RationalWiki talk:What is going on in the blogosphere?

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What is going on?

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[edit] Sam Harris' Interview

After his bullshit conditions, sermonizing, and condescending comments and demands, I'd publicly release that 4-hour conversation to the internet in several different places and consequences be damned. --Castaigne2 (talk) 15:47, 8 March 2016 (UTC)

What interview and did you make an interview with him, so you can release it?--Kugelschreiber (talk) (mail) (block) 15:53, 8 March 2016 (UTC) 15:53, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
See the linked article in the Blogosphere, said link entitled "Sam Harris: the hypocritical pseudo-intellectual." It provides the context for my statement. --Castaigne2 (talk) 16:03, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
Disregard my post, I didn't read your post throughly enough. Sorry. orz--Kugelschreiber (talk) (mail) (block) 16:07, 8 March 2016 (UTC) 16:07, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
S'all good. --Castaigne2 (talk) 16:24, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
He would if he could, but Harris had full control over the interview and the right to release it. Sam Harris may have had some place in the skeptic circles before, but after this display he's basically all-in on the irrational Islamophobia industry. And unfortunately it looks like he's dragging Bill Maher down with him... Hentropy (talk) 06:35, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Human Rights

Personally, the whole whole Intercept article seems more like a tu quoque. Sure, Clinton's not exactly clean on the human rights front, but really? Sanders is never going to win if he is unable to criticize fucking Cuba on human rights abuses. It's possible to say that Cuba is bad, and the US helped cause that badness, and hold those positions are the same time. This Sanders/Greenwaldesque concept that "Russia/Assad/Castro/etc. aren't really that bad since the US has done some bad things" is not going to be one that sells in the general election. Hentropy (talk) 06:49, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

On what I suspect is a somewhat related note, singing the praises of Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson isn't a particularly good idea on the home front either. I'd like to see Sanders more clearly state that, even though the US bears some responsibility for these situations, the people currently running things also bear responsibility and that they can't be condoned. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 22:32, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Sanders that Castro brought a better health care system (though w/o Soviet subsidies and with the US's sanctions it has faltered) and education system, but the political imprisonment was extremely problematic. I think he should be able to condemn human rights abuses when he sees them; Clinton on the other hand doesn't seem to understand why supporting these regimes and forcing regime change are bad ideas.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 22:46, 14 March 2016 (UTC) 22:46, 14 March 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Kyle Kulinsky discusses some of the best lines of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic debate on Univision

The link doesn't work. --Bigic (talk) 20:50, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Foreign names

In a land made up of immigrants and their descendants, what counts as a 'foreign name' AMassiveGay (talk) 22:15, 16 March 2016 (UTC)

Non Anglo-Saxon.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 22:45, 16 March 2016 (UTC) 22:45, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
To put a finer point on it, any name that sounds distinctively "brown". Raja Sadiq in particular I think they may have run away from. Though I do agree that the article was misnamed, there is no such thing as a "foreign name" in America. Call it what it is: "Trump voters decide not to vote for Trump because some of his delegates sound middle-eastern to them." I'm sure someone can shorten that and get the point across... Hentropy (talk) 07:38, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Merrick Garland

Yes he has conservaitive views in some areas, but that's the whole point - Obama is purposely trolling the Republicans by nominating someone they'd pass without a murmur if President McCain or Romney had put him forward. It's to make them look unreasonable. He's playing the Senate GOP like a fish and they're falling for it. Flannan Isle (talk) 19:36, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

I still think it's a little dangerous, if GOP calls the bluff, reverses course, and confirms this guy, it means at best we'll have another swing justice on the court. Which would be better, but not great. There's no doubt it was a political move to try to make the GOP look unreasonable when they roadblock him for another year. If Clinton wins in November they will then maybe try to rush him through, and I'm not sure if Obama can stop them. Hentropy (talk) 20:41, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
Half a loaf is better than no bread. Garland, for all his faults, is still a lot better than Scalia. Flannan Isle (talk) 21:16, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
No doubt about that, but I think if he's so centrist/conservative that they end up with a "he might actually be put on the court" situation, rather than just a political pawn, it is disappointing. He's a great political pawn and there's a chance he could swing left more often than right, but this was supposed to be the justice that turned the court liberal. I still would have chosen Srinivasan, as a political pawn he also injects race into the campaign and give plenty of time for the Republicans to embarrass themselves further. Hentropy (talk) 22:32, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
The last compromise pick with an uncontroversial record who was nominated by a Democratic President and supported/recommended by Hatch was Notorious RBG herself, so I think that trying to determine who he'll side with based on that alone doesn't cut it. From what I've seen of his record he's good on antitrust, good on campaign finance, good on guns, good on women's health, and good on environmental regulations. The big issues I have with him are his age and some of his positions on civil liberties. I'd prefer a Watford or a Liu, but Garland isn't exactly a bad choice by any means, he's just a safe one that doesn't rock the boat. FEMA Camp Counselortalk
Such a disappointment. Can't you do better than that, Obama? Recreational Vehicle (talk) 20:20, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
Not with the current Senate, no. Flannan Isle (talk) 21:03, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Wake up call

If abu ghraib and other such shite hasnt already woken folk, they are sleeping too heavily to give much of a shite bout new cia hijinks. AMassiveGay (talk) 02:20, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

[edit] That YouTube video

I watched the indicated segment (albeit with sound turned off). Is there something I am missing? Why was this added? Much as I can appreciate random wtf humor, it doesn't seem relevant to RW. Blitz (Complaints Box) 15:57, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

It's a pastiche of various cartoons from the 1980s and 1990s that ends up with the story of Xenu and a pitch for Dianetics. I found it amusing, and thought other readers here would too. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 17:35, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
it might have avoided some down votes if it gave an indication of what it was AMassiveGay (talk) 17:36, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

[edit] Can I just say

...that this woman is so fucking cool? Talk about doing a 180 and standing by your mistake, even mustering the force to actively combat that nonsense that once was part of her own M.O. (before she understood what it really was). In the end, she's already doing good by helping science as a student of biomedicine. But to also take the fight to the naturopaths - I have sick turn table spinnin' respect for that. Rock on, Britt Marie Hermes! Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:08, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

[edit] "The Smug Style in American Liberalism"

I want to argue because this piece is twisting itself into pretzels to assert that informed positions aren't any better than uninformed ones because it comes off as condescending when you point out that people you disagree with are flagrantly wrong.

"Liberals know climate change is real, and their smugness about it is why conservatives won't change their minds, not maybe, the millions-annually propaganda campaign, and a political party that will tell them they're right no matter what." As if politely ignoring the problem makes it go away.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of danger in overconfidence of your moral and political rectitude, but if we have a problem, its far-and-away more developed in the right wing's new(since 2000ish) tell-people-they're-right-no-matter-what machine than "smug" liberals. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 13:56, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

Pretty much. The article never explains why any of the things we know are wrong, because they aren't. Qscgy (talk) 14:44, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
i can dea l with the smugness, its the sanctimony that pisses me of AMassiveGay (talk) 14:05, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
Maybe it's me, but making an article the disparages the educated while making a big political correctness stink about how the educated make the conservatives in the dummy party feel bad seems...not so smart. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 14:19, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
Nah, I don't mind the suggestion that I'm doing something wrong by thinking I'm better than other people. I have an internal debate about that all the time, because it's a fair concern. I specifically disagree with the interpretation that the "smugness" is the cause of a widening political divide and not the institutions that reinforce ignorance as a badge of honor and are willing to sell out objective truth. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 14:26, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
This is the part that especially irritated me - "But this does not excuse liberals beating full retreat to the colleges and the cities, abandoning the dispossessed to their fate. It does not excuse surrendering a century of labor politics in the name of electability. It does not excuse gazing out decades later to find that those left behind are not up on the latest thought and deciding, We didn't abandon them. The idiots didn't want to be saved."
It does not matter whether you are liberal, conservative, or neither; the paragraph is plain fucking wrong. Labor was told decades ago that the labor jobs were going away. That they would be replaced with machines. That capital costs triumph over increasing labor costs over time.
Labor and labor politics weren't left behind. What's left of labor and labor politics are the ones who stubbornly assisted that the small rural factory town, the turn-the-widget jobs, the blue-collar industry of the 1950s, was here to stay and would never go away. The point of diminishing returns was reached.
Perhaps it's simply because I'm IT, but I highly resent the implication that you are supposed to reach out people forever and ever and ever with infinite patience. When comes the endpoint? When do you finally say "OK, we're done?"
“Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife - chopping off what's incomplete and saying: 'Now, it's complete because it's ended here.'" --Castaigne2 (talk) 15:31, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
I think a case like this was written better by Orwell when he wrote The Road to Wigan Pier. Smugness blows off the concerns of certain classes of people and the American failed to convince labor to become welcoming towards women, minorities, and immigrants. The Dems have sided with capital interests and abandoned the 50 state strategy; I know from personal experience that there is a lot of hatred among conservatives for the liberals in New England and the West Coast. The US govt didn't help the economy switch to a service based system so now we have rabid protectionism.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 15:50, 22 April 2016 (UTC) 15:50, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
A good old fashioned Republican tariff is the fix for that. Republicans need to realize that it's much much easier to keep out foreign manufactured goods than it is to build a wall to keep out Latino immigrants. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 15:53, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
I like free trade, but there should be heavy punishment for slaves and we should restrict trade with repressive regimes.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 15:59, 22 April 2016 (UTC) 15:59, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
I applaud your idealism. However, I'll continue operating on basis of realpolitik and rational self-interest. --Castaigne2 (talk) 16:05, 22 April 2016 (UTC)


But not all conservative positions are "flagrantly wrong". Take abortion, for example. I think that we can all agree that at birth a baby is a human. But when exactly does this property of "being human" start to exist? 10 minutes before birth? A week? A month? This is a genuinely hard moral and ethical question that touches on question such as "what does it mean to be human?" Sure, science can *help* answer this, but it can never give a full answer as it's a moral and ethical question. IMHO being against abortion ("pro-life") is a perfectly rational and sane position. Not a position I personally agree with − and I think many of the religious don't use the best arguments − but it's not a position that's somehow "flagrantly wrong".
Another example: health care. I very strongly disagree with most American conservatives there, but from their point of view and framework of thinking the ability to have full freedom and choice is *more important* than having universal healthcare. Again, I very strongly disagree with this, but who am I to say that these values and ethical judgements are "flagrantly wrong" and smugly declare that I am right and they are obviously wrong?
You mention climate change. Yes, that is a position where I feel one can safely − and smugly − say conservatives are just dead wrong. But the topic of climate change wasn't really mentioned in the article. In other words, that's a bit of a straw man. In general, I feel that the gist of the article is spot-on. Carpetsmoker (talk) 16:19, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
Smugness and moral superiority are a two way street. Many conservatives claim, or used to claim, that their opponents were unpatriotic, lazy, and pleasure-seeking. (As movement conservatism accepted the gospel of the Free Market, this strain became muted, but hasn't entirely gone away.) I do miss the good old days when liberals mocked the moralistic prissiness of the right wing, rather than becoming a mirror image of it. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 16:39, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

Look, I completely agree that this should be up - it's not everyday liberals are asked to ponder their own biases and beliefs on here, but quite frankly, this guy is beating a dead horse made of bullshit. Yes, people who agree with many more "liberal" policies may act like they "know" the facts, but that is because they actually do. The problem isn't that everybody promoting complete crap is dishonest liars, but because many of them are up to their necks in bullshit. Sometimes the bullshit was created wholecloth to support policies certain people wanted, at all costs. However, more commonly, a person was simply misguided. Whether they had help from some people who's interests were best served by promoting their bullshit - whether the people who helped promote it latched onto it because they wanted to believe - or the misguided person was able to spread the ideas themselves - the bullshit was spread around like manure on the field of the population. Perhaps there is some justification for conservative views - perhaps not. The person above mentioned abortion. If they just said Abortion is wrong, because it is ethically and morally wrong, to my personal views, and I for one won't do it, and will encourage those around me not to do it, then it would be all fine and dandy. However, that is not what they do. They demonize the women who get them. They demonize those who give them as "baby killers". That isn't necessarily the most misinformative of what they do, but they do it, and it has real consequences. Abortion doctors have been killed, and at least some women, who wouldn't be shamed by their own sense of ethics and morals are publicly shamed. Then, from that they move onto complete misinformation. Like that somehow women who have had abortions are more likely to be depressed or even suicidal. That Women who get them may cause problems to their future fertility. They show photos of things that aren't even legal, and claim this is what is going on. That is grade A B.S. Sorry. All of those things are patent grade bullshit, yet they are common "knowledge" within the pro-life crowd.

The problem isn't that they don't know, it's that they live in a completely different world of facts, and theirs happen to line up less with reality, than that of proponents of most liberal policies. There is an entire media aparatus set up to tell them they are more right than they think they are. There is no telling them otherwise. Perhaps some argue liberal academia is like that, but it actually isn't. These people are wrong, and there's people who benefit from them being wrong, and they work hard to promote it, or at least persuade them this one thing or a few things, *cough abortion and gay marriage* is far more important than things that are actually, objectively more important, such as climate change, or even their own economic self-interest. There is a reason "conservative academia" is not exactly a driving force in the world of academia - it is because the ideas are wrong, and in many cases have long since been discarded. The only "supply-side" economics professors I have met have been at the community college level. I am sure a few exist at a few elite universities, because they do publish papers, but the field as a whole does tend to support more "liberal" policies. There is a reason Liberty University is literally the laughing stock of the academic world. Yet, you wouldn't know this from consuming mass media, whether for controversey and ratings, or for ideology. These people are granted equal status by media outlets that seek to be neutral, and then are given god-like status in media sources who bend to their ideology.

Trump is a symptom, but he is a symptom of a separate world of facts that for far too long has been given equal weight in the venues most Americans experience, beyond that of academic journals. He can make up his own facts, but those who promote or believe bullshit have convinced a great deal of people that media is "lying to them", so whatever Trump says could totally be true, and since it aligns with their preconceived notions, then it is. If conservatives are more open-minded, which in my experience with plenty of conservatives, isn't actually true, they are so open-minded, their brain, along with it's critical thinking faculties has fallen out.

Feel free to disagree, this is America. This is a site devoted to rationality, so, this type of article should be here, not in the "clogs" as it were. Maybe it even makes some good points, but I don't think it reflects reality so much as it does the author's preconceived notions. Surely, he'd think I'm smug, and perhaps I am, but it isn't because I am smug that many Republican voters vote against their own economic self-interest, it is because of promoters of bullshit, whether personally deluded or liars, and because some have been convinced to vote against their own interests in every way, except for one, or maybe two or three issues, because it is "so much more" important. I'm sure some would still think so, without all the bullshit, but many wouldn't unless they were whipped up into a frenzy, in large part due to falsehoods.

It also is worth noting that the Democrats actually do have a majority of voters siding with them these days. There was a swing election in 2010 that resulted in many "blue" or "purple" states being ridiculously gerry-mandered. Despite landslide victories in the popular congressional vote the last 2 congressional elections, some states are sending upwards of 3/4's of their representatives as members of the party on the losing side. There is a reason Romney lost in 2012, and it was that he was forced too far to the right by the primary process. That is why Republican party leaders have been cringing at the thought of a Trump or Cruze candidacy. The majority of voters are at least Democratic-leaning these days, it's just the majority of our representatives somehow aren't. --Gambrel (talk)


If there's anything positive to be garnered from the article, I think it is not who is right and who is wrong. I'm generally pretty elitist and anti-populist, to me the most terrifying thing in politics is when the tide turns based on shallow emotional appeals based on what makes people feel good and faulty logic based on magical thinking. The fatal flaw on the left, however, is that this is a pitfall only on the right, and some more elitist types on the right think the same about the left. More leftist populism is being bandied about as the new, hip, intellectual thing to do, which is based on flawless logic, when it simply isn't. Anti-nuclear, anti-fracking, anti-vaxx, protectionism, while there are kernels of problems within these things, pretty much every expert opinion is counter to leftist thinking, among some at least. We sneer when the right redbaits over Obama, but we continue to handwave and ignore the authoritarian Maoists and Stalinists as if they're not worth talking about in the same breath as modern-day Democrats, all while incessantly comparing modern-day Republicans to old-school fascists. The fact is that both examples have one denominator: populism took over and became all about affixing blame and score-settling than actually fixing shit.

The point here is that these people cannot simply be patronized and ridiculed out of existence. There was an article some time ago about The Daily Show and other left-leaning and leftist political satire, that for all the entertainment it gave its audience, it did little to move the cultural needle among the opponents. Laughing at Trump only emboldens him and his true believers. Supporting Trump or the right does not make one "stupid". Not everyone has the time or energy to be a policy wonk. What we need is communication. Had there been a concerted effort to explain why Trump was wrong from the beginning, rather than just dismissing him and belittling his supporters, he may not be around any more. Now he's on some track for the nomination, and if the leftist populist puritans have their way, he will be President. Not because he was the best candidate, but because leftists decided that being condescending was more important than being convincing. Hentropy (talk) 18:56, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

Well your view of elitism explains a lot of why we disagree since I would consider myself your inverse. Elitism, in my view, leads to bubbles of trust and privilege that blinds those who are within it; this blindness has always led to failure and a view that one should build a fortress to protect the progress already made instead of growing it. I see politics as an unavoidable trench warfare that can only be soothed by empathy which elites can't do because they all too often fail to recognize the frustration outside their bubble. Of course, prejudice and anti-intellectualism exist among grassroots, but they also exist within the higher classes bubble where market fundamentalism exists on the conservative side while "all natural" woo exists among the liberals. I dislike the constant Godwinning of Trump and this view that his supporters are some kind of exception when these people have been abandoned and screwed and propaganda peddled to them has led to rampant anti-intellectualism.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 19:20, 23 April 2016 (UTC) 19:20, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
I'll take "market fundamentalism" a thousand times over "all natural". The first's being convinced of the righteousness of an actual, defined idea and principle, the other is nothing but emotional attachment to something illogical and ill-defined. I'm an elitist too, in the sense that I wish the masses were more like the elites sometimes: I'll take someone who prefers a prudent but reasoned approach to progress over someone who'll drag anyone more moderate than them through the mud, someone utterly incapable of understanding the fact that he and the moderates have the same endgame but that their way to get there is more prudent. It's easy to be a passion-driven utopist, because utopies have no obligation of results and only exist to permit the condemnation of what people have actually built into existence in the name of what doesn't exist. Viewing politics as a trench warfare is nothing but intellectual abdication. NewFrenchHotness (talk) 01:43, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
Well, market fundamentalism tends to handwave slavery and endorse "scientific management". Anyways, I don't see how politics isn't trench warfare; it always involves deal making and hard stances in order to push the borders. The main problem with elites is their hierarchy which they state was earned in a meritocracy but refuse to acknowledge that they were born with an advantage they helped them gain their position. What causes anger among the proles is when the elite realise they can ignore their concerns and build a system that doesn't hold them accountable. When this happens those at the bottom will feel opprosed and persecuted even if they aren't and will easily be picked up by a dangerous radical. In the US, we have had several radical groups that supported equal rights; one example was Bash Back![wp], a radical gay rights group, but it never gained national attention or widespread support like, say, the German American Bund. I think a great example of this is the Men's Rights Movement which has largely been a hate movement that was spawned by second wave feminism preceived refusal to take men's issues seriously. Even if a minority of feminists disregarded men's soceital issues these men were convinced that the movement itself was the problem and had to be removed. Many misogynists and anti-feminists used this frustration to push against female rights and progate ideas that all feminists wanted to oppress men which has led to people like Paul Elam and Roosh V gaining a public platform. Now, I am not blaming people for supporting groups that effectively work to exploit them and I understand why poor whites support Trump and many minorities support the established Dems because these people have supported them in some way at sometime and they fear what the other side might do to them even if there won't actually be any retaliation.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 02:21, 24 April 2016 (UTC) 02:21, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
Well, if there's anything history teaches us is that if freedoms aren't protected, they can be easily reversed, to never be seen again. I suppose whether I'm an elitist or not, the point is that you have many liberals who have an elitist mindset when they are at least pseudo-populist and prone more to emotional analysis of political issues. They then look down on yokels because they don't respect their pseudo-elite opinions. Politics isn't trench warfare, the other side is not an enemy with ill intent, it's about trying to secure solutions to problems that cover the most bases. Even if you treat it like trench warfare, most average people do not and punish politicians/administrations that do. Despite all the alarmism and sensationalism the media feeds to both sides of the issues, shit really aren't falling apart as dramatically as they claim. No, no one has a crystal ball and can tell you how a particular thing is going to shake out, even the smartest and most informed among us aren't gods. Populism does have its place in its purest form, average people should not be locked out of the process. Both Bush and Obama has done a fair amount of harm in this regard, after years of bold-faced lies and weaseling, and distrust is inevitable after that. Hentropy (talk) 06:56, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
Yes I understand that freedoms most be defended but the insistence of certain intellectuals to build a fortress that will protect these has always failed because people want results and crisis create a demand for such results. My analogy that politics is trench warfare isn't supposed to demonize the other side but to show how the culture war is always inevitable because the media and politicians hype up political gridlock. I realise most people don't punish their political representatives but that is either because they like them or feel that there is no alternative and therefore are just complacent. As long as there are hierarchies people at the bottom will see smugness where there may not be any while people on top will see misguided anti-intellectualism.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 07:14, 24 April 2016 (UTC) 07:14, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

[edit] The Fluoride Stare

Seriously? I guess you have to name the look people give you after you say the stupidest thing they have ever heard but this takes the cake in willful ignorance. It's not the look of fluoride killing them, it's the look of what just came out of the conspiracy theorists mouth slowly killing the person inside as they lose all faith in humanity. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 16:16, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

Really, the main thing I bydo is wonder what exactly these guys brush their teeth with. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 16:57, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
they let them soak in a glass at night AMassiveGay (talk) 17:02, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
As far as I know it's usually baking soda or something like Burt's Bees. I knew someone who used all the natural hygiene products and all I knew is that they didn't used to work well. The reason I knew is because I was absolutely confused how someone could spend so much time on her appearance with such great results and still smell like she was homeless. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 17:22, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
Don't forget oil pulling. Which, to be fair, probably worked well for Indus valley Siberian Buryat peoples centuries ago prior to the invention of modern dental care, but not very effective now. ℕoir LeSable (talk) 17:28, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
Literally next door to burt's bees factory here. BRB, adding fluoride to it. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 18:09, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
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