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What I Heard from Trump Supporters (samaltman.com)
461 points by snarkyturtle 155 days ago | hide | past | web | 858 comments | favorite



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.


I think that when people "KNOW" that they are "RIGHT", it sometimes brings moral superiority into people. That, in addition to norms of socially acceptable behaviour, pushes people into a corner.

For example - If someone goes to Bill Maher's show, anyone clapping on a conservative view point is seen as a criminal, while people with liberal point of view clap "together" as a group, with the smug arrogance of knowing that they are superior. If a debate takes in such an environment, the conservative people has no option but to hide his view point.

Liberal ideology should not be used as a fashion statement. Unfortunately it seems to be used that way today. What do you guys think?


I did not vote for Trump, but I couldn't help but feel a bit of schadenfreude at the reaction of my mostly very liberal friend group to his win. For months and months, they'd been unfairly denigrating Trump supporters while simultaneously insisting that he was a joke, there was no way he would beat Clinton, etc. and somehow convincing themselves that their political ideology was synonymous with science, truth, and reason.

It was very much a form of social posturing rather than careful consideration for many of them.

Of course, instead of toning it back after the election, many have doubled down. I'm curious how that will play out for the next election.


It will play out poorly.

The coalition on the right is full of cracks that could be exploited to split them up. Trump actually exploited one of those cracks to get himself the Republican nomination. When the left comes in to pour moral superiority all over people, it fills those cracks in like glue. People who would have otherwise split from Trump are sticking to him because the left is chopping at everything.

The smart move here is to wedge. Pick fights that split the Republicans apart from each other, and focus on that stuff instead of piddly small things whether Trump was being racist or merely inarticulate when he asked that reporter to set a meeting up with the Congressional Black Caucus.

I don't think the elected Democrats can do that though. They're under a lot of incentives to not act that way, considering that their donors and voters seem to have chosen "resistance" as what they want.


>he coalition on the right is full of cracks that could be exploited to split them up. Trump actually exploited one of those cracks to get himself the Republican nomination. When the left comes in to pour moral superiority all over people, it fills those cracks in like glue. People who would have otherwise split from Trump are sticking to him because the left is chopping at everything.

Your assumption is that Donald Trump forged some kind of political coalition. He didn't. The Republican Party votes in lockstep, by and large. What happened was that Hillary Clinton utterly failed to get people in key areas to the voting booth to get the numbers she needed.

The Donald fans can glue themselves together all they want, but it wasn't them who won anything. It was Democratic infighting that ceded it over to them. It's not the Republicans that need to get cracked, it's the Republicans who are pouring glue into the cracked up Democratic coalition.


> Your assumption is that Donald Trump forged some kind of political coalition. He didn't.

You are incorrect about my assumption, but correct that Trump did not forge a coalition. The coalition existed before him and largely held its nose because members of it did not have any other options.

My assumption is that both political parties are large, standing broad coalitions of voters with differening interests that are together mainly as a consequence of the two-party system. Which means that they each contain elements that can (and occasionally do) flip party.

Trump exploited a crack in the Republican coalition that had formed over immigration, which was a wedge issue between the "pro-business" type Republicans that are "part of the establishment" and the party base. He also identified other wedges, like military adventurism. That, along with lack of a sufficiently strong opponent in the other 16 people who ran, enabled him to win the GOP primary, even though Trump has very little to no interest in "conservatism."

There were enough Republicans put off by his lack of "conservatism" (e.g. the lack of interest in the agenda of other parts of the GOP coalition) that they were willing to vote for someone else. But because the Democrats had nothing but contempt to offer those voters, they either stayed home, held their nose for Trump anyway, or voted for third party candidates like "Egg McMuffin."

Those divides in the GOP are not going to go away. Those voters are out there, waiting to be picked up by somebody. They may be as much as 20% of that party, which is enough to tip future elections towards the Democrats forever if they play their cards right. But that's going to be an opportunity that isn't going to be exploited as long as the Democrats are playing "resistance" as their strategy.


> The smart move here is to wedge. Pick fights that split the Republicans apart from each other

One of Sam's interviewees pointed it out too:

    What would convince you not to vote for him again?

    "If the Russia thing were true, I’d turn against him.  
    Why don’t y’all focus on that instead of his tweets?"
    
i.e. reframing the argument along themes that the opposition cares for (in this case, patriotism).


Oh man, I don't like Trump at all but it's so hard to resist enjoying the schadenfreude. I think my favorite part is the "nothing to hide" people who are now afraid of the surveillance state but couldn't have cared less about it before.

I think the "science, truth, and reason" thing really resonates because it's been used to as a shortcut to presuming the "correctness" of anything vaguely left-wing in areas where things are anything but black and white.

It's true, for sure, that there are some places things are fairly black and white, like climate change. Or vaccination.

But in other areas... there's anything but a clear cut situation. Take immigration. The second Trump started to try and start arresting and deporting people my social media filled with memes asking things like "who's going to dig up potatoes for $0.45 per giant bucket filled now?" So... start deporting undocumented people and the "Left" will suddenly embrace the propriety of paying people unliveable wages citizens would never accept? Why would anybody think that we won't in the not distant future be collecting potatoes with robots?

Likewise, there seems to suddenly be this notion that pretty much anybody who shows up whenever for whatever reason should just be allowed in to stay and work in America... There's a very real conversation about how isolationist we can/should be, whether/how/what-degree we should be trying to export our human rights norms, what kinds of employment visas we should have, what their conditions should be, whether we should accept refugees, etc. I find the current refugee situation embarrassing, but at the same time I think there's been real refusal to take a holistic look at making a comprehensive and consistent policy, let alone a "scientific" or "reasoned" one. It's like one group of people started jumping off the right side of a building (nobody enters) so everyone else rushed to jump off the left (everybody enters).

I think lots of issues are like this.


>Likewise, there seems to suddenly be this notion that pretty much anybody who shows up whenever for whatever reason should just be allowed in to stay and work in America

Globalization promotes the free flow of capital, but not labour. This never seemed fair to me. It feels like a mechanism of exploitation.

Who _deserves_ to work in America more? Someone born into that country, or someone who left their whole life behind and made an long dangerous trip to get there?


Deserve is a terrible and dangerous word.

Even the mere idea that jobs should be for the "deserving" sounds like some sort of weird cultist wet dream.

But maybe in the future we can get rid of borders and citizenship, establish a global government with a single labor market, and then allocate jobs to the "deserving" by going down a list of afflictions, awarding points for suffering, and then giving jobs to those who've suffered the most. It really sounds like a utopia.


I wasn't endorsing the concept of 'deserving' here.

It may have been a bit of a straw man, but the idea that "foreigners are stealing our jobs" has an undercurrent of entitlement to it.


I think the association between "science truth and reason" and the Democrats/liberals is caused by the Republicans apparent flight from science, truth and reason.

Politics has never had much to do with reason - it's our equivalent of war; conflict by whatever means are at hand; our complex, technological and interdependent society however very much depends on science and reason. Truth has it's own way of striking back, of course.

The thing I found most interesting in the article was "we are worse off than black folks because we have no hope of things getting better."


> unfairly denigrating Trump supporters

Is there a way of fairly denigrating Trump supporters?

> For months and months, they'd been unfairly denigrating Trump supporters while simultaneously insisting that he was a joke, there was no way he would beat Clinton, etc. and somehow convincing themselves that their political ideology was synonymous with science, truth, and reason.

There may be liberal voters who make that conclusion of synonymeity, but to the extent that you're lumping it in with dismayed astonishment at Trump's candidacy, you're mischaracterizing both.

The position that Trump represents a completely bonkers low point and that opposition to him was synonymous with science, truth, and reason had (and has) a much higher frequency of occurrence vs the position that "liberal" politics presents a total/good view of the world.


> Is there a fair way of denigrating Trump supporters?

Yes, by realizing that he won because of his economics, not his social positions. The rust belt votes of economic issues, which allowed him to win. The poor in the area lean to whoever will help them not be poor, or at least say they'll try. Clinton embodied the status quo, Trump was change. They might not have liked him, and in fact a sizable majority do not, but realizing it was a pick of the lesser of two equals hopefully restores some sympathy for the other side, which is sorely needed today.


> Yes, by realizing that he won because of his economics, not his social positions.

You're responding to a post by sama where he interviews people who voted for Trump, and his findings match what we already knew: this wasn't about economics. Why would it be when unemployment is below 5%? Just look at the answers people gave when asked "What do you like about Trump".


Quoting the unemployment rate at 4.9% is disingenuous at it doesn't look at the participation rate, which has dropped 3% in the past 10 years (aka 10 million people). This unemployment rate also doesn't look at individual regions like the rust belt, which won Trump the election. There's a sizable group that did vote him in on his social positions, which is the common 40% of voters (the battle for an election isn't concerned with the 'base' which is about 80% of the voters, being 40% left and 40% right, it worries about the 20% in the middle, and those middle voters were the rust belt that swayed the election). So although you can say a many Trump voters wanted his social politics, he won because of his economics.

And I understand the selection of the narratives the author used. Like I've said, I live in a small Midwest town.


> Is there a way of fairly denigrating Trump supporters?

It depends what you want to accomplish. Do you want to persuade them to be some other kind of supporters or score points with people who already agree with you?


People insisting that Trump is a joke weren't wrong about that. What they were wrong about was their belief that this country wouldn't seriously elect someone so wildly incompetent and unfit to be president. The fact that Trump got elected doesn't reflect badly upon the people who said he's a joke, it reflects badly on everyone else.


Bill Maher said something along the same lines. That if people in the opposing camp decide they are going to objectify their opposition as one monolithic group of uncouth people that Democrats would lose in the next election --not sure about that, as the current admin may irk a number of Republicans as well, but it's worth noting that devolving to name calling and other denigrating aspects are not the most likely way to win people over to your point of view.


It's quite likely that all Democrats need to do to win the next presidential election is help voters register and obtain any necessary id. Ideologically, Trump and the GOP don't have any strong numerical advantage, they won the election with better tactics and a few good news cycles.

The question is more whether there is sufficient movement (it has to start now) to take quite a lot of seats in the house in 2018. Which is the first opportunity to put a further check on the administration than is provided by the Constitution and such.


Both sides are guilty of this and always have been. If you think name calling and teasing are counterproductive then you must realize that race/gender/sexuality based slurs are all part of that as well. Not only are they counterproductive but they are not things based on choice. It was a choice for people to vote for a specific person for president, that is not true with the issue of skin tone or sexuality.


Though people don't choose their political beliefs as freely as you'd expect; upbringing, profession, region, and even genetics play a role.


At least not initially - and you're right that many will never reconsider the world view passed down to them or some may reconsider and decide it's the best because it's comfortable etc... But ideology is still much easier to change than sexual orientation or race regardless of who you ask. It makes complete sense to me that a group of people can't openly dismiss another and demand their respect at the same time. This is the "golden rule" and is widely regarded as a valid way to approach life by people with all sorts of political beliefs. If someone teaches you something wrong and harmful about another group of people then that is definitely a point of view that needs to be corrected for society to work.


Liberalism is deterministic in so far as it's required for a civil society.

Disagree all you want, but liberal concessions are the result of mass civil rights movements.


> Of course, instead of toning it back after the election, many have doubled down. I'm curious how that will play out for the next election.

Given the recent trajectory of the Tea Party, I think it'll play out pretty well—if not the next election, then the one after that.


Say what you will about goody-two-shoes liberals whining about minor issues — as far as science, truth and reason go, the ideology of the current administration allows none of them. That is reason enough to double down (and hopefully prioritize fundamental values of democracy over small distractions in the fight that lays ahead).


To his credit, Bill Maher is incredibly good at creating a safe space for everyone to express their views at least, and frequently seeks out figureheads who disagree with him, much like Bill O'Reilly does.

Also, Bill Maher constantly berates liberals for being easily triggered and calling for the suppression of free speech through "chilling effects" of PC culture. Liberals seem to have forgotten the ACLU has defended the KKK, the Confederate flag, and Rush Limbaugh. [0]

[0]: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/06/19/a-...


Bill Maher is just awful. Horrible interviewer, horrible at pacing things, horrible at listening, don't give a crap what his views are.


>> Liberal ideology should not be used as a fashion statement. Unfortunately it seems to be used that way today. What do you guys think?

I've often wondered how many people voted for Obama just to prove to the world that they are not racist. Or in other words to show their moral superiority. I think the same dynamic was in play with Hillary - all she talked about is how "we'll make history" meaning "let's show them how forward thinking the nation has become that we can elect a woman president". IMHO backlash against that crap is exactly why Trump won, and I've had several people confirm that.


If we're talking 2008 vs McCain, if McCain didn't listen to his advisors telling him to play to the base and start taking more extreme positions on everything, I think he would have had a better shot and I'd at least have considered voting for him.

Plus, at least for me, it wasn't so much that I wanted to prove I wasn't racist, but that I wanted America to finally prove that it was no longer true that in order to be president it was required that you be a (usually older) wealthy white guy. It only needed to happen once, for it to change people's perceptions that "this is the way it would always be" and allow for more minority representation in the future.

Which was proven when the Democrats actually nominated a woman for the next election, even if it wasn't the best choice in hindsight.


I'm one of the few people I know who is an enthusiastic supporter of Hillary. I like her because of her track record on children's issues, 9-11 and the Iran deal (among others). I'm also conservative so I like that the last time she lived at 1400 Pensilvania Ave the government was running a surplus.


>> I'm also conservative so I like that the last time she lived at 1400 Pensilvania Ave the government was running a surplus.

I was scared when Bill Clinton won, but he is now one of my favorite ex-presidents precisely because he didn't make things worse. And yes, the budget was briefly balanced. Too bad that's not actually a core principle of the democratic party - see what happened under Obama, and see how little one of their biggest fiscal mouth pieces (Paul Krugman) cares about debt or deficits. But yes, the late 90's were a good time in the US. I don't credit Hillary with that though.


>Too bad that's not actually a core principle of the democratic party - see what happened under Obama,

See what? That he reduced the deficit during his tenure?

>and see how little one of their biggest fiscal mouth pieces (Paul Krugman) cares about debt or deficits.

Obama took office during an economic depression. This is how macroeconomics works. You spend to goose demand when the economy is down and you tax for the down times when the economy is up. The largest depression since the Great one isn't the time to be worrying about anything but getting us out of it.


>> See what? That he reduced the deficit during his tenure?

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_deficit_chart.ht...

What?


TARP is signed by the Bush administration at the end of 2008. The money kicks in with Obama’s entry in 2009 and has ARRA added to it as he begins the herculean effort of digging us out of the Bush recession.

By 2016 the deficit is back down to 2008 levels. And that’s despite Ted Cruz’s shenanigans.


A new President's budget doesn't take effect until around September the year he takes office. Just like Trump isn't responsible for the current deficit right now, it's disingenuous to attribute most of 2008 to Obama.


I drive Foothill Expressway in Silicon Valley to work everyday.

One of the weirdest things I noticed this election cycle was the near absence of Hillary bumper stickers. The lack of Trump ones, I understood. But when Obama ran, there were Obama bumper stickers everywhere...

But today, I notice perhaps one car a week with an H sticker.


I live near DC. On the weekends when I'm driving in and around DC, I almost never see Hillary stickers, even though DC is a thoroughly liberal town. It was like this before the election too. I saw far more old Obama stickers than I did Hillary stickers.


Same here in Portland, Oregon, a place that makes D.C. look like Utah on the ol' left/right-o-meter.


> 1400 Pensilvania

In non-alternative fact land, it's 1600 Pennsylvania.


lol. time to fire my fact-checker


Paul Graham's "Keep Your Identity Small" (2009) article is relevant here:

http://paulgraham.com/identity.html


I think everyone on this thread still arguing about what's right or wrong should really read this essay.

I especially found this part interesting:

> The most intriguing thing about this theory, if it's right, is that it explains not merely which kinds of discussions to avoid, but how to have better ideas. If people can't think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible. [2]

Last couple of years I see people come up with all kinds of buzzwords--VR, AR, Bots, "Voice is the future", Drones, AI, etc.--and turn it into their identity. "I'm working on bots", "I'm working on deep learning", etc. I doubt any successful company will come out of these people because these mere concepts have already become their identity and they are unable to accept ideas adjacent to what they're trying to build.


Unfortunate that Paul Graham didn't follow his own advice. Seeing him attack Trump supporters with all the negative labels Trump has been falsely portrayed by the media and comparing Trump to Hitler in twitter really makes you pause.


> What do you guys think?

I think this is nothing new. US mentality has been going very sharply that way for years; two sides of a coin becoming more and more extreme and caring more about hating the other side than about what's good for the country.

People bending over and accepting absurd things from their presidents, or politicians in general, just because they're "on my team".

Roll back a few years. How is it okay that the US ever allowed attack ads between politicians? Presidential election campaigns spanning over a year? "Reelection" campaigns starting a year or two into office?

How is it okay that your politicians can sweep atrocious bills under the rug by giving them fancy names like PATRIOT? In fact, how is patriotism so often used as an excuse - why is it even working?

The US turned politics into a team game. Us vs. them. American politicians have been using the "you're either with us or against us" rhetoric for decades; it then only makes sense that opposition becomes "the enemy".

So yes, I completely agree, it's shameful that people on both sides feel superior to the other. It's shameful that people are unable to recognize they flaw because, god forbid, should they start to think that "their team" has flaws then they'll end up in the other team, and the other team is even worse, yknow?

I could write more about this but I feel like it'll fall either on deaf ears, or on ears that already know this. The election has been a constant feeling of helplessness against a wave of knee-jerk reactions from a majority of people unwilling to hear the other side out. And this happens on both sides. How do you even begin to fix this, when the attitude is "yeah, but the other guys are doing it too"?


>two sides of a coin becoming more and more extreme and caring more about hating the other side than about what's good for the country.

Not really. [url=https://img-washingtonpost-com.cdn.ampproject.org/ii/w1000/s... polarization in the US is driven entirely by the GOP. Full stop.[/url]

You can't address the problem if you're blinding yourself to its causes. The Democrats have, by and large, branded themselves as the party of non-partisan centrist technocrats, not as liberal firebrands. Sanders' defeat in the primaries only cemented this.


Don't think this is a US specific problem unfortunately.

Attack ads? Seem to be growing in popularity over here in the UK. Atrocious bills are being swept under the rug here too. And if the Brexit situation taught us anything, it's that the political scene here is very much an 'us vs them' situation too.

Either way, I suspect these trends are (sadly) becoming more and more normalised across almost all societies and countries now. The US might seem more extreme here, but the general pattern does seem to be getting more common elsewhere too.


Yeah, the UK is slowly copying the US model, lagging a few years behind it. But I don't think it's ever been as pronounced. The divide in the UK is far thinner than it's ever been in the US, even though it's still "us vs them".

It's also possible that the internet itself is helping to spread the US mentality to other countries. Scary to think about.


I think the same is true for all of the political parties in the US. Everyone likes to feel that they are correct and refuses to consider that not only their viewpoint, but the calibration of society as a whole, might be (and I believe is, in the case of the US) out of balance and that thus perceptions are even further off than a gut feeling would conclude.


There is a very strong perception that if you are a conservative and you speak out either against left-wing views, someone will try to destroy your career and rob you of your livelihood. Take a look at a recent example of a teacher who made comments on Facebook about the #DayWithoutImmigrants[0]. Those parents who supported amnesty ascribed racism to what was an otherwise completely non-racist comment, and enough of them complained to force the school to act against him. You simply can't ask for the rule of law in America anymore without putting your career at serious jeopardy.

[0]http://eagnews.org/teacher-reassigned-after-praising-trump-a...


May be that's because left wing areas are indeed safe space to express views. I dare not put a pro-choice bumper sticker in a deep red state.


That same fear exists whenever /anything/ contrary to the local community's predominant viewpoint is raised. You may think your community is different; you are very likely wrong about the way others perceive it.


Here's a counterpoint, the website "Professor Watchlist" where Conservatives can report their professors for being liberal:

http://professorwatchlist.org/

What is the point of such a website except to try and ruin people's careers and invite harassment of them? What about all the 4chan and reddit threads dedicated to finding and harassing outspoken liberals?


I think that's an inaccurate assessment. If someone at such a show holds a minority viewpoint and doesn't want to be the only person clapping, that is up to them. I have never seen a contemporary domestic example of the attitude you describe, of someone like that being "seen as a criminal", except at Donald Trump rallies.


Well there were widespread calls by people to push even Peter Thiel out of silicon valley positions which he holds just because he supported a candidate. His fault - He supported a guy publicly! Even he was seen as criminal. Forget about the average Joe. That's why people wanted confidentiality agreements!


There were calls, yes. But he is still a part-time YC partner and on Facebook's board.


> He supported a guy publicly!

...You can't just talk about the abstract notion of "supporting" "a guy". A specific thing happened, not the generalized notion of "publicly supporting a candidate".

Is he not subject to criticism for his political positions? Where exactly is the line? How should someone be challenged to change their positions?


> Where exactly is the line? How should someone be challenged to change their positions?

The line is the one that divides their politics from the rest of their life. You challenge their ideas, you don't harass them or try to get them fired.


All actions are political, to at least some extent. So that's not a very clear line to draw. Furthermore, you talk about "challenging someone's ideas" without apparently any reference to the the rest of their life, which is... a rather nonsensical. You further give no means by which to do so, and rule out one of the more important ways of influencing someone--social stigma.

Certainly in this case we're talking about a financial company (YC)'s input and direction. Does someone who supports policies like the current occupant of the white house belong in a position of influence there? They are being paid in this capacity for their ideas, and therefore challenging their ideas means challenging that relationship.


> You further give no means by which to do so, and rule out one of the more important ways of influencing someone--social stigma.

Come on, dude. I only ruled out harassment and attempts to get people fired. If you can't think of any other ways to "challenge someone's ideas" on your own, you're beyond help from me.


I'd love for you to address the other points in my response:

Thiel is hired for his ideas. You say that he can not be fired for his ideas. This is a problem.


> Thiel is hired for his ideas. You say that he can not be fired for his ideas. This is a problem.

Here, I'll try to address it, using simple words:

There are different kinds of ideas. He was hired for his business ideas. It is not a problem that he shouldn't be fired because he has other kinds of ideas, too. People should be allowed to have different ideas. It wrong and immature to want to hurt them because they disagree with you. You are not doing good by trying to hurt them. Trying to hurt people is bad.

If you disagree, instead of hurting them, you can try to express your ideas without trying to hurt them. You could express yourself by writing a blog, by writing obtuse internet comments, by peacefully holding a sign somewhere, or by doing something creative! Just don't try to creatively hurt people, because hurting people is bad.


Don't those widespread calls fall under the callers' freedom of speech?

Why shouldn't they be able to call for Thiel's ouster?

Why shouldn't I be able to call for shklnrj to be fired, so long as I do it through the usual public channels (e.g. are not harassing you or your workplace, etc)?

Hopefully, your boss would dismiss me as a nutter. But hey, that's free speech in action.


Very clever. Yes calls for my firing would be under freedom of speech. Agree totally. But a culture in which only one side is able to call for firing because that side's opinion is WRONG leads to a divided society. Imagine people asking for firing of someone because that person supported Hillary Clinton for some reason? In such a society, the side whose voice is silenced by the popular culture would come out to vote strongly for the other side.


[flagged]


I agree with most of the above sentiment, but there's a little more context to the mocking of the disabled reporter. He'd been using those motions to mock people (who are backpedaling) in general for quite some time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgaC0leEb68


> He'd been using those motions to mock people (who are backpedaling) in general for quite some time

Oh, okay. So it's not jus that he's mocking a disabled reporter, but mocks other people as if they were disabled as well. Well, that's just fine, then.


Yes, I agree (that its not fine, to be clear) -- I'm not even convinced he knew this particular reported was disabled because to him it's just an insignificant reporter's name on a page. His generic mocking just happened to have real consequences this time.


I don't buy it. He knew what he was doing, he knew it was wrong, and he did it anyway.


>> Don't those widespread calls fall under the callers' freedom of speech? Why shouldn't they be able to call for Thiel's ouster?

For one because he's got his own free speech rights. But more importantly the parent poster was holding him up as an example of why people tend not to stand up for their opinion when it is not popular. Even a popular silicon valley figure was ostracized for supporting the "wrong" candidate among his peer group. That backlash is exactly what people are afraid of.


You know what? Backlash is one of the inevitable consequences of having any opinion in a free society. Especially if you're a wealthy, powerful individual with a big platform for pushing your ideas. Especially if they're unpopular ideas among your peer group.

Thiel is also a powerful, wealthy individual, with a much bigger platform than most of us will ever have. He's also obviously weathered the storm of being calling for his ouster just fine.

I just don't see this as a sign that society needs new rules on protecting people's opinions from criticism. Thiel isn't some delicate snowflake who needs a safe space. He's a grown man who speaks publicly about political things, and will be able to do so for the rest of his life, due to his wealth and power.


I think the OP's point was that even someone who is as powerful and wealthy as Thiel could get ostracized in a community of his peers by taking an unpopular position on a political issue, hence the average Joe could do much worse.


> "He's also obviously weathered the storm of being calling for his ouster just fine."

Will you (or I) be able to weather a similar storm?


I think you're confusing what should be legally allowed with what is moral.


I'm not saying calling for Thiel's ouster is right.

But saying it shouldn't be allowed? Screw that, I like my first amendment.


And I don't think anyone is saying it shouldn't be allowed, legally. We're saying, it's bad for society that this has become normal.

E.g. If you lived in a society that found adultery almost totally acceptible, You could think adultery is wrong, you could not like that society considers it acceptible, but you could still be against making it illegal.


Of course they do. Nobody is saying you don't have a RIGHT to condemn and criticize.

The discussion is around whether you SHOULD be criticizing a person.


I read root parent comment as being about the break down of thoughtful exchange of ideas and acceptance of views in a democracy. First amendment rights didn't seem to be on the table.


It's happening all around you to Trump supporters. And, it has been happening for all of time, basically.

Most people, by nature, revel in being superior to others. And, when there's a moral high ground to take (justified by being part of the "in" group), it really comes out.


I've never lived in a left leaning area, but conservative, "gun-loving", etc has been a fashion statement for at least a decade.


On the other hand, there's some dangerous censorship happening in the public school system and in the business world and in government, and I think a lot of Trump supporters recognize this and are worried about it.


I presume you are referring to states that omit or downplay evolution in history textbooks.


Not at all.


censorship regarding what?


You can't say Merry Christmas. You can't say you understand homosexuality to be a disorder. You can't call a man "he" if he identifies as a "she". Do any of these in school, business, or government and you'll be punished.


> You can't say Merry Christmas.

Specifically in schools, this is problematic because it makes children who do not celebrate christmas feel left out. Adults should be able to handle it, children not so much.

> You can't say you understand homosexuality to be a disorder.

This is not an opinion related to your job, so you should definitely keep it to yourself while on the job. While some people will definitely throw a fit about it if you make the opinion known outside of your job(especially regarding teachers) I agree that this is bad and shouldn't be done.

> You can't call a man "he" if he identifies as a "she".

This is just simple respect. If someone asks you to call them something, you call them what they asked. Even if you think it is wrong/ridiculous. It doesn't hurt you any.


Regardless of whether any of these are considered "rude" or "disrespectful" (which btw is an opinion that many Trump supporters openly disagree with), it's a very real form of censorship to mandate that people aren't allowed to say these things. And that's dangerous.


> mandate that people aren't allowed to say these things

If you are rude or disrespectful to people at your job then you are negatively effecting your job performance and you will be fired due to that. This is anywhere. I haven't heard anyone (though there is probably someone out there, there always is) recommend jailing or otherwise punishing anyone beyond losing their job.


I don't see the danger in encouraging people to treat each other with respect.


Encouraging is not the same as enforcing. People should have the freedom to say what they want. Just because someone cries and says "they hurt my feelings" doesn't mean we should put mandates and rules in place to stop it from happening again. It's a pretty slippery slope, and complete liars can take advantage of this to basically make new rules for everyone else, and we'll also end up with a fundamentally broken society who can't handle any kind of criticism at all and who don't understand that their feelings don't trump other people's rights.


How do you feel about businesses choosing who they do business with? Which customers they will serve? What company culture they want to support? What health care options they'll offer their employees?


> Just because someone cries and says "they hurt my feelings"

In the context of trans people we're not talking about "hurt feelings". We're talking about murder, sexual violence, severe assault, and increased risk of suicide.


These are mainly just social norms. I guess I never considered that as "censorship".

"You can't say Merry Christmas."

First off... yes you can. However, Why would you assume a large group of people in a public setting outside of a Christian context would all want to be wished a Merry Christmas...seems unlikely to me.

"You can't say you understand homosexuality to be a disorder."

Again.. you can say that, However you would be factually incorrect. Mental disorders are "disorders" because of the negative impacts caused in the sufferer's life.. What has been shown to be the negative impacts of homosexuality?

"You can't call a man "he" if he identifies as a "she"."

You can call anyone anything you like... what you don't have control over is how they feel in reaction. Assuming you identify as a man.. how would you receive someone that always referred to you as a female, and I mean always not just as a one-off joke type thing. I'm going to take a guess that you would feel worse than "censored".


" You can call anyone anything you like... what you don't have control over is how they feel in reaction. Assuming you identify as a man.. how would you receive someone that always referred to you as a female, and I mean always not just as a one-off joke type thing. I'm going to take a guess that you would feel worse than "censored"."

Basically, imagine having Dr. Cox calling you Shirley every single day, even though you hate being called girl's names. A lot of it boils down to 'Don't be a dick'.


In modern democratic society, this war of ideas is what we've chosen to use instead of wars of violence to control the transition of power in government. It's pretty reasonable that it will evolve over time as traditional war did. That's the entire idea behind Alex Jones' site, and he's been very influential on Trump and his campaign. I see clear information-war analogues to doctrines like guerrilla tactics, total war, etc.


Liberals in USA has reached the level of maniacal stupidity. I love politics and participate in events across the political spectrum. But despite my genuine efforts I find the typical left to be completely unfathomable.


I get the feeling like the idea behind Sam's experiment was to eliminate the notion of "unfathomable". Listen and discuss, acknowledge the views and beliefs of others where possible as valid, through empathy and open-mindedness. Sure, there are some viewpoints which can be written off as too far off the deep end, but "liberals" are humans with thoughts and opinions, and so are all those who voted for Trump and/or continue to support him.

The answers in Sam's interviews make this quite clear.

Start trying to fathom instead of just saying you can't?


Out of curiosity, who do you refer to when you say "liberals"?

I think of myself as liberal, and I bet we could find plenty of common ground.


It's important to not confuse liberals with leftists. My liberal friends have remained (for the most part) fairly objective and open to dialogue. My friends who identify as leftists...not so much.


I agree entirely. The Left co-opted the term "liberal" to the detriment of true liberal thinkers in America.

Liberals, even if you don't agree with them, are generally interesting people to talk to and (from my experience) often easy to get along with. They, by definition, are willing to entertain alternative ideas and debate them.

Leftists, while not all cut from the same cloth, are not a subset of liberals. The BLM and AntiFa movements are clearly illiberal.


I think co-opted is a bit strong. I don't think there's ever been a concerted effort on the left to own the word liberal. If you know of any evidence to the contrary, I'd love to learn about it.

I think it's more accidental in that terms end up associated with one side or the other, and in this case the left perhaps had an edge in that it's generally been associated with civil liberties. (Whether or not that can be supported is a separate discussion.) Having effectively two parties in the US results in a lot of incongruities.


The Left is not monolithic, it is better understood as a coalition of separate forces with different interests united against a common, feared enemy.

What you perceive as "manical stupidity" is fear. Fear of a common enemy is one of the few things that can glue together a diverse coalition.


Maybe provide some examples of liberal policies you find to be "maniacally stupid". Otherwise, this is pretty baseless.


> What do you guys think?

I think that you're operating under a pretty severe cognitive bias.


Well, I might be. Everyone has some level of cognitive bias.


I think that it goes both ways: take Fox and Friends instead of Maher, and you get exactly the same kind of reaction. I'm not sure why you are singling out "liberal ideology" here, when my favorite new joke is a rehash of an old one: "how can you tell if a person is a Trump supporter? Don't worry, they'll tell you!".


Haha I am amused at your assumption. I am not going to clarify the air too much, except saying that what you seem to be assuming is wrong :)


What assumption? If you think I'm assuming you are a Trump supporter, please state where I said that?


I moved to San Francisco from a very rural area (was working remotely from my father-in-law's farm), and there are a few things the liberals I work with simply do not understand about what's happening in "small-town America" (Disclaimer: I did not vote for Trump, and I don't consider myself a Republican).

1. People hate Hillary Clinton. Haaaate her. No, you think I'm saying they disagree with her politics, but you don't understand; many literally think she is an evil person, and they want her to burn in hell.

2. Most people don't really like Trump. They are bothered by his comments, his style, his bombastic way of living, etc. But they also don't think consider him racist or particularly sexist.

3. They are so fucking tired of identity politics. Oversensitivity, calling everything "-ist" to win an argument, trying to tie racism into everything, debates over "privilege", etc. I would be so bold as to say that if the left doesn't tone down the identity politics Trump will win a second term. Full stop.

4. They are tired of being spoken down to, told that they're not part of the America that matters, and they have a serious chip on their shoulder. It seems to them like they're being told there's only one "right" way to view the world, and it's not theirs. But they like their way of life, they don't want yours, and want politicians to generally leave them alone and let them be.

4a. The worst way to exacerbate that all of these things? To insinuate that people who vote for Trump are doing so because they're -ist or dumb or ignorant. Hillary Clinton did just that, and I saw more on Facebook about Hillary's "basket of deplorables" comment than about anything else in the election. I sometimes wonder if that was the tipping point to Trump for many middle-of-the-road voters in rural America

4. They are sick of "coastal elites" running their lives and pretending like everything is OK. Small towns are hurting. A lot. Realize the median household income in the town I came from is <$30k and the average number of people in each house is 6, and you'll understand why people are livid about Obamacare increasing insurance costs (after so many promised it wouldn't do so). Things are tight, taxes are scary, and when the seemingly rich, out-of-touch people are hand-wavy about increasing the single biggest expense by 50% when you're barely making it (food/housing is cheap) you get the hatred for Obamacare.


I think your point about insurance premiums is spot on.

A $100-200/month increase isn't much when you live in a high cost of living area with higher salaries, but when you live in a low cost of living area with lower salaries, that $100-200/month might be a huge percentage change in your monthly expenditures.

People who are on employee-sponsored health plans don't understand how expensive healthcare is for low-income self-employed and low-income self-insured people.


It's still misplaced anger, because the GOP refuses to expand medicare or to allow collective bargaining to push costs down. Voting GOP because Obamacare is mediocre makes no sense because the GOP has no intention (and literally no plan) to fix any of the problems with Obamacare.

Besides, the towns with 30k average income didn't vote for Trump, they voted overwhelmingly for Clinton. Trump did well in middle America among 70k household income families.

There is also a large gap between how angry people are at Obamacare and at the American Care Act. They're the same thing, of course, but only Obamacare makes people seethe with rage. So clearly the GOP has been successful in poisoning the healthcare debate.


I bunch of things you talk about show all the symptoms of the bubble effect.

People don't believe in things because they personally analyzed everything and came to a conclusion.

You don't believe that a fossil in a museum is 5,000 years old, or a painting is truly made by Da Vinci 500 years ago, you trust 'experts', even though your own intuition would be against it.

So for instance, if I showed you a painting and asked you if you believe that it was painted by Da Vinci, you may agree with the statement, but once you hear from the experts, you realize that it is a fake, then you'd change your opinion.

It would be patently dishonest for me to go out and perform survey of people by showing them a fake da Vinci and getting a 75% affirmative answer that it is a real da vinci and then claiming "75% of the people believe that it's a real Da Vinci painting, but because 'experts' say that it's fake, nobody wants to come see it in my private museum".

Same goes here, when asked, most conservatives might be ok with the individual Obamacare mandates like "Would it be better if your kids are allowed to be on your health insurance until they are 26", once they hear from the people they trust that this means health insurance premiums would go up, then they would be oppose it.


I totally agree that my observations are symptomatic of a bubble. That doesn't change that there are a meaningful differences between bubbles. People who blindly trust scientific consensus live in a bubble, but it's the best kind of bubble.

The Obamacare scenario you describe doesn't match up with reality. It's not true that they oppose Obamacare on rational grounds (e.g. I don't want my insurance to go up). Obamacare is the republican solution to health insurance, it's a federal version of Romneycare. Republicans should love it, because it's their own program, but they hate it. This hatred for Obamacare is the product of relentless fear-mongering by the right wing press and talk radio. What's going on here is much more serious than just groups of people living in their own bubble and consuming their own kind of media. Bubbles aren't a new thing, embracing a fact-free worldview is.


And Romneycare is a state-level implementation of the mandate-and-subsidy proposal that various national Republicans and the insurance industry came up with as the recommended national healthcare policy in the wake of the failure of the Clinton plan in the 1990s when there was still pressure for a national policy.

Of course, by sometime in Bush's Presidency, the dominant proposal among Republicans who thought there should be a national policy (which was a shrinking number) had evolved: it was still a mandate and subsidy plan, but now restricted to high-deductible plans tied to HSAs.


> Obamacare is the republican solution to health insurance, it's a federal version of Romneycare. Republicans should love it, because it's their own program, but they hate it.

When I used the word 'bubble', it really was applicable to you.

People who raise the same points you've raised are so out of touch with anyone who doesn't agree with them already.

When was the last time you met someone who could be convinced with the following argument:

"Hey believer-of-X-ideology, you should support idea Y because it is actually a part of X ideology because one of the prominent leaders of the X ideologists supported it".

Romney is a blue state Republican, which is different than a red state Republican. I'm sure Republicans in Massachussetts or California would all be ok with Obamacare, but the states in which Romney would never be a governor, they hate Obamacare for the idea it represents.


There is no possible plan for healthcare to the right of Romneycare, because it is already the most conservative way to provide healthcare to people: for profit insurance, for profit hospitals, for profit pharma, with a mandate for healthy people to buy insurance on a market. Romneycare is essentially what Nixon proposed way back (it got rejected by the Dems at the time because they insisted on universal healthcare).

People who are to the right of Romney like Cruz or Ryan are opposed to the idea that government should provide healthcare, a position so radical that no republican held it 30 years ago.


Thanks for sharing. Can you elaborate on #1. I never really understood the level of hatred Hillary received. To me she seemed like any other politician.


Off the top of my head ... whitewater, healthcare during Clinton presidency (people didn't think the first lady should have such a large role in public policy), Hillary demonizing Bill's female accusers, "landing under sniper fire" in Bosnia, Vince Foster's death, Benghazi deaths, Benghazi root cause (particularly the initial narrative that it was due to the youtube video). Also the sense that it was "her turn" -- a sense of entitlement -- it was obvious the Democratic Party Leadership was "granting" her the nomination.

Part of it I think, too, is the rise of Rush Limbaugh and the right radio who wanted to undermine Bill Clinton, so they incessantly attacked both Hillary and Bill.

This also might begin to explain a little of the heart of the sentiment:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/437345/hillary-clinton...


Another aspect I forgot is that the Clinton's have often been unnecessarily secretive. For example, they weren't forthcoming about her pneumonia. Some thought that even the email server was driven by a desire to be secretive, even when not necessary.

This behavior tends to make people suspicious -- but on the other hand, people were also out to discredit them.

http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/26/cnn-host-wikileaks-showed-...


It seems like the GOP picked her as a target when she was First Lady and never, ever let up on demonizing her. Unsurprising that 20 years of destructive characterization stuck.

She did herself no favors by being more or less a typical politician in a lot of regards. When you're trying to defeat that much mudslinging, it's helpful to behave above reproach.


Hillary has had a very long career with many highs and many lows, so there really isn't a single reason anymore on why she is hated; many people have many reasons that may go back 30 years or more. Here are some google hits on why:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-womack/stop-pretending-y...


Are they good reasons? Should I be hating her?


No, but that wasn't the question. If we could run a collective by facts and optimal herd ideology, democracy would be obsolete.

The only thing we can do is understand WHY something happens, then try to work to change it (if it's bad, which is an entirely different can of worms of a problem).


>> If we could run a collective by facts and optimal herd ideology, democracy would be obsolete.

Haha! Yes, democracy would be very obsolete, and also just about everything else that makes a society more than one giant ant-bee-termite-like hive mind.


I'll be honest; I don't entirely understand it, either.

The general sentiment is that she's a crook and corrupt to a much, much greater degree than other politicians.


Conservative talk radio, and other similar media, have spent decades vilifying her. According to them, she has helped her husband prey on women, has had people killed to cover up crimes, is trying to push for a takeover of the US by the United Nations, and much, much more.

Not much of this is connected to reality, but that just doesn't matter.


The part about her helping her husband prey on women has at least some truth to it. There's no shortage of women over the decades who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault; I think it's rather silly to claim that Billy is completely innocent. So just as with any rapist, a woman who insists on staying married to such a man and backing him up in public can be seen as "enabling" him.

Honestly, I don't think all this anti-Hillary stuff is unfair either. There's no shortage of Democrat politicians who do NOT have all the baggage that either Bill or Hillary have accumulated over the years. What kind of dirt does anyone have on Al Gore, for instance? Conservatives might disagree about his environmental claims, and some people might still be mad about his ex-wife's record lyrics labeling campaign (but he and Tipper got divorced some time ago, so I think it's unfair to hold him to that now), but that's about it. I've certainly never heard of him sexually assaulting women. And I can say the same about most Democratic politicians, famous or not. So why did the DNC insist on picking a candidate with so much baggage? They're really the ones to blame for losing this election.


I don't think it is so much staying married as it is actively enabling him by working to discredit his accusers. She was an active participant in formulating the strategies to discredit them:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435941/hillary-clinton...


I'm not talking about "enabling" like not getting a divorce, I mean stuff like having witnesses killed.

I became convinced this past fall that the criticism was utterly unfair, because her fiercest opponents could never come up with anything beyond "emails" and "Benghazi" over and over again.

In any case, it doesn't matter whether it's fair, they shouldn't have run her. If she's widely hated then that affects things regardless of whether it's "fair."


The frustrating part about this, of course, is that while Hillary was accused of being an enabler, Trump has been accused of not only being an admitted sexual assaulter but actually raping an underage girl. Not "merely" statutory rape either.

Such a proud day for our country when he was elected.


Such a proud day for our country back in November when we had these two "fine" people running against each other for the highest office in the land.

Honestly, if Hillary was the best we could do for an opposing candidate, then maybe we deserve Trump, if not someone much worse.


The rest of the world didn't deserve Trump.


The rest of the world doesn't have Trump; only Americans do. The rest of the world is free to dis-entangle their economies from America's if they wish. Honestly, I feel the rest of the industrialized world has been too complacent for too long, letting America take the lead on everything from military defense (against the likes of Russia) to medical research to space exploration, and then whining when America doesn't do as well as they think it should. Instead of whining about how America does a terrible job with manned space exploration and hasn't been back to the Moon in decades, why don't they pool their resources and send their own manned missions there and build a Moon base or something? (Asteroid capture and mining would be a great idea with actual commercial potential.) The EU alone has over 500M people, and all of Europe has 743M according to a quick Google search. Japan has 127M people. The US only has 310M. So Europe+Japan combined have almost 3x as many people as the US. Toss Canada and Australia/NZ in there and the US is a clear minority. Instead of whining about the US's failings, everyone else needs to work harder on cooperating with each other and surpassing the US, instead of growing increasingly irrelevant in comparison to Russia and China.


In part it's likely because she's married to Bill Clinton. She's basically seen as an example of a political 'dynasty' in the same way as George HW Bush, George W Bush and Jeb Bush. Part of an 'establishment' that doesn't seem like it'll change very much, especially when contrasted to Trump's claims of draining the swamp and overthrowing the system.


When you get a government security clearance, you sign an SF312 (non-disclosure agreement) where, among other things, you agree to safeguard classified information and acknowledge that you understand the criminal penalties for negligent handling.

Then she's caught sending & receiving classified info through a personal email server.

Any normal person would expect to land in jail immediately under those circumstances.

This isn't just unethical behavior, it's flat-out criminal.


> Things are tight, taxes are scary

The economic angle is what I understand least about the Republican voter base. A core part of the Republican platform is that we should be cutting government services and programs in order to lower taxes. But these cuts disproportionately affect the poor. The whole point of these programs is to provide a social safety net for the most vulnerable.

So I understand why the rich would vote Republican but I'm confused by the groundswell support for Trump among those struggling to pay their bills. It seems like they're voting against their own interests. How did the pro-business, small-government faction gain such traction among the people who have the most to gain from the redistribution of wealth via higher taxes?

Is it purely because of the parties' positions on abortion, immigration, defense, marriage, etc?


My experience is that Republicans generally don't view it through the lens of "what will I get back from the government."

At least in the town I was living, there's "what I make" and there's "what the government takes" and that's the end of the equation.

Most people I knew who qualified for government assistance wouldn't even apply for it. Partially out of pride, occasionally out of ignorance, partially out of a fierce independence.


It's called morality. Not taking what is not yours to take, when you can earn it yourself.


> They are sick of "coastal elites" running their lives and pretending like everything is OK. Small towns are hurting. A lot. Realize the median household income in the town I came from is <$30k and the average number of people in each house is 6, and you'll understand why people are livid about Obamacare increasing insurance costs (after so many promised it wouldn't do so). Things are tight, taxes are scary, and when the seemingly rich, out-of-touch people are hand-wavy about increasing the single biggest expense by 50% when you're barely making it (food/housing is cheap) you get the hatred for Obamacare.

Why aren't they on expanded Medicaid?


All of this.

I too came from a very rural area[1], and my analysis exactly coincides with yours.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boone_County,_Arkansas


> They are so fucking tired of identity politics. Oversensitivity, calling everything "-ist" to win an argument, trying to tie racism into everything.

I've thought of this and wondered is it actually possible that racism and sexism is rampant?

In Eastern Europe, racism is utterly rampant (dismissal of achievements of people based on their ethnicity, wide spread belief that people of a certain ethnic type are 'bad for the country', casual disdain to out-group members). However racism is also utterly accepted, and thus invisible to the casual eye because in practice many people constantly make exceptions to their world view. They're racist in general and chant slurs when drunk, but polite to their neighbors from Nigeria because "those are the good ones".

Perhaps the same is true in the US. Just look at companies like Uber, and how institutions can be warped to protect sexual harassers. Those individuals aren't some great 'other'. Those are our friends, colleagues, brothers, sisters, and yes sometimes they are even 'us'. Yet outside of smoking gun situations, we don't see them as even potentially 'sexist'.

So sexism could be rampant. Racism could be rampant.

However, calling people out on said fact, is not useful for anything except for fostering feelings of self-righteousness. What is most effective, as we can see from the US Civil Rights movement of the 60s, is focusing on common ground, and using that as a motivator toward egalitarianism. In my very own state, the KKK was utterly destroyed by the fact that they wanted to beat up elementary-school children, and whilst some people might have been casually racists they drew the line against beating up 7 year olds and thus could be motivated to repudiate even less extreme positions simply because the KKK was also for them. What brought us all together was the feeling that 'we are all human beings who value our families, and love our children'.

What I see with current day liberals (and conservatives actually too) is that the platform lacks unity.

Thus rather than being able to build bridges, bridges are often burned pre-emptively by more 'extreme' segments of the group.


Organizations like Black Lives Matter also draw inspiration from the 60s Civil Rights movement, but they have concluded (correctly, in my view) that relentlessly opposing and calling out racism is enormously effective. Black Lives Matter is so successful that their message has reached almost every single American.


What I worry is whether the message is being recieved in the right way. Are people hearing and understanding or are they hearing and reacting to it badly?


1. Why do they hate her?

2. Do they consider him not racist/sexist because they are a little bit too? (Not trying to be inflammatory)

3. I hate it too.

4b. Why are they hurting? Why is median household income so low?


4b.Why are they hurting? Why is median household income so low?

Well, in the small town I grew up in, cheap imports and exported labor coupled with automation killed the main sources of jobs. Retraining is incredibly hard and requires a willingness to uproot everything and risk it all as well as the ability to not get paid for a while to move forward.


Uprooting is harder than it seems too. House and property valuations plummet shortly after the company propping up a "company town" departs. Finding a potential home buyer in a dying town becomes quite difficult, for adults, leaving becomes equivalent to walking away from everything, including a mortgage.


I live in a small deep-red town, so I'll try to give my take on a few here.

2. Imagine you lived in a town where 99% of the population is not racist, but that 1% that is racist is blatantly so. They don't do thing subtly, but they openly use racial slurs and make it known that they don't like or trust people of a certain ethnicity.

Now imagine someone comes into town and when they happen to see someone of color they subtly walk to the other side of the road, or quickly double check to make sure their wallet is still there after they pass by.

To many (most?) people in the town, they likely wouldn't perceive this as being racist at all. Racism to them is walking into the passerby intentionally and saying something crude like, "Watch where you are going, *!"

When you spend your entire life thinking that this is what a racist is, Trump can seem incredibly tame by comparison.

Now we can get into a completely different discussion about whether those people truly are racist for not recognizing racism, not ostracizing the few blatantly racist people, etc, but in my experience nearly all of those people are making a genuine effort to be accepting of others and aren't intentionally racist. They have just grown up in a completely different environment/culture than what you would get growing up in a city, and their opinion of what is racism isn't the same as yours.

4. Where I grew up, something like 75% or more of the jobs were at factories. Toys, factory equipment, bicycles, fiberglass, metal, etc all came out of the town. And the people working these jobs weren't lazy - they would work 60+ hours every week, often working Saturdays, long overlapping shifts, and the factory would run 24/7. They even dealt with dangerous equipment (it isn't uncommon to see people missing fingers here) where they needed to pay attention to what they were doing all the time without any additional compensation. But they were happy. They could provide for their family. They could make enough to pay for a $100k house and their wife could stay at home and watch the kids because he likely was working and couldn't help out. Wages were never amazing, but they got by.

Now for whatever reason - automation, outsourcing, immigration, or whatever else - many of those jobs are gone, and now these people who previously would bust their asses to get by are still trying to bust their asses, but they are all fighting for the few jobs remaining. Wages are down (more workers than are needed by jobs). Spouses are working to try to help pay the bills. Despite all of that, things just don't look like they are getting better anytime soon. There simply aren't enough jobs available for them.

In cities service jobs can often help fill this gap, but in small towns it typically isn't enough. And many people don't want to, or can't afford to move. They are already barely able to pay their $400/mo mortgage and nobody would want to move to their prospect free town, so who are they going to sell their house to? They have grandparents in the area who need their help. They have kids 6 years into school with friends they don't want to uproot. So they do what they can, take what work they can, and get by hoping and praying that someone will take notice of their struggle and try to help them out. And the median income continues to decrease.


2. This town exists - Harrison, Arkansas. I do a mental eyeroll every time I hear someone call someone else a racist over some trivial difference in political opinion. I grew up with real racists around. Mere prejudice pales in comparison.


2. That makes sense.

4. Definitely a horrible situation to be in. What do they/you think Trump has promised to do that might make an actual difference?


All the factories left town, because those businesses could do what they do cheaper in China or Vietnam or Singapore or Mexico.

Trump promised to put big taxes on goods coming in from overseas, and on companies who close US factories to move operations to other countries. It's a simple, direct assault on the immediate causes of the problems of these communities, and something no national politician has dared to consider in recent memory.

Experts and mainstream politicians warn that this kind of policy will cause a global depression. But these are the same experts and mainstream politicians who've told these people that the globalization which destroyed their communities is good for them. What they say so plainly contradicts these communities' first hand experience, that it's really hard to believe them.


Honestly, I think just acknowledging that they are struggling and saying that he wanted to help won Trump a lot of voters. When you feel ignored or unheard by the other party that is enough.


Your answers have a lot of insight. As a blue-state city kid, I've been struggling to even comprehend how a Trump supporter can even exist let alone understand how he was elected. From your response I can start to understand where they're coming from. Thank you.


re: 1 I think it's 2 fold:

a) A really successful propagation of lies regarding her. I live in Ohio and get junk mail all the time, some of it is just absurd. They make claims about the terrorist attacks she allowed while "in office" as sec of state. Makes no sense.

b) They are quite possibly right and she is the worst. Look into the death of Vince Foster, whitewater, her suspicious reasons for hiding her email from the us government. There's A LOT of circumstantial evidence that she is beyond corrupt.


> But they like their way of life, they don't want yours, and want politicians to generally leave them alone and let them be.

Umm - they want to be left alone, let be, let them live their lives where they are, yet they are complaining about not being heard...

...can you have it both ways?


As a Trump supporter many of the comments resonated.

In regards to upholding and celebrating American culture I always have this thought:

Why do silicon valley types promote the concept of a "company culture" and feel it's important enough to base hiring decisions on,

while demeaning those that want to uphold and sustain their own country's culture in the same manner?

You hear it time and time again when a CEO stresses cultural fit as a prerequisite to hiring. To achieve this they:

1) Hire slowly so as not to dilute the culture, ensuring those that are hired assimilate and adopt the practices of the company they are joining

2) Have a standard, a bar, set a baseline of skills and ability any new employee must reach to be hired.

But when any American citizen brings up similar rationale vis a vis immigration / maintaining their own culture by, for example, wanting to limit mass immigration of those from a culture / ideology that is drastically different from their own it's viewed as the most irrational thing in the world, even described as a "phobia" of sorts (when discussing the Islamic side of the issue).

Are Indians criticized for valuing their culture? How about Mexicans? Are Muslims criticized for valuing theirs? Or are all these groups celebrated for their pride in their own cultures?

I even worked with a liberal Canadian from Quebec, who argued passionately about his provinces fight to uphold their language and culture, while on the other hand would strongly denounce any reasoned argument I had on immigration / American cultural issues.

It just seems like Americans who want to maintain what they value as American culture (complicated no doubt) are held to a completely different standard than others, and are viewed as the most hateful people in the world for holding these kinds of views.


The argument that America even has a singular culture to preserve is, I think, a false premise. America is multi-cultural. There are American _ideals_ which can be preserved ("life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"), but the country is too big and too varied for anyone to claim that there is a specific American culture, or that there has been since its founding.

America is Indian, Mexican, and Muslim. Not "them", but "us". Maybe some Trump supporters disagree?


> The argument that America even has a singular culture to preserve is, I think, a false premise.

I think that is the actual false premise. Baseball, apple pie, and all that jazz. American folklore, Blues music, American cuisine, American politics and all its silly quirks. The idea of no American culture is laughable.


There is a difference between jobs/skills and ethnicity.

The difference is the choice:

(1) One does not choose where one is born. And one cannot change that.

(2) But one can choose what programming language one learns or what type of job and how one wants to do it.

So from the first point it follows that a group of people born somewhere are protecting something they didn't had any part in creating.

I'm talking here about ethnicity or maybe citizenship, but I think it can be easily demonstrated that the place one is born will affect one's believes (religion, culture, preferences, taste) most of the time involuntarily and unconscious.

So to sum up: there is no moral high ground in protecting something that happened to you before your were born and saying that others are misfortunate because they were born in other place, as no one has a choice in that, And this is very different, in regards to discriminatory side, than a job at a company. The company is a choice, it is created voluntarily by the people working there. So it is the result of their nurture.

Actually my reply is related to a more general argument about movement of people in the world and what is the basis of denying it.

edit: formatting


Your argument is exceedingly well reasoned. I would love to hear a countervailing opinion to compare it to. Can someone please post a thoughtful reply to PKop main point?


Not a rebuttal, but another perspective.

American culture, viewed from other countries, is an inescapable force diluting local culture and customs.

For example francophones in Quebec make up less than 2% of the north american population. As a French Canadian, I support Quebec's right to pass laws to defend it's culture, before we become completely assimilated, lose our knowledge of our language and culture, and become a vacation destination celebrated for it's french influence.[1]

If we ever, by some crazy twist of destiny become a french MAJORITY, then I would argue that the laws be abolished.

But to equate the situation facing french Canadians with America, the most powerful country on earth, whose culture invades other cultures globally[2] is a false equivalence in my mind.

Maybe we should be asking why real wages haven't increased since 1970, or where all the money has gone[3] how come it's ok for CEO pay to keep increasing, for huge corporations to pay almost no tax, instead of focusing on a Mexican immigrant legal or otherwise, who takes jobs for less than minimum wage that a natural born citizen couldn't live on anyway?

In times of economic prosperity and double digit growth, you don't hear about defending 'culture' as often. I see it as a proxy for economic concerns and a convenient smokescreen that the ultra rich can use to keep us fighting amongst ourselves while we not only ignore the .1% and their increasing share of the wealth, but lionize them for their success.

[1] True fact the english in the province of Ontario once outlawed the teaching of the french language in school. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_17)

[2] And no I don't think it's some evil plan. America happens to be the most powerful culture on earth, so it's culture naturally spreads. It just springs from the imbalance of numbers and of political economic power. People (especially the young) from other countries often want to imitate it.

[3] Why is there a need for austerity?

[4] http://www.epi.org/publication/ceo-pay-continues-to-rise/


Um. Doesn't "American Culture" consist of things like being welcoming of all people? Being inclusive? Allowing people their own individual freedom? Not having a caste system? Lack of a social class system?

So people who want to uphold these cultural elements of America are viewed as the most hateful people?

Or perhaps we're talking about some different aspects of American culture here?


Where does this idea come from that Democrats want unrestricted immigration?

Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any other president ever and stopped awarding new visas from the same countries that Trump's executive order applied to. He just didn't do crazy/potentially illegal like Trump is doing or has suggested doing like indiscriminately turning away green card holders or using the National Guard to round-up millions of illegal immigrants.


This one (from the "What don't you like about him?" section) I thought was the most striking:

> “I, too, worry about the dishonesty. His relationship with Russia, his relationship with women. His relationship with questionable financial matters. These all worry me and were they to continue I would lose all respect.”

All that stuff was covered extensively during the election. There's no reason for it to be a different analysis now. This is a rationalization of regret, it's not the result of a new decision-making process.

Basically, that person, like many I suspect, voted for Trump out of protest. They didn't think he would win, so it was safe. Well, it wasn't.


> This is a rationalization of regret, it's not the result of a new decision-making process.

You're missing the point. These voters chose him despite those weaknesses because they prioritized other issues more highly. Their decision making processes involved looking at both pro's and con's and the other pro's outweighed those con's.

Making the blanket assumption that a vote for a candidate is an endorsement of _all_ of their positions is exactly what the quotes in the post complain about.


But why would they "lose all respect" now, if they didn't during the election period?


Because the presidency and the election period are different things?

You vote based on your expectations of their actions in the former and not the latter.


They lost some, but not all. Or something like that.


I might be missing the point, but a lot of the responses sound emotion driven, with the overwhelming emotion being the fear of change. So, it seems patronizing to attribute any sort pro/con formalism. Basically, Trump has a lot of fear driven rhetoric, and if you heard one of your fears, then regardless of the validity, you felt that someone was taking your side.


> a lot of the responses sound emotion driven, with the overwhelming emotion being the fear of change.

I got a different fear out of it. They are afraid that their current circumstances are going to be permanent. The majority of Trump voters have awful circumstances. Many regions within the USA are effectively third world. People don't have drinkable water. People don't have internet, or even phones. People don't have transportation. People live on oxy (an addictive opioid), because that's all they have.

Hillary promised them more of the same, and that terrified them.


Not only that but it doesn't make sense. Would protest voters really think the winner of the election cares if he/she won with 51% or 80%? I think the protest voting interpretation is an uncharitable one, because it assumes spite, ignorance and political illiteracy.

I'm under the impression the media seems to amplify the remorseful voices, which makes you believe there's a huge regret on the winning side. Also there was a vast "What have you done?" tune following Trump/Brexit. No wonder people are think they've done something terrible.


> These voters chose him despite those weaknesses

That's not what the quote says though. The "lose all respect" bit says to my ears like these are decisive issues to this voter. They just weren't in November.


>Basically, that person, like many I suspect, voted for Trump out of protest. They didn't think he would win, so it was safe. Well, it wasn't.

You're right, but you're missing the point. The constant attack on supporters creates no space for any sort of discussion or public changing of views. No one is convinced by a moving argument, ideas are changed slowly in quiet, not loudly in public. The constant stream of vitriol from both sides ensures that even those who want to be talked off the ledge, who are ready to agree Trump was a mistake, are stuck with the rest. This is bad for everyone.


> The constant attack on supporters creates no space for any sort of discussion or public changing of views.

Honestly I think glibness is the only sane response here: poor baby. Seriously this is politics, and this is absolutely not the first election with this kind of hyperbole. You don't think we hear the same thing when you guys whine on about feminazis, muslim-lovers and communists?

What you're really saying is that the "mainstream online left", which has NOT heretofore been much into name-calling that has been a mainstay of right wing discourse for going on two decades now, has now grown a spine and (now finding itself with essentially no representation in the federal government at all) is giving back as it gets.

To wit: cry me a river.


Ironically, doesn't that make protest votes more "powerful" going forward? That one time they turned out to be "real" votes?


Just like Brexit... a lot of people voted to send a message thinking that there was no possibility of an exit... and surprise... when you vote, shit happens!

I feel a vague sympathy for those people. They honestly thought they were just sending a message thinking that as one person they didn't stand a hope of "changing the world." I don't think they ever thought that there would be enough "just one person" people to make a real difference. In hindsight, we know it actually threw out those they felt ignored by and replaced them, and here we are. It turns out that votes do matter. Who knew?

At least they'll be spurred to vote again, and actually make an educated and informed vote instead of just "sticking it to the man."


I feel a vague sympathy for those people.

Feh. You always treat a gun like it's loaded. I see no reason to treat a ballot differently. The potential consequences are far more wide-reaching with the ballot.


That may be true, but I think you have to look at it from the perspective of someone that feels defeated, left behind by the system, helpless to make a difference. Someone in that frame of mind doesn't think that a single vote has any hope of standing in the way of the freight train. For most people one person can't make a difference against the system. That's why whenever you stand up to try you get so many people telling you not to bother, it won't make a difference, you're just one man, what could you expect to achieve? I've lived in towns where this mentality is pervasive. Being around people like this is soul destroying. So I moved.

So while I hear what you're saying, I feel that it fails to consider those that don't share your viewpoint.


> At least they'll be spurred to vote again, and actually make an educated and informed vote instead of just "sticking it to the man."

You're way more optimistic than me, buddy.


They say everyone has their flaws... unfortunately, that's mine :D


Trump won largely because of disenfranchised blue collar caucasians resonated with him.

Watching the witch hunt over the last 2 months you would think it would be anything but that. Fake news (just call it propaganda), russian hackers, 4chan memes and white supremacists have all received the majority of blame.

I'm curious to whether the Democrats will ever come to terms with reality here, or will they just double down and continue the blame game?

This is concerning. If real reform doesn't happen on the left (I can't even fathom the right coordinating anything reasonable) we may be facing a similar pool of poor candidates the next round of elections.


I'm only observing from afar but I share the same explanation. The root problem is a widening income disparity in the US that most people can't overcome by "working harder". If you are born into a lower middle class family chances are you will be stuck there forever. The US is not known for high social mobility (see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socio-economic_mobility_in_the...) - the "American Dream" is fiction. But lots of conservatives are held hostage by their own morals: Hard working people get rewarded. If those rewards never set in, most people resort to scapegoating: Immigration, an erosion of American values, elitist politicians, etc. - rather than admitting that what they really need is a redistribution of wealth, for example in the form of better schools, better/cheaper health care, etc. The left doesn't have this "moral ballast" and would be much more capable of pushing those reforms. This makes the current popularity of nationalistic conservatives so confounding.


Your analysis is suffering from the law of averages. The US has very high upward mobility, as long as you were born in the right part of the country:

http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org

But this is also exactly why Trump won -- to be President you must appeal to a broad coalition of voters, and the people with the lower mobility formed a stronger coalition.


No one wants rational debate. In the case of UC Berkeley students, it's easier to cause property damage because an alleged Nazi (an entirely slanderous claim, btw) is given a platform to speak. No one wants to wade through the muck and find out what opposing viewpoints are actually saying.

Edit: And the people scoffing at my comment and hitting the downvote button are only proving my point.


I did not downvote your comment, and encourage all who did to post the reason, politely please.

Perhaps "No one" is a little too strong, but I think the general gist of what you're saying may be fair.

I am not familiar with the reasons for property damage in Berkeley. Can you post links? Anything you can provide that would make it easier to evaluate the viewpoints of all involved at Berkeley?


It might be more productive to just not ascribe all of Antifa's actions to Berkeley or its student body.


Do you have any evidence to back up the outrageous claim that the rioters at Berkely weren't primarily its student body? Or is that just what you heard on CNN and chose to believe unquestioningly?


> "Berkely"

It would not make sense for students to damage their own campus, considering that comes from their tuition. On the note of media sources, where did you hear that rioters were primarily students? Unless you were there, your source of news is also subjected to suspect.


.It doesn't make sense for people to riot at all, and since it's doubtful that very many of those students have actually earned that tuition money instead of it being granted to them (temporarily) for free, they probably don't value it highly.

You're the one making extraordinary claims that require extraordinary evidence, not me.


What gave you the idea that the anarchist vandals who dress up in masks and smash stuff are Berkeley students, or that they have any personal animosity towards whatever speaker vs. just liking the chaos.

These are pretty much the real-world version of 4-chan trolls. It’s a mistake to associate them with any other group, or to assign them a coherent political ideology.

They’re a constant thorn in the side of left-leaning groups in the East Bay, who pretty much all wish they would go away. They show up uninvited to non-violent events and make a ruckus, helping nobody.


I don't think there was any doubt in anyone's mind about what Milo was going to say.


Yeah, he's vain, and above all else he is about building his personal brand, and with that come the incredibly inflammatory "feminism is cancer" sound bytes, but if you ever actually watched some of the talks he's been doing on his tour, he brings up a lot of valid grievances with today's society and culture.

If you won't do minimal research on the opposition, and instead think violence is the answer, then you're already beyond help.


I agree that violence isn't the answer.

However, my main beef with Milo (and why I would support peaceful protesting about his talks) is his specific and public harassment of specific people. This is the main example https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/trans-student-harasse....

I'm personally very pro free speech(not just from a government censorship standpoint, but as a general principle) and therefore am fine with him saying horrible things about groups of people and still being invited.

I am not fine with personal attacks/harassment.


That used to be my main beef with Milo. Now that he's come out as effectively pro-NAMBLA, I'm seriously wondering how tasteless he's going to get before we stop giving him the attention he craves.

(And, yes, I realize that his stance regarding pedophilia is most likely a consequence of his own childhood sexual abuse, but even that still doesn't excuse the shitty things he's advocating, or saying about specific people. Attacking a specific person the way he has is necessarily an act of violence, and no matter how prettily you dress it up, or how loudly you hide behind "freedom of speech", violence is never speech.)


>is necessarily an act of violence

No, it's not. Please stop with the weasel-worded equivalencies. I agree that Milo's tirade about the student was ill-advised, but it is not violence.

Also, I find it side-splittingly hilarious how people are going after his Rogan interview comments (calling him pro-NAMBLA is top-notch clickbait, where were you Monday morning when all these stories were going out?!), yet the same people didn't give a shit when Lena Dunham admitted to molesting her sister.


> No, it's not. Please stop with the weasel-worded equivalencies.

> Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation", although the group acknowledges that the inclusion of "the use of power" in its definition expands on the conventional understanding of the word.

I agree with the WHO here, and what Milo did definitely caused psychological harm from a position of power (being a chosen speaker in their school).


>what Milo did definitely caused psychological harm from a position of power

As far as I can tell "psychological harm" is too vague and open to interpretation. It's a very broad definition that looks like it prohibits hate speech; I believe in complete free expression by voice or text (criminal/ civil court can handle the rest).

Personally, I stay away from such people in the digital world (but, IRL I'm meaner than most and enjoy 'interacting' with these people).


> Please stop with the weasel-worded equivalencies.

If you engage in a course of action with an intent to harm another in any way, or behave in a manner likely to result in harm to another, you have committed violence, whatever form that action takes — words, bullets, or anything else.

If you can't accept that basic definition, "then you're already beyond help."

(See how easy it is to poison a discussion with accusations and snide remarks?)


>in a manner likely to result in harm to another

I think this is too imprecise. Would you write code in this manner?

If one can establish a cause and effect of actual harms, then criminal statutes already apply.


> In the case of UC Berkeley students, it's easier to cause property damage because an alleged Nazi (an entirely slanderous claim, btw) is given a platform to speak.

This is untrue. What actually happened:

--------

A partial list of things people did to try to cancel Milo before Wednesday:

~particularly following MY's outing and sexual harassment of a trans student at UW Milwaukee (but also before), we talked with our communities about their thoughts on free speech versus harassment and realized many ppl supported the former but not the latter

~wrote op eds in high-profile news media about the differences between free speech, hate speech, and harassment

~met with many folks targeted by both MY and the Trump administration to hear their concerns and solutions to MY's talk; many asked for us to begin urging for cancellation

the above was all in November, immediately following the election of DT and the dramatic spike in hate crimes against the same groups MY targets

~we developed a large-scale letter writing campaign to faculty and administration urging for the cancellation of MY on the grounds that his speeches have targeted and harassed students and created unsafe campus environments

~worked with members of the community who wanted to draft letters to UCB administration urging for cancellation (particularly trans and poc people)

~once the sale started, we urged friends to buy out all of the tickets so the auditorium would be empty (we later learned that a only fraction of MY tickets were made available for public sale, and that his camp is very familiar with this tactic and just lets more ppl in the day of)

this was all in December

~organized a mass call in campaign to the Chancellor and to President Napolitano urging for cancellation ~visited other schools that invited this speaker and saw how many white nationalists use these talks to build their movement and how violent these spaces can be

~faculty wrote a letter to administration urging for cancellation; they were doxxed on Breitbart for signing on and began receiving personal messages meant to silence and intimidate them

~faculty wrote an op ed about MY's harassment and hate speech; some faculty received death threats for this

~submitted over 50 union grievances stating that the MY talk constitutes a hostile work environment under Article 20 of our contract, which protects against harassment and discrimination

~developed a toolkit that critically examines the history of free speech, pointing to its historical exclusions as well as limits outlined in the constitution, and how MY uses this argument to help build the white nationalist movement and to instruct people how to purge its others; some students who helped write this toolkit were doxxed and began receiving personal messages meant to silence and intimidate

~wrote numerous op eds in our school newspaper, writing for which some students opposed to MY's visit received very chilling death threats

~consulted lawyers on the matter of free speech vs. harassment so we could better understand the legal framework

~after the near-death shooting of a Milo protester at UW Seattle, we reached out to local and state politicians to convince our administration that this talk was a threat to public safety

~held several large public meetings to discuss and debate the merits of allowing this speaker a platform vs. urging for cancellation on the grounds of certain harassment and likely violence; it was at this point that the Berkeley College Republicans began following some of us in attempts to intimidate us

~actually met several times with UCB administrators and read aloud death threats we've received, urging them to protect our right to free speech in the context of threats meant to chill us

~learned that undocumented students would be targeted by MY and that the UCB administration knew this and offered them no protection

this was all in January

This is, again, a partial list that only includes things I remember. I've seen many op eds shame protesters (esp. black bloc) and say, why didn't you do x, y, z first? Believe me, if you can think of a tactic, we tried it. Next time someone shames us for not pursuing the polite route of asking nicely for the psychological and physical safety of us and our friends and loved ones to be honored, start reading this long list of things we actually did before Wednesday. I'm fucking tired and glad that creeper wasn't allowed anywhere near a UCB mic.

----------

https://www.facebook.com/antifaintl/posts/727838987390815


Why does he have to be cancelled? Maybe you could just, you know, let him speak?


No, being downvoted doesn't prove your point. People are downvoting you because you're literally defending a pederast nazi.


You know, downvoting me doesn't prove your point either.


Probably double down, because the alternative is accepting that what Trump was offering genuinely appealed to a large amount of people. That's what the Democrats don't get, that people weren't tricked into voting for Trump but thought/think he's more likely to improve the US and his policies could work.

It's like the situation with the anti Brexit people in the UK. They physically can't picture a situation where people would want Brexit, so they desperately look for a scapegoat.

Either way, there's no scapegoat or trick responsible here. The losing side wasn't offering what people wanted, and the winning side appealed to more people.


This "everyone was disenfranchised with their plight under neoliberalism" argument is pure popycock.

It is akin to saying that the people buying Snake Oil from the guy who parked his wagon downtown this morning, telling everyone he has the cure for cancer, are doing so because they have become disenchanted by the medical profession's lack of progress in curing cancer.

No, they bought the Snake Oil because they are gullible.


I'm wondering how disenfranchised blue collar caucasians resonate with a billionaire who literally shits on a gold toilet. How is it that they think he somehow represents them?

They do know how narcissists operate, right?


I'm curious to whether the Democrats will ever come to terms with reality here, or will they just double down and continue the blame game?

I've been following. They're doubling down on the Russia conspiracy theories, identity politics, alluding to Trump being Hitler. The party is in shambles, philosophically speaking. It's a shame. It's also ironic that Trump has pictures of President Andrew Jackson(D) in his office.


The Democrat that was Andrew Jackson nothing like any Democrat today. The Republicans have their friend Nixon[0] to thank for that. The irony is lost if you know America's political history.

[0] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy


Trump alluded to himself being Hitler the other day with "enemy of the people," so that doesn't really seem all that problematic. I do agree that the Democrats desperately need to get their shit together overall.


This was a fascinating read. I myself go back and forth daily between the two positions:

a) compromise and appeasement of evil is wrong, if trump and his supporters act like nazis then call them that, and

b) it's totally unproductive and gets us nowhere to simply pile on joke after joke, insult after insult, millions upon millions of them on every social media and tv show available to us, on the red tribe aka the trump supporters.

Reading this blog post of course swings me back around to b). Then I read a casually racist opinion from a red tribe member or hear another xenophobic policy proposed by Trump and swing right back to a.


I think it's important to remember that the "us vs them" dichotomy that is polarizing your beliefs is a fiction. Humans build up the idea of tribes because its cognitively cheap, not because they actually exist or map to real structures in the real world. You see the harsh language and think "what an angry, terrible person" and on the other side is someone who just got off a 10-hour shift working with rude customers and an aggressive boss and unhappy children and then they got cut off at a yellow light on their commute, etc, and _then_, after all that, they vented online about something that was cheap and easy for them to hate. Was what they did right? No. But they aren't a vast conspiracy out to destroy you either. Often people who are the angriest, are also the people who hurt the most, feel stuck in an unhappy life. It's important we treat people like people no matter what, or we erode the basic humanity owed to all of us.


I agree with everything you said. I use the purposefully archaic word "tribe" to remind myself that this feeling of tribal competition is based on our biology and was evolved in the distant past to solve problems that we no longer need to solve in the same way.


I think the issue with saying tribal competition is based on our biology, is that all our basic precepts concerning thinking are rooted in our biology.

We can no more escape our tribalism, than we can escape our desire for love and human comfort.


> Then I read a casually racist opinion from a red tribe member or hear another xenophobic policy proposed by Trump and swing right back to a.

I understand and respect that - but my friends who do that seem to also turn a blind eye to riots and beatings from folks "the left". There just seems to be a lot of double standards with saying fringe wackos on one side represent the entire group, but not the the side.


This phenomenon is explained well here:

http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything...

It's long, but I think worth the read.


Excellent excellent link! Thanks for posting it. Seriously... thank you.


> but my friends who do that seem to also turn a blind eye to riots and beatings from folks "the left"

Yes, those "left" beatings get zero widespread cultural support. Violence is not glorified by any prominent voices on the left.

Whereas racist and sexist voices on the right make a boatload of money and fill up the comments of every news article posted to Facebook. It's cultural.


>zero widespread cultural support. Violence is not glorified by any prominent voices on the left.

This is just not true.[1] Even in our tech community it's pretty commonplace to see 'it's okay to punch a nazi' is a well supported position.[2]

[1] https://heatst.com/culture-wars/prominent-leftists-celebrate... [2] http://reason.com/blog/2017/02/15/now-its-okay-to-punch-nazi...


I thought parent commenter was referring to generic Trump supporters being beaten.

When someone thinks you don't deserve to live because of the color of your skin, you're well within your right to defend yourself against that idea. You shouldn't have to wait until they're knocking down your door.


> When someone thinks you don't deserve to live because of the color of your skin, you're well within your right to defend yourself against that idea. You shouldn't have to wait until they're knocking down your door.

Replace color of your skin with political belief, and you've just made an argument for Trump supporters who live in places like Berkeley or San Jose to violently defend themselves from liberal rioting.


Find me a leftist actively making plans and pushing for the elimination of those with certain political beliefs, and I'll agree. Saying that people shouldn't be racist or oppose welfare != saying there should be a "peaceful ethnic cleansing", a la Spencer.


Antifa is the yin to the alt-right's yang. Both are jokes.


Radicals on your own 'side' are difficult to distinguish, and even harder to repudiate because they constantly say things where you agree with 95% of the content, or most of the underpinnings of their reasoning.

For a liberal, its' easy to write off Glen Beck when he says Obama is a fascist for taking particular action. However, it is difficult to write off the Huffington Post, when they say Trump is a fascist for rolling back the previous administrations 'reform' (thus returning us to the hell-world of laws existing in 2007).


As a person on the left, when you look at the left you see your bubble. That is, you see the people you are already agreeing with, the nice people. However, when you look at the right, you see the controversy; the things most visible in the mainstream are the ones that are most talked about, are the loudest and most divisive ones. Your point of view is not symmetrical.

I suspect the right-leaning people in this thread would say the same thing in reverse.


What media outlet, TV or radio or web, promotes active violence against Trump supporters?

I'll avoid naming them, but there at least 5 loud rightwingers who make millions of dollars promoting racism. Not just on the web, but on TV. On the radio.

This isn't a "people live in a bubble" thing. This is people exaggerating the size of the fringe left and equating it with actual mainstream right.


It's hardly a double standard. Fringe members of your own side cannot represent your entire group, because you are part of the group therefore you have 1st hand evidence that some members (i.e. you) are utterly rationale, reasonable, realistic human beings.

Considering your political opponents is difficult. You may not even know too many of them in real life, and even when you do---political discussion is frowned upon so at best you get a niggling thought of "Bob is a great dev, I don't understand how he could be so crazy to vote for X".


I agree that conscientious leftists shouldn't turn a blind eye to wanton violence and property destruction at their events. But I don't think it's quite a double standard, when one of the groups of "fringe wackos" in question occupies the highest executive office in the country (slash world depending on your assessment of American power). And as far as representing the whole: nobody voted for the black bloc; 62.9 million people did vote for Trump.


There are fringe wackos on both sides, but only one of the sides had a fringe wacko as a candidate.


Considering how much flack the Democrats got for shutting down Bernie's campaign with questionable means, that was a close-run thing.


> only one of the sides had a fringe wacko as a candidate

This statement is probably true for most people, but the side with the fringe wacko for a candidate is up for debate.


> compromise and appeasement of evil is wrong, if trump and his supporters act like nazis then call them that

That mindset is the sort of thing the article is talking about.

First, you're talking about Trump, his supporters and evil in the same sentence. That's polarizing and does nothing except make you feel righteous.

Also, acting like Nazis? That sort of emotional trigger word has been done to death. Also, Trump doesn't get to choose his supporters and he has repudiated them. Trump also has a daughter that converted to Judaism and a Jewish son-in-law. Calling him a Nazi or Nazi-like in his actions is silly and counter productive.


>Trump also has a daughter that converted to Judaism and a Jewish son-in-law. Calling him a Nazi or Nazi-like in his actions is silly and counter productive.

I have to disagree here. I think it's fairly obvious that Trump is not an actual Nazi. The fact that he doesn't speak German is proof alone of this; you can't be a real Nazi if you don't speak German. I think it's also pretty hard to be a real Nazi if you weren't an adult during Hitler's reign, which pretty much excludes almost anyone still alive now (unless the Nazis came up with some secret anti-aging medical treatments, perhaps in use on their moon base...).

So obviously, no one is talking about real Nazis. They're talking about metophorical "Nazis". They're drawing parallels between Trump and the rise of Hitler, and the authoritarianism that existed back then, and how it was fueled by xenophobia. Back then, they blamed Jews. Obviously, Trump isn't blaming the Jews, but he is blaming other groups of outsiders, much as Hitler and co. did with the Jews (and some other groups too, just not nearly in such large numbers).

So no, I don't think it's "silly" or counterproductive to make historical parallels. There's a lot of disturbing similarities between Trump and Hitler and other authoritarians' rise to power. There's nothing counterproductive in pointing this out.


Well, this is an example of the motte and bailey technique. (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Motte_and_bailey)

When most people think of Nazis, they think of concentration camps and mass murder, not totalitarianism. That's the image and idea they want to associate with a group of people when they accuse them of being Nazis, and to argue otherwise would be disingenuous.

For example, you could argue that people who advocate for smoking bans and vegetarianism are Nazis and literally Hitler, as they too tried to reduce the amount of smoking and meat consumption in the name of public health.

Then when they get called on logical inconsistencies (because somebody is against smoking doesn't make them a Nazi) they retreat to a different, more easily defensible assertion.

Also, I don't see xenophobia in any of this discussion. They want rigorously enforced immigration laws, which are already on the books.

The executive branch is in charge of law enforcement, and I don't see how that is xenophobia when you're targeting illegal immigrants, rather than people of a specific ethnic group.


> Back then, they blamed Jews. Obviously, Trump isn't blaming the Jews, but he is blaming other groups of outsiders, much as Hitler and co. did with the Jews (and some other groups too, just not nearly in such large numbers).

Actually, he kinda did blame the Jews in his last campaign ad.[1]

[1] -- http://www.nbcnews.com/card/anti-defamation-league-trump-ad-...


I remember reading an article talking about how people were throwing similar aspersions at Bush and other Republicans in the past decade that when the actual Nazis came along we wouldn't be able to convince people because the word has been bandied about too casually against people who were likely not Nazis in the past.


> a) compromise and appeasement of evil is wrong, if trump and his supporters act like nazis then call them that

Calling a Nazi a Nazi is one thing, but do you honestly believe that nearly 50% of American voters are Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, or have Nazi-like views?

I don't. I think nearly 50% of voters thought that, in balance, Trump was a better choice than Hillary.

If all Trump supporters are Nazis, then presumably all Hillary supporters believe that one should unashamedly lie rather than admitting that one made a mistake. Both of these conclusions seem equally false to me.


For someone left leaning anyone not agreeing with him is a "Nazi", "fascist", "racist". The right leaning group interviewed in the article got sick of that as well.


I hope you don't actually mean that you think that most or all left-leaning people believe that. I admit that this would be a much less severe accusation than calling all right-leaning people Nazis, but it would still be nice for people to stop stereotyping other people based on their political beliefs.

I think that the whole "PC" issue is an example of this going both ways. There's certainly a bad kind of insistence on political correctness, which often takes the form of demonizing people who express an unpopular viewpoint or who merely say something that could be construed as expressing an unpopular viewpoint. On the other hand, I think there's just as much rhetoric going around claiming that left-leaning people are horrible for supporting this sort of political correctness without any particular evidence that they do so.


Is it unproductive though?

Humans are social animals, and like to know they're doing the "right" thing, where "right" is often defined by what everyone else is doing. A common example of this kind of "social proof" is a counter productive littering campaign that told people that everyone was doing it. So people thought, well if it's good enough for them.

It seems clear to me that people don't like being called racist. So much so that they'll try really hard to convince people to stop calling them racist, by threatening to do more racist stuff if they don't. Probably, though they don't like to talk about it as much, simply the threat of being called racist hold them back from doing racist things.

This theory is also corroborated by the number of people who suddenly felt their xenophobia was widely shared and that they could therefore attack random people after Brexit or Trump's victory. Literally often prefacing their behaviour with the announcement that it was now okay.

I have to admit I don't know with certainty if it's productive or not. But if the people saying it is are mostly concern trolls, then I'll take a leaf out of their book and reject it just because I don't like their tone.


> So much so that they'll try really hard to convince people to stop calling them racist

I don't think that's true. Basically if you call somebody racist and they don't think it's warranted, they'll just disregard any of your other opinions about anything at all. Your opinion doesn't really matter anymore. "He thinks I'm racist, he's obviously an idiot."


Blasphemy laws didn't make people more religious. They just made it so people didn't talk about it. It's the same here.


What about lots of people talking openly about not believing in religion anymore and how it's kinda dumb? Does that have an effect?


Does it make people less religious? I'm not sure - it definitely makes religious people more likely to hide their faith and not allow it to be challenged directly.


These positions aren't contradictory; there are a ton of people that voted for Trump not because they're Nazis, but because Trump's terrible ideas about race and sex are just not very relevant to them. They just didn't pay attention to that aspect.

Eventually, people realized that Bush II was a bad president, and that came from the slow, unavoidable accumulation of facts. People that showed up at the ballot box (but not to rallies) for Trump will eventually come around when they see how incompetent he is, how often he lies about easily debunked things, etc. The jokes and insults won't be a productive part of this process.


> if trump and his supporters act like nazis then call them that

This...

...is why we can't have nice things.

So while you might have a few reasons why the right is full of Nazis, the right has a few too.

My favorite example of this is the recent hell at UC Berkley over Milo, which the right turned into ammunition to discredit the entire left, even mocking the notion that the left dared to call the right Nazis. [0][1]

Keep piling on the jokes and the mud-slung strawmen if you dare. You give them more fuel to burn, and more ways to discredit you and everything you believe, and more ways to "keep winning" perhaps beyond the next four years.

[0]: http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/02/13/tucker-carlson-battles... [1]: http://www.sfexaminer.com/uc-berkeley-police-release-photos-...


Maybe it would help you (honestly, not trying to sound condescending) to reevaluate what acting like Nazis would look like.


Any specific ideas?

I'd make several assumptions:

1) It's possible for humans to act like Nazis 2) It's possible for a democratic state to gradually become not only a host to Nazis, but become a host that's run by Nazis 3) At an early stage, many people can't distinguish between Nazis as a positive or benign force and Nazis as, well, Nazis.

So, perhaps I could use some tips. What would acting like Nazis look like?


Well, they'd promise to make the country great again for starters.

They'd crush the unions to undermine their political opponents.

They'd align themselves with big business.

They'd tell "big lies" and believe that if they repeat them enough then people would believe them.

They'd think a minority religion was plotting their downfall and start making plans to deport them all.

They'd build up the army, while not spending enough on problems at home.

Against all economic advice they'd stop trading with others, viewing it as weakness, and try to become entirely self-sufficient.

So watch out for that kind of thing.


I find myself flipping between these two states and find it exhausting.


I like this quote so much and I love that it stands out:

“You all can defeat Trump next time, but not if you keep mocking us, refusing to listen to us, and cutting us out. It’s Republicans, not Democrats, who will take Trump down.”

I believe we have a similar problem in Germany. Several political decisions where called "alternativlos" (having not alternative option) and everybody opposing them was basically labeled a racist or bad person. For example the bailout of greece or the opening of the borders for all syrian refugees.

I am not arguing for or against one side, but I do believe that there were not fair discussions about the pros and cons of these topics. And this is a big reason why the "alt-right" (or whatever) is on the rise in Europe as well.

So give people room to discuss all of these topics, hear their voices and truly try to understand why they have a different opinion. This way we won't have another Trump and we won't have far-right elections anymore.


Very similar situation in Sweden as well.

Just saw this chart a few hours ago; it would be interesting to see something similar for the US:

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/02/07/british-press-most-righ...

(Just look at Germany/Sweden there!)

Chart title: "Media bias in Europe: Percentage of adults in each country who say their media is too right wing on the following issues minus the percentage who say their media is too left wing"

It's a year old, but I don't think this has changed much since then in terms of media bias.


Which explains the medias eagerness to not report immigrant crimes in your country and Germany.


I get that argument, but I see people of different minorities who just simply don't want to work with them, because the trump supporters put the grossness and sexism aside. They want to fix the voter surpression, and better encourage people who support the side of equality to come out and vote, than convince the people who supported trump.


I can give him a data point from outside the US, from one of the other progressive, English speaking countries in the world, New Zealand:

I don't know if it has fully sunk in yet to the US populace how completely they have humiliated themselves, on the world stage.

We don't get exposed to Fox, or Breitbart, or even CNN. I get most of my international news from the BBC, for example. From our perspective, the election was between a normal, typical US politician, and a madman. And when the dust settled, you lot put a clown in charge of your country.

I remember first thinking, oddly, that the biggest loss was your media. How can anyone watch 24, or Olympus Has Fallen or any of the other films and TV shows where you glorify your president? The stern, respectable, dignified leader that the hero must protect or save? How could such a plot exist now, or in future, and be watched with a straight face?


BBC is state-controlled media with a vested interest in shaping your perception, for better or for worse.


The BBC has its own biases, like any media organisation. But it's not state-controlled.


Exactly. And now we are being asked to be understanding of the people who voted for this madman and accused of being intolerant for not accepting the bullshit they spew (see most of the quotes from this article), all in the name of not being divisive. What Sam Altman didn't hear from Trump supporters was any mention of an actual political issue, other than abortion. I'd say that speaks a lot louder than any of the things they are willing to talk about. I hear the suffering and pain in what people say, but zero discussion of the actual issues that are the cause of that. What isn't said speaks a lot louder in this case.


> the biggest loss was your media [...] The stern, respectable, dignified leader that the hero must protect...

After the Obama Spider-Man cover in 2008, I've been carefully watching Marvel comics for any appearance of the US president. I've seen a few phone-call presidents which the reader can imagine as anyone, and one appearance of the president shown in silhouette, from the back, with a glimpse of darker skin. This was published after the inauguration, but likely drawn during the lame duck period.

No comment, just some anecdotal notes on how some creators are handling this.


Totally agree. Here in Australia I consume multiple sources of news and pretty much the only message we are getting is that Trump is a joke and / or completely insane. While there may be a short term boost for American's putting themselves first the fact is that in even a few short weeks other countries are starting to realise being "all in" with the US is not a viable strategy with Trump in charge.

Long term I think countries that have traditionally been staunch allies of the US will now at least be open to other suitors which until a few weeks ago would have been pretty much unthinkable.


I think you are making an assumption of shared value. To many trump supporters the idea that international approval matters is somehow repugnant.


I tend to believe that there are fairly deep similarities in the US's situation and Korea's situation four years ago.


What's even more humiliating is how (apparently) indifferent — or even accepting — parts of the tech community and Silicon Valley are of this development. (See all the "it's PC culture's fault" in this thread and elsewhere.) It's overwhelmingly obvious that we're in deep shit. Regardless of their beliefs and politics, people who self-label as "smart" should be fucking livid.


Yep this. We have this "lets be friends" piece from Altman which seems to be a hamfisted way to address a rift in SV, instead of the sobering reflection of what a Trump win means for actual US citizens.

This thread is nothing but making strawmen out of liberals. I'm liberal and I do none of these things mentioned. Its incredible to me that the Trump win has left him as a being we are not allowed to criticize because "he won, drool lib-tards" and now we're being attacked because we dared support the science behind climate change, rights for the lgbq community, the benefits of globalization, immigration, equality for women, women's right to choose, women's rights to birth control, non-discrimination based on race or religion, a strong NATO, a strong EU partnership, environmental protections, and not conceding our role in the global community to blood-thirsty autocrats like Putin and Assad.

Lastly, Trump lost the popular vote by 3m votes and only a month in has a 39% approval rating and is mired in a dozen scandals that would have left a Democratic POTUS on the road to impeachment. So the idea that Trump represents anything but the typical GOP lockstep vote is ridiculous. The Electoral College works against the popular vote. There was no mandate or popular movement. If there was we'd see more votes and a vastly higher approval rating. In other words, just because Hilary was a weak candidate does not mean Trump was a strong one.

So somehow, to guys like Altman, I'm the extremist and out of touch? Come on. Lets stop putting feels over reals to make deep pocketed conservative SV financiers like Peter Thiel happy.


Self-labeled smart people are the ones with the biggest blind-spots.

Also, how would being livid help?


After the election, my wife's first reaction was to cry. Her second reaction was "man, this shows we really don't understand a lot of people in our country." I applaud Sam for getting out and trying to improve his understanding.

I think Trump is very dangerous for our country. But that does not mean the people who voted for him are all evil bigots. On the left, we need to work harder to fight the more dangerous policy aspects, while not demonizing half our country. At the women's march post-inauguration, I was a bit taken aback by how hateful and not-conducive-to-fruitful-discussion many of the slogans were.

I don't really agree with the premise that America is no longer great. But anyway, I've had the thought that if we really want to "Make America Great again", a key starting point would be to reduce the hateful polarization.


> "You need to give us an opportunity to admit we may have been wrong without saying we’re bad people. I am already thinking I made a mistake, but I feel ostracized from my community."

Folks seem to stay stuck in bad positions because to change their mind would require them to come to terms with, and take responsibility for, having done something morally reprehensible. Ultimately though, it's immature and manipulative to ask that other people refrain from holding you accountable as your precondition to abandoning an indefensible stance. We should all try to identify this feeling in ourselves and use it as a nudge to approach a situation with humility and a willingness to take responsibility for our actions.


To be fair to them, it is hard to acknowledge you've fucked up and learn from your mistake if people mock you relentlessly about it. The easiest human reaction is to deny or retreat, not admit failure, ask for forgiveness and move on. That's why extending an olive branch and offering a safe space to discuss the issues they might be facing is the right approach (yeah, I know, it's ironic that we are even having this conversation about people who are quick to malign anyone who asks for a safe-space... but whatever.)


It doesn't work. Look at Obama's infamous, "cling to guns and religion." Do you know what point he was making? He was trying to explain to those of us with good jobs on the coast that middle america had been passed over and ignored by previous administrations.

Why would any politician ever extend an olive branch again when it is just used as a -- very effective -- weapon against them?


That may have been what he was trying to explain, but what he exposed was his condescension to middle America. Of course that got used against him! You want it to be different? Don't be condescending, even about people that you disagree with.


I see many posts in this thread focused on liberal "intolerance" of conservative views; however, I see absolutely no tolerance of liberal viewpoints on the American right. I'm friends with equal numbers of people on the right and left, and they are equally outraged, intolerant, insulting, and immersed in their confirmation bias.

And you know what? Good for them. I heard a quote from a local Republican representative on the radio recently that really hit me. He was asked, how can we work together when the leader of the Republican party is so incredibly insulting and disrespectful to his opponents?

You know what he said? The American democracy is a combative political system. Don't work together with Trump, fight him. If you find him insulting, then take your outrage and channel it into fighting him. I will fight you and you will fight me. That's how we will resolve our differences.

Reading the history of American politics, it has always been this way. For decades I've watched liberals and conservatives use insults and ridicule, not to convince the other side, but to demoralize it. If you can make your opponents feel bad, they are less likely to vote. The ideal mean moves a little bit left and right over the years as each side has its ups and downs.

It's a terrible system, but that's how it works in real life. I think we should keep this reality in mind whenever we talk about the tone of politics in America.


Thanks, Sam, for doing this.

I also recommend reading Trump's book [0] to understand his appeal. It's more coherent and nuanced than his speeches and tweets. Some of the logic is fallacious, of course, but in subtle ways that I think are worth understanding. For example, the idea of "have some other country pay for X" comes up in multiple contexts (not just the border wall). It sounds great if you don't really understand macroeconomics.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Great-Again-How-Crippled-America/dp/1...


Considering Trump didn’t write any of his own books, and hasn’t read a whole book in decades (including the ones he puts his name on), why would reading “his” book give an accurate impression of his ideas, vs. just listening directly to the source (his tweets and campaign rallies)?

Anything “coherent”/“nuanced”/“subtle” is the invention of the ghostwriter, a kind of best-guess translation from word salad to something comprehensible by literate adults.

inre this book specifically, see http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/donald-trump...

“[Donald] got this done on the road with a series of phone calls and snippets from campaign speeches. He had a ghostwriter from start to finish, and he was annoying, tough and threw fits throughout.”


I didn't say it gave an accurate impression of his personal ideas, I said that reading it would help people understand his appeal, since it convinced many of his supporters.

It's usually a mistake to focus too much on the personal limitations of the front man. Like assuming that because Robert Plant wasn't a good guitar player, Led Zeppelin must not be a good band. It's better to understand the ideas in the book (and campaign generally) as belonging to his team, which includes intellectuals who do read books and have very clear ideas. Some of them are now policymakers in the administration, so those ideas will affect our future whether or not Trump came up with them.


Can you give an example of who you consider to be the “intellectual” with “very clear ideas” behind Trump’s team’s ideology/agenda? Are we talking about Bannon and Miller here? Kushner? Priebus and Ryan? Roger Stone and Rudy Giuliani? Vladimir Putin? The Koch brothers?

Anyhow, nobody in Trump’s new administration had anything to do with writing his book. In practice most of Trump’s policy agenda is going along with the standard GOP playbook of deregulating environmental pollution, cutting funding to reproductive healthcare, eliminating taxes on the wealthiest, restricting labor rights, slashing funding for scientific research, privatizing infrastructure and public institutions, boosting weapons spending, and so on. There has been a lot of thought put into these (it’s worth billions of dollars to donors) but I wouldn’t really call it intellectual per se: intellectually dishonest obfuscation of the intended outcomes is half the purpose of these plans.

Trump’s “signature ideas” like deporting all Muslims, imposing a 20% tariff on imports, “bringing back” all the coal jobs, growing the economy by 4% per year, and building a wall and making Mexico pay for it are pretty much all Trump, and are doomed to fail.



When all politicians rely on speech writers, what is the point you are making?

The result is the same: someone was commissioned to draft statements that the speaker endorses.


While that's true, I think the two don't compare in terms of degree. Trump's off-the-cuff speech (or answers to questions I saw the other day in a press conference) is drastically different to something a speech writer would create. I don't think that's the case with Obama, or a raft of world leaders.

As a parallel, I know very little about programming. But I could have a ghost writer create a book that I would endorse by agreeing with the general premise (let's say it was a "learn Python from the start the right way" book), and a book of the same quality could have been ghost written for one of the many incredibly talented people on here. The quality of the books would be similar, but if you asked them or me anything about programming, you'd get a good answer from them, and a complete pile of old tosh from me!


When a ghostwriter is present, I've found that a book's subtle exposition often arises from them more than the OP. With someone as raw, blustery, and self-promotional as Trump, any suggestion of nuance will inevitably invite circumspection.


So what do you think?

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/25/donald-trumps-g...

It had never been his ambition to be a ghostwriter, and he had been glad to move on. But, as he watched a replay of the new candidate holding forth for forty-five minutes, he noticed something strange: over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, “If he could lie about that on Day One—when it was so easily refuted—he is likely to lie about anything.”


The point is that his brain is scrambled. He is seemingly incapable of putting together a straight-forward thought.

There is a difference between shaping and deciphering.


> and hasn’t read a whole book in decades

source please.



Honest question: Do you think that any of your sources legitimately support your claim?


I have seen absolutely no evidence that Donald Trump has been seen reading a book any time in the past 30 years, and there are multiple people who spent hours a day with Trump for months at a time who claim they never once saw him reading a book during that time. When asked to name recent books he has been reading, he mumbles excuses and then grasps at straws.

He has asked for all his white house briefs to be no more than a page, and multiple sources have suggested that he likes bullet points, big fonts, and lots of pictures and maps instead of prose. In a legal deposition, he went way out of his way to avoid reading a few sentences of a contract, claiming that it was because he needed glasses to read and the text was too small (but was not willing to get his glasses or have the lawyer provide a version with larger type). When he went on the comedy sketch show SNL, he wanted to ad-lib his lines instead of reading a few sentences.

It’s of course possible that Trump has managed to read one book sometime this millennium, but is embarrassed enough about his general lack of reading that he doesn’t want to discuss it in detail. That wouldn’t really change the key point, which is that he doesn’t in general like to / have the patience to read more than a few pages at a time, and certainly isn’t authoring his own books.


It's odd to me that someone who's worried about intellectual debate becoming rare would vote for Trump. Trump avoids substantive debates and relies on catch phrases. It seems to me that the lack of intellectual debate is tied to polarization of political parties rather than anything done by the Obama administration.

And there is real evidence that the republican party is driving the lack of real debate. The republican party refused to allow hearings for a Supreme Court nominee for a legitimately elected sitting President. That's obstructionism driven to ignoring the constitutional duties granted to the President to achieve political ends.


Maybe it fits more if you think of it as a vote "against the left" instead of a vote for Trump. As for your "real evidence", I don't think that enters into most republicans considerations.


>Maybe it fits more if you think of it as a vote "against the left" instead of a vote for Trump.

With the problem that if by "the Left" you mean Hillary Clinton, then...

* The "Left" are more of the country, by 3 million votes.

* The "Left" aren't even all that left-wing. Hillary said $12/hour was a high-enough minimum wage. Nancy Pelosi said, "We're capitalists." Obama dropped the Employee Free Choice Act in 2008.

So in this context, a "vote against the Left" comes across as a vote to suppress the already-suppressed political majority.


Honestly not sure this sheds much light. Doesn't it boil down to:

I always vote Republican regardless, sorry.

I vote according to my pet wedge issue (usually guns or abortion), sorry.

I'm bigoted and racist but I'm not going to admit to that.

The alternative candidate wasn't very appealing so I figured why not?

I liked the idea of a bomb-thrower, sorry.


"I'm bigoted and racist but I'm not going to admit to that."

This one always gets me. We're told, over and over again, that these people are tired of being called whatever-ist and that we should start being nice to them if we want their support.

Well, I'm sorry, but if you weren't so freakin' racist, we wouldn't keep pointing it out. If you don't want to be called sexist and ignorant, stop electing people who try to enshrine sexism in the law and have no clue about basic human biology.

Apparently we're supposed to close our eyes and ignore the huge character flaws in certain of our countrymen in the vague hope that they'll start voting for people we like if we're really nice to them. I really don't think that's a good strategy.


It's the "I'm not going to admit to that" part where the left gets it wrong. Pointing out that a person suffers from ignorance, racism, sexism, and bigotry doesn't need to come with the hostility and animosity or risk to their financial well being. These are states of mind that come from lacking context, from having an incomplete model of the world. If a person is punished for their incomplete model of the world they're less likely to make that visible and therefore ignorance is driven to the shadows. If a person received love and guidance when they showed themselves to be ignorant, you would still have the bigotry but at least there would be a pathway out of it.

tl,dr; so long as ignorance is understood to be a dirty word, people will focus on the insult and not the root problem.


I'm happy with driving ignorance into the shadows. The harder it is to express and the less support bigots have, the less likely they are to pass it on to the next generation.

That is the primary mechanism for reducing bigotry. The number of people who will self-correct is small. Big changes mostly come from waiting for bigots to die out, and not replacing them with new ones.


History seems to disagree. The views being expressed openly today couldn't have been expressed openly in the past. The KKK is still a thing. I'm not advocating we parade these ideas around, I'm firmly a believer in refusing to give bigotry a platform, but that's not the bit I'm focusing on.

People are wildly variant in their experiences and cognition but we all decipher meaning from layers in speech. It's possible for a person to fail to comprehend, fail to obtain the necessary context, fail to connect their actions to harm, but succeed in receiving the hostility encoded in speech. Eventually a person walks away with a model of the world that a person disagrees not because they see something but because they just don't like you. You can see this everywhere in that every criticism the left has of the right they turn it around on the left.

> Big changes mostly come from waiting for bigots to die out, and not replacing them with new ones.

Bigotry never dies out. It's a natural facet of our existence and our current methodology for addressing it exacerbates the problem because we live in a world where a person defeated in argument can rally with others. There is no making a minority of bigotry in an endlessly connected world.


I don't understand the first part. Which views being expressed openly today couldn't have been expressed openly in the past?


The views our political system is currently normalizing. The ones that enable white supremacists to occupy the highest levels of government office. The ones that claim Michelle Obama is anti-american for saying she hasn't always been proud of her country while Trump can be elected on a platform that America is not great and defend Putin as a "killer" by claiming we're not so innocent.


Those have been expressed for a long time. Some are getting more popular (white supremacist stuff) and some are coming from different people (saying America kills people and has no moral high ground was usually a leftist thing) but I don't see anything being said that outright couldn't before.


You're being literal? Yes, these views have seen daylight. No, these views haven't until recently been acceptable for those holding public office.


Strom Thurmond didn't die that long ago, for example. A mere half century ago, these things were not only acceptable for elected officials to say, they were acceptable to enact into law.


You win.


Is it appropriate to work with racists to end racism?


I don't really know how that would work. Can you elaborate?


> I vote according to my pet wedge issue (usually guns or abortion), sorry.

As much as I agree with the left on both these issues... I would rather give up on these as politically untenable rather than lose every other issue to Republicans.

I don't know if this would just lead to other wedge issues ad infinitum, and I don't know how you would get that idea through a democratic primary (though there are christian democrats), and then motivate the democratic base to vote for you...

But if there are wedge issues that could swing large chunks of the electorate, it might be worth just giving in on a few specific issues until public opinion changes.


I do think that the Democrats should give up on gun control. I generally agree with their stance on it, but it's just not that important. I see so many reasonable people who agree with Democrats on nearly everything, but love their guns. Some of them hold their noses and vote D. Many of them refuse to, because they really love their guns, even though they lean that way on almost everything else.

I completely disagree on abortion, though. That's a serious health issue that will result in a lot of unnecessary innocent deaths if the "pro-life" side gets their way. That is an issue worth fighting for.


democrats have given up on gun control. you'll notice Obama didn't really grab any of them


Anti-gun-control nuts have not realized this.

Source: listening to my gun nut friends on FB.


It's great marketing. If you look at the NRA's leadership, they all held marketing positions for gun manufacturers


"I always vote Republican regardless, sorry."

I wonder if there's more of that than we realise, the Republican vote has been pretty consistent in recent elections.


There is a larger percentage than you would think that vote republicans simply because they are anti-abortion. They do not care one bit about what the candidate thinks besides that and it's why this decades old topic is still a fucking talking point.


I agree. iirc, turnouts were average for Republicans, but the Democrats lost the election by not voting.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.


There's some of that. I'm more curious about the "our world is falling apart" people though, as that seems to be a symptom of a larger problem that's less clear in its solution and less well-defined.


The downtrodden middle class (called "working class" elsewhere, fwiw) argument is a great one, but based on the data I am exposed to, it is not a big driver for people voting Trump. Everyone I know who voted for him is quite well off and doing nicely.


Interesting. It seems as though your preconceived notions have biased how you summarized what you read.

Simply reading the rest of the comments on HN should be enough to help you realize that what you posted above is not what it boils down to.


Genuinely curious why you would think that the true reasons for people voting for Trump could be divined from a statistical analysis of HN posts? Is the HN posting population likely to be representative of his voters?


> You all can defeat Trump next time, but not if you keep mocking us, refusing to listen to us, and cutting us out

For all those Trump supporters who love the fact he's not politically correct, this shows how thin skinned they themselves are. There's no other way to sugarcoat it, a lot of these people voted for Trump because it validated their own prejudices: they loved him for being anti-muslim, anti-black, anti-immigrant... And yes, white privilege has been eroding recently and Trump was meant to be the savior and restore it - which is what Making America Great Again is all about.

So each of these groups is going to be disappointed in the way he governs. Sure he's anti-immigrant but deporting millions of people isn't really what anyone wants or can bear. Sure he's anti-muslim, but enforcing a muslim ban will actually make us less safe. And his party is more interested in snuffing out Obamacare which benefits whites more than blacks, and cutting benefits which again hurts whites more than blacks. So in their idiotic attempt to roll back a couple decades of liberal progress they have voted for a man who might deliver a temporary setback to liberal values but in the process will doom them to continued poverty and despair, if that is what they really wanted to escape. Oh the irony.


People have gotten fired over their political views. Thin-skinned losers can't handle all the tolerance


“It's a lot like political discussion was in Soviet Union, actually. I think the inability to acknowledge obvious truths, and the ever-increasing scope of these restrictions makes it particularly frustrating. And personally, for whatever reason, I find inability to have more subtle discussion very frustrating--things are not white or black, but you can't talk about greys since the politically correct answer is white.”

I wonder if this person realizes the irony of voting for Trump to increase subtle, political discourse.

Assuming that this person is talking about political discussion in the mainstream media (which is where this form of criticism is traditionally targeted), I don't think this person is accurate. The mainstream media encompasses a spectrum from Nytimes, Reason, the Economist to Fox News and Breitbart. To suggest that there's a monolithic 'discourse' out there is false. The fact that this person supported Trump suggests to me that they are less interested in subtle, political discourse, and more interested in having their 'side' be represented with less critique.


> I did not expect to talk to so many Muslims, Mexicans, Black people, and women in the course of this project

I suppose it's good that he got some perspective, but I'm concerned about how this expectation developed. The assumption, and the constant insinuation, that only some identity group or subculture supports the president is intellectually lazy. When those people are made to feel at risk--of ridicule, of losing a job, of violence--then we have a self-reinforcing distortion of reality.


There's substantial data backing up a lack of support for Trump, and for Republicans generally, for all of those categories to different degrees. And usually for fairly obvious reasons.

Are you unaware of this, or does acknowledging it just make you uncomfortable?


That's fascinating. What's striking is the absence of economic complaints. Much of the US, by area, is seeing jobs disappear and a gradually declining standard of living. Yet that's not what the Trump supporters Altman talked to are concerned about. There's not one mention of China. Loss of jobs due to foreign competition isn't mentioned.

There's also not much mention of religion. "God", "Christian", and "religion" didn't come up at all. Nor did race, in the black/white sense, come up much, except in the context of "white privilege".

Stopping abortion and the protection of American culture seem to be the crucial items for Trump supporters.


Well, stopping abortion is part and parcel of religion. You won't find many atheists or agnostics who oppose legal abortion. Perhaps some limits on it, but not an outright banning; that's solely the province of religious people.


> Stopping abortion and the protection of American culture seem to be the crucial items for Trump supporters.

Both (and "white privilege/culture") are arguably rooted in a particular religious expression, namely that of extremist evangelical Christianity, especially that of Dominionism and/or the Quiverfull movements. Also note the makeup of Trump's cabinet picks.


The #1 difference I notice between people I talk to who identify as the "left" or the "right" is whether America is an inclusive or exclusive "club".

Also, main takeaway from this? Don't attack people. It seems like that's a big complaint from the[se] people: I've been attacked for my beliefs and values.


How these people feel attacked from the left would be a very important question to ask, though. I mean, they're not walking into artisanal coffee shops and facing this every day. From Sam's account, they're living in communities where there is not a representation from the left where you'd think, oh, they face this adversarial attack every day.

What I'm getting at is that if these people feel attacked because they're fed media that says they're being attacked, that's a very tricky problem to solve. Whatever larger issues the left has with tolerance to ideas, I think it's possibly a mistake to directly call it causation to this feeling of being attacked, because I'd like to see the proof of that first.


It's curious that the press (and the populace) seems to have assumed in this election that the left was not also sensitive to being attacked as a carpetbagger.

Unlike most folks on the right, I suspect a smaller fraction of folks on the left now live anywhere near where they grew up. Emigrating as most did to larger metro areas, they left friends/families behind to seek a better life within their own country, hoping to thrive in a climate where outliers and diversity are more common and better tolerated.

It's hardly a surprise that someone like Trump who has made opposition to immigration/emigration the central plank in his platform would be seen by any transient, be s/he international or intranational, as a threat.


Well yeah, if you think about it and try to view the world from their view it looks like everything is an attack.

Take climate change, regardless of its truth or not, if you treat people that are skeptical or reject it as if they are idiots not worth your time, eventually they're just going to embrace it as part of their identity. Same thing where if we call most of middle america racists for voting trump, I think we'll get just that. You're already getting called racist, even if you don't fit the bill, after a while you probably stop caring.

Just seems like a bit of a natural human response. An example: as someone that grew up in "flyover country" the overall view that the east and west coast tend to have on the middle of america is rather appalling at times. I think both sides need to have a bit of self reflection on how far into the abyss they've gazed and how much of their alleged rivals worst behaviors they've internalized.


> The #1 difference I notice between people I talk to who identify as the "left" or the "right" is whether America is an inclusive or exclusive "club".

Gender/race war that radical "left" promote, has nothing to do with "inclusivity".


Okay, I'll bite.

I don't actually know what you're talking about. I haven't experienced either a gender or a racial war, or the promotion of it.

But I want to take this "personal". When have you, personally, been the victim of a gender / race war?

(My hunch is that you haven't, but that you see the promotion of one, because it sells.)

(Towards my points - the #1 difference is not the only difference, and there are dickheads everywhere)


I like your logic. "You know, I have never been a victim of a murder, therefore murders don't happen".

When a company publicly announces "we're affirmative action company", I understand it as they openly exercise racism and/or sexism against me.

And trust me, as a divorced guy, I've experienced institutionalized sexism A LOT.


My logic is "I have not experienced this therefore you cannot rely on me having experienced it to understand what you're saying".

Sorry if that wasn't clear; I can see how it got muddied.


So, why do you attribute the institutionalized sexism of divorce proceedings to what the "radical left promotes"?


Because they promote institutionalized sexism in general: in family laws, in workspaces ("affirmative action"), they bully innocent people ("shirt gate"), they bring that stupid gender war into deeply technical areas (".bro is bad, because it's not gender-neutral"), that's why.


>And trust me, as a divorced guy, I've experienced institutionalized sexism A LOT.

How so?


Divorces in a nutshell: wives take everything (children, house, money), husbands start life from scratch.


After hearing about the studies described in the article below, I've decided that instead of arguing with people I disagree with politically, it's more productive to ask them to describe (in as much detail as feasible) what they see as the biggest positive and negative effects of implementing a particular policy. Most people moderate their views after such reflecting, and I think it's a potential learning opportunity for both parties.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27/why-facts-dont-...


It can be hard to separate criticism from an attack. If you say something racist, and I tell you so, is that an attack?


It depends on how you say it.

"You're racist!" is an attack.

"That thing you just said was racist." is better but will still come off as an attack.

"Have you ever thought about how what you said will impact [minority group]?" will work much better.


> "Have you ever thought about how what you said will impact [minority group]?" will work much better.

To summarize: PC phrasing works better among people who voted for the anti-PC guy? I'm not disagreeing with your thesis, just pointing out that it's not obvious that it should be the case.


Polite phrasing that doesn't immediately condemn the subject but instead tries to get them to slowly consider alternative points of view works better with almost all people.


What's worse, being a racist or being called a racist?

If it's the former, being called a racist is a valuable thing. It's somebody telling you that you have advertently or inadvertently acted in a manner that is prejudiced against an ethnic group in a way that perpetuates societal imbalances (racism). Now you get an opportunity to fix it.

Apologize, then stop doing what you were called out for. Now you'll neither be a racist or called one.

Great! Everybody wins.


Have you ever called someone a racist or seen someone else be called a racist? How did they tend to react at an emotional level? Did that tend to make them more or less open to feedback? Have you found it to be a particularly effective way of getting people to change their behavior?


No, it's not. But what has got people angry is that it's not you pointing out that what some person said is racist, but rather a group of people declaring that anyone who supports candidate A is a racist. Tarring all Trump supporters or all Republicans or all rural people as racist because one or some of them are is a problem.


Unfortunately, both yes and no. The word has become near profanity now and is often used as an insult rather than a statement.

The reaction of, "How is it racist?" can be taken as a defense even if it is an honest question.

Luckily, words are amazing and there are ways to diffuse this stuff. "I think some folks might find that insensitive, you know" might be better wording than "That was rather racist" - even though I might prefer the more direct version. Likewise, the response can be reworded for different effect as well.


Is sensitivity a universal value and priority for everyone? Even in the rust belt? Is dismissing sensitivity as a value, allowed?


I think in some cases, definitely.

I'm not sure how to complete this thought right now, but it comes down to: "Do you feel safe expressing yourself?"

Your "safety" might not be important for the situation, may not be relevant for the situation; safety shouldn't be confused with agreement / support, etc, etc.


That's probably the biggest problem here. Many people will regard your response as an attack and shut down. People also think that saying something is their opinion enables them to say whatever you want without suffering consequences.


No, I don't think so. But my (biased) view of the left is that they want to actually control and curate speech via censorship, safe spaces, "hate speech" laws (like UK), political correctness agendas, stereotyping (painting all religious people as bigoted), etc. I view the latter things as an attack on my free speech. People should have the right to say hurtful things without being thrown in jail.


I'd be interested to read a history of how this became the right's rallying cry.

I mean "safe spaces". Of all the problems facing our world today, how did having a place for students to go and chill out on bean bags become a rallying cry. Why this obsession with student activitsts in general, who as far as I can tell have been caricatured as out of touch poseurs for literally decades without it escalating into a full on culture war.

Do people really not see the irony of complaining about political correctness when stats generated by government departments are being discounted as "fake news" by the president?

From the outside it really does seem like insanity, but I have to assume people literally believe these things to be important for some reason.


I'd say it's the natural reaction to extremes like this on college campuses:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S3yMzEee18


It becomes a problem when people subscribe to the "punch a Nazi" theme and then label all Trump supporters as Nazis. It's an 'end justifies the means' mentality which is troubling.


Part of the problem is the continued use of the terms "left" and "right", which are meaningless and which perpetuate the idea that the range of political opinion can be represented by a one dimensional continuum.

We need a better vocabulary which more accurately represents different categories of political thought. Unfortunately "liberal" has been over-loaded to the point of being useless at this point as well. And truth be told, both "liberal" and "conservative" seem to be used as pejoratives as much as they are used for any other reason.

Unfortunately I'm just complaining now, as I don't have a ready-to-go alternative to offer up. And even if somebody came up with alternatives, getting people to adopt new terminology would be a huge uphill battle in its own right.


> Also, main takeaway from this? Don't attack people. It seems like that's a big complaint from the[se] people: I've been attacked for my beliefs and values.

Yes and no. If someone is willing to discuss their viewpoint and consider the opposing viewpoint in good faith, then I agree they shouldn't be attacked. If someone is willing to share their worldview without vitriol or hatefulness, they shouldn't have their character assaulted.

On the other hand, something I see a lot is people who are outraged that other people criticize them sharply for their bigotry. "Don't call me a hateful bigot because I believe I should be able to discriminate against gay people." "I'm not a bad person because I think Muslims should be banned from entering the United States."

What I've seen is that some people are not used to being criticized or challenged for their regressive views and they react poorly to it. They lived most of their lives experiencing zero push back for saying racist or homophobic things and very quickly things have changed. Trump in some ways has allowed those people to go back to believing nothing they're saying or doing is wrong, and that mean 'ol liberals are the problem. There certainly is a component of the far left that is out there shouting people down for having opposing views. But the truth is that tolerance is advancing rapidly and it is disorienting for people who've never had to practice it much.


I think I see what you're saying, but...

...when has it ever actually helped to attack them?

Also, +1 for: > But the truth is that tolerance is advancing rapidly and it is disorienting for people who've never had to practice it much.


What I was trying to get at, is that sometimes people use the word 'attacking' when other people are shouting down and being mean and nasty to people who hold a different viewpoint than them. But other times people say 'attacking' when people are calling out bigotry in a completely appropriate way. Like, yeah you're going to catch heat for calling the FLOTUS an ape in heels.

I'd agree that attacking in a mean and nasty way is rarely productive. But there's also a place for loudly condemning hatefulness and ignorance, usually when we're talking about public figures who are willfully divisive or hateful. If David Duke decides to hold a white power rally I don't think it's inappropriate for people to loudly protest someone like him. Or a politician getting in front of a crowd talking about 'legitimate rape'.


The main reason I support Trump is his stance on 2A, and his nominees to SCOTUS (also colored by that issue.)

2A people are highly motivated to turn out to vote and were a major part of his support.

(I was at a 4 day shotgun class during the election; there were long debates about the two acceptable candidates on multiple issues -- Johnson vs Trump.)


I've never understood the fear of the left taking away the second amendment. All my coastal elite progressive friends enjoy going to shooting ranges and at worst want thorough background checks and possibly a ban on high capacity magazines.

Post-Trump, many progressive people of color are arming themselves out of fear of white nationalists. None of them want a gun ban.


People who are "2A voters" don't even consider the status quo to be acceptable -- they want HPA (removal of suppressors from NFA); probably a removal of SBR/SBS (treat them like handguns), repeal of Hughes and 922(r), and potentially nationwide reciprocity and potentially pre-emption. They also want reinforcement in SCOTUS decisions of 2A as an "individual right" vs. a "collective right" (which is why I don't support ACLU, incidentally, despite otherwise strongly agreeing with their positions.)

Hillary specifically was pushing for an "assault weapons ban" in multiple speeches, and magazine capacity bans, under the phrase "common-sense gun regulations." Who knows what actually would have come to pass, but she was definitely not going to put pro-2A justices into SCOTUS or expand 2A protections.


I'm pretty liberal and (used to be) a gun owner. I can see supporting those things (I personally would like nationwide reciprocity [0]).

It's just very hard for me to understand how this issue (or others like abortion) would be above all others. You are voting for a government with a tremendous amount of power and responsibility (military and defense, infrastructure, running a huge economy, world trade, healthcare, etc). I just can't imagine voting based on a single issue like the 2nd amendment while ignoring all the others.

I respect your opinion, and I know you are not alone. It's just hard for me to understand it, that's all.

[0] I've always wondered what would happen if democrats adopted this into their platform, maybe in exchange for universal background checks.


My mom voted for Trump because of the abortion issue. The reason it's above all others in her mind is that she literally views it the way we view the holocaust. (e.g. "Millions of people have died because of pro-choice policies.")

So, whether or not you agree with her, you can see that there is some logic to making that issue a high priority if she views it that way. "Hitler's really got a great economic package, has better public experience than his opponent, is better all across the board, and is in favor of the extermination of a bunch of helpless people."

In my mom's case, she'd be Democrat, except for this one issue. She's pro Syrian refugee, pro immigration, against capital punishment, etc.


You should tell your mom that there are fewer abortions when women are given access to them. It's counter intuitive but there's data to back it up.

Bill Clinton said it best: abortion should be safe legal and rare.


> My mom voted for Trump because of the abortion issue. The reason it's above all others in her mind is that she literally views it the way we view the holocaust. (e.g. "Millions of people have died because of pro-choice policies.")

I hope she understands that prior to Roe vs Wade, abortion still occurred, and women died in many cases because they didn't have access to a safe clinical means to obtain them.

She should understand that if the laws are changed regarding abortion, that women will still have abortions, will still need abortions, and will still find means to obtain abortions - even if it kills them - which it most assuredly will.

If she is fine with that - if she is fine with women dying - then I don't know what to say.

If she really wanted to decrease the number of abortions, she (and others like her) would do what we know actually works: Increase access to contraceptives, and teach people proper non-abstinence based sexual education.

But we are unlikely to see that really happen - because being anti-abortion isn't about saving the unborn, it's about punishment (via pregnancy and birth) of women for having sex (premarital or otherwise as it happens).


So wouldn't the sensible position be universal contraception to prevent a fetus from forming?


I wouldn't want Trump as dictator but believe institutions and laws constrain what he can do in most of the other areas where I disagree with him; improving 2A rights is more complex and discretionary.

(I'd be supportive of both some kind of pre-purchase background check AND of some way to trace a physical gun used in a crime to a registered owner provided it also did NOT build a registry of all guns owned by a given owner, or a way to identify that a given person was an owner of guns or not. There are some technical ways to implement this, especially the latter.

There have been technical improvements to NICS over the past few months which have made it both more efficient AND more accurate; there's a lot of potential to improve the existing background checks used for all sales via dealers, and once it gets good enough, it's a lot easier to provide access to it for private party transfers as well. If I were in a state where I could privately sell a gun to someone w/o going through an FFL, I'd be uncomfortable selling to anyone I didn't know personally, and given that I know how hard it is to validate physical credentials well without checking a centralized database, even something like LE ID wouldn't be as comforting as being able to make a NICS check. Outside of known-person transfers, I'd generally rather just spend the $10-25 to let an FFL handle the transfer for me, although this is already legally required in WA state.)


For myself, the only good thing I could think of when Trump won was the idea that maybe finally, we could purchase more .22 ammo at a decent price, without "one-box-per-customer" restrictions or such.

/yeah, I know such restrictions happened mainly because so many "gun-nuts" just couldn't stop buying, fearful that their guns and ammo were going to be taken away by Obama - I've read blogs of such people who perfectly know this to be the case, yet it continued. Gun store owners and manufacturers smile when a liberal is "in charge", because they know sales will go thru the roof - always does.


Yep. Gun rights are the #1 reason I voted for Trump; his picks for SCOTUS (including Gorsuch) were a close second.


A useful technique from "street epistemology" is to ask a person with whom you disagree on facts this question: "what information, if it were true, would cause you to change your opinion?"

If their response, after discussion, ends up being basically "there is nothing that could change my mind," then you are wasting your time. Otherwise, you can have an interesting discussion of epistemology, objectivity, and critical thinking in general, and can learn something from one another.


I still still still, for the life of me, don't understand why a large number of people have labelled Hillary "corrupt". Someone please explain?

(am I naive to believe that having a private email server wasn't much of an offense, she was just doing her job in the Benghazi case, and that the Clinton Foundation has only ever meant to do good?)


Seems like a mix of substantial and a lot of unsubstantial stuff.

I think these are some of the substantial issues:

https://theintercept.com/2016/10/11/behind-closed-doors-hill...

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/chelsea-clinton-nbc-60...


I recall someone calling her "crooked Hillary" for a year, I think that may have something to do with it.


A bunch of years ago, I was talking on an online forum about the Scott Pilgrim movie. Someone I was talking to said, very rough paraphrase, "Once, I had some questions about whether I would like the Scott Pilgrim comic. I asked on a comics forum, and the fans of the comic there made it very clear that they thought I was uncool and stupid. So fuck them, I'm not watching this movie."

This was a person who broadly speaking in the target audience for this movie (geeky, likes action comedy movies), and who was trying to punish people who almost certainly didn't know he existed in the least effective possible way by doing something that really deprived only him of any benefit.

When I pointed this out to him, he spent ten forum posts working his way around to some kind of clear ex post facto explanation for why he "wouldn't" like the movie.

So the point of the above anecdote is this: If you make someone feel genuinely hurt/offended/like you don't like them, they will do all kinds of things in reaction to that. What I see in Altman's interlocutors is a lot of people who were like, "The liberals alienated me." And they may have voted in someone who on some level is factually worse for them than the alternative, but they'll justify it to themselves.

(I don't think that this is a unique characteristic of Trump voters. I think basically everyone is prone to getting really offended and engaging in the politics or economics of spite.)


Interesting stuff. It seems to me that one thing hasn't changed over the years: American politics (maybe all politics) involved a huge element of tribalism and "us versus them", "good guys vs bad guys" kind of thinking. People decided "I'm a Republican" or "I'm a Democrat" or "I'm a Green" or "I'm a Libertarian" and everybody else becomes the enemy. And given our first-past-the-post electoral system and the way that tends to drive a two-party system, we get a situation where people are voting against a candidate more than they are voting for the other candidate.

And sadly, while the "two party system" isn't a law-like-gravity, it's so ingrained in our thinking that people just can't bring themselves to consider voting 3rd party, unless they are explicitly part of that niche.

All in all, this is why I think one of the main reforms we need in this country is to switch away from plurality / FPTP voting and using approval voting or Condorcet voting or something along those lines. We need a situation where people who are "voting against Hillary" feel like they can vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, and not feel like Donald Trump is the only option.


> One person in Silicon Valley even asked me to sign a confidentiality agreement before she would talk to me, as she worried she’d lose her job if people at her company knew she was a strong Trump supporter.

I can relate. I did not vote for Trump, but I am right of center & loathe HRC.

I stopped talking about politics at work shortly after getting a job at one of the large tech firms with "oo" in their name, but I'm pretty open about my views on social networks.

Starting on 11/9 I began to fear for my job.

One friend/coworker, very left of center, also very vocal on social networks, set up a work 1/1 with me. A bit odd, as we hadn't interacted in months (moved to different buildings), and asked if I felt responsible now that Trump was president & so many people we work with felt threatened.

A very close (& liberal) friend mentioned that another coworker had started a FB messenger discussion about people in the office who didn't support HRC, asking what to do about them. I honestly have no idea what was said or who was on it, but the close mentioned that she told them I was a good person with various examples -- which was nice, but leaves me questioning what they were asking.

This is all why our executives openly wept about the decisions. We had safe spaces established. Leaders sent out emails to their teams attempting to comfort.

At the advice of others, I just went dark. I hate doing that. I enjoy discussion & learning where I'm wrong. But I realized with kids at home, my top priority is making sure they're taken care of, and when debate isn't welcome, I should just shut up.


A relevant question here seems to be whether people can realize the difference between criticism and a personal attack.

It seems very common that people can't even talk about systems of inequality because simply mentioning that the status quo is unequal is often viewed as more taboo than actually perpetuating the inequality. e.g., there's no sexism in tech.

For example, when identifying institutional racism or sexism, one can be as scientific with data, but it seems that the mere act of suggesting that inequality even exists is painted as a personal attack.

Being pointed to inequality doesn't necessitate that the individual must assume that they're being attacked.

If someone tells me something, it can often mean that the mere fact they're talking to me at all is that they hope I have the capacity to self-examine and change. There isn't much reason to talk if they didn't think I would change at all. It's up to me if I want to construe it at an attack or an opportunity for learning.

Just like the election, it seems that the standard that each political side is held to is not at parity. Certainly, Hillary lacks charisma however, Trump's offenses and career have been, by a reasonable measure, more egregious than Hillary's; the bar she was held to seemed much higher during the election, yet it seemed there was nothing Trump couldn't do and still be elected. It seems that the disparity of expectations is somewhat generalizable to the larger political groups they represent.

From an outside perspective, the American right can perpetuate inequality, but the American left is barely allowed to talk about inequality.


The most worrisome in all the notes for me is this sentence:

Almost everyone I asked was willing to talk to me, but almost none of them wanted me to use their names—even people from very red states were worried about getting “targeted by those people in Silicon Valley if they knew I voted for him”.

People are afraid to talk about their views openly. I think this is really bad. Even here in the HN comments I saw a few people saying basically that "it is not worth discussing anything with someone who don't agree with me". This is really really really bad. If there is one thing I wish will change for the next election is that both sides would listen more to the other side (even if they strongly disagree).


> People are afraid to talk about their views openly. I think this is really bad.

It is very bad, because US institutions (estates, branches of government) are built on the assumption of a level of respect for the opposition - this goes out the window when they are seen as an enemy. Sadly the political polarization in the US has been ongoing for decades now. This is not something that can be "turned off" in one election cycle by "listening" because this did not happen by accident, additionally, incendiary rhetoric can't be disallowed due to the first amendment. I suspect there is a political corollary to Greshams law ("bad rhetoric drives out good rhetoric"?). The right sees the label "liberal" as a slur and a justification to oppose in itself; the left sees the right as idiots who vote against their self-interest.

Polarization is the finer-grained human equivalent of gerrymandering - it provides reliably consistent votes by shifting away from the middle. The media certainly isn't helping.


I want to be constructive about this topic. The /next/ president of the United States should be/campaign on:

    * A new new deal; end 'handouts', make it the government's job to offer productive job placement.
    ** This includes retraining for such
    ** or if that really can't work out (disability/age/etc)
    *** then 'retire' someone (frame the handout with a different name).

    * Simplify taxes (single plugin equation for base tax)
    * Simplify healthcare (everyone has everything, part of taxes)
    ** Deductions / penalties as carrot / stick to encourage behavior.
    ** Make all of the doctors in the area 'bid' (like a dutch auction) to set the price of covered activities.
    ** Free (to the user at the time) contraceptives, planning, and health education.

    * Secondary issue: The rent is too high // commute is too busy.
    ** Caused by lack of urban planning
    ** Poor housing quality/density near jobs
    ** Poor schools near jobs (as a result)
    ** School funding and core skills should be national funding.
    ** Raise the standard of privacy, quality of life, and SIZES of units in cities to make them family friendly.
    ** Increase market competition in cities, to make the rent family friendly.
    ** Get the families that can living closer to their jobs to free up the freeways.

    * Secondary Issue: Transparency (groundwork).
    ** ALL secrets must have an identifying catalog 'number' and 'sunset day'.
    ** A 'sunset day' is when it is automatically no longer classified; auto-released and published openly.
    ** A 'sunset day' cannot be more than 10 years in to the future.
    ** Secrets can be reviewed by an adversarial court process and the 'sunset day' updated (10 years from that day).

    * Secondary Issue: Transparency (budget)
    ** Secrets would be become 'line items' in a given fiscal year's budget.
    ** Top down allocation of resources, until they're hidden in secrets, justified, or pooled up (e.g. office supplies).
    ** Show every person where their tax dollars are going
Have a website where they can put in how much they paid in taxes and see several graphs showing them where things went.


> * A new new deal; end 'handouts', make it the government's job to offer productive job placement.

Would you consider medicine and living arrangements for people who can't work for psychological or physical reasons "a handout"?


I'm trying to use the same language that those who hate the current programs do to get their attention and get them to give a more fair, inclusive, and socially beneficial (people having jobs is good, right?) alternative a fair consideration.

In a literal sense, ANY help from the government. Be it roads, police (military), fire protection, etc; is a handout. The word may as well be meaningless aside from attaching an emotional buzzword response to something.

Please focus on the actual ideas discussed, and not the language (unless commenting on a more effective way of conveying the message with a specific wording).


Also, from a different perspective (and thus another post).

This is a good campaign training question.

"Those who are unfit for any work should be retired from the work force. I think we can all agree that retirees often need assistance with living safely and still deserve a rich environment to have a fulfilling life experience."


After a cursory read-through, I can find nothing in that list that I would support - and nothing that would appeal to the majority of those on the right.


What would your ideal candidate focus on?


Reducing the size and scope of government.


I don't believe you've identified a target goal, merely a target direction.


I think it's a huge problem that liberals keep demonizing conservatives, and I think this does a good job of exemplifying that. If we socially shun people for their political beliefs, then they're just going to find a home at the fringes of society where people have the most extreme views. The best way to change people's minds is to welcome them in with open arms.

Liberals need to start forgiving people and accept that saying or doing a bad thing doesn't make you a bad person. And more importantly, supporting a politician who has done bad things also doesn't make you a bad person.


"He's not politically correct."

I think this is important. Among the many problems with PC is this:

When you exclude an idea from discussion, you don't eliminate that idea. You drive it underground into an echo chamber where it gathers strength and resurfaces later.

Censorship -- even of a soft de-facto variety -- creates the impression that your position is weak. The censored idea starts to develop the mystique of a forbidden truth. You can see this very obviously in the whole "red pill" thing. In the original Matrix film, the red pill was a metaphor for forbidden knowledge.

An analogy would be to the war on drugs. Forbidding drugs makes them alluring and cool and creates a drug subculture. Forbidding discussion of nationalism, race, and gender has made race nationalism and gender determinism into forbidden, cool ideas that mark one as a holder of privileged secret knowledge.

On another note:

I know a number of Trump supporters. Here's what I have heard:

(1) Economic concerns are an issue. One person said (paraphrasing) "He's against outsourcing. He could eat a baby on live TV and I'd vote for him. I'll vote for Satan if he'll do something about outsourcing."

(2) A lot of Trump supporters I know just hate the system and wanted to cast a "fuck you" vote. They don't love Trump per se but hope he'll do a lot of damage to the existing international financial and political order.

(3) A lot of people hate globalism, or at least globalism the way it's turned out. It's viewed as a path to corporate feudalism. These folks hope Trump will set back globalism and restore national sovereignty.

(4) Some people just hate the Clintons and blame them for the 2008 crisis (repeal of Glass-Steagal) etc., so they voted against Hillary more than for Trump. Some also hate the Clintons for taking the nomination from Bernie Sanders. I know a few Sanders voters who voted Trump.


"He's not politically correct."

It's as if people who rage against political correctness don't understand what it means. It means showing respect and being polite and not using pejoratives. That's all.


That's a gross simplification. It is used to shutdown opposing viewpoints, particularly on college campuses.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/what-it...


Like "redneck" and "hick" and "white trash"?

That's the other thing I think people are reacting to. There's a double standard where it's okay to slur rural white Americans but nobody else.

IMHO it's about classism as opposed to racism. Racism is taboo in American discourse but classism and urban elitism (placeism?) are not.

Maybe the answer is to define PC as you do and extend it to cover classism, placeism, and reverse stereotyping. Maybe it should just be taboo to be an asshole.


To cry double-standard here is to have completely missed the point


I thought it was taboo to be an asshole. Hence the term "asshole".


In most human cultures and subcultures it is acceptable to be an asshole to out-groups.

My point was that your average left-leaning person is not immune from this.


Not from our perspective. It means pre-emptive censorship and ridicule.


> "He will preserve our culture."

It's worth reflecting on how often we all worry about preserving culture. It's a frequent concern here on HN, it's a frequent concern inside every company I've worked in that is growing. As much as I dislike Trump, and as much as it feels like racism, I can see why this concern about culture really resonates with a lot of people, and what ways my liberal leaning family and friends share the same concerns in their own lives.


Is a side-effect of the Technology used to communicate exacerbating this disharmony? What is tech's role in supplementing The Media's responsibility for supporting countrywide-conversations? Can better communication tech be developed?

Instead of in-person conversations we have: Talking heads on TV (one way communication) encouraging subordination to the stronger will / better dressed. Twitter's "less is more" short messages (incomplete thoughts) encourage shouting. Typing "fire and forget" missives on Blogs / Facebook (writing is a challenge, intellectually, and physically to a degree) encourages dumping of an overly architected, precipitous idea. Picture / meme sharing (paste politician head on snake body) encouraging entertainment at the expense of compassion. Emoting via "Thumbs-Up'ping" (iconic representation of human emotional reaction) encourages mob mentality.

How do "the right" learn what "the left" thinks / how they react?

What is the next phase of communication technology can facilitate? More airplanes to fly Sam, and the rest of us around, so we can talk more with our fellow citizens?

It is insufficient to say "the problem is the media." Be specific. Communicating feelings involves nuance and experiential association.

> FROM: "What do you think about the left’s response so far?" > “You need to give us an opportunity to admit we may have been wrong without saying we’re bad people. I am already thinking I made a mistake, but I feel ostracized from my community.” > > “The left is more intolerant than the right.” Note: This concept came up a lot, with real animosity in otherwise pleasant conversations. > > “Stop calling us racists. Stop calling us idiots. We aren’t. Listen to us when we try to tell you why we aren’t. Oh, and stop making fun of us.” > > “I’d love to see one-tenth of the outrage about the state of our lives out here that you have for Muslims from another country. You have no idea what our lives are like.” > > “I’m so tired of hearing about white privilege. I’m white, but way less privileged than a black person from your world. I have no hope my life will ever get any better.”


I don't think these people see themselves as Trump Supporters, that is a new label invented to describe those who have views that don't align with rest of the herd.

Who I voted for is nobody's business... but I am definitely not supporter of Trump, I also don't support most of the things and hysteria surrounding newly elected president. I also don't feel like I can talk to people who got caught in the fervor of elections. So, you don't really have to be TS to experience alienation from mainstream media.


I understand all the sentiment, but one thing that Trump supporters haven't done is send him a message that they don't agree with his extreme views and his constant undermining of democratic societies. For example, there are a number of "one issue" voters for Trump - one individual only cares about abortion and another hates PC so much that voting for Trump was important. But with that decision, you are also validating Trump's extreme agenda and empowering his dangerous supporters like Bannon and David Duke. I would appreciate if Trump supporters in his rally were able to call him out when doles out lies (e.g., Sweden incident) or organize to keep him focused on what they voted for.

P.S: I never understand why people are so agitated over PC. Having being in raised in a country with no PC, I would much rather have an excess of PC rather than being yelled racist epithets on my face


> I would much rather have an excess of PC rather than being yelled racist epithets on my face

Both are extreme and unproductive behaviors. One side screams racist epithets at you, the other screams accusations of racism at you. Neither helps. Only sincere and rational conversation helps.


Trump got less votes than Romney.

Republicans are always going to vote Republican - the major issues are essentially irreconcilable. The Democrats don't need to listen to them, they need to field better candidates so that the left gets out and votes.


I like that Trump voters know that he is a mixed bag of nuts.

You should follow up by speaking to Hilary voters/supporters. This exercise is incomplete without that part of the equation.


One thing that jumped out for me is the pervasiveness of white fragility. For example: Stop being politically correct. I'm white but I'm not privileged. Stop calling us racists.

If you're not familiar with this term, White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress be- comes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation.

http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116

[edit: Can someone explain why this comment is being downvoted?]


You're being downvoted because it's despicable to create and bandy about a scientific-sounding term like "white fragility" in a conversation that people are sincerely trying to have.

You're effectively removing yourself from any such discussion on these topics and creating an image of a psychologist analyzing the others in the discussion. Be part of the conversation, don't just step back and slap passive-aggressive labels on the participants.


Ok, you object to be using what appears to be a categorical label rather than engaging directly with the comment. That's fair, though "despicable" seems rather judgemental


I'm not sure I buy this argument. In my experience, many people in the left try to shut down any disagreement by using privilege as a red herring. It's silly to expect people to accept that. It's even sillier to diagnose resistance to that as some kind of endemic societal issue


White fragility is a wonderful neologism. Too many people debating the concept of white privilege, so we had to go and pathologize that side of the debate.


Its not pathologizing a side of the debate to recognize actual emotional over-reaction. And I can recognize that response without shutting down debate.


Not sure why you are being downvoted... That was very clear for me as I was reading through the answers and the definition for "white fragility" seens to fit well with the case.


Ah, it's not white privilege anymore, now the term du jour is white fragility. I can't keep up with this stuff...


Gasp, you mean people of opposing beliefs actually have a reason for those beliefs and aren't just (all) idiots!? This is a great example of the impact of an echo chamber. It suddenly becomes an enlightening event to learn that opponents aren't actually monsters or bogeymen.

I, for one, hope one result of these sorts of "revelations" is the re-emergence of the importance of real tolerance. Not the pseudo-acceptance that is the mainstay of today, but the belief that we should be free to harbor opposing views without being immediately attacked, exiled, shamed, etc. And not just for the current winners (or losers), which is the boomerang we're seeing now.


My experience is pretty much the same. Trump supporters are basically against immigrants and immigration. Basically nationalists. They are not stupid, less educated, poor, etc.

And we should be careful with appeasement of evil policies because we are "mocking them". I.e., being spineless democrats...


Anti-immigrant nationalism is counterproductive. That being said, I've asked some Trump supporters over the election about immigration. The general feeling was that legal immigration is fine, it's the line jumpers they see as violating our immigration system and the rule of law.


It's fascinating to me how many of the likes listed are feelings-based arguments and how many of the nervous/dislikes are more based on specific events and evidence.

Granted, as noted they are narratives so it's hard to say if that's some kind of bias in how it's put together or even my own bias in reading it.

Even still, it struck me as interesting how much more cold and logical the dislikes/nervous items were in their appraisal of a presidential candidate.


“We need borders at every level of our society.”

I'd like to know more about what the respondent meant by that exactly. (UK resident)

Longer transcripts generally might be more illuminating.


the dichotomy that trips me up time and again is that trump supporters (as evidenced in these anecdotes) are much more concerned about feelings: fearfulness, isolation, encroachment, insult, loss of status, etc.

but lefties are more interested in policy-making, i.e, what's the right rules and regulations to implement to solve social and economic problems (with an air of superiority of having the "right answer" coming along with that).

it's an easy way to talk past each other rather than truly empathizing (mainly sitting and listening rather than offering solutions).

let's keep hearing stories from neglected america and it just might help heal this rift.


> but lefties are more interested in policy-making

Boy, we'd like to think so, wouldn't we?


Making fun of people is not a good way to learn about them or work with them. We all learn this in grade school, but we seem to forget it when we talk on Twitter or on TV. If your presupposition before entering a conversation is that the other side is crazy or stupid, you're not going to achieve any sort of real communication.


Interesting. Even with the title, and some of the points he made around "seriously disagreeing with some of these people" I found this to be fairly well balanced and interesting. This quote really scares me, and something I've considered true since Obama was first elected. Some people are truly scared to share their political opinions in public. We should be worried about that. "Almost everyone I asked was willing to talk to me, but almost none of them wanted me to use their names — even people from very red states were worried about getting "targeted by those people in Silicon Valley if they knew I voted for him." One person in Silicon Valley even asked me to sign a confidentiality agreement before she would talk to me, as she worried she'd lose her job if people at her company knew she was a strong Trump supporter."


This was a good read. I think we need more of this. More listening and less demonizing. I too was dismissive of Trump supporters throughout the election. Over the last several months I have started to better understand where they are coming from. Living in Japan has helped me understand why people worry about immigration and cultural preservation. I have conversed with a lot of 'alt-right' people lately too and tried to find common ground and understand their viewpoints. We don't have to agree, but we need to be able to talk.