Still I look to find a reason to believe

Believe it or not, I’m pretty proud of the level of discourse on this blog. I don’t always agree with everyone but there are many people here — both on the FP and in the comments — where if they say something I don’t agree with, I try to read their arguments carefully to see what they’re getting at. What higher praise can there be?

(Just as an aside, I’m also proud of the diversity of the BJ community. It’s definitely informed how I see a lot of issues and I don’t think someone like Freddie would spend so much time mansplaining to women and defending Donald Sterling if he wrote for a more diverse audience.)

But the rest of the world is mostly not this way. Example: Jeffrey Goldberg says that if the NYT decided not to run Mike Kinsley’s sophomoric review of Greenwald’s book, that would be censorship on the same level as not running stories on Snowden’s NSA revelations.

I don’t doubt that Golberg could pull some ridiculous rationalization for this out of his ass, but there’s no way you can convince me that he’s not governed primarily by his emotion and in-group mentality on this issue. So when I say the following, yes I am serious, but I don’t necessarily mean it about many of you.

Anyway, this is why I generally recommend ignoring the so-called substance of human beings’ arguments and focusing instead on the psychology that motivates their positions.

I think the question of how seriously to take “wonkery” is an important question. There are writers I respect immensely — Elias Isquith, Jim Newell, for example — who believe that Ezra Klein’s wonk shtick is Broderism 2.0. I don’t believe this, but I see their point.

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113 replies
  1. 1
    Morzer says:

    So when I say the following, yes I am serious, but I don’t necessarily mean it about many of you.

    Anyway, this is why I generally recommend ignoring the so-called substance of human beings’ arguments and focusing instead on the psychology that motivates their positions.

    So this means that many of us are not human beings? At least, not in the mind of DougJ?

    Where is Cole when you need him to come down from the mountain bearing the Tablets of Blogsplainin’?

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    @Morzer:

    I said GENERALLY not ALWAYS.

  3. 3
    jl says:

    @Morzer: Clearly, DougJ wants to institutionalize everyone who disagrees with him on anything. Just like in the old Soviet Union. Remember, that the vile glibertarian communist Cole is the one who hired DougJ and is paying him mountains of Cole unlimited corporate cash to spout this stuff.

  4. 4
    Suffern ACE says:

    Wow. The public editor didn’t say the ideas were dangerous. She thought Kinsley’s book review was disingenuous and possibly driven by personal animus.

  5. 5
    Morzer says:

    @DougJ:

    And this is supposed to get you out of the cats cradle of words you’ve got yourself tangled up in? Your problem here is the generalization about “human beings”, not the nebulous distinction between generally and always.

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Glen Campbell? Rod Stewart? The Carpenters?

  7. 7
    jl says:

    Seriously, though. DougJ spends too much time worrying about what a random selection of odd people say on the internet. He is a family man now, with responsibilities and should watch his blood pressure.

    Edit: watch out for Morzer, he has been setting infinite regress trap doors for the unwary.

  8. 8
    Morzer says:

    @jl:

    That’s what my friends in the NSA keep telling me. I wish they would stop using Powerpoint though. It’s so pointlessly retro and tacky.

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Morzer:

    It’s so pointlessly retro and tacky.

    You know that they are doing it ironically, right?

  10. 10
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I *think* Rod Stewart, but I’m almost leery of looking. Of course you know the rock and roll heaven joke… (one of them)

  11. 11
    Morzer says:

    @jl:

    Can one actually set an infinite regress trap door? I mean, wouldn’t that require the setting of an infinite series of trap doors, which obviously one couldn’t because one wouldn’t have world enough or time and….

    Actually, I am going to drink some good beer and let you set the infinite trap doors. Or I would if you could, because…

    No, beer time.

  12. 12
    Morzer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    But they seemed sincere. I mean, they even quoted the Constitution to me.

  13. 13
    Suffern ACE says:

    @jl: I don’t think the people he’s concerned about are random.

  14. 14
    Morzer says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Well, disingenuous and dangerous look very similar – and that’s close enough for NYT work.

  15. 15
    Morzer says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    You just can’t get the truly random people these days. Benghazi, you see.

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): They all recorded it; I just want to know which version DougJ had in mind for my own internal soundtrack purposes. I guess going with the original by Tim Hardin should be the default.

  17. 17
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Doug J’s mind is where I was leery of looking. The “almost” was used ironically.

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Aha. To be fair, looking into anyone’s mind is a dangerous thing.

  19. 19
    Punchy says:

    Speaking of Donald Sterling, word on the stra-zizzle is that the Sterlings are fielding offers north of $2.5 billlon for the Clips.

    By comparison, Forbes pegged the value of the Clips at a half-bill. Something doesnt compute.

  20. 20
    DougJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Was thinking Tim Hardin. Listened to a show about him on my totebag radio station.

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @DougJ: Something evil within me was hoping for the Carpenters.

  22. 22
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Punchy: the team as run by sterling isn’t worth much. A team run by someone else is worth more. Unless that owner is named Dolan.

  23. 23
    DougJ says:

    @Punchy:

    Glad you brought that up. I was amazed by that too.

  24. 24
    Morzer says:

    @Punchy:

    I seem to recall seeing valuations at around the 1 billion mark. Puzzling indeed.

  25. 25
    KG says:

    @Punchy: there’s a new media rights deal coming up that’ll improve value. Plus, they have very marketable stars. They have a good arena deal in the second largest market. They’re current tv deal isn’t terrible, either. And the worst team in the league in one of the smallest markets just went for half a billion at a reported discount (and needing a new arena). Another small market team without an arena went for something like six hundred million. Add in the fact that if it turns into an auction, it could easily go for more than two billion.

  26. 26
    SatanicPanic says:

    This argument is a perfect example of the navel gazing I come to this blog for

  27. 27
    scav says:

    Luckily it’s not my week to be human, so there may be a technicality open.

    Sterling is sooo ego-saving. I didn’t sell the team, wifie did, O! the money was simply too much to pass up, blahblahblah, yes dear. you totally showed them who’s alpha boss.

  28. 28
    DougJ says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    It was labeled as such.

  29. 29
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Morzer: I can’t think of reasons other than the fact that there is still a lot of cash lying around in private banks. I would assume that whoever is offering 2.5 billion is the sucker born every minute type.

  30. 30
    Fair Economist says:

    I kind of like the idea that private publishers – and by extension broadcasters – refusing to publish something amounts to censorship. I think I’ll agree, and it’s time to fix it. The obvious start will be requiring Fox News to present a wide variety of socialist, environmentalist, and pacifist viewpoints. No doubt Mr. Goldberg will join me enthusiastically in applying his ideas more consistently.

  31. 31
    Culture of Truth says:

    damn I must be a terrible person because I don’t have a great desire to pick a side in the great Greenwald-Kinsley-NYT-Goldberg-Balko–Sullivan wars of 2014

  32. 32
    Morzer says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    I always find it amazing that a sports team can be valued so highly. Mind you, I am amazed that we pay moderately gifted quarterbacks more than a thousand nurses could earn for a year’s “work”.

  33. 33
    SatanicPanic says:

    @DougJ: I’m just making excuses for having no idea what an infinite regress trap door is. I tend to agree with you that policy details don’t matter so much as what people’s real goals are.

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Morzer: We pay hedge fund managers more than we pay the quarterbacks without getting a modicum of entertainment or other value from them.

  35. 35
    Morzer says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    There’s always the meteor strike option. Just put a cross next to “Tunguska” on your ballot paper.

  36. 36
    Culture of Truth says:

    Yes, we should ignore the substance of people’s arguments. That will solve the problems with modern Internet discourse.
    Too much focus on substance and not enough assessing other’s personal motivations.

  37. 37
    Morzer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    True indeed, although I have heard great and eminent men tell me that they were doing the Lord’s work. Who am I to disagree?

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Morzer:

    Who am I to disagree?

    You appear to be Morzer. Is that not enough?

  39. 39
    Morzer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Well, I’ve never walked a mile in a hedge fund manager’s shoes, so…..

  40. 40
    Ash Can says:

    “So when I say the following, yes I am serious”

    Too bad. It makes a lot more sense as snark.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Morzer: You should try it. Bespoke shoes are really, really comfortable.

  42. 42
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: when I was at generic gourmet store buying overpriced bread today, I chanced upon $12.99 a jar peanut butter. I think Morzer needs to chew on that for awhile.

  43. 43
    scav says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Problem is finding the banker with the shoes that exactly match one’s unbespoke feet.

  44. 44
    Anoniminous says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    damn I must be a terrible person because I don’t have a great desire to pick a side in the great Greenwald-Kinsley-NYT-Goldberg-Balko–Sullivan wars of 2014

    After overcoming my apathy I very carefully didn’t learn anything about it and from that I know enough to firmly state, “Who Cares.”

    But, and it is an important qualification, if the various parties decide to fight it out in an arena with armed with chainsaws I’d buy a ticket.

  45. 45
    Morzer says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    But is it made with real hedge fund manager’s peanuts?

    I can’t let my standards slip just to follow liberal political correctness.

  46. 46
    Morzer says:

    @scav:

    Why do I always end up getting the plutocratic bastard who is inconsiderate enough to have a wooden fricking leg?

  47. 47
    danielx says:

    disingenuous, dangerous, hey, they both begin with D. close enough.

    @DougJ:

    … yes I am serious, but I don’t necessarily mean it about many of you.

    don’t necessarily mean it about many of you? Talk about your passive-aggressive ambiguity….names. We want names. However, you get points for featuring Richard Thompson. (Yes, just yanking the DougJ chain, cause I’m easily amused.)

    But – and appreciative of your positive thoughts though I am – I must disagree…I could give a fiddler’s fuck about the psychology that motivates somebody’s position if the substance of his or her argument.is abhorrent. I’m concerned about what someone says and does, and why they say and do those things is much less important – I don’t care if Paul Ryan is an Ayn Rand devotee or if Scott Walker is a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries because he likes being a corporate whore, except insofar as those tendencies drive the political tactics to be used in opposition to them. What they do, that’s what’s true, and the psychological background doesn’t matter. I don’t care if Ann Coulter actually believes the gibberish she spouts or whether she says it for the bucks, I just care about how her listeners/watchers/readers react.

    On the other hand, I could be totally wrong and the psychological element could be crucial. However, life and money are too short to provide therapy for all the wingnut assholes. *cough*Greenwald*cough* Yes, him too. Greenwald and Snowden both may be – probably are – egotistical assholes for one reason or another, but as far as I’m concerned they did us all a service. Motivation doesn’t matter.

    On the third hand, this whole discussion very definitely falls under the heading of blogospheric wanking. Also. Too.

  48. 48
    David Koch says:

    What this thread needs is bOObies!

  49. 49
    MikeJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    You should try it. Bespoke shoes are really, really comfortable

    When I moved to London I got a suit made the proper way and I won’t go back to the way the plebes live.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @danielx: It is akin to the tribal argument that people mention. People often will reject or accept an argument, not on its merits but due to who has advanced the argument.

  51. 51
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Anoniminous: Indeed, ironically, or interestingly, if you’re a pedant,
    Greenwald was apathetic during the 80s, 90s, and 2000-2005, so forgive me if I crabwalk sideways away from from this war.

  52. 52
    RaflW says:

    I think Ezra Klein’s wonk shtick is on a trajectory towards Broderism 2.0. It doesn’t mean it’s there yet. And it is possible it won’t go there. But as the Magic 8 Ball often says “Signs point to yes.”

  53. 53
    max says:

    There are writers I respect immensely — Elias Isquith, Jim Newell, for example — who believe that Ezra Klein’s wonk shtick is Broderism 2.0.

    Feh. I have read me entirely too much David Broder (and also entirely too much of the WaPo OpEd page, which has probably inflicted minor brain damage in spite of immunity gained from hard training) and Ezra is no Broder.

    Ezra’s wonk shtick is more or less what it appears to be. The worst Ezra is guilty of is the occasional low Broderism, some chicken littleism, and a bit of excess respect for high placed ‘sources’. Given what passes for ‘respectable’ in DC dipshitland, Ezra’s practically fucking Abby Hoffman in comparison.

    I don’t think someone like Freddie

    Freddie a little navel-obsessed. See ‘My Twisted World’ when that works out really badly.

    I don’t doubt that Golberg could pull some ridiculous rationalization for this out of his ass, but there’s no way you can convince me that he’s not governed primarily by his emotion and in-group mentality on this issue.

    Goldberg’s a neocon – so he thought the Bush administration was Doing the Right Thing. Thus, Snowden, opposed to that stuff, is Obviously Wrong. Therefore one must scratch around for whatever shit there is to throw, because neo-cons are nothing if not liars for The Cause. If it was 1937, he’d be rattling on about the wonders of fucking Stalin. (And if it was 1940, he’d be rattling on about the wonders of Stalin AND Hitler, after he’d just been hating Hitler a year earlier.)

    Anyway, this is why I generally recommend ignoring the so-called substance of human beings’ arguments and focusing instead on the psychology that motivates their positions.

    Goldberg’s a fucking liar, and has been since 2000-something, which was when I started keeping tack of him. He’s actually *better* than most neo-cons, in that he has occasional contact with reality and admits it. I don’t care about his psychology per se since propagandizing involves procedures, not clinical conditions; I do care about the perpetual mendacity of the argument neo-connish types make.

    max
    [‘Kinsley is a perpetual brown-noser; I don’t care why he likes the smell.’]

  54. 54
    srv says:

    @max:

    low Broderism

    There’s no lexicon entry for this degree of Broderism. Perhaps we need a six-degrees from Broder entry.

    Also, too, I see it’s not original to whomever used it today, but the term “High Misinformation Voter” caught my fancy.

  55. 55
    Anoniminous says:

    Solid neuroscience finding: humans cannot make decisions without a functioning Limbic system. Moreover, humans use both Emotional and Cognitive neural and neuro-hormonal structures and events when analyzing, reacting, contemplating, & yadda-yadda. Thus, the psychology (mental states and processes) of an individual is worthy of being included in a complete analysis of someone’s dialectic.

    Need to avoid projection and other psychological defensive mechanisms though.

  56. 56
    danielx says:

    @max:

    Given what passes for ‘respectable’ in DC dipshitland, Ezra’s practically fucking Abby fucking Hoffman in comparison.

    Fixed. Yes, totally agree with the sentiment even if I am a noodge.

  57. 57
    Brother Dingaling says:

    Feel free to judge me. I like the attention.

  58. 58
    James E. Powell says:

    @Punchy:

    Because they are not often sold, and because they have a status value that is hard to measure, it is not possible to know what a sports franchise is worth until it’s sold.

    And this one is in Los Angeles.

  59. 59
    Anoniminous says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Granted, of course.

  60. 60
    NotMax says:

    Nate Silver is headed to playing the lead in Being Broder with greater alacrity than is Klein.

  61. 61
    Morzer says:

    @James E. Powell:

    Isn’t it just about the only major sports franchise in LA? I am guessing that would inflate the value.

  62. 62
    David Koch says:

    People forget how loathsome Broder was.

    It may seem perverse to suggest that, at the very moment the House of Representatives is repudiating his policy in Iraq, President Bush is poised for a political comeback. But don’t be astonished if that is the case. ~ February 16, 2007

    Let me disclose my own bias in this matter. I like Karl Rove. In the days when he was operating from Austin, we had many long and rewarding conversations. I have eaten quail at his table and admired the splendid Hill Country landscape from the porch of the historic cabin Karl and his wife Darby found miles away and had carted to its present site on their land. ~ May 14, 2003

    It took almost no time for President Bush to put his stamp on the national response to the tragedy that has befallen New Orleans. It makes the previous signs of political weakness for Bush, measured in record-low job approval ratings, instantly irrelevant and opens new opportunities for him to regain his standing with the public. ~ September 4, 2005

    Seriously, only Broder could say 2000 dead in KATRINA(!) was Great News for McCain Bush.

  63. 63
    Morzer says:

    @NotMax:

    What has Nate Silver done recently? His book seemed unimpressive to me, but I haven’t followed his online adventures of late.

  64. 64
    James E. Powell says:

    There are writers I respect immensely — Elias Isquith, Jim Newell, for example — who believe that Ezra Klein’s wonk shtick is Broderism 2.0.

    I see him more as his generation’s Richard Cohen. Or, if he starts taking himself too seriously, and there are some signs of this, he will be the next Tom Friedman.

    Ten, fifteen years from now, aging hipsters will be explaining, “no, he was a liberal then, and he was one of the greats. Seriously.”

  65. 65
    Culture of Truth says:

    Goldberg’s a neocon – so he thought the Bush administration was Doing the Right Thing. Thus, Snowden, opposed to that stuff, is Obviously Wrong.

    Now, perhaps, but Snowden the supported Bush administration too, so it’s more like ‘recent NSA stuff’

  66. 66
    srv says:

    New vids. Google self-driving car project

    Maybe the way to get rid of guns would be to make a self-defense robot that looked like Rambo.

  67. 67
    NotMax says:

    @Morzer

    Missed the whole brouhaha over his putting a climate change denialist on staff?

  68. 68
    Morzer says:

    Not to brutally crush another human being’s hyperbole under the steel foot of vorpal criticism, but what has Elias Isquith done to deserve “immense respect”? Have I missed his great novel, his expose of the Obama teaspoon scandal, his Benghazi Revelations?

  69. 69
    DougJ says:

    @Morzer:

    I like his writing.

  70. 70
    NotMax says:

    @James E. Powell

    Klein, IMHO, wants to scoop the inside track of being the next David Brooks.

  71. 71
    Morzer says:

    @NotMax:

    I do remember that unhappy decision by the argentine statistician. Does that make his own work Broderist though?

  72. 72
    Joel says:

    @Morzer: sticking to sports mostly, which is a stronger suit for him.

  73. 73
    James E. Powell says:

    @NotMax:

    Klein, IMHO, wants to scoop the inside track of being the next David Brooks.

    I think Ezra Klein would like to remain a nominal liberal. There’s a lot of money in being “Even the liberal . . . ” See also, supporting Iraq War when it’s cool to do so, apologizing for it when it’s safe.

  74. 74
    Morzer says:

    @Joel:

    The David Broder of baseball sounds like something not to aspire to.

  75. 75
    srv says:

    Awesome news, I can get back into the market

    Pimco said on Tuesday it has rehired Paul McCulley, who was previously a portfolio manager and the bond giant’s top analyst of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policies, in the latest management change after the departure of the firm’s chief executive Mohamed El-Erian earlier this year.

    McCulley is the guy Krugman channeled when it came to calling the bubbles bubbles.

  76. 76
    NotMax says:

    @Morzer

    As a statistician, no.

    As a political analyst, have noticed incremental moves towards a homogeneous, both-sides-do-it-ism.

    As always, YMMV.

  77. 77
    mclaren says:

    Censorship remains a red herring. For obvious reasons — anybody can start a blog, anybody can find a high-profile blog to comment on.

    The real issue here involves epistemic closure. It’s not so much failure to publish this or that critique of some Villager’s bogus review trivializing and misrepresenting an important book — the big concern for me (and I think for most folks) involves the fact that The New York Times constantly does this kind of thing.

    Ask yourself — when the fuck was the last time the NYT featured Noam Chomsky giving a review of, say, the Drunk-Driving C Student’s autobio of his Reign of Error, Decision Points?

    Never, that’s when. Noam Chomsky represents one of those guys who can never be featured writing a piece in the New York Times.

    Or when was the last time Marxist scholar David Harvey wrote anything that got published in the NYT?

    Fucking N*E*V*E*R, that’s when.

    We get a steady diet of Dick Cheney’s scribblings and Condi Rice’s rants and other poison dribbling from the fangs of ex-Dubya henchmen, but not a goddamn thing by anyone who is genuinely from the true left of the American political spectrum.

    That’s what bugs me.

    The New York Times cranks up this kind of propaganda-by-omission and after a while even the most sensible reader begins to conclude: “Hey…nobody at that oh-so-important New York Times ever seems to criticize American-style-c(r)apitalism or the U.S. military-police-prison-surveillance-torture complex or American prison-style K-12 education, so there must not be anything to criticize! All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds!”

    As Marshall McLuhan noted, “The fish does not notice the water until it jumps out.” The kind of epistemic closure where Americans get force-fed a non-stop monotone Villager viewpoint with no alternative voices ever heard is the water, and after a while Americans just cease to notice it. This crazy fucking worldview where NYT op-ed cranks tell us that third world peasants should be fucking grateful to us when we blow up their wives and daughters and children with children in “targeting mistakes” (wedding parties mistaken for terrorist meetings) gets drummed into your average Americano’s head.

    “Why, of course they should be grateful,” the average Americano concludes. We’re bringing those little brown monkeys in the third world freedom and prosperity, and as for weddings parties getting bombed by U.S. drones, well, mistakes will happen, and you can’t make an omlette, and so forth.

    Your average Americano looks at American multinational corporations crushing farmers in India with overpriced “terminator” seeds and sky-high prices on AIDS drugs and other pharmaceuticals, and the Americano says: “Hey, those little brown monkeys over there should be grateful that we offer them those drugs and genetically modified seeds at all. After all, before us, they were living in mud huts and eating dirt!”

    That’s how you get this “Ugly American” mindset where senators think that when they encounter some PhD from a foreign country who doesn’t speak English, the way to deal with her is to talk English slower and louder so the dumb little woggette can understand.

    That’s how you get sex tourism to underage brothels featuring preteen girls in Thailand by Americanos who think of themselves as ordinary decent reasonable family men. Because, after all, it’s helping the local economy, and those little brown people would be starving if it weren’t for American investment (like 55-year-old American men buying 9-year-old Thai whores), right?

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiight…

    No wonder every time the fringe lunatics in congress scream for another endless unwinnable foreign war, your typical Americano cheers and applauds. Epistemic closure ain’t just for the Republican party, folks.

  78. 78
    Morzer says:

    @James E. Powell:

    “I would like to give both sides relatively equal praise and blame”.

    Also Sprach Ezrathustra.

  79. 79
    danielx says:

    The question is who decides. It seems clear, at least to me, that the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a free pass to make them public with no legal consequences. In a democracy (which, pace Greenwald, we still are), that decision must ultimately be made by the government.

    It is good that Kinsley is credited as a columnist in that there NY Times review. Because he sure as shit has no claim to being a journalist.

    “…that decision must ultimately be made by the government.”?

    Fuck you, Kinsley, sideways and repeatedly. You might try looking up Thomas Paine or John Peter Zenger in your no doubt abundant spare time. if we relied on the fucking government deciding what gets published, we’d have had Richard Nixon in office through 1976, among other….affairs.

  80. 80
    danielx says:

    @NotMax:

    Klein, IMHO, wants to scoop the inside track of being the next David Brooks.

    Whatever Ezra Klein has done or written, he doesn’t deserve a fate that cruel.

  81. 81
    srv says:

    @mclaren:

    Chomsky

    The MSM is liberal only if you include Russia Times.

    That’s how sad this country is.

  82. 82
    srv says:

    @NotMax: The most terrifying thing about Brooks is that he’s only 52.

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @danielx: Actual freedom of expression is not popular. It is key to a functioning polity, but a large number of people on both the right and the left have a tendency to look askance at it.

  84. 84
    mclaren says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Yes, thank you. Finally someone points out the documented neuroscience. Antonio Damasio’s somatic marker hypothesis has got quite a lot of evidence behind it, and the evidence all converges on the conclusion that in humans, decision-making without emotional produces dysfunctional results.

    The logic conclusion is that realpolitik produces massively suboptimal and in fact often crazy and counterproductive results in the real world. Also, in the real world, real prisoners do not behave as expected to produce the Nash equilibrium in real-world games of the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

    Contrary to the sociopathic view of human nature proffered by American Chicago-school-of-economics/realpolitik/Democratic/Republican American political parties/the U.S. justice system…when given a choice, the evidence shows that most ordinary people cooperate and help one another rather than betraying and backstabbing one another. Contrary to America’s sick twisted culture of devil-take-the-hindmost winner-take-all, cooperation proves far more basic to human society and higher primate behaviour than competition.

    And the extreme outperformance of K-12 school systems like Finland’s, which emphasize equality and radically de-emphasize competition, proves it.

    Finnish teachers treat their students with respect. By contrast, American teachers treat their students the way prison guards treat inmates — by humiliating and strip-searching and ordering cops to arrest them for trivial infractions, like writing on their desks.

    No wonder the Finnish school system outperforms America’s shithole K-12 prison educational complex. Who the hell is going to learn anything in prison?

    The incredible results of Nordic countries’ justice systems, in which Sweden just shut down three prisons because they don’t have enough people committing crimes to keep ’em open, contrasts shockingly with the cultural Chernobyl misnamed America’s prison-industrial complex, which now boasts a level of incarceration far above even the political gulag system at the height of the Soviet tyranny.

    All this results from the difference twixt the deluded sadistic brutal American view of human nature and the more enlightened European view of human nature.

    Americans regard humans as sinful filthy brutes that respond only to punishment and can only be motivated by inciting ’em to rip one another apart. Europeans regard humans as real people who respond in kind to respect and common human decency, and are motivated better by cooperation and positive incentives than endless sadistic punishment.

    Which all goes back to the neuroscience. A totally logical emotionless view of society results in sadistic punishment and relentless oppression of the individual. Without empathy, why would you expect people to behave well without being threatened and brutalized and punished?

  85. 85
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mclaren:

    By contrast, American teachers treat their students the way prison guards treat inmates — by humiliating and strip-searching and ordering cops to arrest them for trivial infractions, like writing on their desks.

    Have you ever been anywhere near an American school or are you nutpicking shit you see in the papers? The children who are in my life have experienced nothing like what you describe. Apocalyptic schtick really does have a limited shelf life.

  86. 86
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @SatanicPanic: An infinite regress trap door is like in Portal when you put the orange portal on the floor and the blue portal on the ceiling, and jump in.

  87. 87
    mclaren says:

    @Morzer:

    Not to brutally crush another human being’s hyperbole under the steel foot of vorpal criticism, but what has Elias Isquith done to deserve “immense respect”? Have I missed his great novel, his expose of the Obama teaspoon scandal, his Benghazi Revelations?

    Not indicted yet.

    (The standard answer during confirmation hearings in the late twilight of the Reagan administration’s crime spree, when Democratic senators asked why they should confirm the latest Reagan crook offered to them for some cabinet position.)

  88. 88
    Citizen_X says:

    Michael Kinsley’s ideas are so dangerous

    This is the first time someone has ever said this, right?

  89. 89
    Linnaeus says:

    @mclaren:

    Ask yourself — when the fuck was the last time the NYT featured Noam Chomsky giving a review of, say, the Drunk-Driving C Student’s autobio of his Reign of Error, Decision Points?

    Never, that’s when. Noam Chomsky represents one of those guys who can never be featured writing a piece in the New York Times.

    Or when was the last time Marxist scholar David Harvey wrote anything that got published in the NYT?

    That’s indicative of the real “political correctness” in American political discourse. It will, of course, never be called that.

  90. 90
    mclaren says:

    Second in a long long long looooooooooong series of ripostes to Omnes Omnibus’s bullshit. Omnes once again asked for it, so he’s gonna get it up the wazoo:

    Zero tolerance gone insane: student expelled for preventing another student from hurting herself with a razor blade

    Track your child like a felon!

    Schoolyards now off limits to kids

    This is only the tip of the iceberg. Of course Omnes Omnibus will vomit out the old old lie “it’s just a few bad apples,” but, no, America’s entire K-12 school system has turned into a prison-education system complete with lockdowns, armed guards, sniffer dogs searching kids’ lockers, an, unbelievably, ever K-12 school’s doors are now wired up to alarms that set off klaxons in the Department of Homeland Security.

    America’s prison-education system is so insanely punitive, so viciously gulagesque, that no words in the English language suffice to adequate describe its brutality and unreasoning incarceral savagery.

    More examples coming up next… (assuming they’re not held in moderation like my first rebuttal)

  91. 91
    mclaren says:

    Omnes Omnibus asked for it. Now he’s getting it, in spades. More horror stories America’s prison-education complex:

    13 zero-tolerance horror stories from U.S. schools

    School boards debate use of drug-sniffing dogs

    Zero Tolerance Schools Discipline Without Wiggle Room,” Huffington Post, 2011.

    “We end up punishing honor students to send a message to bad kids. But the data indicate that the bad kids are not getting the message.” — Professor Russell Skiba

    What we are witnessing, thanks in large part to zero tolerance policies that were intended to make schools safer by discouraging the use of actual drugs and weapons by students, is the inhumane treatment of young people and the criminalization of childish behavior.

    And we’ve barely gotten started. Boy, did you ever make the biggest mistake in your life when you asked for evidence of America’s sadistically brutal prison-education complex…

  92. 92
    Socoolsofresh says:

    What is interesting is that the authoritarian commenter squad here would completely agree with Kinsley, and have had made the same arguments he proposed in the book review, in previous posts. Strangely, they aren’t coming out to support him though, and are staying silent, at least for now. Since Kinsleys points are congruent to many a commenter here, I would expect more defense of Kinsleys positions.

  93. 93
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mclaren: Second in a long series makes no logical sense.

    Answer my question: do you know anyone who is currently in the school system? I have anecdata; normally it has little value, but, when you claim that an entire system is fucked in its entirety, any datum defeats your point.

  94. 94
    gian says:

    at the end every hard earned day I try to find some reason to believe…

    Reason To Believe”

    Seen a man standin’ over a dead dog lyin’ by the highway in a ditch
    He’s lookin’ down kinda puzzled pokin’ that dog with a stick
    Got his car door flung open he’s standin’ out on highway 31
    Like if he stood there long enough that dog’d get up and run
    Struck me kinda funny seem kinda funny sir to me
    Still at the end of every hard day people find some reason to believe

    Now Mary Lou loved Johnny with a love mean and true
    She said baby I’ll work for you everyday and bring my money home to you
    One day he up and left her and ever since that
    She waits down at the end of that dirt road for young Johnny to come back
    Struck me kinda funny funny yea indeed how at the end of every hard earned day you can find some reason to believe

    Take a baby to the river Kyle William they called him
    Wash the baby in the water take away little Kyle’s sin
    In a whitewash shotgun shack an old man passes away take the body to the graveyard and over him they pray Lord won’t you tell us,
    Tell us what does it mean
    At the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

    Congregation gathers down by the riverside
    Preacher stands with his bible, groom stands waitin’ for his bride
    Congregation gone and the sun sets behind a weepin’ willow tree
    Groom stands alone and watches the river rush on so effortlessly
    Wonderin’ where can his baby be still at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

  95. 95
    mclaren says:

    Omnes Omnibus’s reduction to a seared charcoal briquette under the withering acetylene-torch blast of facts about America’s savagely carceral prison-education complex continues…

    19 Things That School Children Are Being Arrested For In America

    St. Louis County mother furious after being arrested for consoling son”

    10 Disgusting Examples Of Very Young School Children Being Arrested, Handcuffed And Brutalized By Police”

    And we’ve still barely begun documenting the appalling depths to which the K-12 American prison-education complex degrades its kids…

  96. 96
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @gian: Aha, the Bruce version.

  97. 97
    Morzer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The most worrying thing about all this is the obvious pleasure mclaren gets from fantasies of sadistic teachers abusing children.

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mclaren: And yet, shit loads of kids go to schools and learn just like they did in years past. You haven’t answered whether you actually know anyone in the school system or if you are nut picking. How many school districts are there in the US? The fact that some may be batshit, doesn’t mean that all, or even the majority of schools are. I am sorry for you. You are a violently pessimistic crank with no actual knowledge of any topic upon which you rant. It is rather sad.

  99. 99
    mclaren says:

    And the insanity in American K-12 schools goes on…and on and on

    “The U.S. schools with their own police,” The Guardian, 9 January 2012.

    More and more US schools have police patrolling the corridors. Pupils are being arrested for throwing paper planes and failing to pick up crumbs from the canteen floor. Why is the state criminalising normal childhood behaviour?

    A HREF=”http://www.komu.com/news/school-police-community-weigh-in-on-six-year-old-s-arrest/”>School, Police, Community Weigh in on Six-Year Old’s Arrest”

    The chances are increasing that your child will be arrested for being a child and behaving in a childish fashion at school. Behavior that once got a child a trip to the principal’s office or detention will now get them booked at the police station. Doubt me? Look it up: a 5 year old arrested for having a temper tantrum in kindergarten and a 12 year old arrested for scribbling on a desk, a 13 year old boy was arrested for burping, a 5th grader arrested for giving a wedgie, and I’m sure you can find more.

    It’s never too early to teach your child what to do if they get arrested at school for normal behavior, as demonstrated by the arrest of the above children.”

    Source: “Teach Your Child How to Survive Being Arrested at School,” Dailykos, 2012.

    Want more?

    Oh, there is so much more documentation of America’s crazy prison-education complex running wild out of control that it’ll make your head explode…

    Mother Called by School To Child’s Asperger Episode, Arrested for Not Signing in

    And I’ve just barely begun to document the degree to which America has turned its K-12 schools into mini-prisons filled with mini-criminals, patrolled by K-9 dogs and armed police guards…

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mclaren: You are a sad little freak whether you are serious or not. Christ, man, look at your sources. http://gopthedailydose.com:, Really? Pathetic.

  101. 101
    mclaren says:

    Omnes Omnibus continues to throw up non sequiturs in the manner of squid desperately squirting out ink, claiming “and yet, students continue to learn,” as if that were some kind of defense of America’s savagely brutal prison-education system.

    Great logic there, buckaroo. According to that logic, we should bring back slavery, since “and yet, the economy continued to be productive” under slavery.

    More examples of America’s horrific prison-education system:

    U.S. Supreme Court Declares Strip Search Of 13-Year-Old Student Unconstitutional”

    The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that school officials violated the constitutional rights of a 13-year-old Arizona girl when they strip searched her based on a classmate’s uncorroborated accusation that she previously possessed ibuprofen.

    The mere fact that it was necessary for a family to get a lawyer and take this insanity by middle school administrators to court offers proof positive that America’s crazy prison-educational system has run off the rails into the realm of “A day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch” territory.

    Spotsylvania, Va., high school freshman Andrew Mikel has been suspended for the school year and has been placed in a “diversion program” by police for blowing soft plastic pellets through a pen at three classmates.

    Source: Zero tolerance `insane madness’ in Virginia

    One method of fighting substance abuse in schools has been the random inspection of lockers. The varying methods by which lockers have been searched have been dependent on school department policy or the planning of individual administrators. A common method of searching lockers has been the use of police officers with drug-detecting dogs. It should be noted that the United Supreme Court has determined that a dog’s sniff from a common area (an area where no one has an expectation of privacy) is not a search for Fourth Amendment purposes.i As such a drug-sniffing dog that sniffs closed lockers situated in a public corridor would not be considered a search for Fourth Amendment purposes. Once the dog alerts on the locker, school officials and/or police would have probable cause to believe the locker contained drugs.

    Source: “Locker searches and use of K9s,” from the inaptly-named “school training” website. Should be called the “prison guard training” website.

    Is there more?

    Oh, boy, is there ever…

  102. 102
    gian says:

    probabl@mclaren:

    while I disagree that schools are mini-prisons. I will say that schools outsource some basic stuff that can be handled in school to cops. When a 10 year old threatens the teacher, the school ought to handle it.

    I expect it’s part of the ant-bully zero tolerance crap I’ve seen in my line of work where kids who get sucker punched and knocked out before doing anything get suspended for “being in a fight” I’m pretty sure that walking, getting rabbit punched and then kicked while down isn’t actually fighting. but I’m an old and I remember one of my elementary teachers was suspended for grabbing a kid and pulling him off another kid that he had an MMA style “full mount” and was just whaling on his victim’s face…

  103. 103
    mclaren says:

    And now the most pathetic effort of all by Omnes Omnibus, the frantic effort to deny facts because he doesn’t like the source that reported them…

    Meanwhile, more facts documenting America’s degraded and deluded K-12 prison-education complex:

    Police Dogs Roam N.J. High School In Search Of Illegal Drugs”

    (watch as Omnes Omnibus frantically tries to discredit CBS news as an “unreliable source”…)

    Drug sniffing dogs patrol more schools

    (watch as Omnes Omnibus whips himself into a frenzy in a failed and futile effort to discredit the New York Times as a “bogus fringe source”…)

    Blam! These Tykes Got Busted for “Guns” Made of Legos, Pop-Tarts, and Paper”

    (watch as Omnes Omnibus gibbers and capers like a drug-addled baboon, trying hysterically to discredit Mother Jones magazine as a “crap source of unverified rumors and hearsay”…)

    Plastic toy gun at a South Carolina kindergarten: After bringing a toy gun made of clear plastic to school in January, six-year-old Naomi McKinney was expelled under her school’s zero-tolerance policy. A district official followed up with a letter to McKinney’s parents warning that she’d be “subject to the criminal charge of trespassing” if she returned. “She cannot even be in my vehicle when I go to pick up my other children,” her mom told a local paper. McKinney’s now in a home-schooling program typically only available to students with specific medical needs.

    Breakfast pastry “gun” at a Maryland elementary school: Second-grader Josh Welch made national headlines this week after he was suspended for two days for inadvertently munching a school-provided breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun. “I just kept on biting it and biting it and tore off the top of it, and it kind of looked like a gun,” the seven-year-old Welch told his local Fox affiliate. “But it wasn’t. All I was trying to do was shape it into a mountain.” An assistant principal further accused him of pointing the half-eaten strawberry tart at a classmate, although Welch maintained that he only aimed it toward the ceiling.

    As loons like Omnes Omnibus contort themselves into crazed pretzels of illogic to defend these indefensible insanities on the part of America’s degraded prison-education K-12 complex, we have a superb opportunity to see what’s really wrong with America…

    It’s people like Omnes Omnibus, who act as enablers to excuse and defend the way America has turned its elementary and high schools into prisons complete with drug-sniffing K9 dogs, armed guards, and arrests of kids for trivialities like sailing paper gliders through the classroom.

  104. 104
    Thlayli says:

    My stock line on Jeffrey Goldberg:

    He’s lucky the bar for “Dumbest pundit named ‘J. Goldberg'” is so high.

  105. 105
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Thlayli: LMAO, true!

  106. 106
    Sherparick says:

    Reading the Public Editor’s column and seeing the general blow up about this I came to the following conclusions.

    1. The Book Editor got just the reaction she wanted by having Kinsley review Greenwald’s book, e.g. she decided to troll us all. A balance, fair review without outrageous statements about throwing journalists in jail for publishing leaked Government secrets (who knew Kinsley was a secret admirer all these years of Richard Nixon) would not have gotten near as many hits or attention. Well played, but not something we think of “NY Times” like.

    2. It has had been useful as DougJ points out to remind us that “The Village” exists and it is a tribe and elite group with loyalties to each other greater than attachment to any abstract principal or the national interests.

    As a side note, Kinsley also is on a permanent Jihad against Krugman, also primarily because Professor Krugman does not play nice with others and says mean things about people he personally knows. In his dotage he now sees his function as the Village enforcer of the “Conventional Wisdom.”

  107. 107
    Ramalama says:

    @Linnaeus: Regarding Chomsky, this Grand Street article by Hitchens might go a long way to explain Noam’s presence and / or lack thereof in mainstream media. It’s a long but worthwhile read. A quote:

    Chomsky wrote a book of more than 450 pages that was devoted to the United States and the Lebanese war of 1982, and what do you think? There was barely a squeak.

    An unreviewed book is no rare thing in the United States, There is usually some explanation for the nonevent.

  108. 108
    Gorgon Zola says:

    @DougJ: “Not all men …”

  109. 109
  110. 110
    Soprano says:

    Ian and Sylvia

  111. 111
    EthylEster says:

    test comment from Atrios link

    I’d like to report a commenting bug.

    If I get here via the link from Eschaton and post a comment, it appears as expected. If, however, I reply to an existing comment, it does not appear.

  112. 112
    J R in WV says:

    @srv:

    Oh G-d, I’m 63. Maybe he will be hit by a meteorite?

  113. 113
    The Lodger says:

    @srv: A card-carrying member of the Young Fogies Club, in the immortal words of Brother Pierce.

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