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Trump Derangement Syndrome and the 2020 Election

 
no_profundia
 
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no_profundia
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09 September 2019 20:52
 

Thanks mapadofu. I have not read that book but I actually had it in the back of my mind as I was typing my response. I was listening to a lecture at work today by Scott E. Page and he was talking about an example from that book - where people had to guess the weight of a cow - and he described a mathematical theorem that had something to do with why diverse groups reach more accurate or better decisions than less diverse groups.

I almost mentioned it but I don’t really have a firm enough grasp of the theorem to know to what degree I am making the same point. But I think it is definitely related.

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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09 September 2019 21:02
 
no_profundia - 09 September 2019 06:32 PM

Perhaps you could give me an example of when the “woke” crowd considered something racist, when you think it wasn’t, so I can see what I think?

How about the claim that anyone favoring stronger border security is racist? The linked article is from 2013, but I’d say this particular racism claim is still alive and well.

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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09 September 2019 22:38
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 09 September 2019 09:02 PM
no_profundia - 09 September 2019 06:32 PM

Perhaps you could give me an example of when the “woke” crowd considered something racist, when you think it wasn’t, so I can see what I think?

How about the claim that anyone favoring stronger border security is racist? The linked article is from 2013, but I’d say this particular racism claim is still alive and well.

anyone favoring stronger border security is stupid. They might also be racist.

The way to make immigration work better has nothing to do with border security, as everyone involved knows fully well, including Trump.
Not wanting to have A Wall isn’t the same as wanting Open Borders, as also everyone knows.

The call for stupid, useless measures only makes sense if it somehow feeds into some racist sentiment that puts keeping others out above any other consideration.

 

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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10 September 2019 07:05
 

no_profundia

I agree the simplification and exaggeration you speak of is endemic to politics.  In the OP I obliquely say as much by noting “In my experience this dual tendency to “love” and “hate” underlies all politics,” meaning, by implication, that “derangement” (defined first as “inaccurate”) is endemic as well.  I also agree that as a heuristic people make political decisions based on these “short-cuts”—that a policy is deemed racist, therefore one dislikes both the policy and proposer because one dislikes racism.  And so forth.

I think it is an exaggeration to say that the “woke” minority sees “racism everywhere.” There probably is a true minority, that is so small as to be totally insignificant, that sees racism almost everywhere.


I don’t agree.  It is the default position of the hard-left, the activist left, the social justice left—whatever the label—that any racial disparity is ipso facto evidence of systemic racism, and any derogatory remark about a person of color is ipso facto evidence of a racist (both are what I mean by “everywhere”).  Polls I’ve seen put this hard left at roughly 8% of the total population, so that would be maybe 15-20% of liberals (Democrats).  From them the “shortcut” that a given policy or person is racist enters the well of public discourse, then the consumers who nominally align—more centrist liberals who think neither of the above is true—take as a matter of course that this label is accurate.  So, to your point about researching immigration, I suspect the majority of Democrats who think Trump is a racist have not gone through these 10 comments/incidents and determined for themselves that each one in fact represents racism; that they show Trump is a racist.  Instead others have done this—the “woke” left—so the rest accept the shortcut as a matter of course and even see new incidents in its light…that sort of thing… the usual shortcuts and heuristics of effective political mobilization.

As for this tendency to see any racial disparity as ipso facto the result of systemic racism, and its rebuttal on two issues, see here and here.

So would you say there is likely no relationship at all between the number of people who believe something and whether it is true?

There are multiple ways in which the number of people who believe something relates to its truth, or its likelihood. 

One is prediction markets.  In those, trading contracts based on the outcome of uncertain events can yield a prediction of that event more reliably than traditional forecasting methods.  So, a prediction market on who might win the election can be more reliable than a traditional prediction based on poll-based forecasts.  The logic behind this is the more people who trade in these contracts, the more all the disparate information relevant to the event gets aggregated; therefore on average their contracts in favor of a specific outcome will average out toward the more likely outcome.  These prediction markets work, however, in predicting uncertain events, not determining traits of a person or the truth about states of the world, so to speak.  They would not work on something like whether Trump is or is not a racist.

Another—one specifically geared toward something like traits about a person or states of the world—is crowd-sourcing estimates.  The classic case is that fair-ground problem of how many jelly beans are in the jar.  If you take the average of all respondents’ guesses—say 1000—that average is usually closer to the actual number than any given guess.  But note: this crowd-sourcing requires 1000 different guesses—or in any case, guesses that are not systemically related to each other.  As such, it works by reducing sampling error, much like taking a larger random sample reduces sampling error from a population; but this doesn’t work on simple binary outcomes.  As such, it too would not work for determining whether Trump is or is not racist, that being a binary problem (is racist, is not racist).

The specific problem we have with “numbers” determining whether Trump is or is not a racist—whatever the method—is systemic bias in the estimate.  As we see from polls, the response falls right along apriori, predictable lines—lines dues to partisan bias, etc., not information as such; therefore neither prediction markets nor crowd sourcing would work anyway, even if they were appropriate to the problem (which they are not).  In effect systemic bias distorts the aggregating effect of these and all “numbers based” mechanisms; therefore in cases where it is present, they won’t work.  Put summarily, in this case the data indicates people believe what they what they believe not because of the information, per se, but because of biases in how the information is interpreted.  In a random sample, one can expect various biases like these to wash out, but in a sample dividable into two distinct biases “for” and “against,” one can’t.  And so forth… All we are seeing in polls about Trump is the predilections of people who believe, not information about Trump as such, and from the former one can derive little (if any) useful information about latter—or in any case, information more useful than mere chance (and given the biases, probably less than that).

If there were no evidence of systemic bias along party or racial lines, that would be another matter…

Here’s a poll that specifically asked about Trump being a racist.  It’s been reported on CNN, The New York Times, etc…

[ Edited: 10 September 2019 12:42 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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10 September 2019 08:48
 
no_profundia - 09 September 2019 06:32 PM

So would you say there is likely no relationship at all between the number of people who believe something and whether it is true?
I guess I would have to think about this but my intuition tells me that more people believing something probably means it is more likely to be true. ...

TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 10 September 2019 07:05 AM

There are multiple ways in which the number of people who believe something relates to its truth, or its likelihood. 
...  These prediction markets work, however, in predicting uncertain events, not determining traits of a person or the truth about states of the world, so to speak.  They would not work on something like whether Trump is or is not a racist.

Ain’t Google wonderful ... you can find a poll to support any point of view at all.

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/06/26/a-majority-of-canadians-dislike-the-us-for-the-first-time-in-35-years-likely-much-longer.html

“Ninety-two per cent think he [Trump] is arrogant, 78 per cent think he is intolerant, 72 per cent think he is dangerous, Pew found. Just 16 per cent think he is well qualified to be president.”

Note that ‘intolerant’ is a polite-Canadian euphemism which includes racism.
(And this poll was a while ago, before he’d said and done half of the stuff that applies.)

To determine whether the number of people who believe something is true or not, bias needs to be taken into account in the polling group.  However, the intelligence, education and sheer number they represent are also important factors.  And it is a fact that the average Canadian is smarter than the average American – just ask any 37,267,630 of us (I could probably find a poll on request).

Just sayin’.  ;-)

[ Edited: 10 September 2019 09:10 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
LadyJane
 
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10 September 2019 09:39
 
Jan_CAN - 10 September 2019 08:48 AM

And it is a fact that the average Canadian is smarter than the average American – just ask any 37,267,630 of us (I could probably find a poll on request).

Yes.  And we’re all dreadfully sorry.

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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10 September 2019 10:01
 
Twissel - 09 September 2019 10:38 PM

anyone favoring stronger border security is stupid.

Of course, because anyone who disagrees with your opinions is stupid and anyone who agrees with them is smart.

 
 
Twissel
 
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10 September 2019 11:20
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 10 September 2019 10:01 AM
Twissel - 09 September 2019 10:38 PM

anyone favoring stronger border security is stupid.

Of course, because anyone who disagrees with your opinions is stupid and anyone who agrees with them is smart.

You think you are making an argument?

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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10 September 2019 14:11
 
Twissel - 10 September 2019 11:20 AM
Antisocialdarwinist - 10 September 2019 10:01 AM
Twissel - 09 September 2019 10:38 PM

anyone favoring stronger border security is stupid.

Of course, because anyone who disagrees with your opinions is stupid and anyone who agrees with them is smart.

You think you are making an argument?

Just pointing out the obvious.

 
 
LadyJane
 
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10 September 2019 16:18
 

I’m guessing when patrons use the term hysterical they mean funny.  Coz this presidency is a fuckin’ joke.

 
 
Celal
 
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10 September 2019 16:31
 
Twissel - 09 September 2019 10:38 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 09 September 2019 09:02 PM
no_profundia - 09 September 2019 06:32 PM

Perhaps you could give me an example of when the “woke” crowd considered something racist, when you think it wasn’t, so I can see what I think?

How about the claim that anyone favoring stronger border security is racist? The linked article is from 2013, but I’d say this particular racism claim is still alive and well.

anyone favoring stronger border security is stupid. They might also be racist.

The way to make immigration work better has nothing to do with border security, as everyone involved knows fully well, including Trump.
Not wanting to have A Wall isn’t the same as wanting Open Borders, as also everyone knows.

The call for stupid, useless measures only makes sense if it somehow feeds into some racist sentiment that puts keeping others out above any other consideration.

Everyone knows?  Except your Democratic Candidates. They are for open borders.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/tulsi-gabbard-the-rest-of-democratic-primary-field-has-embraced-open-borders/

 
no_profundia
 
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no_profundia
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10 September 2019 21:08
 

I don’t agree.  It is the default position of the hard-left…

I feel somewhat at sea when trying to think through these issues so I am just going to offer some general comments.

I first want to make a distinction. You and Antisocialdarwinist have offered different examples of cases where a certain percentage of the “extreme left” shows a tendency to interpret “everything” as racist. In Antisocialdarwinist’s example people are asked whether they think a person who supports a given policy is racist. The examples you linked to were cases where people had a tendency to interpret a particular social effect as the result of racism.

I would want to distinguish between these cases because I’m not sure how to reach an objective answer about Antisocialdarwinist’s example for three reasons. First, I don’t think the world divides neatly into “racists” and “non-racists.” I don’t think we can draw any line that isn’t somewhat arbitrary and place half the population on one side of the line and half on the other. Second, I think arguments about whether a person is racist are often arguments about what racism means. It is not that we start with a definition of racism that everyone agrees on and then try to decide whether the definition applies to person X. People disagree about the definition and I’m not sure how to reach an “objective” definition. Third, I think when we are applying the term “racist” to people it is often as normative as it is descriptive. Disagreements over how to use the term are not just disagreements over facts but about normative judgments, the effects that attitudes, behaviors, statements, etc. have on the world, and the correct moral attitude we should have towards those effects.

I don’t know how to reach an objective conclusion about all of that. All I can say is, I personally would not consider a person racist simply because they supported border security. I don’t think that support for border security necessarily implies the kinds of behaviors that I would want to morally censure as racist. I would also make an argument that a very general desciption of what a person thinks about a single policy is certainly not enough information to base such a conclusion on. I would find my own arguments convincing and compelling but I think I would have a hard time providing arguments that weren’t normative in some way to support my position. I think my arguments would largely be about how I think the term racist should be used and the virtues of withholding judgement in light of measly evidence.

However, when we are talking about whether a particular social effect - like the higher rates of arrests of African-Americans - are the result of racial bias, we do have a way (an imperfect way) to go about answering that question in a relatively objective way. We can gather data and run statistical analyses on it and try to determine whether racial bias might be a factor in explaining the social effect we see. Here it is easier to say that someone is (likely) wrong.

So, I would not really be that interested in getting into a debate with someone who thought a particular person was racist even if I disagreed with them. There are people who I think have ridiculous standards for determing whether someone is racist. I don’t get into debates with them. I just mentally delete them as serious people and move on. I am interested in knowing what the causes for various social effects are: differential incarceration rates, poverty rates, the income and racial wealth gaps, etc. and willing to discuss those things with other people.

So with that out of the way, I agree that there is a segment of the left that defaults to claiming various social effects are the result of racism but I still object to the stereotype of the far-left SJW who goes around thinking “everything is racist.” We all have priors. We all have default positions. Most people aren’t interested in spending their lives pouring over statistics to determine if something is racist or not, most people don’t have a real deep understanding of statistics to begin with, and it always takes a greater weight of evidence to move us from our default position than it does to confirm it. I have never met a person that did not fit that description.

So, why carve out a particular group of people, who have a particular set of priors that set them apart, but who basically fit the same description as every other human being on the planet, and claim that they are uniquely a problem? I know you are not singling out extreme leftists in the sense that you also think other groups are biased in similar ways. But it does seem to me you are arguing that these far leftists are creating a larger problem than the rest of the US population (correct me if I’m wrong). I guess maybe that is the part I disagree with and even if I agreed I’m not sure anything could be done about it. Here is one of my priors: I don’t have much faith in individual rationality. I have faith in collective rationality. It is like the jelly bean problem that you mentioned. I looked up the video I was listening to at work the other day and the theorem mentioned in the video states that crowd error equals the average error of the group minus the diversity.

This might be an over-interpretation of the theorem but here is how I would apply it to the current case. The question “How much racism is there in the US today?” or, as I would like to rephrase it to make it more precise, “How much does racial bias - conscious and unconscious - effect the life chances of minorities?” is a really hard question to answer. If this was an easy question then we could get a small group of smart people together and let them hammer out the answer. But, it is a very complex and difficult question. So, the average error of our individual guesses is likely going to be very high. That means that the crowd error is also going to be very high unless we also have lots of diversity. Based on the equation provided in the lecture it looks like diversity is mathematically defined as the average difference of each guess from the average of the group.

The point I am getting at is something like this (and it is possible I am placing too heavy a load on the theorem here; if so, then perhaps treat this as nothing more than a suggestive analogy): Each of us is likely to be off in our guess about the “amount of racism” in the US (even people who gather lots of data and study the issue). But, if we take the average of all of our views, and I think the political process is supposed to take this average in some sense and translate it into policy (whether it actually does is a separate question but I think this is one justification often given for Democracy) then it pays to have people whose guesses are far from the average of the group. In other words, it pays to have people who are extreme and whose priors for thinking something is racist are very high (and it also pays to have people whose priors for thinking something is racist are very low). Again, if that is too much of a stretch, then I think at the very least having a small portion of the population who thinks lots of things are racist at least potentially inspires people to study and find out if they are actually correct.

So I guess I am not that worried about the group that has strong priors towards considering things racist. And I still think it is an exaggeration to say that such people see racism “everywhere.” I think it is more accurate to say these people have really strong priors that make it so the weight of evidence needed to see something as “racist” is very slight while it takes a lot of evidence to convince them otherwise. This may be rational or irrational. We don’t know what these people are basing their priors on. For example, regarding the 10 statements that you mentioned from Trump. People weren’t starting from scratch when interpreting those statements. They were interpreting them in the light of what they already knew about Trump - and lots of people already had high priors that Trump was a racist after the birther thing.

The arrow does not move in one direction only. We don’t simply start with a bunch of statements, try to determine whether they are racist without any reference to who said them, and then try to determine whether the person is racist based on what we think about the statements on their own. We also try to determine whether statements are racist based on what we already know about a person and that includes previous statements. If Trump had made one of these statements the chance that it was racist might be quite low but it would be a mistake, I think, to interpret the chances that one of the statements was racist by forgetting about the other nine.

At any rate, I will end here except for two references that I think you might find interesting. In one of your previous posts that you linked to you seemed to be arguing that things like the high illegitimacy rate in the African-American community, and the high intra-racial murder rate, are likely endogenous (a result of something “internal” to African-Americans or their culture). I thought you might be interested in two references from scholars who agree with you that the causes for these things are complex but would disagree (at least to some degree) that they are endogenous and unrelated to racism (past and present; it is important to emphasize past, because as you point out, some of these problems got worse as racism decreased):

Here is a link to a paper by Arline Geronimus that I think is quite good that posits that part of the reason African-American women have children younger than white women (and I believe having children younger is pretty strongly associated with higher rates of illegitimacy) is because it is adaptive (she posits African-American women age more quickly due to the higher stress of their lower socio-economic status):

https://academic.oup.com/bmb/article/69/1/155/523373

If you pair that with the work of William Julius Wilson, who argues in The Truly Disadvantaged that the higher rates of concentrated poverty among African-Americans are largely the result of discriminatory housing policies that kept African-Americans in the inner cities, and global economic trends which led to a severe loss of jobs in inner cities, then I think you can construct a plausible story that things like high rates of illegitimacy and high murder rates are not simply the result of an endogenous culture (nor are they simply the result of racism, but rather a storm of complex causes, past and present racism included). Take care.

[ Edited: 10 September 2019 22:38 by no_profundia]
 
 
no_profundia
 
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no_profundia
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10 September 2019 21:09
 

Everyone knows?  Except your Democratic Candidates. They are for open borders.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/tulsi-gabbard-the-rest-of-democratic-primary-field-has-embraced-open-borders/

No, they’re not, and quoting the views of a nominee, someone who has as much incentive to misrepresent the views of her opponent’s as her Republican opponents, as proof is pretty ridiculous.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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10 September 2019 23:06
 
no_profundia - 10 September 2019 09:09 PM

Everyone knows?  Except your Democratic Candidates. They are for open borders.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/tulsi-gabbard-the-rest-of-democratic-primary-field-has-embraced-open-borders/

No, they’re not, and quoting the views of a nominee, someone who has as much incentive to misrepresent the views of her opponent’s as her Republican opponents, as proof is pretty ridiculous.

That is pretty hilarious.

 
MrRon
 
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11 September 2019 04:04
 
Celal - 10 September 2019 04:31 PM
Twissel - 09 September 2019 10:38 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 09 September 2019 09:02 PM
no_profundia - 09 September 2019 06:32 PM

Perhaps you could give me an example of when the “woke” crowd considered something racist, when you think it wasn’t, so I can see what I think?

How about the claim that anyone favoring stronger border security is racist? The linked article is from 2013, but I’d say this particular racism claim is still alive and well.

anyone favoring stronger border security is stupid. They might also be racist.

The way to make immigration work better has nothing to do with border security, as everyone involved knows fully well, including Trump.
Not wanting to have A Wall isn’t the same as wanting Open Borders, as also everyone knows.

The call for stupid, useless measures only makes sense if it somehow feeds into some racist sentiment that puts keeping others out above any other consideration.

Everyone knows?  Except your Democratic Candidates. They are for open borders.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/tulsi-gabbard-the-rest-of-democratic-primary-field-has-embraced-open-borders/

During a recent Bernie Sanders town hall an attendee claimed the senator is “an advocate for open borders.” Here was Sanders’ response:

“I’m afraid you may be getting your information wrong. That’s not my view. What we need is comprehensive immigration reform. If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world. And I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point. Can’t do it. So that is not my position.”

So at least that’s Bernie’s position. Do you have quotes from any other Democratic presidential candidates that show them specifically advocating for open borders? I’m not claiming that no other candidate has said they are in favor of open borders - I haven’t heard of any that support open borders, so I’m genuinely curious.

Ron

 
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