Category Archives: Social Commentary

Tripling Down On Stupid

OK, we have a regular commenter, probably the most prolific one (note that this is not a quantity with a quality all its own), who thinks that the Republicans would like to replace Trump with Hillary.

No, don’t laugh, he apparently really thinks this:

In about a femto-second the left would choose a new primary target so we could all suddenly realize how stupid and evil that person is. It would not be Pence because a tie breaking vote is not much real power. The GOP would try to enact law to retroactively make Hillary president so they can return to their safe space where nothing positive is actually accomplished.

So I responded:

Ken, even if that were legally possible, it would be politically impossible, and very few Republicans would have any desire to do it. That’s just stupid.

If you seriously believe that any Republican wants Hillary (as opposed to Not Trump) as president, you’re insane. The only reason any Republican supported Hillary last year was because she was the only serious alternative at the time. Every Republican would be perfectly happy to replace Trump with Pence. [Emphasis added for future reference]

Now note his response:

Many said they voted for Hillary. They could have just not voted. Bush voted for Hillary (and we wonder why the country moves left regardless of elections.)

That’s it. No recognition whatsoever of my emphasized words above. He is fantasizing that because they voted for Hillary a year ago, they want her to be president now, and would prefer that to a President Pence. He offers no sane rationale for this fantasy, but there we go.

There’s a lot more nuttiness over there if you want to wade through it, but it gets really great here:

You seem to be presuming Pence would get the vote of every Republican over Hillary. This is you asserting your faith because there is no logic based on any fact that provably reaches that conclusion.

About the only related fact we have is that some Republicans did vote for Hillary when some conditions existed. Neither you nor I know if Pence being the alternative would not be such a condition for every Republican.

I am not presuming that Pence would get the vote of every Republican over Hillary, and it is not necessary for me to assume that. I am assuming, because I didn’t chow down on lead paint chips when I was kid, that there is an insufficient number of Republicans who would prefer Hillary to Pence for this to occur. I think any assumption other than that is insane.

Set aside the fact that neither he, or anyone else has responded to my challenge to name a single Republican who would prefer a President Hillary to a President Pence. He doesn’t even posit a Constitutionally plausible mechanism by which this could occur, even if it had (and again, this would be insane) majority Republican support. All he says is that “The GOP would try to enact law to retroactively make Hillary president.” It betrays an utter ignorance of how our government works. Congress has no power to simply remove a president, bypass the existing vice president, and name someone else president.

Is he saying that they’ll impeach and remove both Trump and Pence? Really? Then Orrin HatchPaul Ryan is president. Will Orrin Hatch Paul Ryan nominate Hillary to be Vice President? Really? And a majority of the House will go along with that? Really? And then he’ll resign, or they’ll impeach and remove him so they can get their precious President Hillary? Really?

No, this is just anti-anti-Trump derangement. And I wish I didn’t have to waste time responding to blithering idiocy like this in my comments section. But I guess the only way to avoid it is to either ignore it, and let it continue to clog it up, because he clearly has no more self control than his Lord and Savior Trump to stop doing it, or to ban him.

[Late Monday-night update]

Part of the purpose of this post was to ferret out other loons in my comments section. It seems to have succeeded. Also note that Ken is now saying, “Oh, I didn’t mean it, I was just joking,” after repeated defenses of his original idiocy.

Sorry, no.

The worst thing about Trump is arguing with morons who support him, even when I compliment him on the rare good things he does, like tonight’s speech (which obviously someone else wrote, but with his input, to make sure he had the right 3rd-grade words in it, like “horrible”).

The Lancet

…has reviewed Nina Teichholz’s book:

Many readers will be incensed by this book. If you think saturated fats and cholesterol are bad for you, you’ll be incensed. If you think the fat story is exaggerated, you’ll be incensed. If you trust in the objectivity of science to inform health policy, you’ll be incensed. Stories of shocking scientific corruption and culpability by government agencies are all to be found in Nina Teicholz’s bestseller The Big Fat Surprise. This is a disquieting book about scientific incompetence, evangelical ambition, and ruthless silencing of dissent that has shaped our lives for decades.

Good for her.

The Left’s Nostalgia

for Nazis:

So why — beyond the traditional Trump bashing — are such liberal-lefties, or whatever you want to call them at CNN and elsewhere, so determined to make such an equivalency? Why do they want to magnify the existence and importance of neo-Nazis and Klan members in our society when their numbers are minuscule?

We could call this a kind of nostalgia for Nazism, the yearning for a simpler time when the source of all evil was so clearly evident and so directly confronted. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a nostalgia for when all evil was supposedly on the right, even though the Nazis, so many conveniently forget, were the National Socialist Party. At least the right could be blamed. And is.

It is also a yearning for a time when the source of evil was not so treacherous and complicated. No one knows how many Islamic radicals there are or where they are, although there are apparently a lot of them, probably vastly more than there ever were Nazis, possibly in the hundreds of millions if you add up the results of this Pew poll of eleven Muslim countries. (It may even be understated, given the reluctance to answer such incriminating questions.)

Not only that, a significant percentage of the left evinces sympathy for Islamic radicals, identifying with them and justifying their cause, despite the obvious misogyny and homophobia, through such latter-day crypto-fascist inventions as “intersectionality.” The Antifa movement, in the forefront of that nauseating sympathy for Islamism, is far more prevalent and dangerous in U.S. society than those few pathetic remaining losers in the KKK and similar neo-Nazi groups. The Antifa thugs are seemingly everywhere, smashing windows and making life Hell for weak-willed university administrators across the country.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Let’s not talk about Islam:

They discussed the popularity of La Rambla as a tourist destination, and went into some detail about the nationalities of vacationers currently thronging the city. They noted that La Rambla is Barcelona’s chief tourist street, essentially its counterpart to the Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Kufürstendamm in Berlin, Fifth Avenue in New York – and, perhaps most significantly, La Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, where, in July of last year, eighty-six people were killed in a similar jihadist atrocity.

They pondered the apparent lack of sophistication of this particular crime, the biographical background of the truck driver, the timeline of the atrocity, the apparent speed and weight of the truck itself, and so on. They talked about the wounded, about the degree to which they had been wounded, about how many had been sent to hospitals.

But they didn’t talk about Islam. They didn’t talk about jihad.

They used words like assassin, murderer, criminal. Even terrorist. But I didn’t hear the word jihadist. If they said it, I missed it. And except when they were forced to mention that, for example, the Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack, I didn’t hear the word Islam.

They’d rather talk about Nazis.

[Noon update]

A point I’ve been making all week (e.g., the above tweet). Jonah Goldberg: No, Antifa, fighting Nazis doesn’t make you the good guys:

There’s a natural tendency to think that when people, or movements, hate each other, it must be because they’re opposites. This assumption overlooks the fact that many — indeed, most — of the great conflicts and hatreds in human history are derived from what Sigmund Freud called the “narcissism of minor differences.”

Most tribal hatreds are between very similar groups. The European wars of religion were between peoples who often shared the same language and culture but differed on the correct way to practice the Christian faith. The Sunni-Shia split in the Muslim world is the source of great animosity between very similar peoples.

The young Communists and fascists fighting for power in the streets of 1920s Germany had far more in common with each other than they had with decent liberals or conservatives, as we understand those terms today.

Stalinists, and defenders of communism in general, like to play up the trivial differences with the Nazis, while ignoring the much greater similarities.

And then there’s this:

This history is relevant today because of the depressingly idiotic argument about whether it’s OK to equate “antifa” — left-wing radicals — with the neo-Nazi and white supremacist rabble that recently descended on Charlottesville, Va. The president claims there were “very fine people” on both sides of the protest and that the “anti-fascist” radicals are equally blameworthy. He borrowed from Fox News’ Sean Hannity the bogus term “alt-left” to describe the antifa radicals.

The term is bogus because, unlike the alt-right, nobody calls themselves “the alt-left.” That’s too bad. One of the only nice things about the alt-right is that its leaders are honest about the fact that they want nothing to do with traditional American conservatism. Like the original Nazis, they seek to replace the traditional right with their racial hogwash.

Sean Hannity is an idiot, and so is Donald Trump for paying any attention to him.

Google’s CEO

A question:

Given that the full text of the memo is public, that it is the subject of a national debate on an important subject, that many educated people disagree with one another about what claims it made, and that clarity can only help Google employees adhere to the company’s rules going forward, would you be willing to highlight the memo using green to indicate the “much” that you identified as “fair to debate” and red to flag the “portions” that you deemed Code-of-Conduct violations?

He can’t do that, because a) he doesn’t know himself and b) maintaining uncertainty is a key element of totalitarian thought control.

[Update a couple minutes later]

The Google Archipelago: A nice round up of links from Ed Driscoll.

[Updatea a while later]

This whole thing is so rife with irony. Google may regret being a California company:

Dan Eaton, an employment lawyer, in San Diego wrote on CNBC: “Federal labour law bars even non-union employers like Google from punishing an employee for communicating with fellow employees about improving working conditions … California law prohibits employers from threatening to fire employees to get them to adopt or refrain from adopting a particular political course of action.”

He also said” “It is unlawful for an employer to discipline an employee for challenging conduct that the employee reasonably believed to be discriminatory, even when a court later determines the conduct was not actually prohibited by the discrimination laws.”

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…

[Monday-morning update]

Cathy Young has an interview with Damore, in which he provides his influencers. I’m probably going to write up something on this myself at some point. There are so many issues to unpack.

[Update early afternoon]

Yes, Pichai should go, but that’s not enough:

When you use Facebook or Google (or Twitter, or Amazon, or Netflix) you’re sharing a lot of data with a company that you have to trust won’t abuse that. It’s much harder to trust a company that has decided to aggressively pursue thoughtcrime. And it doesn’t matter where you are on the political spectrum – Damore describes himself as a centrist. But it only takes one politically incorrect utterance, as so many in academia have learned, to achieve Enemy Of The People status. And then, apparently, you’re fair game.

Can you trust a self-driving car from Google, if some new company policy might reprogram it to avoid events Google doesn’t approve? Can you trust Google to prevent its (apparently many) “social-justice warrior” employees from trawling through your personal data looking for dirt, and then leaking it?

As Robert Tracinski writes, this is the big danger for Google: “The most dangerous part is that they are now beginning to be seen by the public (or revealed, depending on how you look at it) as politicized entities. Politicized entities to whom we are giving enormous amounts of data on our lives, thoughts and interests.”

There should, at a minimum, be Congressional hearings.

From College Indoctrination

…to corporate intolerance:

It is no surprise, then, that corporations are increasingly populated with young adults who do not know how to handle political views or scientific claims they have been taught are out of bounds of public discussion. When Google’s diversity officer replied to James Damore’s email, it was an incoherent affirmation of the company’s diversity policy, coupled with an accusation of sexism. It didn’t even attempt to cite reasons why the science Damore mentioned was wrong, or why his political views about diversity policy were misguided. It just asserted they were, and then used that assertion the next day as a pretext to fire him. This is what we get when university professors abuse their power and attempt to turn students into pawns in their political game, rather than autonomous agents with the capacity (but not yet ability) to think for themselves.

Combined with the problems of journalism, which are also discussed, this is a societal disaster.

[Update a while later]

Straight talk about sex differences in the workplace.

[Update mid-morning]

No one expects the Google Inquisition.

[Late-morning update]

By firing the memo author, Google validated his thesis.

[Update a few minutes later]

I don’t often agree with David Brooks, but yes, the Google CEO should resign.

[Update early afternoon]

Google is run like a religious cult:

“Conform and carry out the rituals, and you’ll be rewarded and praised; ask any uncomfortable questions or offend the wrong people, and the threats and public shaming will be swift and ruthless. The religion in this case is a kind of intersectional feminism, its central tenets are Diversity and Inclusion, its demonic enemy is Bias, and its purifying rituals include humiliating forms of ‘training’ that resemble Maoist struggle sessions.”

“This might sound crazy to a lot of your readers, but college students should understand, since it’s a similar culture.”

This is just awful.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Ann Althouse:

Apparently, Damore wasn’t sufficiently afraid. He didn’t see that this was the unacknowledged rule. Google is a safe space, muffling the fear. That in itself is something to be afraid of. When sparing everyone fear is the order of the day, you need to fear you will be deemed the embodiment of the fear that others must be spared. Then you’re completely unsafe. And gone. No man, no fear.

And as Stalin would have said, “No problem.”

[Update a while later]

Why I was fired from Google.”

Men And Women

An interesting discussion on sex differences, spurred by the Google kerfuffle.

It is very important to the Left to minimize them. This is one of the several areas in which they are not the “party of science.”

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s sort of the tl;dr:

This seems to me like the clearest proof that women being underrepresented in CS/physics/etc is just about different interests. It’s not that they can’t do the work – all those future math teachers do just as well in their math majors as everyone else. It’s not that stereotypes of what girls can and can’t do are making them afraid to try – whatever stereotypes there are about women and math haven’t dulled future math teachers’ willingness to compete difficult math courses one bit. And it’s not even about colleges being discriminatory and hostile (or at least however discriminatory and hostile they are it doesn’t drive away those future math teachers). It’s just that women are more interested in some jobs, and men are more interested in others. Figure out a way to make math people-oriented, and women flock to it. If there were as many elementary school computer science teachers as there are math teachers, gender balance there would equalize without any other effort.

I’m not familiar with any gender breakdown of legal specialties, but I will bet you that family law, child-related law, and various prosocial helping-communities law are disproportionately female, and patent law, technology law, and law working with scary dangerous criminals are disproportionately male. And so on for most other fields.

This theory gives everyone what they want. It explains the data about women in tech. It explains the time course around women in tech. It explains other jobs like veterinary medicine where women dominate. It explains which medical subspecialties women will be dominant or underrepresented in. It doesn’t claim that women are “worse than men” or “biologically inferior” at anything. It doesn’t say that no woman will ever be interested in things, or no man ever interested in people. It doesn’t say even that women in tech don’t face a lot of extra harassment (any domain with more men than women will see more potential perpetrators concentrating their harassment concentrated on fewer potential victims, which will result in each woman being more harassed).

It just says that sometimes, in a population-based way that doesn’t necessarily apply to any given woman or any given man, women and men will have some different interests. Which should be pretty obvious to anyone who’s spent more than a few minutes with men or women.

Yup. But do read the whole thing, because it also describes just how toxic and (ironically, given the “punch a Nazi” commentary) fascist the environment in the industry has become.

[Update a while later]

The most common error in reporting on the Google memo:

To object to a means of achieving x is not to be anti-x.

The failure to apply that same logic to the author of the memo is straightforwardly frustrating for those who agree with many of the views that the memo expressed. And it should also frustrate those who disagree with the author but care about social justice.

Every prominent instance of journalism that proceeds with less than normal rigor when the subject touches on social justice feeds a growing national impulse to dismiss everything published about these subjects—even important, rigorous, accurate articles. Large swathes of the public now believe the mainstream media is more concerned with stigmatizing wrong-think and being politically correct than being accurate. The political fallout from this shift has been ruinous to lots of social-justice causes—causes that would thrive in an environment in which the public accepted the facts.

Given that many of their goals are actually terrible, I’m glad they continue to screw up like this.

[Update a while later]

The Google memo exposes a libertarian blind spot.

[Update a while more later]

Megan McArdle: As a woman in tech, I realized that these are not my people:

Thinking back to those women I knew in IT, I can’t imagine any of them would have spent a weekend building a fiber-channel network in her basement.

I’m not saying such women don’t exist; I know they do. I’m just saying that if they exist in equal numbers to the men, it’s odd that I met so very many men like that, and not even one woman like that, in a job where all the women around me were obviously pretty comfortable with computers. We can’t blame it on residual sexism that prevented women from ever getting into the field; the number of women working with computers has actually gone down over time. And I find it hard to blame it on current sexism. No one told that guy to go home and build a fiber-channel network in his basement; no one told me I couldn’t. It’s just that I would never in a million years have chosen to waste a weekend that way.

These people don’t realize the degree to which their ideology is blinding them to reality. And they don’t realize the degree to which their behavior harms their own cause:

…you still have to ask whether shamestorming Damore and getting him sacked was really the best way to convince him — or anyone else — that he’s mistaken. Did anyone’s understanding of the complex quandaries of gender diversity advance? If there were guys at Google wondering whether the women around them really deserved their jobs, did anyone wake up the morning after Damore’s firing with the revelation: “Good God, how could I have been so blind?” No, I suspect those guys are now thinking: “You see? Women can’t handle math or logic.”

And as always, the Left is impervious to irony.

[Update just before noon]

Leftists: We worship science, except when we don’t.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Google has done a horrible thing to its employees, especially its snowflakes:

Google’s monoculture has turned these employees into snarling, hate-filled, censorious little thought-police who live under the misapprehension that their seething rage is virtue. It reminds me of what happened in the Soviet Union when neighbor turned in neighbor to ensure the regime believed in their loyalty to the Right Ideas.

And they are incapable of seeing it.

I may follow Roger’s advice to start using Dogpile. But I’ll have to wean myself from Chrome, because it makes it hard to automatically use other search engines.

Google Can’t Seem To Tolerate Diversity

This is not a new problem. It goes back to Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve and (as she mentions) the mau mauing of Larry Summers out of Harvard when he had the temerity to suggest that math ability in men may have longer statistical tails than in women.

In reading commentary on Twitter, I see a lot of straw-man misrepresentation of what Damore allegedly wrote (I haven’t read it yet). For instance:

But this is what one would expect from people who view everything through a lens of racism, sexism, genderism, otherism. All that matter to them is what group you’re a member of, and the notion of treating people as individuals is anathema to them, because individualism itself is anathema to them (it’s selfish donchaknow). So when someone makes a statistical statement about a group (valid or not), they must take it as an insult to every member of that group. (Note, this isn’t the same as things like talking about “rape culture,” which in fact does implicitly accuse every man of wanting to and finding it acceptable to rape, which is where the #NotAllMen hashtag came from).

Of course many women face sexism, and of course many women have been discouraged as individuals to go into STEM for no reasons other than they’re women, and that’s terrible. And everywhere it occurs, it should be fought and women who want to and are capable of advancing in those fields should be instead encouraged. But it would be utterly illogical for any woman to be discouraged by a simple statistical reality, because no woman is a statistic.

But the notion that every group should be represented in every endeavor in exact proportion to their representation in society at large is…insane. Men and women really are different, and they are statistically likely to be more interested in, and better at, different things. So if there really is a goal that we are going to get as many percentage of women into STEM as there are in the population, it is either doomed to failure, or it will doom whatever organization that attempts to do it, in terms of having to compete with other organizations that make technical excellence their priority instead.

And if Google becomes Mozilla, I won’t weep for it. And after this incident, I will be even more adamant in not trusting them with my data. Because I’m sure I’d be at the top of one of their blacklists.

[Update a couple minutes later]

It’s ironic to note 1) That these women who claim to be so great at STEM who are upset at this are apparently unable to deal with statistics and
2) That when Larry Summers said what he said, he was actually claiming that women are on average better than men at math, because the tail goes both ways.

But apparently “average” is an alien concept to them. Perhaps they think that everyone should be above it.

[Update a few minutes later]

Some sane thoughts from Julia Galef:

…as far as I can see, there are only two intellectually honest ways to respond to the memo:

1. Acknowledge gender differences may play some role, but point out other flaws in his argument (my preference)

2. Say “This topic is harmful to people and we shouldn’t discuss it” (a little draconian maybe, but at least intellectually honest)

Unfortunately most people have taken option 3, “Pretend there is no evidence of gender differences relevant to tech and only a sexist could believe otherwise.”

I’m going to try to cite only women in this post, just because, even though it’s sexist.

[Update early evening]

Many (but surely not all–there will be many more to come) of the lies that the media has told about the memo have been collected. By a woman.

[Wednesday update]

Kirsten Powers and other women are amazed at the lying and hysteria over this.