Responsibility Starts At Choice

It's very easy to avoid responsibility. All you have to do is chase causal mechanisms beyond any choice you had. For example:

"I had bad parents"

"I had a bad society"

"I had bad genes"

Ultimately, every last influence of choice came from factors we didn't choose. So are any of us responsible for anything?

Prideful Humility

"I'm the most humble person in the world" is a line so slathered in irony that no real human being could possibly utter it with a straight face. We humans do not deceive so directly, rather, we deceive in layers. We do not state out loud that we're humble, the paradox is too obvious. We illustrate how humble we are by posturing our humility indirectly.

Why does the left make me mad? No really, why?


Right-wing propaganda, idiocy and ideology all make me roll my eyes, but when the same comes from the left I feel a different emotion - like I have to suppress anger. Why would this be? I have a few hypotheses:

Money is Time


"Time is money" expresses the sentiment that the time you spend could be used to make money. But the opposite is true too - money is time.

AlienBot Meets Black Lives Matter

Naive-hyper-literal-alien-bot saw someone holding a Black Lives Matter sign.

He thought, "Oh my gosh! Some people don't think Black Lives Matter!" So he picked up a sign and began protesting alongside them.

Then someone with an "All Lives Matter," sign came along.

"All Lives Matter? Of course all lives matter," naive-hyper-literal-alien-bot thought before he crossed out the "black" of his sign and wrote "all" to replace it.

Saying Free Speech A Little Too Much

The other day, Ricky Gervais said this,
"It's common now to mistake defending someone's right to say things, with agreeing with those things. If you don't support free speech for people who you disagree with, then you don't support free speech. And remember, it's your right not to listen and even say things back."
I get the sentiment, but everyone - even Ricky - agrees that hate speech doesn't count. This is where I have a problem with the people uttering "free speech" all the time. It's obvious that different groups of people have very different ideas about what hate speech means, and therefore what speech shouldn't be free. You can yell "free speech" all you want, it doesn't get at the crux of the dispute.

Callout Bullshit Vs Callout Treachery

I feel like previous generations had a "callout bullshit" culture. They had a sensitivity to being fooled. And when someone tried to fool them, they'd say, "get that bullshit out of here. you can't fool me." It's not so much that there was more of an attitude of skepticism. I'm not sure if people were more or less skeptical than they are today if you control for what kinds of things to expect them not to be skeptical toward. But there was an attitude that conveying skepticism was okay.

I Am Scott Alexander

At least I wish I were. He's a much better writer than I am. If you're reading this, I suggest you go to his blog at and read him instead. Here are a few of my favorite posts:

Meditations On Moloch
Beware The Man Of One Study
Nobody Is Perfect, Everything Is Commensurable
I Can Tolerate Anything Except For the Outgroup
Against Lie Inflation
Toxoplasma of Rage
The Categories Were Made For Man, not Man for the Categories

And so many others!

Oh wait...

SlateStarCodex is dead. Here's what happened.

Systemic Racism proves too much

Systemic Racism:
"Refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for Whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as People of Color."
In other words, systemic racism is anything that creates or exasperated racial disparities. If you believe in this definition of racism, you likely see racism pervading society. But when you think about it, systemic racism is not only common across almost every policy we do have, but every policy we could have.

A short memory

I hear a lot of complaining about how Trump gets misinterpreted and taken out of context by the media.
The thing is, they're right. I can't tell you how often over the last 4 years I've thought, "I don't like Trump, but what you're saying is completely asinine."

When I hear right-wing people point out this media inanity in a plea for others to leave the left and embrace the right, where diverse and serious conversations are being had, I have to laugh. How short are their memories?!!

It wasn't so long ago that right-wingers quoted Barack Obama's book out of context, "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." Another time, Obama's line, "you didn't build that" was mistaken to mean, "you didn't build (any of) that" when he clearly meant, "You didn't build that (by yourself)." One ad quoted Obama as saying the troops in Afghanastan are, "just air-raiding villages and killing civilians," again, a quote that was completely taken out of context.

This kind of thing was nonstop throughout Obama's presidency. Obama is a Muslim. Obama is a foreigner. Obama starts a war on Christmas. Obama kowtows to enemy leaders. Obama thinks he's a dictator. Obama is going try to stay in power past 2 terms. Now we're seeing the flipped version of the same thing and I'm supposed to join team Trump?

4 years ago I didn't think CNN was capable of simulating Fox News, but now that it has it doesn't make me any more of a right-winger. If anything I'm just more cynical now. When the left and right see their leaders through rose-colored glasses, and always thinks the enemy tribe leader is satan, the best thing to do is avoid them both and join the majority of Americans who embrace centrism.