Linky Friday #104: Security Edition


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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267 Responses

  1. Avatar Notme says:

    How could you miss the Supremes ruling that a fish is not a tangible object per Srabanes-Oxley?

  2. Avatar Glyph says:

    [W2] between this, the llamas and more discussion of a blue dress than I’ve seen since Bill was in office, I’m starting to rethink my stance on Net Neutrality. The Internet must be stopped.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

      Dude, the llamas justified the existence of the internet. The comments were hilarious, even more so when the black llama was captured but the white llama was still loose.

      The dress, on the other hand, was clearly a case of people going insane.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

        Color is a social construct.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        It sorta is.

        I almost wrote a post last night about color perception and the dress, and then realized that would be insane.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        (To expand on “It sorta is”):

        I initially saw the dress as white and gold, and could not understand what the fuss was about. Then R. told me it was blue and black, and my son told me it was blue and black. At that point, I started to notice a blue tint, which I almost certainly wouldn’t have seen otherwise, but it still looked mostly white and gold to me. So I found some obvious black in the image (the curtains on the lower left, which are black and white) and cropped the image so that only the dress and the curtains were visible. Immediately the blue popped out, and the gold looked black (or at least dark gray/brown). From that point on, I couldn’t see white and gold in the image at all.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Chris says:

        Can we all just agree that the dress, whatever its hue, was freaking hideous!

        The llamas were ookie-adorbz!Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Chris says:

        I saw it as sorta blueish, a little bit, and kinda a not-really-black but not-at-all gold kinda murky color.

        It made me wanna wear something RED!Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Chris says:

        Probably because you look fabulous in red.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

      The llamas video cheered my wife up after a truly horrible and soul breaking day manning the psych ward. So yay llamas!Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

      Man, I can’t keep up with the world. Can someone send me a daily summary of all llama, dress, and other pertinent news, ideally condensed to approximately 125 characters?Report

  3. Avatar Glyph says:

    [R6] “this new wave power system… I also like it as a way to power seasteads.”

    Perhaps from your new wave-powered seastead you will be able to observe Flocks of Seagulls.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    R6: just going to say again that seasteads are the worst idea ever.

    I1 is missing an actual hyperlink.

    J2: Japanese politics are more competitive now than they have been at any point since the Occupation (and probably, ever). (It’s certainly more competitive than the state of California). I’m not a fan either of some of the changes the article lists, but I also think this is a case where mores are more important than what’s written on a piece of paper.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Kolohe says:

      Technologically & economically , seasteads present some interesting challenges.

      Politically they have interesting opportunities.

      They one thing I don’t think Seasteaders have really thought about is security.Report

      • I just don’t see how Seasteading is possible in today’s world. If seasteaders arm themselves sufficiently to protect themselves from pirates and bandits, then they are going to be *so* armed that a nation-state(s) will probably perceive them as a potential threat and take them down.

        Don’t get me wrong, it’s an intriguing idea, but I just don’t see it happening without some sort of major (probably apocalyptic-level) upheaval to the modern world order that greatly reduces both communications abilities and the power of nation-states.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I kind of want it to happen just to hear Peter Thiel say “Please help me” when the Pirates come.Report

      • And Saul will look down, and whisper “no”.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I don’t think security is that big a problem – geographic isolation across a water boundary is a decent form of security, as demonstrated by the British Isles only getting invaded every 500 years or so.

        It’s the nexus of the political and the techno-economics that’s the problem. Maintaining a habitable platform in a salt water environment is a lot of fishin work (so to speak) and moreover, a lot of scut work.

        Thus, you’re either going to develop a ‘libertarian’ confederacy feudalism to achieve an economically efficient division of labor between those who chip & paint and those that prospect in the bit coin mines…
        …you’re going to develop some sort of authority that equitably divides the labor of habitat preservation that makes your libertarian project more resemble pure small c communism, or, at least, that is has a form of conscription.

        (A commune, though, would work just fine for a small seasteading project, the way it works just fine for abbeys, amish, new age religious types, and secular hippies on rural farms)

        The only other way a libertarian seasteading project is going to work is to develop enough autonomous robots such that the scut work ceases to be a human endeavor. And then you’re in a whole ‘nother realm of speculative fiction.Report

      • Kolohe hits on why I’ve always rolled my eyes at seasteading: salt water. It devours everything.Report

      • And Pondsteading is just ridiculous.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        “So far we haven’t been able to solve the koi problem.”Report

      • Siege Diary, Day 12

        Supplies running low; down to the last few Lorna Doones. Those kids better return my inner tube soon if they know what’s good for them.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Siege Diary, Day 16

        Isolation has become overwhelming. Friends, family, civilization: so far away. Maintaining sanity becoming difficult. Beginning to hear voices.

        Ordered Dominoes, forgot to tip driver. Will get him next time.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        I might make him say “Pretty Please with a Cherry on Top”Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        The nature of salt water isn’t an insurmountable challenge, any more than the void of space is. The US Navy and ship-builders around the world have already done the bulk of this work. At sea, weather is more of a danger than sea water. Although you aren’t wrong, maintenance at sea will present challenges, but again, these are things we already know how to do. The reason ships go into dry-dock for major work isn’t technical, is financial.

        Glyph is kind of right in that SeaSteads will have to be either very large, or very well armed, or both, to be able to resist pirates. The Horn of Africa has already shown us that pirates are more than willing to travel far out into open water to find targets, so that geographic isolation is not as effective as one would think. If one of these communities ever forms and they are not well armed & willing to fight, they won’t last long, even if they are off the coast of a friendly nation.

        However, I doubt any would get big enough that their cache of arms would pose a threat to any friendly nation-state (now if they park off the coast of Libya or Iran and get attacked like an unarmed wooden mockup…).

        Kolohe – that is the the heart of the interesting challenges that SeaSteads are meant to explore. Honestly I hope they do form, because, as you all should know by now, I am confident that we will someday form colonies in space, and SeaSteads would be a great way for people to experiment with what kinds of societies could form.Report

      • any friendly nation-state

        I guess my question is, why would any nation-state be friendly to them (what incentive do they have to be so)? Ideally, the seasteaders would prefer to not be beholden to outside authority, nor to pay it taxes. Realistically, they can pay what amounts to “protection money” to their coastal neighbor (assuming they have some resources with which to pay*), but then aren’t they basically just a territory of that nation, tax-paying citizens entitled to protection in all but name?

        *I guess if they have some sort of exceptionally valuable resource so that they can be considered a “trade partner” rather than “subject” that could work, but again my fear is that a nation-state would simply annex them to gain complete control of the resource, if the pirates don’t get them first.

        Also, what would said resources/trade items be? Desalinated water, maybe? Electricity from geothermal sea vents? Kelp farming?Report

      • MRS: I object, parking the hull of your habitat in the void of space is as far away from parking your hull in a caustic chemical bath as you can get. I’d hazard to say it’s almost the exact opposite in fact.

        Glyph, As far as I can imagine the only things seasteading has much practical hope of having a natural advantage over nation states in producing is unregulated data services. Otherwise terrestrial communities have them whupped in just about everything.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        MRS, when one thinks of a list of “organizations with libertarian tendencies that get by on a tight budget”, the United States Department of Defense doesn’t easily spring to mind.

        Sacrificial anodes will only get you so far. you do need to dry dock anything that floats from time to time. (the biggest problems with creating and maintaining museum ships is that you need a reliable stream of money to handle the periodic big overalls and a reliable pool of volunteers to take care of the small stuff between those maintenance period).

        Pirates are, in the main, rational actors. Your security posture just needs to enough to make it not worth it. (plus a safety margin. But yes, any given Sunday…).

        Governments are, in comparison, somewhat less rational, or rather, playing a different game. Governments will demand their tribute (i.e. taxes) for their self-proclaimed exclusive monopoly of keeping the commons safe. They can’t afford to make exceptions. Once word leaks out a government has gone soft, it will be nothing but work work work all the time.Report

      • Glyph:
        I’d hazard to opine that the criteria for “friendly nation state” is wider than you’re imagining. Basically any nation state that was content to ignore the seastead and raised few barriers to communication/travel to and from it would count as friendly. By those standards a lot of western states would probably qualify as friendly.Report

      • RE: space vs. sea, the specifics differ (corrosive salt water vs. meteorites/space junk, radiation, and hard vacuum) but the fact that in either case the medium the vessel is suspended in is exceptionally hostile and unforgiving seems to make them roughly equivalent enough to my mind.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Also, if sci fi movies have taught me anything, it’s that if we put a colony in space, aliens, ghost aliens, insanity, or hostile computers will kill everyone.

        See also: colonizing the sea floor.Report

      • @North – I just don’t see any nation-state being content to ignore a group of well-armed people that may be in possession of something valuable right off their coasts.

        We’ll start wondering “what they are up to, anyway?”, and we’ll hear rumors that the women and children are being abused out there (and in some cases, this will be true)…Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Protecting a seasteading operation from pirates would be a lot easier the protecting a shipping lane. The seastead doesn’t move.

        Just seed the area around it with mines, put buoys around the perimeter, and use radio signals to deactivate ’em when you want a ship to get through. Otherwise, kablooie.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Mines are definitely not going to make nation states more nervous about seasteaders. 😉Report

      • I was actually wondering if it’d be better if a Seastead operation CAN move, if the political situation changes (or impending attack, or even just for weather issues). Sea Romani.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        This thread is getting long.

        First, space is exceptionally more hostile to people and materials than salt water is. We have numerous materials that do not react with sea water. Weather and sea creature fouling are bigger concerns, especially if the object is not meant to move much*. Space is cold (which makes most materials very brittle), full of all sorts of nifty radiation that plays merry hell with our bodies, and a little low on atmospheric pressure. Of the two environments, space is currently the more hostile of the two.

        A SeaStead off the coast of the US, or Europe, would probably be left alone by those nations. The Navy or Coast Guard would probably not come to the rescue for every little thing, but they wouldn’t harass them either. Trust me, if the SeaStead is populated with Libertarian minded folk, they most likely would not want a military or para-military organization making regular visits. Of course, should the nearby government suddenly decide they wish to annex the SeaStead… I recall Patrick (I think) once talking about how this is a question that will likely be before the UN someday.

        The economic question, is of course, one of the interesting ones. SeaSteading would be a lot more expensive than living on land. The SeaStead will need to make some kind of money**. How they intend to do that will be something worth watching if one ever takes off.

        We can “dry dock” at sea, as well as do a host of other complicated maintenance & repair tasks. Again, the issue is financial, not technical. A SeaStead will have to be designed around the idea that it won’t see a dry dock regularly. Hence the technical challenge.

        *no reason they can’t move, albeit slowly.

        **kelp farming, fish farming, algae farming for fuel, desalination, entertainment venues, data storage, something else I haven’t dreamed up, something that will become possible via a recent technological advancement, who knows.Report

      • The UK doesn’t recognize Sealand, but has more-or-less left it alone, hasn’t it?Report

      • kelp farming, fish farming, algae farming for fuel, desalination, entertainment venues, data storage, something else I haven’t dreamed up, something that will become possible via a recent technological advancement, who knows.

        Under the UN Law of the Sea treaty, exclusive economic zones extend 200 nautical miles from the baseline, and the country has full pretty much full control over any economic activity (including energy production, which is where this thing started). This map gives some idea of the areas you have to avoid in order to stay clear of potential entanglements.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        That’s still a lot of ocean to live on.

        Whether or not you can make a living on it is still up for debate. But I don’t think too many SeaStead advocates think that home will be just over the horizon from the shore.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Seasteading is a wet dream.Report

      • Hey, watch the salty language.Report

      • MRS, I think I may be talking past you, my apologies. I’m thinking mostly chemical. If you put a plate of steel in the ocean for ten years and you put a similar plate of steel in space for ten years what are the respective plates going to look like? Plastic: same question.

        I do not contect at all that the sea is easier overall to live in as an immediate environment. There’s air water etc.. space is empty except for super fast little bits and nasty nasty radiation. That said, and correct me if I’m wrong here, the ocean and it’s chemical and biological components are gonna shred the materials that sit in them for a long time whereas a hull in space, absent a meteorite, is probably going to stay mostly the same. That was my sole point. Agreed entirely that a void habitat would have a lot more trouble to function.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Plastics are generally immune to the sea, aside from getting scummy. Steel isn’t.

        Both steel and plastic, when placed in space, will be about the same after a time (if the plastic does not thermally deform much). Radiation could damage both to some degree, depending on exposure amounts, etc.

        Now concrete, that can go a long time in seawater, especially if it is not steel reinforced.

        If I wanted to make a houseboat that needed little dry-dock maintenance, the hull would be plastic/fiberglass, or glass reinforced concrete, with an inner sandwich layer of foam and then an inner hull of plastic/fiberglass or a thin concrete layer. Since this isn’t a ship or boat that needs to be streamlined, you don’t need troublesome openings in the lower hull that can get fouled and need regular cleaning. Then the only concern you have is if something impacts the hull and cracks it. Then you will probably need to get up out of the water to make permanent repairs, but even that can be done at sea in calm water.Report

      • MRS, I’m probably just thinking about the wrong kinds of plastics when I think of so many that turn brittle and crumble after exposure to the sea for a while; likewise those that organisms will degrade and devour.

        That said, when we’re talking about building seasteads, salt is a real devil and it gets all over the place so you’d have to avoid building anything with steel or metal just about anywhere. Fiberglass is also a highly fatigue prone material and over time it looses strength through flexing cycle. That’s no small thing if you’re planning on building a seastead to last for a generation or what have you on rolling pulsing waters. I guess in my mind floating in the vacuum of space is probably easier on most materials than floating in the sea.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Let’s just settle on “there are materials, coatings, treatments & other technologies that can readily survive the environment”, so that is not so much the challenge at hand as how such a community can thrive in that environment (just surviving is not a sufficient condition to prove the concept).Report

  5. Avatar Glyph says:

    C1: Merrill needed Wesley Willis to protect him.Report

  6. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    [I1] Check out the darkmail project

    Technically fascinating, the people behind are top-notch brains, and they have a track record of really, really wanting you to have security against everyone, including themselves. This is the first credible attempt I’ve seen at email security that doesn’t start with “first we take SMTP. Then we take this security, and this duct tape.”

    There’s audio of a conference presentation on it here – I couldn’t find video.Report

  7. Avatar Chris says:

    C5: The Secret: Password Edition!Report

  8. Avatar Kim says:

    Surprised at how many things you oughtn’t to store in the fridge are getting stored there. Wine, bread…
    Their eggs are only a month expired. haha. Ours are at least a year old.Report

  9. Avatar veronica d says:

    C4 — I’m not a big fan of concealed carry (she says surprising no one), but if folks are going to be toting guns around, I really want their cultural narratives to not be complete shit. The idea that you are the big-special person is no doubt intoxicating to those with insecurities, and George Zimmerman is an obvious outcome of that myth. Indeed, maybe if Zimmerman had better stories to tell himself, about who he was and how he should be, a young man would be alive who is not.

    To the man who wrote that article, heck yes. Preach it brother.Report

  10. Avatar veronica d says:

    J1 — OMG!

    At the risk of another veronica anti-incel-culture rant — OMFG. Seriously guys, stop this shit. It’s just I can’t even what the fuck.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to veronica d says:

      Granted, humor is pretty culture-dependent, but are we sure they aren’t screwing around? “Oppressive chocolate capitalists” and “The Revolutionary Alliance of Men that Women find Unattractive” sure makes it seem that way…Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

      One of our local bars has a “Love Stinks. Let’s Drink!” valentine’s day celebration.

      It’s pretty smart. If you’re going to a valentine’s day thingy, you’re probably going somewhere classy. If you’re single, you’re probably ticked that you can’t go to many of the places that you might have wanted to go (not that you would have, of course… but just knowing that you couldn’t get a booth at Trying-To-Be-Upscale-Chain even if you wanted one can create weird feelings in the back of your lizard brain).

      So the Not-Upscale-At-All places can try to capitalize on the lingering resentment of the people who couldn’t get into Chez Classis.

      There’s gold to be mined in them thar hills.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to veronica d says:

      One of the intersting things when I read Norwegian Wood was how it treated radical protesters so indifferently. Not a hint of the romanticism I’m used to seeing in American fiction, nor much indication of menace.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

        Japan is an almost naturally apolitical place. Most Japanese care less about politics than the average American. In their fiction, government and politics are nearly absent except maybe in the form of top secret government departments or police forces that don’t have to deal with the democratic process. You can have alien invasion stories without an elected politician in it. In America, regardless of your politics, having an alien invasion without at least some references to the President or Congress is unthinkable.

        Thats why there is no indication of romanticism or menace with the radical protestors in Norwegian Woods. They are basically impotent for good or ill and nearly all Japanese know this.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        1. Norwegian Wood, not Woods.

        2. There was a line from the narrator about how the protestors would all cut their hair and put on suits and ties once they graduated. Basically, they were seen as hypocrites.Report

  11. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Isn’t being smug about your politics universal? There are plenty of times I think libertarians and people on the right are smug about their politics.Report

  12. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Fancy NYC private schools try and deal with privilege:

    These sorts of stories always seem way too close to self-parody to me and very much like trying to have your cake and eat it too. You feel proud about sending your kid to a progressive school that deals with inequality and privilege but you aren’t going to stop sending your kid to a fancy private school that costs lots of money in tuition.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Isn’t this the article that Freddie went on and on about?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

        I don’t know. I don’t read Freddie on a regular basis.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

        A google search says yes.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

        He is being classic Freddie and I don’t think he is incorrect but he is more right than not. This does really seem like a way of wanting to keep your privilege but also kind be seen as doing something about it.

        I did like his comment about how the best defense is a good offense.

        In some ways, conservatism is at least more honest in its defense of privilege.

        I grew up extremely comfortably. I attended a well-healed suburban high school that could easily compete with the best private high schools but I always thought there was something off about how the most radical people I knew always seemed to be really rich white kids who went to impressive private schools and they had fond memories for the alternative nature of their progressive private schools and kind of snideness about public school.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        Yes, what bemuses me about his response is the circularity of it. If people ignored the lefts criticisms then they’re being ignorant and *insert you’re preferred word*ist but if they try and address the lefts criticisms then they’re just coopting them. Thus the leftward fringe insures its fringe state.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        It’s only circular if you believe they’re actually trying to address them. Freddie’s point is explicitly that they are not actually trying to address them.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to North says:

        Reading the NYT piece the various teachers come off as earnest and well intentioned with an eye towards correcting past errors. It all seemed pretty decent to me. For anyone to talk about race or ethnicity or culture they first do have to understand where they came from, they own background and how it affects them. It makes perfect sense for HS kids to talk about how labels affect them and how to discuss them. The criticism is verging on the ” well if you don’t completely fix the entire problem then your efforts are foolish and silly”. You know, how dare rich lucky kids talk about racism if they are going to donate all their money to charity.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


        I agree with Freddie and Chris. These schools aren’t actually addressing privilege, they are merely putting on the appearance of trying to address it and in the end this puts privilege on other places and some weird quarters. So people who move to suburbs with good public schools end up being more evil somehow than people who grew up in Greenwich Village townhouses or a classic Central Park West apartment and attending some of the world’s most exclusive prep schools.

        My undergrad had 60 percent of the student body come from a public high school (usually upper-middle class and suburban) and 40 percent come from private school (usually highly elite private schools, not a run-of-the-mill parochial school). My private school friends would talk about how their schools gave scholarships to really disadvantaged students and they did, I know people who attended K-12 private school on very generous scholarships.

        The problem is that this is more like giving a select few people keys to the kingdom over any substantive change like improving public schools across the board. Most people are seemingly unaware of this even when you point it out. They sneer at public schools and their constraints but are oblivious to the fact that you can’t give every poor kid a scholarship to Philips Exeter and have it be Philips Exeter but you can give 5-10 kids free rides and have Philips Exeter be Philips Exeter.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to North says:

        So what exactly should this schools be doing to end racism that will fit into their curriculum and take up one or two class periods. Is there a school project on ” Changing the Fundamental Nature of Modern American Society” some 11th graders can do so they can get into a good Ivy. I can see how some of this kind of school stuff could easily fail or be beyond silly. But there are schools for Nimoy’s sake. They dont’ actually control the country. They are trying to educate their kids and i’m not really seeing criticisms of the actual programs or classes, just some dissatisfaction they aren’t solving all our problems so they are fools.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        This school can’t end racism. That’s part of the point. What’s more, the school itself is part of the very system that maintains the very privilege it is teaching its students to point out (largely in others).

        Perhaps, and this is just off the cuff, the school should actually teach the kids about inequality, poverty, race, etc., rather than have some guy with some Power Point slides come in and run some team-building exercises adapted to use the language of “social justice.” Perhaps promote volunteering with the sorts of charities and non-profits that do work on the ground with significantly less privileged people. These things likely won’t change most of these kids’ life trajectories, which will again be reinforced privilege on top of reinforced privilege, but it might open some eyes a little bit.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        Read Freddie’s post again. He’s making an argument, with a fairly clear point, but y’all are reacting to some straw man version of it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        Perhaps they should devote 33% of the seats in their classes to lower income students.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


        In my experience these programs are nothing new. Variants of them existed when I was in high school from 1994-1998 and my private school-educated college classmates seemed to have variants. Or they would talk about how great their school was for giving scholarships and also look a bit snidely down on anyone who attended some hum-drum public school that couldn’t act as a mini-college preview.

        Sociologically what is interesting to me is how much this debates diverges on the definition of what it means to do right by and for your children.

        My parents were of the mindset that you do right by your kids by finding a town with a good school district and moving there. My mom was a public school teacher and administrator in NYC and even back in the 1980s, she thought that the NYC private school rat race was absolutely insane and it has only grown more insane. Also in the suburbs, kids would have trees, parks, places to ride their bikes with relative safety, etc. Kids were still allowed to do stuff on their own in the 1980s.

        My friends who grew up in cities and attended generally attended fancy private schools (some attended the select public high schools*) seemed to have grown up with parents who think you do right by having kids grow up in diverse environments and suburbs were so boring and monochrome and limiting. Yet they went to pretty homogeneous schools for the most part and grew up in generally nice gigs. There is something about getting to walk around the City on your own or with friends as a middle or high school kid though I guess.

        *The ones that attended the select public high schools almost always had a sibling that failed to get into one of the select public high schools and I would hear about parents doing mad dashes during the 8th grade to find an acceptable private high school for their kids.

        I am deeply curious about the sociological differences on doing right.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        Perhaps if we just teach them to take Matthew 19:21 seriously. At least the Christians among them, that is.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        What I enjoy about Freddie’s post so much is that with just a little changing of the phrasing, it could be a short Mencius Moldbug post.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to North says:

        Okay Jay is fine with affirmative action and quotas. Gotcha.

        Chris. Yeah volunteering is all good, taking action would be good. But that , while a good thing, wouldn’t change everything. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do it though. I’ll note in discussions of what upper class kids do to get into good schools it is mentioned they often do volunteer and do “good works” and that is always seen as just stuff rich kids to do. So i’m guessing some of these kids are doing good works and that will end up being binned into “just to get into a good school” stuff.

        I used to work for a minority owned agency. It was run by an Alaska Native corporation where ethnicity was a big deal. I would talk to every client about their ethnicity and what that meant to them. This was in a substance abuse program so the clients all had serious issues to deal with. Learning how their culture and they viewed it was important for everybody, white, black, Alaska Native. Each person saw things a bit differently and their culture affected them differently. Same deal with the Men’s Group i ran. Being a man was important and they each needed to learn what it meant to them and what the messages they got about being a man was and how it affected their substance abuse.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

        The entire debate about social justice classes at exclusive private schools reminds me of what I hate the most about the debates over single-sex education. Proponents of single-sex education for girls somehow thing that all the single-sex girl’s schools would end up something like a really exclusive private or boarding school. This is not economically feasible. If we split schooling by gender, most all-girl schools are going to end up like an ordinary high school but populated by one gender.

        @saul-degraw is right that allowing a few underprivileged kids to go to exclusive private schools on scholarship is a band-aid rather than actual cure for the problems of inequality. So is privileged kids discussing about privilege with other privileged kids. Its a show and a ritual but not an actual solution to any problem.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        greg, no one’s asking them to change everything. Once you recognize that, I think you’ll at least be able to engage with what Freddie’s saying.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to North says:

        Saul, I guess i wonder what people think this kind of stuff should be replaced with or picturing the alternatives. If it is volunteering that is good but i think you have to have these kind of discussions first in many cases to make the volunteers more effective or at least not clueless. I have no problem seeing some of these programs as dimwitted but it is better then just spending their time talking about how wonderful they are for being smarter and better then everybody else. They may not be perfect but they are venturing in the right direction, or the right vector for Jay, which is good enough.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        Okay Jay is fine with affirmative action and quotas.

        For other people? Absolutely.

        I just don’t want them to apply to me and mine in my particular corners.

        Is your office diverse, Greg? I mean, they hired you… should I see that as a warning sign? Please start rattling off the different ethnicities of your co-workers and how many of them are one of your best friends.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to North says:

        Jay…so is this where libertarians come of as being snide or is it smug or something else. Maybe you are just to good for the likes of us.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        I think part of Freddie’s point is that this isn’t really educating them about privilege and its effects. It’s merely giving them a language with which to talk about it in a way that doesn’t threaten their privilege in the least. If you were to actually teach them about privilege, you might at the very least create some dissonance.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        Maybe you are just to good for the likes of us.

        I prefer to see myself as exactly what you deserve.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


        Chris is hitting the right points. I also would potentially ban K-12 private school as an experiment for a year and see what happens but the chances of that happening are slim to none.

        Programs like this just give kids some vocab but still stay in the comfort zone.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to North says:

        Jay-So you’ve been proselytizing to people you entire life. How is that working out for you? Is it good for your ego? Certainly seems like it. I do appreciate you Divine Knowledge about what we all deserve.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to North says:

        Chris, i think my point is that to get people to learn about something they have to have a vocabulary and some theoretical understanding. Some of those rich kids will have that already some won’t. It you take a bunch of kids to a homeless shelter some of them will have empathy and understanding other will just see a bunch of smelly drunks. Give them some teaching about homelessness first and maybe they will see a bit more then the dregs of society.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        We should start an exchange program in which Upper East Side kids spend a year living with a family in the Bronx, or in Newark, or one of the poorer towns in Connecticut, and a kid from one of those places lives with a family in the Upper East Side and goes to one of them fancy prep schools.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        Greg, I agree, and I would love to see these schools implement a program in which these kids are truly educated about things like race and gender and privilege. I’m sure Freddie would too.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        I see myself as a sower, Greg. Sometimes the seeds fall on the path and the ravens of the air swoop down and gobble the seeds up. Sometimes I throw seeds into weedy soil where they start to grow but are quickly choked out by established weeds. Sometimes I throw seeds into rocky soil where they start out looking healthy, but can’t really gain purchase and go on to be scorched by the sun. But, sometimes, I throw into fertile soil and watch the seeds multiply five, ten… a hundred fold.

        But I don’t think that I’m as interesting as, say, what Freddie’s arguing here.

        He’s got some really, really interesting insights though, from where I sit, he fails to see the fundamental problem as iatrogenic. I have no doubt that a robust search for truth will eventually lead him to some really uncomfortable conclusions.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

        I also would potentially ban K-12 private school as an experiment for a year and see what happens but the chances of that happening are slim to none.

        Since that’s twelve different kids of unconstitutional.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to North says:

        Jay-Hmmm i wonder if there are any externalities to randomly scattering your seed all over the place.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        Well yes, I was harsh. Really Freddie’s post is more despairing than angry by my read. He’s essentially noting that capitalism and modern liberal capitalism especially is really good at approriating things to defang its opposing ideologies. I’d ask, though, if society keeps appropriating the meme’s of the left and internalizing them eventually won’t that make society better?
        Where I think Freddie comes a bit unhinged is where he writes as if this is a scheme being hatched in some smoke filled room somewhere instead of the unconscious reactions of large numbers of people.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        I don’t read it as a conscious conspiracy at all. I think you’re reading that into it.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


        My general experience is that this just becomes a form of cultural capital and is basically used in college campuses to make other white, upper-middle class kids feel bad especially if they went to public schools and were not up on the lingo.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        Chris: possibly. I feel like “best defense is a good offense” and similar statements suggests instrumentality and consciousness to it but YYMV.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        Yeah, it’s a common misreading of the sorts of claims and arguments he’s making, because the people who make them have to choose between obscurity (and charges of nonsense) or a language that suggests intention and anthropomorphizes what are largely impersonal and institutional/systemic patterns rather than individual or even intentional group behaviors.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        I think Freddie does, kinda, assume a level of “a reasonable person should be able to see what they’re *REALLY* doing” when it comes to the teachers in those schools.

        This is what allows him to assume that this is a solvable problem.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to North says:

        “I think Freddie does, kinda, assume a level of “a reasonable person should be able to see what they’re *REALLY* doing” when it comes to the teachers in those schools.”

        It is a classically liberal failing to assume that the problem is Bad People, and that if only all the bad people were got rid of then everything would be fine.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I take it that classes like this are the source of Social Justice Warriors? Sometimes I really wish that the American class system more closely aligned with politics like it did in the past. Rich privileged people that admit to being aristocratic are somewhat easier to deal with.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I like how the kids have picked up that “privileged” is not something that they want to be called.

      Presumably, it’s something they still want to be.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful filthy rich.”Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

        “We could wish you homeless
        Under a ledge
        With a mind that burns
        Through the skull’s thin edge–
        Better so,
        In the steely rain,
        Than plump and cozy
        In belly and brain.”

        … man, the New Yorker published some great stuff in its time, didn’t it?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        If only privilege could be limited to money!

        Then we’d be able to redistribute privilege.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird says:

        @jaybird has summed this up in a way that I have been trying to in my head. To paraphrase that Paul Mooney quote from Chappelle’s Show:

        Everybody wants to be privileged, but nobody wants to be privileged.


      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        Everyone wants to be privileged, but nobody wants to be called that. Just like people who were born on third base want to think they hit a triple.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yeah, those kids are really clueless.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird says:

        Just like people who were born on third base want to think they hit a triple.

        If only people had more than two choices…Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        Like realize that the guys on first and second had something to do with you being on third?

        I know, that’s crazy talk.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Mid innings interview:

        “So, how does it feel being on third base?”

        “Well, I feel like it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication. I feel like I deserve it.”

        “Really? You were walked on four pitches; the pitcher balked you to second; and a passed ball to the backstop brought you to third.”

        “Why are you oppressing me, bro?”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        It’s one thing to be on third, it’s quite another to *DESERVE* to be on third.

        Just as it’s one thing to deserve to strike out, it’s quite another to be struck out when the umpires should have been calling balls.

        And how come all of the umpires have been born on third? And how come they all get really pissed when you ask them how come there aren’t any umpires that struck out consistently?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        And, really, isn’t being on third at all, for any reason, somewhat problematic when there are so many being struck out?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        Gambling FDIC-insured funds in unregulated, opaque, five-levels -away-from-reality derivatives is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        And, really, isn’t being on third at all, for any reason, somewhat problematic when there are so many being struck out?

        Jaybird, if you’re gonna spoof notme, you gotta imply that liberals want to eliminate all the bases on which folks can be scored.

        Good try tho!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Sorry, should have rephrased. “If you’re on third base, you didn’t hit that.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Gambling FDIC-insured funds in unregulated, opaque, five-levels -away-from-reality derivatives is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

        If that’s the definition we’re using, not only are the kids at Phillips Exeter upset at being called privileged, 99% of them are *RIGHT* to be upset that people are calling them privileged.


      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        “If you’re on third base, you didn’t hit that.”

        Exactly right! My best, gut-informed, guess would be that less than 1% of offensive players at third base got there via a triple. (Triples are only something like 2-3% of all hits…)

        Hmmm, the one percenters….

        So, you’re right. 99:1 against the proposition that “they hit that!”.

        (See how I went from gut-level intuition to fact in one fluid comment? I’ll try to find the numbers, but frankly I haven’t found em yet. Maybe Schilling can come to the rescue with some MLB stats.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Getting a bit off-thread here, but it’s surprising to me that I can’t find league wide totals for categories of hits and the subsequent breakdown by percentage. (admittedly, my search abilities aren’t the best.)

        It’s also weird that in this modern day of sabermetrics I can’t find the percentage of folks who got to third via a triple vs all the other ways to get there.

        {{Frustrated “hrmmm”….}}Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:


        For 2013 there were 927 triples outa 42063 total hits. About 2.4 percent, by guestimate, which is consistent with what I said upthread.

        Still can’t find the number of runners at third relative to triples, tho. *That’s* the important percentage to utterly destroy this whole analogy!Report

  13. Avatar LWA says:

    It is nice to hear from gun nuts who aren’t sidewalk commandos.
    However this part needs a bit of discussion:

    “Carrying a gun should be a boring, mundane, thing. You get up, you put your pants on, your clip your knife in your pocket, you buckle on your gun. The same as buckling your seat belt. You don’t do it because you’re cool, you do it because you’re a responsible adult who takes care of his own safety.”

    OK, if you are a police officer, security guard or diamond courier I can get behind this and agree.

    If you are Joe Citizen going to Starbucks? Sorry, that is insane. There just isn’t any rational reason why an ordinary citizen in an ordinary town doing ordinary things has any reasonable basis for being armed with a deadly weapon.

    There are two premises here that I dispute.
    One is that the threat level justifies deadly force. Everyone agrees that violent crime has been dropping across America for decades. And if you weed out criminal-on-criminal violence, domestic violence or suicide, the odds that you will be mugged or attacked on your way to Starbucks are insanely low.

    Second is the notion that a “responsible adult …takes care of his own safety” is less insane, but more insidious.

    It implies that there doesn’t exist a capable competent entity that can be counted on the enforce the law and protect public safety. It posits that every individual is a law unto themselves, and in every situation can and should evaluate, judge, and execute without oversight or recourse.

    This is a Bizarro World version of Broken Windows, where the lawless terrifying state of communities is assumed to be the status quo, where the solution to crime is not a more effective police force, but an abandonment of it in favor of Walking Dead style vigilantism.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to LWA says:

      “There just isn’t any rational reason why an ordinary citizen in an ordinary town doing ordinary things has any reasonable basis for being armed with a deadly weapon.”

      Grizzlies. Coyotes (they eat cats! Surely you’d shoot to save your cat???).

      Besides not everyone is your “ordinary citizen.”

      Continue to strongly advise everyone not to keep guns in the house (they’re really poor for house defense), and to Please Not Pick Up a Gun if you find it Geocaching. Like, seriously, don’t trade your Nirvana CD for a gun. That’s probably not a real geocache.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to LWA says:

      It implies that there doesn’t exist a capable competent entity that can be counted on the enforce the law and protect public safety. It posits that every individual is a law unto themselves, and in every situation can and should evaluate, judge, and execute without oversight or recourse.

      You mean the police that we regularly criticize has being trigger happy, having no legal obligation to endanger themselves to protect others, and who have almost zero oversight or accountability?

      How often do you read about a story of police being called, arriving on scene & escalating a situation to the point of deadly force?

      The problem with the police is, all other things aside, the lack of consistency with regard to response. If you call them for help, you never know if you are going to get Officer Friendly, or Trooper Trigger Happy, or something in between.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I’d say the opposite, really. maybe that’s just where I’m from. But they know who votes, and they know who pays their salaries, and the cops treat people accordingly. There’s a reason I live where I do.

        I could probably trust you to do the sensible thing (I’d like to meet you first, though). I know people who I wouldn’t trust with a gun except if I needed someone willing to shoot (the words PTSD and “jumpy guy” belong in there).Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        “where the solution to crime is not a more effective police force, but an abandonment of it in favor of Walking Dead style vigilantism.”Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        so… Argentina?
        People got sick of that pretty fast, honestly.Report

      • Avatar dexter in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        MRS, That is so true. About six years ago my wife and I were doing our Sunday before Mardi Gras in New Orleans on Canal across the street from MicDs and I crossed the road to go get some coffee. The police don’t like for people to walk across the roads during parades. One of the parades was close so I pointed to my wife and asked a cop if he minded if I crossed before the parade arrived. He said sure. I crossed the road, sat down when another cop came up and snarled at me about crossing. I told him that the cop across the street said go ahead. He said, “Look, don’t lie to me you motherfucker or I will throw your punk ass in jail.” I didn’t say anything, but I did wonder how that way to talking to people worked in volatile situations.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        That is a huge leap from “taking care of one’s own safety” to “Welcome to the collapse of civilization”. Especially when taking care of one’s own safety includes ideas like “don’t go places or get into situations where you might need a gun if you can possibly avoid it”.

        I will absolutely give you that violent crime is way down and the motivation to carry is significantly diminished, especially amongst people like me, who have little cause to find myself in areas where bad things happen.

        But then, the right to carry isn’t just for me. It’s also for people who do live in places where bad things happen, and where police response is a long time coming.

        I mean, the right to free speech, in a perfect world where everyone agrees & government is always accountable, reasonable, responsible, and attentive to it’s duties, isn’t really necessary. But even if that world existed, I’d still want free speech, just in case things changed in a bad way and that right suddenly became very important.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        This is where the conversation always seems to go:
        LWA- “There is no rational need for a gun”
        Gun Nut- “Yeah, but I wanna, and the SCOTUS sez I can.”

        Beneath all of the polished rhetoric about safety and responsibility, what is left unaddressed is the corrosive effect open guns have on our ability to be secure. Everyone except the gun owner is now less secure and less able to enjoy their freedoms.Report

      • Everyone can agree on reasonable and rational limitations on freedom except for people who are unreasonable and irrational.

        Everybody knows that.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Likewise,everyone can agree that there should be no restrictions on their own freedoms or their favored practices. Because it’s not like they or people like them would ever do anything dangerous or wrong, let alone crazy.Report

      • As vegetarians I’m sure that we can quickly come to an accord that it’s not too much to ask that we, as a society, cut down on our meat consumption.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        There is no rational need for a gun

        This assumes facts not in evidence. Some people feel there is a rational need for a gun. I can produce data that demonstrate that some people have demonstrated a very rational need for a gun. And since the government can not with any measure of accuracy determine who or when such a need may arise, it is best for all to let the individual decide.

        I’m fine with shall-issue concealed carry, to reduce the so-called “corrosive effect” you imagine there is. People with such permits tend to be more law-abiding than the general population (there is data to show this).

        I’m fine with some kind of training requirement, for whatever good it does.

        And honestly, because I am a person who really, REALLY does not want to severely injure or kill anyone, I would happily ban the carry of handguns, as soon as something that is equally effective and portable as a firearm is widely and affordably available to the public.

        I’m not married to the gun, I am interested only in allowing people the ability and the tools with which to protect themselves most effectively. If such a means could consistently incapacitate an attacker with reduced risk of injury or death, I’d turn in my handguns to get one.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Except of course for long pork, the silly prejudices against its consumption being exactly that.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        “Some people feel there is a rational need for a gun.”
        I referenced this argument- Its called “But I wanna.”

        “I can produce data that demonstrate that some people have demonstrated a very rational need for a gun.”

        Really? Aside from LEOs, security guards, couriers and criminals?

        Whose neighborhood is so dangerous that reasonable people would agree that a deadly weapon is necessary when going about their daily affairs?Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Long Pork?Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Really? Aside from LEOs, security guards, couriers and criminals?

        And anyone who has used one to defend themselves from aforementioned criminals. It happens, and not every defensive use results in shots fired.

        Whose neighborhood is so dangerous that reasonable people would agree that a deadly weapon is necessary when going about their daily affairs?

        Let’s start in Detroit & go from there. I mean, the police chief was telling people to arm themselves because they could not respond.

        Just because you have never found yourself in fear for your life from an assailant does not mean others have not. As safe as our society is becoming, it still has it’s dark & dangerous corners that people have little choice but to inhabit. And it always will.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        “Long Pork?”

        a Donner kebob.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        OK, so this is where we reach agreement, that defensive use via guns does happen.
        So we start with (certain portions of) Detroit and go…where, exactly?
        Manhattan? Los Angeles? Seattle?

        Aside from the fevered fantasies of some suburbanites, most inner city areas are not so dangerous that ordinary precautions aren’t sufficient. You are safer walking through New York City today than at any time in your lifetime.

        The reason I am dwelling on this, is once you grind through all the reasons offered (Security! Crime!) it turns out that the actual need for carrying a gun occurs in very rare cases, in very isolated places by remarkably few people.

        Yet this is NOT the argument being offered most times, especially by Caleb, the reasonable sounding guy on the original link.

        He makes it sound like everyone strapping on a gun to wander down to Starbucks is a perfectly reasonable thing, you know, just how everyday Americans go about their business. “you put on your pants, and strap on a gun and knife…”

        Its this warped Mad Max view of our society that I am so adamantly opposed to. It feeds on the inchoate fear that many people have, that vague unspecified fear of Something Bad, by Scary Others, even when that fear is vastly overblown and irrational.

        I wrote about the Chicago black site, that this sort of out of control lawless behavior by government grows directly from this fear. So long as the people are terrified and convinced that nowhere is safe, they will be easy prey for the very tyranny that gun nuts like to claim they are resisting.Report

      • @mad-rocket-scientist
        All I ask for is that anyone who discharges a firearm in a non-training non-hunting situation, particularly in an urban/suburban setting, go through the same review that local law-enforcement does. If the gun is fired in an area where there is no such review for officers, then don’t do one for civilians; if police turn in their weapons and go through a formal review, same treatment for civilians. Just my (probably naive) thought that if people know they will be asked to explain themselves if the behave carelessly/stupidly, they are less likely to behave that way in the first place.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Except for some places here & there, where the law is a bit more idiosyncratic, a civilian will ALWAYS endure a more stringent review of the justification for the discharge of a firearm than a police officer will. The firearm in question is ALWAYS surrendered to the police, and not always returned.

        As a matter of fact, I’ve often said that we’d be better off if police faced the level of scrutiny that civilians do in use-of-force cases.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Sorry, weekend happened. If you don’t mind, I will reply to you in a guest post I hope Tod will find worthy of putting up. I should have it ready in a day or two, when I can sneak in time between school, work, & The Holy Terror of Joy.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Coyotes, cats. I know people who have been attacked by marauding dogs — in a city park.

        If you had the law at an hour’s response time, you’d want a fucking gun.

        I mostly make the argument that liberals don’t account for the many people who live and work in dangerous places.

        Hey, yeah, I know a guy (friend of a friend) who is a hired gun. his job is to shoot wildlife.Report

      • Except for some places here & there, where the law is a bit more idiosyncratic, a civilian will ALWAYS endure a more stringent review of the justification for the discharge of a firearm than a police officer will.

        If true, concealed-carry advocates ought to publicize that much more heavily. You read a story about someone’s handgun going off at Wal-Mart or a diner. Assuming it happened in my state, the statute (thank you for prompting me go to read it) seems to imply that would be “reckless discharge,” a class 5 felony (one-to-three year prison term). You never see stories about the follow-up to those incidents. I think publicizing the story that “the idiot was investigated, convicted of the felony, and permanently lost their right to a concealed-carry permit” is compelling; OTOH, n “the DA declined to prosecute or it was bargained down to a misdemeanor and the guy is still carrying a gun around” story is more problematic.

        Does anyone keep track of stuff like this?Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        I don’t know of anyone who tracks such things, and likewise such negligent discharge events are not reported to the feds, so there is no easy database to ply.

        From the scuttlebutt I hear, if no one is injured (aside from the person responsible), the firearm in question is usually confiscated and the person pleads to a misdemeanor with a strong warning that next time the DA won’t be so merciful.

        If the person shoots himself, I think the DA figures the scar should be sufficient reminder to deal with most cases of stupidity and it’s usually a misdemeanor plea. If there is a bystander injury, then such incidents are dealt with much more harshly (a person who carries a gun is, after all, legally responsible for every bullet that is fired from it, intentionally or otherwise) and the fuller weight of the law is brought to bear.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        My previous comment dealt with negligent discharges.

        Shootings that are not clearly negligent, which involve shooting at someone (warning shots or unintentional miss), do tend to get prosecuted unless it was pretty clear there was a justification.

        Also, warning shots, despite the bad advice of Joe Biden, are illegal pretty much everywhere. I tell people, if you fire a warning shot, never tell that to the police; tell them you fired and missed & then the assailant ran away.Report

      • @mad-rocket-scientist
        I can hear my small-town Iowa grandfather — avid gun-owner and hunter — or my small-town Iowa uncle the Green Beret, either of whom would have said “If you’re going to carry a gun around with a round in the chamber, you’re way past the ‘negligent’ stage of things when it goes off.”Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        A modern firearm secured in a good holster made to fit it should prevent a discharge as long as the firearm is in the holster, even if a round is chambered.

        The common themes I see when I hear of a negligent discharge are:

        Dropped the firearm & tried to catch it (pro tip: catching a dropped firearm is about as smart as catching a dropped knife; let it hit the floor, firearms get drop tested at the factory to make sure the design will not discharge from a 10 foot drop). Failure point – why was your firearm not in it’s holster?

        Put the firearm in a pocket sans holster, and then was either playing with the firearm in the pocket, or the trigger caught on something in the pocket. Failure point 1 – why was your firearm not in it’s holster? Failure point 2 – why were you playing with it? Failure point 3 – why was anything else in that pocket with your firearm.

        Was showing the firearm off without clearing it first, and was not keeping the 4 rules holy. Failure point 1 – why was your firearm not in it’s holster? Failure point 2 – why were you playing with it?

        Sensing a commonality here?Report

      • Sensing a commonality here?

        Absolutely. I suppose what I’m asking is why, if someone demonstrates ignorance of and/or willful disregard for proper handling of the weapon, there’s not an automatic temporary suspension of the right to carry? I think I’m pretty close to a direct quote from my uncle here: “With insignificant exceptions, a weapon with a chambered round here in the diner or out there on the sidewalk is a single-purpose device: it’s for killing people, or scaring people with the threat of being killed. Any demonstration that you don’t understand the responsibilities that come with that should be punished, promptly and without exception.”

        In some sense, I’m arguing that the laws on the books are too harsh. The DA we mentioned up above has to make choices — she can prosecute a pretty-much open-and-shut felony case and take away the person’s right to a concealed-carry permit forever; or she can charge them with a misdemeanor and fine them (confiscate the weapon, but they can buy a replacement tomorrow); or she can take a no-harm-no-foul attitude. I’d like something different: behave stupidly and take a temporary punishment. First offense, six months permit suspension; second offense, two years; third offense — well, at some point we have to say that they’re just too dumb to learn responsible behavior.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        I agree that the law should be toned down a bit (there are a lot of areas of the law, especially with regard to firearms regulation, where I think the penalty for a first offense is way too severe absent something else going on), but I don’t think people who have an ND just shake it off. A carry permit is almost always automatically suspended if the holder is under criminal investigation or indictment (varies from state to state), and if the holder is under state supervision, it’s suspended or revoked (again, varies).

        So the guy who has an ND in a public place will be without a permit until the DA is done with him, and since a lot of higher level misdemeanors can include some type of probation, the permit will remain suspended until the probation is complete.Report

      • Perhaps it’s just the state I live in. Colorado is — today — a medium-sized well-to-do well-educated highly-urbanized state (maybe not urbanized by Saul’s standards, but you know what I mean). There’s still a fair amount of our small poor more-rural history embedded in statute and the constitution. Gun registration systems are forbidden. County sheriffs have pretty much absolute control over concealed-carry permits and are not required to report issuance to a central authority (about two-thirds of sheriffs, but representing a minority of the population, decline to report; state authorities admit that the published number for valid permits in the state is an educated guess). The Denver DA’s ability to do anything about a permit issued by the San Miguel County Sheriff is… well, it’s probably a research question without an obvious answer. Much of what you describe as “happening… automatically” doesn’t or can’t happen here.

        The times are changing, though. It’s become trendy for rural legislators to talk about “the Front Range’s war on rural Colorado.” I heard one the other day saying that while it was true that the Front Range was doing well economically these days, they weren’t “sharing” that success with the rural areas. I had an opportunity to speak briefly with one such legislator a few weeks back and suggested gently that he appeared to have no idea what an actual “war on rural Colorado” would look like in a state where it’s easy to get constitutional amendments on the ballot, a simple majority in the statewide general election is enough to pass them, and 80% or so of the population now lives in the Front Range urban corridor.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        I’m not a fan of any kind of gun registry, both for political and technical security reasons, but that is neither here nor there.

        With regard to Sheriff’s & their independance, that’s a tradition that goes way back in the US. If the Sheriff is disinclined to submit an ND report to the DA, and no one is interested in filing a complaint, then yeah, such incidents are going to be smoke. Not much one can do about it except try to elect a Sheriff that takes such issues seriously and suspends or revokes permits for irresponsible behavior.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I wonder what you’d think of the morality of a story I once heard…
      Someone was hired to find a piece of art for a museum…
      after a long and fruitless search, they gave up and had it counterfeited,
      using skilled counterfeiters — good enough that the museum couldn’t tell the fake.
      So they gave that to the museum instead.

      Now, the museum went on to display the art (now displaying the counterfeiter’s art of plausible forgery…).

      What is the morality of this? After all, the choice was
      1) no art
      2) forged art

      How does this play into “cast” art (where the original is somewhere else)?Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Kim says:

        I think that the priority we give to original art is a social convention that preserves the value of creativity, in the sense of both financial value and goodwill. There is miniscule difference between The Louvre and Tom’s Copycat Louvre of Richmond Virginia, but no one would ever create the latter. But why not Tom’s? It would have the advantage of exposing more people to art. There’s just a sense that, because artistry is ephemeral, we need to err on the side of reverence.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim says:

        I continue to like Trials and Tribbleations. That’s a technical artistry… but it’s still art.

        Reworking and rethinking is part of what artists do.

        If they ever finish the next Beverly Hills Cop, I’m going simply to see how they remake Axel F.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Kim says:

        For comedic effect, the forgery was given to the Derrida Institute’s Museum of Postmodern Art.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim says:

        the comedy came when they eventually managed to find the real art.
        “well, since we couldn’t tell the difference, obviously we couldn’t expect our PI to tell the difference either.”Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim says:

        You see a lot of “forger’s work” on Game of Thrones, by the way. The costume designers know how to make clothes/armor/weapons look worn and used.

        Like nearly anything else, the “unsavory arts” have legal uses.Report

  14. Avatar Pinky says:

    I5 – I can see the author’s point, but it doesn’t strike me as a long-term threat. Internet semi-monopolies have had a short lifespan. If Google or Apple get too, well, too anything, they’ll be replaced. It doesn’t seem possible now, but if you look backwards and see AOL, Alta Vista, et cetera, you’ll realize that nothing’s too big to fail on the internet.Report

  15. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Political moderates are actually people with extreme politics on both sides of aisle, they just happen to be idiosyncratic in their beliefs.

    We just have lazy pollsters who say “This person has left-wing and right-wing opinions, that makes them moderate”

  16. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Speaking of salt water, Nantucket’s ocean is so cold that the waves have turned to Slurpee.


    (I’m failing to come up with four lines after “there once were some waves in Nantucket”)Report

  17. Avatar Kim says:

    Oy, this man knows nothing. Why are we listening to him again?
    “Technology is politics by other means”
    (I know, my german translating skills suck. Try this one instead: “Technology is the inevitable result of politics.”)Report

  18. Avatar Kim says:

    That realclearpolitics article (re: p1):
    “Sen. Joe Lieberman in 2006 (people today forget that similar campaigns were nearly successful against Sens. Michael Bennet and Blanche Lincoln in 2010).”

    Failure to recognize strategies more complicated than “He WON!” or “He LOST!” in electoral campaigns makes you sound like an idiot.Report

  19. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    It seems like this is a classic “stop digging” moment if you’re John Judis, not a “make the same mistake on the other side to compensate” moment.

    For my part, I’m not convinced that the EDM thesis isn’t still closer to kind-of right than clearly wrong, except inasmuch as Judis’ specific version’s timetable may have been off. To me, the jury seems to just clearly not be in yet, because in my view we are still in a time of great demographic flux, and there may be an equilibrium coming down the road in which EDM is roughly right (though maybe the D will need to be replaced with “L”). Or, there could be an equilibrium in which EDM is wrong, but ERA is also wrong, or in which ERA is right. Or: there could be no equilibrium coming to speak of.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Michael Drew says:

      20 years from now, 47% of current American jobs gone.
      Foresight past a singularity is foolish. (not that I”m particularly saying this is a singularity, just that Judis is incapable of the levels of research necessary to even speculate on what the future will bring.)Report

  20. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    I asked my boyfriend (an apolitical millennial) if he could name either of California’s Senators. He could not. Wanting to take the experiment further, I showed him a list of women’s names, and asked if he could pick California’s senators from the list. Some of the other names on the list were other female politicans, while others were fictional characters.

    From the list, he recognized the names Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, and Barbara Boxer. He didn’t recognize Diane Feinstein, and he thought that the name of our Congresswoman Lois Capps was made up.

    There’s an old truism, that all politics is local. I think that one of the reasons millennials suck at identifying their senators is that politics isn’t local anymore. So much of our informational lives are lived on the internet. It’s not really surprising that someone who doesn’t follow politics is more likely to recognize a prominent and internet-popular senator from the other side of the country than a long-serving senator from their own state.

    Hell, I’m a pretty close follower of politics, and before the 2011 California redistricting, I couldn’t tell you who my representative was–though I could tell you that Lois Capps was the representative I’d been gerrymandered out of.Report

  21. Avatar Damon says:

    C4: Never been a sheep dog. You pull a weapon to save your ass as a last resort not to be a knight.Report

  22. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    R1: Anyone who hasn’t ever read Tom Murphy’s series of posts on alternate energy sources (finishing up with this matrix) and is interested in the subject should find some time to do so. I’m much more concerned about electricity than I am about liquid transportation fuels, so my conclusions are somewhat different, but they at least rhyme with his. We can debate whether the changes are necessary; we can debate how soon changes might be necessary; we can debate whether there’s going to be one national decision on the matter, or whether different regions can have different answers. But we know to a considerable degree what the changes will have to be.

    I’ve said for years that conservative voters don’t dislike wind, solar, and hydro per se; but they’re terrified of the changes that have to happen if wind, solar, and hydro are necessary.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I like Tom Murphy. I don’t always like what he says, but damn if it isn’t hard to find fault with his numbers or conclusions.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Michael Cain says:

      The problem conservative voters have with wind, solar, and hydro is that the people who tell us how great wind, solar, and hydro will be always make sure to tell us about the other lovely social changes that will go along with transitioning to wind, solar, and hydro. Like how along with changing our energy supply we’ll also give up our foolish dependence on private automobiles, and our silly insistence on owning big houses in the suburbs rather than efficient small condoes in the city, and our bizarre refusal to switch to the scientifically-superior vegan diet, and our quite honestly destructive choice to keep having children in the face of overpopulation.

      And then conservative voters start to wonder whether wind, solar, and hydro are really what this is all about.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        Well at least you admit that it.Report

      • Meh. If Group W says that Thing X is extremely important, and the suite of policy solutions for X include things that W would support anyway (A-V, and does not include things that they would otherwise oppose (Y,Z), it does raise my suspicion level a notch or two.

        Not to the point of opposing wind/solar/hydro in this case, but in how I approach the issue. One of the reasons that nuclear is so important to me is not that I am hard-set on nuclear power, but that it’s Y or Z. Likewise, it’s a reason I would want any carbon tax to be pass-through, rather than seen as an excellent opportunity to raise the revenue that they’d want raised anyway.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        Yeah, that I can understand. Opposing A-V because the other side hopes that, with a few other major changes as well, it will produce some of their favored outcomes, is foolishness, though.Report

      • The flip side of that (for the sake of argument) for liberal voters is that making no changes requires drilling at an increasing pace in increasingly difficult locations and taking greater risks. The post-mortem on the Deepwater Horizon episode was that BP should have recognized that the well almost certainly couldn’t be completed properly, plugged it, written off the $50M that had gone into that particular hole, and moved on. Fracking wouldn’t have wound up with as much resistance in Pennsylvania and New York if the drillers had accepted that fluid disposal costs were going to be high and done that job properly. Transcanada could have built the Keystone XL years ago if they had accepted the reality that the route needed to be 200 miles longer rather than run across a couple of unique Great Plains ecosystems.

        Me, I believe that changes will happen — over a period of 25-50 years. Personal transportation will be different, and yes, there will be more mass transit. But the suburbs won’t go away. The place likely to be really hammered in America, and I think everyone understands it even if they can’t explain it, are the rural areas.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Michael Cain says:

      A bit of a tangent, one has to wonder, if an oil company had killed this many birds by being careless, how big of a fine & PR hit would they have taken?

      Solar & wind have a history of being bird & bat death machines.

      Also, before anyone tries to pass this off as ignorance, solar concentration plants have known for decades that they can create kill zones if enough mirrors converge on the same point on land or in the sky. They know better than to just aim the mirrors up without skewing the focal points.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Brin wants orbital solar plants. Same issue?Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Solar orbital would be PV cells, not concentrated thermal.

        PV cell array gets parked in (geostationary) orbit & power is beamed back to earth via microwave. You’d have a no fly zone along the beam path but I don’t think the flux would be enough to kill a small animal outright, although prolonged exposure would be bad, and unshielded electronics would have a bad day.

        In orbit, solar concentrators would be more useful for asteroid mining or deflection.Report

      • Assorted smog episodes from the 1930s through the 1950s; acid rain that killed entire lakes, rivers, and forests; ash pond spills. Coal is cleaner than it was, but after most of a hundred years it still isn’t clean. No one has a serious clue about the overall impact of thermal discharges from big plants built on eastern rivers beyond “large”. The public perception of spent nuclear fuel is so bad that for a decade, one of the trading horses in Congress was “I’ll vote for your bill if you include language that blocks the DoE candidate disposal site in my state.” How many people remember that the original DoE plan was for a large disposal site in the eastern US close to all those eastern reactors, and a small western site to handle the output from the handful of western reactors? But the populous eastern states with lots of votes in Congress wouldn’t stand for it.

        Wind and solar will get better. Seriously, I will be surprised if anyone builds another large concentrating solar tower, rather than parabolic trough thermal or PV. There are a growing number of studies that suggest better siting of wind farms will have a significant effect on bird kills, and idling turbines at critical locations and periods to accommodate migrations will have a similar effect on bat kills. An engineer from the 1930s would recognize the principles, but not the details, of a modern ultra-critical coal-fired plant with hyperbolic cooling towers, precipitators, scrubbers, etc. Why assume that wind and solar will not make similar progress?

        The states of the US Western Interconnect — particularly if you weight things at least somewhat by population — are generally anti-nuke and pro-renewable for a variety of reasons. Given the regional resources, it’s likely (although not certain) that they can pull it off. The rest of the country? Whole ‘nother story.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Agree on concentrating solar, parabolic trough is more cost effective & PV will get there, in some form or another.

        I think with the recent research on VAWT arrays, the HAWTs will start to phase out, or at least not be so massive, which will reduce wildlife kills.

        Nuclear… sigh. What else can I say, except pray for fusion.Report

  23. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I am disappointed that Nihilist Arby’s seems to have deleted their tweet and followup on Leonard Nimoy’s passing. Who’s the fishin nihilist here, crybabies?Report