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What I Heard from Trump Supporters (samaltman.com)
461 points by snarkyturtle on Feb 21, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 858 comments



This one gave me the most pause:

> “Silicon Valley is incredibly unwelcoming to alternative points of view. Your curiosity, if it is sincere, is the very rare exception to the rule.”

Substitute "Silicon Valley" for any major liberal enclaves, like universities and cities, and I think you see the same thing. I am skeptical by nature and try to take a scientific view of new ideas. However I feel like I get shouted down every time I merely bring up a contrarian view. People start throwing link after link of facts and don't want to even reason about ideas. It's hopeless and I end up keeping my mouth shut.


I moved to San Francisco from a rural town, and I would feel 10x more comfortable sharing my liberal viewpoints in a small, deeply-red town than I would insinuating something anything less than 100% left-leaning at work here. People disagree in small town Utah, and it would be uncomfortable. In San Francisco you're ostracized. It even makes me nervous to leave my name attached to a comment like this, knowing that my co-workers browse HN and will see it.


I went from Salt Lake City to San Francisco as well. I have always been quite liberal on issues and it had never been a problem, but when discussing issues in SF I felt I had to be very careful with what I supported. I always felt my friendships/employment was threatened if I disagreed.

I had a good friend/startup founder once say anyone who supported Trump deserved to be fired and blacklisted.


Ha! I'm also a Salt Lake native transplant to San Fran. In Utah, I am a socialist pinko commie. In San Francisco I'm (apparently) somewhere between a libertarian and a tea party republican.

At least, that's my story. I'm exaggerating for effect, and in the spirit of fun. But I was literally publicly berated at work once on the company forum for not being liberal enough, not having views consistent with California democrats, and not contributing enough money to the party.

I never feared for my job though, that's awful. I could have actually been a conservative and I wouldn't have had to worry. There were conservatives in the company, though they did keep rather quiet about their views.

Someone who makes a blanket statement about firing anyone with impure thoughts... it happens, but let's hope it was only a moment of weakness or anger on your friend's part.


I believe a large part of America wanted to say "fuck you" to the big system. Trump was the candidate for red states, Sanders for democrats.

I do agree with some of trumps policies. I don't agree with his behaviours though.

The simplistic tax reform makes sense. A bigger deductible would mean poor people would have middle class would have a larger net gain.

I support infrastructure investment.

I support stricter high skilled immigration.


It's not any different in, say, Oklahoma. Just the reverse.


Doesn't mean we shouldn't do better, of course.

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


Your friend should bear in mind that political affiliation is a protected class in California (http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/california-employment...).


When I lived in a bigger city I was constantly commenting on how it always seemed to be the most left leaning people saying things like "someone should shoot that bastard" in reference to some politician or another.

It's interesting to note that the word "fired" in an employment context is the same word used to describe what occurs when a gun is operated.


[flagged]


So by supporting Clinton would you implicitly be agreeing to bombing children in Syria?

That's just a silly line of reasoning


Trump has already killed American children in Yemen.

However incompetent I think he is, I doubt that was deliberate though, and is besides the point.

Every president will inevitably make military decisions that will lead to civilian casualties. It's never nice, and it's never "okay", but it's also extremely difficult to avoid, in a conflict.

Repealing ACA is purely political, with very real effects on tens of millions of Americans losing coverage, benefitting only rich people.

It's not an unavoidable side effect. Just fucking don't do it. Your comparison is ludicrous.


After having educated myself with the help of people smarter than me on what you mean with the Syria comment:

Your trying to claim your statement is equivalent to mine is silly.

Syria is a conflict zone where the government has lost control and the USA along with 50 countries from the NATO is trying to help get the situation back under control. Nobody involved there is actually intending to hurt any civilians. In fact, the USA pulling out would likely cause a lot more deaths. (I'd like to remind you of the syrian government attacking their own civilians with chemical weapons.) Further, under no other candidate would substantially less deaths happen in that area, and particularly with Pence being a noted hawk there'll likely be more involvement there than under Clinton.


There is no subtlety in Pence's actions on the needle program.

PS: Bernie would've been the sane choice for your country. But hey, what can you do in a two party system.


You avoided the question entirely, does your vote for Clinton mean you implicitly agree to bombing children in Syria?


I'm not entirely sure how exactly you get to that exact end result from her. To answer that i'd need to know more. Think you can provide an explanation?


OK, let's avoid hypotheticals entirely. I'm going to assume you voted for Obama? If so, does that mean that you implicitly agree to everyone killed (guilty and innocent) by his orders?


I didn't vote for anyone, i'm a German. As to the question: I don't believe any other candidate would've had less people dead in the relevant conflict areas. Further, Obama himself wasn't actively aiming to have civilians suffer through his actions. Pence has unequivocally done so.

There's a wide gulf between deaths caused despite one's best intentions, and deaths caused directly by one's intentions. I believe US laws put such deaths in two distinct categories.

E: I also answered the syria question in a post further up.


I voted for Obama, and yes, I agree with his orders.


I didn't vote for Trump, however I did have some positive things to say about a few things he supported. Overall I felt Hilary was the better choice, however expressing anything not negative about Trump caused serious contention.


It wasn't always like this. Silicon Valley was a lot more diverse/tolerant in the first dotcom boom and until ~2006 or so than since. It really went off the deep end circa the Brendan Eich incident (2014), and then the most recent Presidential election cycle. The "Ex-communicate Peter Thiel" movement was the point of no return, and when I decided to flee permanently.

It doesn't seem to be as bad even in other equally-liberal tech areas outside SV.


Both the Eich and Thiel situations were downright appalling in how they mirrored the exact kind of Witch hunt and ostracizing that liberalism historically and morally should be against.

The fact that people didn't seem to grasp the hypocrisy and danger of their actions made it even more chilling.


That people openly suggested firing anyone who voted for Trump was pretty shocking to me (despite the fact that I didn't vote for him)


This is one of the first things I've noticed when looking at political discussions. People (correctly) note the abuse of powers in others, but the moment they get power themselves they see no problem with (ab)using it to attack those who did it before. And then the power relations change again and it starts anew.


Definitely. The tactics used to shame Trump supporters, evangelicals, and the like are the exact same as the ones used to shame and invalidate people of color, women's rights, etc. In the past.

It's disheartening, really.


It's natural.

Maybe people haven't seen it in America before, but this happens all the time.

Radicalism begets radical responses over enough of a time line.

People in this thread keep feeling disheartened or calling out liberals enclaves - but they completely forget that this is only 3 weeks into Trumps presidency.

As a candidate he was frightening to liberals, in a way no American presidential candidate has been in a long time.

And now he is president. He scares and disturbs people around the world. I can't imagine how liberal groups feel.

On top of that he won and is supported by people who argue that hate speech is free speech.


I don't care how liberal groups feel. I care how they act. And how they are acting is contrary to both liberalism and liberty.

(Conservatives are not acting conservatively, either...)


If you don't quite care about how people feel, you lose the position to judge how they act.

Human actions ultimately find their motivation in emotions, not in rationality.

Besides- that's a belief unmoored from reality.

There's a fight going on, and one side has been using techniques to dismantle every institution and source of strength of the other. Youll have reached the point that even facts itself are under question.

The period of following ideals died a while back. Either liberals learn from the political play book of the conservatives, or they disappear.


The frightening part about your post is that you might not even be trolling.


Why is this frightening?


Presumably because it's trying to equate San Francisco liberals venting about Trump supporters, with the legal oppression of women and minorities with the full backing of the state. A level of false equivalency that is terrifying for people who are slowly realising that a large number of Trump supporters have lost all touch with reality.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

59% of Trump supporters believe the last president of the United states was not a citizen of the US, and therefore ineligible to be president.

66% believe that Obama is lying about his religion and is secretly a muslim.

Put together, that is some real "Protocals of the Elders of Zion" stuff. No wonder they want to ban muslims, they actually believe the country has already been secretly taken over by them. There's multiple bestseller books that claim exactly that. People pushing this conspiracy are all over the Republican establishment and Trump and other public figures drop blatant dog-whistles that just sound like stupidity to normal people, but confirm these paranoid fantasies for believers.

Trump actually said on television that Obama actively helped the Orlando shooting. And people in this thread are like "well, I like his tax policies" and "people are so rude to supporters of Fascism, that's the real fascism!".


> Trump actually said on television that Obama actively helped the Orlando shooting. And people in this thread are like "well, I like his tax policies" and "people are so rude to supporters of Fascism, that's the real fascism!".

The question I ask myself is where does being "rude" end and oppression of your opposition start. I'm thinking about this in the broader context of multiple elections happening here in Europe this year and what is the appropriate response.

On one hand I'm strictly in the camp that if you say shit people should be fully allowed to critize you for it. On the other hand I'm not sure this is a helpful strategy to further the wanted end.

That aside, this sub-thread is about the fine line where the power relations change and those who weren't in power before now start to abuse that power themselves. I've seen multiple calls to legally oppress people that voted for Trump. That's as wrong to me as legal oppression of women and minorities. I don't know if there's such a thing as "good oppression", but I have a feeling the answer is no.


The Republican party literally stood in court and argued that it was okay for them to prevent Democrats voting! That it would only be illegal if they targetted black voters with voter suppresion efforts because of their race, but targetting them because they know they would vote Democrats was entirely legal. They do this all over the country and have done so consistently for decades and continue to do so today (actually more so as federal restrictions were removed by the supreme court).

Maybe one day we'll need to worry about women and minorities suppressing white men, but we're not there yet.


> Maybe one day we'll need to worry about women and minorities suppressing white men, but we're not there yet.

Do you think we should wait until we are there, so we can again react to problems instead of preventing them? People stated that they want to do this.

Does this make the things the other side did any less horrible? No, multiple things can be horrible at the same time.


>The question I ask myself is where does being "rude" end and oppression of your opposition start.

With state power and ownership of material resources, duh. Being a dick to someone isn't oppression. Making them homeless is oppression. Rounding them up and putting them into a camp is oppression. Shooting them is oppression.

Do people not realize that these things happen today?


I'm more inclined to suggest that liberals are getting tired of being the diplomatic party and reaching across the isle [1] [2], and are starting to play the same game. I'm not saying tit for tat is constructive, but going by this election cycle, dirty seems to be what's working.

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/06/yes-pol...

[2] https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/posts/2014/06/n...


I'm inclined to agree. The Republican party the last few cycles has just become the party of NO, no to this policy, no to that law, undo, remove, etc. etc. They don't seem to have any ideas to show except to destroy everything the Democrats do, good and bad.

Trump was the last straw for me. I voted McCain and Romney but Trump was just too far into the deep end (that and Mitch McConnell has been one of the most obstructionist politicians in American history).


Tit for tat isn't particularly constructive, but it's sure as hell the rational strategy in an iterated Prisoner's Dilemma.


There is no hypocrisy or intolerance in fighting intolerance. You're trying to make the argument that one is not tolerant unless they tolerate intolerance, which doesn't make any sense.

Eich used his capital to deny rights to our friends. They did nothing to his rights.


It's the PC/SJW lunacy and its ideas becoming mainstream.


A lot of it depends on your approach. I'm one of the brashest people around, and even I have gotten into constructive (and instructive to me) conversations about thorny topics with people, with one simple approach: don't be an asshole.

I haven't been ostracized, I haven't been "silenced" or "oppressed". I have had my ass handed to me about uninformed opinions I held, though. And that hurts your pride, but eventually makes you a better person.


> I would feel 10x more comfortable sharing my liberal viewpoints in a small, deeply-red town than I would insinuating something anything less than 100% left-leaning at work here.

Serious question: are you white?


Yes


Are you gay? Are you a woman? Are you Muslim?


White Christian (Mormon) straight male


Thanks for the reply. I imagine that being part of the majority demographic in Utah makes daily life more comfortable than it was in San Francisco, no? (Not making excuses for other people's poor behavior anywhere.)


I honestly don't think much about demographics either place. Maybe that's because I'm the majority (I think) in both places; I don't know. It doesn't enter my calculus.

San Francisco is generally more accepting of almost everything, and I love that, but when it comes to political ideology I ironically find it intense, unaccepting and extreme. It feels like anything goes in SF, so long as you're not on the right politically. (I don't even consider myself super duper on the right, just not allll the way on the left)


My point was simply to illustrate that "I'd feel more comfortable talking about my views in the Deep Red" is a statement only a White (probably) Male would say.


Perhaps, but I honestly don't believe that's true. It feels like politics has become something beyond politics in San Francisco. It's not "people have different ways of viewing things, and boy do I think you're wrong," it's "if you think that _____ or voted for _____ you are my enemy."


I think you'd be surprised at how non-white males are treated in the Deep Red, is again my point.


I'm surprised he'd be surprised given what the official Mormon church position on black people used to be until relatively recently.

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


Are you speaking from experience?


I can confirm.

Growing up in the south, as a non-white, it's not if you've been mistreated, but how many times PER DAY. Your identity is that of an outsider. You're not part of the white culture.

It's so common that it just becomes the usual part of life, and you deal with it from there.

You are definitely lacking any idea of the experience of other races.

Mormons, they go around house-to-house trying to convert people.

Try doing the same thing as a Muslim, with a long beard, in the deep south, and then let me know if you still think you'd be more comfortable expressing your views in the deep south. =^D


I live in New Orleans. My family is Ahmadi. (I don't care for religion particularly). A couple days before the executive orders on immigration, a Muslim guy in a bar down the street from my house drinking from a water bottle (with a trimmed beard, if it matters) was telling his white friends about the mercies of Sharia and how awesome it really was. I interjected and asked him what the fate of my family would be. Without missing a beat he said "Execution, in an Islamic state, if they don't repent or continue to profess their faith in public." I wonder why his outsiderhood hasn't given him any empathy. (Both he and I are Pakistani-American)


I've only been in the south a handful of times, and it definitely seems much more racially charged. Utah was so insular that we never even talked about race, even when there were minorities around.


Do you think the minorities talked about race and their experience with racism in Utah?


I'm non-white and lived in a red state and experienced some serious racism.


Good thread here


>Perhaps, but I honestly don't believe that's true.

I'm a white Jewish-atheist male with... certain political views, and I honestly expect that if I open my mouth in the Deep Red zones it will lead to violence.

>It's not "people have different ways of viewing things, and boy do I think you're wrong," it's "if you think that _____ or voted for _____ you are my enemy."

Well, fascism is not just another way of looking at things. It's a way of killing people. Fascists are the enemy of every sane, decent human being on this planet.

Now, folks at work or in government may or may not be fascists, but if someone brings up the concern that they are, the right thing to do is to contest the factual question. You really shouldn't just dismiss it by saying, "Whether or not so-and-so is a fascist, it's only fair to tolerate fascism!"

No, what's fair is "never again". Totalitarianism in general and fascism in specific are the worst ideas in the world.


[flagged]


It doesn't actually sound honest, now I admit your follow up question made the intent clearer, but that original post wasn't downvoted by others for the 'sharpness' of the question but because it sounded rhetorical. Have an upvote.


It honestly sounds like the start of a line of questioning that is likely to shutdown opinions because of someone's characteristics rather than the opinion itself.

I'm not saying that's what you're doing, but it's a frequent tactic.


> I would feel 10x more comfortable sharing my liberal viewpoints in a small, deeply-red town

I'm sure I'd feel comfortable sharing liberal viewpoints in a small, deeply-red town as well, but I'm also a straight white male.

You're worry about being ostracized. People in Kansas have to worry that radical christian terrorists are going to murder them [1].

[1]: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/kansas-crusaders-arreste...


Having lived for >2 years in 6 different US states (NY, CA, TX, MA, NV, MT) and cities with populations ranging from 2,000 to 20,000,000, I can absolutely guarantee you that rural white areas have the least internalized racism of anywhere in the US. The communities are small enough that racial classification isn't actually a useful heuristic, so people just use social connections and character instead. Second to that are places where what people in CA and NY often call "casual racism" (I.e. Humor based on racial/ethnic stereotypes) is acceptable; it allows people to recognize and accept cultural differences (that might otherwise cause conflict) in a friendly way. Texas is a great example of this; San Antonio is majority Mexican background, with a huge Muslim population as well. People across ethno-cultural lines bond over good-spirited racial jokes about super tacos, Los Espurs, canned queso, and the Israeli-palestinian conflict.

By far the most internally racist populations I've ever lived in were those where any recognition of ethno-cultural differences was explicitly verboten. If you make a joke about Mexican culture in SF (even if you're Mexican), there's a good chance you're getting fired, so internal thoughts about ethnic differences are suppressed and allowed to fester, and then people cover it up psychologically with a huge dose of self-loathing and, externally, doing the exact opposite of whatever is thought to be racist. The result is a modern version of "white man's burden"; a lot of the people in SF are absolutely convinced that without their help the poor, trod-upon people of color (replacement for "minorities" after that phrase starter to apply to white people in many US regions) would surely starve.

The point being, being a straight white male has nothing to do with it. For the record, I'm neither straight nor white, and I agree with the GP that I felt safer expressing disagreement in conservative environments than I do in very liberal cities like SF and NY.


This is spot on. Growing up in Sacramento, one of the most diverse cities in the US, I never felt racially divided, despite the fact that my friends and I would casually toss around very pejorative slurs at one-another. But when I moved to Chicago, I never once heard an N-bomb, and at them same time, I'd never felt more racial segregation.

I've always found it really funny that extremely disfunctional racist places like Chicago feel like they should define the cultural behaviors to fix racism.


    Having lived for >2 years in 6 different US states (NY, CA, TX, MA, NV, MT) 
    and cities with populations ranging from 2,000 to 20,000,000, I can 
    absolutely guarantee you that rural white areas have the least internalized 
    racism of anywhere in the US.
First of all, I will note that none of those places are in the Deep South (e.g. Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, etc). I would claim that there are strong regional differences in racism in the US. While conservative rural areas in the West have a reputation for being pretty tolerant, that reputation does not hold for places that had a longstanding slaveholding tradition. Texas is somewhat of an exception to this, because of its rather unique history.

Secondly, are you yourself white? I only ask because I am not, and I have had the experience of going into a store in a rural, conservative area, hearing conversations stop and heads turn as everyone stopped to look at the different-looking person walking in.


Honest question: Do you think this wouldn't have happened if you where white?

I believe that when you are referring to rural, conservative areas anyone that is a stranger or strange looking (clothes, hair etc.) would have a similar experience.


Blowing terror incidents out of proportion is the exact same rhetorical tactic used against Muslims. In general, I think this cherry-picked focus on extremists is what got us into this mess. We need to spend less time spreading one-off news stories and more time listening to and empowering the actual people we're arguing over.


Leaders and managers of organizations have said that they'd like to sabotage the careers of Trump supporters and/or Republicans in their org.

That's pretty threatening I think?


It wouldn't be any kind of threat if not for at-will employment.


Again, people are worried about being murdered by radical christian terrorists. Worried about not being allowed to come home after leaving the country for a vacation. Worried about their healthcare and reproductive rights being taken away.

You are worried that a private organization that someone no right to be a part of might not want to have anything to do with the alt-right?


>people are worried about being murdered by radical christian terrorists.

The link you posted doesn't support that. “These charges are based on eight months of investigation by the FBI that is alleged to have taken the investigators deep into a hidden culture of hatred and violence,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Beall. “Many Kansans may find it as startling as I do that such things could happen here.”

A hidden culture, not an open one, and open surprise and bewilderment from people don't really work with the idea that people are actually worried about being murdered by christian terrorists. It sounds like people didn't even know this existed.


Are you saying that one awful situation should be discounted because there's an even more awful situation elsewhere for other people?


There's countries in the world that are completely unable to feed their people, provide any modicum of security, and where that's been the case for decades.

You are worried about problems in America?


What's the purpose of devaluing someone's opinion / level of comfort like that? This is exactly how you get people to disengage and destroy any chance you have of persuading them of ... whatever you want to persuade them of.


"I don't understand what you are complaining about, I have no problem finding a seat on the bus"

- Some white guy in 1955.


The original comment sounded entirely different than that to me.

Regardless, if said white guy from 1955 said he was uncomfortable about something, or otherwise felt bad, telling him why other people have it worse seems counter productive. Someone always has it worse.


So basically, it's his fault his opinion is so offensive?


But the bus is great for me. I'm perfectly comfortable riding right up at the front. How dare you devalue my opinion and level of comfort like this!



Same thing, even with long-time friends, if I am trying to counter their hysteria (they're reading and sharing "fake news," too, and I just want to point out the inaccuracy of their statements or test them with logic, I'm called an "alt-right fascist."

Honestly, the level of discourse in this country is an absolute joke. It doesn't matter what side you are on.


What gets my goat is the kind of shouting down I get whenever I take any contrarian stance on non-GMO foods, or God forbid, vaccination.

I know that vaccines are critical and that there is nothing wrong with them. But to not even admit the possibility that there might be a link between vaccines and some health problems is, to me, very anti-science.

My understanding for science has always been to question all assumptions, even ones you think are your sacred cows.


> I know that vaccines are critical and that there is nothing wrong with them. But to not even admit the possibility that there might be a link between vaccines and some health problems is, to me, very anti-science.

The problem is that you're agreeing that there is no link but then trying to argue that maybe there really is a link and everyone should think really hard about it. This is not a logical or factual argument but you expect that people should act as if it is. If you have facts or even logical arguments to put forth, then do so. But don't claim that everyone is being anti-science when they dismiss your baseless speculation as baseless speculation.


What is there to debate on vaccines?

The mechanism are known, I've studied it in basic biology classes, and all doctors have studied it in detail - you can too.

The process by which our body deals with a vaccine is based on the same processes it uses to deal with any invader (and then building a repository of responses to handle such cases in future).

If you don't have the time to look into it yourself, you can consider what every other doctor and medical researcher in the world has studied and supported.

Otherwise this is a kind of unscientific "keeping an open mind" mantra. The point of an open mind is to not just be a weather vane With no fixed position.

It is to keep an open mind in order to study the facts and draw an inference based on it.

That's science. Keeping an open mind for the sake of an open mind is philosophy at best.

Furthermore, you can consider the fact that anti vaccers are not making the limited case you are. The response of people to anti vaccine, is not based on your claims of possible possibilities, but to anti vaccer claims and statements


Saying that the mechanisms are known is a major case of hubris. For example, it is still not known exactly how aluminum salts, used as adjuvants in vaccines, work. Many vaccines were developed empirically, and researchers struggle to replicate the success for other diseases. If the mechanisms, as you say, were fully known, we would already have conquered cancer.

Here is an interesting example. In the 60s a vaccine against chlamydia was developed and then tested in one of "developing" countries. Vaccinated people showed high titers of antibodies in their blood (this is, by the way, how efficacy of vaccines is judged, not by the actual clinical studies, read the inserts, you'd be surprised). Despite the high titers vaccinated people were much more likely to get the disease and the course of the disease was more severe. The vaccine was pulled, and the reason for the failure was not known at the time.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews-science/why-1960s-ch...

If you follow the links in that article you will see how the process of how the body deals with a vaccine is not necessarily the same as the process of dealing with the disease directly.

Human immune system is complicated and is not fully understood. Infant immune system differs from the one of the adults, which further complicates the matters. Saying that the science there is settled is just not true.


>I've studied it in basic biology classes

Nobody is arguing that the basic functionality of vaccines doesn't work - this is a strawman argument that those who wish to dismiss any criticism of the vaccine industry use.

Understanding infectious diseases and taking proper personal hygiene measures along with having clean drinking water and plumbing/sewage had much more to do with the decline in infectious diseases than vaccines ever did. The effectiveness of vaccines is highly overstated.

Many doctors have spoken out about the vaccine issue. They are typically threatened and punished after doing so.

Pharma companies have billions if not trillions of dollars in profits at stake on this issue. To dismiss any concern as being "anti science" is the height of ignorance. Any academic institution is simply a collection of fallible human beings. These institutions can, and have, become corrupted just as easily as any other.

There is a very long list of vaccines that have been developed that were later found to have been causing horrible medical problems. The idea that a vaccine could cause medical problems is not at all a controversial one.

There is convincing evidence from scientists like a certain CDC whistleblower that there is indeed data showing that there are major problems with the current vaccine schedule.

Asking questions like, why has the vaccine schedule for babies exploded to dozens of shots in rapid succession, when there's not been an equivalent explosion in those infectious diseases? Why should gigantic pharma companies, who every year make billions in profits, be not held liable for any harm that is caused, nor are they required to perform rigorous testing with double blind human trials for vaccines (like they are for other drugs)?

But I guess since you once studied it in a basic biology class, all those questions are just "dumb anti vaxers".


> Understanding infectious diseases and taking proper personal hygiene measures along with having clean drinking water and plumbing/sewage had much more to do with the decline in infectious diseases than vaccines ever did. The effectiveness of vaccines is highly overstated.

Clean water keeps you from getting bacterial dysentery. It doesn't do much to stop you from getting polio. Vaccination and herd immunity are what keep you from getting polio, and smallpox, and measles, and a couple dozen other diseases that used to regularly kill people. The effectiveness of vaccines is not overstated. It's clearly established and it's only because we're fortunate enough to have lived with widespread vaccinations for decades that we've lost sight of the impact they have.

> ...There is convincing evidence from scientists like a certain CDC whistleblower that there is indeed data showing that there are major problems with the current vaccine schedule...

You made a whole bunch of scary claims with zero evidence. This is not science. This is fear mongering.

> Asking questions like, why has the vaccine schedule for babies exploded to dozens of shots in rapid succession, when there's not been an equivalent explosion in those infectious diseases?

The reduction in infectious disease somehow indicates that vaccines are low-value to you? The widespread availability and use of vaccination is a huge part of why those infectious diseases aren't common now. How many people do you know who've died of smallpox or polio or tetanus?

Also babies don't get "dozens of shots in rapid succession". This is a fear-mongering lie. In the US, before 12 months a child should get a minimum of 14 vaccinations and a maximum of about 22 depending on if some vaccination are taken early, 3-shot vaccine series are chosen over 2-shot vaccine series, and whether the child is considered high risk for certain diseases. Less than two dozen spread across a full year and typically barely more than a dozen.

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolesc...

> Why should gigantic pharma companies, who every year make billions in profits, be not held liable for any harm that is caused

Essentially no one holds this position. You're making up strawmen.

> nor are they required to perform rigorous testing with double blind human trials for vaccines (like they are for other drugs

Citation? What vaccines are we giving our children that are not rigorously tested?


Polio is transmitted fecal to mouth, so proper hygiene is absolutely going to prevent you from getting polio.

As for the effectiveness, it is absolutely must be questioned, and here is a case in point: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lawrence-solomon/merck-whistleb...


> Polio is transmitted fecal to mouth, so proper hygiene is absolutely going to prevent you from getting polio.

Fair enough, but "In the U.S, following a mass immunization campaign promoted by the March of Dimes, the annual number of polio cases fell from 35,000 in 1953 to 5,600 by 1957. By 1961 only 161 cases were recorded in the United States."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polio_vaccine#Jonas_Salk

This isn't a result of a major hygiene change. So far as I know, hygiene in the US did not drastically change in this time period, while polio cases dropped by orders of magnitude. This is the result of consistent and systematic vaccination.

> As for the effectiveness, it is absolutely must be questioned, and here is a case in point

This is very interesting and very relevant to whether specific vaccines are effective. It does not in any way dispute that in general vaccines can be extremely effective.

For the record, I'm totally in favor anyone putting forth evidence that certain vaccines are ineffective, or dangerous, or even cause autism. So long as there's actual evidence to discuss and debate.


The history of eradicating polio was clouded by redefinition of what was considered a polio case not once but twice. Early in the day any case of acute flaccid myelitis was considered polio. You have to realize that poliovirus is just one of a few dozen of enteroviruses that can cause similar effects.

Here is a recent case that could have been labeled polio just a few decades ago: http://abc7chicago.com/health/6-year-old-boys-death-linked-t...

I cannot find stats right now but I saw numbers of AFM in India where true polio cases keep going down YoY but the overall numbers of AFM have recently skyrocketed.

Also let's keep things in perspective. The absolute number of people getting infected by polio or other enteroviruses do not actually show any symptoms. It is quite rare for the virus to invade the nervous system which leads to the symptoms we all fear.


Are you simultaneously arguing that the percentage of people who get the "worst scenario" polio is very low and that the number of miscategorized "worst scenario" polio cases is drastically skewing the numbers? It cannot be both. If the percentage of polio infections that cause the "worst case" is low (and it is) then miscategorizing similar "worst cases" from other diseases will not significantly skew the number of total detected polio cases.


Why it cannot be both? I agree that me bringing in the argument that the number of "worst case" cases is low compared to the number of people that contract the virus was outside the topic of the discussion. I just obliquely wanted to address the issue that polio is often brought up as an absolutely devastating and dangerous disease, and yet generally speaking it is not so.

Here is a curious link to an article from 1961 with memories still fresh from the polio outbreaks of the middle of the 20th century and shortly after the polio vaccines were introduced.

Note the reserved tone which is so at odds with the current day thinking about the success of the polio vaccine. The whole article is worth a read, I will just provide a quote here that is pertinent to our discussion.

"Evaluating the true effectiveness of the Salk vaccine and the new oral vaccines has been difficult for several reasons. Polio is a relatovely rare disease in the United States. Because so few persons get it in its paralyzing form, success of an immunizing agent is hard to determine. The definition of polio also has changed in the last six or seven years. Several diseases which were often diagnosed as polio are now classified as aseptic meningitis or illnesses caused by one of the Coxsackie or Echo viruses. The number of polio cases in 1961 cannot accurately be compared with those in, say 1952, because the criteria for diagnoses have changed."

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1961/03/05/page/62/articl...


> Why it cannot be both?

Perhaps this is a misreading on my part. I was equating AFM with the "worst case" paralytic polio, which is fairly rare at ~1%. It's unclear to me what percentage of polio cases result in muscle weakness (which AFM seems to correspond to more closely) that doesn't qualify as paralytic.

> I just obliquely wanted to address the issue that polio is often brought up as an absolutely devastating and dangerous disease, and yet generally speaking it is not so.

This is the case for almost every disease. Paralysis in ~1% of victims is still pretty terrible.

> Note the reserved tone which is so at odds with the current day thinking about the success of the polio vaccine. The whole article is worth a read, I will just provide a quote here that is pertinent to our discussion.

It's an interesting article, but doesn't change the fact that polio vaccines have a huge body of supporting evidence. Ignoring the question of 1952 vs 1961 polio counts, what about 1988 to 2016? It's dropped from 350000 cases to 42 in that time. What about all the trials that have shown the effectiveness of polio vaccines? What about the fact that wild polio is eradicated in North America?

No one says vaccines are perfect. No one claims that drug trials are perfect either. But the overall evidence still seems overwhelming, and nitpicking how polio used to be categorized and pointing to some upswings due to the cyclic nature of infectious diseases is not evidence against the efficacy of vaccines.

This is my problem with anti-vaccine lobbying. There's a distinct lack of evidence in their favor, so they resort mostly to nitpicking minor concerns while ignoring the bigger picture. Meanwhile they'll happily jump on weak and even fraudulent studies that support their claims and ignore their deficiencies.

"Hey, Polio is eradicated in the US and reduced by almost 4 orders of magnitude worldwide. That looks pretty effective."

"Yeah, but we haven't always counted polio cases exactly the same, and there was a brief upswing in polio a few years after the vaccine as introduced. Also vaccines cause autism."

"Uh, so we still managed to eradicate polio after the upswing. And the vaccine-autism link was literally fraud."

"But what if you're wrong?"

"??"


> this is a strawman argument that those who wish to dismiss any criticism of the vaccine industry

There we go, the usual methods to discredit science at play again.

Firstly, no you are absolutely wrong, in that people directly claim that vaccines are a scam and that they kill babies/children.

Next, you are doing the usual spread of FUD, inadvertently or intentionally, which isn't my concern. Either way you are a vector for memes that harm humanity and so are culpable.

> Understanding infectious diseases and taking proper personal hygiene measures along with having clean drinking water and plumbing/sewage had much more to do with the decline in infectious diseases than vaccines ever did. The effectiveness of vaccines is highly overstated.

What?

The only way its overstated is if you don't know what you are talking about.

Firstly : Small pox is not cured by clean hands.

Secondly: No one is giving vaccines anything more than their due. Well until anti vaxxers showed up, and once you have a radical voice shouting about something, the only signal you get is high contrast and caricratured. Before vaxxers showed up, vaccines were generally a part of a larger series of protections to help human beings. They were pretty awesome, and awesome in their own right.

This didnt mean that people stopped valuing hygiene or its place in healthcare. One of the most famous recent examples going around in literary articles has been about how doctor hygiene standards have gone up after they saw what kinds of germs they were carrying.

> Pharma companies have billions if not

Do you think pharma companies, doctors and scientists exist in a vaccum?

They are governed by medical bodies, malpractice laws, and by the larger will of the people.

And Doctors have their licenses and their liberty at risk if they poison you.

If a drug or technique was found to be dangerous, the people who pushed it on the population while knowing the consequences get fined in billions, and more.

> there is a very long list

Please share this list, I would like to see it.

> There is convincing evidence from scientists like a certain CDC whistleblower

Please go ahead and share the papers and peer reviewed articles showing this to be true.

> when there's not been an equivalent explosion in those infectious diseases

What?

They've changed the method and medium to give people their doses. As kids in India we used to have to get several painful injections, which often left scars. Theyve found other ways to get it done today.

> double blind trials

What? I'm going to test a vaccine on an infant by giving another infant the fucking black death!??!?

What the heck are you on?

------------

Look if you believe this stuff, and actually are fair and credulous - spend the exact same amount of effort and time research WHY vaccines work instead of the brain manipulative stuff left out by anti vaxxers.


Vaccines sometimes cause grave injury and the vaccine court pays out. Some people aren't so keen to press their luck.


Statistically Planes fall out of the sky more frequently. But flight is amazingly safe.

Given enough N number of an event, something weird will happen.

But given that outside of America's bizarre discussion - billions of people have been vaccinated, over generations, to no known trends or losses, I'd say that vaccines are worth using.

----

This kind of debate is how Fox News and the rest of them made global warming into a debateable issue.

This is how creationism became credible to the general public.

You can ask these "reasonable" questions, and over fit on edge cases for anything. You can then present it to normal people and make it seem like that there is some issue.

Expert positions are discredited by saying there's a vast conspiracy, and that experts have a financial stake in the matter.

-------

Please stop doing this shit as a country.

You'll have perfected the art of making falsehoods credible forces in public discourse.

I could understand if this happened in some country where education was not widely available. But if it's happening in America, the first of the first world, and its deeply troubling.

These things are designed, planned and unleashed. America ends up acting as a massive proof of concept.

If you'll can't stop these kind of manufactured debates from spreading, then I don't know what the rest of the world will do.


It's more complicated than that. Sometimes people suffer grave symptoms after vaccinations but it's almost impossible to prove causation. Many cases are probably pure coincidence. I suspect the court often pays out just to help out someone in a tough situation.


If you want to see some cognitive gear grinding and confusion, if you run into anyone that believes that vaccinations should be mandated by law, ask them "if it's my body, isn't it my choice?"


No it's not.

It's not about your body. It's about the society you're a part of and herd immunity. If you choose not to vaccinate, you are putting everyone else at risk.

So yeah, you can choose not to vaccinate, but you need to understand that if you do so, the rest of society has a right (and in many cases an obligation) to say "we don't want you here, if you're not vaccinated (for any reason other than medically unfit to be vaccinated) then you don't get to participate in our society, you don't get to put our members at risk, and you need to stay the hell away from us".


Let's push the thought experiment a bit. Let's suppose you have the option to opt-out from vaccination.

If the premise is that you are responsible for your own body, then shouldn't you also be responsible for any consequences that occur as a result of your choice to opt-out?

As a non-vaccinated person, carrying a disease that would normally be vaccinated against, can you be held responsible in the event that the disease you carry infects, for instance, a child that is not yet old enough to be vaccinated against that particular disease, or infects someone who was unable to be vaccinated due to other medical reasons? Should you be fined or prosecuted in the event that your choice to opt-out can be directly linked to a significant health event?

It's hard to talk about disease on an individual basis. A person's choices with respect to their own health has an impact on the individuals around them, and I do think that people should be mindful of the community when making lifestyle choices. I'm not saying a person shouldn't make their own choices, but should accept that those choices aren't just going to affect their own individual health in many cases.


At the moment I can't reply to jat850's coment

>Maybe, but there's probably something to be said for social cost that make that argument somewhat less valid. Herd immunity. Seat belt and helmet laws, etc. Note that I am not taking a position here on vaccinations or anything else, just that it's not the best point one could make (other than for some casual amusement at cognitive gear grinding and confusion). It'd be the same as making fun of someone with anti-abortion views by saying "but death penalty lol isn't all life valuable!?" - which I am certain many have said and heard, but this type of arguing doesn't actually approach the reality behind issues and beliefs and positions.

The purpose isn't to be a jerk. The purpose is to cause anyone to pause and think through their position more thoroughly. What rules should apply, when and when not. Without searching more deeply for a more principled position it will come down to "because that's how I feel". But that's not how someone else feels. And what makes one person's feelings more important or superior to another's?

So, when does society get more say than you over your body?

Personally I don't think we should use and rely on the law to try to legislate away stupidity. We should use compassionate education. Yeah, I know, it sucks we have to be patient and not everyone will get on board. The only other option is to imprison and kill all the people that don't agree with you.


Just as a heads up: The deeper a comment chain gets, the longer HN hits the pause button on allowing a reply (to prevent flame-warring, I think).

I understand that it's not maybe intended to be a jerk or has the deeper purpose of getting someone to rethink their position more carefully. But it's just a bit of a jerk-ish way to do so (in my view) - one that may be perceived as an attack on someone's intelligence and critical thinking abilities. It sets people on the defensive.

I try to take a more-flies-with-honey method myself - challenge the person to go through this process positively, and having demonstrated that you have tried to understand their viewpoint. It may make them more likely to understand yours, too.

As others have said and I hinted at, there are some things where societal benefit may and should outweigh individual belief. Laws are not always the most effective, or only way, to achieve these ends. Education is valuable.


Excellent points. I will try to take a more-flies-with-honey approach in the future. Thank you for your insights and thoughts.


Maybe, but there's probably something to be said for social cost that make that argument somewhat less valid. Herd immunity. Seat belt and helmet laws, etc.

Note that I am not taking a position here on vaccinations or anything else, just that it's not the best point one could make (other than for some casual amusement at cognitive gear grinding and confusion).

It'd be the same as making fun of someone with anti-abortion views by saying "but death penalty lol isn't all life valuable!?" - which I am certain many have said and heard, but this type of arguing doesn't actually approach the reality behind issues and beliefs and positions.


Which would make perfect sense if herd immunity wasn't a thing. I wouldn't care if you want to not vaccinate and die of some 19th century disease, but you're putting everyone else at risk as well.


> the level of discourse in this country is an absolute joke

This is the main reason I'm thankful for HN and the mods. Reading and participating in the discussions has challenged me to work on my discourse technique. Particularly with reigning in my level of emotional investment in my positions, which for me is and has been difficult.


This indeed, and I'm still learning. I had an exchange with another veteran that was anti 2nd amendment and I got really heated about it (because I am a huge constitutionalist), and I got in trouble with dang who chastised me in a way I felt was unfair (the guy made fun of my ptsd and got no rebuke from him), but after stepping away and coming back I realized dang was right, I was being overly aggressive and emotional, and in doing so I ruined the level of discourse.

That incident really has stuck in my mind, in that even on topics of passion, a calm more detached approach can eek out information and points of view we wouldn't otherwise get.

That's a hard but important lesson for even the best of us to learn. Especially for myself being a combat vet type of alpha male who learned the contrarian and abrasive style of debate from Christopher Hitchens. (Though I think that method still has a time in place, I think there are less situations where it's appropriate)


The fact that you are using the term "hysteria" tells me that you've been reading your own brand of fake news ("get it? They are hysterical, like women on their period! harharhar!").

Maybe if you are intellectually honest and discuss topics instead of talking points, you might get a different response. I've had some pleasant discussions with Trump supporters when we actually talked about real problems (not imagined terrorizing hordes, which is a manifestation of the right's own 'hysteria') and Trump's proposed solutions would or would not fix them. The ones that come straight away with "THE MEDIA IS MAKING EVERYTHING UP!!!"... not so much.


Wow, you sure do assume a lot of things. I guess you're like one of the people I described. Btw, use a dictionary, hysteria was a word that existed before 2016.


Wait, did you check the history of the term 'hysteria'? Honest question.


Looking at all the anti-trump protesters on the news, hysteria is how I would describe it.


I spent a summer working for some very conservative business owners. They asked me what I felt about the great society program during Johnson. I said that I thought it was a fine program that lifted a lot of people out of poverty.

The following day they presented me a framed photo of Joseph Stalin.

It's not just liberals that can be closed minded.


1. That's really funny, actually, as long as it didn't lead to you being fired or marginalized at work. You can give each other a hard time while still getting along.

2. Was the picture frame any good? Worst case, free frame!

3. OK, serious this time, who brought up politics at work - you or the bosses? I work at a big company and people generally avoid politics and religion, and people do seem to actively pretend they don't hear it when someone tries to go there. At a smaller shop, who went there?


1. I thought it was funny too. But they also legitimately believed and expressed that anyone who believed in social welfare was a communist.

2. They took the frame back.

3. They did. I was working at the store as an hourly employee. The customers were generally middle to upper middle class.


1. Shoulda taught them a lesson about self-fulfilling prophecy and commandeered the means of production. By that I mean taking the cash register and feeding the homeless out front.

2. That's the real crime here. That frame was a gift.

3. OK, seriously again, that's very lame. If management brings up politics, they damn well better be receptive to the response. I know small businesses can be "different" but it has little bearing on you working in their store.


That's kinda hilarious. If I talked about virtues of small govt, and the guy next day hands me a one way ticket to Somalia (or some stuff like that), I would find it extremely hilarious.

Keep in mind, giving a framed photo of Stalin is totally different than screaming "You're effing Stalin!" (which he didn't do).


Done kindly, this sort of thing isn't just funny but an insulator against actual silencing. (I can't speak to how the Stalin photo was meant, but it sure could be funny.)

If someone is outraged by your support for social programs and calls you a Stalinist, it's way harder to feel threatened when you're looking at a framed photo of Stalin your boss gave to you. Similarly libertarianism/Somalia or whatever other over-the-top pairing applies. It's part of why I tend to defend this sort of humor as not inherently wrong - when it's well-meant it helps ensure that people don't feel threatened or ostracized. The sting has been taken out of the attack, so there's more room to get along.


I'm now thinking of multiple ways the Stalin photo could have been interpreted.

What meaning did it have to you or them?


What if the liberals are right? It was proposed to me a couple of weeks ago (by a French guy who had spent a few years stateside) that there was a more simple reason for Trumps success.

To him a racist, bigoted, misogynist, misanthrope, with a complete lack of taste, wild delusions about his place in the world, a gaudy tower with his name on it, and the idea that (despite his wife being foreign) that immigrants are not dangerous was exactly what lots of Americans aspired to be. The American Dream of a quiet wife stuck at home making pie, while you are out in the woods with a 12 gauge in your pickup truck. Like the twitter comments last week on the video where some guy takes his belt off to whip a young child, and people are saying 'if more liberals had been beaten like that, then perhaps they wouldn't be so out of control'. Add to that the 'I don't believe in experts crowd', an almost Homer Simsonesque desire not to think too deeply.

Then there is the alt-right, particularly the channers. They seem to confuse their right to say repugnant things with some kind of right to be listened to. Yes on 4chan you can say the most appalling slurs to each other, but why should society listen?

Maybe the US elected a hateful president because there are a lot of repugnant people there?

Maybe the liberals are right to defend their patch from this creeping menace with zero tolerance? Maybe that is just society pushing out those that don't fit.

Personally I wonder if this is America becoming the next superpower to destroy itself. The inflated idea about its own importance may lead to it losing site of its place in the world by becoming more insular. Another empire consigned to history?


I would suggest getting out of your bubble (I'm not trying to insult you). But the way you disparage rural people and assign false motives to so many shows (in my opinion) that you are grossly ill-informed about those of which you speak.

And I think (if you read the original article) this is what frustrates so many across the country. Whether all, or some, or none of what you attribute the motivations of Trump voters to exist.... you're completely unaware of soooo much more that guides them.

For example: https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/our-miserable-21...

Please take a minute to read it all. From the economic wasteland that much of middle America has become, to the massive addiction to prescription drugs & heroin, and widespread unemployment.... is it any wonder that people would want to try something completely new?

But no... keep throwing around your labels. Keep calling people racist bigot homophobe, sexist. That will surely convince the guy with no job prospects that it's all in his head, and his heart. Not the emptiness in his pocket.

"Maybe the liberals are right to defend their patch from this creeping menace with zero tolerance?" -- And this last election was a line in the sand, for many defending there patch from the "intolerance" of the far left.

I suggest you read the original post at the top, and take some of the comments to heart.


Have you even read the article you're commenting under?


>try to take a scientific view

>People start throwing link after link of facts

You get upset when people present you with links to facts to respond to your proposed ideas?

I can sympathize that it is definitely no fun if you feel like your ideas aren't getting the attention they deserve, but if you have trouble defending the ideas in the face of factual sources, maybe it's possible that one could reconsider those ideas in the face of new evidence?

After all, that's the basis of scientific thinking.


I'm assuming "link after link" is pointing to a Courtier's Reply kind of issue - people throwing out thousands of pages of "required reading" to ensure that the bar for discussion is unreachably high. If you slog through it all and persist, they toss out another reading list instead of responding to the specific claims.

There's no good fix for this, of course. Sometimes an idea has been rebutted so often that people aren't willing to digest and summarize the links (like "people didn't come from monkeys so evolution is false!") Sometimes the answer is genuinely subtle and there is a reading list to have useful views (lots of monetary economics, or relatively subtle biology like "how could eyes arise by chance?") Sometimes a person is just so wrong it's a category error and their claim can't be rebutted because it's meaningless.

But it's also a real problem. There absolutely are people who stonewall valid points (or easily answered questions) by handing out endless obligations. And it's not particularly clear which one you're getting until you've done all the work - it's not even guaranteed that the other person is right about whether their content is relevant!

So having been handed useless books as "required reading", I hugely sympathize with the complaint. But I don't really know a good answer except "stop debating people who pull this".


As a person who has a contrarian view on an issue that is highly politicized, it often turns out that those links of "facts" are links to web blogs that agree with the person that explain why the contrarian view is wrong. I suspect the original poster has looked at a few of the links before, found legitimate grounds to discuss possible flaws in their logic, and has been shut down.

There is definitely a tendency (on both sides) to collect links to "approved" viewpoints and push them as fact without being able to back them up with valid argumentation.


> After all, that's the basis of scientific thinking.

No it isn't. Scientific thinking isn't just like how a film photograph is taken, i.e. you expose a fresh blank film with no impressions of its own to light and it captures an image.

The unique thing about our minds is that we can analyze our own minds, we can analyze the interpretation of the input from the external world. Look at our own thought process and the way we perceive the world is known as Philosophy, and my main problem with the 'pro-scientific thinking' camp is that they have outright hostility towards philosophy.

Take for example evolution vs creationism debate. Just to be clear, I believe that evolution is the correct explanation of how the world came into being. But it is mindblowing to me how much the pro-evolution side (technically the creationist side too, but I don't care about them) insists on evolution being true and how much they have betted on this.

If tomorrow aliens land and they claim that earth is their landfill, dinosaur bones are their trash, and we are the equivalent of maggots living on their trash who came up with a consistent theory explaining how all the trash fits into our story. My point is that in that case, even though creationists aren't proven to be correct, scientific thinking would take a huge hit.

I can promise you if I go out and post to 100 scientific communities "I don't believe that the theory of evolution is true" and post some clearly non-religious argument against it, nearly all of them will wanna know if I believe in God, whether I believe vaccines cause autism etc.

Once I prove my credibility, then it's followed by link throwing. Remember the point I raised is philosophical, like could an alien life form have created us, can radiometric dating be wrong because we simply haven't observed any aging method to be correct over a million years. But it will be followed by link throwing, not even related to the topic I raised.

These things have nothing to do with whether my argument has merit or not, which is why no amount of link throwing forces me to change my opinion. Changing my opinion relies upon hearing a rational argument, and link throwing does not always mean a rational argument.


Scientism is evil. Science isn't. [0]

Yes, no amount of link throwing can change your opinion if it is based on your values which cannot be changed by any new facts.

[0] https://mises.org/library/scientism-and-values


There are two kinds of listening, you can listen to understand and listen to respond.

I read that comment as: "people overload me with facts before giving me a chance to communicate what I'm actually thinking". It's not fun for anyone to have a complicated set of thoughts, get up the courage to share them, and then get cut off before what they've said out loud matches what they think in their head. It takes a really good listener to help people get through that.


If you're trying to have a discussion about political ideals, spamming factual current event news or pundit-curated facts is not really conductive to discussion. And if the goal is instead to have an argument, it's not a clincher either since both sides have stockpiles of anec-data links to play the game of inductive reasoning.

The parent comment was referring to discussion of ideas, not one-off event X happened or didn't happen arguments.


> >People start throwing link after link of facts

> You get upset when people present you with links to facts to respond to your proposed ideas?

Facts do not make an argument. Most scientists agree that GMOs are safe for human consumption as currently regulated in the US, but if you try to say that, many people will respond with a bunch of facts:

* Some GMOs allow us to use more pesticides.

* Monsanto patents seeds.

* Government regulations are often skewed by corporate interests.

* Genetic engineering can have dangerous side-effects.

These are all facts. They're all true. They all should be considered when evaluating the safety of genetically modified foods.

But they're not used in conjunction with the rest of the facts to come up with a measured, thoughtful position. They're used to shut down the discussion and "win".

That's a problem. It's not just a problem for people who "have trouble defending the ideas in the face of factual sources". They're a problem for anyone interested in finding a truth or a reasonable position that extends beyond a collection of cherry-picked facts.


The fact that your post is the top comment, with other posters shouting at you, seems to be good proof of the people who are keeping their mouths shut while silently agreeing with you.


"Shouting" ... I don't know, people disagree, ask questions. Seems all quite civil to me. If that's shouting I fail to see what a discussion looks like.


Take at look at the tone of the comments that are disagreeing. They are dismissive and accusatory in their choice of expression.

It's not a choice you'd make if you're truly interested in hearing out and understanding the other person's perspective. The comments to me look like they're more interested in winning the debate.


Honestly, as a moderate, I feel as if this country has turned into two divorced parents who are willing to sacrifice the future of their children just to get back at one another. At the moment, people seem to be voting for the candidates that's the biggest "fuck you" to other side, neglecting the fact that a country is best when the interests of all its citizens are put at heart.


This comment is right on and needs more attention.


As someone who frequently plays devil's advocate, I'll usually argue the opposite viewpoint of the person I'm speaking with just to see how they think, and I've found there are two types of people: those who become emotional and angry, and those who engage in logical debate. This seems to be more of a personality trait than a political thing.


I've found people who do this to be incredibly toxic, mostly because more often than not the opposite viewpoint has been disproved by a body of scientific literature with which the "devil's advocate" is entirely unfamiliar.

In that case, playing the contrarian is nothing more than trolling.

When doing this, make sure the opposite viewpoint is at least as valid as the one you're arguing against.


I do the same. I have found that both conservatives and liberals get angry. But by far, the harshest are liberals, in my experience.


I get irritated pretty quickly if I think someone is playing devils advocate straight. If I'm having a discussion with a person, I don't want to have a discussion with an inverted caricature of my views.


There are just no arguments for homeopathy or Young Earth Creationism. It's a natural reaction to get angry when someone argues in clearly illogical ways and is not open to rational discussion. (it's natural not because "rational" is somehow "better", but because of the helplessness of the situation).

Not every "idea" is valuable to be heard. That said, you don't state what topics you argue.


I think the difference is obedience (to whatever world view exuding from whatever real or imagined authority figures) and drawing self worth (or, more realistically, constant background fear) from that, and being grounded as a person and having opinions about things which one is free to re-inspect and change without losing anything. It doesn't matter so much what people think but why they think it, or rather, if they think or parrot it.


Unfortunately San Francisco is one of the most intolerant areas in the entire United States when it comes to political ideology. Metallica's James Hetfield (a bay area native who just left) said it best [1]...

"They talk about how diverse they are, and things like that, and it's fine if you're diverse like them."

[1] - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4053156/Sad-true-Met...


Things aren't like that here in belgium, but one thing I've noticed about the left which seems to apply everywhere is that they are ideologically petrified. The real problems of the world require left-leaning policies, but the actual policies the left are peddling are dated, harmful and missing the point. I feel like all the left needs to do to make a huge leap forward is to take an axe to their existing book of policies and reason things out again from first principles, but due to the constant attacks from the right they end up digging in around wrong policies.

In the end, left and right are artificial divides anyway, with not a single leftist or right wing viewpoint being exclusively held on that side. Identity cannot be divided into two sides, it is more complex, and the same applies to solutions. The key to good solutions is understanding where people with different viewpoints come from, without vilifying them, and then injecting the best aspects of everyone's ideas into a shared lattice. There are subjects where people are never going to see eye to eye, like abortion, but in most subjects if you keep discussing and not demonizing you can figure out a common ground. I had this experience myself coming from a strong left background and then working with a far right conservative, who I ended up liking, understanding, arguing and finally agreeing with. Nowadays we're both somewhere in the middle. As long as people on both the left and right can remember that the others are not evil, just different, and ignore the media (who really cause the toxicity) then things can be fixed.


I think you have hit the nail on the head, the old ideas of left and right are soon to be obsolete. This current Trump/Brexit world may be the last hurrah of the luddites. What will be the point in labour rules, when everything is delivered by robot? How will Thatcher/Reagan low corporate tax economies fare when there are no workers paying tax.

I think it is time for a new politics that addresses globalisation, technology and the internet, but I fear it will take a calamity, and the death of the current political dinosaurs before it is a reality


I suspect a lot of the Trump voters agree. The "bomb throwing" aspect is probably a lot bigger than it first appears. They don't really believe Trump is going to fix things, but they know for damn sure he's going to break a lot of things that aren't working.


It's an issue of power and organizing. How are workers supposed to build power in a world of ever-high unemployment? How can we build out an economy based on full automation and universal basic income without workers' bargaining power?


> People start throwing link after link of facts and don't want to even reason about ideas. It's hopeless and I end up keeping my mouth shut.

So, you take a contrarian view. People respond with facts. So, where's the problem? You don't like the facts? Don't want to hear them or what exactly?


People respond with long lists of facts, but do not bother to reason about them or put them in context, instead presuming that there is only one way to interpret the facts - the way that supports their preferred narrative.

And keep in mind that there is a difference between fact and "fact". It is a fact that a scientific instrument recorded a certain value or that a particular person voiced a particular opinion. Everything beyond that - that the instrument is working as intended, that the person's memory and reasoning and honesty can be trusted, that the data point is representative of similar situations, that it is at all relevant to the question at hand - has some amount of uncertainty associated with it.


It is trivial to cherry-pick facts that support a controversial, higher-level framing / viewpoint.


Then it should be easy to provide facts which disprove their point and start a discussion.


People take "short circuits" when coming to conclusions based on "facts".

Instead of:

1. I value A more than B. 2. Facts show that X tends to cause A and Y tends to cause B. 3. Therefore I prefer X to Y.

They do:

1. The facts show that Y causes B. 2. Therefore, how can you be against Y? 3. By arguing against Y, you are ignoring the facts of B.

... which is frankly a non-sequitur.

Arguing against a conclusion or policy is not the same as ignoring facts.


The facts had a liberal bias.


Facts don't have any bias, as I understand it. The collection of facts presented or absorbed can be picked or ignored with bias.


If your "ideas" are in conflict with facts, get better ideas.


Downvote my statement all you like, but it's the core of the scientific method.


...as well as all rational thought.


A "fact" is just a statement with a probability distribution attached to it. If your prior is different than someone else's, your posterior is going to be different as well.


True, but how arbitrary are probability distributions for topics like homeopathy, 9/11 Truth, Young earth creationism?

Spend a few hours investigating "facts" and arguments on all sides and smell where the bullshit is.


What about the probability distribution of the fact that you are a carrot?


There's still a probability distribution — it's just a very tightly peaked one that for all practical purposes is indistinguishable from a Dirac delta distribution.

Generally speaking, the physical sciences produce highly peaked distributions (literally, in the case of particle physics) and the social sciences produce more of what I would call flat lines with a few lumps in them. That includes most political "facts". Quantitative accuracy requires extremely high quality data and statistical inference, which when applied to social issues is impractical for the foreseeable future.


Excellent. We have established that you are, in fact a carrot.

I propose we roast you with some honey.

Your strenuous disagreement is a clear indication that you are intolerant of alternative viewpoints.


In other words if your "ideas" are "alternative facts", don't act shocked if others disagree with you, even shout you down.


I think you're half-right because you're missing the fact that this applies to any major conservative enclaves as well.

I'm a conservative (fiscally, mostly, but socially progressive) and often, but not always, vote for Republican candidates I like. However, I find that the conservative/Republican "world" is just as hostile to opposing viewpoints as the liberals are of opposing viewpoints of their own.

We're all guilty as charged in this regard.


I'm more-or-less on the other side of the fence, complete with getting thrown link after link of... well, not sure I want to call them "facts".

I find two tricks to be useful:

Avoid statements, ask questions. Asking for summaries is good.

Play a little game: How little time can you spend getting the other person to spend the most time on their response? You win if you spend a minute and they spend an hour.

Note: Doesn't work in person, but in person, it's easier for everyone to stay calm.


Questions are used when you want to learn about the other person.

Statements are used when you want to make a point.

Which one a person employes will tell you a lot about their intent.


Same for conservative enclaves. Don't kid yourself.


I think it's because "alternative point of view" immediately makes me think of someone saying that global warming is fake, and yeah,I'm not willing to debate that, it's just not worth my time. I'm curious what sort of ideas you have in mind though.


Let's take illegal immigration. Is it wrong for this administration to enforce our current laws? If so maybe the laws need to be crafted to something different. While I don't agree with this administration's methodology this is probably the first time in a while I have seen the reality of our existing laws being executed and now we're seeing the effects of that.

I am generally pro-immigration but I like to challenge my own thoughts and biases to make sure I don't have any blind spots.


I am a staunch liberal and I don't understand the hostility towards deportation of illegal immigrants either. Calling illegal immigrants undocumented immigrants doesn't make the illegal part go away.


It seems to me there has been a very successful conflation of refugees, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants. To be opposed to the last one paints one as opposed to all immigrants.

I listened one day to a pro-trump Tawainese immigrant (now a citizen) explain why he was pro-Trump -- one of his primary reasons was illegal immigration. He felt everyone should go through the same process.


That's understandable. The path to citizenship is long and naturalized citizens feel very proud about it. It is not an easy path and certainly not without sacrifices. As an immigrant myself, it found it difficult to make that mental adjustment to willingly give up one nation as home and be adopted to another voluntarily. Its a choice. It's bitter sweet. It's complicated.

Those who have had to make hard choices often cannot accept that their sacrifices are being undervalued when someone else can obtain that high hanging precious fruit so very easily and via shortcuts.

I certainly can understand where this immigrant friend of yours come from.. not easy to reconcile all those complicated feelings on the issue of immigration.


Deportation probably wouldn't be such a problem if they weren't also deporting legal residents along with the "illegal" ones.

Yes - this happens. We still don't know how many Sherriff Joe and other officials in Arizona deported. It was basically a program here of "if you're brown enough, don't speak enough english, and can't produce any docs on the spot" you had a good chance of being rounded up, sent to an ICE facility, then deported. Even if you were a born-here American - just because you were of Mexican descent, and didn't learn english.


Serious question: why would an American citizen choose to not learn the national language? Doesn't that disadvantage you severely in life?


For the same reason why you have legitimate Canadian citizens who don't speak any English. If they grew up in part of the country that speaks mostly French, they will only speak French and no English. US has huge pockets of people speaking only Spanish and other languages, so it's not surprising that you have people who don't speak English.


It's not just about 'choice', I live in a predominantly Russian neighborhood with a Russian wife, but no matter how hard I try I can't learn Russian because they all very conveniently speak English.

Similarly, if you're Hispanic, it would be hard for you to learn English if everyone else around you speaks a convenient language (i.e. Spanish), even if they could speak both the languages easily.

It's kind of a trap, you'd learn English more easily if you left Spanish speaking community, but because you don't know English, it's hard to leave that community.


> I live in a predominantly Russian neighborhood with a Russian wife, but no matter how hard I try I can't learn Russian because they all very conveniently speak English.

That sounds exactly like a choice to me. You chose to take the easy route and communicate in a common language. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but absolutely a choice.

Why did you choose that option?

I lived in Chile for a while. Although many people spoke English, I chose to learn their language and communicate that way.

Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? I believe so. Not only did I pick up a valuable new skill, I assimilated into their culture and learned the nuanced differences between us. It was highly rewarding.


The other day I was at a mexican restaurant and the waiter forgot to bring water. I got up and went to the kitchen to ask where the water cooler was. The woman who saw me was unable to understand what "water" meant. Water. Let that sink in.


Ok, so ask, "Donde esta el agua?".


> why would an American citizen choose to not learn the national language?

English isn't our national language—the US doesn't have one.


I think that's a bit pedantic. If you plan on working in almost any field (maybe except farming) English is spoken.


The easiest answer I know is that it's a problem with selective (and unproductive) enforcement.

Lots of people immigrate illegally, and many of them stay at length, work hard, and build lives. The government pretty explicitly turns a blind eye to their presence. Then we change leaders, and suddenly responsible residents of 30 years are kicked out to a country they haven't lived in since childhood. Meanwhile, a great many other people in the same situation aren't.

It's a bit like my reaction to marijuana laws. I think the law isn't very good, but that's just grounds for reform. What I think is immoral is seriously punishing 1% of people violating an unimportant law instead of lightly punishing lots of them. It's about limited or variable enforcement of the law, which encourages people to play a lottery where a handful of players get their lives ruined.


It seems like America doesn't have an appetite for long term, sensible policies. We pass common sense legislation, fail to ever adjust them based on how they work in practice or when new information comes to light. Then as public outcry reaches its peak, a politician will come along to scrap the entire thing in favor of starting anew or propose some poorly conceived, overly broad solution to the problem.

America is great at throwing tons of cash, our vast technical and industrial infrastructure, or military might at the problem. Not so much at utilizing the scientific method to determine a sensible course of action as other nations do.


I think this is deeply, alarmingly true.

The easiest example I see is the long list of policies which were assessed via some known value like inflation, but never pegged to it. As a result, they're grounds for new fights every couple of years when it comes time to re-assess them. I'm not even thinking about minimum wage here (which still sees fights over its existence) but inside-baseball funding for various executive branch positions and agencies. Similarly, the alarming number of laws with hard cutoffs (on salary, or employee count, or whatever) that create weird anti-growth, anti-work incentives.

I think it was in a recent discussion of cost explosion (e.g. in healthcare or infrastructure) that someone pointed out that the US isn't over- or under-regulated compared to similar nations; it's just worse regulated. A disturbing amount could be gained by going through the Federal Code and just fixing the bits that every expert agrees are stupid.


They are illegal because the system is so broken. There's a market demand for those people, and they're moving here to work, by and large.

Just because something is set in law does not make it morally right.


Maybe, but that market demand exists because they are outside the law. Keeping illegal immigrants here allows a permanent underclass which can be abused by companies in ways that American citizens can't. It allows a race to the bottom where only companies which hire illegal immigrants can lower the cost of their product to a competitive level. The only way to end this cycle is to stop allowing illegal immigrants to work here.


So, in a way our President is actually standing up to the corporations and fighting for human rights?


Probably not. Here's one way it could easily play out:

There's still demand for those people, and so they'll keep coming (and especially if by various means we contribute to wrecking the Mexican economy!), but they'll be pushed further towards the margins of society, and will be easier to exploit.

Look at this, for instance: http://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/2017/02/15/ice-detains... - woman takes domestic violence to the courts, but gets detained herself. What will the next woman to be beaten or raped do? Probably not go to the cops.

edit also: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/02/mexico-immigr...


This. Also it's already illegal for a corporation to hire an illegal immigrant. If trump hired 10,000 FBI officers to start punishing the corporations who hire these workers instead of punishing the workers themselves then we could see some progress.


What would happen if the change were rapid and strong would be a lot of businesses closing, as Americans aren't going to take those jobs, and many of them are not easy/cheap to automate. So a lot of things would close and we'd purchase the goods/services from abroad. Or, in some cases, pay a lot more for things.


>Americans aren't going to take those jobs

...at those wages. The whole point is that if your business can't survive by paying wages that american citizens will accept then you should welcome the creative destruction of capitalism. Your business shouldn't exist and more importantly you should get out of the way so that a business which can exist and pay wages that american citizens will accept can take your place. No more race to the bottom.

>Or, in some cases, pay a lot more for things.

I realize that, I'm just not opposed to it.

EDIT:

>and many of them are not easy/cheap to automate.

Many of them aren't easy to outsource either. An illegal worker in the United States is much more expensive than a child in Thailand. There's a reason those jobs still exist here.


What industries does this occur in?


Construction, food processing, restaurants and more. If any real progress is made on illegal immigration, I bet you'll see wages in these areas go up.


perhaps... I wonder what impact automation will have as well though. I bet it will dwarf the impact that illegal immigration could ever have.


>They are illegal because the system is so broken.

They're illegal because what they are doing is against the law. Broken system or not, it's still illegal.

>Just because something is set in law does not make it morally right.

No, but it does make it the law, and breaking it is still illegal. Morals are grey, while law is much more often black and white.


Rosa Parks broke the law too.

No, it's not quite the same, but my point is that this is absolutely a case where the law is not working well, is not 'right' and ought to be fixed.

There are a lot of similarities with MJ legalization: by legalizing, regulating and taxing, states like mine (Oregon) have hurt criminal enterprises and taken in millions of dollars in revenue, and brought a lot of businesses out of the shadows. It's a win all around.


>while law is much more often black and white.

Really? Why does so much time get wasted in litigation if law is black and white? In the case of an immigration law, was the law made in accordance with the constitution? What about the Geneva convention? Should you obey a law that is unconstitutional? What if it was brought in without due process. Doesn't sound black and white to me. [Add your own black vs white joke about white law enforcement and black immigrants here]


Next time before you comment, you should look up what "much more often" means.


> They are illegal because the system is so broken. There's a market demand for those people, and they're moving here to work, by and large.

> Just because something is set in law does not make it morally right.

...and neither does "the market."


No, but if you have a huge market demand for something, and make it illegal... that demand will still get filled, but cause all kinds of other problems:

Exhibit A: the "war on drugs".


The fix here is to reduce demand. By fining companies which hire illegal immigrants we'll make it cheaper to hire american.


Someone who is here on a work visa and plans to go back to their home country if visa isn't extended wanted to know why his children(one was born in the United States and the other came as an infant) have to leave the country when the parents' visas expired ..but undocumented children get to stay in the states. He said that his kids know no other home than California and think of themselves as American. I don't have kids so I really didn't have an answer. I guess kids go where their parents go..which is why undocumented children came with their undocumented parents. But it made me think that children are like property and they belong to parents until they are adults. But what happens after they become adults...whose responsibility now are the lives shaped by people who are no longer in charge. No easy answers. But only because we tend to become emotional about it. The law ..like rationality or logic..doesn't have and shouldn't have emotions. The answer is very clear but can we live with it or accept it?


Most can get on board with recognizing the difference between someone who just recently came illegally who might have a criminal record versus someone who is law abiding, has been here for many years, and potentially who has legal family members here. The worry here is the current administration's policy does not distinguish between these two and the goal isn't so much about safety, but is to report high numbers of deportations at all cost.


Calling them undocumented immigrants is part of a world-view that sees free movement of labour as objectively good, and borders are archaically protectionist.

To one with such a world view, 'illegal immigration' is illegal in the same way parking incorrectly, or crossing the street without an intersection is illegal----annoying but not worth arrest.


I'm hostile about the deportations of undocumented/illegal immigrants because I think they're the first step on an authoritarian road that leads to deporting or killing legal residents and citizens whom the government considers "undesirable".


Immigration laws were already being enforced vigorously. Obama administration set the record in deportation and was often called the "Deporter in Chief". And all of this was done without raising xenophobia and labeling a group of people as hard criminals and rapists.


Immigration laws were already being enforced vigorously. Obama administration set the record in deportation and was often called the "Deporter in Chief"

These statistics are hopelessly confounded by changes to the definition of "deportation" and are not to be viewed as reliable: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/2...


I hope you had a chance to read through the end of the article. Here's the relevant portion:

"CORRECTION: The original post claimed that Obama had de-emphasized removals and concentrated on returns and that the ratio of his removals to returns was skewed toward returns compared to his predecessors. That claim is not correct because based on DHS’s data, (Table 39: Aliens Removed and Returned, FY 1892-2012) his cumulative numbers since taking office show Obama has removed a total of 1,974,688 people and returned 1,609,055 others. There have been more returns than removals only in FY 2009 and 2010. Moreover, comparing across administrations is not wise given the changes in law and counting procedures."

So even if you count removals only, they removed ~2mn people and this article was published in 2014. If you add returned, this swells to nearly 4mn


I think they are referring to the protests that arose when media reported that non-violent illegal immigrants are being deported.


Like when a mother was separated from her sons? I wonder why that might set people off...


Furthering your point. Consider that Paul Ryan also doesn't want to deport dreamers/daca or break up families [1] is it any surprise. This isn't a partisan POV, there are legislators on both sides of the aisle that recognize the complexity of the problem and that ultimately it doesn't make sense to be so black-and-white.

Our immigration process is severely broken especially for migrant workers. They are an integral part of our economy and would, in most cases, choose to come here legally if they were given the opportunity. What we should be doing is giving these people work visas with a path to citizenship. We have already seen the adverse effects of eliminating illegal immigrants from being able to work as farm labor, crops rot in the field [2], and when prices rise, it will present opportunities to importers to put farmers out of business for good.

I should also state that I have no issues with deporting, though I don't understand why we don't incarcerate, unauthorized immigrants who commit violent crime(s). These people should be removed from our society.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/01/13...

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/05/17/the-law-of-u...


Obama administration set the record in deportation

I read the other day that this is an artifact of a change made under Bush that redefined deportation to include turning anyone away at the border.


</sarcasm>


General immigration reform along these lines is what's needed:

http://johnhcochrane.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-optimal-number...

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/29/opinions/making-legal-immigrat...

Because the current system is really broken: see what it's like to try and immigrate, legally, from Mexico if you just want to do manual labor.


> Because the current system is really broken: see what it's like to try and immigrate, legally, from Mexico if you just want to do manual labor.

See, this is what would be most interesting for me to discuss with my friends. There is obviously a demand for those services that Americans possibly don't want to do (I'm not completely clear on if they want to or not). What can we do to make this a more sane process for everybody involved? I thought there was some progress in the past and the Republicans were almost on board but it never got over the hump for whatever reason.


> What can we do to make this a more sane process for everybody involved?

It probably doesn't involve starting from the premise that they're "bad people".

My answer would be more along the lines of "ok, you can come and work, just register and complete this background check, and you'll be good to go in a month". It might involve a longer wait for citizenship or no access to certain benefits, which is something that is, of course, already in place for legal immigrants, or other compromises, but making otherwise honest people 'illegal' isn't really working. Letting honest people go through an easy process also has the benefit of 'separating the wheat from the chaff' - if you see someone who is sneaking around or otherwise not documented, you have a much stronger reason to think they're up to no good, rather than simply washing dishes on the sly.


>Republicans were almost on board but it never got over the hump for whatever reason.

The "whatever reason" you're grasping at is the latent racism of the Republican base. As much as you want to believe the focus is on "illegal" immigration the Republican base understands this as a coded dog whistle for not liking Brown people.

It's not about a marketplace of ideas, it's about signaling which tribe you align with. The marketplace of ideas happens in the policy world, not the political world.


That's part of it, but there are also "the law is the law" kinds of people, who perhaps don't realize how much more difficult it is for someone to move to the US now than it was for their ancestors. I have no idea as to the percentages of both.

There are also a lot of people who are victims of zero sum thinking and the lump of labor fallacy.


Given the rise of automation, it should be far harder to migrate. Situations change, why shouldn't our immigration policy?


> Is it wrong for this administration to enforce our current laws?

No, but it is wrong if it breaks other laws in the attempt to enforce the law. Any realistic attempt to deport millions and millions of people will almost invariably run afoul of the 4th amendment because there would be no way to find that many people without unlawful searches.


Are you pro-immigration or pro-illegal immigration?


I'm both.

I mean, I'd love to not be pro-illegal immigration, and if we significantly loosened our immigration laws (not to the point of genuine open borders, but to the point where a reasonable person had a path to permanent residency in the US without it being a lottery), then I'd be anti-illegal immigration. But with the status quo, I'm pro-illegal immigration.


"I'm willing to listen ${them}, as long as they don't question ${sacred_cow}" is a key aspect of the unwelcoming behavior described by the interviewee. To use your example, I'd wager that most global warming skeptics (especially the ones that you'll meet in SV) have a more developed and nuanced perspective than "global warming is fake". Sure, we don't have infinite time or patience to fully understand and empathize with each other, but even a cursory exploration should be able to put the caricature in your head to rest.


Pretty much everyone uses heuristic filters to decide what's worth consideration and what isn't. If a lay person's opinion of a scientific theory is outside the scientific mainstream, it's probably bunk. What is the goal in trying to understand their perspective on this issue? I don't get offended when people refuse to listen to my alternative views on the late Roman Empire.


There's probably no downside... until there are twenty sacred cows, the aggregate heuristics are filtering out half of the country, and Trump is commander-in-chief...


I keep seeing people who are staunchly on the left ask "what's the downside?", and it baffles me. As someone generally non-conservative, I spend a bizarre amount of time going "The downside is everything you're seeing right now! You can't say that America is in crisis and then say that there's no problem with these techniques!"

Even if the sacred cows are all 100% correct, losing is a downside. There's no point in celebrating how correct we are about something while completely failing to act on that knowledge.


> "I'm willing to listen ${them}, as long as they don't question ${sacred_cow}"

More broadly, this seems to be how most of politics (especially recent American politics) operates on either side. Anything is open to debate and discussion as long as it doesn't seriously threaten to make someone change their behavior. You can even persuade someone to change their views, as long as their new views can support the thing they want to keep doing. Humans (myself included) are amazing at rationalizing, and hate serious challenges to their deeply held positions.

But I do think it's a useful pattern to recognize. The best tool I know for genuinely well-intentioned debate is to open with "What would make you change your position on ${issue}?" Unless both people can consciously identify a point or set of points that would be sufficient to alter their belief/behavior, there's not much chance of progress.


> What would make you change your position on ${issue}

So, I gamed this out with myself, because it's a good idea. I had a couple that I can't find serious answers to -

* Gay marriage - you'd need to show me that gay marriage actively destroys society. Show me relics of a village or civilization that went under because it had permissive LGBT rights.

* Abortion - as with LGBT rights, you'd have to show me that a God exists that will send me to hell for supporting the above. I could compromise on certain things, but only to preserve the bulk of it.

I can't figure out a good-faith tipping point for either of these social issues for me (fiscal/geopolitical I can find plenty) - and accordingly I can't really have a well-intentioned debate about it as it would quickly boil down to "yes, we disagree on the sacredness of life/marriage". So, what then?


Interesting, thanks for taking a serious look at your answers! I have similar takes on those issues, so this is a thought-provoking one for me.

I wonder how you would feel about partial evidence on those points? Like, if someone could show that societies with permissive LGBT rights are consistently (and causatively) less successful, even if they aren't destroyed? I've certainly never seen such evidence, but I'm not sure where on "no harm" to "destroyed like Rome" my tipping point would be. Or - is the abortion point about non-personhood (maybe not applicable at 8.75 months) or bodily autonomy (applicable right up till birth)?

More generally, though: I think those are just places where you save some time by citing a moral basis. It's like arguing contraception with Catholics - you can skip right past AIDS rates and single parenthood by conceding that they think it's a mortal sin, and without changing that they'll never budge. So if someone wants to talk about traditional marriage or fetal pain or whatever else, you can skip ahead with "seriously, address this one issue or I'm going nowhere".


Your comment is very interesting. You immediately started "shouting down" the OP. Only at the end, did you ask about their ideas.


White conservatives saw the attention disenfranchised groups were receiving in terms of trying to even the balance of justice (legal and social) and thought "Hey what about us!"

I'd support this point of view if 99% of "alternative views" didn't end up being some form of "Immigrants are rapists", "Brown people are terrorists", and "Climate change is a Chinese conspiracy".

There is a difference between having an open mind and having a sieve for a brain.


The common thing about your example is you. Maybe it's the way you're talking about these "contrarian" views that's the problem, and not other people.


Except that the contrarian views frequently turn out to be lies, and I can't spend all my time debating lies. Please suggest a contrarian view that's worth discussing.


How about that it's not right to beat someone up because of their political views? Or that freedom of speech applies to unpopular speech just as much as that which you agree with?

Those are now unpopular, contrarian views at universities and what not.


I agree with your former argument/question, but this applies to a small fraction of people on both sides, but unfortunately causes us to paint with a broad brush.

As to free speech, I assume you are talking about people like Milo, to which I will say that he has never had his free speech violated. Free speech is not an entitlement to a forum, it is a right that guarantees that the government will not interfere with your speech, but even that has some limitations.


> Free speech is not an entitlement to a forum, it is a right that guarantees that the government will not interfere with your speech, but even that has some limitations.

That's a pretty narrow and legalistic idea that's often deployed to excuse some pretty terrible behavior by private parties. Yes, it's accurate if you're talking legalistically about First Amendment free speech rights, but there's a more general principle of free exchange of ideas that's clearly violated when protesters try to shut down events they disagree with. It's that broader idea that I believe people are actually referring to when they talk about "free speech" in these contexts.


Do those protesters not have autonomy to choose what they hear or whom may speak at their organization? Are they not allowed to say that an idea has no purpose except to poison and thus should not be uttered?

You may not agree with the protesters, but they too have rights and autonomy.


But the protesters most assuredly do not have (and should not have) the right to deny and infringe on the rights and autonomy of others.

It should also be noted that the speaker was due to speak at a university, an organization that's supposed to be dedicated to the free exchange of ideas. The protesters are certainly free to not attend his speech and to express their disapproval of him in ways that don't silence or harass others.


There's nothing wrong with them protesting. Or complaining to the university.

But when a group has asked Milo to speak, then you have no rights to physically block someone from speaking or try and shut down their event by force. Feels like even when not violent, some of these protests were less complaining about the event and more trying to stop supporters getting to it. And I don't think that's right.


>> Substitute "Silicon Valley" for any major liberal enclaves, like universities and cities...However I feel like I get shouted down every time I merely bring up a contrarian view....

> Except that the contrarian views frequently turn out to be lies, and I can't spend all my time debating lies. Please suggest a contrarian view that's worth discussing.

You illustrated his point perfectly: you tried to shoot him down by equating "contrarian views" with "lies," without proof or even example; then turned around and demanded that he back up his assertions in a way you were unwilling to.


> Except that the contrarian views frequently turn out to be lies

What do you mean by this?


global warming, evolution, abortion, birth control, LGBT, Size of military, refugees


If you don't see how these comments prove his points, you should reread over and over and over again until you do.

Every analysis of "How the hell did he win?" that I've seen has basically been that no one else listened to the people outside the population centers, or outside mainstream thought. He did and crafted a campaign based on it.

So listen. Just because you disagree or think they are lies, or whatever, doesn't mean you won't learn something about why those people think the way they do. No one is saying you have to agree. Credit to the author for actually listening.


You forgot crime rates, taxation relative to other developed countries, the causes of the Civil War, and whether there really are footprints on the Moon.


degree of earth curvature, extent of lizard population in federal government, which party gets to sacrifice infants to baal this month, who controls the weather on tuesdays, etc.


Evolution, vaccination, global warming, coal, etc, etc


It means what it says it means. He's in an echo chamber and well-grounded counterfactuals are no longer worth considering anymore.


Funny, nobody has yet suggested what these well grounded counterfactuals are. And I don't mean vague "freedom of speech on campus" discussions. I'd like to hear about some really well-grounded counterfactuals that are being shouted down.


I know some women who are regularly derided for pointing out that the founder of Planned Parenthood was a eugenicist who wanted to reduce the number of African Americans in the US.


Maybe because it's irrelevant?

Regardless if Michael Jackson was the person characterized by tabloids, let's say he was, does that in any way affect his music?

Regardless of what you think of the Palmer Luckey media debacle, does it have any bearing on the Oculus product(s)?

Judge the man/person by his actions. But products aren't variable by their creator, they're just a product, either good or bad on only it's own merit.

Do you eat Kellogg's products? Do you care what person its founder was?


How many studies can we find where the same data was used to come to completely different conclusions? More than you might think.


None of this is particularly surprising, but it is sobering to hear it from the horse's mouth. Insane racist sexists didn't win this election for Trump; dogma did.

One can no longer openly discuss certain extremely important topics (is there something inherently wrong with Islam as a belief system? Is Black Lives Matter doing good or bad things? Are women really paid less than men for performing the same work?) without risking their career and social life. Not because one is an awful person for asking awful questions. On the contrary, these are conversations we need to be having rationally and deeply, learning and growing from having them.

No, the threat of ruin comes from the religion of moral sanctimony we've allowed to flourish within our society. If you question the dogma of social justice, you will be lynched on social media and branded a bigot, a racist, a sexist, and so on.

Pretty sure those of us who aren't members of the church are just really fucking tired of this behavior, and unfortunately it's that very fatigue which seems to be one of the factors which drove people to vote for a truly awful leader.


> One can no longer openly discuss certain extremely important topics (is there something inherently wrong with Islam as a belief system? Is Black Lives Matter doing good or bad things? Are women really paid less than men for performing the same work?)

Some very prominent and (mostly) beloved liberals talk about these things _constantly_. Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Maajid Nawaz, and Salman Rushdie for example, are very vocal about problems in Islam. They do receive some pushback from some liberals, but they're far from being "no longer [able to] openly discuss" these things. It's almost like liberals aren't a homogenous collection of people!


Those people are all famous for saying controversial things. It's part of their brand. They get effectively get passes because:

1. They're famous and very successful 2. They hold enough "appropriate" beliefs that minor deviations are tolerated 3. They’re all used to death threats.

Many ordinary people don't enjoy those benefits. Like the teacher who was mentioned earlier who wanted "rule of law" and got fired for "racism." Or the owners that pizza shop in Indiana who got harassed by the entire internet for saying they wouldn't cater a gay wedding, neverminding the fact that nobody would want a pizza shop to cater a wedding and that nobody was denied service at that shop.

I mean, even those two people are lucky, because their stories got famous enough to generate national media interest. What about the people who don't get interviewed by newspapers after their livelihoods are destroyed for saying the wrong thing in the wrong place?


i'm kinda stumped what exactly you take issue with here... voicing your opinion in a public manner has consequences.

that will hopefully never change, as otherwise the words you're saying become meaningless. don't take a public stance on an issue laden with ideals unless you're fine being attacked by the other side.

on second though: considering trumps habit of simply telling lies on air with absolutely no consequences ... celebrities are kinda immune to this effect.


I personally am taking issue with parent's claim that the four liberal individuals mentioned are proof that it is "safe" to express potentially controversial opinions, especially when they run afowl of the domininant left wing viewpoint in America. Grandparent was clearly talking about ordinary people when describing the negative effects of "moral sanctimony" on public discourse in America.

I would agree with you that public speech should have consequences. I probably don't agree with you what those consequences ought to be -- what sort of "attacks" are appropriate given what is being said in what context. I don't think either of the two ordinary people I used as counter examples deserved the treatment they got for what they said.

I think it's bad for society if every difference of opinion is reacted to as being completely intolerable to the point of ending a career. In addition to creating resentment that men like Trump (and also people who are far worse) can exploit, it makes it impossible to discuss other controversial issues in the future. If we care about being good people living the best lives we can, we need to be able to discuss unpopular ideas, because we don't know which ideas that are considered unpopular today will be ones we will later find to be practically useful or morally virtuous tomorrow.


It's great that those prominent figures are discussing difficult questions openly. That can only result in good things for our society. However, not all of us have such luxury. For most of us, merely asking the initial questions to start a difficult/challenging conversation can have very bad consequences in the current climate.

If you've got a job as a coder at a SV company, you'd better be extremely careful about starting a conversation with coworkers at lunch about how concerned you are by how acceptable honor killings seem to be in Muslim-majority societies. Starting such a conversation could get you ostracized, fired, or worse, which is unfortunate because that's precisely the kind of bad idea (honor killings) which need to be challenged, and which are of very real and very immediate importance at this time.


I live/work in NYC—a fellow bastion of liberalism. Anecdotally, I've never had any problems talking about these things with friends or coworkers.

This is a delicate conversation, as there is a LOT of bigoted rhetoric around Muslims (our President is guilty of this type of talk), and it should be condemned. But if done with a tiny bit of care, you should have no problem criticizing extremism. I've never met a liberal that would defend the Charlie Hebdo attacks or honor killings.


Having lived in both places, NYC is different: engaging in partly emotional, contentious, shouty discussion is normal. Californians avoid and fear direct confrontation of this sort and if it happens they resent it.


Do you know a single person --regardless of religion-- who supports honor killing? Of course not. This is just an excuse to engage in fear mongering about Islam, and no good will come of that.

Essentially the issue here is that some people want to say racist or bigoted things without being ostracized for it. Like you could in the good old days, when everybody was racist. So now there is this big backlash, but it won't amount to anything because we're in the 21st century now and we're never going back.


> Do you know a single person --regardless of religion-- who supports honor killing? Of course not. This is just an excuse to engage in fear mongering about Islam, and no good will come of that.

Bad logic, I don't know a single person who supports White Nationalism but that doesn't mean they are not there.

Also most honor killing isn't really a calm and rational following of a religious edict like "Today is Sabbath so I should go to Mosque" or "My daughter slept with a married man, looks like to keep my family's honor I need to kill her', rather it comes out as the same rage as when husbands who catch their wives cheating get when they kill them.

Also there is wide statistical proofs of support for Honor killings among Muslims, if I were you I wouldn't claim that there are literally no Muslims who support this.


I said this person doesn't know anybody who is okay with honor killing, therefore there is nothing to discuss. Everybody he knows already agrees it's bad, so the only thing the discussion accomplishes is making Muslims look barbaric, and that's gross.


> Do you know a single person --regardless of religion-- who supports honor killing?

Presumably at the very least the people who are doing the honor killings support honor killings.


No I don't know anyone who openly supports honor killings. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have a lot of support among Muslims:

http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religi...


Work environments aren't meant to be a forum to discuss politically sensitive topics. Would you be able to discuss abortion rights or gay marriage at work? Then why is it so problematic if honor killings are a taboo topic? Also, what is your interest in honor killings, as opposed to say gun violence? Are more people being killed because of this barbaric custom, or is it because that's what the media and all Islamophobes love to bring up during any discussion of Islam? If you really wanted to educate yourself on the topic you would have easily found a source [1] with contrary information but that would burst the media bubble we are surrounded by in this country

[1] https://blog.oup.com/2014/07/five-important-facts-about-hono...


It's because they are "prominent" liberal people, that's what they are known for.

Not the case for average Joe.


Try saying any of those things on social media and see how far you get. If you don't immediately get Zucc'ed you'll be mobbed by libs screaming and frothing at the mouth.


I don't get this idea that we can't talk about these things. Right now the entire national government is run by people who have no trouble talking about these things, and much worse. Not only can you openly discuss them, but you can successfully get elected President while doing so.

You can't say, "We can't even discuss this stuff. That's why Trump won." The very idea contradicts itself.


> Right now the entire national government is run by people who have no trouble talking about these things, and much worse.

You seem to be implying that such questions are inherently immoral, and that's exactly the kind of sentiment that I challenged in my original comment. You can't demonize people for wanting to ask legitimate questions and have legitimate discussions.

There are difficult questions and there are bad questions. There IS a difference.

This question is bad: "Why do black people think their lives matter?"

This question is difficult, but not bad: "Is the Black Lives Matter movement doing good?"


I understand your point. We're in a very polarized political environment, and I think it's important to recognize the context buried in questions like "Is the Black Lives Matter movement doing good?" It's suspicious sounding on its face, without any specifics or nuance given. There's a LOT of hatred toward the BLM movement that is completely indefensible (e.g., applauding running over BLM protesters in the street, or accusing them of inciting violence). BLM is not beyond criticism. If you have a something to critique, critique it. On its face, "Is Black Lives Matter doing good?" smells a lot like "I think BLM is bad". And that is likely to be met with an unpleasant response.


Consider that as "much worse" from the perspective of those who see these topics as bad.

The people currently in power are more than happy to talk about murdering the families of terrorists and torturing suspects for information. If they were ever to express any resistance about discussing whether Islam is an inherently bad belief system, it would only be because they thought the answer was clearly "yes." When the whole national government is run by people like that, I can't understand this idea that topics such as you mention are somehow off-limits.


> You can't demonize people for wanting to ask legitimate questions and have legitimate discussions.

You also can't claim that merely asking those questions will lead to demonization or ostracism, since we recently freely elected a leader who asks such questions.


Electing Trump doesn't contradict OPs perception. Just because Trump won doesn't mean everyone is surrounded by Trump supporters.

In fact, I am pretty left-leaning, as are most of my friends, co-workers, social-circle, and neighborhood.. Trump is not popular in the context of my life.

However, I don't agree with all of the left dogma. While I can talk frankly about my criticisms of those topics with close friends, even polite and genuine questioning of some left-dogma has been met with immediate vitriol by otherwise friendly acquaintances, despite having not made any statement of judgement, and otherwise agreeing on most topics!

If you grovel down and frame your discussion as "I am dumb, educate me!" they are willing to have a happy discussion where they tell you their opinion.

On the other hand, if you are mildly informed and frame it as "I question a few things and want to discuss for introspection's sake", you are in for a dismissive discussion.

Scorning introspection is very unhealthy.


There are people who will freak out if you question the existence of a deity, or propose that maybe climate change isn't entirely a leftist hoax, or that a Prius battery will last more than five years. That doesn't mean these topics are off limits in general.


Knowing people who don't respond well to discussing controversial ideas is irrelevant—I have no idea who you know, so I can't make any claims about what they will or won't allow. But is discussing controversial opinions holding people back? Clearly, the answer is no.


I think you're confusing an election with public discourse. You can vote in anonymity and no one has to know who you voted for. You can't get on social media (for example) and openly support anything even remotely Trump without copping at least some backlash.

Trump won because people have their own personal beliefs and ideas which they take with them into the polling booths.


I'm not talking about the voters, I'm talking about Trump himself. He talked about this stuff in pretty reprehensible ways, and his "punishment" was being elected. This is contrary to the idea that mere mention of these topics leads to ostracism and career death.


> it's that very fatigue which seems to be one of the factors which drove people to vote for a truly awful leader.

I don't understand this reasoning. Why would someone who hates being unfairly called a bigot go and vote for a bigot? If I hated it when people called me a socialist, I wouldn't vote for Bernie Sanders!

What seems more likely is that bigotry is fairly common and a lot of people are bigoted in ways they don't necessarily realize.


Voting is anonymous, so calling people names based off who they voted for isn't a viable strategy.


Why are those the extremely important topics that need discussion? What about the people who are actually being hurt every day in America (drug addicts, prisoners, trans people, poor people...)?


They're questions with profound societal significance, and they're even more important now because of how little we've been able to discuss them openly. The dam is bursting, in other words.

I don't understand your second question, but I'd be happy to reply to it if you could clarify a bit.


OK, let me put it another way: there are billions of billions of billions of possible questions we could be asking. Most of them are not things that people talk about, and that people would be confused about if you brought them up. Why are the specific questions you mention worth discussing?


What a bizarre response?

The parent is suggesting that there are other topics that people feel are important and want to discuss, and your dismissive response seems to be, "We have all of these other things to discuss that I think are important, without justification, we don't have much more room for what you want to discuss, so you need to justify it for me."

Why is anything worth discussing? Because people think it is! It should be self-evident! Enough people mis-understand enough things that we got this new incompetent president; maybe we aught to discuss what they want more so that we can all be on the same page?

I agree with you; the things you mention are worth talking about, but so are many things that are shouted down and we have room to talk about them all.


Just like "Black Lives Matter" doesn't mean "Only Black Lives Matter" their statement doesn't mean those are the only extremely important topics that need discussion.


If you question the dogma of social justice, you will be lynched on social media

lynched on social media is an unfortunate construction. Excoriated? Mocked? Humiliated? Harassed? All things that can happen on social media.

Anyway, what are the arguments against building a just society? Since you call social justice a dogma, I'd ask you to separate out arguments against the concept of a just society from arguments about whether specific ideas and policies represent progress towards a just society.

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