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Comment Re:Yup (Score 1) 170

The position where slaves didn't count towards representation was just as good a default, which makes 3/5 looks like a compromise to me. Which wouldn't be surprising; the framers had a real knack for that.

Note also because of the limited, means-tested franchise in many states, the higher property ownership disparity in slave states (because of the plantation economy) concentrated enormously disproportionate power in the hands of planters.

Democracy in the early US wouldn't look very familiar. In 1824 just 4% of all Americans voted.

Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 1) 170

Another thing you had was a huge body of men who'd been through a massive, life-changing experience together. One that took immense risk and sacrifice but ultimately ended in victory (at least for us Americans).

If you believe that people are capable at all of learning from experience, they must have brought something away from that.

Comment Re:Whew! (Score 0) 170

You say that, and yet, despite historically great conditions the French still rose up and killed the aristocracy.

So what you're saying is that you have absolutely no understanding of history. Which is fine. But so long as you stay in that mode, consider keeping your nonsense zipped. You're just embarrassing yourself.

Comment Re:Bullshit isn't the same as "lie". (Score 1) 330

Well, you are ignoring polysemy here; yes "bullshit" can refer to tall tales like your drinking fifty gallons of beer. However there are other senses of the word, including topics of serious inquiry in the field of epistemics.

I refer you to Professor H.G. Frankfurt's seminal work, On Bullshit (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-691-12294-6.) for more information.

Comment Re:Bullshit isn't the same as "lie". (Score 1) 330

I find that Socratic debate usually convinces the other person that you are attacking them and their stated belief fairly quickly even if actually just honestly wanting more information.

Well, you're in good company on that one. As I recall Socrates ruffled his share of feathers.

That said, I'm talking about satisfying yourself. Convincing others necessarily involves making allowances for their muddy thinking.

Comment Re:Trump on Sweden (Score 1) 375

Except I have seen no data from the Swedish government, which publishes extremely comprehensive crime data (something we would do well to copy), to support the Syrian crime wave story. I've gone through Brottsförebyggande rådet data and it's just not there.

What I have seen is a lot of sloppy correlation and overprojection of statistical noise. For example Sweden amended its legal definition of "sexual assault" to be much, much broader, generating a spate of spurious stories about a Swedish rape epidemic.

Comment Re:Bullshit isn't the same as "lie". (Score 1) 330

Again, you're confusing "lying" with "bullshitting". Lying is about establishing belief in a false version of the world, which is best done, as you point out, by omission. That's because lying depends on peoples' regard for the facts; it exploits that. Being caught in a false assertion destroys a lie's effectiveness, so a smart liar sticks to the facts.

Bullshitting is about inculcating the desired feelings and attitudes in the audience. While a bullshitter doesn't hesitate to use facts when they suit his purpose, he doesn't hesitate to make shit up either, because it doesn't matter if he's caught. It doesn't even matter if he asserts two inconsistent things in the course of a single sentence.

Why?

Because bullshitting doesn't aim to establish belief in propositions; propositions are completely disposable. Once it has done its job, a piece of bullshit (unlike a lie) is a nullity. You can show that it is false, but the bullshitter's adherents won't perceive that as inconsistent; not as long as the bullshitter is conveying the same attitude.

That's why fact checking a bullshitter is a waste of time, once you've established that's what he is. It doesn't matter if you prove something he said was wrong, unless you do it in a way that changes his audience's feelings.

Comment Re:You almost got it (Score 1) 375

Nate Silver and his "group of hacks" made it clear that there were no guarantees. Perhaps if you had read his analyses, you would understand that. He made it clear right up until the election that Trump's chances were far from non-zero, and even went into detail in some of his blog posts to explain some of the problems with polling in some of the states. If you had actually read anything he wrote, rather than just inventing a "Nate Silver is a hack" narrative to beat him with, then you would understand a great deal of how he weighted the polls, and how uncertain he viewed the projections.

Comment Re:No longer all the news that fits (Score 1) 375

But again, op-ed pieces are all about narrative. They're often a series of stories written by the same columnist. Anyone who takes op-ed pieces that seriously obviously doesn't understand how newspapers function. That's not to say that there aren't informative op-ed pieces, far from it, but they are *opinion*, and inevitably that is where newspapers' ideological leanings will show up, and indeed where they should. By and large, the Guardian's actual journalism is often rather good, and they have one of the best investigative journalism reputations in the English-speaking world. Just don't go to "Comment is Free" to see it.

And that's what bothers me about your whole "narrative" line. In one respect, you're absolutely correct that newspapers and other news media spin narratives. That's what the press has been doing for centuries now. Do you think the press as it existed in the lead up to the American War of Independence didn't have plenty of column spent condemning nasty King George and praising the brave colonies for defying his despotic rule?

As I said, where I will criticize modern media is jumbling up opinion and journalism on the same web page, and CNN is actually worse for that than even Fox News or MSNBC. It almost goes out of its way to confuse readers on what stories are actually news and what pieces are opinion, and I will say that I think there is intent there to trick readers and to push a narrative, but if you open the stories they still make it pretty clear what is opinion and what is actual news reporting. Part of that is simply driven by the need to count clicks, to sell advertising, and the opinion section has been the seller of newspapers for a very long time.

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