Anarcho-tyranny

Neighbor calls cops on a kids’ lemonade stand, the cops promptly arrive and bust it up. How do I know (for a fact, without checking) that the kids operating the stand were white? Because when people call the cops on black people violating some ordinance, it becomes international news. The only positive aspect of this otherwise depressing story is that it gives a perfect illustration of what Anarcho-tyranny looks like.

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Modern-day Soviet dilemmas

It is widely known that you could not tell political jokes under the Soviet regime (and since anything can be given a political spin, best to lay off humor altogether). It is perhaps less widely known that one could go to jail not only for telling a joke, but also for failing to report an overheard one — which gave rise to the Soviet meta-joke:

“What are you here for?”
“Laziness.”
“Huh?”
“A friend told me a joke over evening drinks and I thought I’d report him in the morning, but he didn’t waste any time.”

This prisoner’s dilemma of who-reports-first is (naturally!) cropping up in the Kafkaesque travesty that campus sexual assault tribunals are: “Title IX creates a prisoner’s dilemma: students have to file sexual misconduct complaints to avoid becoming the accused.”

How long before provocateurs deliberately utter the ineffable in conversation with and then rush to denounce their friends and colleagues for failure to report?

Two cheers for Robin Hanson

— one cheer for expressing unpopular views, and another for refusing to back down and apologize. He’d get a third cheer if he’d actually pushed back and called out Jordan Weissmann for the obtuse, ham-handed bully that he is. In trying to smear Hanson as a “creep”, Weissmann casually dismisses cuckoldry — whereby a woman fools a man into investing a lifetime’s worth of energy and resources into another man’s offspring rather than his own — as “merely hurt[ing] our pride”. That really tells you everything you need to know about this specimen, but the follow-up interview is instructive as well. Notice the power imbalance conferred by the interview format, as opposed to a regular debate. Weissmann asks, “You’re a fan of the men’s movement, or the men’s rights movement. What appeals to you about it?” To which Hanson responds: “… I thought it was plausible to note that male parents were consistently losers in custody battles. And often courts would assign the man financial responsibility to a child that was not actually theirs because the court thought somebody should be paying. That also seemed to me a legitimate complaint. …”

Now if this were a debate, Hanson would be able to press Weissmann to concede this (quite valid!) point. Abusing the asymmetry of the interview format, the weasel gets to talk right past any inconvenient arguments:

I think that when a lot of people hear the phrase men’s rights activists, though, they associate it with a certain kind of misogyny. Can you see why some people would feel suspect of someone who says hey, “I’m a fan of the men’s right’s movement?”

Notice how he savors the MRA side-swipe — clearly a smear in his circles. I was hoping Hanson would at some point cease his good-natured cooperation and employ meta-reasoning skills to reframe, turn the tables on Weismann, call out his cheap-shot abuse of the interviewer-inerviewee power asymmetry. Perhaps next time you’ll get the full three cheers, Professor!

What the Right gets wrong

Though PTT is an unabashedly right-wing blog (there go the advertisers), our prime objective is veritas. We spend plenty of time knocking down leftist fallacies, while rightist ones suffer disparate impact. (This might be the place to mention anti-semitism, but the problem is so much worse on the Left; too big for the left-right tents, this topic must dwell on its own).

Enough suspense: what does the Right get wrong? Answer: abortion. First let’s dispense with the so-called “principles”: all human life is precious and all that. I call bullshit. If you really believed that, you’d be happy to let millions of third-world migrants into your country (and homes!). After all, a degraded standard of living is a small price to pay to save their precious lives. Or, to channel unfunny dog-turd whore: “Are we not pro-life? Are not immigrants alive?” I hate to admit it, but he does have a point there. Why is hypocrisy not considered a deadly sin?

Now on to the pragmatics. Programming errors in statistical analyses notwithstanding, it’s really kind of clear from first-principles that unwanted babies are going to be a net drain, not benefit to the society. Add to that a volatile, precarious demographic situation — it really is a mystery why all of the Right does not adopt the PTT stance on abortion. But wait, there’s more! Remember all the women who gave rapist Bill a free pass? A very, very enthusiastic free pass: “I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.” The Right’s dropping the abortion issue would deprive the woke women of that rhetorical device. Oh sure, they’ll have plenty of others — but in close elections, every fraction of a point matters.

The pitch to the religious contingent is fairly straightforward. You’ve been losing on every single cultural point of contention. You enjoy baking those cakes? Keep clinging to the abortion issues and you’ll eventually be personally required to fund out-of-pocket — and attend! — Aliza Shvartz’s installation art. Time to get pragmatic, folks.

Jonah Goldberg’s hypocrisy goes super-critical

We were going to refrain from commenting on the Kevin D. Williamson affair. Radio Derb* said it well, as did the Z-man — who was less kind to KDW than Derb, but much kinder than we had been. Amusingly, Williamson got canned from the Atlantic for his views on abortion, which are exactly wrong by our reckoning.

And that’s the point of the matter: he got fired for his views — not for anything he published in the Atlantic, or attempted to. That this point should be made by Jonah Goldberg, of all people, made our tenured head explode:

But here’s the thing: He never made that argument for National Review. I suppose I could find out if he tried and was turned down, but that’s beside the point. The point is that Rich Lowry, or, more relevant, Jeffrey Goldberg, would be entirely within his rights to reject any attempt by Kevin to make that argument in the pages of National Review or The Atlantic (and Kevin would be in his rights to quit over it, though I doubt he would). But there was no chance to test this because Kevin was fired for what he thinks.

For the sake of readers not fluent in their helminth taxonomy, we note that the two Goldbergs are apparently unrelated and hence distinct specimens of parasitic worm. Jonah has gotten coverage here before for his hypocrisy and obtuseness and…, well, hypocrisy. Here’s how trematode Rich Lowry had justified firing Derbyshire:

His latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible. We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways.

And here’s how Jonah “roundworm” Goldberg defended it at the time:

I unequivocally stand by my personal view, expressed on Twitter Friday night, that I find Derb’s essay indefensible and offensive.

By all means read that precious gem in its entirety — MLK makes an obligatory appearance.

* recorded presumably on 06-Apr-2018; link not yet active as of this writing