Trolls exist, but not zombies

Just as there are no zombies, there are no nazis. There are people who dress up as zombies. For the same reasons, there are people who dress up as nazis. Maybe in Argentina there are two or three old old men who are nazis, or were nazis once. But except for these, there are no nazis. Contemporary society would be healthier if we limited the dress-up to Halloween. People talk about killing zombies, but they don’t actually go out and assault people because they’re dressed in a deliberately provocative costume and groaning about “brraaains.”

Possibly related, there are several alternatives to “right”.

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Sewing, rhetoric, politics, air travel

  • “The Vintage Patterns Wiki boasts more than 83,500 patterns that are at least 25 years old.” Seen here: I can’t believe it’s not Butterick.
  • “I worry there’s a general undersupply of meta-contrarianism. You have an obvious point (exciting technologies are exciting). You have a counternarrative that offers a subtle but useful correction (there are also some occasional exceptions where the supposedly-unexciting technologies can be more exciting than the supposedly-exciting ones). Sophisticated people jump onto the counternarrative to show their sophistication and prove that they understand the subtle points it makes. Then everyone gets so obsessed with the counternarrative that anyone who makes the obvious point gets shouted down (“What? Exciting technologies are exciting? Do you even read Financial Times? It’s the unexciting technologies that are truly exciting!”). And only rarely does anyone take a step back and remind everyone that the obviously-true thing is still true and the exceptions are still just exceptions.” — Two Kinds of Caution, by Scott Alexander
  • The Left’s Breaking Point? We might have found it with the transgender movement.”

    Maybe; maybe not. It seems like there have been several of these things over the last thirty years. “Surely this will be it,” the non-lefty things. “This is so obviously irrational that it will be the bridge too far.” Yet here we are.

  • I am beginning to think we need the Federal Government to step in and set up a Customer Bill of Rights (link goes to existing rules, which don’t do much more than prohibit the intentional killing of passengers). I don’t like more pointless government regulations, but I am starting to think that airlines can’t be relied on to maintain any kind of standards. They will keep compressing coach seats until passengers start suffocating, and then they will blame the passengers for buying tickets.”

  • How about standing-room-only on short flights? If it were $30 cheaper, someone would buy it.

Gulf

It’s surprising that Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex and Father Dwight Longenecker reach related conclusions: The Catholic Priest in When the Benedict Option Is the Only Option; The practicing psychiatrist Neutral vs. Conservative: The Eternal Struggle.

Or maybe their conclusions aren’t all that similar. Anyway, it’s interesting to read one after the other and consider both.

I think there is a big divide in society between people who use reason and argument to find out what is true, and people who use the trappings of reason to win arguments. These two men are on the same side of that divide.

UPDATE: I took the time to read Stanley Fish’s Why Can’t We All Just Get Along, and Joseph Moore’s blog post about Fish’s article. It was time well spent.

Three claims

If you set God and reason in opposition, you get either Islam or far-left progressivism.

Alex Jones isn’t a conspiracy theorist; he just plays one on the radio.

You can’t have both the right to choose your career and the right to a living wage.

And one question answered

How come flag burning isn’t hate speech? To paraphrase a quote I saw somewhere and can’t now find: The violence of the left is speech, and so must be protected. The speech of the right is violence, so violently preventing it is justified self-defense.

Fair tax?

We should talk more about remittances sent from the U.S. to other countries, like when Pierre sends money back to his family in Quebec. When I buy stuff in a neighboring state, I am obliged to pay a tax to the state in which I live, to offset the loss of sales tax revenue. Maybe something like that is in order for remittances. Should people be able to shield their income from state sales tax by sending it across the border?

Politics today

“So, if I understand this right – unlikely, I admit – one set of Socialists used their nefarious yet l33t hacking chops to make sure another Socialist was defeated by an elderly New York Liberal in the primaries so that she could lose to another elderly New York Liberal running as a Republican in the general election, thereby advancing the Russian agenda, which has long been to turn the US into a Socialist country – via keeping a Socialist from winning the election. Kind of a Lao Tzu meets Machiavelli in Byzantium and starts plotting with Odysseus sort of thing.” — weather report

That’s just what they want you to think.

Four observations

  • No amount of gritty determination will get all of us into the upper half.
  • Sawing an inch off one end and nailing it onto the other does not make the board longer.
  • Some business plans are unsustainable in a democracy.
  • The funny thing about a cargo cult is, sometimes the planes come.