Hacker culture and the politics of process defense

In my last two blog posts, on the attempted hijack of the Lerna license and speech suppression in the Python documentation, I have both urged the hacker culture to stay out of political issues and urged what some people will interpret as “political” stance with regard to political correctness and “diversity”-driven speech demands.

The expected “gotcha!” comments that “ESR is saying hacker projects should stay clear of politics while arguing politics” have duly followed. While the way this sort of objection is usually posed barely rises above the level of a stupid rhetorical trick, there is an actual issue of principle here that deserves exploring.

The wrong way to do it would be to argue over the scope of the term “politics”. I’m going to take a different tack, starting with the observation that the hacker culture is a social machine for producing outcomes that its participants desire. Good code; working infrastructure; successful and rewarding collaborations. Artistic expression of the special kind that is master-level engineering.

Thus, hacker culture has a telos, a purpose – more precisely, a collection of linked and mingled purposes that can be considered as a unit. Achievement of those purposes depends on a rich array of processes and customs. If those processes are disrupted, the culture will cease to be able to achieve its purposes.

That would be a bad thing, and not just for hackers. Our civilization has become dependent on the infrastructure that the hacker culture invented and maintains. Damage to our culture, failure to fulfill our telos – these are no longer parochial issues. We hold up the sky and have a corresponding duty to our civilization, which is to defend our processes so we can keep doing our job.

Therefore, I propose to replace the question “What kind of politics should the hacker culture be engaged in?” with two that are sharper and more responsive to our duty. These questions are:

1. What exertions of power and influence do we need to resist in order to protect our processes, prevent our social machine from breaking down, and achieve our telos?

2. Should we, as a culture or as projects within that culture, engage in “politics” (however that is defined) beyond the issues selected by the previous question?

To arrive at a generative answer to that question, I’m going to start with two hot-button political issues that I think are at opposite ends of the threat spectrum implied by the first question. Those are: internet censorship, and the nature and scope of immigration controls.

Hacker culture has no more critical dependency than the free flow of information over the Internet. Only this allows us to sustain large-scale cooperation among geographically scattered individuals. We have a correspondingly strong duty to protect and extend that liberty – and not just a duty to ourselves, but to the civilization that increasingly relies on us.

On the other hand, no possible choice about immigration policy threatens our processes. It matters very little whether a hacker is sitting in New Jersey or Nigeria, and as the Internet build-out continues that geography becomes ever less important. Thus we have no duty here as members of the hacker culture; any individual position we might have is irrelevant to the hacker telos.

Not all issues are so clear cut. But before pursuing that problem further, let me address the second question. Why should we avoid political entanglements that are not clearly connected to our process and our telos?

I think I answered that one pretty clearly in my post on the Lerna flap. Political fights we don’t need to be in are internally divisive – they risk fractionating us into warring tribes, fatally damaging our ability to cooperate. That is directly against the telos. I have also written previously “You shall judge by the code alone.” That is the individual compact of mutual tolerance that is a precondition for not fractionating over politics.

I should add now that even when we face outwards rather than inwards towards each other , every fight we don’t need to be in burns up energy and social capital we need to preserve for the fights that are important.

There’s a third issue here: we benefit, in facing outwards and performing our function in civilization, from not being seen to have axes to grind. To keep the infrastructure running we benefit from having every political faction in society see us as friendly neutrals. I’d go so far as to say being perceived as friendly neutrals is tied to our telos.

OK, somebody’s going to ask how that is compatible with dealing with…say…a political tendency that is avowedly pro-censorship, like Communism? Do we have to exert ourselves to be “friendly neutrals” to Communists?

No. Because we’re even more critically dependent on free information flow than we are on being seen by outsiders as politically impartial. That kind of liberty is closer to our telos than having good PR with every totalitarian in the world.

The question that flows from the “Communist” example is not trivial, but it’s at least one that can be used as a guide to right action. The philosophical version is this: given the hacker telos as a set of related terminal values, what is the smallest set of non-terminal values we must defend? Correspondingly, in he public sphere, what political positions must we have?

Here are some obvious ones:

* The right of individuals to speak as they wish to any who wish to hear them without censorship or fear of reprisals.

* The right of individuals to associate and cooperate on shared projects.

* The right of individuals to own and use the tools required for their creative work.

* The right of individuals to form cooperative groups that themselves have speech and ownership/use rights required for their work.

* Opposition to coercive control of our communications channels by anyone, whether that ‘anyone’ is a government or something else.

It actually takes a pretty stupid person to not see that hackers must defend these positions, which is why I’m not worried that they hurt our friendly-neutrals position much.

Now I’m going to pick on something much more contentious, because I think it illustrates how we should reason as hackers when the connection to our cultural telos is much less clear, and provides an example of what kind of individual political self-restraint our duty as hackers requires.

I am personally widely known to be a strong advocate of the individual right to own and bear arms; in U.S. terms, a Second Amendment absolutist. Yet, I have never argued that other hackers have a duty to embrace this cause.

It’s not because I couldn’t do so. Firearms rights are not like immigration controls, with no connection to the hacker telos. They are an individual-autonomy issue somewhat removed from the hacker telos but connected to it. To see this, ask: if society can ban civilian firearms on a consequential-harm argument, can it ban other things for the same reason? Like, say, cryptography? Or 3D printers? Or general-purpose computers?

But no. I’ve never pushed this argument in my role as hacker thought leader because I judge doing so would likely inflict net harm. The division it would sow within our community would likely do more damage than winning that argument could contribute to the defense of our telos. Thus, I refrain. I see my duty and I hold my fire.

On the other hand, consider Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed. Must hackers defend his right to distribute 3-D-printer CAD files for personal firearms? Here I think the answer is unambiguously “yes”. DD is squarely within the hacker telos in maintaining that individuals should be able to share, use, and modify these files without hindrance. The jump from censoring them to censoring putatively “dangerous” software is no jump at all. I’ll put my “ESR” mojo behind that position all day long and have no doubt whatsoever I am doing my duty to the hacker telos.

And yet, as to firearms rights in general, I continue in self-restraint for the good of our community – that is, I speak a strong position as an individual but do not claim that hacker terminal values entail it. I’m going to finish this essay by arguing for a similar sort of restraint.

Most of the political arguments roiling our waters these days have something to do with “diversity”. I’m going to stay honest here by admitting that I think far too many of the people waving this banner are totalitarian wannabes for whom it is merely pretext, with the actual goal of imposing a degree of speech and thought control that would do George Orwell’s Inner Party proud. Those people won’t be dissuaded from disrupting the hacker social machine no matter what I say, because nothing actually matters to them but the power to punish.

Some of you, though…some of you genuinely believe that the hacker culture is in desperate need of “diversity” reform. That “You shall judge by the code alone” is not enough. And to you I have this to say:

Refrain. You have failed to take account of the vast harm you are risking – that of destroying the functional neutrality and mutual tolerance that keeps our social machine running and our telos fulfilled. Perhaps “You shall judge by the code alone” is an imperfect norm, but it’s at been least pretty good at keeping us from tearing each others’ throats out for the last forty years. Identity politics, on the other hand, always reduces to a game of “which tribe is strongest and most ruthless” and thus inevitably ends in blood and tears.

As a hacker, I have a duty – to other hackers, and to the civilization we serve – of political self-restraint, to keep the hacker culture functioning. So do you.

647 thoughts on “Hacker culture and the politics of process defense

  1. For some time now I’ve been effectively shadowbanned by GitHub – I use the same handle there as here; you can try finding me yourself. I’ve no idea why, but if I’m not logged in as myself, my page 404s and all my comments, pull requests, issues, vanish. Even the relevant repository owners can’t see them. So I routinely – as recently as an hour ago – end up emailing patches directly to maintainers, which is rather more cumbersome and limited. I’m torn between raising a stink about it and just abandoning the platform. On the one hand, I probably would add some value to other projects by being able to assist with bug reports and so on in public; on the other, I wonder if in the long run participating on their platform might be just propping up the censors. It would be nice if open-source norms against censorship had prevented this, but apparently it isn’t the case.

    • For what it’s worth, GitHub was recently picked up by Microsoft. With the change-over, you might be able to get some support from the corporate side of things to discover what’s going on with your account. Even if they couch it in terms of “an odd one-off bug in the system”, you’re probably more likely to get help now than you were before.

    • FWIW, something like that was the case for my gists (but not other contributions) at some point in the past. I emailed them to ask about it, they said whoops and fixed it. Apparently I’d somehow tripped a spam detector.

      If you haven’t tried to contact github about this, it’s worth a try.

    • I wrote GitHub off as soon as I heard about the acquisition. I’ve seen too many good things wrecked by Microsoft to dawdle when this happens.

  2. Amen.

    A corollary is that it is OK to have as many “secret” or just separate identities as you need, and that doxxing is a worse sin than anything discovered.

    My sexual proclivities (be it virgin or BDSM) should be in one vault.
    My hacking and contributing to projects in another.
    My politics (consider Weev or dailystormer – though they themselves often broke the seal of ID privilege) in yet another.

    I was at the WyoHackathon this weekend. The originator of Ether had a rather rude slide featuring Donald Trump. Wyoming went 72% for Trump, and there was a Code of Conduct.

    Personally, I really don’t care in my Hacker ID about anything other than the merit, capability, or contributions to the projects I’m hacking. Unfortunately I’m becoming more rare, and those who can’t code a basic sort are able to co-opt too many to put political elements into projects – to the perhaps nervous cheers of the white knights and SJWs.

    The Political-Legal space must be a different dimension than the Noosphere and I would like nothing better than to destroy the teleporters and communicaitons across. Same with moralism.

    There is also a failure to recognize that the political issues can be complex. Immigration? Illegal or legal? To contribute or to mooch? To assimilate or to create a fifth column that would impose socialism or Sharia or the Talmud or something else? These complex and subtle issues are often reduced to a sentence with a far right or left position. That is why it CANNOT be allowed into the Hacker Noosphere.

    The Hacker Noosphere has completely open borders and is entirely a meritocracy. Like bull riders (the bulls don’t care about your race, gender, etc. and you can either go 8 seconds or not). That doesn’t work as well in meatspace.

    And that is the conflict. Hackerland IS a meritocracy, but socialist SJWs wish to invade it. Meatspace is naturally a meritocracy, but we are constantly deciding how much to adjust and allow the less than cognative elite to be supported or finding ways they can contribute.

    Nature and Nature’s law operates differently in each sphere. And implies different rules.

    • While there have been some infamous anti-diversity incidents, I think that the shortage of diversity in Hackerland is mostly from outside factors. For example, when I was a student (both in highschool and in university), many of my classmates and I were strongly encouraged to avoid a STEM career. Most of us resisted and continued on our track to STEM careers. It was non-STEM teachers, professors and advisers who attempted to discourage us. Our STEM teachers and professors treated us the same as the rest of their students. Now that we are in our STEM careers, we regularly visit our former schools to help those students – and not just those who want to pursue a STEM career.

      • But that is the right way to address any problem, not to screech and demand weak programmers or conduct guestapo be admitted to projects.

        What do you think of James Damore’s observations (he got fired for?). He was trying to help.

        • “No good deed goes unpunished.”

          Of course, what Damore did wrong was take them at their word when they said they wanted feedback. They only wanted feedback that fits the Party Line, which is that any and all discrepancies in STEM between genders must be due to Mean Men being Mean to Gurlz. Nothing else is wanted or needed.

  3. Unfortunately, what’s relevant isn’t what *should* happen, but what *will* happen. And what *will* happen is that this November the Democrats will take Congress, impeach and remove Trump (yes, I know they need 2/3 of the Senate–they’ll get it, because David Frum and Bill Kristol control enough GOP Senators to do so), and the new Democrat president (probably Pelosi) will ban firearms and establish a Communist hell that will literally last till the end of time.

    • Quite the reverse. I’m expecting a red tsunami (I’m in Wyoming, near ND with Heithkamp and MT with de Tester). The Democrats have gone batshit crazy socialist, and I can only hope (and would contribute to) a tour with Pelosi, Waters, Ocasio-Cortez, and Hillary across the contested areas.
      Then I would be sure my firearms worked given the purge zombie apocalypse meltdown the day after.

      • The Democrats will win, because Republicans have been too cowardly to match violence with violence. Why would someone vote for a party claiming to be the “Daddy” party, when “Daddy” won’t protect his children from the rape and murder committed by the Democrats?

        Women vote Democrat because Democrats are the alpha party, the party that kills people. Women get turned on by that shit.

        • Trump is the Alpha. Do try to keep up.
          Democrats alpha? Schumer? Franken? Pelosi? Hillary?

          The Democrats are soy boys.

          • I agree that most Democrats are sissies, but as long as some Democrats use violence and no Republicans do, women tag all Democrats as alpha males.

            • Click my “X” username above for the link about:

              * concise summary tying the Russian issue into the Middle East, 9/11
              * the mentioned Quora comment
              * why Trump will lose the Congress in November
              * lurch to Marxism is accelerating
              * why I think Bitcoin goes to $32,000 in 2019 before declining until 2021

              I will probably not post again today. Work to do.

              Did my other comments get deleted? If yes refer to archive.is/org for archives of this blog and the prior one. All my comments are still available on the archived copies.

        • Wow, you really are out of touch aren’t you? Women voted for Trump last time and were promptly thrown under the bus by the left: that ship sailed. Maybe if you looked out at the real world instead of spending all of your time at the psychological BDSM club known as Conservatism you wouldn’t have such a problem?

          But even so; I’ll still take merge requests from you regardless of your bizarre sexual proclivities.

        • We haven’t been too cowardly to match violence with violence.

          Those of use who have some facility in that respect stay away from the places it’s going to happen because putting ourselves there would be charged as murder.

          • Charlottesville, for instance. The AntiFA counter-protesters mobbed a guy who ran to his car for safety, but then they mobbed his car, and when he tried to get away he hit one of the mob. Now he’s in jail awaiting trial for her murder.

            • and when he tried to get away he hit one of the mob. Now he’s in jail awaiting trial for her murder.

              One person boasted of threatening him with a “modern sporting rifle” AKA AR-15 variant. And while he did hit a number of people (just after his brake lights went on), there’s no sign from the pictures of her afterwords on her stretcher that he hit the woman who died, e.g. no blood. Per her family, she died of a heart attack, per the before and after pictures she was a landwhale who smoked and wore all black on a hot day….

              Better examples would be how the book is being thrown at people who had the temerity to defend themselves from Antifa/BLM thugs who the police deliberately pushed them into, while the thugs are generally? have all? gotten their charges dropped.

              On the other hand, on the Left coast there’s been a lot more “matching violence for violence” without the authorities being quite as corrupt, but the more extreme cases still follow the pattern, Professor Bike Lock gets a wrist slap for many attempted murders, people who defend themselves with guns north of slave state California, shooting or not, get the book thrown at them.

              Per the Days of Rage essay, based on the book of the same name, the Left continues to have near infinite institutional resources, if the Right starts replying to their violence it’ll have to be done by extremely small, counter-intellegence resistance cells, basically the “Right Wing Death Squads” (RWDS) various posit coming into being. Which I don’t see happening, yet, or maybe at all, among other things the Left hasn’t quite managed to kill anyone yet.

        • Women vote Democrat because Democrats are the alpha party, the party that kills people. Women get turned on by that shit.

          You’re of course right about the latter point … but who in the US have they killed?

          The Uniparty is pretty good at killing and threatening to kill all sorts of people and leaders outside of our borders, whomever is President, that didn’t change in the transitions from Clinton to W to Obama to Trump, so that’s not relevant to your argument.

        • > Women vote Democrat because Democrats are the alpha party, the party that kills people. Women get turned on by that shit.

          Democrat women murder their babies, so any such problem is self-correcting with time.

          Besides, there is no evidence that this is the case. Note how the recent “#metoo” thing has backfired — it turns out that the creepazoid gropy-rapey types were almost exclusively Dems.

      • You honestly think they won’t impeach Pence as well?

        In all honesty, they don’t have to. I don’t care how conservative Pence’s record is, because just by looking at him I can see that he’s a gutless omega male. He probably will either resign or agree to act as a de facto Democrat president.

        • You honestly think they won’t impeach Pence as well?

          Not enough time, and no real basis. Pence has carefully kept himself isolated from the stuff Trump has done that could get him impeached.

          He probably will either resign or agree to act as a de facto Democrat president.

          I don’t think either of these is likely. I don’t think Pence would be as extreme as Trump is, but I don’t think he would be a de facto Democrat either. What I expect would happen if Trump got impeached by a Democrat-controlled Congress and Pence became President is gridlock, similar to the last two years of Bush’s second term.

          • > Not enough time, and no real basis.

            There were people on twitter a while back making the argument that since Trump’s election was illegitimate due to the supposed election meddling, both Trump and Pence should be removed and Hillary installed as president.

            Basically, these people don’t care about any rules that get in their way.

            • Watching Trump Derangement Syndrome made me realise that the Hillary crowd believe the US Presidency is a crown with a line of inheritance (from Dem to Dem, natch) rather than a position to be contested and won

            • since Trump’s election was illegitimate due to the supposed election meddling, both Trump and Pence should be removed

              There is no legal or Constitutional basis for this. Once the Electoral College has cast its official votes and their result has been accepted, that’s it. Any attempt to remove Trump and Pence along these lines would be a worse blow to the rule of law than anything Trump has done. Which, btw, is just another application of esr’s point in this post.

          • >Not enough time, and no real basis

            So what? People were talking about impeaching Trump since 11/9/16. Obviously, those folks didn’t have a “basis” at that time. It was months before Mr. Trump was even sworn in.

            • Obviously, those folks didn’t have a “basis” at that time.

              Obviously not. So what? I wasn’t talking about what random people chatter about on the Internet. I was talking about what could be realistically accomplished.

      • If Trump were impeached…

        Let’s just say that there would be a LOT of vacancies in the house and senate.

        • I honestly believe that impeaching Donald Trump would be our Fort Sumter, especially if the Senate were to remove him from office.

          It would be the final demonstration that the Brie-eating bicoastal elites will stop at nothing to establish their absolute rule over us flyover country deplorables.

      • You assume that Democrats will play by the rules.

        They are not playing by the rules today (selective prosecution of people linked to Trump, for technicality crimes of which everyone is guilty)

        Even less will they play by the rules tomorrow. We are walking the road that leads to the red terror.

    • Erm.

      If Trump gets impeached and removed, Mike Pence becomes president.

      And even if they managed to impeach and remove him too, Pelosi banning all guns will not make them all sublimate. Her attempt to establish a Communist Hell will instead culminate in an extraordinarily short civil war.

      Grab a group of folks with .50 cals, and start putting heavy bore AP rounds through the engine blocks of tractor trailers attempting to deliver food to LA, SF, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, NYC, Baltimore, DC, etc, and I figure after about a week the very geographically concentrated Blue Tribe will be suing for peace.

      If they insist on a shooting war, they will not enjoy what they get.

      • Grab a group of folks with .50 cals, and start putting heavy bore AP rounds through the engine blocks of tractor trailers attempting to deliver food to LA, SF, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, NYC, Baltimore, DC, etc, and I figure after about a week the very geographically concentrated Blue Tribe will be suing for peace.

        Rather than that, which has been a fear since at least the 1970s (then more of the Teamsters trying it), the truly terrifying prospect in a future hot shooting civil war is killing the fragile power systems that keep big Blue cities habitable. Do it to enough of them at once, and there’s no coming back from it, the few? survivors of the Blue Tribe will scattered all over the place.

    • Democrats will probably take the House, but probably not take the Senate. Impeachment is effectively impossible without Trump nuking San Francisco – if GOP senators are controlled at all, it’s by GOP primary voters, not a couple washed-up talking heads(much as I like them better than the GOP in its current state). And even if I’m wrong, those guys are just fine with Pence, so he’d be Trump’s successor. Not a gun-grabber, last I checked.

      Also, since when do communist regimes last? You’re talking like it’s a functional way to run a country, and we all know that’s a joke.

      • > if GOP senators are controlled at all, it’s by GOP primary voters, not a couple washed-up talking heads

        That’s not consistent with their actions, e.g., why can’t obvious popular actions like money for the wall be approved?

        > (much as I like them better than the GOP in its current state)

        So you really do have no integrity left. Looks like Zaklog the Great was right after all.

        > Also, since when do communist regimes last?

        Well, the USSR lasted 70 years. Also even if they don’t last they’re still capable of killing a lot of people in the short time they exist.

        • > That’s not consistent with their actions, e.g., why can’t obvious popular actions like money for the wall be approved?

          Congress hasn’t been able to pass a federal budget for close to a decade now. Appropriations bills are really not their specialty any more.

          > So you really do have no integrity left. Looks like Zaklog the Great was right after all.

          I’d be lacking integrity if I was saying one thing here and another thing there. My views on policy issues and on Trump have been consistent over time – I like free markets, free trade, easy(though not unlimited) immigration, individual liberty, and foreign policy that encourages and defends these views. Trump agrees with me on some of these(free markets in particular), but disagrees with me on most.

          I also think that on a personal level he’s an overgrown 13 year old, with a grotesque case of narcissism, a disturbing love for dictatorships, and no willingness to understand issues of any complexity. Having him in a position of power is actively dangerous, as far as I’m concerned – Clinton is awful, but she was neither a risk to the global economy nor likely to act like a belligerent fool with nuclear weapons, so I preferred her out of the two candidates. On most of the issues I care about, she was the right-wing candidate, unlike President Bernie Sanders With Slightly Better Hair.

          Unlike a lot of conservative media personalities who were free traders until their viewers endorsed Trump, I’m saying the same things now that I said in 2014 on economics. Because I actually believed what I said, instead of sucking up so that people are happy with me.

          To be fair, Trump has been good on judicial nominees, and I have some good things to say about his tax bill. If he avoids a trade war or a nuclear war between now and 2020, I’ll admit that he was better in practice than Clinton would have been. But IMO, the risk was still too high for me to support him. I like Western civilization, and I don’t want to juggle hand grenades with it.

          > Well, the USSR lasted 70 years. Also even if they don’t last they’re still capable of killing a lot of people in the short time they exist.

          Oh, for sure. But Ken’s claim was “literally last till the end of time”. That felt like it deserved some mockery.

          • “Congress hasn’t been able to pass a federal budget for close to a decade now. Appropriations bills are really not their specialty any more.”

            This year, for the first time in about 20 years, Congress has passed separate appropriation bills for each executive department instead of a single giant omnibus appropriation bill.

          • > My views on policy issues and on Trump have been consistent over time – I like free markets, free trade, easy(though not unlimited) immigration, individual liberty,

            Well, the democratic position and respectable position is if you don’t support unlimited immigration you’re an “evil xenophobe”. Also importing large numbers of voters who support none of the liberties you like will result in them disappearing as well.

            > foreign policy that encourages and defends these views.

            Clinton’s foreign policy has consisted of everything she touches turning into a huge disaster, e.g., Lybia, Syria.

            > On most of the issues I care about, she was the right-wing candidate,

            So you didn’t care that she was going to appoint justices who would de facto repeal the second amendment, and quite possibly the first as well?

            > I like Western civilization, and I don’t want to juggle hand grenades with it.

            Like flooding Western countries with migrants who neither know nor particularly care about Western values, I agree that is a risk I’m unwilling to take.

            • > Well, the democratic position and respectable position is if you don’t support unlimited immigration you’re an “evil xenophobe”. Also importing large numbers of voters who support none of the liberties you like will result in them disappearing as well.

              Perhaps I should add here that I’m Canadian(though I watch US politics more closely than most Americans, and lean right by most US standards). I live in a country that takes in 3x as many legal immigrants per capita as the US every year, and it’s not even especially controversial. The stereotypical immigrant here is an upper-middle-class shopkeeper, not a poor day labourer.

              They don’t even lean left once anti-immigration views are off the table. When the Conservatives show up to make their pitch in immigrant communities they tend to do pretty well. Rob Ford did better among immigrants than the native-born, if I recall – you’d never know that from the media stories, but he swore in Jamacian patois when he got drunk. You can’t fake that, immigrants know it, and they mostly liked him.

              I don’t worry about my liberties being taken away by immigrants. It’s smug assholes who were born here that worry me.

              > Clinton’s foreign policy has consisted of everything she touches turning into a huge disaster, e.g., Lybia, Syria.
              > So you didn’t care that she was going to appoint justices who would de facto repeal the second amendment, and quite possibly the first as well?

              I care about both those things. I didn’t expect Trump’s foreign policy to be any better, and I think one SCOTUS nominee mattered less than the trade war that Trump might kick off. The forces of sanity have lost nominations before, but the last trade war kicked off the Great Depression. And either way the President from 2017-2020 was going to suck, but with Clinton we had a chance at a good one in 2021. Right now that seems impossible.

              > Like flooding Western countries with migrants who neither know nor particularly care about Western values, I agree that is a risk I’m unwilling to take.

              People who choose to move here are making a stronger statement about their support for the Western way of life than people who were born here usually manage to make in our lifetimes. As long as we don’t make them think that Western ideals are only about how much we hate them, they’ll assimilate just fine. Every prior generation of immigrants has done so.

              I’ve always thought that the only anti-immigrant argument that made any sense was that our society today is too weak-willed to assimilate people. If we don’t believe in our ideals any more, we can’t convince newcomers of them, and thus they won’t bother joining us. And perhaps that’s true of some parts of Europe. But I always figured the US was better than that – I know from experience that Canada is, and your nationalist pride is far stronger than ours.

              If you think that America is too pathetic to convince anyone of American ideals, then perhaps closing your borders to let yourselves decay in peace would be the right reaction. But that’s not Trump’s pitch, and it’s not any other Republican pitch I’ve ever heard either. It’s all about pride, and strength, and American exceptionalism. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t think you can convince immigrants of it – the people who live in your nation day after day and see it all first-hand – then you don’t really mean it. You think, on some level, that it’s a face-saving lie and not a real truth. For christ’s sake, have some pride. You’re better than Trump thinks you are.

              • > Perhaps I should add here that I’m Canadian(though I watch US politics more closely than most Americans, and lean right by most US standards).

                Via Canadian media, I assume. That would explain why your regurgitation left-wing anti-Trump propaganda.

                > I live in a country that takes in 3x as many legal immigrants per capita as the US every year, and it’s not even especially controversial. The stereotypical immigrant here is an upper-middle-class shopkeeper, not a poor day labourer.

                That’s because your immigration policy is merit based. Or was, I’m not sure what that screw up of a prime minister is doing with all the Muslim “refugees” he’s trying to import.

                > > So you didn’t care that she was going to appoint justices who would de facto repeal the second amendment, and quite possibly the first as well?

                > I care about both those things. I didn’t expect Trump’s foreign policy to be any better, and I think one SCOTUS nominee mattered less than the trade war that Trump might kick off.

                You haven’t been paying attention to the US supreme court. For example, unlike you we actually have the right to speak freely without answering to Orwellianly named Human Rights Commissions, and I for one would like to keep it this way.

                • > Via Canadian media, I assume. That would explain why your regurgitation left-wing anti-Trump propaganda.

                  Nah, haven’t watched that stuff in years. Right-leaning American blogs, mostly. My views of Trump didn’t even require that – it’s obvious to me at a glance(well, within a few minutes of listening to him, at least) that he’s a deeply insecure man-child.

                  > That’s because your immigration policy is merit based. Or was, I’m not sure what that screw up of a prime minister is doing with all the Muslim “refugees” he’s trying to import.

                  Yeah, one of the few things I’ll defend Trump on with leftist friends is his move to make the American immigration system a bit more like the Canadian one. He’s going the wrong way on numbers, but the right way on process. As for Trudeau, 25,000 refugees is roughly the equivalent of one month’s worth of legal immigration. I’m not especially worried.

                  > You haven’t been paying attention to the US supreme court. For example, unlike you we actually have the right to speak freely without answering to Orwellianly named Human Rights Commissions, and I for one would like to keep it this way.

                  For sure. I’m definitely a fan of US free speech laws, and losing the pro-speech majority on the Supreme Court would be a very bad thing. But it’s still much less bad than a new Great Depression, and Trump’s trade policies sounded far too close to what started the last Great Depression. Given that both candidates were terrible, you have to weigh the awful outcomes.

                  • I was extremely sad at the choice of candidates last year. They were the results of a years-long decline in both parties. The Republicans have become insane almost to the point of violent extremism. The Democrats are an example of what happens when you make endless compromises with yourself and others and destroy your own strengths; ending up with a candidate who is compromised in every imaginable way. It was like choosing between Satan and Cthulhu… so I held my nose and voted for the one I felt would do the least damage.

                    • > The Republicans have become insane almost to the point of violent extremism.

                      WHAT?

                      Republican violent extremism? Like Antifa?

                      Ya’ll are insane. Out of your EVER LOVIN MINDS.

                      The Republican party today is about where the Democrat party was when they nominated JFK–except a LOT less racist.

                      It’s the Democrat party that’s gone full on progressive/communist. They *fully* intend to nationalize the health care sector and either nationalize or inflict enough regulation on the energy sector that it’s the same as. They are working VERY hard to criminalize speech they don’t like and are engaging in HIGHLY selective law enforcement.

                      High level members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation SPIED ON A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND ESSENTIALLY FORGED EVIDENCE to do so.

                      The same FBI that whitewashed Hillary’s crimes regarding her email server and handling of classified information–information that got at least 15 people (not all Americans) killed.

                      But it’s “Republican Extremists”? Who what, want some of the least restrictive immigration laws in the world enforced?

                      Who want immigrants who BREAK OUR LAWS to come here caught and punished LIKE IN EVERY OTHER COUNTRY?

                      Or is it because we make fun of people with penises and full beards who claim to be one of 47 different genders?

                      It wasn’t a *republican* who shot a democrat congressman at a baseball game.

                      It wasn’t a *republican* who tried to stab a democrat with a knife.

                      You’re PART OF THE PROBLEM, and when civil war explodes in this country you’re going to cry and blame everyone but yourself.

                    • > The Republicans have become insane almost to the point of violent extremism.

                      You mean like the Antifa rioters? Oh, wait wrong party.

                    • > If you have sex with someone who is too young, mentally disabled, or impaired by drugs or alcohol to legally give consent, you have committed the crime of rape.

                      Al-jazeera, the article starts by quoting the SPLC, and the first example (the only one where I know the details) is presented in a misleading if not downright false light. Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that the other examples are any more accurate. Especially given the large number of Hate Crimes that turn out to be Hoaxes.

              • “People who choose to move here are making a stronger statement about their support for the Western way of life”

                Bollocks. More likely they’re making a strong statement they want to live in a rich country with a reputation for sharing that wealth. For many, our moral and civil values are either barely on the radar or denounced as decadent. This isn’t universally true but neither is it non-existent as you seek to imply.

                And, as the scarily large numbers of children of migrants who joined ISIS prove, your claim they all assimilate in one generation is demonstrably false.

            • In general, immigrants and their descendants are against admitting more immigrants after they have settled. Few people want others to share the opportunities they were offered themselves.

              We can go back to the original native population of North America, who also did not want to allow new immigrants in. They already knew that North America was “Full”.

              That is neither a valid argument against or for admitting new immigrants.

          • > Congress hasn’t been able to pass a federal budget for close to a decade now. Appropriations bills are really not their specialty any more.

            And yet congress can somehow always pass funding for left-wind causes like Obamacare or planned parenthood.

          • Generally speaking Trump IS a free trade guy, he’s just one that insists on *both sides* doing that.

            Why *should* Canadian steel enter the US tariff free when American milk products entering Canada have large tariffs levied on them? Why should China get to subsidize the products they send here, and put MASSIVE tariffs on US cars entering their market all the while violating international norms in intellectual property[1] and the US just not do anything?

            I’m all for free trade and opposed to protectionism, but if it’s not a two way street it’s NOT free trade, it’s just laying face down on a bench in a gay bath house with a tub of Crisco[1] next to you.

            [1] You can quibble about whether those norms are proper or should be changed, but the whole notion is that “we” all should be operating under similar and known rules, not some of us hobbled by laws and restrictions and other actors get to do whatever they want.
            [2] Crisco? That’s SHORTENING!

            • Why *should* Chinese steel in sub-assemblies laundered through Canada (and Mexico) enter the US tariff free when American milk products entering Canada have large tariffs levied on them?

              FIFY, as I understand the biggest single loophole in NAFTA.

              I’d add, why should the PRC be a member of the WTO and have Most Favored Nation Status (really, in US policy that just means “regimes we’re not trying to bring down”) when they steadfastly refuse to play by the rules of each, as you note WRT to intellectual property. Note that Team Trump is already talking about the WTO problem….

            • Why *should* Canadian steel enter the US tariff free

              Because the tariff is a tax on AMERICANS, dumbass.

              Trump’s idiotic steel tariff benefits a few steel companies at the expense of all the other businesses that use steel, not to mention their customers. This is basic economics and history. Look up what the effect of the Smoot-Hawley tariff was, for fuck’s sake.

            • My problem with Trump’s tariffs is not that he placed them, but that he did so without adequate planning and support. If you create tariffs and don’t figure out how to give short-term aid to the industries your tariffs will affect, those industries are as likely to go bankrupt as to recover.

        • Except the Soviet Union.

          At least, I don’t recall any “outside aid” involved in the USSR’s disintegration.

          • The USSR’s Communist government fell as a result of the Reagan administration’s pressure via increased defense spending, forcing the USSR to bankrupt itself. But of course you knew that. You were simply lying.

    • You need to read the constitution again. There will not be a ‘new democrat president.’ If Trump is successfully impeached, Mike Pence will be president.

    • Do you not know how our system works? Impeaching Trump gives us Pence, not Pelosi, and if they plan to impeach him as well they’d better bloody well ban AND confiscate the guns first because I think a double impeachment would be a strong signal for armed revolt. I’m not saying the leftists don’t want to completely do away with Constitutional rule of law, just that they don’t have the groundwork in place to do it just yet.

  4. To extend my remarks,
    The right of individuals to speak as they wish to any who wish to hear them without censorship or fear of reprisals.
    I think misses one key point.
    A project might have some standard of civility – or incivility. Linux Torvalds is more than curt and he has explained he has to be. Others might want members to avoid vulgarity or profanity.
    The problem stems when someone combs through OUTSIDE tweets, facebook posts, or listservs from other projects just to find one smoking un-PC gun (I can only think of the Kavanaugh hearings – we can’t find anything wrong with him as a judge so we need to find a photo where he was in the same room with David Duke or something).
    I would add one more rule:

    Individuals will be judged ONLY by their behavior within the project space – communications, code contributions, and other things that help the project. What they do OUTSIDE the project is NOT relevant.

    • The first great crowd-sourced intellectual project was the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED editors invited the public to supply them with citations for the earliest known use of each word/meaning.

      One of the most productive contributors was a Dr. W. C. Minor. The chief editor decided to visit him. He hadn’t recognized the return address on Minor’s letters, and discovered that he was a homicidal maniac incarcerated in Broadmoor Asylum.

      The OED continued to accept Minor’s citations.

  5. The split is between objective and subjective morality or principles, or simply different guiding principles.

    I want to create and fix things, and that is my highest goal, so the only thing that matters is the code and its quality.

    Others put whatever they mean by “diversity” ahead of code quality. “Diversity” is their main principle and they will push it over code quality and ability.

    You have failed to take account of the vast harm you are risking – that of destroying the functional neutrality and mutual tolerance that keeps our social machine running and our telos fulfilled.

    Vox Day is writing “Corporate Cancer” about SJWs. They see any demographic discrepancy as a far greater harm than the destruction cited above. They see “functional neutrality” as irrelevant or even an evil along with “mutual tolerance”, since it is “okay to punch a Nazi” which is defined as anyone who didn’t support Hillary adequately. Their telos is the SJW utopia, not the end you wish. They wish their diverse hell as their end, you wish the hacker heaven. Dark and light cannot Coexist (someone needs to have an emoji cut-paste codes for the bumper sticker).

    They would rather burn down the civil hacker culture to build barbarian diversity in its place.

    The very Tolerance hackers consider a virtue is turned against them “Do you tolerate Nazis? Racists? Trump Supporters?”. For me, it is don’t ask, don’t tell, and I would eject a SJW trying to push an agenda as fast as I would eject a Nazi wanting to exclude Jews, minorities, or anyone else.

    Hackers must be intolerant of intolernace.

    • >They would rather burn down the civil hacker culture to build barbarian diversity in its place.

      Sure, I know those people exist and are unreformable. There is still value in trying to peel away their dupes.

      • The problem is you must peel them away when they are doing the dewey eyed “I’m just trying to help”, “I’m a nice person just trying to make things better”.
        For them, pity is a weapon (I can’t quite remember the CS Lewis quote from The Great Divorce).

        You must peel them, then discard and incinerate the peels.

        Do not ask for whom the bell peels, it peels for thee.

        • Chapter 13 deals almost entirely with that topic.

          —-

          ‘Quick,’ she said. ‘There is still time. Stop it. Stop it at once.’

          ‘Stop what?’

          ‘Using pity, other people’s pity, in the wrong way. We have all done it a bit on earth, you know. Pity was meant to be a spur that drives joy to help misery. But it can be used the wrong way round. It can be used for a kind of blackmailing. Those who choose misery can hold joy up to ransom, by pity.[…] You used their pity to blackmail them, and they gave in in the end’

        • incinerate the peels

          No surprise that a guy whose politics lean Daily Stormer wants to incinerate people, I suppose…

          • >. No surprise that a guy whose politics lean Daily Stormer

            And now you’re on the list of “Liars trying to destroy western civ.”

            Congratulations.

            • I’m quoting him from inside this thread.

              tz on 2018-09-13 at 18:03:09 said:

              My politics (consider Weev or dailystormer

              Unless there’s two people named “tz” running around?

              • ..And the price for most malicious selective quoting of the year goes to.. Alsadius!

                I would be willing to belive “stupidity” over “malice” if you admit that you thought that tx said he was a virgin who was into BDSM…

                • I genuinely believed he was talking about his own personal political views. Doubly so given that he was talking about how Daily Stormer is bad about preserving anonymity for its members in the context of why a person ought to have multiple online identities. Do you have another interpretation of what he said?

                  That isn’t a rhetorical question, by the way. I cannot come up with one, but if you can, I’d like to hear it. Likewise, if tz wants to explain what he actually meant, I’ll listen to it. But from here, it sure looked like “I hang out on infamously racist websites”, and that sort of thing deserves pushback.

                  Just like my standing practice towards gulag apologists is to mock them until they go away, I do the same to open racists. It’s a necessary immune system for a comment section to stay sane – if you don’t push out the sort of people who think fondly about genocide, they take over and wreck the place. Again, if I misjudged him, then mockery was inappropriate and that’s my fault. But I can’t see any plausible way to interpret what he said other than “fan of really racist websites”.

                  • “Do you have another interpretation of what he said?”

                    Yeah. “If Weev or someone who posts on daily stormer writes code we should evaluate their code according how good the code is. Even if Weev and daily stormer themselves break this principle and try to use doxxing to harass their enemies in all facets of their lives based on disagreements in once facet.”

                    The “Even..” sentence is debatable. I expect ESR to welcome good code even from Coraline Ada Ehmke. I am not that principled.

                    • Fair enough, I can see that. I’m not convinced that’s how it was meant, but it’s plausible.

                      I’ll back off from the cheap shots (unless given additional evidence that supports my original interpretation).

      • > There is still value in trying to peel away their dupes.

        Indeed. The hope of rescuing the useful idiots is what keeps my increasingly-irritated snark somewhat under control. I still wield it liberally, but attempt to temper it with calmer reasoning just in case someone watching quietly from the back is close to enlightenment.

        The student speaks to the Master; the Master speaks to the person behind the student.

  6. I’m just surprise to read hackers talk about politics… aren’t they smart enough to see that nowadays politics isn’t politics at all?!?
    Fact is that I’m not American, so to me: firearms, master, slave and so on bullshit is merely a *waste* of time to talk about.
    You hackers are the reason why I drove to computers and reading you arguing about things those are obviously out of the circle, it leds me throw away anything and to become a shepherd :-).

    Cheer it up and let those nonsense away,
    Alessandro

    • Well, you see, here in America we still have things the politicians can ruin and take away that they haven’t already.

      We have rather higher stakes than most of the EU does, in a way.

      (I mean, until the EU falls apart and Europe returns to its great sport of mass ethnic murder and giant wars.

      Which I wish it wouldn’t, but the EU is exactly the wrong thing to prevent that.)

  7. This seems like an excellent opportunity to insist that everyone in the USA use metric instead of the English measurement system. Maybe it’s an opportunity to demonstrate transition to a rational system of terminology, as contrast to making everyone follow the ever-changing minutiae of gender.

    • How many countries that use the Metric system have landed a man on the moon and brought him home?

      Metric is *easy*, and easy things don’t stress the mind enough.

      :)

    • Since I like talking about the square root of 2, I don’t see the value in a rational system of terminology. ;-)

  8. >…hacker culture is a social machine for producing outcomes that its participants desire.

    Pfff.

    Hacker culture is just a status hierarchy like any other, and whatever you need to do to climb the hierarchy you do.

    > Good code; working infrastructure; successful and rewarding collaborations.
    > Artistic expression of the special kind that is master-level engineering.

    Nonsense. It’s all about getting laid.

    You have you understand, in the eyes of many the sort of engineering required to run the internet is the white mans burden… I mean cultural imperialism, whiteness expressed, and REALLY BAD FOR THE WORLD AND MUST BE TORN DOWN.

    • >Nonsense. It’s all about getting laid.

      Well…in some sense that’s true, as it is of all human activity. But if you over-focus on that level of explanation you miss a whole bunch of really interesting epiphenomena further up the stack.

      >You have you understand, in the eyes of many the sort of engineering required to run the internet is the white mans burden… I mean cultural imperialism, whiteness expressed, and REALLY BAD FOR THE WORLD AND MUST BE TORN DOWN.

      Of course you’re right about that. too. It’s why the hacker community will eventually turf out the SJWs, and why pushing the dupes so they grasp as soon as possible that this is the end position of the SJW argument is one of the most effective ways to defeat them.

      • YOUR vision of “Hacker Culture” is “Good code; working infrastructure; successful and rewarding collaborations…”

        But “Hacker Culture” != “Open Source Software” or even “Open Source Culture”.

        It used to. It’s better if it does, but while we Morlocks have been heads down Making Things Work and Getting Stuff Done the Eloi have been learning our language and co-opting our culture.

        It’s no longer about “Artistic expression of the special kind that is master-level engineering” and building bridges that, you know, bridge. It’s about serving the needs of ‘our’ masters…except we’re not allowed to use that term anymore.

        Remember that many of the under-40 generations were raised and “educated” by people steeped–if not outright indoctrinated–into Postmodernism, and Postmodernists *have* to be able to fully believe at LEAST two contradictory ideas in their head at once.

        You’re in another fight for your culture right now.

        I hope you’ve got the energy to see it through.

  9. There can be ZERO tolerance of social justice warfare in our community. It is a cancer that destroys everything it touches. I would encourage all members of the hacker culture to deliberately be as offensive as possible. We must actively DRIVE OUT the people who care more about their feelings than about the code.

    In fact, our credo should be, to paraphrase Ben Shapiro: “MY CODE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS.”

  10. Also, purely on strategic grounds, social justice is a dying cause. They burned up their social capital too fast.

    20 years ago, when someone was a victim of ‘racism’, people gave them the benefit of doubt. They gave it 10 years ago. But today, the term is almost meaningless. The false positive rate is way to high.

    • “Also, purely on strategic grounds, social justice is a dying cause. They burned up their social capital too fast.

      20 years ago, when someone was a victim of ‘racism’, people gave them the benefit of doubt. They gave it 10 years ago. But today, the term is almost meaningless. The false positive rate is way to high.”

      It’s a staged rocket, where one stage is exhausting its fuel. The next stage is handing off the thought crime enforcement from the on-line lynch-mobs to the organs of the state. That stage has already ignited in the EU, and its go at throttle up in the UK: https://reason.com/archives/2018/09/15/britain-turns-offensive-speech-into-a-po

  11. I think the problem could be/should be solved by basic human politeness on one hand, and all the principles Eric espouses above on the other. I’ll give two examples, one of which I think is very worthy of consideration, one of which is not:

    EXAMPLE ONE: Someone has been on the project mailing list for awhile and they’ve contributed code, documentation or art, or maybe helped organize the project’s business end or licensing, etc. and they say, “I don’t usually talk about my own personal issues here, but I’m Black, and hearing a White person talk about “masters” and “slaves” is really difficult for me, because in real life White people who use those terms frequently turn out to be difficult in multiple, horrible fashions. Can we call our processes something other than “master/slave,” because I cringe every time I read the words, even in code.”

    EXAMPLE TWO: Someone on the list writes to say: “I’ve noticed that we use the words “master” and “slave” in our code and documentation, and this is very ugly speech which I’d expect to alienate many people. We have an obligation to make our code race/gender/religion neutral because otherwise we are being inappropriate and offensive. I think we should include terms in our license which state that use of offensive terms such as “master,” “slave” (and all the other words on my list of nasty terms) be prohibited by the terms of our license.”

    I’m not going to say which of these examples I think should be responded to positively, (it should be obvious) but I would certainly indulge one of them and deny the other.

    I would deny the other example particularly in the absence of a general understanding of which words should replace “master” and “slave,” because they are currently important terms of art. Should the community as a whole change those standards, looking at whether the code/documentation should be updated to apply the new standards would definitely go on the ToDo list.

    I don’t object to the idea that my code/documentation should avoid offending anyone; I think there’s room for that, but it’s also a lower-priority than shipping good code. Part of the problem comes from making these problems into five-alarm emergencies rather than quietly ejecting the problematic people.

    • This is easy:

      “I don’t usually talk about my own personal issues here…”

      Answer: Good, keep it that way.

      “I’ve noticed that we use the words “master” and “slave” in our code and documentation…”

      Answer: So what.

      • “I’ve noticed that we use the words “master” and “slave” in our code and documentation…”

        Answer: So what.

        Or better: “The world’s existence does not center on you; those words were not aimed at you.”

        • Yes. The SJWs will whip out the “it’s not about you!” complaint whenever someone throws their words back at them. If they can, we can too.

      • Michael,

        You’re politer than I.

        That kind of comment would earn a hearty, “Go fuck yourself in your sensitive little ass, you snowflake, and maybe grow up a little while you are at it”.

        Words mean what they mean, no more, no less. If someone choses to be offended by it, then I just don’t care. That’s their problem and don’t make it mine.

    • You assume, incorrectly, that humans will be polite instead of attempttingto doxx and destroy you for badthink.

    • >”I cringe every time I read the words, even in code.”

      I don’t think this will ever happen from anyone sane enough to contribute as you described, so I consider this a contrived case without an actual referent, which as such should not inform our reasoning.

      You’d have to show me an actual example to persuade me otherwise.

      • It’s believable to me. I listen to a podcast where one of the hosts uses “problematic” to describe bad code and I have to consciously remind myself that he’s not using “problematic” in the way that social-justice people do to call something sexist/racist/homophobic/etc.

        Ten years ago, before “problematic” got this meaning, I wouldn’t have cared, but these days I tend to pay more attention to spurious accusations of racism and monitor what people say so I can avoid people who engage in this behavior. Hearing “problematic” from this guy triggers an alert even though every single time it’s a false alarm.

    • > I’m Black, and hearing a White person talk about “masters” and “slaves” is really difficult for me

      Black people haven’t been enslaved in the U.S. since 1865. No present-day black person in the U.S. has ever been a slave. Neither were their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents, or, in most cases, great-great-grandparents.

      By contrast, there are any number of living people who have personally been enslaved (e.g., European Jews during WWII, anyone who’s had the misfortune of being born in a communist country…). Those people don’t, as a rule, get bent out of shape by these terms.

      Why are black people special in this regard? Why is their great^nth grandparent having been a slave supposedly more traumatizing than, you know, actually having been a slave oneself?

      • > No present-day black person in the U.S. has ever been a slave.

        Possibly untrue. There is still both de-jure and de-facto slavery in many parts of the world (including in some cases the US).

        It is entirely possible that a resident of Africa or the Middle East who was held as a slave has managed to make it to America.

        • By “black person in the U.S.” I meant “black person born and raised in the U.S.” and by “enslaved” I meant “enslaved under U.S. law”, clearly.

          Not that either of those invalidates my point, anyway, which was:

          Why are the nth-generation descendants of people who were held in legal chattel slavery over 150 years ago supposedly traumatized by the word “slave”, while people who have actually been slaves apparently are not?

    • Example zero: just get together with other sensitivity-oriented programmers, decide on a new terminology, and just start using it yourself, making an example. Given that many people don’t really care, seeing you do, they might follow it. The thing is, even if it is in a polite and nice way, don’t start with telling people what to do, start getting the people together who already want to do what you want, do it, lead by example.

  12. I’m dismayed that perhaps THE principal feature of the dark ages (any dark ages, really): The keening hysterical need to punish heresy, burn books, and control thought is such a widespread and not-seriously-contested attitude in our culture today. What happened to the free world? Hunting heretics is done openly! It’s done glibly, with a smirk! And the complicit little weasels who have captured the choke-points of our culture facilitate this! The companies whose fortunes were made by the internet, THE INTERNET!, are run by people who must approve of this.

    That the people who are doing this call themselves liberal is perhaps the worst insult. If you believe in freedom of speech, but – if there is a “but” in there: If there is any slimy little threadbare excuse for an exception (because that’s what they are: excuses), *you are not a liberal*. Voltaire was a liberal. Thomas Paine was a liberal. You are not.

    It isn’t only the hacker community that must resist this lunacy. (But, perhaps the hacker community has a unique skillset to undermine attempts at erasure, isolation, and censorship.)

    • > That the people who are doing this call themselves liberal is perhaps the worst insult.

      For many years the true liberals were in constant philosophical and political war with authoritarian conservatives, and for good reasons. During that time leftist/marxists, who opposed conservatives in general and authoritarians insofar as they themselves were not the ones in power, joined up and nestled in under the liberal label.

      They then co-opted the term wholesale, redefined it (as Marxists will always do to suit their goals) and engaged in a constant excising of actual liberals from the ranks. Many of those rebranded as libertarian or classical liberal (like coca-cola classic, I suppose). Whether this strategy was done deliberately or not is irrelevant, since it is what happened.

      When you understand this, and that the liberal term (or ANY term) gets redefined to suit the needs of authoritarian bullies, you’ll better understand the foe we face. This ideological, memetic enemy of mankind hides like a crafty chameleon-virus in the grey matter of animus-possessed humans. Freedom of expression is the only weapon capable of combatting it, and must be defended to the last breath. Attempts to curtail that freedom, in any form, must be opposed.

    • > The keening hysterical need to punish heresy, burn books, and control thought is such a widespread and not-seriously-contested attitude in our culture today.

      We need Stalin’s great terror and the Pope’s Holy Inquisition.

      The inquisition was launched because far too many free lance witch finders were finding far too many witches. So the pope put witch finding under central authority, and surprise surprise, considerably fewer witches were found.

      If you allow anyone to go around pointing the finger and crying “Nazi, racist”, which is to say “witch, kulak”, you are going to get far too many convictions for nazi racism, since outcomes will never be equally distributed by sex and race. And if outcomes are unequal, obviously Nazi racism must be to blame. Similarly, the Holodomor was the search for heresy and capitalism radically disrupting food production in the Soviet Union.

      • Frequently, only extreme (re)action has stopped purity spirals like the one we’re currently caught up in. A Stalin might sound like a cure worse than the disease, but examples like the Khmer Rouge show how much worse it can be if they’re not stopped.

        • It’s weird to hear Stalin given as a counter to Pol Pot. You know they were on the same side, right? And Stalin’s regime outlasted him by four decades, whereas Pot’s regime collapsed within a couple years because it was so offensive that it provoked an immediate and violent backlash from neighbouring nations.

          • In this context, Stalin was a counter to the original Bolsheviks, and Vietnam a counter to the Khmer Rouge, both stopped the latter’s purity spirals with harsh force. Otherwise the regime that Stalin inherited would likely have burned itself out, as Pol Pot’s was in the process of doing, and/or counter invaded, as happened when the Khmer Rouge wouldn’t stop murderizing Vietnamese border communities.

            This is a general insight I gained from none other than jim of jim’s blog’s, who made the original point. At minimum “We need Stalin’s great terror and the Pope’s Holy Inquisition.” from the Left to rein in their current purity spiral, and I would guess he made that observation because counter-revolution from the Right, e.g. “free helicopter rides”, is not going to happen in the foreseeable future, although Balkanization of the US is very possible. I note that in much of Europe, Islam could well replace the Left’s insanity with their own, the U.K. may already be very near the tipping point.

            • I think you misunderstand what Stalin was, and what the Great Purge was. The Old Bolsheviks were themselves ruthless killers, but Stalin was an Old Bolshevik himself, and had been as much of a killer as any of them.

              What happened in the 1930s is that Stalin had elevated himself to supreme power in the Party, and was determined to destroy absolutely any potential rival or dissenter, and intimidate, i.e. terrorize into total submission, everyone else.

              That is why the Old Bolsheviks had to go: party leaders who had the stature to challenge him, and party rankers whose dissent would be embarrassing. Since they were not guilty of any actual crimes, they were accused of invented crimes, in a deliberately fomented atmosphere of hysteria which made these accusations seem plausible. The scope also included military commanders who were not completely servile.

              Again, this was all pushed by Stalin, to ensure his permanent and total control. In the 1920s, and in the 1950s and after, the USSR, politics was carried out through legalistic forms: Trotsky was expelled by vote of the Politburo, Krushchev once overrode the Politburo by vote of the Central Committee, etc. Stalin made sure that there was no one in the Politburo or the Party who would dare exercise such nominal authority. Also, no one in the army who would dare to use the army’s intrinsic supra-legal power.

              The Inquisition is a slightly better example. In Spain, at least, the Inquisitors’ insistence on real evidence largely quelled the witchcraft hysteria. Still, they were a thought police which hunted down and killed genuine dissenters.

              • No, I understand all that, the point Jim and I are making is the Great Purge et. al. had the side effect of ending the Bolshevik purity spiral. I doubt that was part of Stalin’s intent, see for example the reaction to the 1937 Census, but it happened nonetheless.

                Still, [the Spanish Inquisition was] a thought police which hunted down and killed (((genuine dissenters))).

                FIFY, although the situation was of course a lot more complicated.

                • I think you might want to review what you think you know about the Inquisition, and then compare it to the actual history.

                  One thing you need to remember: What you know about the Inquisition is mostly propaganda fostered by the Anglicans who were running England, and in opposition to the Roman Catholics in Spain that wanted to undo the work of Henry VIII. The actual history of the Inquisition is quite different than the propagandists of Elizabeth I’s time would have it. Notably, the Spanish did not have anywhere near the number of cases of witchcraft that England had, and because you had to present actual, y’know, evidence…? It was a lot harder to get someone burnt at the stake on trumped-up charges, because you wanted their property.

                  The actual history is a lot more interesting than the propaganda we remember–If I remember the numbers right, there were something like 1600 cases of witches being burnt at the stake in merry olde England, whilst the numbers in Spain and Spanish-controlled territories was in the low tens.

                  The Protestant Reformation wasn’t exactly the enlightened era we all like to make believe it was, nor was the Roman Catholic Church quite the nest of demonspawn popular memory makes it out to be.

            • I am a big fan of a lot of things Jim writes but I never understood this point. Let’s try to define somethings: the badness of a given Bolshevik is defined as how many non-Bolsheviks he kills. Killing fellow Bolsheviks is for me morally neutral.

              So I think the argument is this: post-purge Stalin killed fewer non-Bolsheviks than the purged, spiralling other Bolsheviks would have killed, based on the trend, the tendency of their behavior pre-purge i.e. their behavior tended towards more and more non-Bolshevik killing, while Stalin’s tendency to kill non-Bolsheviks at the very least did not increase. Is this true and provable?

              Similarly I am not sure if Hitler does not purge Röhm and the SA, things would have been much worse.

              There are better examples, Cromwell and Napoleon, but I think they are not examples of the same thing. They were both military men who had no (no big) political leadership positions in the early years of the revolutionary spiral, and established a dictatorship when the revolution was spiralling out of control. This is a markedly different thing. You have an army, you run it well, realize the revolutionary system you are serving is bad and political leadership is dysfunctional, you decide to take over. Indeed one could also mention Caesar and Pinochet in the same club.

              I think the revolutionaries (Stalin, Hitler) and the generals (the other four) are markedly different. The later really improved things by taking on a personal rule and getting rid of competitors, the former I think not.

              I have no fixed opinion on this, just this is how these things seem to me. An efficient general, loved by his soldiers for a good reason, seems to be just an intuitively better candidate to fix a chaotic system than one of the old, ruthless, crazy revolutionary leaders. Whatever governments they serve, the very structure of the military has a tendency towards Order, hence for the Good, see also the Prussian generals who tried to kill Hitler, so the direct opposite of revolutionary chaos.

    • The problem here is that both sides are currently engaging in “purity spirals” right now. The the SJW trying to ban the terms “Master and Slave” is no better and no worse than the Christian Fundamentalists insisting that the U.S. is a Christian Nation and that we should put the Gay people in camps. What’s really needed is for both sides to calm the fuck down and understand that we’re heading for a civil war very shortly, and you will be killing your relatives because they’re on the wrong side.

      Or you can admit a set of fundamental rights for both sides and not push yourself into a corner where violence begins to seem necessary.

      • And the “Christian Fundamentalists” have exactly how much power? Who, prey tell, are they getting fired, ending the careers of, etc.? They aren’t the other side, a very small part of it of course, but that’s it. Heck, their greatest utility is being bogeymen for people like you.

        Whereas SJWs are one of the current speartips of the Left, which has owned the country since FDR. As Jon Gabriel noted in his essay “The Sore Winners of the Culture War”, after our robed masters enforced gay marriage on the whole nation, “The Left started the culture war, won it, and now roams the countryside shooting the wounded.” You tell me when a baker is free to refuse to bake a gay wedding cake, and I’ll start worrying about “Christian Fundamentalist” purity spirals.

        (If you had any knowledge of the current right of center US “Christian” scene, you’d know they’re disintegrating as part of society’s feminist purity spiral, cucking on immigration, in general, dancing to the tune of the Prince of this world.)

      • > no better and now worse than Christian Fundamentalists insisting that
        > the U.S. is a Christian Nation

        Except that the Christians have a LOT more evidence of the US being a “Christian Nation” than there is for most of the SJW causes.

        If you look at the colony/state level laws at the time of founding almost all of them had religious (christian) tests for public office, and often times tests for *specific* christian sects.

        > and that we should put the Gay people in camps

        That is almost entirely made up. I know *tons* of Christians ranging from Mormons and Catholics to Southern Baptists and none of them want to put homosexuals in camps.

        The whole “camps” thing is pretty much a left-wing thing anyway. Rememer, from the point of view of *most* of us Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot Mussolini et. al. were all birds of a feather. Sneetchs if you will. Some with stars, some without, but all sneethes.

        Which doesn’t mean that *no* Christians do. However a lot of the anti-gay propaganda comes out of the Westborough Baptist Church, the leader of which was a staunch democrat and a lawyer and had very little theological training. However they said lots of things that the left LOVES to apply to real Christians.

        And you repeat them without knowledge or understanding.

        Now, to be completely ONCE THE IDEA was introduced, I’m sure some people who’s only “exposure” to gay culture and lifestyle is pictures like http://www.zombietime.com/folsom_sf_2007_part_1/index.php this [ ENTIRELY NSFW ] might not want “them” around their children and is willing to adopt the idea that *maybe* we should put them somewhere where they can’t prey on children. Note that at least some of these people are members of the Democrat Party who’ve been driven out or left behind (well, more “right behind” since the problem is they’re either not left enough or are no longer politically useful–like the KKK).

        No, I don’t agree with the idea, but there’s a LOT of ideas out there that sound good but don’t reflect reality well (Postmodernism, Socialism, Marxism).

  13. “Master-Slave” flip flops are at the heart of any and all computing devices as they implement the “edge-triggered” D flip flop. What are we to do next? Banish the term from engineering books, and the vast body of scientific literature because some might find the term offensive. Are we going to see pink-haired SJW and gender warriors protest in front of EE departments to demand abolishing the term?

  14. >Hacker culture has no more critical dependency than the free flow of information over the Internet.

    This got strangely actual now that the EU passed Article 11 and 13 just two days ago. What was heartwarming that the whole political spectrum on Reddit, from liberal socialists to the alt-right, was massively against it. This is something that cannot possibly be divisive for hackers or really anyone with values even remotely similar to that of hackers.

  15. Why are you trying to “reinvent the wheel”. What you describe has been the official position in science for at least a century. The ideal is that only the scientific message counts, not the messenger.

    Science is a social activity so there have been developed ways to handle disruptive forces arriving onto the scene. For instance, after the disruptive actions of the tobacco industry became known, scientists and institutes who have received funding from this industry are viewed with open distrust. But in all other situations, peers are obliged to judge a contribution only on its merits and it is peers that will integrate the contribution into “current thinking”, or not. Politics really should not enter the equation anywhere. (before you start, scientist are humans, just like coders)

    Your description would fall squarely within the scientific approach.

    What I do not see is how to handle socially disruptive behavior in open source projects. In science, there has recently been a movement to reduce discrimination and to stop abuse of power relations (Master-Slave, if you want). These are more clear cut in science as a meat space activity than in open source as an online activity. I know coding projects have struggled to handle abusive activities that sometimes threatened the very existence of projects.

    Btw, the threat of censorship is currently coming more from the right than from “Communists” (are there still communist left?)

    • >Btw, the threat of censorship is currently coming more from the right than from “Communists” (are there still communist left?)

      Ask the people behind the Great Firewall of China.

      • Lets see:
        1) Trump wants to censor all media, and his supporters even call for jailing all journalists
        2) Putin already censors all media
        3) So do Erdogan and Orban, and the ruling party in Poland
        4) All “nationalist” parties in Europe want to ban Muslim writings.

        Question: What makes China communist? They say so, but exactly which parts of Marx’ and Engels’ writings are implemented?

        • >Question: What makes China communist?

          They say they they’re Communists, and they act like Communists. The gulags in Xinjiang are a pretty sure tell, even if you choose to ignore the massive censorship.

        • >Trump wants to censor all media, and his supporters even call for jailing all journalists

          No, that’s just crazy. Trump has never called for media censorship. And why should he? The vicious clown show the U.S. media has become is not any actual threat to him; in fact it’s his absolute best draw among the voters.

          And I’ve never heard any Trump supporter call for jailing journalists. Hillary Clinton, sure, but not journalists.

          Citation or it didn’t happen.

          • Winter is as always lying through his teeth, for example Trump’s desiring we return to sane libel laws is clearly a call for “media censorship”, but for the latter claim, you’ll need to define “Trump supporters”.

            Plenty of people on the right are not just calling for jailing, but outright mass executions of the treasonous Left in the country, most certainly including the media. Look for comparisons to the fate of Der Stürmer’s Julius Streicher, or spend a few minutes perusing the Western Rifle Shooters Association’s site. Or see all the Q foofaraw about a claimed upcoming “Storm” which will see these indeed true enemies of the people arrested, tried before military tribunals, and then suitably punished.

            • Ah, Winter, our resident apologist.

              1. Comey is a known partisan and a liar. Just because HE said Trump said something does not mean that Trump said something. Second hand doesn’t mean shit here.

              2. Trump is repeatedly calling out the liars in the big media organizations, aka Fake News, who are doing real harm to discourse in this country. Reactionaries like yourself feed that through some kind of weird TDS Filter and see him calling for outright censorship of the press, which he hasn’t done. It’s fucking weird.

            • Winter, none of your links are good evidence that Trump wants to censor the press.

              Urging libel reform is not censorship. Jailing accomplices in established Federal crimes is not censorship – press ID is not and should not be a get-out-of-jail-free card. Correctly describing the press as biased, lying scumbags is not censorship.

              You’ll have to do better tn that. Show me where Trump has advocated using force to alter or suppress news stories.

                • Ah, our other apologist.

                  I like that article. Trump tweeted a thing, which we admit is meaningless! But it sounds like something we believe, which proves our belief is true! Satan is real!

                  No, Mr. Read, there are a large number of goddamn liars posing as journalists working throughout the media industry today. Not everyone in the media are liars, and many of the liars are saying things they believe are true because it fits their confirmation bias, but they are nonetheless selling fear-mongering falsehoods for money and political gain.

                  Quit pretending this isn’t happening. Quit pretending that calling this behavior out is censorship. It’s disgusting slimeball behavior on your part, and demeans you.

                  • There’s a lot of damn fools in the media, and a few who are consciously and intentionally lying. Always have been, always will be. Freedom of the press still covers them, just like how freedom of speech covers Nazis and communists.

                  • The PoTUS expresses his wishes publically.

                    What is ambiguous about that? If you say that is meaningless, that means he STILL is a danger to Freedom of Speech.

                • That says nothing about “Trump” “revoking” anything, because “Trump” doesn’t have that power.

                  Broadcast license renewals in this country are subject to challenge by the community, and are issued by an independent board that is not under the direct authority of Trump or any other president.

                  P.S. broadcast licenses are basically not even worth a bucket of warm spit any more. CNN is a cable network. It doesn’t have a “broadcast license” to “revoke”.

                  You might as well freak out over a threat to ban MSNBC from the telegraph or pony express networks.

                  • I will agree that he’s incompetent in his efforts to censor. That doesn’t make the impulse any less terrible.

                    • Ah, yes. The standard “argument” that requires holding two contradictory beliefs at the same time.

                      1) Reagan/Bush/Bush/Trump is a drooling chimp, incompetent to tie his own shoes.
                      2) Reagan/Bush/Bush/Trump is a Moriarty-level criminal mastermind.

                      George Orwell had a name for this.

                    • Reagan and the Bushes were fairly intelligent, they just occasionally (and fairly obviously) played dumb for PR purposes. I had no issues with them.

                      Trump is a 13 year old with 60 years of experience. He neither knows nor cares about anything he can’t either a) have sex with, b) make money from, c) get an ego boost off, d) plate in gold, or e) mock. I never claimed he was a criminal mastermind, all I said was that he has repressive instincts. That requires no special cleverness or skill, just a childish desire to smash anything that gets in your way.

                    • >Trump is a 13 year old with 60 years of experience. He neither knows nor cares about anything he can’t either a) have sex with, b) make money from, c) get an ego boost off, d) plate in gold, or e) mock.

                      You left out the feral cunning about politics and dealmaking; otherwise, I think this is largely true.

                      So what does it say about our ruling elites that when they go up against Trump they almost always come off as crazier, more selfish, and less competent than he is?

                    • Pretty appalling you have such a cramped view of Trump, I’m tempted to ask if you think professional wrestling is genuine and unscripted.

                      But since you seem to in part be judging the man by his works, look at the most important, his children. It’s very unusual for someone like him, at his level of society, not to mention the divorces, to not screw up even once. A most unusual 13 year old….

                    • ESR: The best I’ll say about our elites is that they haven’t blown the place up yet. I’m hardly their fanboy, but I deeply distrust revolutionaries – they never think through the consequences of their actions, or have sufficient respect for the law of unintended consequences. And Trump’s campaign was essentially revolutionary. It was entirely “The current governing system is so corrupt that I can do better with no useful experience, because I mean well”. I didn’t trust that pitch when it was Obama making it, and I don’t trust that pitch when it was Trump making it. If you can’t even admit that you’re facing hard problems(and any unsolved problem in politics is hard for one reason or another), how can I trust you to solve them?

                      H: Do his kids seem that impressive to you? I’ll agree that he’s not beating them black and blue or anything, but they’re not Nobel winners either. Which of their achievements are you referring to here?

                    • Alsadius: Trumps program was very specifically counter-revolutionary, a return to older policies which have worked in times past, so your criticism about it being “revolutionary” falls utterly flat.

                      As for his kids, the odds than any would be “Nobel winners” is very low, usually you see reversion to the mean. But none are druggies, alcoholics like his brother who’s death from that profoundly affected him (and he’s kept to the deathbed promise of not drinking), visibly they’re happy, upbeat productive people, or at least the older 3 from his first marriage, the only one from the 2nd had just graduated from college during the campaign, and Baron is now 12.

                      This is completely inconsistent with the caricature you’ve painted of him. Which is getting very tired, we heard much the same things about Reagan and W.

                    • > Reagan and the Bushes were fairly intelligent, they just occasionally (and fairly obviously) played dumb for PR purposes. I had no issues with them.

                      Once again, this is the standard playbook. Every former Republican politician gets lauded by comparison with the current EVIL SATANIC REPUBLIKKKAN.

                      Look at the tongue bath John McCain is getting from the same people who were calling him Hitler when he ran against Saint Obama.

                      I’m old enough to remember when Reagan was a senile warmonger who was going to Kill Us All.

                      > Trump is a 13 year old with 60 years of experience. He neither knows nor cares about anything he can’t either a) have sex with, b) make money from, c) get an ego boost off, d) plate in gold, or e) mock.

                      His defeat of the Smartest Woman in History (despite her spending twice as much money, and despite every media outlet in the country attempting to drag her criminal ass across the finish line) indicates otherwise, as do his judicial and cabinet appointments.

                      The cartoon character in your head would be appointing Ted Nugent to the Supreme Court, not Kavanaugh and Gorsuch.

                      Not that it wouldn’t be highly amusing to see Ted Nugent on the Supreme Court.

                    • H: “Make America Great Again” is a counter-revolutionary slogan, but none of his policies are actually counter-revolutionary. It’s not like there was a wall before Carter tore it down, or like free-trade agreements are what caused all the problems with American trade flows*. It’s no more counter-revolutionary than Pol Pot trying to make everyone into farmers with a 30% mortality rate – sure, it sounds like a reversion to pre-industrial society, but that’s not at all how pre-industrial society actually functioned. Trump’s policy is obviously far less evil than Pol Pot’s, but in terms of revolution vs counter-revolution, it feels the same to me.

                      * – Free trade agreements can be blamed in principle, but I don’t think Trump can make that argument. My copy of The Art of the Deal has him complaining about how Japan is taking advantage of the US(standard late-80s Japanophobia, much like modern Chinaphobia), and there was no free trade deal at that point. If he uses the same rhetoric when there is a FTA as he does when there isn’t one, FTAs are not the determining factor here.

                      Re his kids, appearing outwardly well-adjusted means very little in this context. They’ve been raised under the unblinking eye for their whole lives, so the fact that they appear generally sane in public should be no surprise. I’ll accept the lack of obvious cokeheads as very weak counter-evidence, but not enough to meaningfully shift my probability estimates.

                      Doctor Locketopus: I’ve been using this name consistently for online political debate since 2002. Sadly, most of the sites where I did most of my commenting back then have succumbed to link rot, but I could probably crawl through archive.org and find some of my pro-Bush commentary from that era. Since I started paying attention to US politics, I’ve supported almost exclusively Republicans(and when I haven’t, it’s been Libertarians more often than Democrats). I’d have taken any other plausible GOP nominee over Clinton with no qualms.

                      I know a lot of people say “Trump is uniquely bad” and follow it up with “But Pence is even worse, and so is Bush, and, and, and…”. Yes, those people are liars and fools. But when I say that I think Trump is uniquely bad, it’s because I actually believe that Trump is uniquely bad.

                      But yes, Trump can win elections. He can throw a bone to the GOP establishment, especially on issues like judicial appointments that he doesn’t really care about. I’d have done that at age 13 if somebody put me in charge too – “This matters that much to you? Fine, pick somebody, just stop bothering me.” Those don’t imply any particular level of emotional maturity or reasoned analysis, they just imply that he can get people to like him and dislike his opponents. Go look at the social structure of a bunch of girls in junior high before you suggest that’s beyond a 13 year old. Hell, I don’t even think he’s stupid in the typical meaning of the word – he probably has a pretty high IQ. He’s just a deeply insecure, somewhat pathetic man who tries to gold-plate the holes in his soul. If he were actually to develop some emotional maturity, I’d probably have quite a lot of respect for him, but if he hasn’t by now then he never will.

                    • Oh joy, a wall of text in a maximally narrow subthread. BUT, it can be dealt with simply:

                      H: “Make America Great Again” is a counter-revolutionary slogan, but none of his policies are actually counter-revolutionary.

                      Says the Canadian who knows more about American politics than most Americans, but who was curiously unaware that Trump had vowed to never sign another omnibus, which so far has along with we can be sure private conversations resulted in the Congress passing a full slate of appropriations bills for the first time in a couple of decades.

                      But on to a few particulars: How can you use Carter as an example when it was Reagan who opened the post-Operation Wetback floodgates with his amnesty. Or ignore the move of drug cartels to Mexico?

                      “Free trade agreements” which number in the thousands of pages are obviously nothing of the sort, and as others have pointed out, the particulars are disadvantageous to the US. I’ll add, especially in how NAFTA allows non-Canadian and Mexican sub-assemblies to be finished in those countries and be imported duty free.

                      Trump’s policy is obviously far less evil than Pol Pot’s, but in terms of revolution vs counter-revolution, it feels the same to me.

                      Yeah, it’s a waste of time to reply to you. But I’ll add that the biggest reason for his popularly and winning is that like Grant, “he fights”. After 3 terms of Bushes, and McCain and Romney’s pathetic attempts, to ascribe this to 13 year old girls social dynamics suggests at best you’re out to lunch, at worst that you dislike him simply because he’s actually effective.

                    • What percentage of Americans follow procedural issues like omnibus vs siloed bills to any level of detail?

                      Re Carter vs Reagan, I’m aware that Reagan signed the big amnesty. But Republicans usually like ragging on Carter more, and neither one of them tore down Trump’s big, beautiful wall(because it never fscking existed, which is why calling him counter-revolutionary is silly), so I figured I’d go for that hypothetical instead.

                      Re “he fights”, that’s one of the better pro-Trump arguments. It’s not enough for me, but it’s legit. That said, calling him “actually effective” is rather hard to believe. What’s he done, other than nominating the same candidates any other GOP President would have nominated and letting Congress pass a tax bill?

                    • What’s he done, other than nominating the same candidates any other GOP President would have nominated and letting Congress pass a tax bill?

                      If you were following American politics as closely as you claim you are, “more than most Americans” as I recall, you’d know. Massive decrease in regulations, especially through the law that makes it easy with the Congress, just getting the government’s boot off the neck of businesses has been an inestimable boon. For just one example, the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are now in operation.

                      Terminating NAFTA with extreme prejudice, although I don’t expect you to be happy about that. The biggest opening with the DPRK since the armistice was signed 1953, “jaw jaw is better than war war”, but of course that can’t be separated from our new relationship with the PRC, which is a work in progress. Shamed much of NATO into shirking less of their duties. No new wars, which is an accomplishment after Clinton-Bush-Obama.

                      Cutting back Obama’s repeat of Clinton’s cute trick with declaring National Monuments; in general, despite an utterly hostile GOPe(stablishment) run Congress, because Obama did so much by executive action, everything but Obamacare and the CFPB, where his appointee has ended its funding of Leftist organizations, he’s completely reversing the “accomplishments” of Obama that are possible.

                      I.e. he can’t unset most of the Middle East that’s on fire, but he did move our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem … and nothing happened…. Oh, and his trashing of the status of the “corporate media” is also of inestimable value, which no Republican has even tried since Nixon (“nattering nabobs of negativism” … whoa, quite a difference between Pence and Agnew, isn’t there?).

                      That’s just off the top of my head, there’s lots more.

              • “Urging libel reform is not censorship. Jailing accomplices in established Federal crimes is not censorship – press ID is not and should not be a get-out-of-jail-free card. ”

                Libel laws are well known to be used to stifle free speech (see UK). Trump wants them EXPRESSIVELY to silence news media.

                Jailing journalists who do their work is part and parcel for censorship. Leaking secrets might be a crime, publishing them AFTER the leak is what the press are for.

                It is clear the the present company is largely blind on one eye. Whatever the “Left” does must be condemned. But faults at the right are never seen.

                Still the major attacks on Free Speech nowadays come from the Right, from Putin and Erdogan to Trump and the Alt-Right.

                I understand that you are ideologically blinded in that direction. But like all ideological zealots: Reality will bite you even if you do not believe in it. You will lose your freedom if you do not fight for it. And in your case, the enemy comes from behind.

                • Putin is a czar.
                  Erdogan wants to be a sultan.

                  Neither role has anything AT ALL in common with the conventional “right” or “left” terms of Western politics (which is an incoherent enough model as it is, much less when you start torturing the language to apply to people like Putin and Erdogan).

                  To you, “right” is defined as “anyone who isn’t a communist”. You’re in a cult.

                    • > Blind on one eye, I see. Power and politics have everything to do with Right versus Left.

                      Ah, yes. Stalin, Mao, the Kim Dynasty, and Pol Pot were well known for their aversion to naked power.

                    • “Ah, yes. Stalin, Mao, the Kim Dynasty, and Pol Pot”

                      Perfect examples of Left wing politicians, more precisely, Communists, who horribly abused their power. A stark warning to anyone who supports authoritarian leaders who denounce and demonize groups in their countries.

            • Jesus, Winter, are you so ignorant that you don’t see how these people are cherry-picking incidents to sell their narrative? A few people did a thing, therefore everyone we deem to be similar to those people are doing that thing too! The fact that we are reporting on the thing means that we are right that another thing is also happening! What we say is true! Our God is the only true God!

              You are a logic pretzel, and so knotted in the lies you have allowed yourself to buy that you live in fantasyland. But then, you are also a robot-like collectivist who only sees people as the collective you decide they belong to. I imagine any brain will get pretty twisted rationalizing that way when faced with actual individual human beings.

              • At least Winter has cites. He’s ten cites less ignorant than you. (I counted.) I give Winter the clear victory, as he has gathered cites from all of the political spectrum and you have bloviated.

                • Hey man, Winter’s tough, he can respond to verbal sniping just fine on his own, if he thinks its worth his time. Frankly I doubt it would be, in this case, since I’m mainly just insulting him a little while snidely dismissing his sources. He doesn’t need someone defending him. Don’t take that away from him, dude!

                  • I was busy off-line, but I think I agree completely with Troutwaxer.

                    “Quotes from some rando (or even a dozen randos) on the Internet do not count as a “cite”, at least not as far as constituting proof (or even evidence) that Trump himself holds any particular position.”

                    I gave cites for Trump and for his supporters. Whether or not Trump holds these believes or just is acting does not make much of a difference in how dangerous he and his supporters are to the Freedom of the Press.

                    And if you disagree, give some supporting evidence.

                    • Alrighty, boyo, I’ll actually address each of your links one-by-one, because that’s all I need:

                      1.) Newsweek, Don Lemon/Brian Stelter death-threat call: A (singular) man called some people and said something bad. The article then repeats a few of Trump’s tweets where he calls Fake News the enemy of the people, and typically cognitive-dissonances that into Trump calling news outlets the enemy of the people, which he did not do. Meaningless link, propaganda.

                      2.) Fox News, man arrested for repeatedly threatening the Boston Globe: A (singular) man made multiple harassing calls and said something bad. The article repeats the above lie about Trump, saying of the phrase “enemy of the people” that it is “a characterization of journalists that Trump has used repeatedly.” Again, Trump says this about Fake News. The article further explains that these kinds of threats are COMMON for news organizations, and is only notable due to the current political climate, and furthermore that the man did not appear inclined to carry out his threats. Meaningless link, propaganda.

                      3.) The Grio: Same event as #1, with exactly the same problems. Meaningless link, propaganda.

                      4.) Gateway Pundit: What’s the point of this article? NYT complains about Trump’s rhetoric (which they lie about in the same way as above) while ignoring actual violence being perpetrated against Trump supporters. Possible counter-propaganda, but doubly-meaningless for not having anything to do with the point you seem to be trying to make.

                      5.) NPR, Jewish reporters harassed: This is just a narrative about a woman who received spicy trolling while online and reacted with fear. The piece mentions other Jewish journalists who treat the same behavior as harmless. A fear-mongering propaganda piece; trolls use any means available to get a response out of people, for example while men receive far more online “abuse” than women, women receive more sexually-charged “abuse.” It follows that someone who is Jewish would receive “abuse” with an anti-Semetic tone. In other words, a person was called mean names on the internet, but since the person is Jewish it’s double-plus bad. Film at 11.

                      So, what you’ve presented is: two guys said bad things to journalists, which one article even says is a normal thing anyway and is only notable due to the political climate (i.e. they can make money off of it right now), and one woman in an edited narrative story got trolled and reacted like a wilting flower.

                      The only way I can see any of this supporting your position is if you believe that these two people and some online trolls represent all of the American people who support Trump, who are, by the way, about half of us. That’s a logical leap of stunning proportions, unless you are a collectivist, which I understand you are. So, I return to my original insults and snide dismissal above, which I believe I have now appropriately justified.

                    • And for extra credit, I will perform the same trick with ALL the links you provided, to satisfy Troutwaxer’s “10 cites less ignorant” point.

                      1′.) Talking Points Memo, Comey memos: The things Trump is reported as saying in these memos are uncorroborated, and Comey is already a suspect source given the controversy around his behavior during the election and Trump’s firing of him. It’s hearsay.

                      2′.) Common Dreams, Memo says Trump: Same point as the above, so it’s redundant, except for the additional information that Comey was promoting his new book. Still hearsay.

                      3′.) The Atlantic, Trump Wants to Censor: I’ve addressed this far below, but this is an op-ed that’s taking one thing Trump said and interpreting it to fit their narrative. There’s even a bit where they admit he’s not calling for what you say he is: “Trump’s focus on a few outlets […] suggests he is interested not in across-the-board censorship so much as targeted persecution of those organizations that he feels are making his life difficult.” This runs under the assumption that those organizations aren’t fucking lying, which they are, and Trump still isn’t calling for censorship, he’s wondering why this destructive behavior isn’t being looked in to.

                      4′.) Newsweek, Donald Trump’s Threat: a crafted narrative which seems to collapse to “Trump has called us out for being mean to him to a nearly libelous degree, boo hoo hoo! We’re right, look at what people who also work for us say! We’re authorities, we!” I would need a whole, large post to break down why and how this article is trash, because it’s a self-referential spaghetti of the same shit you keep trying to pull here.

                      I don’t see the 10th “cite” that Troutwaxer claims to have counted, but I’m probably just missing it.

                      Do you actually have an example of Trump calling for actual censorship, or advocating a policy of censorship, or taking any action whatsoever towards censorship? And, here’s the real trick, without requiring the magic mind-reading powers you use to determine what he’s REALLY saying, that the rest of us apparently can’t see.

                    • So I see you agree with me that Trump supporters are a danger to the freedom of the press.

                      Also, multiple witnesses testifying about Trump wanting to curtail the press is simply evidence that he expressed these wishes and evidence he is a danger to the freedom of the press.

                      Talk about apologists.

                    • > So I see you agree with me that Trump supporters are a danger to the freedom of the press.

                      Cool, now I’m just going to call you a liar in every single interaction I have with you, because you are. Thank you, I feel more justified in my assessment now. I’ll try to get creative with it, though, so it doesn’t get too repetitive.

                    • “Cool, now I’m just going to call you a liar in every single interaction I have with you, because you are.”

                      You already did. Accusations without corroborating evidence are simply name calling.

                      And name calling is really is all you do. Either with me, or Jeff, or to anyone else who gives evidence you do not like. Just dismissing everyone you do not like is not evidence.

                    • > Accusations without corroborating evidence are simply name calling.

                      My evidence that you are a liar are your own words in this very thread, which you graciously provided. Please present counter-evidence that you are not a liar.

                • Quotes from some rando (or even a dozen randos) on the Internet do not count as a “cite”, at least not as far as constituting proof (or even evidence) that Trump himself holds any particular position.

                  Once again, you (and winter) are simply engaging in dishonest smear tactics.

                    • My reply above, currently in moderation, goes here too, and I will add:

                      > I gave cites for Trump and for his supporters.

                      For “his supporters” you showcased two unremarkable (as admitted by one of the articles) crank-callers and some internet trolls. Quit claiming they represent the broad class of people who support him, it’s dishonest.

                      > Whether or not Trump holds these believes or just is acting

                      OR if those beliefs are being falsely-attributed to him by deranged partisans claiming to be journalists, hey? Is that possible? No? Why not?

                      > And if you disagree, give some supporting evidence.

                      Since you are the one making the claim that Trump seeks to quash the free press, it’s on you to support it. So far you haven’t done a great job of that.

                    • I put up evidence and witnesses. You respond with opinions.

                      That is how a discussion with the right goes nowadays.

                    • > I put up evidence and witnesses. You respond with opinions.

                      You put up bullshit. Your conclusion is build on SAND, you worm. I don’t have to respond with evidence (which, btw, would involve proving a negative, which is impossible), it’s YOUR claim that YOU have to support. I just have to show how your evidence does not actually support your claim. Which I have, even if you think you can pull smarmy schoolboy behavior to dodge it.

                      I didn’t hope to convince you, I think your brain is too poisoned by ideological bilge. Others, though, I’m sure can see through this cute little communist slimeball tactic you’re using.

                    • “You put up bullshit.”

                      Name calling to hide your own lack of facts to support your arguments. Nothing but fact free opinion.

        • ” Trump wants to censor all media, and his supporters even call for jailing all journalists”

          I’d argue that President Trump is the most pro-press president we’ve had in decades. He’s out there engaging with them on a daily, and sometimes hourly basis. Compare/contrast with President Obama, who was famous for never holding a press conference.

        • > Trump wants to censor all media, and his supporters even call for jailing all journalists

          No, he doesn’t, and “his supporters” is such a broad category as to be meaningless.

          Trump exercises little control over his mouth, but when you look at what he (and his administration) have done it’s been in the open, and much LESS than what the previous administration did.

          https://www.twincities.com/2018/09/12/other-voices-before-trump-obama-was-an-enemy-of-press-freedom/

          and mostly non-overlapping:
          https://www.factcheck.org/2018/09/obama-fox-news-and-the-free-press/

          Now this was a presidency where the press was *largely* on it’s side.

          Since then the American Press has *literally* gone to war with Trump because was running against, then beat Hillary.

          So yeah, he’s upset with them. But as far as we know he’s been *open* about it, and not used the FBI or other government agencies to go after them. Of course, if the press DID report that, well, they’ve lied and distorted the truth so many times in the last 2 years that most of us would be skeptical.

          Putin’s *culture* is that of the Soviet Era KGB where he was Colonel.

          Orban was also raised under the Soviet culture.

          Ditto for the Polish.

          All of them were raised and educated in a system that taught that OF COURSE the government has the right, or in some cases the *responsibility* to control the flow of information.

          Erdogan? He’s a islamist, which basically means Nazi, but those are only right wingers if you’re sitting with Chairman Mao and Stalin.

          • > No, he doesn’t, and “his supporters” is such a broad category as to be meaningless.

            Note that Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps was a life-long Democrat and a Gore delegate to the DNC.

            Mass murdering pedophile John Wayne Gacy was rather thoroughly plugged in to the Chicago Democrat machine (there’s a famous picture of him schmoozing with Rosalynn Carter).

            Oddly, unsavory “supporters” like these only seem to count if they support Republicans.

            • I think I can settle this:

              “MOSCOW — The phrase was too toxic even for Nikita Khrushchev, a war-hardened veteran communist not known for squeamishness. As leader of the Soviet Union, he demanded an end to the use of the term “enemy of the people” because “it eliminated the possibility of any kind of ideological fight.”

              “The formula ‘enemy of the people,’” Mr. Khrushchev told the Soviet Communist Party in a 1956 speech denouncing Stalin’s cult of personality, “was specifically introduced for the purpose of physically annihilating such individuals” who disagreed with the supreme leader.”

              https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/26/world/europe/trump-enemy-of-the-people-stalin.html

              So here’s Nikita Khrushchev, premier of the Soviet Union, arguing that “enemy of the people” is a phrase that goes much too far (as Khrushchev thought Stalin had gone too far) in restricting free debate.

              And here’s Trump tweeting about FAKE NEWS: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @CNN, @NBCNews and many more) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people. SICK!”

              So Trump is using a phrase which Khrushchev defined as “…specifically introduced for the purpose of physically annihilating such individuals who disagreed with the supreme leader.” In essence, the dictatorial leader of the Soviet Union, Stalin’s successor, is telling us that Trump has gone too far. Sorry.

              • >So Trump is using a phrase which Khrushchev defined as “…specifically introduced for the purpose of physically annihilating such individuals who disagreed with the supreme leader.”

                Case isn’t parallel. Trump didn’t create “enemy of the people” as a quasi-juridical term and then propaganidize the population intensively so they believed that designated targets were enemies of the people.

                No. Trump is articulating a bottom-up sentiment that helped propel him into office. His voters already believed that the establishment press had become the enemy of every kind of American except a tiny coterie of wealthy gentry liberals and their dependent clients long before 2016. They still do. They’re in revolt against the permanent political class, for which they think the establishment press has become nothing more than stenographers and propagandists.

                And, well, I agree with them. Doesn’t make me Stalinist, just somebody who pays attention to the class wars.

              • 1) I don’t let communists define words for me.

                2) Your claim is a logical fallacy, of the “Nazis wore shoes. My opponent wears shoes. Therefore my opponent is a Nazi.” form.

                > In essence, the dictatorial leader of the Soviet Union, Stalin’s successor, is telling us that Trump has gone too far. Sorry.

                In essence, you are making a tortured, dishonest, fallacious connection. Sorry.

        • > Trump wants to censor all media

          Patent nonsense.

          He has called them names, accused them of lying, and various other things, but he has never, ever advocated censoring the press.

    • “But in all other situations, peers are obliged to judge a contribution only on its merits and it is peers that will integrate the contribution into “current thinking”, or not.”

      Tell that to the scientist whose paper was rejected because it was “not helpful”.

    • If you look at who voted for EU Article 11 and 13 just two days ago, which nearly everybody I know considers one of the worst attempts to fuck with the Internet for a long time, you find most of the moderate political spectrum, with the far-left and far-right fringes voting against. The for voters even include I guy I know and trust that he is neither stupid (as in, not buying the “muh starving artists and musicians” nonsense), nor corrupted, and still voted in favor of it. Sometimes I think someone has their balls far tighter than their balls could be had by just simply bribing them or giving them campaign money.

    • Re your final sentence: I suspect your definition of ‘censorship’ is carefully tailored so as to support that assertion. Meanwhile, the rest of us see mobs of students forcibly preventing free speech on campus, Twitter disabling accounts of those deemed undesirable, Facebook trying to suppress posts from same, Google trying to repress search results from same and the mainstream media being remarkably quiet about all of this. All of that is censorship to me.

      • I see angry mobs yelling for the jailing of journalists. And a president that wants to censor all media. And that is just in the USA.

        In Europe, we have several right wing governments, Russian, Hungary, Poland and Turkey all censoring the media. And we have the likes of LePen and Wilders who want to ban all Muslim writings.

        That is what I call censorship.

        • > And a president that wants to censor all media.

          You are lying, or you are thoughtlessly repeating lies. Quit lying.

            • Last time I looked the current government of the UK is CONSERVATIVE. As are the majority of the EU Commission and Parliament.

              • Except the mainstream left-wing parties aren’t fighting against this, their pushing for even more drastic censorship.

                Basically, the only parties left in Western Europe wiling to oppose this are the “far-right”/nationalists, you know the guys you just called “the biggest threat to free speech” here.

                • “Except the mainstream left-wing parties aren’t fighting against this, their pushing for even more drastic censorship.”

                  They are. They are opposed to the copyright extensions. Still, it is the RIGHT that acts out these attacks on Free Speech.

                  “Basically, the only parties left in Western Europe wiling to oppose this are the “far-right”/nationalists, you know the guys you just called “the biggest threat to free speech” here.”

                  It is indeed the Nationalists etc that attack Free Speech of everyone they do not like:

                  Geert Wilders, a champignon of the “far-right/nationalists” yesterday called for making ALL Islamic expression illegal:
                  Populist proposal to ban Islamic expressions in Netherlands immediately shot down
                  https://nltimes.nl/2018/09/19/populist-proposal-ban-islamic-expressions-netherlands-immediately-shot

                  • > They are. They are opposed to the copyright extensions.

                    Copyright extensions aren’t the assault on free speech that people are worried about. See here if you’ve forgotten what we’re talking about.

                    Will you at least pretend do argue in good faith.

        • You “see” that because you’ve carefully curated your news sources so they only show you that, and not what photondancer sees.

          (I suspect he sees the things you’re referring to, just as I do, and just doesn’t think that Trump actually has done a single thing towards “censoring all media”, and thus doesn’t care.

          Whereas shout-down mobs are silencing non-Left speech all across America.

          Handwaving about “the right” by including Putin and Edrogan as if they have any possible goddamn relationship to Donald Fucking Trump is … I don’t even know what it is, other than infuriatingly baseless.)

          • >Handwaving about “the right” by including Putin and Edrogan as if they have any possible goddamn relationship to Donald Fucking Trump is … I don’t even know what it is, other than infuriatingly baseless.)

            You have to remember that to the winters and the Jeff Reads of the world, political beliefs are either communist (good) or not communist (bad). Anyone who isn’t a communist gets lumped into the same category of “right wing white nationalist deplorable bitter clingy nazi fascist gun nut RepubliKKKan bad, bad, BAD person”.

            It’s classic Beavis and Butthead-style adolescent bimodal judgment, where the only two possibilities are “cool” and “sucks”.

            • You totally misrepresent my position, and Jeff’s.

              If there is any written principle that would come close to my view of Good vs Bad, it would be the original universal declaration of human rights. But even that is incomplete and in part not ideal in my view.

            • Also, the point was NOT Trump, but that the Right is currently the biggest threat to free speech.

              And the Right are Putin and Orban and Erdogan and Kaczy?ski and Le Pen and Wilders and…

              Trump is just the biggest gorilla in the room (in more than one respect).

              • Come off it. No one here (except maybe Jeff Read) is buying your nonsensical (or perhaps disingenuous) model of politics.

                Please provide a coherent definition of “right” that is different in any material degree from “people who aren’t communists”. Make sure that your definition is broad enough to encompass Trump, Putin, Erdogan, and U.S. libertarians.

                Go ahead. I’ll wait.

                The fact is that you have been so thoroughly indoctrinated by communist propaganda that you’re effectively blind to the (many) nuances of political thought.

                You are basically no different from a Muslim terrorist, a fanatical Christian inquisitor, or a Nazi.

                All that matters is The Cause and your self-abnegating True Belief in it.

                Eric Hoffer wrote a whole book about people like you. Hint: it wasn’t flattering.

                  • > Right-wing politics hold that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal or desirable

                    Yes, that certainly describes libertarians to a T. Except that it doesn’t.

                    Also: what about that whole “dictatorship of the proletariat” thing? You know, the idea that the evolution of society will eventually wind up at communism because of natural law? You’ve heard of that, I suppose?

                    By your “definition”, Karl Marx was “right wing”.

                    Idiot.

                    P.S. Wikipedia is a very, very poor source for political material.

                    • You claimed:
                      “Please provide a coherent definition of “right” that is different in any material degree from “people who aren’t communists”. Make sure that your definition is broad enough to encompass Trump, Putin, Erdogan, and U.S. libertarians.”

                      I supplied you with THREE such definitions that encompass all of the subjects you wanted. I showed that there do exist such definitions. So if you wanted to claim no such definitions exist, then you were WRONG.

                      Now you come with a new subject to fit in, libertarians. But that does fit too. First, anarchists are orthogonal to this definition. There are anarchists at the left and right end of the spectrum. Libertarians fit in at the Right end because they adhere to an absolute definition of personal ownership rights and to the natural order of rich and poor people. Anarchists at the left end of the spectrum do not accept personal ownership rights, or only to a limited extend, and they do not accept an order with rich and poor people.

                      There has been an evolution in this respect. Before the 19th century, allowing everyone to become rich if they could was a very left wing (extremist) political position. However this was accepted by main stream politics in the 19th century. It became itself a “natural order” and the sanctity of personal ownership is now the position of the Right.

                      “P.S. Wikipedia is a very, very poor source for political material.”

                      Here, it was pretty spot on. This Wikipedia article is actually backed up by research, see the references. However, your position in this matter seem to be totally armchair philosophy without the benefit of any consultation of a library.

                • “The fact is that you have been so thoroughly indoctrinated by communist propaganda that you’re effectively blind to the (many) nuances of political thought.”

                  What gave you that idea? Right and Left are pointers to positions on a line that people understand. Most people interested in politics are able to gauge which of two opinions on the same matter is to the “Right” of the other. So, this is a useful cliche to communicate ideas. And it was our esteemed host that started this by saying All Danger to Free Speech is Coming from the Left.

                  It is clear that the dangers to Free Speech are coming from those who support Authoritarian politics. But in the current situation, these people are almost all supporters of the Right.

                • “You are basically no different from a Muslim terrorist, a fanatical Christian inquisitor, or a Nazi.
                  All that matters is The Cause and your self-abnegating True Belief in it.”

                  That sounds rather stupid as I am a principled opponent of executions, the death penalty, and torture. If you actually had read my comments on this forum you would have known. But it seems to me you had already classified me as some sort of demonic witch and did not need to take my actual words into account.

                  Btw. my Cause is Freedom and Democracy. And my leading book is Outlines of Pyrrhonism.

        • So it’s only censorship if the government does it? that’s a classic SJW stance.

          I googled on le Pen and Wilders banning muslim writing and got no hits. Please be more specific. But I’m curious: do you support the German government’s ban on Mein Kampf? if so, why would le Pen and Wilders bother you?

          • I know that Wilders have suggested that if the existant NL laws on hate speech and incitement to violence were followed, the Koran and the Hadiths would violate them, and I think he quoted a few juicy passages to illustrate it. I interpreted it as a reductio argument against those laws and a futile attempt to shame the left into following their own supposed principles.

            Naturally it was reported as “Evil Nazi Wilders wants to ban the Koran” in most EU media. Apparently it has now morphed to “Evil Nazi Wilders wants to ban ALL muslim writings”.

          • “I googled on le Pen and Wilders banning muslim writing and got no hits. Please be more specific.”

            That is because these people normally do not publish or speak in English. But just three days ago Mr Wilders proposed a law in parliament to ban all Islamic expressions.

            Populist proposal to ban Islamic expressions in Netherlands immediately shot down
            https://nltimes.nl/2018/09/19/populist-proposal-ban-islamic-expressions-netherlands-immediately-shot

            “But I’m curious: do you support the German government’s ban on Mein Kampf? if so, why would le Pen and Wilders bother you?”

            There was a moment after the war where there was a choice in Germany between banning Nazi people or banning Nazi words. They chose the lesser evil of banning Nazi words. I can see the point of that.

            Banning people from calling for the extermination of non-Aryan people or denying the Holocaust (where those who deny the Holocaust generally will call for extermination all Jews in the next sentence) has shown not to be the slippery slope everyone here is calling it. These laws have been interpreted pretty narrowly.

            I am not dogmatic. Free Speech is A GOOD THINGtm, but in some cases there are people who can drive a whole society off the cliff with their words. Examples are Hitler and the people behind the Rwanda genocide. Then curtailing their words is the lesser evil.

            But I agree that the ban on Mein Kampf has far outlived its usefulness.

            Why I am bothered by Wilders and Le Pen? They both want to strip muslims of their voting rights and their freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Most of the far right Nationalist parties in Europe are also anti-semitic (e.g., Le Pen, UKIP, and AfD) and against the Free Press (e.g., Poland, Hungary, Macedonia).

    • What you describe has been the official position in science for at least a century. The ideal is that only the scientific message counts, not the messenger. … Politics really should not enter the equation anywhere. Your description would fall squarely within the scientific approach.

      I am not as confident as you seem that simply because the position shared between you and our host has been the dominant one, that there is no attempt to change that in the same manner as seen in the open source community. In fact, here are three links arguing quite the contrary, that it is the messenger which determines the value of the message:

      Decolonize The Science: “The idea of objectivity in western intellectual traditions is problematic for many reasons, but one of the main crumbling pillars is: research will never be free of personal biases or reflect universal truths. And to think there are universal truths perpetuates a particular kind of able bodied white cisgender male logic, a world where everything is measured in comparison to them as the ideal type of human that everyone else aberrates from.”

      On The Possibility of Feminist Philosophy of Physics: “The social practices of a science are the interaction patterns among groups of scientists. Inquiry about those practices thus involves questions about the systematic inclusion or exclusion of particular individuals or groups from the community, as well as the social behaviors and norms that allow certain individuals or groups to flourish once in the community, perhaps at the expense of others. … One of the key impacts of feminist philosophy of physics is precisely to shine a normative light on the social and cognitive practices of physics, which can thereby enable us to better understand and critique the [theoretical/methodological] practices themselves.”

      ‘Indigenous Knowledge’ and ‘Science’: Reframing the Debate on Knowledge Diversity: “Drawing on the work of Nelson Goodman and Catherine Elgin, the paper argues that diverse epistemologies ought to be evaluated not on their capacity to express a strict realism but on their ability to advance understanding. Such an approach allows for the evaluation of the advancement of understanding without necessarily requiring the expression of the literal truths that divide ‘belief’ from ‘knowledge’.”

      Having been exposed to this relativist nonsense over and over, I no longer fear the barbarians at the gate as attacking Enlightenment-valued communities, but the Achaean warriors which have already been unwittingly admitted….

      • I’m on a philosophy email list here in Sydney and I can attest to this. I’ve been seeing an increasing number of talks with even more SJW abstracts than your example for the last couple of years. The barbarians are not just within the gates: the first cohort have already submitted their Ph.Ds and been appointed lecturer. It upsets me greatly that philosophy, which for so many years prided itself on critical thinking, has fallen prey to these frauds. They should never have been admitted to the faculty but pushed back to the ‘gender/cultural/social studies’ fringe.

      • Attacks on the independence of science have been going on since the start of science itself. Whether it is Catholics, Communists, Fascists, or SJW is immaterial. There have also been awarded Catholic, Communist, Fascist and SJW PhDs. That too does not change a thing about whether or not science is open. You always ask where and by whom a PhD has been awarded, and you read the thesis.

        Citing attacks as evidence there is no independent science is nonsense.

    • > Btw, the threat of censorship is currently coming more from the right than from “Communists”

      No the threat of censorship is currently coming from the EU which is for example, proposing a law that would give internet firms 1 hour to remove “extremist” content.

      The UK police which is currently attempting to do its best impression of Orwell’s thoughtpolice in the name of fighting “hate speech”, even as they can’t or don’t want to stop children from being raped by “Asians” (read Pakistani Muslims).

      British Labour MPs who are proposing laws to ban private Facebook Groups.

      And that’s just stuff that happened last week.

      • “No the threat of censorship is currently coming from the EU which is for example, proposing a law that would give internet firms 1 hour to remove “extremist” content.”

        As compared to taking over news media by “friends of the state” and murdering and jailing journalists and political opponents as was done to various degrees in Russia (all of it), Turkey, Hungary and Poland (small part of it, but progressing)?

        And who are the ones defending maximalist copyright protection here?

        • > As compared to taking over news media by “friends of the state”

          You mean sort of like the incestuous relationship between the press and Democratic party in the US?

          • Sorry, I did not know Fox News had an incestuous relation with the Democrats. Nor had I heard this of Breitbart.

            Anyhow, another explanation of many journalists siding with the view of the Democrats might be that they have the arguments on their side in the matters. I have seen a rise of fact-free opinions on the right. Like all these people that attack every line of evidence I offer, but only with an opinion. I hardly ever see a response that offers counter evidence.

            Any decent journalist has learned that reports should involve facts pro and counter an argument. If your position is that facts are Democrat party territory, then indeed, responsible media would lean towards the Democrats. But that is not a fault, but a virtue.

            • > Like all these people that attack every line of evidence I offer, but only with an opinion.

              Remember, when someone calls out Winter’s idiotic, blinded logic fails, he acts like a smartass child and goes “yeah, well, that’s just like, your opinion, man.”

              He is a dishonest person, like any good communist.

              • I sometimes get the impression that many people have lost the distinction between facts and opinion. I have not seen many facts countering my assertions. But I have seen a lot of innuendo, name calling, and just plain opinion.

            • > Anyhow, another explanation of many journalists siding with the view of the Democrats might be that they have the arguments on their side in the matters.

              Except:

              1) Most journalists’ demonstrated inability to follow an argument whenever the subject comes up.

              2) The fact that they repeatedly get caught colliding with Democratic candidates.

              • “1) Most journalists’ demonstrated inability to follow an argument whenever the subject comes up.”

                Most are much better in doing so than anyone present here.

                “2) The fact that they repeatedly get caught colliding with Democratic candidates.”

                Which is in what way worse than a Fox News host being in collusion with Michael Cohen? Or Fox News in total in collusion with the White House? And Bannon going from Breitbart to the White House and back.

                Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. It does show your considerable bias.

                • > Which is in what way worse than a Fox News host being in collusion with Michael Cohen?

                  Fox is a single TV channel. JournoList and things like it involve every other major TV channel and news paper.

  16. I have deleted the entire nutball conspiracy thread in these comments about 9/11 trutherism as so far off topic and distracting as to be toxic. It will be appropriate to address supposed alternate theories of 9/11 only if I ever post on the topic, which is unlikely.

    X, this is your last warning: if you spam my blog witth this crap again you will be banned.

      • At least Winter lies in a way that usually provides fertile soil for discussion. He is an overflowing container of fertilizer, one might say.

        • You his lies are so clearly ridiculous its possible to destroy them without too much work. Unlike X where you actually have to know something about material science.

          • “You his lies are so clearly ridiculous its possible to destroy them without too much work.”

            Like this below? I feel I am free to take president Trump on his word, just like we do with other presidents and leaders. (see also my links above) Anyone who claims he does not mean it should read up on his history.

            “Trump Wants to Censor the Media
            The president’s call for a Senate investigation into news outlets for publishing unflattering stories about him is an attack on freedom of the press.”
            https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/10/trump-wants-to-censor-the-press/542142/

            In short, Trump is expressing an interest in censoring the American free press. As usual, it’s hard to tell how serious Trump is—viewed amid the barrage of fake-news tweets, it may just be an off-the-cuff riff. (Earlier this week, Trump said in an interview that Puerto Rico’s debt would need to be erased, leading the White House to say he didn’t really mean it.) If made in that spirit, it’s striking that the president casually and carelessly suggests infringing on constitutional protections.

            • > I feel I am free to take president Trump on his word,

              And then you proceed to quote someone who is not Trump and who is interpreting something Trump said. That’s not what taking him on his word means, Winter. Taking him on his word would be accepting for sake of argument that his claims of deceitful and destructive fake news being produced by major outlets are true. I know English isn’t your first language, but come on.

              • “And then you proceed to quote someone who is not Trump and who is interpreting something Trump said.”

                I am quoting lots of things Trump has said and written. As for things he said, I have to rely on witness accounts as I am not in the habit to converse with Trump in person. Even then, you would not believe me as you did not hear these words from his mouth personally. However, his tweets and recorded speech are totally in line with the quotes. No surprise here.

                As for interpreting the words a person said, that is the art of understanding speech. If you do not believe that is possible, you do not believe in human communication and society are possible.

                • > I am quoting lots of things Trump has said and written.

                  And claiming they say things that they don’t. Because you’re a liar.

                  > Even then, you would not believe me as you did not hear these words from his mouth personally.

                  I don’t believe you because I can look at the same words you’re looking at, and They Don’t Say What You Say They Do. Stop Lying.

                  > As for interpreting the words a person said, that is the art of understanding speech. If you do not believe that is possible, you do not believe in human communication and society are possible.

                  You’re a filthy little communist pig shitting lies and claiming they are truth because you’ve defined them as truth, and you intend on murdering anyone who disagrees with your psychopathic socialist vision for the world. My evidence for this is everything you’ve ever said that’s been recorded anywhere. You can’t argue with this, because interpreting words is the art of understanding speech, and I declare a priori that I am correct and you are wrong.

                  • “You’re a filthy little communist pig shitting lies”

                    The more you call me names, the more I believe you have no arguments left.

                    • But Winter, I provided evidence for my claim! Where is your counter-evidence? You’re just spouting opinions!

                    • I have not seen evidence from you. Just your opinions about sources. And a lot of name calling which seems to be used as a smoke screen for your lack of substance.

                    • > I have not seen evidence from you. Just your opinions about sources.

                      In this case, I’m calling you a liar because you have, on this very page, said that I said something I did not. Right here: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=8120&cpage=1#comment-2037100

                      To quote: “So I see you agree with me that Trump supporters are a danger to the freedom of the press.”

                      I did not say that, I did not imply that, you made that up whole-cloth and provide no rationale for why you believe it.
                      Evidence, liar.

                      Furthermore, in regards to your claim about what Trump and “his supporters” have said, the onus is ON YOU to provide evidence, because it is impossible to prove a negative.

                      You provided a barrage of links to news articles as your evidence. Since I cannot prove a negative, my approach is to show that your evidence does not support your claim.

                      I went link-by-link, explaining how each one does not support you, with one being too large a task for a comment here but with some hints as to my angle of attack if I were to do so. YOU then failed to defend yourself from my points by blithely dismissing them as “opinion” and not showing how I am wrong on a single point.

                      Additionally, you keep pulling this shit where you attribute the actions of one person to that of an entire group you have decided they belong to, then acting like your core claim about the entire group is true. LOGIC FAIL. I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re just failing at English. Otherwise, you’re a dishonest worm or a goddamn imbecile.

                    • “To quote: “So I see you agree with me that Trump supporters are a danger to the freedom of the press.”

                      I did not say that, I did not imply that, you made that up whole-cloth and provide no rationale for why you believe it.
                      Evidence, liar.”

                      You wrote:
                      “Newsweek, Don Lemon/Brian Stelter death-threat call: A (singular) man called some people and said something bad. ”
                      “Fox News, man arrested for repeatedly threatening the Boston Globe: A (singular) man made multiple harassing calls and said something bad. ”

                      So that is plural Trump supporters threatening journalists, and these were death threats. Death threats to journalists are a danger to the Free Press. So, if you admit Trump supporters send death threats to journalists, this implies to me that you understand there are Trump supporters threatening the Free Press.

                      Now you are unwilling to utter these same words after you have admitted that death threats were send to journalists by Trump supporters. That makes me utter the conclusions from your own words. Challenge them, but it is not a lie.

                      Or maybe you have forgotten the meaning of the word “lie”?

                    • > So that is plural Trump supporters threatening journalists, and these were death threats.

                      See, this is why I think you’re just failing English.

                      Here’s a lesson.

                      When you say “his [Trump’s] supporters” without any additional modifiers, you are implicitly talking about ALL TRUMP SUPPORTERS.

                      But what you’re trying to say is “some subset of people I have identified as Trump supporters,” or at least that’s what you’re claiming to say now.

                      So when someone calls you out for attacking the entire group, you hide behind a language technicality like you don’t understand how English works.

                      > So, if you admit Trump supporters send death threats to journalists, this implies to me that you understand there are Trump supporters threatening the Free Press.

                      There is a difference between “there are individuals who claim to be Trump supporters who have done something bad” and “Trump supporters as a group do bad things.”

                      You REPEATEDLY say the latter, which is dishonest and which we are trying to tell you is wrong, then you claim you’re saying the former.

                      If it’s just a language barrier issue, fine, but quit looking at US like we’re crazy for pointing out how you’re wrong on your assertion that “Trump’s supporters are a bigger threat to freedom of the press” when that statement is ACTUALLY WRONG AS IT IS WRITTEN.

                      If you’re doing this knowingly, of course, you’re just a liar and a snake.

                    • “There is a difference between “there are individuals who claim to be Trump supporters who have done something bad” and “Trump supporters as a group do bad things.””

                      Indeed, but that is the same difference as between:
                      “there are individuals who claim to be Muslims who have done something bad” and “Muslims as a group do bad things.”
                      “there are individuals who claim to be Communists who have done something bad” and “Communists as a group do bad things.”

                      However, that is a distinction that I do not often have seen made in these pages, on the contrary.

                      If all Communist and Muslims are homicidal maniacs because there are members of these groups who were homicidal maniacs claiming to do so out of their Ideology/Religion, then Trump supporters are a danger to society when there are members of these groups doing things that are a danger to society.

                      Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
                      (maybe my favorite English proverb)

                    • > “there are individuals who claim to be Muslims who have done something bad” and “Muslims as a group do bad things.”

                      Which is why I, at least, try to focus on attacking the ideological basis for such things. When folks treat doing that as though we are attacking the members of groups who hold those positions, it gets Really Annoying. It’s like arguing against feminism and being called a misogynist for it. At some point one’s patience runs out and it becomes very hard not to attribute malice to the behavior.

                      >“there are individuals who claim to be Communists who have done something bad” and “Communists as a group do bad things.”

                      I do not see how an ethical person can support Communism after the 20th century, just as I don’t see how an ethical person can support Nazism. The fact that Communism and its sibling -isms are widely socially tolerated I just cannot grok.

                      > However, that is a distinction that I do not often have seen made in these pages, on the contrary.

                      I argue that you are too blind or ideologically damaged to see it, but so it goes.

                      > then Trump supporters are a danger to society when there are members of these groups doing things that are a danger to society.

                      False equivalence. Communism and Islam have collectivism fundamentally built into their ideologies. They have giant hooks built in that legitimize very bad things happening to anyone who gets assigned membership to their respective class enemies if the wrong person gains the power to do so. We have proof that this happens with Communism, and history isn’t much kinder about Islam. I say that mass murder is Communism and its Marxist brethren, as operating as designed.

                      The kind of American conservatism Trump more-or-less espouses (I’d argue he’s more liberal than he is given credit for generally) is principally opposed to collectivism, and so does not inherently have the failure mode of the above ideologies insofar as the political institutions stay true to their founding intent. Bad people are everywhere, sure, but if you really believe the things you say you do about Trump and “his supporters,” it’s because you came in already believing them and are only capable of seeing how your position is supported. Your need to “interpret” words and generalize the behavior of a fringe minority to prove your point does not lend you credence.

                      I understand WHY you believe it, but I claim you’re being (possibly unintentionally) dishonest about the facts and forcing your interpretation. That you additionally smear half the U.S. population when you do so just pisses us off, because we know what you say isn’t true.

          • Unlike X where you actually have to know something about material science.

            Material science you say? Have you actually read the link X provided?

      • >But liars like Winter are allowed to stay?

        Winter is capable of interesting thoughts when he’s not running his communist politics mode. X isn’t.

        • And I tend to come up with external references when asked.

          Also, there is a difference between “to err”, which I do like a normal human, and “to lie”, which requires evidence beyond merely yelling “liar”.

      • Lying and nutball conspiracies are two different things. So, why should deleting nutball conspiracy theories, which are entirely uninteresting, demand booting people with a different view on the world?

        And when you write that I am lying, you strengthen your case by at giving evidence that I am wrong and I should know it.

        • > Lying and nutball conspiracies are two different things.

          Agreed lying is wrong in itself, conspiracy theorizing is wrong to the extent it involves lying. After all, conspiracies do in fact exist.

          • Conspiracy Theories might involve lying. But it mostly involves delusions and paranoia and a (pathological) distrust of other people. Karl Popper did write sensible things about them already half a century ago.

            Conspiracy Theories are boring because they involve delusions of power that have no counterpart in reality. Conspiracies do exist, but they involve humans. Conspiracy Theories always involve all powerful demons. Nothing changed since the original witch hunts.

  17. Eric you are a corrupt fraud. Probably also a gatekeeper. And I am going popularize and reveal you as such.

    You are the nut ball. You’re entirely oblivious to the facts. I dare you to debate me. You will lose. You idiot, fool.

    • Congratulations, X, you are banned.

      I’m sure you’ll do a superb job of convincing all the other frothing loons that I’m “corrupt”.

    • esr is a … gatekeeper?

      ON HIS OWN BLOG?

      The nerve of that guy! I ought ask for my money back!

      Hey, Raymond! I want my money back!!

      • esr is a … gatekeeper?

        ON HIS OWN BLOG?

        Since when did the Internet revert from a two-way medium unlike the anarchaic broadcast-only media that preceded such that any one (or grouping of) asshole(s) owns the participation of the group? Isn’t that precisely the issue we’re discussing on this flog? The problem here is not that Eric can be a moderator for those who want him to be, but that the database is centralized such that that those who might want to experiment peeking at dissent should be free to do so.

  18. How about: “Mechanism, not policy.”

    If all of the SJWs seemed less a bunch of bullies (looking at “X on 2018-09-14 at 08:38:59 said”) their arguments would have more cachet.

  19. This is what the early stages of societal collapse look like. Even in the sacred halls of the hacker community, we are seeing the signs. Weaved all throughout your essay but never explicitly stated was an important concept. If defending one’s own individual freedom and liberty is now “political,” or worse, “politically incorrect,” we are doomed. There are 3 ways humans deal with conflicts. 1 – We acquiesce (give in). 2 – We have heated debate which requires free speech and the ability to handle being “offended.” 3 – We go to war. The extremist left movement is attempting to eliminate number 2 through all of the mechanisms you have laid out so well. We are so divided that number 1 is simply not an option, no freedom loving person will give in to radical authoritarianism. So where does that leave us?

    • You missed option #4 – tell them to piss off and ignore their diktats. It’s a really good option in a wide range of cases.

      • I would consider that part of #2. But if you do that, the radical left will dox you and label you a nazi and a racist.

        • I’ve been mocking the left online for 15 years now, under the same name the whole time. Nobody’s ever bothered doxxing me or calling me a Nazi. (I have been called a racist, but never in any way that’s been particularly serious, or that’s stuck)

          Obsessing over the power of the other side is a good way to lose perspective. Yeah, they’ll do it to powerful people, and there’s a one in a million that they’ll do it to any given random right-winger. But if you let vanishingly unlikely dangers stop you from living your life the way you want to live, I hope you’ve never driven a car or played football either.

          • I see what you are saying, but I still think war is coming. Not sure when, maybe not in my lifetime, but it is past the point of no return. I’m just glad that I’ll be on the winning side.

            • Regarding being on the winning side, here’s a quote that feels fitting:

              People tend to think that the Right will be an awesome, horrific force in political violence. The SPLC’s donations depend on that idea. Righties tell themselves that *of course* they’d win a war against Lefties. Tactical Deathbeast vs. Pajama Boy? No contest. Why, Righties have thought about what an effective domestic insurrection would look like. Righties have written books and manifestos!

              It’s horseshit.

              The truth: the Left is a lot more organized & prepared for violence than the Right is, and has the advantage of a mainstream more supportive of it.

              You think that’s unfair? Okay, well: imagine an abortion clinic bombing ring getting presidential clemency.

              Imagine an abortion clinic bomber getting a comfortable job at an elite university.

              Outrageous, right? No way the Right could get away with that. But the Left does! And the press gives them cover.

              (This is the “hypocrisy and media bias” section, by the way.)

              (Taken from this excellent, though extremely long, book review. Basically, it’s about 60s-70s lefty radicals, the crazy shit they did that we’ve totally forgotten, and how we should use that information to look at political movements. It got me reading both the book and the review’s author – it’s seriously good.)

              • He cites required reading, the Days of Rage essay on the book of the same name.

                Basically, it’s about 60s-70s lefty radicals, the crazy shit they did that we’ve totally forgotten

                Depends on how old you are, I suspect, although the FALN’s violence was sufficiently underreported that I didn’t hear about it continuing into the 1980s when I went to college and was paying less attention to national affairs, besides reading the Boston Globe my student group had a subscription to.

                But in the section where he talks about the Right’s problem with no institutional support for (counter-)violence, and the organizational limits this places on it, well, our host is generally aware of how exquisitely fragile our technological civilization through the existential threat the Left is posing to hacker culture.

                But there are shortcuts to fighting back if it gets bad enough, and the big one, which I’ve mentioned in these discussions before, is to simply kill the big Blue cities our enemies have unwisely clustered themselves into by killing their electrical supply for a long enough time they will depopulate, one way or another.

                Others, as people have noted at one level or another, is to get enough of the governments’ guns switching to our sides, many things are possible when the Left is so blatant about their hatred of the trigger pullers, or if/when the supply of “free shit” runs out, etc. Or a serious attempt at seizing our guns would spark a broad based civil war, and they’d have to take sides, when especially at the local level the lives of their families would also be in play.

                The Left by no mean always wins, else people wouldn’t be talking today about “free helicopter rides”.

    • > So where does that leave us?

      At this stage, I still hope for a restoration of the republic, but I fear that the most likely outcome is something akin to Spain under Franco or Chile under Pinochet.

      I will not like that, but the Marxists and their dupes will definitely not like that.

      However, it may well be that would be the best possible outcome for them — much better than if they “win”. If (what they imagine to be) their side should happen to win, history tells us that the self-described “intellectuals” are invariably the first group to be rounded up and sent off to the camps.

      They’re not going to win, though. Their opponents make up the army, the police, and the armed private citizens who have enough weaponry to (as a friend of mine put it) take a gigantic crap on any standing army in the world. Their opponents also control essentially all the critical resources. Learning that the deplorables can get by without tweets, new fashions, and comic book movies a lot better than they can get by without food, water, and energy would be a harsh lesson, but it may be one that they’re fated to learn.

      • If (what they imagine to be) their side should happen to win, history tells us that the self-described “intellectuals” are invariably the first group to be rounded up and sent off to the camps.

        Oh, certainly some of them are, the purity spiral that brought “their” side to power isn’t going to stop, but who operates the camps, and the rest of the replacement institutions of the new regime? When the modern Left wins in this way, they need a huge number of people to run things like their terror apparatus, and they recruit from people like these “intellectuals” who are nothing without the power they gain from being a part of the Left. That doesn’t make them safe, nobody is safe in a purity spiral, but it makes them a lot safer than the population they’re murderizing.

        • > but who operates the camps

          Generally, violent thugs who have little or nothing in common with the “intellectuals” who brought about the revolution.

          Ask Robespierre how that plays out. Or Trotsky. Or Ernst Röhm.

          • Two problems with your reply: Over time, and especially today, there are many more self-styled “intellectuals”. And Robespierre, Trotsky, and Röhm personally directed a great deal of terror until they were stopped, in the latter two cases by rivals, the Stalin of our discussion in Trotsky’s case.

            Robespierre and the original, modern Leftist terror I haven’t studied as much, from the Wikipedia articles I’ve read it was a combination of rivals and most everyone just being scared they were next. Notably, what stopped him has been labeled by I assume the usual suspects as the Thermidorian Reaction, which included a White Terror phase, and indeed a number of “reactionary” things like returning freedom of worship to the Vendée.

            • > Over time, and especially today, there are many more self-styled “intellectuals”.

              Well, Pol Pot had a solution for that problem. It was effective, too.

              Modern “progressives” have the idea that, come the revolution, the Islamists, and the MS-13 members, and the Crips and the Bloods, and… will all live together in some Sesame Street-like utopia of racial harmony, with (naturally) white academic “progressives” on top, running the show.

              Yeah… no.

              Your hypothetical camp guard is rather more likely to be named Javier and have skull tattoos on his face, rather than being that man-bunned dude from the coffee shop.

              And Javier never did like white college boys very much.

              • “Your hypothetical camp guard is rather more likely to be named Javier and have skull tattoos on his face”

                Obviously a much cheaper solution than having to pay Hugo Boss to design uniforms with silver skulls on them.

      • > Their opponents make up the army, the police

        Except both of those answer to political appointees. And as we’ve seen with the UK their perfectly capable of turning the police into their thinkpol.

        • If we’re talking about the US, the U.K.’s example is not very useful, the police answer to the nations’ governments, and can be used for nationwide anarcho-tyranny, as Blair did in his attack on rural culture by withdrawing a large fraction of their police. In a context where effective self-defense had been outlawed for decades, and the people almost entirely stripped of firearms.

          Here we still have a great deal of federalization, for most of us city police, then the county sheriff and his deputies, then the state police, then the many Federal forces. At every step up there are fewer officers per people, and going down there’s more political accountability, which we see in action when the local politicians go too far, “this is how you get more Giuliani”.

          And in no place is self-defense outlawed in principle, and in few places in practice, even in pre-Heller D.C. juries frequently acquitted non-thugs who used illegal firearms to defend themselves in their dwellings. Outside of D.C., NYC, and Massachusetts gun ownership is pretty much shall issue, and in 42 states covering ~72% of the population concealed carry or better is shall issue or better.

          So the “correlation of forces” as the Soviets liked to call it is vastly different. So is the cultural DNA, for us to even be like this, with nearly infinite polarization between the ever more restrictive modern slave states, and the mostly liberalizing free states, with a few starting to trend both Blue and slave, like Colorado. But I note that even in those, no state has yet dared to take away concealed carry rights.

    • It’s patently obvious that we’re getting pushed out of the Internet as a whole, at all levels except for routing (so far), so, yes, if we want to continue doing our thing, we’ve got to create an entirely separate infrastructure, or play wack-a-mole games with a “samizdata” approach (name stolen from the European blog of the same name). Or stop the threat the SJWs are a part of, which is a required part of minor details like continuing to have electricity to run our nice computers.

      • So far, alternative sites like Gab and Mastodon are being fought by the big leftist monopolies by being labeled as “hate speech” (a blanket term they use for anything that does not subjugate itself to their agenda). This implies that one of our best hopes may be that, in an analogy that has been used so many times before, the empire will continue to tighten its grip and more of its influence will slip through its fingers. Hopefully they get so out of control that people will stop using them as the gatekeepers of the Internet.

        One of my old online buddies (who, regrettably, passed away last year) was a ham radio enthusiast, and he suggested that a packet radio infrastructure could eventually form an alternative internet that would not be controlled by the evil communist Google/Facebook/MSM/DNC/SJW regime.

    • Perhaps one built upon authenticated identity – no more black bloc mobsterism.

      Everyone must stand to account for themselves.

    • That would destroy both. You’d remove a lot of sane people from the existing internet, and it’d never have any appeal beyond a) a few ideologues, and b) people so terrible they’ve been pushed off the regular internet. Plus you’re still bound by all the same laws. I can’t imagine any upside here.

      • You’re ignoring that for us, the current Internet is well on its way to being completely “destroyed”, as in our being denied the use of it for our projects, be they political or technical. In the US, without any laws being invoked, it’s all from actions of social justice converged companies, or people running companies who are rightly terrified of the consequences of not bending to the will of SJW mobs.

        So unless we can stop the SJW purity spiral, which this comment, and the one of your’s about Stalin et. al. that I just replied to, you don’t perceive as happening, if we want to continue to communicate via computer without playing the mole in a wack-a-mole game on the current Internet, we’re going to have to build our own completely different network or networks, through radio, or perhaps also data over voice lines.

        In the meanwhile, to drill down to just one aspect of this, if you’ve signed up for purely electronic billing with entities like your electric company, I strongly suggest you undo that and regain redundancy through the postal service. We need make ourselves as anti-fragile as possible, for they are coming for all of us, one way or another, sooner or later. If you think you’re enough on the Left that they’ll leave you alone, again, study purity spirals, that never works unless the spiral is forcefully ended.

        • I think they’re engaging in a purity spiral, but I think it’s mostly focused inwards and doesn’t pose a serious threat to people who ignore it. They’ve done similar things before – a book I’m reading on 60s radicals showed them behaving exactly the same way. All it did in the end was destroy any movement that tried it. I’m not especially worried by that, even if it’s obnoxious in the short term.

          • > I think they’re engaging in a purity spiral, but I think it’s mostly focused inwards and doesn’t pose a serious threat to people who ignore it.

            Except now they have enough power to get you fired from your job and kick of social media if you don’t go along. Heck, in your country they have “Human Rights” Commissions that will do even worse, and Democratic politicians are trying to do the same thing here.

            > All it did in the end was destroy any movement that tried it.

            And gave us the welfare state. And destroyed the black family so now we have generations of welfare dependents who live of voting Democrat and rioting on command.

            • > Except now they have enough power to get you fired from your job and kick of social media if you don’t go along. Heck, in your country they have “Human Rights” Commissions that will do even worse, and Democratic politicians are trying to do the same thing here.

              One time in a million, yes. And don’t get me wrong, that’s a problem. It’s a gross injustice to the unlucky SOB who gets targeted, and it will have a chilling effect well out of proportion to its numbers. But most people who express rightist views in public do so freely and without harm coming to them. I prefer people to keep perspective.

              > And gave us the welfare state. And destroyed the black family so now we have generations of welfare dependents who live of voting Democrat and rioting on command.

              Nah, that happened years earlier. Most of the welfare system was early 60s, the stories I’m reading were late 60s-early 70s. All they accomplished was setting off a few bombs and getting a few professorships.

          • I think they’re engaging in a purity spiral, but I think it’s mostly focused inwards and doesn’t pose a serious threat to people who ignore it.

            So you’re basically here to tell us our host’s concerns are unwarranted, and if we just ignore the steadily increasing damage they’re doing to our hacker culture it’ll all burn out before our culture is fully destroyed, along with our technological civilization.

            • It’s worth fighting back against, but we should keep perspective. Remember, we won this particular fight. The places where they have the most influence are the places that are already the most SJW-heavy, and those places rarely matter. So they’ll win any fight that happens in a sociology department, but civilization will survive that loss just fine, thank you. Any place where outcomes are measurable and important, the outcome will matter far more than college kids whining, and so they’ll only win if they’re right(e.g., campaigns against sexual harassment), or if it’s irrelevant(e.g., putting “Google is an equal opportunity employer” in every job ad).

              Fight back, by all means, but do so in a manner that preserves perspective and sanity. These people are acting like fools(usually), and the forces of sanity are not(usually). Most of the battles we see today are symbolic, not important in their own right, and the ones that are actually important tend to be the ones we win. I worry a bit, but much less than I worry about societal risk aversion, or the rise of anti-trade populism, or the possibility of a massive solar flare messing with the world’s electrical systems.

  20. >The right of individuals to own and use the tools required for their creative work.

    A nitpick – as worded, this one smacks of a positive right. If you have the “right” to “own” and “use” something, then someone must sell it to you. And possibly, even give it to you for free.

    • Not at all.

      A right doesn’t obligate any else to *act*, only to refrain from acting in violation of that right.

      My right to life obligates you not to initiate violence against me, it does impose a duty to save my life.

      I have a right to food, but that does not mean YOU have to sell me YOURS.

      A right to own and use the tools required for their creative works means only that once you sell them you can’t disappear them or force me to stop using them.

      • Eh, not the best analogy, though.

        I’ve seen far too many people on the left take a “right to food and housing” as a positive right that is being violated by not having someone give them those things.

        (“A right to own and use any tool you can acquire” is excellent, fine, and good.

        “A right to own and use tools” with the implication that they must be provided to you by others. not so much.

        We live in degenerate times, sadly.)

      • Again, it’s a nit. ESR could re-word as “Government shall make no law forbidding individuals from owning and using the tools required for their creative work.”

  21. What if a word becomes offensive, like “retard” or “moron” or “gay”? Wouldn’t that provide a good reason to stop using it?

      • Hell, retarding the ignition timing is STILL a thing, it’s just done electronically now. I’ve heard that language tyrants have started in on the automotive engineering crowd about this, and I imagine most petrolheads have told them to get stuffed.

      • Retard as a verb doesn’t offend people, particularly.

        (A few professionally-offended people, but we get to disregard them, due to what they are.)

        So that’s not the best counter-example.

        (How about “gay”? I mean, I wouldn’t use it as an insult or negative descriptor, precisely because it’s deliberately insulting people who have done nothing to deserve that, no?

        I can oppose SJW language-warrioring and posturing without having to also say it’s fine to be a jerk; even they aren’t always wrong.)

      • Commercial bread often used to (probably still does — I don’t have a loaf of commercial bread handy) include “calcium propionate, to retard spoilage”.

        Because who wants retarded spoilage, right?

    • What if our intent is to offend? What if the avoidance of offense is impossible? Get a large enough population of listeners and the chance ANY word you use will offend someone asymptotically approaches 100%, if what you are saying means anything at all. The only way to avoid offense is not to speak, or to exclusively repeat accepted ritual phrases, which is the same as not speaking.

      So, no, the offensiveness of a word should have fuck-all bearing on whether or not it should be used.

      • In professional or semi-professional environments one SHOULD NOT endeavor to offend.

        But this is where the notion of “Be conservative in what you send, be liberal in what you accept” is MOST important.

        We are an inherently international community, not in the sense of the Transnational Progressives, but in the sense that we are in and from many many different countries and cultures. What I may have a *required* politeness another culture might find *dangerously immoral*. For example at least one branch of Judaism prohibits two unmarried adults of different sexes from touching socially. No kiss on the cheek, no shaking hands etc. I have *witnessed* San Franciscan women putting on their shocked face when a cow-orker very politely refused to shake hands with them.

        He knew what he was doing was offensive to their worldview, but to conform would be to violate his religion.

        If you get your knickers in a twist about this you are an ass and need to be treated as such.

        Some people are naturally curt. Some people are of the belief that by being rough and demanding they will get *more* out of people.

        To insist that everyone conform to your notions of civility is rather blinkered.

        To insist that everyone conform to your ideas about language is, well, that’s what the word “Orwellian” is all about.

        • > In professional or semi-professional environments one SHOULD NOT endeavor to offend.

          I was actually thinking about this after I posted the above. I’m not sure “offense” is the right word for the phenomenon we’re discussing in this context, or rather it’s the wrong level of analysis. It might be better to speak of “discord.”

          Risking offense to express ourselves when we feel strongly about a topic is not something to avoid, lest we fail to evolve our endeavors productively. Discord or negative/destructive chaos, however, should be avoided in favor of positive/creative chaos when chaotic states are unavoidable or inevitable, as they almost always are. Being potentially offensive in the service of creative effort is a necessary component of any work that matters. Linus makes a wonderful case study here.

          Dismissing offense as only existing in service of destructive chaos is, maybe, one of the fundamental mistakes of the SJW/PC crowd. I could go one step further and say it’s an artifact of the unbalanced feminization of the West in the last 50 or 60 years; which is to say treating any form of chaos, creative or destructive, as anathema – like a school marm trying to get unruly children under control.

          Speaking to your Judaism comment, I would place making a stink about something like that which has no bearing in the context of the job to be done squarely in the negative chaos / discord set.

          • Don’t blame an overblown desire for order on women. All of the most rigid ‘don’t step out of line’ societies have been founded and run by men and on an individual level people with autism are overwhelmingly male. OCD is just as common among men as it is in women.

            I don’t like compulsory hand-shaking or cheek-kissing myself but the refusal of orthodox jews and muslims to shake hands with women is not just another politeness norm: it is rooted in the beliefs that every woman is the property of some man, touching leads inevitably to sexual desire and it is wrong to desire another man’s property. I believe women have the right to object to that both in principle and practice, even if your ‘visibly shocked’ woman wasn’t thinking along those lines herself.

            • > Don’t blame an overblown desire for order on women.

              I didn’t. I assume you’re referring to my use of the speculative subject “unbalanced feminization.” Feminization has as its root “feminine” (a symbolized set of qualities) which is not the same as “woman” (a female human). Watch your equivocations, you might have a blind spot.

              > it is rooted in the beliefs that every woman is the property of some man

              Possible counter-hypothesis: it is rooted in a set of beliefs that (regardless of the stated reasons of the person holding them, keeping in mind humans are not rational creatures but are rationalizing ones) serve to protect the social capital of both men AND women from spurious accusations of impropriety. See also: the Pence Rule. I think the handshake-refusal thing is a silly belief to hold, but I don’t just dismiss it using a “women have been oppressed by men since forever ago” narrative.

              > I believe women have the right to object to that both in principle and practice

              If I were to accept your oppressor/oppressed hypothesis purely for sake of argument, I would agree with you, but I wonder then when and if a man should have a reciprocal right of objection, because your hypothesis axiomatically gives women as a collective class all the social power in any such exchange by way of evoking an analog of original sin. That’s very suspect.

              • Your declaration that ‘feminisation’ was the motive for wanting to create an overly orderly society was clearly meant to imply that this was the kind of thing only women (and womanish men?) would want to do, which you confirmed by following up with a reference to ‘school marms’ – a term which only ever refers to women. So I pointed out that actually men seem to want such societies too. Reading what you wrote doesn’t make me engaged in an oppressor narrative.

                • > Your declaration that ‘feminisation’ was the motive for wanting to create an overly orderly society

                  It wasn’t a declaration, it was a speculation, eg ‘I could go one step further’ as in “if I felt like following this next idea up I could, but I will only form a sketch of it instead because it’s perhaps a step outside the bounds of my ability to justify it in depth.”

                  Further, I didn’t even say what you say I said. The term used was ‘unbalanced feminization.’ The adjective ‘unbalanced’ matters.

                  > was clearly meant to imply that this was the kind of thing only women (and womanish men?) would want to do

                  That’s what I meant, huh? I’m curious where you purchase your mind-reading devices, I’m interested in a new one.

                  > which you confirmed by following up with a reference to ‘school marms’ – a term which only ever refers to women.

                  It’s also a behavioral archetype, which is why ‘school marm’ was preceded with ‘like a’.

                  You look like you’re operating in cognitive dissonance mode and reading things I’m not saying then post-hoc justifying your interpretation of my words by only selecting bits that support your conclusions and discarding the essential parts that refute them. I could be wrong, though.

                  Are you the type of person who sees the term “anti-feminist” and does a nifty mental magic trick to read it as “anti-woman?” Because that’s similar to the trick you’re trying to pull, here.

            • the refusal of orthodox jews and muslims to shake hands with women is not just another politeness norm: it is rooted in the beliefs that every woman is the property of some man, touching leads inevitably to sexual desire and it is wrong to desire another man’s property.

              False. It has nothing to do with women being “property” and everything to do with the fact that Judaism regulates quite strictly even interactions between consenting adults. (Not going to get into details, but a few examples that go against your hypothesis are—(1) no difference in the law between married or unmarried people, (2) no leniency for dating or even betrothed couples, and (3) the same restrictions on touch exist even for married couples when [for any of a number of religious reasons] sex between them is prohibited.)

              • I don’t agree that it has nothing to do with the view that women are property but it’s fair enough for you to allude to the fact that orthodox jews have other motivations as well. I won’t go into that further because it’s irrelevant to the subject of this blog entry.

      • That’s the objective of the SJW crowd, isn’t it? They, or at least their masters, are deliberately imposing control over how you speak, which will ultimately control how you think. Once you start worrying about who you will offend, you are on the path to slavery.

        • It’s the objective of the mind-virus they have been infected by, which I suppose comes out the same in the wash. In my estimation most people don’t aim to understand the core principles the things they say or do are founded upon; I don’t think people are bad because of this, though. Humans gonna human. A strong voice tempered with compassion will do more than strength alone, I figure.

    • This is called the euphemism treadmill. No matter what word someone uses, it will eventually be used to purposely offend. The terms idiot, moron and imbecile used to be medical terms to describe various levels of intellectual disability. Once they became “offensive” they changed the term to mentally retarded. Once retard became offensive they changed the term to mentally challenged. Guess what, that is the new offensive term. There is only one way to short circuit this treadmill, and that is to stop being offended.

  22. Political rhetoric, he’s done nothing.
    Kinda like Obama with his “if they bring a knife, you bring a gun” statement.

          • I don’t think you have a very good understanding of where my feet are planted. I’m well to the right of Trump – my biggest complaints with him are that he sounds like a Black Bloc protester from 20 years ago on some issues that matter to me quite a lot. But I don’t want to blame a hundred million Democrat supporters for the actions of one of them, and more than I’d want to be blamed for the actions of Timothy McVeigh.

            I blame murderers for murder, not “societal conditions” or “root causes”. Hodgkinson is responsible for those attempted murders. Obama is not.

              • One major-party candidate supported free trade and maintenance of traditional American alliances during the election. One major-party candidate convinced me that they were sane enough to be trusted with nuclear weapons. Those are vastly more important issues to me than judicial nominees or net neutrality, and they’re entirely in the same vein the Republicans have occupied for decades.

                If a new Cold War happened, Clinton would be on the side of freedom. Not happily, and not competently, but she’d at least make an effort to fight for the free world. Trump would be with the dictators, because he generally likes dictatorship and is used to acting like a dictator(which a owner/CEO actually is, to be fair. But that attitude should not continue into democratic political offices, and I think it has for him).

                I don’t think he’ll actively overthrow American democracy – he’s not the sort to come up with an abstract generating theory for his political views, and he can usually get his way without going beyond the (grotesquely stretched) bounds of Presidential authority bequeathed to him by his predecessors. But I don’t think he understands or accepts that there are limits on his powers, and I think he’ll be fighting those limits every time they thwart his whims between now and Jan 20, 2025.

                • > If a new Cold War happened, Clinton would be on the side of freedom.

                  Except the “free world” would no longer actually be free. Western Europe is already trying to compete with China over who can censor more strictly. If Clinton had one the US would be on the same path.

                  • I have my issues with France and Germany, but they’re far better than Russia. Both censor, but one does it with a poorly-conceived link tax and the other does it by murdering anyone who opposes them with WMDs. I prefer American free speech to both, but given a choice between the two, give me Merkel any day.

                    • Well firstly I’d like to congratulate you on under-performing even my low expectations of your integrity.

                      > but one does it with a poorly-conceived link tax

                      And with draconianly enforced “hate speech” laws.

                      Compare the number of people arrested in Western Europe for some variant of hate speech with numbers of political prisoners in states traditional thought of as totalitarian.

                      > give me Merkel any day.

                      Enjoy your increasingly hard Sharia.

            • >Hodgkinson is responsible for those attempted murders.

              Absolutely.

              However, we should also keep in mind that Hodgkinson and that Charlottesville guy was part of a long series of tit-for-tat violence. The partisans were banging the war drums awfully hard for the first year of the Trump presidency, and IMHO, driving us close to the point of no return. Fortunately, President Trump’s call for peace following Charlottesville seems to have worked.

              • More like Charlottesville emboldened Antifa to the point they started randomly attacking people on the streets, creating such dire publicity that couldn’t be memory holed so that the order to Shut It Down was made.

                Especially since he was almost immediately convinced to only blame the Right for Charlottesville.

                • Three bad things happened at Charlottesville:

                  1) A young lady was murdered for nothing worse than a political disagreement.

                  2) A bunch of Nazis thought it was cool to get together and start chanting “Blood and Soil!” in an American town.

                  3) Some mild street fighting between two violently opposed groups of protesters.

                  #1 was clearly the worst here. “The right”(more specifically, a single member of the right-aligned side of the protest) was responsible for that.

                  #2 is legal, and should remain legal in a free society, but it’s still deeply messed up. Every protester there is individually responsible for their decision to engage in that despicable display, and should be viewed with appropriate levels of disgust by civil society as a result.

                  #3 is tough to sort out from far away. Both groups were ostensibly there for legal reasons, and either group deciding not to show up would prevent any fighting. Both groups nevertheless expected a fight to break out in practice, and prepared accordingly. Both groups probably contained a few who wanted a fight to break out, for that matter. The responsibility falls on whichever side initiated violence, and I’m genuinely unsure of who that is. I suspect it was the left – it usually is, and they were probably feeling more confident of their ability to avoid serious consequences if they did – but I’m only like 80% sure. After all, their opponents were mostly violent thugs with remarkably poor judgement, and we know that one of the Nazis definitely did initiate the escalation to lethal violence.

                  So yeah, on the whole I think the right deserves most of the blame for Charlottesville. Probably not all, but probably a strong majority.

                    • You cannot possibly be serious. He accelerated towards a crowd, drove into the crowd, and a woman died. And 19 other people were injured. And Jeff freaking Sessions called it “domestic terrorism”. The idea that it’s somehow a miraculous coincidence that these things all happened within seconds of each other is even less credible than this theory.

                    • And you cannot possibly have watched the video tape of the actions of his car, what appears to have prompted his acceleration (getting away from people bashing his car with club type instruments), and his hitting his brakes before hitting the crowd.

                      Maybe you do pay more attention to American politics than most Americans, but you don’t pay enough attention if you credulously swallow every bit of Official Narrative gubble like this.

                    • I watched the videos myself, within hours of it happening. I saw no evidence that made me think it was anything other than murder. Yes, there was other violent activity going on at the time. People hitting your car doesn’t lead to driving straight into a crowd from a long distance away – even if he was afraid of being attacked, how would surrounding himself with protesters help the situation?

                      And those brake lights went on far too late(as evidenced by, you know, the person he killed) for me to think it was a serious attempt to stop. It was his first vehicular homicide, he probably had a bit of stage fright. You know how those internet tough guys are.

                    • > I watched the videos myself, within hours of it happening. I saw no evidence that made me think it was anything other than murder. Yes, there was other violent activity going on at the time. People hitting your car doesn’t lead to driving straight into a crowd from a long distance away – even if he was afraid of being attacked,

                      People hitting your car and other people blocking the road that is your exit.

                      > how would surrounding himself with protesters help the situation?

                      Driving through the people blocking your exit on the other hand. The logic is simple: if you don’t want to get run over by a car, don’t block the road.

            • > I don’t think you have a very good understanding
              > of where my feet are planted. I’m well to the right

              I’m not sure *you* have a good idea of where your feet are planted.

              > of Trump – my biggest complaints with him are
              > that he sounds like a Black Bloc protester from

              It would be nice if he were to couch his rhetoric in the usual dulcet tones of D.C., not rock the the boat and just play along to get along, no? Take his piece of the graft and go home at the end of his term?

              > 20 years ago on some issues that matter to me quite a lot.

              You are familiar with the term “Overton Window”, no?

              Trump tries to give himself as much room to work as possible, but when you look at the agreements he is setting up, they are MUCH more rational then he sounds.

              Look, the guy played Good Cop Bad Cop on North Korea with General Mattis as THE GOOD COP. As the guy who was your BEST option.

              You know, the guy who said:

              “I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.”

              and

              “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.”

              AND HE’S THE GOOD COP.

              That was f*king BRILLIANT.

              You keep reading the press of Trumps enemies and putting faith in it.

              See “Geller-mann amnesia”.

              > I’d want to be blamed for the actions of Timothy McVeigh.

              McVeigh was not a “conservative” or any sort of American “right winger”. He MIGHT have been a European “right winger”, but he’s dead now and his history was and is being mini-trued.

              > I blame murderers for murder, not
              > “societal conditions” or “root causes”.
              > Hodgkinson is responsible for those
              > attempted murders. Obama is not.

              Will no one rid me of these troublesome priests?

              While murders are ultimately responsible for their actions–and it can be no other way if you want a sane society–we must *also* blame the politicians and demagogues who deliberately (or ignorantly)

              You have a numerically large number of people in the US who have very marginal mental health, people like the Aurora theater shooter, Adam Lanza, the dude who shot Gabby Giffords, and Hodgkinson. Like that idiot professor who shot himself as a protest against Trump.

              We have had a LARGE upswing in political violence in this country in the last 10 years, and as other posters have noted it’s *almost* all been one way.

              It is not only the fault of the people committing the violence, it’s also the fault of the people they look to as leaders telling them it’s ok, or even appropriate.

              And Obama was part of that.

              So was Hillary. After all beating a deplorable isn’t a *bad* thing, is it?

              • > It would be nice if he were to couch his rhetoric in the usual dulcet tones of D.C., not rock the the boat and just play along to get along, no? Take his piece of the graft and go home at the end of his term?

                In all seriousness, I’d be fine with that. Lighting your house on fire means you’re not cold any more, but it’s still a bad idea. Conservatism (in the original Burkean sense of the word) is thoroughly under-appreciated by Trump and his supporters. Some things need to change, but Trump is basically using a chainsaw to cut himself a slice of pizza here.

                > Look, the guy played Good Cop Bad Cop on North Korea with General Mattis as THE GOOD COP.

                I’m familiar with the theory that Trump is just acting crazy to get better deals. I don’t believe it, though – he acts the same way on everything. It’s not a pose.

                > You keep reading the press of Trumps enemies and putting faith in it.

                I hear this criticism a lot. You might be amazed at how little I read of the mainstream media. Most of what I hear of Trump these days is commentary from his supporters, as it happens. To be fair, it’s mostly grudging supporters, not enthusiastic ones, but it’s not like I’m getting this all from Rachel Maddow here. And among the people who’ve gotten too deep into Trump Derangement Syndrome, I’ll defend him against the worst of the attacks. But I have yet to see anything that makes me think he’s actually good.

                > McVeigh was not a “conservative” or any sort of American “right winger”

                To be fair, OKC was before my time – I was in elementary school back then. But everything I’ve read on him makes him seem like he was in command of his faculties(unlike, say, Loughner) and was drawing inspiration mostly from things that the right side of the spectrum believes. That’s not to say the right approves – most of us hate him, obviously – but he was an evil conservative like Hodgkinson seems to have been an evil liberal. It’d be a little too convenient if there were tens of millions of us and not one went rabid, don’t you think?

                > We have had a LARGE upswing in political violence in this country in the last 10 years, and as other posters have noted it’s *almost* all been one way.

                Honestly, I’m not seeing it. Lefty street protests are violent, but that’s nothing new. Polarization is increasing, but the trend of violence doesn’t seem to have moved much. (Yet.)

                > It is not only the fault of the people committing the violence, it’s also the fault of the people they look to as leaders telling them it’s ok, or even appropriate.

                That would be far more convincing if you weren’t saying it in the same breath as you defend a guy who’s not exactly opposed to violence himself. I’ll stick with blaming murderers for murder.

  23. esr – very well said!

    But, but, but… you used the word “master” in your article. I’m trying to figure out which group I belong to that was oppressed by that usage!

    Seriously, the PC forces today are very strong, and infesting all sorts of fields. For example, the censorship of an article in a mathematics journal because it raised mathematical model of how evolution might lead to a difference in diversity between males and females. That’s in math! In our field – engineering – there are now professors of engineering diversity or some such rot.

    A lot of people in the hacker world have been pretty insulated from the sorts of learning – books or life experience – that provides protection against the seductive ideas of modern progressivism, which includes the PC craze we see today. History shows lots of very smart people falling for ideas like communism or other utopian schemes (libertopia, for example). In fact, liking ideas and systems of ideas predisposes one to be fond of elegant idea systems, even if in practice they are horrible. I watched how the left during Vietnam seduced a lot of smart, well meaning people. I went to some anti-war events after my own military service, and could see the attraction for a lot of people. The modern PC movement derives a lot of its energy some of its greybeards from that movement, and it also derives a lot of its ideology from the same sources that fed the more radical of the ’60s left.

  24. > The modern PC movement derives a lot of its energy some of its greybeards from that movement, and it also derives a lot of its ideology from the same sources that fed the more radical of the ’60s left.

    If you haven’t read esr’s classic essay “Gramscian Damage”, I recommend that you do so.

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=260

  25. There are two types of disagreements.

    In the first, you might disagree, but you can allow that holding the opposite opinion does not make a person deplorable, or that their opinion will not bring about irreversible harm to the nation. For example, disagreements about tax rates. Reasonable people might disagree, and if we get it wrong, sure there’s harm — but the harm can be reversed.

    In the second, opposite type of disagreement, there can be no tolerance of dissent, because it is either repugnant, or causes irreparable harm. Examples of this type include abortion, (some) religious, or immigration disagreements.

    A society can survive many of the first type of disagreements, but I suspect few of the second. Because in the second type, you have contempt for people with the other opinion. You can not have a cohesive society with those you have contempt for.

    I think those that think we can form a harmonious society based on tolerance to all ideas misunderstand this — or at least believe that many issues are type I when they’re really type II.

    Put another way, a society is always marinated in some political messaging. If there is a subset of politics that most everyone agrees with (capitalism, Christianity, etc) then these elements are present in our culture in such a way that nobody really notices, and likely serve as a unifying element. If there is no unifying subset, then everything becomes fracturing.

  26. Renegotiated NAFTA
    Shut down the TPP
    Presided over the largest increase in manufacturing jobs in decades
    Is taking border security and control seriously
    Forced numerous countries to rethink, and adjust their tariffs on US goods.

    That’s just the beginning of the good stuff.

    • Eesh. I give it even odds he’ll live to regret signing off on that when the purity spiraling starts and he finds himself being forced by his own COC policy to reject good code submitted by convicted-by-mob thought criminals. Might even find himself shoved out of the mainline kernel generally if enough of the right voices start screeching.

      • He doesn’t identify as right-wing, so he may never realize what happened.

        He may end up like Paul Graham, who after getting striped of any power in Y Combinator by SJWs still refuses to acknowledge what happened or that it is the SJW-left is a bigger problem then Trump.

        It’s possible that he realizes more then he’s willing to say. His twitter feed is an interesting look. Most of the people replying to him are SJWs and a large part of it is complaints about Trump, but there are comments about tech that seem like subtle jibes at SJW excesses, which the SJWs immediately call him out on, as seen here:

        Paul Graham: It’s a good sign when people misuse your x software to do y. It means they want y a lot.

        SJW: Unless x=Facebook and y=subvert democracy. Or x=Twitter and y=harass women Ok, maybe this isn’t universally true.

      • Linus has already squandered much of his good will in the kernel community by relying too heavily on management by perkele in order to “get shit done”. If he’s being shoved out, it won’t take much now.

      • It is usually very hard to resist such a pressure, because of how such things are worded. You stand up for free speech, they ask “so you are in favor of harassment and against using respectful language?” and eventually you have to either say yes or cave. And if you say yes, are forever branded with it and it can really harm your job prospects, not just at the already converged corporations: even an apolitical corporation generally wants people who get along with others and not generate conflicts, and don’t really like people who said at one point “yes harassment is OK”.

        This is very much a silver bullet, ladies and gentlemen, a quite marvelously effective use of Orwellian speech. Packaging crazy requirements like “regardless of level of experience” (so repeatedly criticizing people for making noob mistakes is harassment now) with things everybody accepts like professional behavior and general civilizedness. If you refuse the crazy requirements, they make you look like someone who who approves of having Stormfront types of discussions on a software project.

        And that smells like a troublemaker even for a non-political, non-converged corporation. Everybody wants to hire people who mostly get along with everybody else. Even a conservative CEO.

        So I think they really found a way how to scare everybody who likes being employed.

        On the more meta level, this works because we live in an information satiated, rushed and hurried age. We read the latest political news and decide our stance on them in 2 minutes because then the next bit of information is coming. People just don’t take the time to research stuff anymore, despite how easy it is online. We are bombed with too much information to research them properly. A manager doesn’t really have the time to research if a candidate is accussed of being a troublemaker, to hear both sides of the case, he will just choose people of whom nobody said anything controversial.

        And this will change only once it becomes clear that people of whom nobody said anything controversial are mediocre, so for good talent you actually have to research your candidates. Just like managers have realized a decade ago outsourcing projects to random unresearched firms in India isn’t actually such a great way to cut costs, but at the very least you have to vet them and find the good ones, they will realize in a decade, two decades, that most top quality people have some kind of controversial accusations attached to them and you have to invest time into researching how serious they are.

        And at this point it should be folks who can never ever become unemployable, like Linus, who should be pushing back…

        • If the #MeToo movement taught us anything, it’s that no one can never ever become unemployable. Sexual misconduct is death to your reputation, in whatever field you find yourself in (except maybe pimping). For this reason, the most successful and powerful sexual predators employ armies of “fixers” to smooth over relations with the public and pay hush money to the right people.

          • > Sexual misconduct is death to your reputation

            No, Jeff, your formulation is too narrow. ALLEGATIONS of sexual misconduct are death to your reputation. The ENTIRE POINT of #MeToo is to throw due process and the presumption of innocence in the garbage, for the sake of getting society as a whole to act as a shoulder for certain women to cry on.

            When mere allegations carry penalties as stiff as a criminal conviction, or nearly so, you’re entering Terror Town. Anyone successful and/or powerful who DOESN’T hedge against this eventuality is a damn fool.

          • Brendan Eich went on to make Brave, Mel Gibson went on to make his own movies. Managers who have skills over just people skills and business management can start their own thing. Or see if there is a job in Shanghai.

            Granted neither was accused of sexual misconduct but it does not matter for exactly what reason one gets unpersoned.

    • Upon hearing of that my first reaction was, “Do I need to start learning BSD now to prepare for the eventual tanking of Linux quality?”

        • They got FreeBSD. What about Net and Open? And while the OpenBSD maintainer might have cause fits in some, that just might be the best thing – someone willing to tell them to go get intimate with a chainsaw, sideways, rusty, and twice on Sundays.

          • > And while the OpenBSD maintainer might have cause fits in some, that just might be the best thing – someone willing to tell them to go get intimate with a chainsaw, sideways, rusty, and twice on Sundays.

            Of course, up until yesterday so was Linus.

      • Who’s to say it will tank in quality? Tons of open-source projects — including Go and Rust — have adopted similar codes of conduct, and their contributors still put out great stuff. Codes of conduct are an essential tool for managing development at scale, because as soon as you put out the invite for anyone to contribute, assholes are going to come along and poison the well. The Contributor Covenant is a “gold standard” template for such a code, used or adapted by many successful OSS projects you’ve heard of. There is no reason not to adopt it.

        • I don’t think that’s what “poisoning the well” means, and I don’t believe the Contributor Covenant is a “gold standard” unless it’s a gold standard of what not to do, particularly the false clarity of ‘offensive’ or ‘inappropriate’ behavior earning a mandatory ban. The CC offends me, it’s dishonest and should self-destruct in a fire.

          • The long list of “thou shalt not” in the Covenant immediately set me to thinking of loopholes, finding the conditions they forgot to include. I’m sure I won’t be the only one.

            If LKML truly has a problem with rude posts then create a template or two of what is an acceptable post and direct everyone to use them. This is just another failure to realise that the list of things you don’t want people to do is, by definition, infinite: it’s always more productive to tell people what you do want them to do.

          • > I don’t think that’s what “poisoning the well” means

            Okay, “be a turd in the punchbowl”.

        • In any voluntary endeavor, the success of your effort depends to a great degree upon maintaining the good will of your volunteers. The goal of any policy regarding contributions should be to ease the burden of contributing as much as possible in order to not impinge upon the goodwill of those contributors.

          Also with voluntary work, there is a power law that governs the value contributed by individuals – i.e. a relative few individuals do most of the work. Obviously the goodwill of all contributors should be respected (and perhaps Linus had something to learn in that regard) the goodwill of core contributors does deserve some extra consideration (else you’re liable to kill the goose that lays the golden egg).

          The Code of Conflict that this new CoC replaced strike me as being fairly reasonable in it’s wording, and it seems likely that Linus introduced that in order to protect his sanity while having to deal large volumes of low quality contributions to such a critical piece of software infrastructure.

          Could Linus have started a project like Linux in today’s environment? It seems unlikely.

          Would the open source movement have taken off without him? That also seems unlikely.

          The conjunction of those two hypotheticals strikes me as a bug that needs to be fixed.

          • “In any voluntary endeavor, the success of your effort depends to a great degree upon maintaining the good will of your volunteers.”

            I think you’re absolutely right. And I’m going to expand upon what you wrote. The important word here is “credibility.”

            It should be obvious to all of us that the social landscape is changing. We may or may not like those changes, and of course to some extent those changes are going both ways at once.

            But… if you want to resist the bad part of those changes, you need credibility. If someone writes you a sincere and polite letter asking you to remove “master” and “slave” from your code and documentation, be nice to them.

            Explain the technology, (one piece of the electronics involved is in absolute control of the other piece.) Make it clear that you’re not advocating plantation-style slavery, or making a snarky reference to plantation-style slavery. Explain that the “master” and “slave” phrasing is a standard feature of technical documentation, and that you can’t change your documentation/code until everyone else does. Also, make what changes you can make without causing someone problems.

            Explain that while you can’t make that particular change to the code/documentation, you’re willing to make other changes if some piece of non-essential code/documentation might be offensive – in other words, see if you can recruit them to vet your other work!

            And generalize from my example above, so that if someone complains your software uses the word “bitch,” you can gently explain that it’s software that’s used for canine genetics, and female dogs are called…

            Or whatever.

            Why do I advocate this?

            Because when you do have to shut down some rude, unreasoning person who gets on your mailing list and accuses you of being a sexist/racist because you use the words “master” and “slave” and that person hasn’t made a polite request and/or paid attention to why you need to do things this way, and maybe they’re being threatening… you’ll still have the credibility to do so.

            And trust me on this, when a would-be Richelieu finds the “six lines” in your hand, (or on your blog) YOU WILL INDEED CARE very much, no matter how hard you may be fighting to convince us you don’t give a damn what those SJWs think.

            • > And trust me on this, when a would-be Richelieu finds the “six lines” in your hand, (or on your blog) YOU WILL INDEED CARE very much, no matter how hard you may be fighting to convince us you don’t give a damn what those SJWs think.

              Doing the things you advocate won’t stop the would-be Richelieu from finding the “six lines”. It will simply mean that when it happens you’ll be surrounded by the Richelieu’s allies rather than his enemies, and there’ll be no one around who dares or even wants to fight on your behalf against him.

            • Have you ever read any historical testimony at all? Claiming you’re really a good guy because “look at this time I did X” will not avail you if a full blown witch hunt/Stalinist purge/Cultural Revolution has lit upon you. It will act against you because it will prove that you’re duplicitous as well as evil.

              The only winning move is not to play. You don’t let the witch hunt start up in the first place and that means, among other things, not cooperating with their attempts to rewrite what words mean.

            • I agree that you need credibility. People need to trust that you are sincere in acting for the best interests of the project, even (or especially) when you are making a hard decision.

              But the people who survive defamatory social media attacks aren’t always (or even generally) the nicest or politest people. The ones who seem to do the best are the honorable fighters.

      • “Do I need to start learning BSD now to prepare for the eventual tanking of Linux quality?”

        A lot of us have already started that process because of the absolute shit show systemd is turning Linux userland into. In my case, OpenBSD, since it’s objectives are the most closely aligned to what I care about, it still claims to care very much about quality, and it has a BDFL more stern than Linus. I’m ignoring pozzed FreeBSD, and DragonFly BSD because I’m not interested in their filesystem project and those are very hard (first iteration was abandoned), and take a very long time to get right. NetBSD is a second choice if OpenBSD doesn’t pan out.

    • Some context: Linux fucked up the kernel maintainers meeting first, forcing it to reschedule from Vancouver to Edinburgh on a short notice.

      This looks like a (mild) burn-out.

    • Where does this CoC “Convenant” (not a warning bell, but a klaxons of word choice to even mildly observant Jews or Christians) protect people against being Brendan Eich’d? Against having their outside politics brought into the project? Eich did not favor gay marriage but how did that affect his web browser?

      WordPress will serve up a radical fairy (look it up) or neo-Nazi website because it is neutral. It doesn’t have words like “gay” or “Nazi” in a built-in post censor. At what point does this become “problematic” to someone you find detestably popular?

      How does this CoC protect against false accusations of hate? Against smear campaigns? Against political discrimination? Are the Scots and Catalans traitors? Is Vox Day?

      It is possible that, if WWIII breaks out, OSS will end up coded to sabotage the other side. Now, I am from the Patton/LeMay school of thought: I would support such sabotage. But I am also from the Washington/Lincoln school, and would support removing such back doors after the war. I am in support of sabotaging al Qaeda ops, but how do I stop the government from deciding that I am “sympathetic” to neo-Nazis (by defending their 1st Amendment rights) and sabotaging me?

      I have a terrible feeling no one has thought about any of this.

      • > Where does this CoC “Convenant” (not a warning bell, but a klaxons of word choice to even mildly observant Jews or Christians) protect people against being Brendan Eich’d?

        It doesn’t. It’s designed to make it easier to Brendan Eich’d people.

        • And that’s the problem with it: It puts (anti)Social “Engineering” ahead of right, proper engineering Engineering.

        • Look at the bottom of it, has the same name, is explicitly based on Coraline Ada Ehmke’s, which is the very worst out there, possibly exceeding the Geek Feminism based one also imposed by fiat on FreeBSD. Note in particular:

          Scope
          This Code of Conduct applies both within project spaces and in public spaces when an individual is representing the project or its community. Examples of representing a project or community include using an official project e-mail address, posting via an official social media account, or acting as an appointed representative at an online or offline event. Representation of a project may be further defined and clarified by project maintainers.

          Which is no surprise since Coraline first came to most people’s attention with xir’s drive by shooting of the Opal project, for a quite legitimate non-project Twitter comment that was to the effect of being cautious with World War T when it comes to the young.

          The fact that the new masters of Linux shamelessly used it as the basis writes in flaming letters across the sky that a coup has been engineered, especially when combined with various details of Linus’ resignation, excuse me, “time off” statement.

          • Truly very sad. If they infiltrate Linux, free computing is essentially gone. It was already getting pozzed, but this is really digging Tux’s grave.

            • If they infiltrate Linux, free computing is essentially gone.

              They’ve gone way beyond infiltrating Linux: while they haven’t quite taken it over (the fate of Ted Ts’o will be instructive), they’ve purged the indispensable man who was keeping it coherent and of high quality.

              But not only is despair as sin, as Jerry Pournelle liked to remind us, this is hardly the end of “free computing”. It’s in fact a great opportunity to drastically reduce the FOSS kernel monoculture that was building up which is particularly important as systemd has been wrecking Linux userspace.

    • Yup. Much consternation over at Slashdot with not a few posts reminding everyone that esr warned there was a campaign out to get Linus – maybe they succeeded.

      We shall see how it pans out but I’m not hopeful. Linus’ announcement about reforming his style might be okay by itself but not when combined with that covenant.

      • Linus mentions that he was “confronted” about his behavior by people in the community. My guess is he was given an ultimatum: shape up or we will fork the kernel and maintain it without you.

        • The fact that there are people in a position to utter ultimatums to him is what makes me not hopeful.

          • Exactly. In so many ways, including this just happening to coincide with his Code of Conflict being replaced by Coraline Ada Ehmke’s Contributor Covenant Code of Conduct stripped of some of the explicit protected groups stuff, but leaving e.g. the cancer of “we police you outside of the project”, strongly suggests he’s not doing this of his own free will.

            The only other interpretation I can see is that he’s suffered a breakdown of some sort, he did describe some symptoms of burnout, and has totally surrendered, effectively resigning from the project, which leads to us discovering he was the key to keeping the the Linux kernel project poz free.

            To circle back to ESR’s thesis of this discussion, the process of Linux kernel development is suffering a discontinuity that everything we know about the history of SJWs in FOSS means it’s likely to go to hell in a matter of years.

            • Yes. His post by itself might be taken as a sign of burnout, though the passage on pain points strikes me as allusive. Saying that maybe he needs to relate to people better, well that could just be mellowing with age. It’s the combination with that damned Covenant that is setting so many people’s alarm bells ringing. This could be very bad. I think we could be about to see just how necessary Linus’ very strong personality was to the linux project.

            • Which points a failure of open source project that’s now becoming more critical: lack of succession planning. I have no idea if this is burnout of if they’ve finally succeeded in honeytrapping him or something else. Either way this shows the importance of having a non-pozzed successor line up, better yet of keeping pozzed people out of your inner circle and keeping SJWs as low on the totem poll as possible ideally entirely out of your organization.

              • In theory, but this is akin to the age of kings and other absolute rulers, when their succession plans were often not respected. Heck, one war said it right on the label, the War of the Austrian Succession, which also subsumed the most curiously named War of Jenkins’ Ear.

                If as many of us suspect dark forces are at work, rather than simple burnout which wouldn’t seem to automatically lead to adopting one of the most toxic CoCs in the same breath, then any succession plan would also be in trouble or worse, and perhaps sometime soon someone would be parading around a severed male member of reproductionear….

                • > In theory, but this is akin to the age of kings and other absolute rulers, when their succession plans were often not respected.

                  And the solution to that problem is to give the designated successor enough power before you die/retire so that once you do he can secure his position.

            • “…which leads to us discovering he was the key to keeping the the Linux kernel project poz free.”

              I always believed this was the case. I’m shocked that he is being pushed out, but not surprised that his effective departure is simultaneous with the new CoC.

              • It’s chan (as in 4chan) slang, roughly meaning “screw up”, “fuck”, “break,” etc. (I’m not entirely sure myself, but this seems to be the meaning I infer from context.)

              • The root is from here, and in this context would me infected with … bad stuff, very possibly deliberately so, although the code contributor would almost certainly believe he was doing the right thing. See, oh, Team systemd for a tolerated, even celebrated example of that in userland.

                Long term slow but steady degradation of the quality of the kernel is what I believe to be the greatest danger, it’s hard enough to fight entropy and chaos as it is. Even more so when you don’t have a fixed device driver ABI, which is constantly causing rot the developers don’t catch before releases.

        • > My guess is he was given an ultimatum: shape up or we will fork the kernel and maintain it without you.

          The right reply to that is no call their bluff. The kind of people likely to make such an ultimatum are not the kind of people capable of maintaining a major open source project.

      • What we’ve seen is that (approximately) once a year Linus melts down badly enough that his unpleasantness gets reported on major sites like Slashdot. What this implies about his day-to-day behavior is not good… whether he fell or was pushed is not necessarily the important part here; depending on the back story a “plot against Linus” might be very sane or very inappropriate.

        The important thing is that his behavior made him no longer credible as the project leader. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re Politically Correct or the opposite; if you can’t manage the norms of professional behavior you will eventually be replaced, either by coup or by forking. If you can’t keep your credibility high, bad things will happen and you won’t have the political strength to fight off a code of conduct where merit isn’t primary.

  27. All right, it’s time for someone to write a truly open-source-libertarian “code of conduct” for projects that are willing to take a stand and declare that we will NOT allow our principles of pure engineering discipline to be subverted by people with dubious political motives.

    ESR, you’re probably the best person to do this. Interested? (If you don’t, I will, but it will be heavily profane in an effort to offend as many SJW’s as possible.)

    • Taboo the word “political” for a moment. I think a specific feature to come up here might be expounding on the impedance-equivalent of positive and negative rights, to identify specific patterns. For example:

      > If Alice sets up a cron job to delete Bob’s contributions every day, Alice is ‘positively impeding’ Bob, and Alice should be removed from the project so Bob can contribute.

      > If Bob panics and runs away from the computer on seeing Alice’s name, Alice is ‘negatively impeding’ Bob and no sanction should be applied to Alice, even if this locks Bob out of contributing to the project.

      > The two principles above apply regardless of the relative magnitude of Alice and Bob’s contributions, and regardless of whether Bob’s panic is emotionally understandable due to Alice’s external crimes.

      A lot of the cordyceps seems to focus on being ‘negatively impeded’. Take offense, claim to be under attack, demand the “attacker” be punished. Sometimes AKA: ‘cry-bullying’, but that’s a word with heavy emotional loading which does not make for a good foundation of code.

      Is there perhaps more standard existing terminology for positive and negative impedance already? I am probably not the first to think of this analogy to rights.

      • > > If Bob panics and runs away from the computer on seeing Alice’s name, Alice is ‘negatively impeding’ Bob and no sanction should be applied to Alice, even if this locks Bob out of contributing to the project.

        What if Alice has a reputation for cry-bullying attacks at other projects?

        • As far as this specific section is concerned: REGARDLESS OF WHETHER BOB’S PANIC IS EMOTIONALLY UNDERSTANDABLE DUE TO ALICE’S EXTERNAL CRIMES.

          As a more general question that should have been posted a level further up: I dunno, out of scope, you’d probably have some other section dictating what external behavior, if any, shall be a disqualifier from the project at hand.

    • One thing to think about is what is the purpose of this open-source-libertarian “code of conduct”. If it’s to satisfy people calling for a code of conduct by being able to point to it and say “see we have one”, it’s never going to work. They will never be satisfied with a CoC that doesn’t let them bully people out.

      If the goal is too keep SJWs out, it should be designed with that in mind.

      • May I offer the Conquest Code of Conduct:

        https://github.com/pmjones/conquest

        Named for Robert Conquest’s Second Law: “Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.”

        “””
        tl;dr: No Socialism or Social Justice.

        All contributions and communication are welcome, so long as they do not (within this project space) espouse, entertain, advocate for, or otherwise positively discuss the political ideals associated with Social Justice, Progressivism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, Marxism, or anything else generally reminiscent of any political philosophy to the left of Classical Liberals or Libertarians.

        If you suspect or are subjected to criminal behavior within this project space, first notify the appropriate authorities; then, if you wish, you may notify the project owner. The project owner makes no promises in advance regarding accusations or complaints.

        The project owner is the final arbiter on all contributions and communication within this project space.
        “””

  28. Wider perspective: the CoC Linus has merged was written by Coraline Ada Ehmke, whose explanation is published at https://postmeritocracy.org/ and it already has 4-5 sentences in it that makes a reasonable person see red, but this is the truly worst part: https://postmeritocracy.org/meritocracy/

    To put it succintly, this obviously a recipe to destroy something. It is one thing demand to avoiding the locker room language that may make women uncomfortable. But when you look at the articles linked there, it increasingly looks like a denial of differences of inherent talent and the structures for selecting for, motivating and utilizing inherent talent.

    Just as a thought experiment. If people would do this with music, there would be no more great music. It relies so much on inherent talent, that it would inevitably lead to wasting music education and opportunities on, well, folks like me, while the actual talents would not get the nurturing they need to grow great because them hailing from predominantly musician families would be considered a privilege that needs to be selected against, instead of the obvious source from which their inherent talent was inherited.

    Nearly every point is obviously false in the manifesto:

    “We do not believe that our value as human beings is intrinsically tied to our value as knowledge workers. Our professions do not define us; we are more than the work we do.” In knowledge based projects, people should treat each other as their value as knowledge workers, not as their value as human beings. That more that is outside the work must be kept outside the work.

    “We believe that interpersonal skills are at least as important as technical skills.” No, not at least. Somewhat but clearly less important, for interpersonal skills are generalists, technical skills are specialist and the division of labor matters a lot.

    “We can add the most value as professionals by drawing on the diversity of our identities, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. ” Experience with unusual technology adds value. Having unusual sexual habits or gender identity is largely irrelevant.

    “We can be successful while leading rich, full lives. Our success and value is not dependent on exerting all of our energy on contributing to software.” Again it has nothing to do with how to treat each other inside a project.

    I could go on…

    • Just as a thought experiment. If people would do this with music, there would be no more great music.

      It’s already been done with music. It’s called “punk”. That is the ethos of punk in a nutshell — creating an equal platform for self-expression, irrespective of talent or background.

      Oh, yeah, and it’s produced or inspired some of the best rock music ever made.

      • And anyone’s only ever heard the best of the best, produced by now-famous people who had talent, because the other 99.99999% of it is pure garbage that never lived beyond its teenage novelty.

      • Despite the apparent straightforwardness of the term, I’m left wondering if we all mean the same thing by the term “meritocracy”. Is punk meritocratic? I don’t know. But whatever punk is/was, equating it with with the contributor covenant stuff seems flat out wrong.

        Let’s say that the term “meritocracy” means something like “a set of gate-keeping institutions which guard access to opportunities using objective criteria of performance in some area of human excellence”. Note that by “objective” here, I merely mean that every is judged by the same criteria. I would also add that these are criteria of performance only. There may be exceptions here or there based on perceived potential performance, but those would be limited, and would only be permissible if the judge making exceptions had track record for extracting exceptional performance from otherwise previously lackluster performers.

        To put it more concretely, in the music world, there is finite opportunities for mentorships, scholarships, admission to music schools, and record deals. Each of these opportunities is guarded by gatekeepers who need some criteria for how to hand out these opportunities. Presumably they want to reward creativity and genius, but they also have investments to protect, so their probably going to rely upon some shared notion of musical ability that reflects the aesthetic standards of the time.

        Obviously, these gatekeepers are imperfect. The question is, how do you respond to their insufficiencies? A first option is to say “screw these gatekeepers, I’m going to try and be successful on my own”. Most who do this are going to be absolutely terrible, but there will be a few geniuses among them who, if they manage to reach a broader audience, will become “rock stars” (heh). As Rebecca Frankel put it (roughly), the most meritous people are not those best at passing the tests, but the best at writing their own tests. [0]

        The second option is to say “there’s no such thing as merit, and so these gatekeepers exist only to perpetuate oppressive power structures. We should change the criteria with the goal of breaking up these oppressive power structures”. This attitude (or at least inclination) seems to pervade the CoC movement.

        Now, you may argue that I’m painting a caricature with the second option. There could be a much milder, more defensible position which is simply trying to introduce some reforms to expand opportunities to previously marginalized people and bring in more creative vitality to hacker-space. My first reaction to such an argument would likely be to hand you the motte-and-bailey penalty card (consider for instance that hacker-space was already a haven for many marginalized groups; see Meredith Patterson’s writings on the subject [1]). But, if I felt inclined to charity, I would concede that while such reformers exist and have legitimate concerns, but that there would be two conditions upon which their claims should be heard:

        1. They are active, valued contributors in the community
        2. They acknowledge that there is such a thing as merit, that it is unevenly distributed, and that it nonetheless should be rewarded.

        It is interesting that you brought up the Rust and Go projects in a previous comment and how they adopted a CoC. While Graydon of the Rust community certainly strikes me as an out-and-out communist (little “c”) one wonders to what extent we are seeing some Kolmogorov Complicity [2] going on elsewhere.

        I’m no historian of the punk movement, but the first option sounds more like what they did, and also sounds like the early hacker movement (including the likes of Linus and our own esteemed host). It’s certainly not a meritocracy in sense I originally defined, but it does certainly still select for merit, just in a much more darwinian, anarcho-capitalist sort of way.

        [Incidentally, when I hear the likes of ESR defending their own conception of meritocracy (distinct from the term as I defined it) that’s what I perceive them to be talking about].

        In sum, we can may reject meritocracy (as I defined it above) but we must not equivocate on the ways in which we reject it.

        [0] https://steve-yegge.blogspot.com/2008/06/done-and-gets-things-smart.html (see the comments)
        [1] http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6642 (of which you are no doubt familiar)
        [2] http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/10/23/kolmogorov-complicity-and-the-parable-of-lightning/

        • I think I can compress your words a bit. A meritocracy is a social hierarchy constructed such that the position of a member in the hierarchy is based on the fitness of that member’s ability to achieve the hierarchy’s goals. The function used to assess that fitness is often hooked to gatekeeper members who exist higher in the hierarchy or populate a secondary hierarchy that has a gatekeeping goal.

          Your first option is a member choosing to opt out of an existing meritocratic hierarchy in favor of generating a new one; success of this new hierarchy in the higher-order social hierarchies can potentially place the member above the members of the original hierarchy, in relation to the higher-order ones.

          Your second option is to remove or somehow replace the gatekeepers hooked into the fitness function, OR change the secondary hierarchy which manages gatekeeper positioning, OR remove the fitness function altogether, which being a definitional aspect of the meritocratic hierarchy would serve only to render it meaningless.

          Eeeeesh, when it’s phrased like that, this CoC stuff is making my skin crawl even more.

          • Spot on. Hackers have a history of not really caring about what the CS department says about how to write good code, and Beatles started the revolution of modern pop music by ignoring the contemporary experts on good taste. This is the first version. However, if you look deeper into it, you will find that there is actually a conformity on the level of, how to put it, deeper norms? Hackers came up for solutions of the same problems the CS department was struggling with, and the solutions eventually looked similar, and if you analyse the Beatles through the lenses of musical theory, the patterns will be familiar to the larger history of Western music.

            My point here is really that the fitness functions are GIVEN, not really chosen. Buggy crashy vs. smooth running software or bored vs. enthusiastic audiences are objective facts. OK we could philosophize about free will till the cows come home but at the end of the people tend to mean “this isn’t working” as a fact, not a subjective opinion. I guess because even the most sophisticated social-technological fitness functions at some level come from Darwinian reality. And what happens in the first version is that the new meritocracy erected follows the same fitness function as what the original gatekeepers tried to, just better. It is not about new fitness functions but new gatekeeping procedures to optimize for those functions better.

            And this is why the first version, which is effectively business competition, or “forking” in hacker language, or “exit over voice” in Albert O. Hirschman’s terminology and Nick Land’s philosophy is a good thing, because it is really the only way to evolve better gatekeeping for the same fitness function.

            And this is really the root of why the second is evil.

            • I also find Venkatesh Rao’s Triangle of Self-Improvement[0], when applied to organizations, helps explain the phenomena that we are witnessing.

              The open source community may be attempting to transition from what has become a process-oriented culture[1] to a values-oriented one. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but as shown in the framework values-oriented cultures can be corrupt by either abandoning merit or due process. There are probably genuine reformers out there who have not abandoned a commitment to those other social goods, but they are not necessarily the dominant actors in the movement[2].

              [0] https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2014/09/03/how-to-fall-off-the-wagon/
              [1] I think ESR’s “Holding up the Sky” essay actually captures this transition (http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4196)
              [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bz0oxIZ3xIg

          • Indeed.

            Note that the second option isn’t always wrong. It’s OK to try and reform hierarchies and gatekeeping institutions.

            What is insidious is to claim to be reforming the fitness function when in fact you are attacking the very notion of fitness (as in the Contributor Covenant).

        • This is literally the very first problem philosophy of the West had to struggle with, at least according to MacIntyre. Socratic philosophy goes straight back to Homer and the core question there is virtue understood as fulfilling a social function well. People need to be rewarded for it, and the only way we know how to measure such virtue and assign rewards to it is some kind of a fair competition. So if the social function of soldiers requries that they should run fast, we hold running races and reward the winners, and if the social function of shoemakers is to make good shoes then economic competition on the marketplace rewards the winners. (This second is my addition, MacIntyre is not that keen on markets.)

          The problem is, and it seems that problem was recognized way back not even by Socrates but even by Homer that people will always try to “game” these competitions, try to win not by virtue, not by performing the social function well, by some other means, gaming the rules, straight out corruption or crime, or really whatever.

          And thus it seems there isn’t really any other solution that while these competitions and rewards are necessary, people need to be educated in a way that they see virtue defined as performing a social role well its own reward, worth to be pursuing for its own sake, there is satisfaction in running fast or making good shoes, or software or music, even if someone else who is less good at it manages to game the rules and win and get the big rewards and you end up third place with smaller rewards.

          According to MacIntyre this is seriously the essence of Socrates vs. the Sophists who were more of the “nah, let’s just win and get the rewards” type.

          My addition would be the following. You cannot cover everything with rules, there has to be personal judgement. When things get bit you need rules, but all rules can be gamed. There has to be someone who judges actual virtue, merit, who judges upholding the spirit of the rules and not the letter.

          So. To keep meritocracy good:

          1) Teach people to cultivate a spirit of excellence even in the absence of rewards, with meritocracy itself being one. That is, don’t be angry if you are good but this is not immediately resulting in recognition and promotion, eventually excellence will get rewards but even in the meantime it is its own reward.

          2) Accept that fair competition need rules, but it also needs judges who guard the spirit, not the letter of the rules, are allowed to override their letter, and not allow gaming the rules. The job of the judges is to spot and reward excellence, not simply to enforce the letter of the rules of competition that is intended to decide the ranking of excellence.

          This is perhaps not a big insight after all. I just find it very exciting how this was literally the first problem the first Western philosophers struggled with and it still comes up.

      • I like how you pick one musical genre as case example, then attempt to buttress it by saying a different genre had great music. I understand what you mean, though, I’m just taking the piss.

        Not sure I agree with your specific wording, though. The anti-authoritarian destruction-of-all-barriers ethos you’re speaking to isn’t about “creating an equal platform,” it’s about individually claiming conceptual and literal spaces, ideally to the discomfort of anyone who objects. The point is the rules-breaking and discomfort-causing, not the goddamn equality. I’m no scholar of the genre, though, so I may well be talking out of my ass; others can feel free to correct me.

        I can’t really tell, so I don’t want to pidgeonhole you here, but it sounds like you’re trying to make the case that these CoC shenanigans are somehow equivalent to the punk movement. If that’s what you’re doing, and again I’m not sure you are, then you are, frankly, full of shit.

  29. Suggested language for an anti-idiotarian CoC:

    “This project has great code. The best, really. Everyone is welcome to contribute. Contributions will be accepted based solely on merit. Our code doesn’t care about your feelings. If you feel that certain groups are under-represented in our team, or if you are offended by our technical terminology, shut the fuck up and go make me a sandwich.”

    • I still advocate Mattis’ “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

      For those lacking in imagination, replace “everybody” with “every code submission”.

    • I feel strongly that a good CoC should include…

      “The official proper response to any such SJWishness is to instruct the offender to go fuck themselves.”

      On a different note, this whole business is going to divide the open source community. If the majority of people that matter are on the sane side, would it be practical/appropriate for these people to either…
      – temporarily stop holding up the world – vacation until the CoC goes.
      – fork the project – maybe Linus would like to fork the kernel

      Will sane open source devs continue under horrible CoC or should/could they just refuse to play under those terms?

      • Will sane open source devs continue under horrible CoC or should/could they just refuse to play under those terms?

        It’s safe to say that the far-left Silicon Valley set will prioritize the extermination of Wrongthink higher than they prioritize quality code, every time. You can take that to the bank.

        I found a “code of merit” written by Vox Day two years ago; it’s at https://voxday.blogspot.com/2016/01/code-of-merit.html and it seems to cover most of what we’re talking about. I kind of like it.

        • I kind of like it too.

          Number 9, the prohibition on mentioning differences between people, seems too broad to me.

    • Let me try this another way:

      “Contributions will be accepted based solely on merit. Our code doesn’t care about your feelings. If you are a member of a minority group, and feel that your group is under-represented on our team, you are cordially invited to improve the quality of your code. Time allowing, we will help you write better code, but helping you with your code is not an obligation of the project maintainers.”

      • I like it a lot. Short, intelligent, and to the point.

        I might add one thing, something along the lines of “While our mainly interest is in the quality of your code, we will not tolerate any bad behavior towards others based on race, religion, national origin, biological gender, perceived gender, sexual orientation, lifestyle, or political viewpoint, regardless of whether those attacks reflect the political concerns of the Left or the Right. This may be an online, volunteer-based effort, but it is a workplace and you are expected to behave politely and professionally towards everyone.”

        • ‘thou shalt not’ lists lead to loopholes and people complaining they weren’t included. That’s how we ended up with LGBTQQIIDAAP alphabet soup.

          More productive to specify what you want rather than try to think of all the things you don’t want and subjective terms such as ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ are just asking for argument

        • I think a lot of things today get politicized into stuff like “sexism” that we in the past simply called rude, crass behavior. I would go back to that.

          I mean, the most realistic thing to say is that there is one -ism you have to approve of if you want people to be polite: classism. That there are behavioral standards that correlate with social hierarchy, the working class has higher than the underclass, the professional, “gentleman” class even higher and so on.

          I mean, the actual reason why we aren’t calling Sally a dumb whore if we don’t like her proposal is that we are trying to behave according to the standards of middle and higher classes, not the standards of the gutter.

          Of course the issue is that the left hates classism. In reality they are actually of the educated classes, and in reality they don’t like prole level behavior, but they cannot say that, so they are rebranding various kinds of prole level behavior as sexism, homophobia etc.

          This was actually a really fair trade in the past. You didn’t have to be rich to be respectable, just behave and maybe dress with a bit of class. So polite behavior was rewarded with status.

          Today it is weird. Certainly joining the lefties and using not only a polite language but even their ideological one, like gender-neutral language in a way high status. That is what the professors and whatnot are doing, the people who are respected. But on the other hand it is not the kind of status that gets you laid. It really reminds me of my childhood behind the iron curtain. The Party men who talked in Commie lingo were in a certain way high status but not good at getting laid. Those men got laid who were kind of outside the system, working as semi-legal small entrepreneurs.

          The kind of status that does not get one laid is not very useful. Or to put it differently, hacker status is useful, status that does not get you laid but is directly relevant to what you do is useful. But if you are a software developer and if you get the kind of status that the gender-neutral language using sociology professor has, that really does not get you anything. It is as if a software developer at a software project would try to impress people with his former military rank. It is just irrelevant.

          This is why linking polite (albeit not ideological) language to class is better.

          • > I mean, the most realistic thing to say is that there is one -ism you have to approve of if you want people to be polite: classism. That there are behavioral standards that correlate with social hierarchy, the working class has higher than the underclass, the professional, “gentleman” class even higher and so on.

            Makes me think of this.

            > [Kipling] sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them.

            –George Orwell

        • It’s intended as a contribution policy, not a code of conduct. Your suggestion, while possibly useful (I too am uncomfortable with lists of protected classes; they invariably lead to scope creep), is out of scope for the document’s intent.

      • My other comment is stuck in moderation. TL/DR I like it a lot.

        I’ll note something about SJWs. After going through elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and sometimes even post-college employment in an environment filled with speech codes and lists of words that should never be used, (such efforts made by well-meaning administrators who’d like to avoid fights, lawsuits, and other bad publicity) I suspect that many kids don’t feel safe without a carefully written speech code. The idea that one can simply be an adult and keep your mouth shut as a matter of basic maturity, and apologize, make amends, or if you’re on the receiving end, decide this isn’t about you… is probably beyond them.

        • These days everything is over-regulated, from homeowner’s associations to corporate dress codes. Read this: https://evolutionistx.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/increasing-diversity-fascism-the-difficulty-of-enforcing-social-norms-via-rules/

          She makes a very good point. You can have few rules and thus a lot of freedom if you have a community where people think roughly the same way. If you make it more diverse, you will need a clear rule for everything. And that is very stifling.

          I have noticed that the signs banning excessive alcohol consumption on the subway of Vienna, Austria, have recently changed to flat out banning alcohol consumption on the subway. Clearly, there was a shared cultural understanding what is excessive what is not, which has recently stopped working. And I cannot even blame this one on the Muslim immigrants. It is just generic diversity, it may be the rural Austrians or the Eastern Europeans or who knows who exactly was getting piss drunk on the subway too often. Or it may be nothing ethnic at all, there is also vertical diversity going on that upper and lower class values get mixed, maybe the definition of excessive was based on upper class values and now the lower classes think their drinking habits are okay in public. I have no idea. But an unspoken, tacitly understood rule disappeared, and thus had to be replaced with a clearly defined one.

          And that is always stricter than the tacit rule used to be.

          Thought experiment. There have always been some women in tech, even when there were no drives to put more women into tech. But in those times those women got into tech whose way of thinking was a bit on the male side so they didn’t mind a bit of boys being boys and did not take offense. So they were culturally compatible. Same unspoken rules. Then there are these drives to get more women in tech, who were originally not that much interested in tech, so are culturally not so compatible, so they take offense and you end up with written rules.

          So where I am blaming diversity or she does, for stringent rules, it is not in that simplistic sense that how high % of people is brown or gay. It is more like if Jack, Joe and I work together, and we are the kind of guys who would occasionally make a somewhat offensive joke about gay or brown people, then many gay and brown people will avoid us, but those who can take some banter and reply in kind will still apply to be in our team. So gay Leslie and brown Tyrone join our team, and yet we are **still not diverse** because we are culturally compatible, say, agree in that somewhat offensive jokes are okay. This is the important thing. And then white straight liberal Chris joins and he takes offense on their behalf and calls us insensitive assholes, that is when we become diverse. In a bad way. That is when rules will be codified.

        • “The idea that one can simply be an adult and keep your mouth shut as a matter of basic maturity, and apologize, make amends, or if you’re on the receiving end, decide this isn’t about you… is probably beyond them.”

          It is not my job as project lead to teach someone how to act as an adult.

          • I keep losing posts. Eric, if you could rescue one of my attempts to reply to Jay from the gnomes I’d appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

          • “It is not my job as project lead to teach someone how to act as an adult.”

            Agreed completely. If someone want’s to take part in an Open Source project and they haven’t figured out that their ideals of male supremacy or anti-CIS issues have no place in a tech project, fuck ’em. Show ’em the door.

            That being said, my point was really that the process of teaching kids to act like adults has been very infantilized. There’s no long checklist that will teach anyone to behave like a decent human being towards their coworkers. By the time you’ve graduated high school (or college at the very latest) you should have figured it out, and if you haven’t, neither SJWs or horrible White people are responsible for your removal from the project. Look in the mirror.*

            Any statement of “how to behave in this project” that’s more than a hundred words long is probably too long, and I’d be quite happy with “We’re not going to teach you how to behave in a professional workplace. Act like an adult who wants to keep your position with this project or we’ll show you the door.”

            * I’m not currently considering the problem of SJWs or racist/sexist types who deliberately try to get someone kicked off the project. That’s for another post. Maybe.

      • As I understand it, the CoC’s are installed because some people do NOT just judge code on their merits, but harass other members of the community.

        When I hear coders about how they are swamped in insults, threats, and slander (upto doxing and identity theft) because of their contributions, I can understand that some people will have to be prevented from communicating with the rest of the community. And then I have not yet added the misbehavior at conferences I first could not believe were true.

        A CoC is not about contributing code or other work, but about how to communicate with your peers.

        • I’d like to hear where all this harassment actually takes place as I’m beginning to think most of the complaints used to justify CoCs are imagined or are the same individual complaint repeated throughout hundreds of communities.

          • “I’d like to hear where all this harassment actually takes place”

            I am not active in these communities, so I could not say. I have heard about misconduct in conferences. Conferences try to install CoCs to have a legal ground to expel obnoxious people.
            https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/sexual-harassment

            This is not different from workplace rules of conduct.

            • Really now.

              You’d be surprised what you hear actually talking to people who run the conferences. Might find out that certain anti-harassment activists got shitfaced and then grope the crotches of security personnel.

  30. Mr. Eric, this sentence by Linus really concerns me:
    > I am going to take time off and “””get some assistance””” on how to understand people’s emotions and respond appropriately.

    I believe you are the only person that Linus trusts enough to convince him not to take any crazy SJW “””sensitivity””” courses! Have you seen the crazy movement his daughter is now a part of? https://postmeritocracy.org/

    • It is disgusting. Much bullshit about interpersonal skills, rich full lives and on and on, being more important than technical skills and contributions.

      But maybe the most disturbing…

      We understand that working in our field is a privilege, not a right. [impact of toxic people … is not offset by their technical contributions].

      What could possibly go wrong?

      • > What could possibly go wrong?

        I may sound like a nutcase, but I believe this was pre-designed to go wrong.

      • Oh, it is a privilege to work in our industry. That privilege is earned primarily through the merit of high quality contributions. People who derail projects from their pursuit of technical excellence with irrelevant political issues are toxic and should be shunned.

        • Through all this it’s worth keeping in mind that Linus himself is a red-diaper baby who lives in Portland and voted for Obama twice. My guess is he’s aware of the red-flaggy bits of Coraline’s CoC and her politics the way a fish is aware of water.

        • Another theory I just came across on KiA is that perhaps the SJW league of evil collected or engineered some kompromat on her while she was at college, which is after all one of the most vulnerable parts of people’s lives.

  31. They’re underplaying it, but this is a huge deal, and we’re not getting the full story at all, which I suspect involves Shanley Kane (google her shenanigans up) and Torvalds’ daughter in some capacity. Eric, you have a direct line to him, please remind Linus that Linux runs telco infrastructure, traffic systems and medical equipment.

  32. Apparently the “post meritocracy” people are fond of claiming that in a meritocracy, “certain groups are under-represented”. I call bullshit, of course. If certain groups are under-represented, and those groups *are* present within the pool of those who are capable and willing to contribute, then what you have is NOT a meritocracy.

    And if there are groups you wish to see better represented in the pool, then you address that by starting a mentoring program, not by applying affirmative-action bullshit to a thriving project.

  33. ESR, recent events have caused you to pop up on my radar again.

    I think now more than ever, your views are needed.

    Thanks. (Also maybe you could post your articles to your Twitter account)?

  34. Re: the Linus/CoC kerfuffle

    I know most of this is being framed in the context of the current culture war (which, to be fair, appears to be exactly what this is), but I think there’s a more general context worth keeping in mind:

    The hacker culture / open source community is a gift culture and produces an enormous amount of value. Sociopaths see this and try to extract as much value as they can without regard to what they destroy in the process.

    I actually liked the idea of a code of conduct, but a moderately clever sociopath will thrive on twisting a set rules to their own advantage. I know this is old news to a lot of people, but it’s the kind of thing I had trouble even conceiving until I saw it first-hand. “You shall judge by the code alone” is a great community norm and works even when it’s not explicitly stated as long as everyone is acting in good faith. But if you don’t have a mental model of “charismatic, high-functioning sociopath” and one shows up in your community, everything starts going to hell.

    Maybe explicitly stating and hewing to “You shall judge by the code alone” is enough, but I’m not so certain. I think more people need to understand that sociopaths exist, talented ones will adapt to whatever rules you set up and if they make it into your leadership you’re fucked.

    • “The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it” has been subverted by the Hitlers of Silicon Valley who now control Fecesbook, Twatter, and Goolag. The same Hitlers of Silicon Valley have now begun moving in on open source. We might as well die on this hill because there’s no better place to go.

  35. Do any of you have a plan to do anything other than blog about it?

    Seriously, I see endless discussion and blog posts and YouTube videos but next to no action whatsoever.

    Are you all content to let the diversity culture warmongers take control? Because as far as I can see, the answer is “yes”.

    In any conflict, those who systemize have the advantage.

    The diversity culture warmongers have done enormous systemization and we’ve done next to nothing to slow them down, let alone stop or reverse the damage they’re doing.

    And for fucks sake, stop treating this as partisan leftists vs conservatives. Avoid such comparisons at any and all costs. You’ll find yourselves getting far more support in initiatives to oppose the culture warmongers and their blackmail, coercion, and shaming.

    • +10000. I think we should start a forge for Critical Projects That Must Not Be Destroyed By SJWs, and either convince existing maintainers to host their projects there or fork them ourselves–because none of the existing hosts (including and especially GitHub) is particularly amenable to fighting the culture warrior menace, nor are many maintainers prepared for what is to come.

      As a first pass at a list of such Critical Projects, I suggest Linux, GCC, LLVM/Clang, Golang, Rust, Swift, Perl, Python, BIND, ISC DHCP, a BGP daemon (which one?), sysvinit, OpenRC, udev, and maybe the entire GNU userland (or at least a portion of it). I’m taking suggestions for additions to this list. Generally speaking, Critical Projects include, but are not limited to: core OS components (kernels, system daemons, system libraries); core Internet infrastructure (e.g. DHCP, DNS, BGP); and compilers and languages. The general idea is to include projects that must be maintained and kept free of bugs for the wheels of civilization to continue turning.

      Every project on this forge will require a Code of Merit insisting that contributions be judged by merit, and forbidding the sort of SJW warmongering that threatens much of open source today. This Code of Merit will be immutable–changes to it are off the table. Every project will have a single BDFL, vested with nearly all the power, responsible for enforcing the Code, as well as reviewing patches and maintaining the codebase. The BDFL must be a trusted, experienced member of the community (like ESR). Every project must also have a plan of succession, since not even BDFLs live forever. (And we certainly must invest more effort in training our successors–I know ESR has been doing his part here.)

        • Does Mark Kern actually contribute to the kernel?

          I’d rather place my faith in the words of Sarah Sharp, who was a significant kernel contributor (iirc she led the USB subsystem) and quit, because she was scared off, because the kernel community is toxic. And that’s someone who was already on the kernel team and left. We don’t know how many hundreds or thousands were cowed into never contributing.

          The way Linux has been run historically was scaring off good devs. If the Code fixes that, it’s a win.

            • See Jonathan Corbet’s response to Edward Cree’s email. The Technical Advisory Board, responsible for enforcing the CoC, is made up of good people, long-time kernel hackers, not a dangerhair among them. Isn’t that the supposed problem, that scary dangerhairs can use the CoC to punish crimethinkers whose violations are questionable, while violating the letter of the CoC themselves with impunity? If the enforcers are invested in maintaining a good kernel, rather than serving as social-justice commissars, what’s the issue?

              Just so you know, I don’t much like Coraline Ada Ehmke. I think she’s a person with serious mental issues who got her ass chapped that she’s not a particularly good or prolific developer and wants to find some other way to stamp her name on open source. But open source projects are accepting her Contributor Covenant as a standard reference point — and if it’s good for the community we must embrace it on that basis alone, regardless of its source.

              • The Technical Advisory Board, responsible for enforcing the CoC, is made up of good people, long-time kernel hackers, not a dangerhair among them.

                When you get pushed off a 50 story building you should not, on passing the 49th floor, think “this is going well, it will be fine”.

                > and if it’s good for the community we must embrace it on that basis alone,

                Wrong.

                It’s the infrastructure and the ecosystem that matters, not the community.

              • > The Technical Advisory Board, responsible for enforcing the CoC, is made up of good people, long-time kernel hackers, not a dangerhair among them.

                Under the old Code of Conflict, the TAB was already empowered to address any allegations of abuse or unwelcoming behavior. In such case, what value does the Contributor Covenant add?

                I suppose the main thing would be to obligate the TAB not just to “resolve” issues, but prescribes when and how they are to act. That’s not necessarily a bad thing from the perspective of transparency and accountability, but you also have to be careful not to give external actors a leverage point with which to manipulate the TAB and derail them from their stated purpose of providing technical oversight. If even a small minority of folks (inside or outside the kernel community) decide to DoS the TAB in an effort to hold the TAB “accountable”, then the TAB is either going to capitulate and offer a few sacrificial lambs in the hopes the trolls will be satisfied, or else they are going to have to take the time to establish a clear precedent against thought-policing.

                > But open source projects are accepting her Contributor Covenant as a standard reference point — and if it’s good for the community we must embrace it on that basis alone, regardless of its source.

                I’ll admit that, for the most part, the new CoC isn’t that concerning to me as a developer who works in a corporate environment. The Post-Meritocracy Manifesto is much more alarming, and the fact that they come from the same person gives me great pause, but ultimately we have to judge each work on their own.

                I think the concern that ESR and others are trying to express is that whereas the old Code of Conflict emphasized the need to produce a high-quality artifact, the new Code of Conduct puts more emphasis on community and making people feel welcome.

                To conduct high quality engineering requires first and foremost a willingness to tell the truth, and to tell the truth requires risking conflict and offending others. It doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk to build great software (I’ve never heard anything bad about the SQLite folks, for example, but they also don’t accept open contributions as a general principle). It means that sometimes the best we can do is ensure that everyone is acting in good faith toward the creation of a good product. If you can establish good faith, then it becomes much easier to tolerate abrasive behavior.

                Ultimately, there are people in this world who are highly competent but also highly assertive and disagreeable, and they need to have a role in society as much as anyone else. If we don’t let them participate in building high-quality technical systems – especially ones that they created – then what exactly are we going to let them do?

                • If even a small minority of folks (inside or outside the kernel community) decide to DoS the TAB in an effort to hold the TAB “accountable”, then the TAB is either going to capitulate and offer a few sacrificial lambs in the hopes the trolls will be satisfied, or else they are going to have to take the time to establish a clear precedent against thought-policing.

                  I know 1 of the 10 current members of the TAB, heck, enough to probably get him destroyed by today’s SJW standards and certainly fired from his current job, and he does real and pretty important work on the Linux kernel.

                  We can be very sure these new developments, at whatever level of complaints, normal or DoS, are going to take time away from that. And unless the process is done entirely anonymously, including secret balloting, and that secrecy is maintained, he will lose his job if he shows any mercy to an accused witch.

                  If I was him, I’d immediately resign from the TAB and/or his employer, and that would be bad, because he’s got a lot of people savvy as well as technical skills.

              • The Technical Advisory Board, responsible for enforcing the CoC, is made up of good people, long-time kernel hackers, not a dangerhair among them.

                Can you guarantee that this will always be the case?

              • I have seen instances of the Contributor’s Covenant pushed using threats and coercion to large Open Source projects.

                Github employees were involved in protecting people making the threats in the past and sanctioning people who continued to refuse to adopt the Contributor’s Covenant in face of threats of career destruction.

                Do not presume the Contributor’s Covenant has gained widespread adoption without significant duress on many persons.

          • From what I saw, no, he doesn’t. But that really underscores his point even more, doesn’t it? The people who went after him didn’t even check, and were all buggered up about his opposition to the idea of a CoC. It’s like that is the whole point.

          • I’d rather place my faith in the words of Sarah Sharp

            Sorry, them is now named Sage Sharp, your misgendering has now forever barred you from working on Linux or any other project with a Coraline or the like derived CoC.

            • Since my midgendering and deadnaming was based on ignorance rather than malice, I think I could prevail on appeal, even if someone tried to lodge a CoC complaint against me.

              You, on the other hand, are being an asshole about it.

              • It’s 2018, and there is no longer an excuse for ignorance when a simple google search would have enlightened you.

              • “Since my midgendering and deadnaming was based on ignorance rather than malice, I think I could prevail on appeal, even if someone tried to lodge a CoC complaint against me.”

                Optimist. The SJWs don’t care. You’d just be another scalp to hunt. They always, always go after their supposed sympathizers the moment they show any sign at all of apostasy, even if it’s totally unintentional. “You should have looked before naming!”

          • By that very same logic, you don’t know how many hundreds or thousands ds will be cowed into not contributing due to this change.

            The CoC push is infamous for blackmail and career witchhunts. It’s infamous for its use of bullying and bigotry to promote it.

            • Indeed. I have a friend who’s a member of a designated victim group who’s seriously considering getting out of tech entirely because it’s full of SJWs and their crusades, and my friend is a conservative.

              • While conservatives get a bit of extra abuse for being conservative, they are hardly the only targets here and we would *all* be much better served by not painting this as “leftists vs conservatives”.

                • Except being able to name the enemy is an important aspect of warfare and the enemy is indeed the left. Also while everybody is targeted parts of the right are the only ones actually fight back. So yes, this is “left vs. right”.

                  • You’re very narrow minded by assuming the enemy is a broad political group rather than a subsection of extremists.
                    Frankly I see so many people using the same rhetoric as you that it discourages many potential allies from joining with you to fight.

                    Remember that George Carlin was a leftie and infamously railed against political correctness.

      • What about a legal defense fund/organization to protect the maintainers of critical projects from defamatory attacks?

        • The money would be better spent providing FOSS employment for the purged, e.g. I assume OpenBSD’s file system could use some more love. Or other parts of the kernel (in reference to Ted Ts’o becoming public enemy #2 after Linus).

          Fight on ground favorable to you, libel laws in the US at least are shit after New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, as a public figure Ted would never win a lawsuit. Trying to force anything out of the Goolag would be a many years project if Brian Reid’s example is any clue, after leading their operations during a critical period he was fired for being too old, just coincidentally days before Google’s IPO.

          TL;DR: Do we want to employ lawyers or hackers?

          • > I assume OpenBSD’s file system could use some more love.

            Indeed. A port of ZFS or HAMMER2 (after getting some love) would be excellent.

            > TL;DR: Do we want to employ lawyers or hackers?

            Well, what if you could employ a few lawyers to protect the existing jobs of dozens or hundreds of critical hackers?

            • ZFS on OpenBSD isn’t going to happen (from memory of reading about that, was examined, too complicated, does not fit well into a normal UNIX style kernel, and is anti-OpenBSD in spirit), HAMMER2 isn’t yet ready (and very possibly has many of the same philosophy issues).

              Although I suppose he might find working on HAMMER2 interesting, except it’s got a very different set of issues than a single system file system like ext3/4, or making it sing at scale for the Goolag. They might get nasty about trade secrets, come to think of it….

              Well, what if you could employ a few lawyers to protect the existing jobs of dozens or hundreds of critical hackers?

              Suggest a mechanism through which that could be accomplished? File a RICO action against all the blue hairs in FOSS?!?!?!!!????

              Not that I’m advocating it, but you’d get a better return from hiring a Right Wing Death Squad to deal exemplary punishment on the leaders of this. Which is actually what will likely happen in the long term, albeit by the mechanisms of technological civilizational collapse, cholera doesn’t care how many cats you own. Assuming the Left’s current purity spiral doesn’t devolve into mass murder. Again.

              • > Although I suppose he might find working on HAMMER2 interesting, except it’s got a very different set of issues than a single system file system like ext3/4, or making it sing at scale for the Goolag. They might get nasty about trade secrets, come to think of it….

                One can hope.

                > Suggest a mechanism through which that could be accomplished? File a RICO action against all the blue hairs in FOSS?!?!?!!!????

                A few well placed legal victories might significantly blunt the more obvious smear campaigns.

                • A few well placed legal victories might significantly blunt the more obvious smear campaigns.

                  Legal victories of what sort? On what basis? People like Linus and Ted Ts’o are public figures, so our generally worthless libel laws would be even more useless to help them, and the defendants would generally be economically judgement proof. And you’re not going to get them back their jobs or careers.

                  Strange thing, it turns out there are consequences when your tinker with a society, of course with the best of intent (((or not))), and remove feedback mechanisms.

    • >Do any of you have a plan to do anything other than blog about it?

      I’ve been doing what I could for years. When I figure out how to do more, I will.

      • Then push people to get involved in more electoral and volunteer work in FOSS.

        Some of this systemization happens at the democratic level. Take the Open Source Initiative for example – one of the most culture warmonger obsessive candidates I’ve ever seen lost by a single vote.

        Barely more than 100 people voted overall.

        You want to affect change? Then people need to get involved in more governing bodies within various Open Source projects and communities.

        And I have to emphasize the “diversity of politics” angle is a bad way to go. It implies anyone who is not conservative is allied with the culture warmongers which is absolutley nor the case.

        What you need is to go against the tactics of shaming, harassing and threatening people, making overly broad generalizations, and by trying to manufacture consent by threatening people who don’t support them.

        • Does OSI matter?

          No, I’m actually serious – do they do anything relevant, today?

          (Their network model, which I never even USE, compared to the “the way unix actually works” model, can’t be enough to make them matter forever, right?)

          • You missed the point entirely. Various foundations and conferences are affected as well such as the Django foundation. The OSI was just an example.

          • Pedantry compels me to note that the ‘OSI network model’ [Open Systems Interconnect] is from ISO [the International Standards Organisation] and has no connection to the Open Source Initiative other than an acronym collision.

          • OSI model has nothing to do with Unix, except that *a* network stack can be written to it.

            It also has very little to TCP/IP, which didn’t follow it.

            It has little to do with reality since 802.11 generated a “layer 2a and layer 2b”.

          • In my day job as a network technician, I use the OSI model* on a regular basis. If the cable is broken, that’s a “Layer One problem.” Routing issues are “Layer Three problems.” Etc.

            *Actually, I use the modified 5-layer version, but that’s mostly pedantry, plus the fact that router companies have very little interest in what the computer is doing and compress the top three layers into one layer so it can be more easily ignored.

      • I’ve actually started reading The Gulag Archipelago this last week, and to say I’m beginning to feel existential terror at current events is to put it mildly, the more so because I also can’t figure out how best to combat this wave that’s coming. The Petersonian methods of focusing on perfecting the local before attempting to tackle the more global, and speaking with utmost truthfulness no matter what weapons are pointed at you sounds fine in the long time scale but it’s starting to feel like it’s all too late.

        The instinctual violence response seems more and more inevitable, and just as frightening, because that way leads to death camps and helicopter rides.

        How can we combat people who wield compassion as a club to destroy the meritocratic systems that have brought us so far? Do we fork the entire culture and accept the possible loss of several decades of technical and societal capital?

        • > Do we fork the entire culture and accept the possible loss of several decades of technical and societal capital?

          I know I’m just replying to my own post here, but on re-reading this after the edit window expired, what immediately popped into my head was “Who is John Galt?” Yeah yeah.

          • “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

            This is known as “bad luck.”
            RAH
            ——————
            Looks like they’ve driven another one out of “society”.

      • The idea of setting up a forge for critical projects that must not be destroyed, (and maybe for projects that don’t want to be destroyed in general), proposed by someone somewhere in this thread, sounds like a good one. Many programmers agree with you but they are all over the place, having one place to defend, one place to rally around is so much easier. And both your tribal elder status and reposurgeoning experience suggests you should lead such a Noah’s Ark repo.

        Money talks. Just put up a kickstarter or something and see if people are willing to put some money behind something like this.

      • >I’ve been doing what I could for years. When I figure out how to do more, I will.

        I think that what people want you to do is come out with (and put your weight behind) a “Cod of Conduct,” that implements the concept of “judge by the code alone” in a formalized, concrete form, and that can act as a strong point in defending against the Gramscian “Social Justice” zombies. The reasoning is “you can’t beat something with nothing,” it’s easy to beat nothing with something, and they don’t want to concede that to the zombies.

        • One thing I’d like to reemphasize is keep it simple. Like, no more than 3 sentences. I.e. I like to start with James “Chaos” Mattis’

          Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.

          (Granted, I’m a gun owner and concealed carrier and would have done my stint in the US military if not for bad eyesight.)

          Change the end to something like “have a plan to kill every code submission you receive” to adjust for the domain and to keep clear the origin. Change the beginning so the likes of Linus and Theo de Raadt aren’t proscribed. But keep it so simple rules lawyering is very hard, and the brutal if necessary code quality is God intent is crystal clear, with a governance bit that’s probably a reference to another document.

  36. Pingback: A Forced Censorship Doctrine with New Algorithmic bias | Head Space

  37. How to explain things to fence-sitters in a simple way on Twitter:

    Humans are competitive. Evaluate people for productivity and they will put all their competitive energies into out-producing the next guy. Evaluate people for productivity and something else, such as wearing nice suits or using gender-neutral language, and they will share their competitive energies between productivity and wearing a nicer suit than the next guy or using an even more sensitive language than the next guy. Hence productivity suffers.

    For the more intelligent: realize that everything that matters and is used for evaluating people necessarily and unavoidably becomes a signalling spiral. This is true even for productivity, see the long office hours of Japan (staying longer than the boss) or the American game developers who brag about have done death-marches. This is true even for code quality, look at folks bragging about 100% unit test coverage and calling projects less purist basically shit. It is hard enough to manage even these kinds of spirals. But *irrelevant* spirals are so much harder to manage.

    (Rationalists here should remember Yudkowsky’s Every Cause Wants To Be a Cult and add to it how much worse it is if the cause is not spiralling towards its inherent, relevant cult attractor, but an entirely different one.)

  38. Is a peaceful solution even possible? Social justice warfare works because they hold us to our principles (which is why only non-racists get defensive when called racists) but they place no such restrictions on themselves. They actually consider themselves virtuous when they lie cheat and steal, because they are cleansing the world of wrongthink.

    I’m not advocating violence, but it sure would be nice if all of the SJW’s were rounded up and placed onto a spaceship sent hurtling into the Sun.

    • As a matter of principle one should try exclusion, separation, secession, fork, exit before violence. This is what your history suggests: Americans seceding from the British Empire was far better than trying to push American values on the whole Empire: that would have been extremely bloody.

      An explicitly pro-quality hence anti-SJW repo-forge was not yet tried, I am urging our host to run a kickstarter to see how much money would people cough up to to make that happen. That would be secession.

      • As has been said before: “There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order.”

        For the time being though, it’s “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. Then they call you a racist and you lose.”

    • ” They actually consider themselves virtuous when they lie cheat and steal, because they are cleansing the world of wrongthink.”

      Indeed. See also the heresy hunts of the Middle Ages, the Inquisition, Stalin and McCarthy. These people have exempted themselves from having to follow rules because they are ‘special cases’; it’s the single biggest reason why I cannot have any truck with them.

  39. I’ve been thinking about this pretty intensively for the last few days, and I’ve got a question, which hopefully some helpful soul with a bigger Internet footprint than mine can amplify:

    How many Open Source Elders does anybody know of who are actively seeking out the mentoring of or taking on apprentices from any of the underserved communities which SJWs claim to represent? How many people are willing to make the extra investment of time, including possible remedial education in math/Comp Sci/social skills necessary for someone to become productive or useful in Open Source projects?

    • >How many Open Source Elders does anybody know of who are actively seeking out the mentoring of or taking on apprentices from any of the underserved communities which SJWs claim to represent?

      My duty is not to actively seek out the “historically underserved”, it’s to actively seek out the “sufficiently capable”.

      >How many people are willing to make the extra investment of time, including possible remedial education in math/Comp Sci/social skills necessary for someone to become productive or useful in Open Source projects?

      I’m not willing to do that at all. It would be horribly inefficient for me to (for example) teach remedial math when my time as a programmer or teacher of advanced programming skills is so much more valuable to the world.

      My duty to my fellow humans is to spend the time I can put into improving the condition of the world as effectively as possible. The kind of behavior you are implicitly asking about here makes great virtue signaling but would actually be selfish and ineffective.

      And there are statistical realities your request would almost require me to ignore. One is the mean-IQ differences between different populations. Another is differences in central tendency of IQ. If I’m going to go trolling for apprentice candidates, the more I can pre-filter for high IQ the better off everyone is (assuming the world benefits from minimizing my search time and maximizing the likelihood that an apparently fit candidate will actually work out).

      This means that the first place I should look, rationally, is white males. Better: Ashkenazic Jewish males. (I’m a gentile.) The smallest and highest concentration of potential I can reach is the best place for me to start, so if I can zero in further than that I will.

      Paying any attention to fashionable cant about how I’m not supposed to be “prejudiced” in my search pattern would be stupid. I mean literally stupid, in the sense of self-sabotaging and ineffective.

      The frame changes if somebody else has pre-filtered effectively. If you introduced me to a dozen black women with measured IQs over 130 I’d be quite happy to give them the same consideration I’d give gifted white Ashkenazic males. In that case it would be stupid and ineffective for me not to take them seriously as apprentice-candidates.

      But that kind of filtering what it would take to get me seriously interested in “historically underserved”; my search and teaching time is not free, and it’s a cost the rest of the world pays because I could be writing useful code with those hours.

      When you ask me to pretend that “historically undeserved” is uncorrelated or positively correlated with good apprentice qualifications, you are asking me to fail and serve civilization less well than I could. I don’t have time for that shit; there’s too much work to get done.

      • ” If you introduced me to a dozen black women with measured IQs over 130 I’d be quite happy to give them the same consideration I’d give gifted white Ashkenazic males.”

        But, if they read this comment, would they still be interested in your help?

        • I think yes. I would very much imagine them as not liking their community very much – got bullied too often for “acting white”, have felt lonely in the community for having intellectual interests, they have seen too much dysfunction around them and were frustrated when trying to fix it and apparently nobody else wants to fix it, they would understand perfectly where ESR is coming from and all they would say is they themselves are really different.

          I know there is a huge grievance industry, and the leaders of those industries are often seen as the public faces of minority communities as if they represented everybody’s view. But in reality there are other, more honest and smarter people in those communities who see the dysfunction around them and really wish their folks could behave better and smarter, and tend not to blame whitey for keeping them down.

          At any rate nearly anyone smart enough for such jobs and honest enough to not become a politician understands that when communities are dysfunctional, the reasons are usually on the inside, and not external oppression.

          • “I would very much imagine them as not liking their community very much – got bullied too often for “acting white”,”

            Then entering a community that thinks blacks (and often, women) are inherently less smart than White Males seems rather masochistic to me. And they might not appreciate the “yes, but only on average”. If they are that smart, they know what to think of that excuse.

              • “If they are so smart, I expect they will understand averages and statistical distributions.”

                And if they are really smart, they also know the books: “How to lie with statistics” and its kin.

                And those smart people might, unlike present company, actually understand the meaning of Heritability and what this means for IQ as a genetic trait.
                http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=7268&cpage=1#comment-1797125

                • Winter, consider this: it is a proven fact that human evolution can be pretty quick. One couple in a small Italian village who had a mutation that protected their cardiovascular system from cholestelor, who married in 1780, had 46 living descendants in that village in 1980 (and who knows how many outside), which is quite a reproductive edge, world population did not grow 23x in that 200 years, when I calculated it it was like 6x or so. From that it is really a simple math. Cochran calculated that lacking migration and other stuff, most Europeans would be their descendants in 6000 years. So let’s accept human evolution can be fast.

                  So one wants to explain the big differences in the different indigenous cultures of the world, back when no colonialism happened yet so it cannot be blamed on oppression, and the obvious and most accepted thing is like in Guns, Germs and Steel, that culture is adaptation to the environment, you have more navigable waterways you get a more mercantile culture and all that. So the mainstream theory mostly says you get more complex and developed cultures if the environment was so that it encouraged it.

                  But any environment where dealing with complexity and suchlike is encouraged, so where smart people have an advantage, must necessarily produce an evolutionary pressure towards smarter brains. The very fact that humans are smarter than animals implies it is hereditary, and in such an environment it gets selected for.

                  My point is that cultural adaptation to the environment always means biological adaptation as well, at least back when life was harsh. You find yourself in a place where you cannot get a lot of proteins, less tall people have an advantage, they need less protein to be strong. You find yourself in an environment where trading pays more than farming, smart traders gonna have more kids than less smart farmers.

                  Empirical observation matters, but a theory being very logical is also a nice thing going for it and this is IMHO very tight. Some people moved from a place with hot sun, lots of vit D, lack of navigable waterways and year round growing season to places where there was less chance of sunburn but also less vit D, so their skin turned paler. They also found on navigable waterways trading pays but only if you are smart, and there are four seasons and if you don’t save up food for the winter, you die. And you would say nothing happened with their brains? Isn’t it very logical that something should have happened?

                  • “Cochran calculated that lacking migration and other stuff, most Europeans would be their descendants in 6000 years. So let’s accept human evolution can be fast.”

                    Changes in gene frequencies depend on population size. Think in O(N) where N is the number of fertile women. Your example looks a lot like the founder effect.

                    “But any environment where dealing with complexity and suchlike is encouraged, so where smart people have an advantage, must necessarily produce an evolutionary pressure towards smarter brains.”

                    The smarts is in social life. Reproductive success is founded on social success. If there is evidence, it indicates that the constraints on smarts are not in the brain itself, but in the supporting systems that must keep it functioning. In reality, health and food during the first 1000 days after conception are the main constraining factors for cognitive functioning. In this respect, little has changed for 99% of the rural population until the industrial revolution 2 centuries ago. The believe that, somehow, Eurasian populations were selected on smarts and African populations not has absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support it, Especially not if you take into account that the genetic diversity in Africa is about 10 times that in the rest of the world combined.

                    Also, IQ is a measure of cognitive functioning, but is very strongly biased between societies and generations. And its genetic determinism is partial at best.

                    “My point is that cultural adaptation to the environment always means biological adaptation as well, at least back when life was harsh. ”

                    With time scales running from decades to millennia, this is simply not true. This is simple freshman population genetics. You are extrapolation genetic drift in a very small community to continental populations.

                    “Empirical observation matters, but a theory being very logical is also a nice thing going for it and this is IMHO very tight.”

                    No, logic is a prerequisite for any theory, but it can only suggest hypothesis in itself. It might be logic that A is true, but more often than not empirical observation shows that A is not true and we did not understand the theory to begin with.

                    “Some people moved from a place with hot sun, lots of vit D, lack of navigable waterways and year round growing season to places where there was less chance of sunburn but also less vit D, so their skin turned paler.”

                    I do not see why navigable waterways are mentioned. Less sun and less meat means paler skin. A lot of sun means darker skin, irrespective of other factors.

                    “They also found on navigable waterways trading pays but only if you are smart, and there are four seasons and if you don’t save up food for the winter, you die.”

                    The latter part is already known by European squirrels and jays. Not much smart needed for that. The former is not true in most of the world for most of the time. All humans have used boats and preparing for scarce times was a feature of Homo Sapiens when it appeared on the stage, but it was not in Neanderthals (at least, there is some evidence they did not).

                    “And you would say nothing happened with their brains? Isn’t it very logical that something should have happened?”

                    If it did, the smart ones have wiped out the stupid ones long time ago. Or more likely, they took over like Cro Magnon absorbed Neanderthals.

                    The basic point is that “Surviving of the smartest” is a basic human trait. All human populations have evolved smarts up to the point it could not rise anymore due to fundamental barriers, like base metabolism, anatomy of the skull/pelvis, time to reproduction etc. If any group lacked behind, they were obliterated. And there was gene exchange between Africa and Eurasia long after the initial expansion.

                    If you want to claim that your group is smarter than others due to evolutionary pressure, you have to supply empirical evidence for that assertion. But every step of this chain of reasoning has been either debunked or shown to be no more than wishful thinking.

                    • I actually concede a point on social success: I agree that intelligence tends to be used for social competition, social cooperation-for-competition.

                      Africa’s genetic diversity is a myth in this context, you really should look things up yourself instead of relying on whatever liberal mags write. What actually happens is that there are some small populations, pygmies, bushmen who are really genetic outliers. But the modal, typical black African everybody understands as “the” African speaks a language of the Bantu famility, is largely a descendant of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bantu_expansion both culturally and genetically. Perhaps we should say Bantu instead of African or Black for the sake of clarity. The Bantu-expansion is pretty much the same thing as the Indo-Europeans coming to Europe. Aside from a few small old outliers like the Basque, genetically and culturally closely related people.

                      The evidence for genetic IQ is for example adoption studies. Can you explain how Korean kids adopted into random generic Western white families end up with an IQ around 119?

                      Who debunked adoption studies and how? I don’t see this.

                      One of the possible mechanisms is the year-round vs. summer growing season. Saving food for winter.

                      If we combine it with your childhood nutrition model, we get something interesting. Tribe A attacks tribe B and takes their food. Now thedy have enough for the winter. Their kids get smarter due to nutrition, and that is not hereditary. So far you agree? But if they are smarter now they may be good at keeping on robbing other tribes, or just saving food, whatever. So they bootstrap themselves into the first small kingdoms, nutritionally smart, but genetically not yet. And in that social environment, with adequate nutrition at least amongst the elite, and a complex social structure, social competition leads to hereditary improvements in IQ. How do you like this?

                    • “All human populations have evolved smarts up to the point it could not rise anymore due to fundamental barriers, like base metabolism, anatomy of the skull/pelvis, time to reproduction etc”

                      Wow. Do you realize that the same argument should be made for individual differences and hence, there should be no differences in intelligence between people?

                      Winter, for Darwin’s sake, have you ever heard about the problem of multicriteria optimization?

            • You seem to have a conception of the Open Source community that isn’t true.

              And ESR seems to have a very difficult time phrasing statistics in a way that isn’t readily mistaken for prejudice against individuals based on physical attributes they’re born with.

        • >But, if they read this comment, would they still be interested in your help?

          If they don’t understand statistics and the value frame from which I wrote that comment, it’s better for everyone that they go elsewhere for instruction. Because they will almost certainly fail – being dumbshit enough to think that comment is anti-black is a good predictor of failure – and I would prefer that failure not to be my problem.

          • Actually, I think they will conclude that you really do not care about them, so why should they care about you?

            But then, I am not a high IQ black woman from the US, so I will probably be completely wrong about how they feel about this community.

          • The problem here is that your whole “value frame” is very much a cultural construct. Black people have a different cultural construct in which White people who discuss Black IQ in negative ways mean them harm. You might also consider the advantages a Black person derives from leaving the vicinity of a White person who MIGHT mean them harm as quickly as possible.

            When I say “as quickly as possible” I mean within reason, of course. For example, if a Black person determines that a White manager might be racist, then getting a new job as quickly as possible is worth the inconvenience, even if it involves loss of income, because the damage a hostile White manager can do is very severe.

            Now consider your ability, should you choose, to damage the reputation of someone in the Open Source community. Is it sane for a Black person who reads what you wrote above to become your apprentice? (Look at this from the perspective of a risk-averse Black person.)

            • > The problem here is that your whole “value frame” is very much a cultural construct. Black people have a different cultural construct in which White people who discuss Black IQ in negative ways mean them harm.

              Except IQ and racial IQ differences aren’t cultural constructs but objective reality, and putting someone with insufficient IQ into an important position in an open source project is going to make the resulting code objectively suck.

              • I’m not suggesting that anyone unqualified be hired (or invited to submit code.) I’m noting the differences in culture between Eric and a Black person who hears what Eric says.

                This is why I really hate dealing with you, Eugine. You’re bright enough that you clearly understood what I wrote, but you play these stupid little games where you pretend I said something I didn’t. It is not an honorable method of argument, and if you’ve got some idea that I don’t notice, or that this doesn’t automatically exclude your answers from any consideration by someone with decent reading comprehension… think again.

            • >The problem here is that your whole “value frame” is very much a cultural construct. Black people have a different cultural construct in which White people who discuss Black IQ in negative ways mean them harm

              If they bring that value frame into the discussion of who gets to be my apprentice, my reaction is going to be, basically, “I mean you no harm at all, but I have nether the time nor the interest to train anyone stupid enough to think I’m a racist, and unless you walk that back right now we’re done here.”

      • I hope this isn’t how you advocate to the general public.

        You frame things from your understanding and how you want people to understand the issues. You either need to start from the perspective of those you’re trying to convince and walk them over to your way of understanding or you need to use mental shortcuts such as what diversity culture warmongers use.

  40. The New Yorker has issued a hitpiece: After Years of Abusive E-mails, the Creator of Linux Steps Aside. Excerpts, bold mine:

    > Torvalds’s decision to step aside came after The New Yorker asked him a series of questions about his conduct for a story on complaints about his abusive behavior discouraging women from working as Linux-kernel programmers.

    > “Everyone in tech knows about it, but Linus gets a pass,” Megan Squire, a computer-science professor at Elon University, told me, referring to Torvalds’s abusive behavior.

    > Squire told me that she found few examples of gender bias. “He is an equal-opportunity abuser,” she said. Squire added, though, that for non-male programmers the hostility and public humiliation is more isolating. Over time, many women programmers leave the community.

    > “A project attracts people who fit in the culture,” van Rossum told me, adding that if the leaders communicate abusively “it will attract people who either share that attitude, or at least don’t see a problem with it.”

    > Instead, Torvalds accepted a programming fix provocatively titled “Code of Conflict,” which created a mechanism for filing complaints more generally. In the three years since then, no developers have been disciplined for abusive comments.

    It goes on and on and on like that. This is less reporting and more telling people what to think. Then there’s the usual newspeak about being “diverse” (read: more ingroup, less outgroup) and a closing statement that this still isn’t enough, they want more.

    >Torvalds, by contrast, long resisted the idea that the Linux programming team needed to become more diverse, just as he resisted calls to tone down his language.

    > Buried within the list of approved patches was one titled “Code of Conduct: Let’s Revamp It.” It announced that the “Code of Conflict” had been replaced by a “Code of Conduct” that forbids “insulting/derogatory comments” and behavior “considered inappropriate in a professional setting.” Complaints will be heard by the foundation’s technical-advisory board, which has ten members, all men.

    Slightly selective quoting at the end there – the actual Code of Conduct that was added forbids “Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting”.

    Does anyone else think that the sentence “Torvalds’s decision to step aside came after The New Yorker asked him a series of questions about his conduct” is phrased very suggestively to imply the New Yorker had a role in this without actually coming out and making an assertion they could be called on?

    • Does anyone else think that the sentence “Torvalds’s decision to step aside came after The New Yorker asked him a series of questions about his conduct” is phrased very suggestively to imply the New Yorker had a role in this without actually coming out and making an assertion they could be called on?

      I would think more likely The New Yorker trying to take credit where credit ain’t due. Yet More Virtue Signalling.

    • It’s the New Yorker. Thinkpieces are their specialty. And Linus’s behavior was, unequivocally, abusive. People have come away from interactions with Linus feeling depressed and alienated. It’s no way to lead a software project.

      • I guess the issue is that rudeness gets confused with political incorrectness and quite intentionally so. “abusive” could mean both. I have noticed this tactic in feminist circles about a decade ago – some folks are really just rude with women (and/or everybody) and there is such a thing as being sexist but that can also be polite or rude (my sexism is usually polite) and they are conflating the two.

        The first paragraph contains three quotes from Linus that are indeed rude. One of them can also be seen as borderline homophobic, also it is not explicitly so, depends on your perception. The point is, SJWs are not an anti-rudeness movement, they are an anti political incorrectness (homophobia, sexism, racism, you name it) movement, even when people are doing that politely.

        This conflation is intentional and is actually a working rhethorical tactic, basically building big mottes and baileys.

        One even better example is “safety” at conferences. Say safety from sexism. What does that mean? Since they see rape as an expression of sexism, and of course people should be safe from rape, so there is an argument that extreme sexism is unsafe. Should people also be safe from rude sexist remarks that may hurt them emotionally? And what about polite sexist remarks that are nicely toned and take is caren not to hurt, but still express disagreement with feminist equality theory, say, James Damore stuff? You can see the motte and the bailey. Try to argue with them about people needing to be safe and you are accused that you want people to be raped at conferences. Accept that you want to keep people safe from sexism and then they will simply ban Damore type disagreement.

        They are attacking Linus for stuff like “shut the fuck up” and “kill yourself” which is rude but not politically incorrect. They are also attacking Ted for stuff that was put politely but was politically incorrect.

        • Which is why I suggest extreme politeness as credibility enhancer. Science fiction readers are aware of the phrase “an armed society is a polite society,” but miss the fact that people without guns or knives might still be armed. They might be carrying a pocket full of weaponized rhetoric.

      • Jeff, it seems to me the onlookers were more affected than the targets. Linus picked his fights and his insults were hurled towards those who were unable to grasp polite conversation. That might have occasionally hit the wrong persons.

        Maybe I missed it, but as an example, I have yet to see an example of Linus himself “abusing” a woman in public. Those who quit were always insulted by others and blamed Linus for “fostering a culture where this is accepted”.

    • “Sage”, formerly Sarah Sharp, who infamously exited the project in a huff. If there was any doubt previously, the project was well rid of her.

      I suppose there’s no harm in my revealing that Ted Ts’o is the 1 member of the TCB I know, and there’s no surprise he’s the first they’re trying to purge (or maybe Sharp lost some data on an ext filesystem?). Hard to see how he’ll keep his job at Google as well, or that his career won’t be crimped.

      Note also this clearly signals that being on the TCB, or whichever tribunal eventually adjudicates CoC accusations, is hazardous for your job and career.

      • > or maybe Sharp lost some data on an ext filesystem?).

        I realize you were likely joking there, but the notion makes me twitch. That’s a *stupid* reason for a vendetta. I’ve lost data to an ext filesystem. I don’t blame Ts’o; the loss is entirely *my* fault. And If I or Sharp or anyone else doesn’t have backups, then that’s our own damned fault, too.

    • So, after complaining that the kernel community was abusive (and, to be fair, she could have suffered legitimate harassment) she libels one of TAB by equating a reasonable critique on the use of statistics with rape apology? Unreal.

      • The best feature of the label “rape apologist” is that it’s so poorly defined that it’s impossible to be held accountable for using it.

      • It’s not libel. Ted Ts’o is wrong about the rape statistics. The fact that there was no harm or threat of harm does not make rape not rape. Rape is sex without consent. Let me say that again: Rape is defined as sex without consent. If you have sex with someone who cannot or will not consent, under law you have raped that person. End of story. If you have sex with someone who is too young, mentally disabled, or impaired by drugs or alcohol to legally give consent, you have committed the crime of rape. If you have consensual sex with someone who thinks you’re someone else, under at least California law you have committed the crime of rape by deception. (Which means, yes, Lewis Skolnick raped that girl in Revenge of the Nerds.) It doesn’t matter if the victim doesn’t think they were raped. They were.

        So taking all that into account, one in six seems perfectly reasonable. Ted wanted to lower the numbers by excluding cases that were “not rape rape”, which is a disingenuous game to play with statistics.

        Nevertheless, we knew about this. Matthew Garrett, another kernel hacker held in high regard (who has “Social Justice Warrior” flair on Reddit for the lulz), even wrote a blog post called “Ted Ts’o is a Rape Apologist” way back then. If it didn’t affect Ted’s Google career up to this point, it’s not a slam dunk that he will be fired now over it.

        I find it interesting that this was on a thread about the appropriateness or lack thereof of anti-harassment policies at open source cons. Sage Sharp may be right to worry about whether Ted Ts’o will enforce a code of conduct rigorously and even-handedly.

        • > If you have sex with someone who is too young, mentally disabled, or impaired by drugs or alcohol to legally give consent, you have committed the crime of rape.

          So by this definition it’s perfectly possible for two people to simultaneously “rape” each other.

          You occasional say intelligent things, the you turn around and write this kind of nonsense. I have to ask do you have split-personality or bipolar or something.

          • So by this definition it’s perfectly possible for two people to simultaneously “rape” each other.

            Yes. This is what the law actually says.

            In New York State, the legal age of consent is 17. But, the age of criminal culpability for statutory rape is 16. Okay, so let’s say Bob is 16 and Alice is 15, and they have sex. Bob raped Alice. If Bob has sex with 17-year-old Claire, Claire raped Bob. If Bob meets Danielle who is his own age, they’re both 16, and they have sex, under law they raped each other. Of course, in practice, the way these things work out, chances are only one of them will be prosecuted.

            Laws are under no obligation to make sense. For civil and criminal liability purposes, the laws of Australia do indeed take precedence over the laws of mathematics.

            • First most state underage sex laws have exceptions for just that kind of thing (I don’t know about New York specifically). Unfortunately, at least according to California’s recently passed laws this doesn’t apply to intoxication.

              In any case, you just said that rape laws (as currently implemented) don’t make sense. That makes you a rape apologist by your own logic.

            • “Yes. This is what the law actually says.”

              Arguably. It’s unclear whether you can form the necessary mens rea necessary if you’re too drunk to consent.

        • Yep, yep, I’m going to totally follow this social justice narrative which is helping to destroy Western Civilization, vs. my personal knowledge of Ted’s good character.

          Echoing Eugine Nier, peddle your insanity elsewhere.

            • Thank you Mr. Tone Policer.

              Meanwhile, point out the Western civilizations that are reproducing above replacement rate and maybe we can have a discussion.

        • > The fact that there was no harm or threat of harm does not make rape not rape.

          Seriously!? Let me quote from Ts’o himself:

          > Also in the survey, in the rapes that were reported via a randomized telephone survey, in 66.9% of those cases, the perpetrator did not threaten to harm or kill the victim. (Which makes it no less a crime, of course, but people may have images of rape which involves a other physical injuries, by a stranger, in some dark and deserted place. The statistics simply don’t bear that out.)

          EDIT: source (http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Rape_apology_on_LCA_mailing_list/Email_1)

          • Jeff Read uses language games to guarantee he is always right, while at the same time accusing anyone who doesn’t use his language of doing the same. Film at 11.

            • I don’t really think he’s playing games, just falsely claiming that Ts’o said something that he manifestly did not say.

              I don’t feel the need to generalize about Jeff, I’ve seen him say plenty of reasonable things. In this particular case, however, he either didn’t read what Ts’o wrote or did so uncritically.

              Hopefully he will (re)read Ts’o and restructure his arguments accordingly.

              • Are you stupid or just naive?

                In any case can you find any charitable reading of this comment in the context of the discussion?

                • Can I find a charitable reading of that comment? Sure. I think the main thing to keep in mind is that sometimes different sides of a debate have different mental pictures of what the debate is actually about.

                  Jeff has pretty consistently used the legal definition of rape (“sex without consent”). Of course, he’s not necessarily addressing the legal distinction between statutory rape and forcible rape, which the law does make and has implications both with regards to the causes, the psychological effects on the victim, and the legal options available to the accused. However, whether drawing attention to that distinction is appropriate depends upon context.

                  Jeff was arguing that the statistic of “1 in 6 women have been (subjected to non-consensual sex according to the legal definition of consent)” is reasonable in light of all that entails. While a correct conclusion insofar as it goes, the question is how useful that statistic is for drawing further conclusions (in the same way that we might question the use of statistics like “unemployment rate”, or “gun violence”).

                  Where Jeff specifically goes wrong is in his failure to understand what Ts’o was trying to communicate, likely a consequence of relying too heavily on Matthew Garrett’s response and not enough on Ts’o’s own words.

                  You are correct though, that by conceding that rape laws may not always make sense (and by implication that some convictions of rape may not be entirely just) he would be labeled a rape apologist. I would personally like to hear what Jeff thinks:
                  * what a rape apologist is
                  * how it is that Ts’o is one and he is not.
                  * why he thinks his definition of rape apologist is the one most likely to be accepted.

                  • > Jeff has pretty consistently used the legal definition of rape

                    And if as he’s admitted the legal definition doesn’t always make sense, why is he using it when throwing around loaded terms like “rape apologist”?

                    • To be fair, he hasn’t actually used the term, except quoted as part of the name of an article.

                      Of course, he seems to support that conclusion, but I would believe him if he said he didn’t.

        • > So taking all that into account, one in six seems perfectly reasonable. Ted wanted to lower the numbers by excluding cases that were “not rape rape”, which is a disingenuous game to play with statistics.

          It is not disingenuous in the least when it comes to formulating an appropriate response to such an alarming number.

          If most rape is a forceful assault “by a stranger, in some dark and deserted place”, then the appropriate response might be for the government to subsidize the issue of firearms and training for all women so that they can protect themselves against the hordes of monstrous men roaming the streets.

          If most rape is statutory rape committed by horny teens having drunken sex, then maybe we need to reconsider our understanding of consent (or else enforce strict gender segregation starting at a young age).

          If you haven’t heard of the non-central fallacy, here’s a good link: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/yCWPkLi8wJvewPbEp/the-noncentral-fallacy-the-worst-argument-in-the-world

          • Also, do you know why Ted wanted to “lower the numbers”? He didn’t want women feeling paralyzed by fear due to an inaccurate threat model. Is that not an encouraging and empowering thing for women?

            Btw, I know at least one woman with significant training in research statistics (and has actually engaged in some research) who has explained to me all that is wrong with the Koss / Ms. Magazine study and why the “1 in 4” number is misleading.

            Ted was in no way trying to defend rapists or engage in victim blaming.

  41. I imagine that there are a significant number of kernel devs wondering just how many other kernel devs hate the new CoC.

  42. I’m too tired to engage my IANAL but have studied some of this sort of law for a long time brain; tell me, is this a practical way sufficiently bloody minded purged Linux contributors with FU money could kill Linux stone cold dead, or cause it endless damage, FUD, etc.?

    Regarding those who are ejected from the Linux Kernel Community after
    this CoC:

    Contributors can, at any time, rescind the license grant regarding their
    property via written notice to those whom they are rescinding the grant
    from (regarding their property (code)) ….

    (Lots more after the above quoted beginning.)

    • ESR is saying hackers are holding up the sky and you just want them to kill Linux over this? Or just wondering if they will? The whole worry is that SJWs will kill Linux. If a fork happens and everything is going well for the fork I suppose some people might consider this, but they are generally not that vindicative. They don’t want to wage a culture war, they just want culture war was not waged against them, it is unlikely they would find it acceptable to damage the infrastructure of Internet-age civilization for the sake of showing it to SJWs.

  43. ESR is saying hackers are holding up the sky and you just want them to kill Linux over this? Or just wondering if they will?

    The latter, or rather, could they use such a gambit. As for “people are generally not that vindictive”, that’s why I framed it in the scope of “sufficiently bloody minded purged Linux contributors with FU money”, i.e. could one or a few people who are that vindictive pull it off? Or at least get far enough to make the FUD worse than SCO v. The World?

  44. I’m going to keep the facts on this a little obscure, both to make sure I’m not identified and to make sure the other person isn’t identified. But many years ago I lost a personal relationship – exactly what kind of relationship isn’t important – due to poorly thought out use of the words “master and slave” to a Black person. I wasn’t advocating plantation-style slavery, or anything like that, of course. I was using “master and slave” as a term of art in the course of a conversation about the issues of that art. And truth be told, the Black person involved had some personal issues, but not in a horrible way. They held their job and understood both the social system and the rules at their place of work. They navigated issues like bill-payment and car loans very successfully and had an awesome credit score. They had long-term friendships, a good relationship with their family, and had graduated college. This person purchased a PC long before most other people, learned new technical things, and eventually got a Much Better position because of their technical knowledge. This person owned a lot of books.

    (By the way, I’m going someplace with this. Never fear, I will loop back to code quality and how to continue producing good code in good time.)

    This person’s racial issues essentially related to fear. They were scared that some white person, possibly a deceptive white person, was going to do them harm. This is a common and sensible fear for Black people, but in my opinion, the level of their personal fear was much higher than the level of racism around them – and this is not an uncommon problem for Black people. This person lived in a very liberal coastal city and their employer was a very liberal company, so their level of danger was much, much lower than their level of alarm.

    I would say, in defense of their fear, that one of their their parents, driving west in the 1970s, had an ugly encounter with one of the worst local police departments and was never the same, so while their fear seemed (and still seems) excessive to me, there was no doubt this person had seen that particular elephant close up, and I did meet their parent, who was every bit as traumatized and fucked up as advertised (organic brain damage from a police-administered beating plus an overdose of an incorrectly chosen, hallucination-inducing medication at a critically wrong time, plus very poor care in the aftermath.)

    I’m sure everyone has noticed the conflict between the learned experience of this particular Black person and the statistical world in which they lived.

    The relationship didn’t end immediately. It disintegrated over time as the Black person involved decided that I was a racist, and once the decision had been reached, everything else that happened became evidence of my perfidy and things slowly disintegrated.

    The relationship was very valuable to me, and I have mourned it for a very long time.

    My response was to up my game on relating to Black people, and one of the things I began to notice was that our environment is full of racist propaganda, and I began to think about the ways this affected me. Eventually I came up with my own personal theory about racism, which I call “The Lizard.”

    The Lizard is a metaphor. A fanciful way to externalize the parts of our brain which deal with both subtle and unsubtle propaganda. The dog whistles. The news stories about a Black criminal (and lack of news stories about similar White criminals.) The police, after some tragedy, going on T.V. and dropping all the ugly personal facts – and we all have ugly facts – about the unarmed Black person they just shot, even when those “ugly facts” weren’t germane at all to what the officer was thinking at the time. For a recent example of this, consider the Dallas police officer who wandered into the wrong apartment and shot the Black inhabitant. The police got a search warrant for the victim’s apartment, (but not the officer’s apartment, of course) and duly found 10 grams of marijuana, with the implication that “the damn Black drug addict deserved to be shot!” Or maybe not – he’d graduated college, held a good job, and was respected by his fellow-employees.

    The Lizard is the little guy who sits on your shoulder, and next time you walk past a Black person, whispers in your ear, reminding you that “they found drugs in that guy’s apartment” then opines that “damn Black drug addicts deserve to be shot.” I’m of the opinion that all White people* have a lizard on their shoulder, whispering in their ear. It’s very hard to avoid having your own lizard installed because it’s placed on your shoulder long before you’re consciously able to rea