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America is moving toward becoming a better version of itself (theatlantic.com)
82 points by lunchbreak 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 137 comments



Of course this is true. If anyone is naive enough to believe America is a hellish wasteland of terrible politics, and that that transfers to overall Quality of Life metrics for society as a whole, they might be surprised by this. Any honest look at data on employment, QoL, services available for free or very cheaply in the lives of the average citizen, there are many reasons for optimism.

Personally, I try to cut from my media diet any purely speculative or fear-driven content. Instead of telling us what might happen in the future if this policy comes down the pipe, maybe tell us about what's already happened recently, what the data shows us about the most important issues. To me, these are issues like the opioid epidemic, not what a politician wrote on Twitter recently. Another example would be focusing extensively on negative coverage, like opioids, and ignoring positive trends made in science, technology, and culture - who wants to read about the daily incremental improvements in life?


I look at the opioid epidemic as a symptom, not the problem itself. The broader problem is globalization and the local inequalities it's producing. The Heartland of the United States is being hollowed out and turned into a desolate wasteland, economically speaking. The steady advances in economic productivity are accruing to an ever-shrinking proportion of the population.

The media-political circus should also be taken seriously as a problem because it distracts people from focusing on the real issues. The recent focus on privacy on Facebook is a good example of that. The real problem with Facebook is that it's designed to be addictive, that it's making people depressed and angry, and that it's politically polarizing people who ought to have common interests.


Raising the specter of globalization ultimately is just hand-waving the problem away. For example, when are we determining that globalization began? If we claim in the 1990's than how does that explain a similar hollowing out effect suffered by urban black America in the previous decades? If we decide to go back to Columbus, well that certainly isn't going to explain anything.

Unfortunately many explanations look outward or cast blame on shadowy groups ("The Elites") and refuse to look at decisions made by Americans themselves. There is no consideration of voting against interests in favor of culture war issues. No discussion of the movement away from organized labor and activism. Refusal to evaluate the consequences of an "Every Day Low Price" consumerism that demands the lowest cost of products.

I'm not trying to absolve globalization of responsibility, rather I'm trying to say that it's not helpful to point the finger at it and refuse to look deeper.


Opioid addiction is because opioids make you feel really good and they are really addictive and they had a tendency to be overprescribed. Blaming the economy for opioids is like blaming airplanes for AIDS.

As far as the wasteland heartland, I am not sure if Texas is included in the heartland, but the Texas economy is one of the biggest in the world — about as large as the GDP of Canada and larger than that of South Korea. Basically Texas is the 9th or 10th largest economy in the world. California is 5th or 6th. The state of Ohio’s economy is only slightly smaller than the entire country of Belgium.

The desolate wastelands are in the non-major cities and towns of Europe. Avignon France, for example, in the city center, has blocks and blocks of boarded up storefronts. Unemployment in Avignon is over 15% and only 35% even earn enough to have to pay income tax. Gary, Indiana, about as heartland as it gets, has a 7.6% unemployment rate — a rate that is declining. By European standards of GDP, disposable income and unemployment, Gary is a boomtown.

Don’t just consume the NPR-worthy stories of the death of the US heartland. Remember, most media outlets in the vein of the Atlantic, NPR, etc., they are typically coastal elites who have barely ever visited the heartland, let alone actually lived or worked there. They are also an echo chamber pushing an when’d a of a certain political persuasion, so it helps their narrative when “fly-over country” isn’t doing well.


Its possible to use opioids safely with the correct social support structures in place. Rituals, best practices, etc.

Theres a difference between using a drug as part of a positive experience, and habitual constant use to numb pain (whether physical, psychological, or sociological.)

https://harvardmagazine.com/2000/03/deep-cravings.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1247121 >The authors present five case histories illustrating controlled use of opiates ("chipping"). Long-term chippers tend to develop consistent social use patterns that permit and also limit use. The authors conclude that controlled use of opiates is possible and that large numbers of people are involved in such use, although they are hard to locate and identify. Controlled users are differentiated from compulsive users more by their development and maintenance of social drug use rituals than by such variables as availability of the drug and personality and family background of the user.


What media outlets do you recommend that we look to for a more accurate assessment?


The local papers of the regions in question. Certainly not elitist echo-chambers like the Atlantic — a publication that preaches diversity but fires their only conservative writer before he spent five minutes working for them.

But coastal publications trying to write about the heartland is as absurd as a small town Texas paper writing about Brooklyn.


I agree that the Atlantic is left leaning, although I'm not sure I would call it an elitist echo chamber.

That said, I don't agree with your premise that coastal publications can't write about the heartland.

I can see why you might dismiss a local paper from a coastal city writing about what goes on in the heartland, as you like to call it, but the biggest national newspapers in our country happen to be coastal publications.

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, and LA times have been writing about the whole country (the whole world, actually) for many years. They can afford to send people anywhere in the world to research their stories. They can consult basically any expert they want on any subject. There's a reason local papers go out of business all of the time or get bought out by a larger paper.

It's absurd to compare a small town Texas paper writing about Brooklyn to papers like those I mention above. They have resources and experience that small town papers simply don't have.

I'm also not sure you know how NPR works. A lot of their coverage comes from the local member stations which seems to be exactly what you want, but you refer to NPR as coastal elites anyways.


> The broader problem is globalization

No it isn't.

>the local inequalities it's producing.

That's not caused by globalism.


>What explains the gulf between most Americans’ hopeful outlook on areas and institutions they know directly and their despair about the country they know only through the news?

The fundamental attribution error[1]

[1] http://ethicsunwrapped.utexas.edu/glossary/fundamental-attri...


You pretty much summed up what I was thinking the entire time I was reading the article. The average person will say, "Oh yeah... WE'RE doing a GREAT job! We're doing what we need to do to make progress, and things are improving for us."

And then they'll say, "It's all those OTHER people and places that are being jerks!"

I wish people could better see where other people are coming from so to speak.


> What explains the gulf between most Americans’ hopeful outlook on areas and institutions they know directly and their despair about the country they know only through the news?

In their anthropological foray, they notice that people generally get along with local people in local contexts. That's certainly true.

A lot of the acrimony, tribalism, and fear comes from the growing divisiveness of American culture at large.

The fact that The Atlantic needs to don some pith helmets and mix with the locals is itself indicative of the problem. Kudos to the authors for actually doing so, but these aren't migrants trying to learn how to be American. These are people born and raised in America who are somehow on the outside of what The Atlantic considers to be America.

> There is of course evidence that this has happened, in the form of the bigotry that has been unleashed since 2017.

And, ironically, The Atlantic ignores the bigotry [1] it contributes to the situation. The Kevin Williamson incident [2] is very recent and is literally a failed attempt to actually include different kinds of perspectives in The Atlantic. And it seems the institutes of journalism aren't exactly interested, in general, in doing the journalism to accurately represent Williamson's views on the matter [3]. By the way, Kevin Williamson is from these places and writes with a unique take on how these places are and how they could be better.

So when you live in these places and you see hatred for people like you, how are you supposed to be optimistic and excited about the prospects for your children and grandchildren?

[1] "stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own"

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/bigotry

[2] https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-the-twitter-mob-came-for-m...

[3] https://www.weeklystandard.com/kevin-williamson/what-new-yor...


"...So when you live in these places and you see hatred for people like you, how are you supposed to be optimistic and excited about the prospects for your children and grandchildren?..."

Yeah... but that's been going on forever. You see that with Muslims recently. We've seen that with hispanics. Further back, of course, we've been seeing it with blacks and native americans for a long time. That will ALWAYS happen.

The trick is to work out a way to keep moving forward even in the face of tribalism. Because I'm not entirely certain that we can eliminate tribalism. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I'm not sure that I will be.


> Because I'm not entirely certain that we can eliminate tribalism.

It's fair to say tribalism has always been around. And from that perspective, the current tribalism, including left-wing identity politics, is extremely reactionary.

A few things are, if not new, at least notable in this case:

* These people aren't historically outsiders, they're "heartland" Americans.

* The cultural narrative hasn't caught up to the cultural reality yet. For example, if child of meth heads grows up to be president, he's yet another privileged white president, not an outsider who overcame adversity. "Multicultural" attitudes group him in with Warren Buffett.

* There's no language, even to describe white people short on privilege. There are certainly slurs, but nothing you'd put on a questionnaire.

* The general direction of American culture has been to include more and more, however slowly. This is certainly a regression in that respect. And it seems to be accompanied by an abandonment of the ideal of inclusion qua inclusion. Instead, we seem to have a list of historically disadvantaged groups, telling newly disadvantaged groups that they already had their chance. Again, this is nonsense to an unemployed daughter of opiate addicts.


You're absolutely right, but HN users don't realize that most of America exists outside of their ideological bubble.

> For example, if child of meth heads grows up to be president, he's yet another privileged white president, not an outsider who overcame adversity.

It's racism and nothing else. Thing is, it's OK to be racist nowadays, as long as you're a liberal.

Edit: to the guy quoting the dictionary below me, this is racism in a really obvious way. It is "prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race" and it's not okay just because you don't explicitly declare your race superior.


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Louis Farrakhan. Joy Reid. Hillary Clinton (who once famously called young black males ‘predators.’) Joe Biden, who called Barrack Obama a “clean, articulate” black candidate in contrast to the implied “uncleanliness” of one of the first black presidential candidates, Jesse Jackson.

Then there is the soft bigotry of low expectations that’s famous among the left: “oh, these people are of a certain. race, so we don’t expect them to be able to pass this test or accomplish this goal.”

Bigotry and racism on the left is not as obvious, but I would argue, even more insidious.


>Louis Farrakhan. Joy Reid. Hillary Clinton

These people were called out (or continue to be called out) for their actions and words, and unlike their counter parts on the right had the intelligence to correct for it. Whether you believe it to be sincere is kind of irrelevant, so I'm just going to stave off that talking point right there. Notable "leftist" institutions like the SPLC track such statements and view points and won't play disingenuous games with who they point a spotlight on.

>but I would argue, even more insidious.

Please do. I'd love to see how "bigotry" on the left is somehow equivalent to the decades of economic and social policies advanced by the right+ in the U.S.; policies that have quite literally decimated entire communities across the nation via incarceration, lack of education, and lack of capital access.


Decades? Because decades ago, people like Robert Byrd, one of Hillary Clinton’s mentors was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Democrats took up civil rights because it was politically expedient to do so. But they have been far from leaders when it comes to civil rights. Martin Luther King, Jr was a Republican. The Democrat party has used black people. Look at the recent history. How many black congressmen were given committee chairmanships when Democrats controlled Congress? How many black people have ever had significant party leadership positions other than Obama?

And what economic policies are racist in the US? If you admit that there are racist economic policies, then you are admitting that black people are somehow a homogenous group — which is itself racist. Black people aren’t different from white people, suggesting that they need special economic consideration is insulting.

Poor people isn’t analogous with black people, despite what Democrats would have you think.


>people like Robert Byrd, one of Hillary Clinton’s mentors was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Byrd#Ku_Klux_Klan

> But they have been far from leaders when it comes to civil rights. Martin Luther King, Jr was a Republican.

No he wasn't. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr.#Politic...

>then you are admitting that black people are somehow a homogenous group — which is itself racist

No that's not what that means at all, it means policies were targeted specifically at black people. "You're the REAL racist." is not a great talking point and further illustrates what an absolute loon you are.

>Poor people isn’t analogous with black people, despite what Democrats would have you think.

How confused do you have to be to make this statement with sincerity?


Again, not racism. It's being stereotypical.

Dictionary definition:

>prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.


How would eliminating the tribalism subroutine benefit the species? Is a homogeneous global population the most resilient?


Society and civilization is basically what comes out of setting aside tribalism. Tribalism doesn't mean heterogeneity, it means accepting people outside of your tribe as a potential valuable to you, instead of treating them as default dangerous.


>Society and civilization is basically what comes out of setting aside tribalism. Tribalism doesn't mean heterogeneity, it means accepting people outside of your tribe as a potential valuable to you, instead of treating them as default dangerous.

Plenty of societies have extremely durable, endogamous tribal identifiers and they got along fine. This is true of India, China, The Ottoman Empire, and so on.

India, in particular, has some of the most durable and persistent forms of tribalism around, with castes having remained largely endogamus for centuries or more despite living, working, and trading with each other routinely.

Yet this didn't prevent them from alternating with China (itself extremely tribally divided despite the modern attempts to sweep it under the rug and cohere a "Han" nationality) at being the 1st or 2nd most prosperous civilization in the world for most of human history.


Yes: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000632070...

But more broadly, that's likely also true for culture and knowledge.


I look around me and have neighbors from dozens of cultures and backgrounds, hundreds of opinions and all walks of life. Young, old, sick, healthy, everything in between. How is this homogeneous?


I also remember a time when human decency wasn't shrouded in the pejorative "political correctness".

Both myself and the leadership of The Atlantic listened to what Kevin Williamson said. I think it speaks for itself.


> I also remember a time when human decency wasn't shrouded in the pejorative "political correctness".

Not sure what you're getting at with this rhetoric (no wonder you're a fan of vague, politically-correct statements -- I have no idea what the second part of your comment means). People don't like political correctness because it's a manipulation tool of policy makers, used to misdirect and to prevent unwanted discussion -- like with e.g. the illegal immigration problem, which no one dared bring up before You-Know-Who. Political correctness is also a cowardly and intellectually dishonest mode of discourse.


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Definition of injustice are pretty broad and situational, wouldn't you agree? And besides, breaking down the actual phrase, it means to act within the "correctness" of the political climate du jour. Depending on the power brokers you subscribe to, that could mean a variety of things. Not aimed at you, but the overblown sense of agency and importance that people give their own definitions seems to be part of the problem.


>Depending on the power brokers you subscribe to, that could mean a variety of things.

It's usage and definition is well understood when used by members of a certain political faction in the U.S. It's not a mystery. Exact same thing when these specific people use "SJW" as a pejorative.


If someone identified as a "SJW" is causing friction between groups by trying to implement their beliefs, it seems only natural the group feeling aggressed against would use that term pejoratively. What makes either side's beliefs 'correct' and above reproach?


>What makes either side's beliefs 'correct' and above reproach?

Elementary philosophy backed by practical history and experience?

>it seems only natural the group feeling aggressed against

Yes because disavowing racism, sexism, and genocide is "aggressive."


This post engages in the myth that there exists an America homogenous enough that all of it can suitably be represented by a single media outlet...and when it isn't something nefarious (in this case leftist elitism) is at work.

The problem isn't The Atlantic or the National Review providing specific, sometimes narrow views. The problem is the lack of intellectual curiosity, confirmation bias, and tribalism engaged in by many political consumers.


I don't need The Atlantic to be all things to all people. I'm just pointing out that it's rich to fire Williamson the way they did and then send out a fact-finding mission to discover what people like Williamson think.


Thank you for using the correct definition of "bigotry."

The general population seems to confuse "bigot" only with "racist" or "sexist," for some reason.


The dictionary definition simply isn't accurate to modern usage. 19th century uses of "bigot" are mostly about what we would call a "religious zealot" or "fundamentalist". By the 21st century, most "bigot" references are closer to "xenophobe". It seems to have taken on the meaning of "racist or sexist or homophobic etc.," a generic term for anyone with prejudiced views.

This semantic drift is convenient for those who would like to equivocate between "ideologue" and "xenophobe" and pretend that they are basically the same thing, or necessarily as bad as one another.


They didn't though. Williamson wasn't fired because the Atlantic readers hate white conservative opinion writers, he was fired because Atlantic readers aren't very interested in his particular views.


What you're saying would make sense if he was there for three years, as opposed to, what, three days?


It's still not really "intolerant" to choose not to elevate a particular viewpoint.

People saying Williamson shouldn't be allowed to publish anything anywhere are obviously being intolerant. People saying they'd rather not subscribe to a publication that pays him to expound on vile views? Meh.


Would you mind clarifying which vile views you are referring to?


The Twitter mob that got him fired != the Atlantic's subscriber base.


Which is a textbook definition of bigotry. They're intolerant of, thus do not want to read, his views.


Uninterested != intolerant

You can scream your opinion on topic X all day long, but no one has to listen. That doesn't make them intolerant.


He was employed for what, a week? How did The Atlantic's readership find him uninteresting in that amount of time? And anyway, his hiring made quite an uproar with many of the Atlantic's readership, suggesting they were _very_ interested, but also _very_ intolerant to the end that he was fired. The "uninterested" line doesn't float.


They're not interested because they want an echo-chamber. This is just intolerance, aka bigotry, with extra steps.

It wasn't as if the man's writings were just panned. It was a typical social justice morality crusade.


> This is just intolerance, aka bigotry, with extra steps.

Here we have the classic case of interpreting a definition so loose that it gets useless. Everyone is intolerant of something. I'm intolerant of murderers, so by that textbook definition I'm a bigot, but then everyone would be a bigot and we end up with a synonym for "human" - Is that helpful in a discussion?


No, this isn't a case of that. This is the classic Social Justice Jihadi pillorying someone with an opinion that isn't on the approved list. The man was a writer for a week and was removed because he committed a thought crime.

You're just being needlessly obtuse.


You are equating being pro-life and unconventionally anti-execution with being a murderer.


No idea what he has to say for himself in the wsj since it's behind a paywall, but I did google him. I wasn't familiar with any of this but if this is accurate:

It was Mr. Williamson’s hard-line stance on abortion — namely, that it should be treated as premeditated homicide and punished accordingly, perhaps by hanging — that generated the initial controversy over his hiring.

Well, you know, his time at The Atlantic wasn't destined to end well. Their readers aren't going to allow them to turn into Newsmax.

It's mostly distressing that a lunatic like that can get the time of day, let alone a paying job as an opinion writer. Speaking of "tribalism," I don't think his views are likely representative of his own "tribe." It's just that the discourse has degraded to the point where plenty of people get off on hearing something they think will offend the right people.


> It's mostly distressing that a lunatic like that can get the time of day, let alone a paying job as an opinion writer.

That's who you've got remaining on the right. Take a look at sane conservative writers like Jennifer Rubin at the Post. She wrote as a conservative for years under Obama, and now she's suddenly labeled a leftist traitor now that she's critical of Trump. She didn't change, her party did.

Or just look at the economy. Fox News can't find reputable economists to come on air and say a trillion dollar tax cut and increased spending by a trillion is going to balance the budget. No one will say that because it's nonsense, yet that is the policy they have to sell.

Or look at the President's legal team. You'd think a billionaire President would have the pick of the biggest DC firms to represent him in the case of the century. But he is left scraping for guys like Sekulow.

The only people willing to toe a line like that are extremists, or people who are easily duped. Not people you would label experts or competent.

It's what Brennan meant when he called the US a kakistocracy - a government by the shittiest.


Have you taken the time to investigate KDW's actual views on abortion or capital punishment? Are you aware that he opposes capital punishment? Have you ever read some of his columns? Do you know that he's the walking, talking definition of a Never-Trumper? Have you ever read some of his brilliant theater reviews for The New Criteron? Have you read his excoriating, searing take down of white identity politics and the populist right (The White-Minstrel Show)? Have you read his heartbreaking and nuanced piece of the opioid epidemic (How Prescription-Drug Abuse Unleashed a Heroin Epidemic)?

Edit: removed personal comment.


I don't remember attacking you personally, so I'd appreciate if you didn't attack me. I'm not going to engage with this kind of response.

I'll just close by saying yes, I have read much of what you mention, and maybe that says something about you that you would immediately assume and then attack based on wrong assumptions. Maybe some time for some introspection?


If someone links you to article, you can generally get through the paywall, so here is Williamson's own take on his situation:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-the-twitter-mob-came-for-m...

The short summary is that he actually does not believe that abortion should be punished by hanging as you suggest. An excerpt:

"The purported reason for our “parting ways,” as Mr. Goldberg put it in his announcement, had nothing to do with what I’d written in my inaugural piece. The problem was a six-word, four-year-old tweet on abortion and capital punishment and a discussion of that tweet in a subsequent podcast. I had responded to a familiar pro-abortion argument: that pro-lifers should not be taken seriously in our claim that abortion is the willful taking of an innocent human life unless we are ready to punish women who get abortions with long prison sentences. It’s a silly argument, so I responded with these words: “I have hanging more in mind.”

Trollish and hostile? I’ll cop to that, though as the subsequent conversation online and on the podcast indicated—to say nothing of the few million words of my published writing available to the reading public—I am generally opposed to capital punishment. I was making a point about the sloppy rhetoric of the abortion debate, not a public-policy recommendation. Such provocations can sometimes clarify the terms of a debate, but in this case, I obscured the more meaningful questions about abortion and sparked the sort of hysteria I’d meant to point out and mock."


> The short summary is that he actually does not believe that abortion should be punished by hanging as you suggest. An excerpt:

It wasn't really my suggestion, it was a quote from a larger NYT article. Sorry, I should have sited it, but it hardly seems crucial to what I was saying: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/business/media/kevin-will...

Evidently the decision to fire him was informed by more than a single ill-considered statement. (Of course it was.) Let's be honest, from the viewpoint of an Atlantic editor, hiring a guy who thinks it's a funny joke to make would have been as bad as hiring a guy who actually believes it. The problem appears to be that The Atlantic did not do proper due diligence before hiring. That is bad for everyone concerned.


> Let's be honest, from the viewpoint of an Atlantic editor, hiring a guy who thinks it's a funny joke to make would have been as bad as hiring a guy who actually believes it.

The Atlantic hired Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is far more extreme on the other side of things. It wouldn't have hurt to have someone to counterbalance him.


Te-Nehasi Coates went from being a nobody to a prominent writer during his tenure at The Atlantic. It's possible their readership would enjoy a conservative "counterbalance" of some kind in addition to the conservative contributors they currently employ, but if there's a group that's likely to be offended in a big way by jokes (or sincere, heartfelt positions) that involve hanging people, this is it. The only anomaly here is that the guy was hired in the first place.

> far more extreme on the other side of things

If you say so.


Ta-Nehisi Coates is not trolling. I cant recall a single trolling article from him. He is serious. And also, there was nothing that striked me as extreme in his articles. He is also remarkably not emotional in his writing - he does not go out of his way to elicit emotional response the way Williamson does.

Nor he is having serious argument, pardon joking, pardon serious, oh really just a joke but I kinda mean it in his writing.


He didn't say it was funny. He said it was ridicule. Getting people all worked up in their ignorance was the goal. His error was being too effective in practice.


What you've described sounds a lot more like a candidate for an AM radio gig than The Atlantic. You've got to wonder if the editor in chief vetted him at all.


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Indeed. I don't have the slightest sympathy for his views but hiring an opinion writer and immediately firing him because you've discovered his opinion and his writing is quite ridiculous.


Williamson was making a more pointed and subtle point. You probably missed it.

Part of the key is that Williamson is generally against the death penalty. He is regularly tongue in cheek and hyperbolic.

He is certainly against ex post facto punishment.


No I get it and it's not subtle and talk like that leads to actual violence by people who don't care about subtlety. It's no different than joking about saying second amendment people ought to protest this political official we disagree with. Gleaned from Rand Corp statistics - https://www.cnn.com/2015/11/30/us/anti-abortion-violence/ind...


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Please don't post ideological rants to HN, regardless of how wrong somebody is. It's what we're trying to avoid here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


This isn't about whether you agree or disagree with KDW. It's about the cowardly smearing he endured and the fact that Jeff Goldberg, the so called "editor-in-chief" of The Atlantic, is not really the editor-in-chief at all, his staffers and the Twitter mob are.

People are forgetting that KDW did NOT apply to work at The Atlantic, he did NOT actively set about getting a job there, he was contacted and recruited by The Atlantic, by the so called "editor-in-chief", they WANTED him there and extended him an offer.

His comments and views about abortion were public; he didn't mince words or attempt to conceal or walk back his comments. Knowing all this, the Atlantic extended him an offer, and then dumped him when the twitter mob went berserk.

They smeared KDW, they gave into the mob, they acted like cowards, and they should be shamed for publicly ridiculed by by sides of the political aisle for their behavior.


Then stop reading The Atlantic. Voila, problem solved.

Unless you’re running low and need a new source to feed your outrage addiction.

Update:

What was your response to MSNBC booting Sam Seder over his Polanski tweet (tasteless joke)?

Sorry, I don’t do corporate media, took me a while to remember enough details to google this example.

I’m sure there’s acres of examples. From my time, it was Fox News shutting down the Ayre (dairy cow) whistle blowers.

Just curious if your outrage is equal opportunity or selective.

For my part, I still haven’t forgiven The Atlantic for getting Cheney elected and pimping the 2nd Iraq War. Cracks me up that the alt-right hates them now. No good deed goes unpunished.


Again, you missed the point. It isn't about outrage or my stance on abortion (I'm pro-choice). It's that The Atlantic caved into the Twitter mob, and cowardly backtracked even though KDW's views were public.

The firing of Sam Seder was absurd and wrong, but I don't see any parallels with the KDW fiasco. I'm not interested in firing people over this or that Tweet or "edgy" political view. It's the same reason why I'm not calling for the firing of the Fresno State professor whose been in the news lately.


Ok. I reread your first reply. I don’t think you’re being cynical enough.

I believe, but could never prove, that Seder and KDW and the like were fired because they fell out of favor with their pay masters, and the faux outrage is the public justification.

Like you said, there were no revelations. Ellsburg explains this phenomenon in his thesis about the structure (economics) of presidential scandals. Mix-in equal measures of The 48 Laws of Power and the attention economy, and you get these silly popularity contests.

It’s kabukis all the way down.


In a nutshell:

Except for all the problems, this place is great!

That's the way it's been since the start and likely will be as far as we can tell.

Now let me tell you about how I traveled all over the place and talked to people who are the salt of the earth.


I agree with this sentiment, with some caveats.

I think Americans are totally done with identity politics based on race, gender, religion, sexuality, etc. We’ve had those arguments and the battle lines were drawn, but at the end of the day we all just live our lives. There seems to have developed somewhat of a “gentleman’s agreement” in most public spaces (explicitly political forums like protests notwithstanding) along be lines of “don’t provoke me for my religious beliefs and I won’t provoke you for your homosexuality”.

I do still think we have a long way towards navigating those differences as they play out on an interpersonal level. A classic example is sexual harassment in the workplace: women are justifiably upset by it, but men are also upset at the blowback. Fact is, it’s pretty easy for a man to be threatening to a woman without realizing he is — most men don’t understand how much the sheer size/strength difference intimidates most women when emotions get heated. Navigating this environment takes empathy from both sides and is something that has to be established on a person-to-person basis.

IMO this is just the new normal. There was a time when people could hide their differences, but with social media and such I’m not sure that’s reasonable. So we actually have to learn to navigate the differences rather than pretending they don’t exist.

That, in my mind, is progress.


>I think Americans are totally done with identity politics based on race, gender, religion, sexuality

I don't see that happening at all, that would be nice, but that's not the general direction. I think things are getting worse as far as that's concerned. Society is polarizing and separating into different groups. At this point it is almost impossible to talk to the "other side" about certain issues. There is MASSIVE distrust of the government and authority that is getting increasing day by day. I think America is becoming a polarized, low-trust society with no common interests and the future looks like regional secession to me. Sub-state entities seceding from other states, states seceding from the greater US etc.


> Society is polarizing and separating into different groups. At this point it is almost impossible to talk to the "other side" about certain issues.

I only see that online. The many, many people I engage with in real life rarely act like they are in a biased information silo. The ability to hide behind a computer screen just brings out the worst in people, IMHO.


> I think Americans are totally done with identity politics based on race, gender, religion, sexuality, etc.

As someone who's living in New York I'd have to say you couldn't be further from the truth. But then again I guess it depends what part of the country you are in.



I’m saying to step outside the “constant outrage” bubble that is the media and out into the actual real world people inhabit.

If I walked in to a Chick-fil-a in Manhattan, would I be aware of any controversy?


People talk about how they don't like Chic-Fil-A in casual conversation. I'm not sure the worlds are so separate.


> A classic example is sexual harassment in the workplace: women are justifiably upset by it, but men are also upset at the blowback. Fact is, it’s pretty easy for a man to be threatening to a woman without realizing he is — most men don’t understand how much the sheer size/strength difference intimidates most women when emotions get heated. Navigating this environment takes empathy from both sides and is something that has to be established on a person-to-person basis.

That might be true in some edge/fringe cases, but your characterization as an equal push-pull here is wildly misleading. There is a change happening, very much for the better, but that is clearly in one direction, and not rooted in "both sides".

> There seems to have developed somewhat of a “gentleman’s agreement” in most public spaces (explicitly political forums like protests notwithstanding) along be lines of “don’t provoke me for my religious beliefs and I won’t provoke you for your homosexuality”.

Given the previous quote, are the "religious beliefs" in this case relating to sexuality? In that case, one thing is not like the other.

You can (and I personally have) grow out of judging people based on their sexuality, grounded in your inherited religion. You can however not grow out of your sexuality. One has to be accepted, religious prejudices (IMHO) don't.

"Meeting in the middle" doesn't work, if the middle is way off to the side of where rationality lives. I don't think we can judge thinks purely objectively, but trying on different optics at least helps to inform our argument, whatever that is. This is the goal I hope we reach.


The problem with your statement on religious intolerance, is that wanting someone to change the fundamentals of their religion can be equated with intolerance of that religion, even having a term specific to it: Islamophobia.

I think reform of Islam must involve accommodating people who are considered sinners. The problem is that communicating this critique of Islam can be considered hate speech by the tribalists.


When people talk about religious tolerance in the US as an issue, they usually are referring to letting white evangelicals get their way politically and culturally. For instance, I know many people who feel their religious liberty was infringed when gay marriage was legalized, but also voted for a guy who called for the "complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the US".

It's not about religious liberty as a concept or ideal. It's about I win You lose.


In what way does "White" play into this discussion?

Islam, whether practiced by whites, blacks, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, is clear in its denouncement of homosexuals as people. Islam doesn't even separate the act from the person, the person must be killed as prescribed in the Quran.


White evangelicals are a voting bloc in the US with outsize influence on the Republican agenda.


> When people talk about religious tolerance in the US as an issue, they usually are referring to letting white evangelicals get their way politically and culturally.

It's more that people are concerned that they will have to be closeted in polite society. I think there's anecdotal evidence to support that concern. See the recent New Yorker piece about Chic-Fil-A "infiltrating" NYC. Infiltrating it with what? Sandwiches? No, it's about the conservative Christian owners setting up shop in NYC.

It's analogous to a scare piece about Chinese investors buying up American companies or Muslims converting a church into a mosque. Nothing in the article describes is outright objectionable, other than them.


> It's more that people are concerned that they will have to be closeted in polite society. I think there's anecdotal evidence to support that concern. See the recent New Yorker piece about Chic-Fil-A "infiltrating" NYC. Infiltrating it with what? Sandwiches? No, it's about the conservative Christian owners setting up shop in NYC.

> On June 16, 2012, while on the syndicated radio talk show, The Ken Coleman Show, Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer (COO) Dan Cathy stated:

>I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.[1]

You use the word "closeted" for having to keep mum about your (not you specifically) belief that people (based on their sexuality) should be allowed less rights than you. I frankly find that remarkably bold.

Sure, Chic-fil-A stopped funding most of those organizations after the "incident", and I'm sure people like their food, but I also don't think an editorial about it is out of order.

If that is indeed "conservative Christianity", then as a Christian: I'll just say that it's some times old testament, when it fits, and very rarely if ever, new testament.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick-fil-A_same-sex_marriage_...


Calling attention to political disagreement is fine. Using language if hatred is not. I presume, as a Christian, you would rather people learn to forgive and reconcile instead of judge and condemn.

The concern of Christians is that the goal here isn't to get Chic-Fil-A to change its behavior or speech but to brand it and people in its tribe as an Enemy and as evil.

It's mainstream Christianity to consider extramarital sex as sinful. Is that hatred? No. Does it make people defensive? Sure. How do we resolve that tension? Well, hating Christians and ostracising them won't solve the problem. Unless the problem is that there are too many "out" Christians.


> Calling attention to political disagreement is fine. Using language if hatred is not. I presume, as a Christian, you would rather people learn to forgive and reconcile instead of judge and condemn.

Absolutely, though forgiveness requires remorse, as per the bible. We rarely see that.

> The concern of Christians is that the goal here isn't to get Chic-Fil-A to change its behavior or speech but to brand it and people in its tribe as an Enemy and as evil.

Let's just say we disagree on this.

> It's mainstream Christianity to consider extramarital sex as sinful. Is that hatred? No. Does it make people defensive? Sure. How do we resolve that tension? Well, hating Christians and ostracising them won't solve the problem. Unless the problem is that there are too many "out" Christians.

We disagree on this as well. Has anyone been refused service because they had sex before (or outside) marriage? I think it's an outdated view, sure, but I've also never seen it bother anyone to a real effect.

There's also a tremendous difference between the vocal "mainstream Christianity" and the non-vocal, actual, mainstream Christianity. The former being the religious propaganda arm of the christian/conservative voting block, with the Pat Robertssons, James Dobsons, etc. The latter being people holding Christian values regardless of politics, meaning it doesn't matter if it's Clintons or Trumps extramarital affairs when deciding support.

Conjecture: imagine if Obama had five kids with three different wives, and multiple reports of sexual harassment/assault as well as prostitution. Anyone reacting differently to this should inform you whether they hold Christian values at anything closer than arms length, when it's favorable.

It's very blurry in the states, because a lot of Televangelists are insane caricatures to anyone looking in from the outside, whether it be scandinavian protestants or the catholic pope. It's unclear how many people listen to those leaders, and how many don't.


> Has anyone been refused service because they had sex before (or outside) marriage?

Historically, landlords reserved the right to refuse tenancy to sex workers and roommates of different genders. I'm sure laws against these things are on the books. I'm not sure whether they'd stand up in court.

But you're mostly proving that Christians generally agree that it's not something to legislate. But that doesn't mean they've changed their values. It just means they have a vision of "sexually kosher" that they'd like to practice and teach to each other without fear of hate or legal repercussion. Is it hateful to teach that the Bible is against open marriages? If so, is the Bible hateful? If so, is it hate speech?

California passed a law that is in front of the Supreme Court mandating that pro-life groups educate their clients on how to get abortions. They are also considering a bill that would outlaw certain kinds of speech about sexual morality and sexual orientation. Already, similar rules exist in corporate settings, teaching that religious belief is inappropriate in work settings but that it's insensitive to assume a man with a wedding ring has a wife and not a husband. And people do get fired for being unorthodox these days. See: Eich, Damore, and Williamson. I wouldn't say any of them committed actual crimes or in any way violated anyone. Each was let go for speech outside their actual day-to-day work.

Finally, you say you're a Christian, but it doesn't sound like you talk to many Evangelical Christian Trump voters [1]. Maybe because most of them understand the tremendous personal backlash for even sharing how they voted (see Shania Twain and Kanye West in the news). There are a few vocal people with blind "team" loyalty on facebook, but by in large, Trump voters in the general election were against Clinton (and against another liberal judge on the Supreme Court) than they were for Trump. Keep in mind that Trump only really won a plurality in the Republican primary. Most of them would have been much happier voting for Rubio. But I suspect that we wouldn't be happy and forgiving evangelicals even if in an alternate dimension, Rubio got the nomination over Trump.

And there are a lot of "Never Trump" pundits out there, for example Kevin Williamson. Anti-Trump conservatives are perhaps the majority of commentators in the National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Federalist, etc. I don't know why you'd assume none of them qualify as evangelical. Do you have to have tacky suits and claim the blood of Christ on bank accounts to represent evangelical views?

> Anyone reacting differently to this should inform you whether they hold Christian values at anything closer than arms length, when it's favorable.

I want to point out that these are instructions on how to judge Christians as good or bad. It's not the job of anybody [2] to judge Christians as good or bad, just like it's not the job of a Christian to judge atheists as good or bad parents or voters.

Everyone should instead be learning how to be good neighbors. And they should be having real discussions about real issues, perhaps finding irreconcilable differences, but they should make detentes and compromises, not more political enemies. I don't see why a same sex couple in San Fransisco and a large Mormon family in Utah need to be enemies. On the contrary, it seems likely that they can leave each other alone, be colleagues, or even be friends.

[1] Apparently I need this disclaimer everywhere, which is part of my point, but I didn't vote for Trump because he thrives by feeding the divisive culture I'm arguing against. Though that was true of Clinton as well (basket of deplorables, etc.), so I didn't vote for her either.

[2] Well, it's God's job. And it's the job of a local church to correct sin in its congregation.


> But you're mostly proving that Christians generally agree that it's not something to legislate. But that doesn't mean they've changed their values. It just means they have a vision of "sexually kosher" that they'd like to practice and teach to each other without fear of hate or legal repercussion.

That's exactly it. Don't make it illegal to perform abortions or for gay people to marry. Believe whatever you want.

> Is it hateful to teach that the Bible is against open marriages? If so, is the Bible hateful? If so, is it hate speech?

1) No, if it's only teaching and not forcing it on other people. 2) Depends on who you ask, there's a large span of interpretations between and even inside of denominations. The King James version didn't help.

> California passed a law that is in front of the Supreme Court mandating that pro-life groups educate their clients on how to get abortions. They are also considering a bill that would outlaw certain kinds of speech about sexual morality and sexual orientation.

1) Withholding crucial information regarding advances in medical science and options available within your society is wrong. How that is dealt with is a tough question. This I hold true whether it's Jehovas witnesses or Islam, or any other belief. 2) Are you referring to "gay deprogramming", or education in school? If so both things should be illegal to "preach". Outside of that, do whatever you want.

> Finally, you say you're a Christian, but it doesn't sound like you talk to many Evangelical Christian Trump voters

It would be better if you approached what I actually say, because I don't understand what you mean here. I also don't understand what Shania Twain or Kanye has to do with the subject.

> And there are a lot of "Never Trump" pundits out there, for example Kevin Williamson. Anti-Trump conservatives are perhaps the majority of commentators in the National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Federalist, etc. I don't know why you'd assume none of them qualify as evangelical. Do you have to have tacky suits and claim the blood of Christ on bank accounts to represent evangelical views?

I never said there wasn't. Of course there is. But there is also a considerably sized portion of the other group I characterized previously, which you frankly barely address at all.

> > Anyone reacting differently to this should inform you whether they hold Christian values at anything closer than arms length, when it's favorable.

> I want to point out that these are instructions on how to judge Christians as good or bad. It's not the job of anybody [2] to judge Christians as good or bad, just like it's not the job of a Christian to judge atheists as good or bad parents or voters.

No it isn't. It's instructions on how to judge whether people take their proclaimed Christian views seriously or are just using religion as a cudgel to drive their more important views forward.

I don't judge any Christian who's hard line (or conversely very soft) on extramarital sex, overdrinking, taking the lords name in vain, or what have you, as long as they're not purely opportunistic about it. Because that's simply not [Christian|any belief]. There are of course Evangelicals in both political parties, but there's only one party courting some of those views when expedient, and not caring a whole lot about the teachings of Jesus when it's crunch time. It's an important voting block for them, which is a shame, because it shouldn't be politicized that way.

> Everyone should instead be learning how to be good neighbors. And they should be having real discussions about real issues, perhaps finding irreconcilable differences, but they should make detentes and compromises, not more political enemies. I don't see why a same sex couple in San Fransisco and a large Mormon family in Utah need to be enemies. On the contrary, it seems likely that they can leave each other alone, be colleagues, or even be friends.

Fully agree here.


It’s less “meeting in the middle” and more “agreeing not to bring any of that stuff up in public because we both have better things to do than have the same tired argument again”. At a certain point you have to put ideals aside and meet other people as human beings. Sure, you disagree on things, but if you want progress you’ve gotta start looking for the things that make us alike. If you want to understand the differences, there’s a time and a place for that, but it’s not in the day-to-day. Go to a seminar or read a book for that.

I do think the real prejudice — incapable of seeing other races / religions / sexualities as equals — is getting pushed to the fringes. Basically, if you’re truly prejudiced, the above “gentleman’s agreement” is broken. When that happens, you’re no longer seen as a gentleman but as a savage. See also the public reaction to the neo nazis in Charlottesville (confirmation bias attribution errors notwithstanding)


I found it hard to read this article as having grounds to draw the positive conclusion from it's own premises: the inherently racist views of communities with low real immigration despite obvious dependencies on the immigration present bodes very badly, as does the underlying false optimism of a new wave of political consciousness.

I suspect the new America is an isolationist America


Why would immigrants move to where they're not wanted?

Also, how is the desire to maintain a common identity in your small town racist?

Many of our country's rural trends are a pushback against multiculturalism, which pushes the idea that there is no right or wrong way to live as long as you don't hurt other people. Common languages, religions, norms, customs, and beliefs simply don't matter. But how can a sense of community form when you can't even talk to your neighbors? Why is this pushback being met with cries of racism?


>Also, how is the desire to maintain a common identity in your small town racist?

When the desire to maintain a common identity is based on racial or ethnic identity, and that desire excludes the possibility that races or ethnicities other than your own can, or should, be a part your community, then that desire can be accurately described as racist or at best xenophobic.

>Many of our country's rural trends are a pushback against multiculturalism, which pushes the idea that there is no right or wrong way to live as long as you don't hurt other people. Common languages, religions, norms, customs, and beliefs simply don't matter.

I don't see what's supposed to be wrong with that premise.

>But how can a sense of community form when you can't even talk to your neighbors? Why is this pushback being met with cries of racism?

It already has, and does - and that sense of community as it includes people of different races, ethnicities and religions, is precisely what is being pushed against. Talking about language is a red herring - this "push against multiculturalism" is also a push against immigrants who speak English perfectly well, and who integrate perfectly well into their communities, and are law abiding citizens, but are not considered white and may not be Christian.

Until the demographics of the country began to shift to the point that the majority status and political power of wh - sorry - people of European descent - began to be threatened, this didn't seem to be an issue. It is clearly a movement based on an attempt to normalize the redefinition of culture and community around race and ethnicity.


> When the desire to maintain a common identity is based on racial or ethnic identity... then that desire can be accurately described as racist or at best xenophobic.

This would be true and understandable if immigration wasn't so incredibly skewed towards Mexicans, but it is skewed. There are over 11 million illegal immigrants in a country of 300 million, the majority of which are Mexican/Latino. That is an incredibly large amount.

> Until the demographics of the country began to shift to the point that the majority status and political power of wh - sorry - people of European descent - began to be threatened, this didn't seem to be an issue. It is clearly a movement based on an attempt to normalize the redefinition of culture and community around race and ethnicity.

I find it funny how you blame white people for the hate, then blame them for the redefinition of culture and community around race and ethnicity... right after blaming white people for some perceived degradation of our country...


How many of the problems the US faces are genuinely caused by immigration, and how many would change if immigration ended?

That's the crux of the matter.

Factually, in the UK virtually none of our social and economic problems have been caused by immigration. When you look into the facts, unaffordable housing, a creaking health service, street violence, and job losses are all effects of policy, not specific groups of foreign people.

Coincidentally, the people pushing the policies that created our problems are also the most enthusiastic using immigrants as a scapegoat and misdirection.

I wonder if the US is the same.


Immigrants do put pressure on housing and health services though. As well as directly causing job losses by dumping wages.

Of course, a magical policy may have stopped those issues. But taking in a lot of immigrants and not changing policies accordingly is what causes havoc.


How much pressure does immigration put on housing?

According to this article the US has 18.9 million vacant homes. Even if every homeless person and illegal immigrant in the United States received a home there would still be a surplus

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-skip-bronson/post_733...


OP was talking about UK. Which, in immigrant context, is mostly London. Which is truly sad housing situation.

Talking your link, the problem is most of the vacant homes are where people don't want to live. You'd have 3.5mio people without incomes to maintain their housing.

Why Silicon Valley has housing crisis if there're 18.9mio vacant houses? :)


> directly causing job losses by dumping wages

Largely a myth, according to fairly recent research.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/jobs/2012/05/04/what-immigrat...


It may be different in US. But in EU were a lot of migration is at least a bit skilled, it’s very real. Society needs only so much plumbers or truck drivers. If immigrants come and agree to work for half of the wage, locals are priced out. Some of them may transition to management, but many of them have no skills nor will to do that. Let alone that few new managers are needed for barely bigger amount of people.

I agree with your article if there was a massive need for people in X industry and they just filled the gap. But that’s not what usually happens, at least in Europe.


Fair enough; I don't know as much as perhaps I should about the European situation.


>the people pushing the policies that created our problems are also the most enthusiastic using immigrants as a scapegoat and misdirection

Yup, Trump's wall is a fantastic example


>This would be true and understandable if immigration wasn't so incredibly skewed towards Mexicans, but it is skewed.

And people's views on race don't map neatly to a purely genetic definition, nor do their views of ethnicity map to geographic boundaries. It's not at all unbelievable that Americans would see Mexicans as a different race.

>I find it funny how you blame white people for the hate, then blame them for the redefinition of culture and community around race and ethnicity... right after blaming white people for some perceived degradation of our country...

I'm assuming this is supposed to discredit my comment somehow, but I don't know how it would, nor do I really care.

I don't blame white people for that redefinition. I blame the alt-right and white supremacist movements for seeing an opportunity to spin widespread anger (among lower class people of various races and ethnic groups) with the effects of globalization and automation into a revolution to maintain and protect white culture.

And I've simply seen too many arguments around this issue since the last election cycle began (funny how it seems to have sprung fully formed and fully clothed from the breast of the Trump campaign, huh) and too many articles framing the modern populist movement as an issue of white racial identity and fear of the loss of white cultural and political majority, and seen that view defended many times, to believe for a second that the confusion in your prior comment was genuine, unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years.


For decades, America has embraced a civic nationalism over a European-style ethnic nationalism. This is that certain notions of freedom and responsibility, not blood and soil, were the real ties that bind.

A sense of community can transcend religion and race, and this is what we should strive for.


> For decades, America has embraced a civic nationalism over a European-style ethnic nationalism

Doesn't this fly in the face of the contemporary liberal/progressive critiques of society? It seems to me that race has had a central role in both the founding (genocide of native americans), expansion (slavery), and liberalization (civil rights era) of the United States.

>This is that certain notions of freedom and responsibility, not blood and soil, were the real ties that bind...A sense of community can transcend religion and race, and this is what we should strive for.

I hope to God that you are right, I really, really do - but when I look at history in terms civilizations, eras, etc., not in years or a couple of decades, I have little hope that ideas about "freedom" or "responsibility" are capable of sustaining a nation. It seems to me that religion can, or something transcendental, and I say this as an ardent atheist.


It's concerning then that a significant portion of America seems to have given up on those notions of freedom and responsibility.


"Decades" is a short amount of time and "embraced" obviously varies wildly. When the Immigration Act of 1965 was passed it was promised that "the ethnic makeup will not be upset". The American people never voted to be demographically displaced. (Why would they?)

>A sense of community can transcend religion and race

It can, but you're swimming against nature. Do you think the Japanese people would be happier if Japan was minority Japanese?


> Do you think the Japanese people would be happier if Japan was minority Japanese?

The more interesting question is why are the Japanese so miserable, 53 other countries rank over Japan despite features that some say should promote happiness. You might even say that the hypothesis that social cohesion must be upheld by deterring ethnic influences in the pursuit of happier communities can't find a worse example in Japan.



These are all modern economies, most of which operate immigration-friendly regimes. Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Finland are all signed up to freedom of movement, which doesn't discriminate on the basis of religion, ethnicity or place of birth, provided you are a citizen in the EEA or Switzerland, or if you are married to such a citizen.

Anyway, the point is not that diversity cultivates happiness (no simple answer to that), the point is that some people believe in keeping communities homogeneous and argue that this promotes happiness. That happiness boost is nowhere to be seen when looking at real world examples.


>These are all modern economies

They aren't the only modern economies. Demographics plays a role.

>most of which operate immigration-friendly regimes

Recent policy and current demographics are two different things. These are still homogenous countries for the most part, especially Iceland which is exceedingly safe. Where demographics have shifted drastically away from the native population, the quality of life has reduced. (Look at Malmo, for example.)

>That happiness boost is nowhere to be seen when looking at real world examples.

http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/...

Here's a list of countries ranked by diversity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_ranked_by_et...

Doesn't look like a happy list.


I'm not advancing the claim that high levels of diversity bring about happiness, I'm scrutinizing the belief that populations are happier because they get to be homogeneous in composition. It's been my observation that the people who push back against the idea of diversity the most tend to be quite miserable even when living in homogeneous communities.


>I'm scrutinizing the belief that populations are happier because they get to be homogeneous in composition.

Read Robert Putnam. People love a sense of belonging and it's embedded in our genes.

http://time.com/5095903/genetic-similarities-friends-study/

http://www.bu.edu/sph/2017/04/07/married-couples-with-common...

>It's been my observation that the people who push back against the idea of diversity the most tend to be quite miserable even when living in homogeneous communities.

There can definitely be miserable people who are looking for a scapegoat. It also takes a certain level of desperation to be vocal about it today because it's so taboo.

On the other hand there are people like me: anonymous, have traveled the world, lived in rural areas and cities, have a masters from a top 10, have a good job, etc. who look at the data and go: "Oh, the data is indicating that this recent configuration of humans isn't as good as it could be." You only have to go back 2-3 generations for homogeneity to be the overwhelming norm--were they all miserable?

Portraying people who are against diversity as ignorant or miserable doesn't disprove the fact that if you take a homogenous, high-performing population and flood it with diverse, lower-IQ, culturally-incomptable, more violent, less-productive people the nation will become worse.

Simple question: would Europe be better or worse today if there were only Europeans in it?


> It also takes a certain level of desperation to be vocal about it today because it's so taboo.

It's not taboo though is it. People go on and on about immigration and there are entire media outfits that are devoted to casting foreigners as threats while promoting the idea that 'these people are not as good natives, have lower IQ, are more violent and less productive', which is typically based on outright lies and prejudice. Beliefs about immigrants are entirely warped to cater to a smaller subset of the population which has a hard time dealing with change while they grip with tremendous entitlement to mythical constructions of the past.

> You only have to go back 2-3 generations for homogeneity to be the overwhelming norm

A very curious statement. Europe's history is one characterised by migration and constant changes in demographics. There have always been groups of people at odds with one another because they were different enough to be seen as a threat. Every generation has struggled accepting new groups of people with both good and bad results.


>It's not taboo though is it.

Very much so. Anyone could be fired for writing what I've written. Diversity is the new state religion.

Trump voters knew what they were voting for, even if it was dressed up as "economic anxiety" (although low-skilled immigrant workers devaluing labor right before automation is the last thing we need).

>which is typically based on outright lies

Absolutely not. Pick any metric for latinos in the US and compare them to whites. Fun fact, when you read "immigrants commit less crime than natives" it's due to existing blacks and latinos. They commit more crimes than whites and asians.

>which has a hard time dealing with change

Does it even register with you that change and immigration can be bad? It's not some force of nature. Again, we literally never voted for our immigration policy to change and it was promised that the ethnic makeup would not be upset in 1965.

>Every generation has struggled accepting new groups of people with both good and bad results.

So why are you advocating against nature and causing avoidable strife? Diversity is a failed experiment that leads to problems. http://freakonomics.com/2011/12/01/the-violent-legacy-of-afr...

I noticed that you didn't answer my question. Europe would be better in every meaningful way if there were only Europeans in it. How many thousands of British girls are you fine with being raped in the UK from grooming gangs? How much is enough? Why should a tiny minority in the world (whites) subsidize their own displacement?


> It can, but you're swimming against nature. Do you think the Japanese people would be happier if Japan was minority Japanese?

Japan - and many (most?) other countries - don't share the contingencies of America's founding. If I emigrate to Finland do I become, and am I seen by Fins as, Finnish? Not really. But a Fin moving to the U.S. can become an American and perceived by the rest of us as American.

Civilization is rife with examples of us overcoming our natural tendencies. Why should this be any different?


[flagged]


> People want to destroy this notion. It has already taken place for the British.

Brit here. What are you even talking about?


The double standard is demonstrated in the video.


Not sure why you are being downvoted. Great post. Bravo.


The new state religion is diversity and to question it makes one a heretic. Why can't it be discussed dispassionately the same way we discuss climate change? Maybe we shouldn't subsidize policies that have negative effects for citizens?


> how is the desire to maintain a common identity in your small town racist?

On the face of it, no, of course, wanting to maintain a sense of community in your town is not inherently racist. But there needs to be a recognition and acceptance of the fact that the identity of a community needs to change and evolve, and people arriving from somewhere else can be part of that.

I would also argue that:

> Many of our country's rural trends are a pushback against multiculturalism, which pushes the idea that there is no right or wrong way to live as long as you don't hurt other people

Is an oversimplification of both rural trends AND multiculturalism. Rural america has historically been deeply shaped by immigration and migration, and rural america was fine with it, as long as economic and social opportunity was growing. When that ceased to be the case, immigration/multiculturalism was one of many factors blamed.


>But there needs to be a recognition and acceptance of the fact that the identity of a community needs to change and evolve...

No, there doesn't 'need'


Are you suggesting that communities can stay frozen in time, unchanging forever?

Even the Amish have adopted cell phones and automobiles, and the Satmars in NYC are huge WhatsApp users.

Any community that thinks they can remain totally insular is both fooling itself and doomed to failure.


Mobile phones don't define a culture. Almost every culture on the planet has adopted them now.

Attitudes and shared behaviors do.


When your culture is defined around ideas that technology has a negative effect on your attitudes and shared behaviors, things like mobile phones are powerful signifiers.

My point is that even highly insular cultures with strict restrictions about modernity and technology recognize that their beliefs and attitudes need to adapt with the times in certain ways.


Mobile phones themselves do not define a culture, but the Amish beginning to use them seems to be a pretty clear shift in their attitude and behaviors in relation to technology


>Are you suggesting that communities can stay frozen in time, unchanging forever?

No


Why is this pushback being met with cries of racism?

Because it's often couched in explicitly racist terms.

Shared values should matter more than the color of your skin, and values can (and often are) shared across cultures.


Stop calling people you don't understand racists. These rednecks hate all people who refuse to fit into their culture. They'll hate white NY or CA transplants just as much as they hate Mexicans.

Unfortunately actual racism is picking up steam with these folks.


Just this last weekend, we were going through northern Ohio. We stopped at a restaurant. Greasy spoon, one of. Smelled good outside, and lots of cars.

We ate. Good food, reasonable price. Near the end, the waitress asked if we'd NOT pay in credit card, so she wouldn't have to report the tips. I'm not terribly concerned about being a conspirator to tax fraud with someone making $2.35/hr

Then she goes into talking about her daughter who moved back in. Disabled. And when they went to the Social Security office and Welfare office, "those brown and black people always seem to get it". She went off on a soliloquy about 'us poor whites'.

Yeah, racism exists. And we've seen it in rural communities much more than urban. The worst part, is that I would bet that she didn't think she was being racist.

edit: added "not pay in credit card"


I believe you are confusing racism with bigotry. Here is the dictionary definition of racism:

>prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.

Of course superior is an objective word, but I don't see any evidence in that quoted statement where she felt superior. Honestly sounded more like self pity, jealousy and stereotyping. "Those union people get paid way more than they deserve," "Those college kids get all the breaks." The only difference is her target were "brown and and black people."

She satisfied the first half of the definition, "prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race" but I didn't see the second half, "based on the belief that one's own race is superior."

I could be wrong.


I disagree with that definition of racism.

Racism is the application of social traits, be they positive or negative, across an ethnicity of people, with little to no concern for the individual.

Stating something about African Americans along with fried chicken or watermelon is racist. Assuming, that because someone is black that they must like this is racist.

In my case, it was the said assumption that "brown and black all suck the test of welfare". The unstated assumption was that they were all lazy, and "us poor working whites" should have had access to it.

Racism also goes into "positive traits" too. Stating,"Well you're Asian, so you must be good at math." Is also racist.

In the same light, but if we talk of Men or Women, its roughly the same but called Sexist. Instead of making a decision based upon racial generalizations, its sexual generalizations.


You don't see a problem in making "racism," permanently hyperbolic?


Based on a definition of bigotry made in these comments: "stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own"

I don't think they are confusing racism with bigotry. Maybe (unhelpful) stereotypes based on race, or a racialised view of society.


You are correct. If you switch up the statement:

Then she goes into talking about her daughter who moved back in. Disabled. And when they went to the Social Security office and Welfare office, "those white people always seem to get it". She went off on a soliloquy about 'us poor black and brown people'.

Nobody would consider that statement racist.


> Stop calling people you don't understand racists. These rednecks hate all people who refuse to fit into their culture.

I do understand them, and they largely are racist, and the culture to which you refer is itself steeped in racism. So, yes, they also hate anyone that refuses to share there racist culture, but that doesn't negate their actual racism.


>They'll hate white NY or CA transplants just as much as they hate Mexicans.

I don't blame them. Nobody who grew up in CO before it was California Lite will tell you that immigration from CA made the place better.

Large amounts of inter-state immigration has in my estimation hurt culture in the destination communities far more than immigrants from a different country, or at least that's the track record so far.

Lewiston Maine vs Portland Maine would be a good example. Lewiston had a bunch of Africans move in and the place has been perfectly fine. Portland had a bunch of MA transplants and it's changed for the worse. It may as well be MA now.

I mean sure, Portland has more money but would you rather have money or your culture?

edit: and I'm wrong because why?


When was the exact year when "actual racism" disappeared?


Never and this is an opinion, but I feel racism is getting stronger under Trump.


Its refreshing to read a hopeful and positive piece about the future of America. So much has been written of the state of the great divide between races, conservatives and liberals, heartland America and the coastal liberal cities, republican vs democrats. At least out of all this turmoil there is a sense of activism and involvement in politics I have not seen in years.

>“If you want to create a great community, you move someplace that needs your help,”


Activism and involvement, yes, but born out of growing polarization.




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