What if Dems actually know they’re lying? Then what?

I am still trying to process the election, so thinking out loud. I wrote some stuff last night, then deleted it on the grounds that my 3 AM ramblings maybe aren’t the best. So trying again…

Most of the liberals I know fall into one of two categories: The SJW True Believers, and the Principled Pragmatists.

The SJWs are basically everything you expect out of SJWs–annying, self-righteous, and they blame everything on the cis-heter0-white-patriarchy. They call everything “problematic” or “racist” and basically sound like Tim Wise all the time. Most of them strike me as aggressive assholes who’ve found a new way to show their superiority, but a few are quite sincere and really do make sacrifices to help others.

The Principled Pragmatists are more like your old school liberals from 1995. They hold to values like freedom of speech and equality of opportunity, favored free trade, and if they thought about Muslims, their primary concern wasn’t Islamaphobia but female oppression. Most of the PPs share the SJWs’ concern for helping others, but are a lot less annoying about it (and thus come across as more sincere.) Many admit that the SJWs are unpleasant, if not actually nuts, but they also recite a lot of SJW talking points, because these days, SJWs dominate the left’s memetic constructions (and I’m not talking about funny pictures people share on the internet.)

Slate Star Codex is a good example of a Principled Pragmatist. He is pro-trans, pro-gay, polyamorous, votes Democrat, and as far as I can tell, donates lots of money to African charities, but he gets a lot of flak for saying that he thinks SJWs are mean to people. (Somehow people mistake “Please be nicer to people” for “Right-wing zealot!”)

Just as the @Wikileaks “Podesta Emails” show that at least one person in regular communication with Hillary’s campaign knows exactly what everyone in the orthosphere has been denigrated for saying:

“What makes for successful immigration?

It’s no brain surgery, but the media have long failed to provide a clear credible answer. They are unable to come up with an answer or don’t like the answer that’s staring them in the face. The main reason behind successful immigration should be painfully obvious to even the most dimwitted of observers: Some groups of people are almost always highly successful given only half a chance (Jews*, Hindus/Sikhs and Chinese people, for example), while others (Muslims, blacks** and Roma***, for instance) fare badly almost irrespective of circumstances.”

The “Multikultistan” email is also interesting; I urge you to read it if you haven’t yet.

Many of the Principled Pragmatists I know personally admit, at least in private, to agreeing with much of this. Unlike the SJWs, they have no illusions that Muslims are pro-gay or pro-feminist. They are aware that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime and that Affirmative Action exists because they don’t score very well on SATs. (SJWs, by contrast, will threaten to send you to the gulag for suggesting that blacks and whites score differently.) They also know that Jews and Asians regularly out perform whites on various tests and make more money.

There’s a rather similar situation in religion (and, yes, I know liberalism functions like religious belief,) as I touched on way back in A Complicating Wrinkle of Uncomplicating Insight. Mainline and moderate Protestants tend to regard Christianity as largely metaphorical, but containing some sort of important truth. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, by contrast, tend to be very literal. They believe in a literal Hell, a literal Devil, that Jesus is actually God-son-of-God made flesh, that God took 6 days to make the world, etc. The Evangelicals are more fervent in their belief than the moderates, and the moderates think the Evangelicals are a little nuts, but they’re still both Christians, and push come to shove, they tend to support each other. (Moderates who have actually become SJWs don’t count.)

Hillary Clinton likes to talk about SJW-buzzwords like “intersectionality,” “structural racism” and the importance of “implicit bias training” for police officers. But Hillary doesn’t need to invoke pseudo-scientific balderdash to explain why so many black men are in prison: her husband put them there, a move she supported them with her famous “superpredators” speech back in 1994.

In 1994, Hillary knew that inner-city ghettos were full of drugs, crime, and violence, and supported white police officers doing something about it, but when Donald Trump said the same thing, she called him “ignorant.”

Any rational person can evaluate the data on police shootings and conclude that high rates of interaction between blacks and the police probably have more to do with high black crime rates than implicit police bias. Hillary certainly knows this, which is why she doesn’t live in a poor, black neighborhood, even though she could save a bundle on housing cost that way.

So if they don’t believe it, what is, really, all the fuss about? The biggest thing motivating Trump’s voters are 1. Opposition to mass immigration, (especially Muslim) and 2. the conviction that libs don’t like them. On point 1, I’m pretty sure libs can at least understand the argument that increasing the labor pool lowers wages. Even if they think the argument is wrong, it’s hard to fault someone for believing it. (And they know that Muslims tend to be pretty socially conservative.) On point 2., well, it’s really hard to miss the disdain Hillary shows toward her “basket of deplorables.” Conservatives are fairly regularly told that they are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamaphobic, irredeemable, “not even American,” or otherwise downright evil. It gets a little old.

Obviously democracy itself (and our specific variety of it) is to blame for the left-right split into two different tribes duking it out and trying to obliterate each other at the ballot box, but still… what’s the point of it all?

I’ll have probably sorted some of this out by the time this posts.


22 thoughts on “What if Dems actually know they’re lying? Then what?

  1. Steve Johnson’s comment over at blog.jim.com is key to understand someone like Scott Alexander. It spawned a quite interesting discussion and really unveils how evil Scot Alexander really is.



    “Scott Alexander is deeply emotionally committed to the left and wants the left to succeed. If you read the full post, he later gives 99% and 95% estimates that the population of NAMs and Muslims in the United States increases through a Trump term. Those numbers are the key to understanding the post.

    What Scott fears is that Trump’s election is the end of the reign of terror where if you say something progressives consider blasphemy you get persecuted. As of right now, the most likely outcome is that progs keep screaming about racism and Hitler and people learn to fully ignore them. Scott wants people to look at Trump, see that he makes an effort to pander to prog pets and give him an all clear on racism. This preserves the weapon for future use when someone doesn’t make the effort to pander. His interest is in preserving the weapon – until demographics makes a Trump repeat impossible (that’s where his probablistic estimates come in). He even describes this strategy in a post called “Be Nice Until You Can Coordinate Meanness”.

    Scott is giving tactical advice to the left. Of course, the left is too emotional and crazy to understand that (“only a racist would say that Trump isn’t a racist!”) and (too much of) the right is too desperate for approval (“even the acclaimed blogger Scott Alexander says Trump isn’t really a racist”) so no one will see the actual message.

    Scott dearly wishes the left could constrain its maniacs so that you can have sane, normal progressivism where trannies are never misgendered (correctly gendered), socialism is considered a deeply attractive economic system that maybe someday we’ll be ready for, where racial behavioral differences don’t necessitate different rules for social harmony to exist, where diversity + proximity != war, where the left wasn’t just a bunch of people posturing to tear down social structures for the short term status boost gained for tearing them down, etc. In short, he’s nuts – in a very conventional way.

    The evil part is that he understands and agrees with enough of the reactionary critique to know that his wishes for the left are impossible – and he remains a leftist anyway.”

    Scott Alexander is not a principled pragmatarist, he someone who rejects the truth because of his blue tribe alliance. He is not ignorant, he is aware. There is a reason why he banned all reactionaires from his comments. He is perfectly fine with destroying civilization because of his tribal allegiance.


    • very interesting! Thanks for pointing out the Jim’s blog – I felt a bit alone in not really getting the (positive) hoopla about SA.


  2. Principled Pragmatist describes me, or at least me a decade or two ago… I somehow thought that other people cared about the first amendment just like I did, though, as something for every viewpoint, as well as a reasonable degree of freedom of association, but about ten years ago it started being clear that quite a lot of people viewed it as a means to an end, so dissent was patriotic 10 years ago, treasonous (or worse, racist) 5 years ago, and is back to being patriotic again…

    There’s also, of course, noticing that something like “love the sinner, hate the sin” wrt gays, which was borderline acceptable 20 years ago, is now “hateful”, unless you’re of the “correct” religion, in which case it’s shown as evidence that you’re not hateful bigots… Of course, one of my problems is that I haven’t retconned my memories of who has done bigotted things to whom… The anti-Asian rhyme I learned in preschool? I learned it from the black girls. The male camp counselor who pulled off a girl’s hijab in the camp dining hall?… The teenage boy who commented about my breasts at the museum where we volunteered? I’ll grant that I can remember some incidents of white kids behaving badly, but it was close to 50-50 for incidents involving the “important” factors. I grew up around northern universities, so the kids were pretty well behaved, on the whole, so I’m not speaking for all Whites. Nor, for that matter, all blacks, but I had very limited exposure to “ghetto” culture…

    I think education was the area where I most quickly became aware of the disconnect between politics and reality, or at least what weird bedfellows can come about if you try to use empirical evidence. (My personal view is that a lot of grief can be spared if you allow ability grouping and don’t sweat differing outcomes as long as everyone improves. Oh, and progressive education should go back to being a luxury for families with more money than sense…)


    • And… On my Facebook feed, a post just appeared about someone’s uber ride being canceled for clearly homophobic reasons, and I’m not saying that sarcastically. Of course, nobody dared point out that the driver, whose name and photo clearly showed up on the post, was almost certainly middle Eastern and Muslim… All this talk of “intersectionality”, and nobody dares state the obvious. (I’m sure they really believe that were it not for evil white people and colonialism and all that, the driver would be happy to participate in a Pride parade…)


      • I can understand liking gay people, and understand liking Muslims, or at least having nothing particularly against either group. I don’t understand how people think the two groups are going to mix comfortably without big changes in at least one group.


    • The change in attitudes toward dissent is at least partially a side effect of power, I’m sure. Anyone not in power feels motivated to encourage people to be pro-freedom, and anyone in power stops feeling that so strongly… Put conservatives in power, and they often do the same thing.

      I grew up around some mean white kids and some mean black kids. It’d be great if people weren’t mean, but in the meanwhile, I agree, ability grouping + reality.


  3. The proximate point of it is power. Power is like sex: feels good, man. That is, it’s a terminal value that we value because we’re wired to value it. Once you’re in a system like ours, if you want power, you have to play the game.

    The less proximate reason is power-ideology feedback. In any democracy, there is a feedback loop between political power and ideology of the electorate. Part of that loop is the astonishing ability of humans to adopt fashionable ideas and then retcon their own history as always having believed the new ideas.


  4. I’m not sold on Democracy being at fault. The Eastern Roman Empire was hardly a wellspring of democracy when the greens and blues tried to kill each other. Certainly it exacerbates the issue, but it is becoming increasingly clear that today’s conflict is religious in its entirety. Observe that parallel conflicts are occurring within Christianity (Moldbug’s Puritan hypothesis) and Judaism (see the Yeshiva enrollment issue in the UK) at present.

    This is ultimately a status issue at its core. The progressive Christian and Jewish religions have iterated out to a point where their practitioners can only gain status through seppuku. Being “pragmatic” means adhering to an earlier version of the religion that still allowed for both status and grandchildren. It means admitting that you would be heartbroken if your 1.2 children turn out alternative lifestyle. The problem mainstream conservatives and pragmatic liberals have is that they want to turn back the clock without taking measures to assure that we don’t just end up back here again (Moldbug again). Being “reasonable” is just pleading for the religion to go back to a non-shaker iteration. The age of reason was really the age of rationalization, and good riddance to it.


    • Democracy is at least proximately at fault, inasmuch as my angsting was triggered by the election and all of the rhetoric on all sides going up to it. But you are certainly correct that people can also lie and scheme in non-democratic systems.

      Given a variety of people in the world, perhaps Shakers are simply something that happens in every generation… you get some people who want to have lots of kids, and some people who don’t, and they go off and be Shakers or SJWs or Nuns or whathaveyou, and they of course die out and life continues with the children of the non-shakers…. it’s just that right now, Shakerism has become the religion of academia and much of the elite.


      • I contrast the shaker option with the Khmer Rouge option. Holiness ratchets end in suicide or suicide bombing.


      • I’m being way too short with my explanation. A healthy religion encourages its holiest to signal into Shakerism/a nunnery, or law school (I’m confounded as to why other religions don’t use something like Talmud as an outlet), while a less healthy religion will go for jihad or PhDs for high IQ women (this differs from nunneries by both scale [I suspect, but have no evidence], and in encouraging a degree of evangelical zeal).

        TL;DR people holiness ratchet when resources are plentiful. Get them signaling in ways that are at least merely self-destructive instead of mass destructive.


  5. Leftist here who’d like to attempt to claim pragmatism. Here’s how I see things. Firstly, I personally always got a kick out of Tumblr in action types whom I find to be half sincere youthful idealists led astray by a one way rhetorical ratchet effect and half cynical virtue signalers. I don’t think the SJW ideology – however you wish to define it – is very useful in serving the goal of preserving human civilization long enough for us to make it past the ancient tribal divisions (peoples, religions) that are incompatible with a modern, globalized world.

    And as background: I don’t shy away from what Steve Sailer terms ‘hate facts’ – that political Islam is fundamentally irreconcilable with western values (arising from either Christianity or the western secular philosophical tradition), that the evidence suggests distinct groups have differing average levels of aptitude for various tasks, etc. I just differ with him and others as to how to proceed in light of these facts.

    Mainstream economics as practiced and implemented in the halls of power in America since the 1980s has been a fundamentally unempirical and destructive force sapping our cohesiveness as a nation. The misery engendered by a lack of government attention to protections for the economic losers in a world in which the entire structure of economy has been remade within a generation, a trend which will only accelerate, leads inevitably to a vulnerability to scapegoating. It doesn’t need to be a racial thing: as stated in the OP, obviously a glut of labor (assuming an economy ‘operating at capacity’) will lead to greater opportunities for capital to exploit workers through breaking collective bargaining systems, driving down wages, cutting corners on safety and such, and this phenomenon has no a priori connection to immigrants of a particular ethnic background. It seems sensible to me to include immigration controls as part of a plan to slow the pace of economic change and give people a chance to get their feet under them so to speak. Bernie Sanders called open borders a “Koch brothers proposal” and I tend to agree.

    However, I feel it would be a great moral calamity to uproot the lives of millions of people currently living in the US, some of whom have been here for decades, some of whom have no memory of another land or skills with which to make their way abroad. If you want to harp on the criminal element, fine. Deport the felons (which Obama is already doing). But, in general, go for the Reagan approach would be my thinking. If you really want to build a wall, make it a metaphorical one: increase border security, build a fence where absolutely necessary. No need to screw up thousands of miles of nature with a concrete monstrosity. Enforce the laws. The key, again, should be to regulate the pace of change.

    Regarding the inner city hellscape rhetoric: segregation/redlining lead to homogeneous neighborhoods and when those pressures abated somewhat, the talented/rich blacks were able to leave their traditional communities if they saw fit to pursue opportunities (not very different, it should be noted, from the problem facing rural America today: those who can get out, do). This, paired with the backlash against attempts to integrate schools and other civic institutions and the resulting flight led to the concentration of less talented, less resourced people in a dense environment. Pair that with the decline of the urban industrial sector and you have a recipe for despondency and crime. We are slowly beginning to dig ourselves out of this mess, but more federal intervention is needed to undo decades of decay.

    As for Islam, I think it’s an important propaganda tool for the US to accept some number of “extremely vetted” Muslim immigrants, especially from war torn lands, in order to help prevent ISIS and other such groups from collapsing the gray zone and uniting the Islamic world against the west. There will always be competing groups expounding various degrees of fundamentalism within Islamic societies, and it is to the advantage of the west to maintain our ability to influence those more amenable to our strategic goals through, among other things, acts of humanitarian goodwill. Under no circumstances should we go the Merkel route: allowing millions to immigrate would both result in a destructive, counterproductive backlash from nativists and represent a critical mass such that they would feel comfortable establishing enclaves in which liberal norms are openly flouted as in Belgium and the like.

    In sum, the best way to combat the clash of cultures/civilizations is through policies designed to engender broad based economic growth. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the period of history that saw the greatest strides towards “equal protection under the law” (save perhaps Reconstruction pre-“redemption”) coincided with the period of our greatest economic progress. People are pissed off today. They’re hurting. They see those people over in the big cities, with their artisinal lattes and taco trucks on every corner, and they seem to be doing well for themselves. So they grow resentful, suspicious: “there must be something funny going on that my community is sinking further into poverty while Manhattan real estate breaks records every quarter..” I get it. But, to be blunt, some people just aren’t mentally suited for making their way in the knowledge economy. It’s a brutal, crushing ego blow – this nation was founded on the ideal of “competency”, making your own way, growing you own food – but low IQ people are just going to have a bad time if they’re nostalgically pining for a way of life that isn’t coming back.

    How to solve: in the short term *some* many benefit from retraining/relocation, others from an earnest effort (not tax breaks for toll roads) to bring our nations infrastructure up to 21st century standards. In the long term, we need to be thinking about gradually moving away from antiquated notions like the 40 hour work week and towards a system in the vein of a negative income tax. Many people see a job as a point of personal pride, but I think this is more of a binary (job or not) and relative (employment relative to community) thing. As automation takes its inevitable toll, would it be so difficult to re-calibrate around a 32 hour week? Obviously there are trade offs, increased costs in training, HR, benefits etc. but this method preserves both dignity and economic well being. Pair that with limiting the pace of change where possible and I think we can calm the rage a bit.


    • I don’t have the energy to make a worthwhile response right now, but just wanted to thank you for your thoughtful reply. (I am feeling very annoyed at some stupidity on the Right currently, and wondering how on earth to deal with it, in the vast sense of dealing, not the immediate sense. Ah, angst.)


  6. Not sure how pro trans etc is practical in any fashion

    Healthy societies duplicate themselves, both literally in producing large number children and proverbial as in teaching those kids to be just like mom and dad, who were just like their mom and dad etc and dominating then replacing weaker tribes.

    What is practical is what ensures the continued expansion, growth and preservation of your people, their prosperity, posterity and sovereignty.

    Liberal bullshit is never practical and always weakens


    • Trans people are <1% of the population, much smaller than the % of people who historically died in infancy or managed to grow up but never reproduced.
      The madness of modernity is that we expect people to have opinions either way, and then judge them on them.


      • I do you see the point in trying to force society into accepting less then 1% of the population, or 2% etc. Nor can I take such people serious.

        It’s all very childish vs the very real dog eat dog world we live in. They get to be such fools because there is still enough men with balls and guns but at the rate the West is progressing there won’t be for long. Then the real fun will start.


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