User talk:Smerdis of Tlön/Archive1

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New logo large.png Welcome to RationalWiki, Smerdis of Tlön!

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The bus came by/and I got on.Moderator 19:40, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Cool username! Is it a reference to that Borges story? Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 08:05, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

It is. I am Ihcoyc on Wikipedia, but have called myself Smerdis of Tlön there for a long time. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 02:37, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Welcome to another 10 Year Soc member. Cheers VOXHUMANA 02:45, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

"Don't tell me we have to humor this one too"[edit]

"Too"? Who else are we having to humor then? SophieWilderModerator 17:42, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

I just don't want to have to add another stripe to the rainbow of body identity subcultures, or experience the resulting 'awareness campaign' of moral aggression. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 19:23, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Gosh, you must feel so oppressed by these awful people and their variant identities. SophieWilderModerator 20:04, 23 July 2013 (UTC)


Sysop. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 16:18, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

"Soultrean" and "Koro"[edit]

Neither of those pages are linked from anywhere except your user page: Two things. 1. Can you find relevant pages to link to them and 2. Could you not make links to new pages you create on your user page until those pages are linked from somewhere in the mainspace, or else they won't show up as "lonely pages" on the relevant report. Thanks! PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 20:36, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Gender again[edit]

I wrote an essay partially as a counterargument to the part of yours with which I disagreed earlier. I'd like your opinion. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 23:34, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Evo psych derail[edit]

The idea that resistance to evo psych is mostly political is a canard thrown out by types like Buss and Pinker to avoid having to answer to legitimate critics. First, we have to distinguish what, exactly, "evo psych" is. Most of the attention has been focused on what Buller has called "EP" (as opposed to "lower-case ep"), or the Santa Barbara school, which is a specific research program entailing certain assumptions an empirical results. Many evolutionary psychologists themselves argue that EP is partially or totally flawed. I'd start with the Buller book -- Adapting Minds -- or the Stanford Encyclopedia article for a dense and stuffy, but thorough overview. Both are decidedly non-political in nature. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:31, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Msybe. The parts of evo psych that I've found most interesting are the ones that deal with the evolution of moral sentiments and the heritability of a number of personality traits. The weaknesses here are mostly in the 'psych' part; our ability to measure personality traits and moral impulses aren't all that sharp. Here, at least, the evidence is convincing for modularity; there does seem to be a "disgust" routine, a "jealousy" routine, an "unfair" routine, and an "us vs. them" routine. There is also evidence suggesting that several of these traits are heritable, tested on twins the usual way. It's also been shown that parents don't really shape their children's moral outlook all that much. Morality is something they absorb like language, and peers soon outweigh parents in matters of morality even as they outweigh them in matters of language.
But if any part of human brains and behaviors is shaped by evolution, sex and mating would be those parts. The idea of "sexual objectification" is yet another reflection of the facts that sperms are plentiful and cheap while eggs are expensive. Males are disposable drones; females are precious vessels of life. His ideal reproductive strategy looks like a dandelion's; Hers looks like a human's. So He's inclined to spend his seed and his substance on other women, and She's predisposed to mind that very much. And "sexual objectification", like all other products of human reasoning, is Her attempt to make coherent and rationalize Her feelings for public consumption. The underlying dynamic is immune to mere argument, so "sexual objectification" is going to be an idea with legs. I still don't think we have to accept it at face value. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 03:29, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that there's any controversy over the idea that, say, basic emotions have biological components. Modularity is another thing, but that is difficult to debate because so many different definitions of modularity have been proposed. Certain conceptions of modularity are pretty reasonable. EPists, though, take this to ridiculous extents by positing modules for just about everything, reaching phrenological heights.
As for "men just wanna spread their seed," that's a cartoonish view of parental investment. Parental investment is not identical to gamete production. Indiscriminately having offspring may not be optimal for males, especially in humans where babies require massive amounts of investment. Female promiscuity may also be adaptive in certain cases, e.g. in creating paternity uncertainty to avoid abuse of offspring by males. As for whether ideas about parental investment as developed by Bateman, and later Trivers, can be applied to humans in any straightforward manner, the evidence appears to be pointing in the direction of "no." ([1]) In fact, even Bateman's original experiments on fruit flies have recently been called into question. ( Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 07:03, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Finally, even if all the above is invalid, you're still just making a long-winded appeal to nature. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 07:06, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Essay:English spelling reform [edit]

This is great, and should basically be a mainspace article - David Gerard (talk) 07:33, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

A bit late to the scene, aren't we? Smerdis and I have been arguing that point for a while now, with little success. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 07:47, 17 September 2013 (UTC)


Your viewpoint on race is that is indeed a biological construct, right? It really is because of left-creationism and their ideas of human equality and human exceptionalism that makes them say otherwise, would you agree? — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

No. Not even sure that I'd use the phrase "biological construct", but race really is a social construction, born of a naive or superficial analysis of human genetic differences like skin and hair color. These differences themselves are hereditary, of course, but they only scratch the surface of human genetic diversity. Race is purely a matter of social categorization. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 21:30, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Mop and bucket stuff...[edit]

Hey: when replying to an unsigned comment, please put the "unsigned" template on said comment. Thanks. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 15:40, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

"the feminist agenda is reparative therapy for all men."[edit]

That is the stupidest thing I have seen a human being write this year. And I read Conservapedia. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 16:45, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

I see feminism as trying to force unworkable changes in the way human male minds work and relate. It's doomed to failure and will not increase the stock of human happiness. Feminism, or at least the flavors I'm talking about, reproduces the mistake of reparative therapy exactly: it's an attempt to alter the sexuality of specific people by ideology and argumemt. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 17:28, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
That is so ludicrous ~I can't take it seriously. From now on I'll just wave your lunacy in your face whenever you comment. SophieWilderModerator 17:41, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Smerdis, do you realise that other people can read what you write here? You should be fucking embarrassed. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 17:44, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
It would appear that I've touched on something sacred here. I'm told I'm not only wrong, but embarrassingly so, by comparing two agitations with quite similar goals. And I don't even have an issue with feminism to the extent that it's about women. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 17:54, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
"I see feminism as trying to force unworkable changes in the way human male minds work and relate."
Only because you have a warped view of how the mind works and what feminism is. Christ Alfuckingmighty, you sound so much like Lovecrafty.
" It's doomed to failure and will not increase the stock of human happiness."
Yes, yes, we know you think feminism will fail and women will go back to their proper place of Kinder, Küche, und Kirche. Except it has already made many women happy. The only unhappiness I see from feminism is on the side of the MRAs...which I've now identified you as one of. What's your particular preference? A Voice For Men? Or are you one of the Neo-Reactionaries? C'mon. 'Fess up.— Unsigned, by: Castaigne / talk / contribs
No, none of those. I'm just an aging Sixties radical wannabe who continues to take freedom of expression, including freedom of sexual expression, very seriously. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 16:38, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Ah, Christ, return of the supposed 1960s radical for whom time passed by. Newsflash: If you are adhering to "radical" movements and ideals that existed before I was born, you need to stop, upgrade your thinking to modern standards, and move the fuck on. I'm not going to bother with someone who is stuck in the last century. Even my hidebound conservative Catholic parents are more advanced in thought than you.
Your ideas of freedom of expression are over 50 years obsolete. Your ideas of freedom of sexual expression are over 50 years obsolete. Upgrade the obsolete, or be deleted.
Because until you do, you're really no different than an aging MRA. --Castaigne (talk) 12:57, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

It's not that your understanding of feminism is "not only wrong," it's not even wrong. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 18:14, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

I'm still not seeing how. What's the difference between trying to "fix" gays so that they suppress same-sex desires, and trying to "fix" heterosexual men the same way? - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 18:28, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
I see what Smerdis is saying here as not too far off the mark. Foster, your response seems overly harsh to me, even borderline dickish. A supporting anecdote comes from my experience in a thriving tech company some time ago, with a fair mix of women working as hardware engineers, programmers, and technicians, coming from a variety of American, European (including Russian), and Asian (both east and south) cultures. On the whole, they were a well socialized crew, free from excess gender-related tension. If I had to generalize, I'd say that the white-bread American females were the ones most liable to consider male human behavior as something requiring correction. Alec Sanderson (talk) 18:40, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

The false equivalence you are making[edit]

Reparative therapy seeks to change an individual's desire; what his or her brain tells them that they want. Feminist critiques of rape culture seek to change what people do with their desires. in the world of reparative therapy, it's not okay that you want to have sex with men. That's where the problem is, and they believe they can re-wire your desire. They can't. In the world of feminist critique, it's okay that I want to have sex with women. It's not okay that I demand it, or force the issue, or use any power that I have to get it, or to objectify another human being in the name of it. I can't control that I want women the way that you want men, but I can, and must, control what I do with that. And you're not seeing the difference. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 21:47, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Something for you to consider.[edit]

If race is a social construct, why not gender? And, if gender is a social construct, a movement designed to undo the inequalities enforced by that construct is something one ought to support. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 19:48, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Actually, that's an excellent point; in this context race and sex/gender are significantly different. Race has no biological significance at all. (The main reason The Bell Curve was obviously talking out of its ass was its neglect of evolutionary explanations: the thesis amounts to a claim that intelligence is less adaptive for some human populations than others.) Sex profoundly changes human bodies and metabolisms; there are male and female brains, hell, there are male and female livers. Sex plays a key role in human reproduction. (snicker.) I'd expect biology to have a huge impact here, psychologically as well as physically.
I would indeed support a movement designed to undo the inequalities, frustrations, and conflicts enforced by biology. Understanding that biology is behind much of that stuff means that expectations of what might be achieved here ought to be tempered towards the reasonable. Part of the way forward for me is that we should come to understand that sniping at the content of each other's inner lives isn't helping. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 22:10, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Sex and gender are significantly different; different from each other, just as "skin colour/hair texture/common facial features" and "race" are different from each other; in each case, the latter is a set of arbitrary social roles/expectations/limitations placed on an individual because of the latter. Expectations of what might be achieved here should be tempered towards the reasonable. It is reasonable to expect that I do not let my biological urge to have sex with women dictate my daily interactions with women, that I do not, for instance, approach strange women late at night in a confined space (sorry to harp on this, but it's still the only case that you brought up; give me better material and I'll work with that) and invite them to come into a room with a bed in it. It is reasonable to expect people to question whether or not a billions-of-dollars-a-year industry that profits from transforming half of humanity into nothing more that empty receptacles for sexual desires is a positive step forward for humanity. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 22:54, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
The question is where to demarcate the line between sex and gender, then. For instance, I would assign to the 'sex' side such generally human universal features as the male role in communal violence and community defense, the female role in child rearing, the different structures of male-focused and female-focused social organizations, and, of course, the fact that the male usually takes the initiative in open courtship. These assignments are not arbitrary. The logic of all of these universals flows out of facts like sperms are metabolically cheap while pregnancy is metabolically very costly, and that humans are a high-investment, slow-breeding species; these human universals are sex, not gender. Culture will of course intersect with many of these things and determine what their local expression looks like. All of our fellow primates have a sexual division of labor; it would be really weird if we didn't. No effort is required to enforce them; people free from cultural compulsion will naturally move towards the roles they were made to fill.
Please, let's step back a bit further. What does your vision of the good society entail? I want one where people get along; one where cultural diversity adds color and flavor rather than tension. One where people are able to run their lives and seek their pleasures without their neighbor's attention or disapproval. Where straights, gays, the transgendered and everybody else can arrange their sexual lives as they please, with no more drama than those things always bring. One where people mind their own business. I doubt that your utopia differs strongly from mine, though we may differ widely on how to get there.
So how do we move closer to an ideal? My recipe calls for calming moral dudgeon and diminishing social friction, by cultivating an ethos that expects little of people and that encourages tolerance and forgiveness of human weakness. This is why I think that accusing your neighbors of "transforming half of humanity into nothing more that empty receptacles for sexual desires" is a hostile caricature of some of your neighbor's inner lives. That is a weirdly puritanical idea, one that ultimately goes back to the odd ideas of some Christian denominations about sex and the nuclear family. It is a sister of the argument that since sex is for procreation, using birth control turns it into mutual masturbation. Walk a mile in the shoes of the lonely guy who buys them. I'd even suggest that the logic of the "privilege" doctrine, by my understanding of it, suggests reasons why you might want to reconsider that. (Were it meant to apply even-handedly, as we know it was not.) Why do people need to pick on each other this way? What does it achieve? - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:47, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
I'll answer part of this. I have no vision of a "good" society insofar as I do not recognize the existence of "good" outside of a personal concept thereof. I do not care whether people get along or have tension due to cultural differences, so long as they follow the law. I am not required to, and do not care to "like" everyone. I do not care if a person is disapproved of by their neighbor; so long as it is kept within legal boundaries, it is not my business. However, that does not make them immune from the social consequences of their choice. There will never be a society without drama; there will never be a society where people mind their own business. And if there is, I can almost guarantee it will be totalitarian in nature and derived from fear.
It's essentially comes down to you regarding "freedom" and "absolute tolerance, including tolerance of the intolerant" as a definite Good. I view them as entirely value-neutral. The freedom to murder someone and feast on their innards is still freedom. Doubt you'd call it good. --Castaigne (talk) 12:57, 22 December 2013 (UTC)


"We do not generally link to Wikipedia. If an article falls within our mission statements then we prefer to write it and expand it ourselves from our own point of view. If we need additional references we usually get our own rather than link to WP.". That article was a link-farm. Either explain the stuff properly, or, if you can't, wonder about missionality. Thanks. PowderSmokeAndLeather: Say something once, why say it again?.Moderator 16:35, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

This is largely a personal crusade for you - David Gerard (talk) 16:37, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Okay. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 16:41, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, that comes off way snippier than I thought I was being. I don't disagree that excess Wikipedia links are bad writing, but they do the basic "this is what it is" job better than we do, so swinging them for background is fine IMO. Basically, we can't legislate good writing, but Smerdis is a good writer. I'd disagree that Wikipedia links necessarily mean "off-mission article". Perhaps this is a Saloon Bar discussion (if not a Dive Bar one) - David Gerard (talk) 19:20, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, I thought the article needed to introduce some basic concepts of sociolinguistics, and I thought that writing a textbook into the article would be even less topical. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 19:39, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

"Speak White" (I believe yo mentioned the phrase recently...)[edit]

Speak white
il est si beau de vous entendre
parler de Paradise Lost
ou du profil gracieux et anonyme qui tremble dans les sonnets de Shakespeare
nous sommes un peuple inculte et bègue
mais ne sommes pas sourds au génie d'une langue
parlez avec l'accent de Milton et Byron et Shelley et Keats
speak white
et pardonnez-nous de n'avoir pour réponse
que les chants rauques de nos ancêtres
et le chagrin de Nelligan
speak white
parlez de choses et d'autres
parlez-nous de la Grande Charte
ou du monument à Lincoln
du charme gris de la Tamise
de l'eau rose du Potomac
parlez-nous de vos traditions
nous sommes un peuple peu brillant
mais fort capable d'apprécier
toute l'importance des crumpets
ou du Boston Tea Party
mais quand vous really speak white
quand vous get down to brass tacks
pour parler du gracious living
et parler du standard de vie
et de la Grande Société
un peu plus fort alors speak white
haussez vos voix de contremaîtres
nous sommes un peu durs d'oreille
nous vivons trop près des machines
et n'entendons que notre souffle au-dessus des outils
speak white and loud
qu'on vous entende
de Saint-Henri à Saint-Domingue
oui quelle admirable langue
pour embaucher
donner des ordres
fixer l'heure de la mort à l'ouvrage
et de la pause qui rafraîchit

et ravigote le dollar

speak white
tell us that God is a great big shot
and that we're paid to trust him
speak white
parlez-nous production profits et pourcentages
speak white
c'est une langue riche
pour acheter
mais pour se vendre
mais pour se vendre à perte d'âme
mais pour se vendre
ah !
speak white
big deal
mais pour vous dire
l'éternité d'un jour de grève
pour raconter
une vie de peuple-concierge
mais pour rentrer chez nous le soir
à l'heure où le soleil s'en vient crever au-dessus des ruelles
mais pour vous dire oui que le soleil se couche oui
chaque jour de nos vies à l'est de vos empires
rien ne vaut une langue à jurons
notre parlure pas très propre
tachée de cambouis et d'huile
speak white
soyez à l'aise dans vos mots
nous sommes un peuple rancunier
mais ne reprochons à personne
d'avoir le monopole
de la correction de langage
dans la langue douce de Shakespeare
avec l'accent de Longfellow
parlez un français pur et atrocement blanc
comme au Viêt-Nam au Congo
parlez un allemand impeccable
une étoile jaune entre les dents
parlez russe parlez rappel à l'ordre parlez répression
speak white
c'est une langue universelle
nous sommes nés pour la comprendre
avec ses mots lacrymogènes
avec ses mots matraques
speak white
tell us again about Freedom and Democracy
nous savons que liberté est un mot noir
comme la misère est nègre
et comme le sang se mêle à la poussière des rues d'Alger ou de Little Rock
speak white
de Westminster à Washington relayez-vous
speak white comme à Wall Street
white comme à Watts
be civilized
et comprenez notre parler de circonstance
quand vous nous demandez poliment
how do you do
et nous entendez vous répondre
we're doing all right
we're doing fine
are not alone
nous savons
que nous ne sommes pas seuls.

--Michele Lalonde PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 02:57, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

"Everyone is Racist" redirect[edit]

I don't think that they are really the same- in one, the speaker attempts to neutralise perceptions of their prejudice by stating that said prejudice is not held by them. In the other one, the person says, basically, "yeah, I'm prejudiced, but since 'everyone' is prejudiced, it's totally cool and you're not allowed to criticise me". In other words, the first is like saying "I am not! *grumpy spoilt child foot stomp*", while the second is basically saying "bish dusitlukliekIgivafuk". MESSIAH OF DOOM Impurity is the secret Dolan.png 06:29, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

I wasn't sure whether they were exactly the same thing, but they seemed relatively similar. That's why I didn't just remove it from the list, and added a note pointing out the stopgap. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 15:45, 18 March 2014 (UTC)


Hello Smerdis, I noticed your acid test of multiculturalism is cockfighting tag and I was wondering if there was any reason why a person who supported multiculturalism couldn't pick and choose which bits of other cultures they support? Just wondering if there is some well-constructed argument against this position that Iwasn't aware of. BTW surely genital mutilation or even dog fighting is a better acid test? Tielec01 (talk) 05:38, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Cockfighting works a bit better than those, if only because it has such deep historical roots and is present in a wide variety of canonical multicultures: African, South and East Asian, Pacific islander, Native American, and so forth. Also, unlike genital mutilation, cockfighting is only about chickens. If you truly don't want to oppress your neighbors over cultural differences, you swallow your "privileged" whitebread squeamishness and favor the legalization of cockfighting. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 14:12, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
You've certainly beat the stuffing out of that multiculturalist, well done! Now you'll have to stuff it back in for next time - David Gerard (talk) 18:31, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
But if I can say genital mutilation is not ok, why can't I say cock-fighting is not ok? Is it the hypocrisy of not allowing cock-fighting and still eating chicken, or something? Is it because a chicken is just a chicken (what does that mean?) Tielec01 (talk) 00:24, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Cultures are not discrete clearly demarcatable entities. As such multiculturalism should only be taken in the sense that Tielec suggested. Be accepting of whatever you see that you could accept on the grounds that it doesn't seem to go against your values significantly, but shun what you must. That's how I interpret my own multiculturalism anyways. Nullahnung (talk) 01:13, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Maybe by multiculturalism Smerdis really means Moral Relativism (or Cultural Relativism as it is popularly mis-used)? Tielec01 (talk) 01:41, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
It's simpler than that. I think it's a fairly easily established historical fact that cockfighting is an ancient, deep-rooted, traditional pastime among many different peoples, widespread everywhere except the Disneyfied West. I don't think that misguided empathy for chickens is an important enough value to justify trying to take something that basic away from other people, especially given the ways we use chickens ourselves. I don't have a problem with factory farms or the chicken industry either; I just don't feel any attachment or empathy towards the chickens that could make me care. I am forced to conclude that, at least for myself, supporting bans on cockfighting would be hypocritical. I think that's true at least of everybody in contemporary society who, like myself, doesn't have issues with the way we treat chickens generally; and that having issues with our treatment of chickens is rather silly.
I am forced to conclude, with some reluctance, that the moral case for legal cockfighting is much stronger than the case against. Laws against it are expressions of squeamish and weak-minded cultural prejudice. If you truly wish a diverse society in which people are able to pursue their cultural identities as they see fit, you ought to be in favor of legalizing cockfighting. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:02, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I see, it's your acid test, but may not apply to anyone else depending on the assumptions that they bring to the debate. I don't think this is a particularly strong argument against multiculturalism; except perhaps for you personally. Tielec01 (talk) 04:11, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, I'm not using this as an argument against multiculturalism. I simply think that making criminals of your neighbors requires a lot more convincing case than any case I've seen made against cockfighting. I have no personal stake in it -- it isn't part of my culture, and I've no wish to attend one -- but I do think the rootedness of the sport is disregarded through ignorance, and the case against it reeks of legislating issues of taste and cultural bigotry. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:24, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I would have thought there are better examples than this for a general protest against the dismissal of other cultures and tastes. In fact the userbox makes it look like you are saying the exact opposite of what you wrote above... (If you are in favour of multiculturalism then you are in favour of barbaric cock-fighting. You aren't in favour of cock-fighting, therefore you shouldn't be in favour of multiculturalism) Tielec01 (talk) 04:44, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I see it rather as an object lesson in why mortifying the moral instincts is important and necessary for a genuinely tolerant society. In the claim that cockfighting is "barbaric", what I see mostly is the sheltered worldview of people who hire others to slaughter their chickens out of sight. In my opinion, these concerns don't carry enough weight to justify jailing your neighbors over a traditional pastime. So I do think there is a conflict between genuine multiculturalism and a desire to ban cockfighting. More importantly, examining the desire to ban cockfighting sheds light on the extremely close relationship between bigotry and moralism; here, as much as in anti-gay activism, there doesn't seem to be much difference. The human mind is clever enough to think up a "moral" reason, a high and holy principle, for any reason they have to discriminate against their neighbors. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 14:26, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

I don't see any bigotry in banning cock fighting. There is just as much tradition of cock fighting, bear and badger baiting, and other such blood sports in the west, but we still banned them. Even more recently we have banned hare coursing and fox hunting, much to the chagrin not of any ethnic minorities but chinless toffs, and there seems to some, illegal, dog fighting going on about the place. Any sport that requires for your enjoyment not just a death, but a drawn out terrifying and painful ordeal of a death IS barbaric. I'd say the same for hunting, but at least that has some population control benefits. I say this as someone who has worked in a chicken factory killing, boning and skinning the beasts, so I'm not that sheltered from the process. There is no conflict between multiculturalism and banning cockfighting because it has never been an either\or situation. It has never meant we must accept everything no matter how egregious of a particular group, its always been more compromise a more give and take. Seems to work pretty well in london AMassiveGay (talk) 18:20, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure you've thoroughly convinced yourself with your demolition of your strawman, but would have hoped you'd be a little less incurious as to its failure to convince others - David Gerard (talk) 21:43, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I think people have expressed themselves clearly enough. Some of my neighbors are cruel barbarians, it seems, taking pleasure in terrible deaths. These sentiments are easy enough to understand. I prefer not to judge my neighbors using those terms, and that's just me, it seems. My understanding had been that part of the point of 'multiculturalism' was to encourage caution in throwing that kind of epithet around; it's probably been rightly divined that I am not completely on board with all that has been proposed in the name of multiculturalism. Here in the midwestern United States, lifelong exposure to the maudlin pither of the anti-abortion cult has hardened my heart; animal-rights appeals will make no headway here. I don't like and don't want cockfighting here, any more than I want guns; but I accept that there is a gun culture with very different values and ideals than mine, ideals that are protected by law. Likewise, I accept that cockfighting is a deeply rooted practice of a number of canonically recognized oppressed minorities. I'm not convinced that the moralizing against it isn't simply an expression of prejudice, especially since the "cruel barbarian" line has also been used before. I hate to say it, but I do think that opposition to cockfighting is genuinely "problematic" (LOL). So a bunch of white people decided they were better than blood sports. Well, bully for them. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:16, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

The ghosts of the past reach up through the soil[edit]

You on Arsebook? [2] Jennie insisted I ping you - David Gerard (talk) 22:41, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Yes, I'm on Facebook. Didn't even know there was a group for alt.gothic. Would be happy to hear from her again. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 14:17, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
[3], and you appear missed on the group - David Gerard (talk) 23:24, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Chronicles as neoreactionary[edit]


I can sort of see Chronicles as having neoreactionary sympathies — I recall one column on the site opining how the British aristocracy was a bulwark against corrupt modern morals. But I don't think they view themselves as such. They're proud paleoconservatives, a generation (or more) older than most neoreactionaries, and would probably consider most neoreactionaries to be young upstarts who should learn a thing or two before trying their hand at intellectualism.

Incidentally, Thomas Fleming, editor-in-chief of Chronicles, has a loooong series of posts where he tries to hammer out a consistent philosophy of paleoconservatism. You can find it here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17. (I wasn't kidding when I said it was long.)

I actually have a sort of begrudging respect for him because of this, because those posts make actual arguments I can engage with, unlike a lot of other conservative pundit material. I definitely recommend you read it — you might like some of what he has to say. (And I don't mean that in a backhanded "Haha, because you're a crackpot like him" way. Even I occasionally find myself nodding my head to some of his stuff, at least until he says something nasty about Hispanics or Muslims again.) Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 21:00, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

I don't disagree; just thought that there were enough similarities to be worth a mention. I haven't read all that much in Chronicles, but I remember enjoying some pieces. Now, when other high school kids were being warped by Rand or Tolkien, I was reading Mencken. I'd also strongly recommend that everyone read Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind. The contrast with contemporary movement conservatism is constructive. Think about what Mencken would have made out of the Tea Party. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:10, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Oh goodness, Mencken's eloquent horror would have given us raptures of delight - David Gerard (talk) 07:42, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

But you are already nobility![edit]


Do you deny that you practice law, and are therefore a titled nobleman? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 20:39, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Alas, esquire is only an affectation; we also use it to address boys with slightly tongue-in-cheek formality, like "master" or "young sir". I am, however, legitimately a Juris Doctor. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:12, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
I thought you were a classical scholar. Or is that only in your spare time? - David Gerard (talk) 08:56, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
I do have a lot of college Latin, and wrote my law school thesis about medieval law, but yes, I am a lawyer. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 03:23, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Well, that's us told[edit]

[4] He's thirty - David Gerard (talk) 16:32, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Heh. When I was born the flag had 48 stars. (Got the 49th a month later.) - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 17:20, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

An Essay[edit]

Hello, Smerdis.Could you please take a look at this essay ( and tell me what you think about it when you can?

Just curious about just price[edit]

What about the just price page is "undebunking"? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:30, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

It's an idea that has been fairly generally mocked, especially by berts, who don't seem to grasp the reasoning behind it. That dude at, for instance, in the external links, seem to think it's all about damn freeloaders wanting something for nothing, rather than preserving social relationships. - Smerdis of Tlön, for the defense. 03:39, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Hat tip[edit]

Just wanted to tip my hat to you for this excellent point with an excellent source. Abed Nadir (talk) 03:03, 12 October 2014 (UTC)

When I read that paragraph in that blog, the clouds parted. I tip my hat to the original author. - Smerdis of Tlön, for the defense. 03:29, 12 October 2014 (UTC)

Social attitude test[edit]

Political Values

Progressivism 65 Socialism 43.75 Tenderness 37.5

Your test scores indicate that you are a tough-minded progressive; this is the political profile one might associate with a jaded materialist. It appears that you are distrustful towards religion, and have a pragmatic attitude towards humanity in general.

Your attitudes towards economics appear neither committedly capitalist nor socialist, and combined with your social attitudes this creates the picture of someone who would generally be described as a progressive.

To round out the picture you appear to be, political preference aside, a uncompromising radical centrist with several strong convictions.

This concludes our analysis; we hope you found your results accurate, useful, and interesting.

From here. - Smerdis of Tlön, for the defense. 16:15, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Be wary of these sorts of tests, especially when delivered from personal sites. People rate totally generic personality descriptions an average of 4.26 out of 5 points for accuracy, even when everyone received the same description. Politicized ones can be slanted further. Modern social science leans towards the big five personality traits as the most reliable metrics. I know, it's just harmless banter on your talk page, but woo is everywhere. Woo is out to get you. Ikanreed (talk) 16:21, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
I tend to confuse tests like that. My take on the results is that it was confused by my opposition to bans on blood sports and willingness to accept some proposals tarred with the 'eugenics' label. They also don't seem to grasp that you can be both religious and anti-clerical; this is ultimately what Protestantism is all about. - Smerdis of Tlön, for the defense. 16:28, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
"Ultimately, private property should be abolished and complete socialism introduced." Do they really think socialism is about abolishing private property? (talk) 18:43, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Complete abolition would indeed be an unfair way to characterize socialism. However, as socialism by definition is the social ownership of the means of production, this would necessitate a broad range of restrictions about what could be owned and under what circumstances. It would therefore be more accurate to say that socialism entailed broad restrictions on and various criminal sanctions against many, though not all, forms of private property. Burkean (talk) 20:15, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Smerdis. To contextualise our discussion of Austria-Hungary and "stability/dynamism vs. stagnation/(in)security", I can say that this test resulted in me being rated as apparently highly "progressive" (95), pretty "socialist" (62.5), and (presumably?) averagely "tender" (50).
Thus, the test concluded that I'm "an open-minded ultra-progressive; this is the political profile one might associate with a journalist" (tried that line of study once - quit after 2 or 3 weeks...). That I'm "skeptical towards religion" (duh), while having "a generally optimistic attitude towards humanity in general" (slightly, but positively surprised about that one, but I have a hunch it's supposed to catch the pessimistic "people are getting stupider/more degenerate/immoral"-crowd, particularly religious doom-criers or white extinctionists). Rather less surprising (except for the qualification) is that my "attitudes towards economics appear socialist," and that, "combined with [my] social attitudes this creates the picture of someone who would generally be described as a liberal." (NOT in my country it wouldn't, but this after all an Americentric test, so no wonder). However, I do think the final remark is skirting generic ass-kissing territory: "To round out the picture you appear to be, political preference aside, a sensible principled egalitarian with many strong convictions." Basically, the only distinguishing term in this bit is "egalitarian".
Well, it was pretty good fun regardless. ScepticWombat (talk) 12:31, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

You have been nominated for the Board[edit]

I nominated you for the RationalMedia Foundation Board of Trustees election. Before you scoff, I ask that you genuinely consider it. Your politics may not be very popular here, but you are level-headed, patient, fair, thick-skinned, and eminently practical. In other words, you're the ideal board member. I would consider it an honor and pleasure to be able to work beside you. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 01:51, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

I'd vote for you too - David Gerard (talk) 10:17, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Reminder: You only have until 26 January to accept your nomination. Cømяade FυzzчCαтPøтαтø (talk/stalk) 05:23, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Nice job[edit]

Great new article. Ikanreed (talk) 17:08, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Thanks. Been meaning to get around to that for a while. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 17:13, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

So...You were completely wrong[edit]

Joss Whedon has straight up said that people thinking he left twitter because of feminists are crazy. Does this encourage you to rethink your worldview or are you going to continue to jump on every hype train against "activists" because you hate them? Just curious if you're capable of introspection about these things. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 14:42, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

I don't think Whedon's actual remarks falsify my opinion of activists in general, and online Twitter feminism in particular: Believe me, I have been attacked by militant feminists since I got on Twitter. That’s something I’m used to. Every breed of feminism is attacking every other breed, and every subsection of liberalism is always busy attacking another subsection of liberalism, because god forbid they should all band together and actually fight for the cause.[5] My worldview has always been, and remains, that the "feminist" language that gets thrown around in these shitstorms is just empty cant that shouldn't reflect on actual feminist positions. What's really going on is that those people are working through their head issues in public. (And that's why a tone argument is often valid as well.) - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 15:49, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Okay, so I was really harsh about it because I'm sick of this pattern of justification you've slipped into. But I'd still like to apologize for being rude. Sorry.
On the other hand, It's clear you're not going to change these beliefs that lead to falsified hypotheses. And that's okay. I should let you. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 16:01, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
His remarks might not falsify your opinions, but they certainly falsify your purported facts. You wrote "The ... feminist community has driven director Joss Whedon off Twitter." I guess when the facts change, your opinions remain untouched by that dirty, dirty world outside. Hipocrite (talk) 16:03, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
No, you are both entirely right. Online feminists did not drive Whedon from Twitter. He was too familiar with their manner of carrying on to be much impressed by it, and chose to leave it as a vexatious place. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 16:16, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
At least you're trying to be less conspiracist about it than KiA managed, though only slightly - David Gerard (talk) 16:20, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
If you would even note the difference between current feminism and the outdated radfems who maintain the militant stance, it would be appreciated. Alas, you see no difference between the two. --Castaigne (talk) 16:43, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
I try to do that. Seriously, I do. But what kind is likelier to be encountered on a broken medium of 140 letter messages? - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 16:54, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
I always appreciate trying. I'll try to keep your trying in the back of my mind. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 17:13, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

Navbox ideas for pseudohistory - what happened?[edit]

Hi Smerdis, I noticed that you had some good ideas for a pseudohistory navbox design last year, why did it die? I liked several of your suggestions (perhaps the Atlantis one could have a wave just about to hit it?), but another possibility could be a hammer smashing the history navbox icon, or even the vase getting zapped (might be a bit too reminiscent of the ancient aliens navbox). If it has to be swastika-related, would it be possible to depict a brush having half-finished whitewashing a swastika? I'll admit to not being very gifted in the design department, but the pseudohistory category is getting big and good enough that it would be nice to have a navbox for it. ScepticWombat (talk) 16:00, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Here's the thread, for reference.
I do like the whitewashed swastika. Would something like this work?
Icon pseudohistory proposed1.png
It's PNG and would need SVG-ing. FuzzyDogPotato (talk/stalk) 17:00, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't like it at all. There's a lot more to pseudohistory than that - David Gerard (talk) 17:30, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
But we can't have an icon showing all the activities of pseudohistory at once, can we? It seems best to go for the most common example -- denialism. FüzzyCätPötätö (talk/stalk) 17:31, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
If we go with the swastika, I like the design, but would it be possible to have a brush in it too? That would make for a bit more "action", indicating that this is not someone being sloppy.
Judging by the current contents of the category, ancient aliens-style crap, vaguely new age woo, and "history according to Hitler" are the three main areas covered. RW has surprisingly little (at least in this category) on Ussher'esque biblical literalism-style history. They seem mainly to have gone into the pseudoarchaeology box (e.g. Ron Wyatt). ScepticWombat (talk) 18:01, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Why not combine a couple symbols? E.g. an ancient structure (pyramid? Greek temple?) with a UFO and a swastika hovering over it. (talk) 18:21, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Because that's already our icon for Ancient Nazi-nauts. Herr FuzzyKatzenPotato (talk/stalk) 19:03, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Oh! Now that you mention it. Though then I'm wondering if we can't combine the ancient astronauts navbox with the pseudohistory one. And throw in the rest of pseudoarchaeology in there too, while we're at it. The distinction is usually pretty murky anyway. (talk) 19:08, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
My recollection of the conversation from last year was that the swastika ones were not all that well received; then again, nothing else was, either. Maybe putting alien eyes on the vase from History would work? - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 19:28, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

I kinda like 141's proposal, modified -- use the ancient aliens icon for pseudohistory (since it's relevant) and merge the ancient aliens articles to UFOlogy template. FᴜᴢᴢʏCᴀᴛPᴏᴛᴀᴛᴏ﹐ Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 19:49, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Also -- could this be moved to the Saloon Bar? FU22YC47P07470 (talk/stalk) 19:54, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
I think the ancient aliens icon looks good on a pseudohistory article. oʇɐʇoԀʇɐϽʎzznℲ (talk/stalk) 19:59, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Works for me. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 00:43, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
I like it. After all, Ancient Aliens is a branch of pseudohistory, but it's also more of a "pure" pseudohistorical topic than the anti-Semitic variants (Holocaust denial etc.), because the latter simply try to retroactively justify bigotry and/or ideology. Basically, whereas Ancient Aliens is a branch of pseudohistory, Holocaust denial is a pseudohistorical branch of anti-Semitism. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:45, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
Possibly a variation: pyramids with the "pseudo-" magic wand - David Gerard (talk) 11:45, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
This is my idea, it is a book with a wizard setting it on fire, and it is the best thing ever drawn by a human, and i am Definetly am not lying. Bubba41102Anonymous user is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike an editor 18:42, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
Bubbas Wizard.png


you be willing to move it to essay space, since as is it's your giant rant about how evil agriculture is?--"Paravant" Talk & Contribs 15:33, 7 October 2015 (UTC)

If it is deleted, I will surely revive it as an essay. I suspect, though, that the real problem is that the sources themselves contradict some bogus narrative of progress or technological improvement. I've pared down the Jared Diamond quotes a bit and restated others, and tried to restate others, but the real problem appears to be that the article simply states the conclusions reached by its sources. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 16:03, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
So you're just going to ignore the calls that this is an essay and not an article? Ok then. --"Paravant" Talk & Contribs 16:44, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm certainly not going to roll over on that until I have no other choice. It's simply mainstream science that agriculture drastically increased wealth differences in human society, gave rise to parasite classes of aristocrats and priests, made human societies more violent, and enlarged men's roles at the expense of women. All of these things would appear to be things we ought to have an article about, so I wrote one. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 16:51, 7 October 2015 (UTC)


You've been nommed. Herr FüzzyCätPötätö (talk/stalk) 04:52, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You've got the chance for another shot at becoming a mod (a modshot?) in the upcoming by-election. ScepticWombat (talk) 05:52, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

Just for old times' sake[edit]

Hi, I was very gratified to see your positive thoughts about my hobby. Thank you. I will add as the urge overpowers me. But since you voiced a favorable opinion, I'd very much like to know, whether there is any particular topic you want to see covered. I mostly just started with rímur in mind but according to the title, this — a work about an entire language and its literature — is a truly overwhelming project. Let's just hope that I will have something to show for the efforts in, let's say a year. Recent events here have left me, temporarily at least, with a bad taste for anything else.

So, that was the first question — is there any special subject you would want explained as a reader? Just say so, and I'll oblige.

The second question is: I'd stake my pension on that there was a user Smerdis of Tlön in Wikipedia a few years back. That one was, at least I seem to remember so, a Swede. Is this correct?

I really don't expect you to answer either question, but if you want to know something which I can write about given my parameters, just ask. Your comment made my day, which also goes to show how seldom I check the talk page. :-)

Whether you want to answer the second one is entirely up to you of course. If you want to answer but not publicly, you can always send me a mail. No hard feelings, if you decide not to. I'm rather protective about myself, at least personal details like the ones involved in mailing here.

But it's really late and I just wanted to thank you and ask for preferences in material. I can do most of my research at home — the results of a lifetime of collector mania, so I could write something to your liking pretty fast. Cheers Sorte Slyngel (talk) 03:19, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

WTF was I thinking?[edit]

For an utterly incomprehensible "reason," I thought the Evolution header said "Environmentalism." Thank you for undoing my delusion.---Mona- (talk) 04:06, 9 April 2016 (UTC)

Primary Voting[edit]

Sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if you are voting in the Indiana primary and if so for whom? The reason I am asking you, in particular, is because I find your opinions to be interesting and largely argeeable.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 18:47, 22 April 2016 (UTC) 18:47, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

I do intend to vote in the Indiana primary. For years I have voted with the Republicans. This year, I will wait until after this coming Tuesday. If there is a point to doing so at that time, I will vote with the Democrats for Sanders. I don't agree with him 100%, but he seems to have integrity. If it looks like the bitch has it in the bag by that time, I will vote Republican again, and will vote for Trump. The Republican party must change, and voting for Trump will encourage that.
I find Cruz much more repulsive than Trump. A vote for Kasich is a vote for the party status quo, and given the math his only role is as a spoiler. Trump actually has a nuanced position on transgender rights and abortion compared to the rest of the party. Trump seems light on actual ideology, and actually changes his mind on things. We don't need egalitarian dreams, but we need a much more highly regulated labor market domestically, and to become self-sufficient once more in manufacturing; and I'm an Old Right isolationist in foreign policy. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 18:59, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
My grandfather is somewhat of a Goldwaterite mixed with the paleoconservative values and Old Right beliefs. He hates neocons and neolibs; he has a blistering hatred towards the social conservative and religious right because, in his words, "I don't give a shit!". His views are somewhat similar to yours which may be why they resonate with me. He likes Kasich and will vote Trump since he will be the nominee, but despises Cruz as a backstabbing, evangelizing bastard. Regardless, as a fellow Hoosier, I will vote Sanders. If Sanders loses and doesn't run as an independent I will vote for the Greens and spoil the whole thing which I know will cause Trump to become President.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 19:10, 22 April 2016 (UTC) 19:10, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
Indiana seldom counts for much in electing the president in any case. Now Indiana did break for Obama in 2008, and that was te first time Indiana voted Democratic since LBJ/Goldwater in 1964. Given that Indiana is reliably Republican, I have the liberty of voting for a third party protest candidate knowing that my vote never counted for much anyways. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 20:06, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
I believe that Indiana would vote for Sander, but he may not be the nominee. I am curious why you vote for the Repubs when you hate moral crusaders.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 20:39, 22 April 2016 (UTC) 20:39, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
In local politics, my vote counts for a whole lot more than in national politics. Local Republicans are actually fairly sane, and at any rate don't deal with the divisive national issues too often. And for some races, voting with the Republicans is the only way you get a meaningful vote. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 20:46, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
Well if local politics interests you what do you think of Pence?--Owlman (talk) (mail) 21:50, 22 April 2016 (UTC) 21:50, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
Entirely unimpressed with him, especially after Mitch Daniels, who was about as good as Republicans get these days; Pence seems to have drunk the kool-aid, and supported that 'religious freedom' horseshit until the blowback got too intense. My real disaffection with the Republicans started when we lost the eminent Dick Lugar to that jackass Mourdock. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 22:05, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
When Americans cared about NBCs what a time to be alive. I am not sure who I will vote for to replace Coats since Hill, the Dem, voted for the Iraq war (though he gets a lot of credit from me for voting against the bank bailout) and I promised to never vote for someone who voted for that invasion, but the two Repubs refuse to do anything about global warming.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 22:22, 22 April 2016 (UTC) 22:22, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
I will vote for Hill. I suspect that the most important thing now is removing Republicans from Congress. If HRC is the Democrat candidate, her feet will need to be held to the fire. Electing Democrats is step one; primarying Democrats who drag their feet on inequality issues is step two. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 02:14, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

The er in your name.[edit]

Is it pronounced the way it is in user or the way it is in error? Whenever I see it I go over it in my head repeatedly.Teurastaja (talk) 14:28, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

'Error'; SMAIR-dis. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 14:58, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

Just curious[edit]

In your edit on Shrillary, you noted that you were counting on the emails to "save the nation". How do you think an indictment against her (presuming it removes her from the race) would bring that around? --Castaigne2 (talk) 17:27, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Ideally, Clinton's indictment would have forced the hands of the Democratic superdelegates to rally around somebody who isn't Hillary Clinton. Almost anyone else in the Democratic stable would have been better. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 17:35, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Better as in "closer to ideals" or "more electable"? --Castaigne2 (talk) 17:50, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Both. PB (talk) 17:55, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
I would be very interested in knowing who is more electable and why. I personally don't know of any Democrats at the moment who are able to get BigCorp on board. --Castaigne2 (talk) 18:16, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure that's an advantage this time around, especially since the Republican money isn't on board with Trump, either. Right now the polls are swinging back in Trump's favor, and are likely to move further in light of the email scandal and its outcome. The contest seems to be about which of the two is the least disliked and least mistrusted. The Democrats really ought to dump her and run somebody that can match Trump's anti-free-trade message and who isn't as distrusted as HRC. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 20:34, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
While I prefer 538's predictions, I see your argument.
So who would you say is that somebody that would replace Hillary? I honestly can't think of anyone right now in the DP that's willing to run. --Castaigne2 (talk) 23:18, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Joe Biden is a more likeable person than Hillary Clinton. He'd make a better candidate for president, as he seems honest and trustworthy, and has spent decades in the Senate and 8 years as VP. He's more likeable and qualified than Hillary. I'd prefer him, and more liberal voters would due to his lack of Hillary's blatant corruption and terrible views. PB (talk) 03:34, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
If they've decided that the first woman president is something to shoot for, there's always Elizabeth Warren, but my personal preference would be Tammy Duckworth. The gravitas she'd bring to the proceedings would blow Trump out of the water. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 03:37, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

Nomination for RationalMedia board election[edit]

You've been nominated to the RationalMedia Foundation election. Please accept or decline; if you accept, you may wish to campaign.

Pls? Sir ℱ℧ℤℤϒℂᗩℑᑭƠℑᗩℑƠ (talk/stalk) 14:52, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

This article may appeal to you[edit]

Passing for Politics discusses the problem with identity politics.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 01:40, 23 July 2016 (UTC) 01:40, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for passing this along. An interesting read. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 15:32, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

Get better soon[edit]

For your health! Reverend Black Percy (talk) 07:53, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
I second that.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 07:55, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
You mean; for your seconds! Reverend Black Percy (talk) 08:23, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Thank you all for your good wishes. Stuck in rehab now. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 10:27, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
What was your poison, if I may ask? Reverend Black Percy (talk) 17:19, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
It's complicated; basically a minor surgery gone wrong, and a cascade of events that affected my already weak kidneys. Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 13:42, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

Evan Bayh[edit]

I was curious if you voted for him and what your opinion of him was. I know that you were willing to vote for Baron Hill but Bayh is far more a corporatist. Seems he lost against Young, regardless.--Owlman (talk) (mail) 01:37, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I did, but it seems to be a Republican night generally. Todd Young used to be the local congressman and is a known quantity. If the Republican party is the one that successfully rejects marketroid orthodoxy, let it be so. And if Trump becomes president, it's nobody but Her Highness's fault. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 04:28, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Your Thoughts[edit]

First, where do you stand on the internal divide in the Democratic Party between progressives and neoliberals? Second, do you believe we would have had a better chance of winning if Sanders had been the Democratic nominee? And third, who should the Dems nominate for 2020? Thanks,RoninMacbeth (talk) 02:31, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

Requesting help w/Jonathan Haidt[edit]

I noticed that the page for Jonathan Haidt was a stub, so I figured I'd make an account and expand it with more content about The Righteous Mind. I'm not sure how well I'm doing, though. I noticed that you were the one who added the stuff about The Righteous Mind--would you be willing to check out my ideas on the talk page? Feotakahari (talk) 05:24, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

Hillary Clinton[edit]

Why did you revert my edit on Hillary Clinton? Please don't tell me you believe this garbage. TheRationalAtheist (talk) 19:21, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

That paragraph, part of the lead that summarizes the rest of the article, is reasonably balanced and needed to make the point that Hillary's reputation for political expediency is well-deserved. It represents a consensus arrived at in a heavily litigated article. Now Talk:Hillary Clinton is a better place for your objections than my user page, but I don't see a problem with the current text. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 20:43, 18 April 2017 (UTC)


You're a fundie! (a sexist to be precise). Christopher (talk) 15:09, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

More an old-time social libertarian. Moral-policing other people's entertainments is always an aggressive attack IMO. Thanks for letting me know. I'm not usually so quotable. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 19:18, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

Grawp Attack[edit]

Possibly ongoing. Be on lookout. RoninMacbeth (talk) 23:06, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Draft Community Survey[edit]

I drafted another community survey. Since the first one was controversial, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I won't proceed without community support. Survey draft available here. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 16:27, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Political questions seemed a bit binary. I went with some mostly because I could see both sides. "Most corporations" make reasonable profits - more like everybody has the right to make a decent living at what they do without trying to thrash about pursuing the latest efficiency craze and similar unwholesome novelties. Likewise, the "old ways are best" for similar reasons; people here need a return to stability in their lives. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 18:10, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
They're taken from Pew, which thinks forced-choice questions like those are the best option available for their style of opinion polling. FuzzyCatPotato!™ (talk/stalk) 19:04, 27 July 2017 (UTC)


I have a draft about Legalism (Chinese Philosophy)Wikipedia. You can edit it, if you want. RoninMacbeth (talk) 21:37, 30 July 2017 (UTC)


So, are you a classical liberal? —вιgℓʝвιgℓ (ᴛᴀʟᴋ/sᴛᴀʟᴋ) 03:22, 6 September 2017 (UTC)

'Classical liberal' nowadays is mostly a synonym for 'economic libertarian', and while I am a cultural libertarian I think we need a much bigger role for government as the moderator of economic life and relationships. I've only recently started reading Confucius, but I find a lot to admire in his thought. Leftist equality is not reasonably possible, but people need to know where they stand, and have their superiors expect only reasonable and customary things for them. The capitalist cult of 'growth' and 'efficiency' introduces an ever tightening ratchet, and that's wrong. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 03:44, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
Do read Zhuangzi too, if you get a chance. There's a strange syncretic outlook it produces in conjunction with Kongzi (and Mengzi, or Mencius), plus the Zhuangzi connects on an emotional level that defies any easy explanation. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:45, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
So you're a social libertarian and economic liberal? —вιgℓʝвιgℓ (ᴛᴀʟᴋ/sᴛᴀʟᴋ) 18:33, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
Pretty much so, assuming that you mean 'liberal' in the American sense of 'tax and spend liberal'. I don't believe in the pipe dream of universal equality; human societies don't work that way. Instead, I'm a conservative who believes in a steady state society, where people are able to get along the ways they always have. The ultra-capitalist fetish for 'growth' and 'productivity' ultimately makes it progressively harder for everyone to make a decent and comfortable living. So I think a bit of redistribution and heavy regulation is called for under current conditions. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 18:43, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

Brogressive Essay[edit]

Some sentences have been added to your essay, which I believe are intended to under its message. I took steps to remove them, but they edits were reverted and I was told to seek your express approval as it is an essay. Consider this a request for said approval. Levi Ackerman (talk) 15:53, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

Thank you. I really don't care much about that essay, which started as a requested article and then got moved to essayspace for reasons I never understood. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 19:08, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

Questions About Abrechnung mit Reaktion[edit]

I'm reading through the essay now, and I had a couple questions. First, how is commercial activity over the internet a mistake? Not that I disagree, but I just want to know your reasoning. Second, couldn't it be said that every civilization is irredeemably flawed and will inevitably collapse? RoninMacbeth (talk) 04:16, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

Start with the easy one first: yes, every civilization is flawed and will inevitably collapse. Now, I remember when Usenet and FTP were the Internet, and a better Internet it was back then. I can do almost everything I ever did on the Internet with Usenet and FTP. I remember when the WWW was supposed to work like wiki syntax. I remember the scandal of the first spams. There once was a non-commercial Internet. And it was not about harvesting your data to serve you better targeted advertisements. Change, as usual, was not an improvement. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 04:57, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
I can kind of see how being run by an aristocracy of Byrons and Hitchenses could avoid moral panics, but how would you stop the decay of aristocracy in the long run? How would you prevent the descendants of the initial aristocracy from descending into decadence, corruption and, most dangerously, idealism? RoninMacbeth (talk) 07:35, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
It's not a totalistic vision; the aristocratic house would be a part of government but not the whole thing. It's open to and in fact encourages a bit of decadence, which to me is one of the attractions of such a model. And that's probably the best defense against idealism as well. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 17:38, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

Side Note[edit]

In the Romanticism vs Enlightenment debate, which side would you say you are on? RoninMacbeth (talk) 04:59, 8 December 2017 (UTC)

{Late} Romantic to be sure. Baudelaire and Schopenhauer are the foundations. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 05:15, 8 December 2017 (UTC)

Merry Christmas![edit]

As a gift:

You've been nominated in the upcoming moderator elections. See the nomination at RationalWiki:Moderator elections/Nominations. RoninMacbeth (talk) 22:52, 25 December 2017 (UTC)

Doing Some Research[edit]

You seem to have written quite a bit about folklore here. Can you please provide me with any information about Celtic depictions of the Fair Folk? Also, is the whole Seelie/Unseelie Court thing fakelore? RoninMacbeth (talk) 05:03, 4 February 2018 (UTC)

Best resources I know for studying fairies are books by Katharine Briggs, esp. The Fairies in Tradition and Literature (1967) and An Encyclopedia of Fairies (1976). Ronald Hutton's recent The Witch (2017) also contains a helpful chapter on Celtic fairy lore as it had an impact on witch trials. The seelie and unseelie courts were mentioned in contemporary literary sources. But since the fairies were reckoned by believers as a malign host that needed appeasing, calling them seelie may have been out of fear or propitiation. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 05:14, 4 February 2018 (UTC)


I'm restarting the page (still in progress). Want to add anything? RoninMacbeth (talk) 19:53, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

Currently in hospital and handicapped; no use of right arm. Was unable to login until found a wkaround for inability to type umlaut. Looks like a reasonable start. Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 23:50, 24 March 2018 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Well, best wishes! RoninMacbeth (talk) 14:59, 25 March 2018 (UTC)

Awesome Award[edit]


A close up of an awesome, amazing goat's face.

Awesome Award

for Smerdis of Tlön/Archive1

Reason: being awesome

For well researched contributions to articles.—ClickerClock (talk) 07:10, 4 April 2018 (UTC)

Nominated for RMF Board[edit]

You've been nominated to the RationalMedia Foundation election. Please accept or decline; if you accept, you may wish to campaign. Sir ℱ℧ℤℤϒℂᗩℑᑭƠℑᗩℑƠ (talk/stalk) 06:54, 11 August 2018 (UTC)

Celtic Hypothesis[edit]

I read recently that the "Anglo-Saxons" of Heptarchy England are in fact part-Celtic Briton, and that Cerdic himself was probably Celtic. What do you think of this hypothesis? RoninMacbeth (talk) 21:45, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

Sorry about snapping at you earlier[edit]

I was in a really bad mood and I have difficulty figuring out whether someone is being facetious or not. Once again, I'm sorry. Towards-the Unknown (talk) 20:41, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

Strictly no problem. I've learned to walk away when it seems the right thing to do. Smerdis of Tlön, wekʷōm teḱs. 00:04, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
Mmm I should try learning how to do that sometime. Towards-the Unknown (talk) 01:18, 14 October 2018 (UTC)