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AvatarComments by pillsy in reply to Jaybird*

On “Sunday Morning! “The Memory Police” by Yoko Ogawa

This premise seems somewhat reminiscent of that of China Mieville's The City & the City, which is one of my favorite books of recent years. This in and of itself surprised me because I tend to dislike Mieville's work, but this one wasn't quite fantasy and that helped it a lot. The commonality is the premise where a terribly unnatural set of social restrictions are enforced by totalitarian means, with the work being done by a sort of secret police force.

It's a more conventional novel, though, though the underlying strangeness is not a great deal less... uh... strange. There are two cities (city-states, really) that share a common location, with some neighborhoods belonging to one city, and other neighborhoods belonging to others, and a few being shared ("crosshatched", as they are displayed in a mix of two colors on maps), with people being disappeared by the secret police if they interact with denizens of, or objects in, the "other" city, with the distinctions being enforced through dress, mannerisms, and body language. It is possible to travel from one city to the other, but doing so requires going through certain fixed checkpoints, showing a passport, and clearing customs.

It's also a pretty good murder mystery, all things told, but the weirdness of the cities and the way their citizens take the setup largely for granted is really what makes them work so well.

On “The Hedgehog Who Won

Don't care. The situation's not reversed.

Sometimes your ideological beliefs and partisan interests align. Seems silly to pull your punches when they do.


Yes and she's actually saying something correct.


If so this is the first I've heard about it, and it's not the stated rationale, nor is it remotely plausibly the real reason, for what's happening now.


Of course what has actually happened is the opposite: the WH backed off on criticizing what the PRC is doing in Hong Kong in order to avoid upsetting the trade negotiations.


Because that's not what we're doing? Trade isn't charity.


Trump sent out a tweet “ordering” American companies to look for alternatives to the Chinese market? Apparently saying we have lots “trillions” of dollars because of China.

I'm sure George will be along shortly to tell us that this is extremely smart and good.

On “Speaking of Terror

As tempting as it is to believe in some magical safety blanket from the state or commit to a comforting ideological answers, they don’t withstand rational scrutiny.

It takes a bit of courage to go through the day, especially in a free-er society.

It does, but you also have to think the freedom in question is worth something. For the vast majority of the people advocating for gun control, the it's not something they believe they want to exercise. I think this becomes especially true as we move from "guns" to "assault weapons", where, for people who don't have use for guns, and even some who do, see them as part of the Team Red Uniform.

Is the last a good motivation for public policy? No of course not.

But it's there, and it does a lot to scramble the kind of security/freedom or security/utility reasoning that governs the rest of our lives and our discourse.

On “The Hedgehog Who Won

Good job remaining capitated my dude.


Bah God is that Jaybird's music?!

On “The Answer, My Friend, is Blowin’ in the Wind? Perhaps.

People are not going to tell the government about their property if they don’t trust the government to not abuse that information.

This is why, though I think it would be good policy for the government to know where all the guns are, I can't really blame gun rights advocates for their reluctance to go along with a scheme politically.

On “The Hedgehog Who Won

Oh good don't leave! You had me going there for a second.


LGM is weirder than that though. It's not just left of center, it's kind of a weird monoculture that I've largely if not entirely abandoned even though the last time I was there regularly I disagreed with the posters rarely.


Yes, the desperate need for the partisans of Team Red to validate and rationalize the random twitches of Donald Trump's brain worms does not bode well for politics or discourse.

Thanks for providing such a perfect demonstration.


FWIW, I haven't.

I think "Face of the Democratic Party" is a contestable and contested thing, and will be so at least until we have a Presidential nominee.


Yeah I think this is mostly right. But I think it takes a general election victory for a candidate to really cement their identity as "face of the party".

That may be a lot of the reason incumbents have such an advantage most of the time, and why drawing even moderately serious primary challenges (a la Ford and Carter) is such a bad sign.


Is The Face of The Democratic Party whoever gets on TV the most?

By this standard, wouldn't the face of the GOP be... Trump?

Which, well, yeah.

One of the things about being the party out of power is that the role of "face of the party" is up for grabs in the way it isn't for the party that controls the White House.

On “Churches In the Hands of an Angry God

Well sure you can set up your own Reddit which is... well, Reddit.

But even if you have a chunk of the world without taboos, causing the trap that Dr Alexander was concerned with, the whole world?

Probably gonna have 'em.

And you can stop people from getting burned at the stake, sure.

But getting fired?

Getting just shunned?

I dunno. I'm skeptical it will work.

Maybe you're just better off teaching some people not to talk about some things as a prudential matter.

On “The Hedgehog Who Won

Well it seems the question here is focused on what the Dems will go when they’re actually in power. Which is TBF different from the others.


I think you're underestimating the possible benefits of the strategy. It also can cause internal dissension along fault lines within the party, which is a big part of the reason the rest of the Dems can't just say, "Oh, pfft, they're idiots!"

The Democratic Party, if you look at polling, generally identifies with the majority as either self-described "moderates" or "conservatives". Say what you will about the party lurching Leftward, such folks are not terribly enamored of the Squad either.


Also, like, the GOP is painting the Squad as the "face of the Democratic Party", and the reason isn't because the Squad is super-popular among Dems.

If their positions were closer to that of the modal Democrat, it wouldn't be nearly as damaging to make them the face of the Party, if they weren't just the face by default already.

On “The Answer, My Friend, is Blowin’ in the Wind? Perhaps.

Interesting. I didn't even know the Czech Republic had gun laws that were atypical for Europe.

:puts on "to google" list:

Usually the comparisons I hear are with Switzerland and Israel, both of which are extremely different models from what we have in the US.


I am conflicted about hurdles to ownership on two grounds. One is simply that I get leery about infringing on people''s rights, especially their right to defend themselves from violent crime, but that is... part of the difficult balancing act we have when both rights and essential state interests (like stopping violent crime) come into play.

The other problem is that every obstacle you add provides an incentive to circumvent the system. My general knee jerk is if you want a registration scheme you want to make compliance as easy as possible.

On “The Hedgehog Who Won

I don't think it's particularly bad that the GOP is trying to make the Squad the face of the Democratic Party. Such maneuvers are all in the game.

But I think we should factor those efforts in when it comes to questions of how representative they are of the Democratic Party as a whole.

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