Friday, February 23, 2024

repeats, and new, with Farrell and Shalizi  All of them, so stupid. Keller's tweet is the definition of fascism. And no one gets the joke. I should write more but I'm not sure I'm in the mood.
Cosma and I wrote the article to push back against one version of the common claim that we can blame everything that is wrong and toxic with social media (and by extension, American democracy – this is a U.S. centric piece) on engagement maximizing algorithms and their cousins. Specifically, we don’t think that we can fully blame these algorithms for the kinds of belief polarization that we see online: people’s willingness, for example, to concoct elaborate justifications for their belief that Trump Really Won in 2020. 

We do this by engaging in a kind of thought experiment. Would we see similar polarization of beliefs if we lived in a world where Facebook, Twitter et al. hadn’t started using these algorithms after 2012 or so? Our rough answer is that plausibly, yes: we would see lots of polarization.
We do this by engaging in a kind of thought experiment. Would we see similar polarization of beliefs if we lived in a world where Facebook, Twitter et al. hadn’t started using these algorithms after 2012 or so? Our rough answer is that plausibly, yes: we would see lots of polarization. Following Mercier and Sperber, we assume that people are motivated reasoners – they more often look for evidence to support what they want to believe than to challenge their assumptions. And all they need to do this is a combination of simple search (Google like it used to be) and social media 2.0.

Toxicity, and hygiene, the language of liberal fascism. [more comedy]

If Farrell were a method actor, he might ask "What's my motivation?", but being one of the "big children in university chairs", he imagines his own disinterest. Weber was honest and gave the answer: the preservation of the academy.

Cultural consensus in the field of education can be justified basically only on the condition of severe self-restraint in the observance of the canons of science and scholarship. If one desires this consensus, one must put aside the idea of any sort of instruction in ultimate values and beliefs; similarly the university teacher, especially in the confidentiality of his lecture hall—nowadays of such solicitude—is under the sternest obligation to avoid proposing his own position in the struggle of ideals. He must make his chair into a forum where the understanding of ultimate standpoints—alien to and divergent from his own—is fostered, rather than into an arena where he propagates his own ideals 
Technocratic neoliberalism: Farrell, and Wendy Brown
and then...
"We imagine that platforms can bring the whole sprawling chaos of human behavior into compliance with the law. Make our lives policeable, and policed, to a degree no govt in history could have imagined."

Yet Eichmann's case is different from that of the ordinary criminal, who can shield himself effectively against the reality of a non-criminal world only within the narrow limits of his gang. Eichmann needed only to recall the past in order to feel assured that he was not lying and that he was not deceiving himself, for he and the world he lived in had once been in perfect harmony. And that German society of eighty million people had been shielded against reality and factuality by exactly the same means, the same self-deception, lies, and stupidity that had now become ingrained in Eichmann's mentality. These lies changed from year to year, and they frequently contradicted each other; moreoever, they were not necessarily the same for the various branches of the Party hierarchy or the people at large. But the practice of self-deception had become so common, almost a moral prerequisite for survival, that even now, eighteen years after the collapse of the Nazi regime, when most of the specific content of its lies has been forgotten, it is sometimes difficult not to believe that mendacity has become an integral part of the German national character. During the war, the lie most effective with the whole of the German people was the slogan of "the battle of destiny for the German people" [der Schicksalskampf des deutschen Volkes], coined either by Hitler or by Goebbels, which made self-deception easier on three counts: it suggested, first, that the war was no war; second, that it was started by destiny and not by Germany; and, third, that it was a matter of life and death for the Germans, who must annihilate their enemies or be annihilated. 

Saturday, February 10, 2024


Democratic candidates 2024, with the backup singers. The GOP is done. Coming to terms with genocide will be take decades.

The last is a repeat
Nimrod Novik
Special Ambassador (ret ).
Past Senior Adviser to PM Peres (RIP).
Fellow, Israel Policy Forum.
BOD, Commanders for Israel's Security (CIS). 
Senior Fellow, ECF

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus. It means just what it says. 

Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Sunday, January 21, 2024

keeping this one as a record.

Friday, January 19, 2024

repeat March 24, 2022, because I hear the DSA are in trouble.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

It may not be done, but I think I am.

I keep forgetting that site is a pain in the ass if you're not registered. The text is also here, or use the link on the right side of this page.