified there. It's basically a proclamation that we won't allow in people who committed war crimes.

And there's nothing legally wrong about blocking immigration from a certain country or countries. We could block immigration from Italy and Poland and it wouldn't be unconstitutional despite the fact that they are predominantly Catholic. The religious test itself is what's unconstitutional.


And if the religion condones crimes against humanity?

All we'd have to do is ask:

What do you think should be done with homosexuals?

What do you think should be done with Israel?

and we'd get more than enough information to keep 90% of a certain religion out of here, without directly doing that.


> And if the religion condones crimes against humanity?

No. If you want to block people who say they are against homosexuality, that might be legal. If you want to block people who say their religion is against homosexuality, that's not legal.

The subtle differences matter. Similarly, if you're hiring for a warehouse job, you can discriminate against people who cannot safely lift 50lb packages repeatedly. You cannot discriminate explicitly against people in wheelchairs, even though that group in general will have a lot of trouble lifting 50 lb packages overhead.


>the Court has insisted for more than a century that foreign nationals living among us are "persons" within the meaning of the Constitution, and are protected by those rights that the Constitution does not expressly reserve to citizens.

http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?ar...


Great, so people not currently in the country are not living among us.


As soon as they are within the boundaries of our laws, they are covered.


Then over a dozen women confirming, yes, he did indeed do everything he claimed to do.

"His statements verbatim do not imply anything criminal, unless you fill in extra words yourself."

Uh, no, he describes text book sexual assault.

"I think that if any other celebrity said what he said, you'd think it's a little off color, but not bragging about criminal actions."

Many people have pointed this out already, but this is a really weird way to brag about sexual prowess. Most men who brag about their sex lives, brag about how many women want to sleep with them, not about grabbing, groping or kissing women uninvited.


> uninvited

He never said 'uninvited'. You are putting that word in his mouth because of your bias.

He said at least one thing that shows his belief that whoever he's referring to was ok with it, as he said something like, "when you're famous, they let you do anything".


> I just start kissing them. ... I don’t even wait.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/08/us/donald-trump-tape-trans...

You might be able to argue that it's not unwanted, but you cannot claim it's not uninvited. By Trump's own statement he doesn't wait for an invitation. (Arguably, he also doesn't wait for any indication it's wanted, so if this is really his behavior he's undoubtedly done it to women who did not want it.)


you are adding "for permission" at the end of his statement.

There are at ton of reasonable phrases that can go at the end that aren't predator-esque.

e.g. "for a breath mint"

or "for privacy"

So, again, you are adding words and context to his statements in an effort to convince yourself he's terrible.


I'm not adding anything to the end of his statement. It's predator-esque on it's own and you have to add an unlikely subtext to make it not creepy.

It's not like he was cut off mid-sentence. That's how he ended it.


I'm afraid I have to agree with the parent, as much as I don't like trump. I know it's fun having someone to vilify, but let's look at what was actually said:

> And when you're a star, they let you do it

If someone let's you do something... is that not consent? What, must one sign a legal document before "letting you do something" becomes consensual? What is lacking here that would otherwise pass as consent? I fail to see anything.

Oh, but then you'll likely point out the next quote:

> I just start kissing them. ... I don’t even wait.

Is he proclaiming that he "doesn't wait" to initiate, or that doesn't wait to actually begin physical contact? There's a big difference, and it's not immediately clear which he's suggesting. To clarify, consensual kissing happens in several steps: you approach someone (on the dance floor, say), get a cue that your advances are desired, pull them in (gently) almost there, and then let them close the gap if they wish. If someone asked me if I "wait" to kiss someone, I'd likely suggest that I do not -- but in that case, I'm referring to the initial approach (no sense in presuming someone won't invite your advances when you could, alternatively, respect their ability to accept or deny them).

The point is, the above quote does not make explicit the nature of his advances. Maybe he does manhandle people faces, we don't know. But it's lacking in intellectual integrity to suggest that your (equally arbitrary) interpretation reflects reality. And to be doubly clear, I don't believe either argument: I'm okay with the fact that, given the imprecision of his bus banter, I (nor anyone else) will ever know, unequivocally, if that particular quote was intended to convey a consensual interaction. If you were intellectually honest, you would do the same.

> Many people have pointed this out already, but this is a really weird way to brag about sexual prowess. Most men who brag about their sex lives, brag about how many women want to sleep with them, not about grabbing, groping or kissing women uninvited.

Again, the guy never said "uninvited" -- you've made the leap from "doesn't wait" to "uninvited". Let's leave emotion behind for a sec, and consider this rationally: there's no way, from the quotes given above, to deduce that "doesn't wait" == "uninvited" (I hope I made that clear, but if you need further proof by contradiction, as someone who's enjoyed a whole lot of consensual kisses, I'd be happy to provide it). Sure, you can say "well, clearly, I mean, I think he's a dick, so... yeah, it's clear that he'd rape women and be open about it" -- but that doesn't pass muster for rational discussion, and you might as well further reduce your exclamations to "Trump is a dummy-head, and I don't like him", but at least have the integrity to not spout off headline misinformation as if it were pure, golden, axiomatic properties of the universe.

Is Trump crass?

Yep (e.g. "Grab them by the p---y")

Do I generally like the guy?

Nope.

Do I want him as president?

Hell no.

If I don't like the guy, you might be wondering, why would I defend the guy so much? And that's where you'd be wrong again: I'm not defending Trump, I'm defending honest, rational discourse. There are a million and one reasons to not elect Trump, and I would like to see people discuss those things rather than erect strawmen just because it's oh so much fun to proudly proclaim that the other half of our country are a bunch of clueless, inbred, misogynistic, sick fucks (and then pat each other on the backs on our Facebook echo chambers for being comparatively less shitty, as if that were the pinnacle of human self actualization).

Both sides keep spouting off headlines as truth -- with no further critical thought applied -- and it deeply, deeply saddens me to find that even our forum of supposed intellectual minds choose to engage with herd like, collective delusion over engaging with objective reality.


Yes, it is equivalent. The fact that you are deluded to think that you can change anybody's mind by repeating this "racism xenophobia sexual assault" mantra which literally everybody has already heard million times by now just shows that you are equally stuck in your ways and irrational as the people you oppose. It's knee jerking on both sides.

And, speaking of Obama, you guys reminded me of this beauty created during the previous campaign:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/

So we can have Trump-o-meter.

  1. start World War 3
  2. legalize rape
  3. eradicate Islam
  4. enslave Blacks
  
  ... any ideas?
We'll track his progress and see how far he goes.

Trump is a joke. A level 666 troll. If I were you, I'd be more worried about the number of pissed off people who just waited for someone like him.


It's not comparable to oppose a potential president for being black and opposing a potential president the things he claims he wants to do. You can oppose Obama's policies and statements all day, and that is comparable to opposing Trump based on his positions. Opposing Obama because he's black is just overt racism and equivalent to opposing Trump for having small hands.


Nobody opposed Obama for being black. Not even racists in the south. They couldn't care about that because they were too upset with the policies he proposed.

The only people talking about Obamas race where Obama supporters who wanted to avoid substantive discussion about the issues.

Those same people are running around calling Trump a racist now.


The entire scenario here was posited as this being equivalent to when republicans were terrified of a black president being elected. You might not agree that this was the problem, but it's the scenario being discussed.

For the record, the whole "Kenyan, Muslim" stuff was overly racist. Almost no one came out and said that they were opposed to Obama because they were racist. But when you falsely accuse a black man of being a secret Kenyan Muslim, you're just racist.


Not merely accuse, but persisted in questioning him even after the black man's papers were shown. And this was no mere questioning, but peddling lies like the investigators Trump claimed to have sent to Hawaii who were finding things we wouldn't believe, without ever elaborating.

And not in five years did Trump ever talk about policy. He just accused the president of not being legitimate. Like many Republicans did, some directly, most by just staying silent. A handful rejected birtherism outright.

There's a reason why some 98% of black American will not be voting for Trump this year. And it's not their f'g imagination.


You two don't seem to realize that the whole "kenyan muslim" thing -- birtherism and secret muslim- were campaign tactics used by Hillary.

So, will you be consistent and say Hillary is a racist? (Would be consistent with her long friendships with Robert Byrd, and her "needy latinos" comment)


Provide some evidence that Clinton had anything to do with birtherism and then we can discuss how racist she is. So far no one has produced any evidence at all to back this claim. Ditto for the Muslim claim.

http://www.factcheck.org/2015/07/was-hillary-clinton-the-ori...

It's also really not compelling to defend an outspoken racist by pointing out that his opponent may also be racist, even if it were true.


"But I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate. And I think I did a good job." Trump

The sheer hubris required to state this outloud is appalling, but totally consistent with this pompous blowhard. But it gets better. Nearly a year and a half after it was produced: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/23257250523843379...

Trump is a con artist. People who believe anything he says, or vote for him, are being conned. He is the epitome of George Carlin's rant about people who keep on voting for people against their own self interest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESAmKudsKKY

I will be very interested to see what people think of Trump's character on November 9 when he doesn't graciously concede like 100% of every previous loser of a presidential election. There is no gracious anything about Donald Trump.


> Nobody opposed Obama for being black. Not even racists in the south.

Now you're just lying. Shame on you for your blatant racism denial. [1] [2] There are many racists all over America, and many of them are quite explicit and open about being opposed to Obama for being black. Do you suggest we not take them at their word?

[1] The New Racism: First you deny racism exists. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/chi-ra...

[2] Discourse and the denial of racism: http://www.discourses.org/OldArticles/Discourse%20and%20the%...

>Negative representations of the dominated group are essential in such a reproduction process. However, such attitudes and ideologies are inconsistent with dominant democratic and humanitarian norms and ideals. This means that the dominant group must protect itself, cognitively and discursively, against the damaging charge of intolerance and racism. Cognitive balance may be restored only by actually being or becoming anti-racist, by accepting minorities and immigrants as equals, or else by denying racism. It is this choice white groups in Europe and North America are facing. So far they have largely chosen the latter option.


What is next? Perhaps YC should ask applicants for political affiliation?

I think you're wrong and I think the reason YC will not drop Theil is very practical: Theil is valuable for the underlying goal of the program (money) and dropping Theil would also alienate a huge (yes, yuuuge) swath of investors.


People --- more of them on my side of this debate than yours --- say this a lot. But I think more highly of Sam Altman than to believe he's standing by Peter Thiel, despite Thiel's work to elect someone both Altman and I believe to be an American Mussolini, simply out of financial expedience. It's that basic respect for Altman that motivates me to keep pressing this argument: the effort seems hopeful.


> Mussolini

This is the type of thing that really bothers me. Not only is that a ridiculous comparison, it's completely baseless and anti-intellectual. Trump has made a few off hand fascist remarks, but nothing that could substantiate him establishing legal dictatorship. So why even make that comparison? Just fuel the witch hunt?


I agree that Trump is no Mussolini - however I see why it's tempting to compare them, as they are both slightly comical figures with a great regard for themselves.

The closer parallel would be to another Italian leader: Silvio Berlusconi. He was also a businessman, is also famous for his attitude to women, also authoritarian, etc. Both men are great showmen, and populists who 'speak their minds'.

Of course, any analogy is imperfect - but it seems closer than the whole Mussolini/Stalin/Hitler one.


Saying he's made "a few off hand fascist remarks" is a pretty generous characterization. I'd say he's shown strong contempt for the rule of law and division of powers, has gleefully stoked racist and misogynist resentments to excite his base, and has very literally encouraged violence at his rallies (and is continuing to lay the groundwork for significant election day violence for the first time in a century).

Does any of this mean he could establish a legal dictatorship? I don't know, hopefully not, but I would hardly say the comparisons are baseless.

What strikes me as actually anti-intellectual is the trend among Trump sympathizers (particularly the ones I see on HN and other more cerebral contexts) to refuse to acknowledge that the inflammatory language he's used during the campaign can and already has materially impacted the way millions of Americans perceive and act upon their world.


it's weird then how, at this point, overwhelmingly violence has been against rather than by trump supporters. Except actually it's not, because when you label someone a fascist, then anything is justified in stopping it before it takes hold. so you have people trying to jump the stage, you have headquarters being firebombed,you have physical assaults of people outside events, people being beaten up for wearing trump hats.


Violence against Trump supporters? I watch live feeds from rallies on both sides.

I've seen Democrats calling out to protesters and hecklers, suggesting that those protesters are wasting their time trying to gain support for their candidate, and reminding them of the expectation of civil discourse. Mocking, sure, but not "hate speech" (if you'll forgive the loaded term) and not violence.

I've seen Republicans punch, kick, slap and spit on protesters and hecklers, and shouting that they have no right to be there. Demanding the arrest of the protester, in some cases, with the candidate actually suggesting that, back when "America was great", the police would've locked them up sooner, or that the person who had the audacity to speak out would often be carried out on a stretcher. That seems quite violent to me.

I'll admit I may have missed something, as I can't watch every rally, but I've watched an equal number from both sides as far as I can recall.


> to refuse to acknowledge that the inflammatory language he's used during the campaign can and already has materially impacted the way millions of Americans perceive and act upon their world

You're using real numbers here so I assume you're not just making things up. I've not seen those, but if you have those sources I'd like to see them.

Here's the thing. I'm much more concerned with policy than Trump's rhetoric. He's mostly insincere and anyone that has spent time with a politician can see that. His discussions and ideas around policy are as empty and baseless as his threats to build a wall. He's a performer. Not a threat.

It would behoove liberals to focus more on policy and demonstrations of how their candidate can positively change the economy than to continue feigning outrage about the things that come out of Trump's mouth.


"He's a performer. Not a threat."

What is this magical ability you have to see into Trump's mind and know which of his words he really means and which he doesn't?


How is it baseless and anti-intellectual? If Trump were elected, he would be able to push through an agenda by exercising a significant aggressive minority of the population. This power to summon millions (who call legislators, picket, rally, etc.), who are compelled to participate if only for the spectacle, would be unique among American presidents.


You should direct that question to the person who made the comparison. I agree with it, but I think you'll understand this thread more if you ask the person I'm referencing.


You said both you and Altman felt that way. Maybe you didn't create the comparison but you just repeated it and said you agreed. It's hyperbole like that that makes people not care about your Clinton zealotry.


What, you think someone seeking power is going to stand at a podium and announce "I want a fascist dictatorship"?

He has been relentlessly attacking the legitimacy of democracy, encouraging political violence, stoking racial hatred, and threatening to imprison his opponent. On most days he does all of this before 11am.

How much of a fucking hint do people need?


No, we can just see right through the gross hyperbole that people are so fond of invoking. It's like the anti-circumcision folks saying things like:

"Circumcision is a barbaric practice in which babies have their genitals violently mutilated by religious nutjobs."

People that have actually been circumcised roll their eyes at such a phrase because it completely disregards the meaning and weight of the words "barbaric", "mutilate", "violent", etc.


> encouraging political violence

And where did actual violence happen? How is it that it's his rallies that are violently attacked?

And his headquarters that got firebombed.

Not only that, the attackers had the gall to draw swastika and call the victims nazis.


The parallels with what happened a while ago in Europe are interesting.

That particular fire's cause was never 100% cleared up, a false flag operation was suspected but never proven. But by 1939 it didn't matter anymore...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire


It was not Trump's headquarters that were firebombed. It was a NC county's GOP office. Those are very much not the same thing.


The Left is the party with the rent-a-mob


This got modded down, I guess, because people haven't seen the video that outright proves that Democrats are paying people to start violence at Trump events.


Willful ignorance


It doesn't matter what actually happens; it only matters what Trump haters want to happen. Trump is being taken to the woodshed over things he hasn't even done yet and may never do, yet Obama, the Clintons, the Bushes, et al--who actually have committed crimes--get free passes.


You'd support an affiliation filter?


Only if it's to filter out Republicans.


Looking for a little affirmative action? ;)


> I think they're right about Trump, and therefore that they're very wrong about continuing to endorse Thiel.

I think it's a very slippery slope to base endorsement on a person's political actions. It raises some important questions:

-Do you stop endorsing and associating with everyone who supports Trump? Where do you draw the line logically?

-Why can't people with opposing views work together and agree to disagree on the elections and let the votes speak?

-I imagine Trump haters and Hillary haters have very strong reasons,facts,opinions and speculative thinking to backup their claims that the other candidate is a threat to democracy, will start WW3, corrupt practices etc. This should lead to well informed debate as it seems to be happening here but without calling for distancing from person X for endorsing a different candidate. What will you achieve by distancing people based on differing views? A monoculture? Differing views and discussion on the views is one of the things that makes a democracy work.

I believe Sam is right on this. It's Thiel's money, he can support whichever candidate he wants (it's legal). His views differ from Sam's and PG's, and people seem to extend it to YC as an organization and call for distancing Thiel from YC. It achieves nothing, and if anything weakens democracy.


> I think it's a very slippery slope to base endorsement on a person's political actions.

Is it though? Let's take it a bit further: would YC be expected to continue to endorse, say, a confirmed and outspoken Fascist?

How about someone who had donated to organizations with an explicit, stated objective of reducing the rights of women and minorities? Or supporting a political organization which intends to carry out ethnic cleansing?

Are we to believe there is no line to be drawn, anywhere on this continuum?


> Are we to believe there is no line to be drawn, anywhere on this continuum?

The problem is that the line being proposed here separates roughly 50% of the population of America, possibly more. You are basically saying "I know that even though I may technically be in a minority, my moral convictions are so strong that I must impose them on you and deter you from your way of thinking by any means necessary, even if it means firing you from your job."


> The problem is that the line being proposed here separates roughly 50% of the population of America, possibly more.

That's not a moral argument, just an appeal to popularity. The same could be said in 1932 Germany and it would be just as wrong then. To be clear I'm not suggesting Trump is Hitler, but your argument is flawed.


That's a flaw in democracy, not my argument. Democracy relies on the majority having good moral judgment. If you're in the minority, too bad. I'm sure there are lots of religious people that would like to impose their morals on the majority, and I think you and I both agree that's not a good idea. But now that your group might be minority (by a slight margin), suddenly it's okay to do anything it takes to impose your morals on the majority?


> Is it though? Let's take it a bit further: would YC be expected to continue to endorse, say, a confirmed and outspoken Fascist?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuum_fallacy

Moreover, loosely associating is characteristically different from positively endorsing.


> I think it's a very slippery slope to base endorsement on a person's political actions.

What exactly else do you propose? Endorsing people based on their actions (all actions are political; no actions are apolitical; that's just how it works, you can't quit the game) is the only ethical position which makes any sense at all.

This has gone far enough. The only effective response is to judge by actions and refuse to work with any Y Combinator company until Thiel is fired (and Altman resigns).


> The only effective response is to judge by actions and refuse to work with any Y Combinator company until Thiel is fired (and Altman resigns)

You want to shun people (YC companies) for not shunning people (YC) for not shunning people (Thiel) for supporting Trump?

That's people at three levels removed from Trump. Is that really what you want?


Life's too short to work with pollutors.

And yes; I want working with Thiel to be a large net economic loss, because I believe that's the language he understands. This is the only effective tool I have to try and do that. It's nowhere near enough, but it's what I've got.


You say "thats the language he understands", but that's a really dangerous way to be thinking.

Look at it this way: assume you support gay marriage, and the supreme court had gone the other way. Some business partner finds out you support gay marriage, and they vehemently disagree with that, so they refuse to do business with you. They tell all of their other anti-gay acquainances to also stop doing business with you.

What would you think of that? Would it make you reconsider, would it make you suddenly be against gay marriage? More likely, it would piss you off and create even more division.

That is literally all that cutting business ties with Thiel would do, create division. Cutting a person off because you disagree on something political will never change their mind, it will only make them hate you right back, and suddenly you have two separate groups.

Remember after world war 1 when the world went "screw Germany", and ordered massive reparations, and shunned them from everything? Remember how that just caused animosity and hated right back? It triggered another, bigger war.

After WW2, on the other hand, the allies integrated. They actually worked at meshing together and creating something better, and it worked. Germany is no longer heavily nazi, or even kind of nazi.

For another great example, see the religious history of England.

Cutting off Theil and having everyone who doesn't support Trump boycott him just sends him a big middle finger, and makes a big rift that is going to keep causing problems in a big casual loop.


So... will you actually put your money where your mouth is? Will you not associate with companies or products that were helped by Y-Combinator until they publicly reject YC?

Will you not use HackerNews, Docker, DropBox, Reddit, AirBnB, DoorDash, Stripe, Pebble, or any of the rest?


I won't work for any of them.


> What exactly else do you propose?

Let people have differing opinions and continue working with them. If Thiel is doing something illegal, and goes against the spirit of the Constitution, call him out for and push for legal action.

> The only effective response is to judge by actions and refuse to work with any Y Combinator company until Thiel is fired (and Altman resigns).

Fire Thiel for supporting Trump with a donation? Seriously? What is this, a dictatorship? Everyone who disagrees is silenced? You want Altman to resign? Genuine question : Do you hear yourself?


Thiel cannot be fired by Sam Altman because he is not an employee of Sam Altman. His relationship with Altman is that of an endorsee, and all that's being asked of Altman is that he stop endorsing members of Trump's campaign.


> His relationship with Altman is that of an endorsee,

Noted. Should have been careful there.

> and all that's being asked of Altman is that he stop endorsing members of Trump's campaign.

Why? It makes no sense to me. Why can't people have their opinions and agree to disagree on ones they don't agree on. Don't you feel such calls go against free speech?


They can. What they cannot do is work effectively to prevent bigotry, sexism, and the destruction of the American economy and political fabric while simultaneously endorsing and working with people doing the exact opposite. People keep dancing around the fact that Thiel is not simply a Trump supporter, or even just a Trump donor. He is a Trump campaign surrogate --- a member of the campaign.


I considered responding to this, but I'm not sure how to have a meaningful conversation with someone who engages in such hyperbole.


I understand your frustration. The desire to respond in a constructive way is necessary for us to go forward, especially now. For me, a part of that is to try my best to (a) give the people I'm talking to the benefit of the doubt that they're engaging in good faith; and (b) try not to use language that escalates any tensions. Online text discussion makes this especially fraught, given its low-bandwidth: we only get the text, without the benefit of other channels such as voice inflection and body language.

One tool HN provides is the ability to view a user's other comments, which can provide a gauge to measure whether someone is engaging in good faith.

And there's always the choice to not respond. If you think someone is just looking for attention, not responding might be the right course of action. Once people get angry or frustrated, it's probably better to just back off and try again some other time. And in general I'm thinking of myself as well to those I'm engaging with.

Or if you don't think you have something meaningful to add. Sometimes that's hard to do because you think the conversation is important and want to participate.

Please don't interpret anything I've written as criticism of either you or tptacek. For the record, from what I've seen both of you are thoughtful and engaging honestly. I also hope this doesn't come off as preachy. These are just the heuristics I've been using. Some others are Rapoport's rules [0], which I think are really insightful. I'd love to hear how others approach this as well.

I've thought about all these things in writing this comment, and I'm still unsure whether I should click the "reply" button. I do think it's important to try to keep these types of conversations going, and I know I need the practice, so in good faith I'm willing to put my neck out another time.

[0] https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/03/28/daniel-dennett-rapo...


Valid points. My comment wasn't meant to be "frustration", but steering the conversation back toward productivity. I definitely can see why it came out as frustration, and in that sense I deserve the downvotes (this is not to imply that you were among the downvoters). Thanks for sharing the link.


>Why? It makes no sense to me. Why can't people have their opinions and agree to disagree on ones they don't agree on. Don't you feel such calls go against free speech?

I'm pretty sure this is a fundamental misunderstanding of free speech. Free speech means the governing body can't forbid you from expressing your opinion or punish you for it.

It does not mean other people or organizations can't take action based on their disagreement with your opinions and it doesn't mean expressing an opinion has to be without consequence from anything.


Legally, that's what free speech means, but philosophically Free Speech can certainly be more general than just related to the government.

Voltaire's "...but I'll defend to the death your right to say it," comes to mind.

We'd generally feel the same way if a company were enforcing completely arbitrary abridgment of free speech on its employees. Or if a private school were (legally) kicking kids out because they supported Black Lives Matter.


I did forget one thing that still falls under free speech (even legally probably), aside from the state not stopping you from expressing your opinion, it should protect your ability to do so. As in, not allowing anyone to silence you, but even that has its boundaries since silencing someone is not the same as not perpetuating what they say.

The examples you gave are ones where the effect on that person's life would be so fundamental that it could easily be considered an intrusion into their rights.

Boycotting a company or choosing to end a business partnership are completely different in that regard.


I believe Thiel only responds to economic pressure.

I am intending to use my economic leverage, and advocating others do the same, by refusing to work with Thiel and his enablers, which include Y Combinator and companies funded by them. (It's not just the Trump thing, by any means, that's the end of a very very very long list.)

Altman has also shown himself to be – at best – unaware of the moral dimensions of his actions, and that's not someone I want to have to deal with. So I won't and I suggest that you don't.

Same reason I won't work for an oil supermajor. I don't want to be party to pollution.

Everyone else is free to act as they choose, but I hope enough people agree with me that it weights the needle. If companies can't hire talent, they die; so what talent can do is refuse.


Our disagreement isn't on the question of Trump's existential threat status, it's on the question of what should be done about it (incidentally, the same disagreement you seem to have with Sam Altman and Paul Graham).

If you have a different solution than tossing out the heathens, I'm all ears. In Sam's blog post the solution he decides on is continuing dialogue. While this may be an imperfect solution, it seems to me a less imperfect solution than purging, as that generally results in communities being destroyed.


As long as an ideology is small enough, completely shunning it's adherents is actually the best strategy, because everyone is susceptible to social pressure.

But I fear that at 40% of the population, and with the social bubble people have build around them, Trump's neo-fascist movement may be beyond the reach of such tactics.

> it's on the question of what should be done about it

Everything that is legal. When, in the past, Republicans advocated trickle-down economics you possibly had a chance to convince people with arguments.

But I'm equally pessimistic about convincing anybody rationally. Trump and his supporters live in a reality completely divorced from any actually existing facts. It's this world with FEMA death camps and vast conspiracies planning to use the national guard to invade Texas and sell it to Mexico. There is no overlap anymore in what sources, what types of arguments, what axiomatic moral laws the two tribes consider valid.

Both strategies seeming comparably useless, I decided at some point that, when my grandchildren ask me in 40 years or so I want to be able to say "I did everything that's legal".


> As long as an ideology is small enough, completely shunning it's adherents is actually the best strategy

Until the thousandth time you use this tactic, and the number of people shunned begins to outnumber the ones doing the shunning.

> when my grandchildren ask me in 40 years or so I want to be able to say "I did everything that's legal".

I'm sorry to hear this. I hope in time you can come to focus on the similarities you have to your fellow humans rather than what sounds like a myopic focus on purely ideological differences.

As I said in GGGP to excuse your actions:

> sometimes a person needs to make mistakes / destroy something beautiful in order to find the next level of understanding


"Purely ideological differences" like whether sexual assault is okay and whether Muslims can be American citizens. Nope. Not going to just "agree to disagree" on that shit.


They can agree with that and still continue working with Thiel. You can be against fascism and but still be against creating a society where everyone must get in line politically or else be shunned.


I don't need people to get in line politically. I would be content with them not bundling millions of dollars for Donald Trump before getting up on stage at the RNC and claiming, as Thiel did, to speak for Silicon Valley in claiming that Trump is the only honest candidate in the race. I'm a simple sort of guy. My needs are not complicated.


I think you're making the right argument, I just don't think you're making it super clear.

(I think) what you're saying, is 'There is nothing wrong with supporting an opposing viewpoint. There is a huge problem with supporting Benito Mussolini. Sam Altman has compared Donald Trump to Benito Mussolini. Because of this, Sam should have a huge problem with supporting Donald Trump. Peter Thiel supports Donald Trump. Because of this, Sam should have a huge problem with his association with Peter Thiel.'

Keeping my political views out of the equation, I agree with that line of logic. The problem I think Sam is facing and why I think it's such a difficult issue is this.

Donald Trump is not Benito Mussolini. Unless he wins the presidency, he won't even have a remote opportunity at becoming him. So I think Sam is in sort of a lose-lose situation. On one hand, Sam remains steadfast in his decision, Donald Trump wins the election, Donald Trump enacts changes that make him on par with Benito Mussolini and Sam has now been complicit in the support of someone on par with Benito Mussolini. On the other hand, if Donald Trump loses or even if he wins and is anything less than a Benito Mussolini look-alike, he has effectively suppressed the support of an opposing political viewpoint.

I'm not pretending to know the solution, not even a little bit. I do think it's important to recognize how difficult of situation Sam is in.


That's not in fact the argument I am making. I do not support ostracizing or blacklisting all Trump supporters, just as I wouldn't have supporting ostracizing all Republicans in the wake of our catastrophic war on Iraq. However: I am comfortable with calling on people to divest from investments in the architects of the war on Iraq, like Doug Feith and Donald Rumsfeld, and I am comfortable with calling on Altman to divest from Peter Thiel, a key figure in the Trump campaign.


Altman's ulterior motive here is that it's bad for business if yComb departs from Thiel. And at the end of the day it comes down to money, so regardless of what Altman says, they will never part ways and ultimately become directly competitive with one of SV largest venture investors.


I didn't mean specifically in the comment above, I meant earlier.

'If you do not believe that Trump is an existential threat to American democracy, then, while I implore you to reconsider, I am content to agree to disagree. But you might take that disagreement up first with Paul Graham and Sam Altman. They do not agree with you. They aggressively don't agree with you. They compare Donald Trump with a fascist dictator. I think they're right about Trump, and therefore that they're very wrong about continuing to endorse Thiel. I would be doing Sam Altman no favors to pretend otherwise.'

It seemed like you were getting attacked from all angles, so I chose a comment that didn't have much on it. I wasn't trying to attack your argument (from above). I was attempting to put it into a more objective light.


False equivalence to Rumsfeld and Feith (and interesting you leave out Rice and Powell). What about somebody who contributed money to the reelection of George W. Bush in 2004?


I'm glad you brought Rice up, because this site had absolutely no problem calling for a boycott of Dropbox over their inclusion of Rice as a director.

(I don't support that boycott, because I think Rice's role in the Iraq war is far more complicated than that of Rumsfeld or Feith, who are the literal architects of the war plan she consistently criticized. Rice isn't blameless, but she's no Doug Feith.)


@tptacek Drew Houston defended her and she is still on the board. And people haven't mass defected from Dropbox.

And still a false equivalence between someone who supports Trump because of economic policy to architects of the war in Iraq.


I have never heard him claim to speak for Silicon Valley.

The question becomes then, what do you consider your line. Is this about his outsized financial support? What if he gave his RNC speech and only donated $10,000?


Then --- respectfully --- you have never heard him speak in favor of Donald Trump, and you should go watch his speech before arguing about it. It's pretty scary. Maybe after seeing it, you'll understand the vehemence of the anti-Thiel sentiment.


I re-read his transcript before I published my comment. He says he's from Silicon Valley (which is true) but not that he speaks for Silicon Valley.


No, that is not all he says about Silicon Valley. Read the whole thing.


Re-read. "We don’t accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government." I think using the word "we" is the closest he gets to your interpretation, but even here it's clear to me that his views are his own.


HRC is also a fascist dictator wannabe. The difference between them is more kind and less degree.

Anybody who opposes Trump and not Hillary on the grounds of fascism is, to be charitable, being inconsistent.


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