I never cared much for Nate Silver

Once upon a time, a lot of liberals were gaga for Nate Silver, who always left me cold. He seemed to be more of a numerologist, or a horse race handicapper, and I suspected he was juggling the numbers to fit his expectations (remember: quantitative & provable with numbers is not necessarily true). It’s polite of him to now confirm that yes, he’s a soulless automaton with no speck of moral reasoning in his body.

Most people don’t form political opinions through deep examination of the issues or reasoning from first principles. It’s more like picking some particular fashion label or way of dressing. Especially for younger people, who face more peer pressure.

Right. People who oppose genocide are just doing it because it’s a fad, exactly like how they pick out jeans at the store. Maybe we live in a society where even the conservative students learn at any early age that “thou shalt not kill,” and us more progressive people tell our kids to treat others as you want to be treated, but nah, students can see bombings and killings and snipers taking out civilians and be unperturbed by any foundational moral principles.

I think Silver is projecting here. He gets his morality from a spreadsheet, so of course no one else could possibly make a decision by examining the issues.

Hey, bonus: doesn’t this remind you of the same arguments made against trans people? It’s a passing fashion, they can’t possibly have thought about the consequences, they’re only doing it because their friends are doing it. There’s no way other people actually think — they’re all NPCs who need to be told what to do by us people with our numbers, which are totally free of bias.


  1. StevoR says

    Reminder : Being emotional about something even if moved by images (or music etc..) rather than cold factual, numerical, quantitative data ain’t a bad thing and just because you are emotional about something doesn’t mean you are necessrily being irrational, illogical, unethical or unthinking as well.

    Humans ain’t Vulcans and even Vulcans merely suppressed their emotions outwardly rather than entirely lacking them.
    /Cap’n Obvs.

  2. robro says

    It reminds me of some of the same arguments made in the 50s and 60s. Forward into the future.

  3. StevoR says

    One sentence summary : Emotional is NOT a synonym for irrational / illogical / wrong.

  4. raven says

    Nate Silver lying:

    Most people don’t form political opinions through deep examination of the issues or reasoning from first principles. It’s more like picking some particular fashion label or way of dressing. Especially for younger people, who face more peer pressure.

    Where is the data for these assertions without proof or data?
    He doesn’t have any.
    They may be dismissed without proof or data then.
    Nate Silver is wrong.

    He is also lying.
    Many or most people form their political opinions through group identity, self interest, and first principles. Peer pressure and fashion has little to do with it.

    We heard this same nonsense during the Vietnam war protests of the late 1960s and 1970s.
    It was wrong then and it is wrong now.

    A lot of us faced a huge cost to protest against the war. Including myself.
    I ended up with an FBI file like millions, something that I regard as a significant life achievement. Received a lot of verbal abuse, threats of violence, and one night some people threw rocks at us. Just missed the time the police came in with clubs and put some people who were lying on the ground in the hospital with head injuries.
    Some of my cohort had permanent or semipermanent separations from their families over the war.

  5. says

    If students protest things “because it’s cool,” why aren’t they dong it more often?

    This claim is no more valid than the old allegation that “those people” are rioting for fun. So if people start riots just for fun, why aren’t they having many more riots than we’ve ever seen? The idiots making that claim never answer that question.

  6. cartomancer says

    Well, all these student protestors clearly didn’t get the message that genocide is only bad when people we don’t like are doing it.

  7. raven says

    Philippe Lemoine:

    My basic model of student protests is that in general, students don’t know shit about what they are protesting against…

    Philippe Lemoine is an idiot.

    This isn’t even an assertion. It’s just a mindless insult.

    I’m sure the students know as much as Lemoine and probably far more.
    These days with the internet being worldwide, the Israelis can bomb a house and kill 22 civilians and the photos are on the internet an hour later.
    April 21, 2024 headline “More Israeli air raids in Rafah kill 22 people, mostly ..”
    It isn’t hard to collect vast amounts of information about the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

    BTW, Lemoine is clearly rather stupid.
    During the Vietnam war, we also knew a huge amount about what we were protesting against. Some of the leaders of our groups were…military veterans who had come back from Vietnam and were in college on the GI bill!!!

    And, we were ultimately right and definitely on the right side of history.
    The Vietnam war was a pointless atrocity that we ended up losing, with 58,000 American dead and at least 1 million VIetnamese dead.

  8. says

    Part of the problem is the disjuncture between specific instances and overgeneralization. In “classic syllogism” form, it looks something like this:

    P: (Silver’s statement) “Most people don’t form political opinions through deep examination of the issues or reasoning from first principles.”

    p: The students expressing distress at policies/acts of the Israeli government in Gaza have formed a political opinion.

    C: The students expressing distress at policies/acts of the Israeli government in Gaza did not form that political opinion through deep examination of the issues or reasoning from first principles.

    This is a classic overgeneralization, and even Silver’s statement itself admits to exceptions (presuming its accuracy in the first place — and my quibble would primarily be with any characterization of prevalence whatsoever that becomes post hoc). Silver’s generalist statement has nothing to do with the specifics of these protests — regardless of what support there might be (or might not) for it as a general description — precisely because the generalist statement itself admits of exceptions. Attempting to convert “general instance with exceptions” to “certainty” isn’t scientific reasoning: It’s theology masked in scientific-language artifacts.

    tl;dr Silver’s statement is not predictive of these protests, and these protests are not inconsistent with Silver’s statement. So we need not concern ourselves with the soundness of the general statement (which is certainly open to question), but instead with the egregiously poor reasoning of the theologians attempting to subsume one within the other.

    All of that said, I question whether anyone who isn’t distressed by what’s going on in Gaza has engaged in “deep examination of the issues or reasoning from first principles” — because just maybe all of the conventional wisdom is wrong. Rather, “It’s the Levant — everyone is wrong, and adding up more wrongs doesn’t make them right.”

  9. awomanofnoimportance says

    I would say that most people have no real choice about what they believe; a belief system either makes sense to someone or it does not. (Which does not mean that people aren’t responsible for the consequences of their beliefs.) If I offered anyone here a million dollars to believe in the Easter Bunny, maybe some would claim to believe in the Easter Bunny in order to get the money, but deep down in their gut nobody is actually going to believe in the Easter Bunny. You can’t force yourself to believe what you really don’t. Which is why, while it’s fun to argue about religion or politics, it’s unusual for someone to completely change their core beliefs. I transitioned from fundie Christian to atheist in my 20s, but if I’m honest I never really bought into Xianity in the first place; it’s what I’d been taught so I accepted it without giving it too much thought.

    I also think that beliefs have a lot to do with one’s underlying life view, which is also something one doesn’t control. Whether one is a liberal or conservative has more to do with whether one is an optimist or a pessimist, whether one has a high view or low view of human nature, whether one feels a sense of community and connectedness, whether one is a rule keeper or a rule breaker, and those are all mostly psychological traits that aren’t susceptible to logical argument either. Which is why there’s probably no belief that is so outlandish that someone somewhere doesn’t subscribe to it.

  10. kome says

    Something like this occurred with the BLM protests in the summer of 2020 as well. There were more than a few commentators who expressed that part of the reason there were so many people who attended those protests was because they were just bored having been cooped at home due to quarantine recommendations as a way to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    There will always be so many people in positions of relative power and prestige who simply cannot comprehend that most humans actually do have some values and will, if presented with a chance, act in accordance with their values.

    Not-so-fun fact: Philippe Lemoine is a Cornell grad student in philosophy who openly advocates race science and eugenics, and has partnered up with Richard Hanania. Not exactly hard to dig that up, either. So, real cool of Nate Silver to elevate that guy’s profile.

  11. cartomancer says

    Also… I don’t think he truly appreciates the value of community, solidarity and mutual support that protest and direct action can bring. In a way, yes, protests ARE about forming close-knit groups and showing your allegiance to the tribe – because close-knit, motivated groups stick around and grow and collaborate and get stuff done. All of civil rights organizing is based on this principle.

    The cynically pro-individualistic capitalist mind knows this. It knows that the strength of movements is that they bring people together to resist. That’s why it does everything it can to alienate and divide and prevent solidarity among the concerned.

  12. drew says

    Nate Silver is constantly making unsubstantiated claims. He’s a “pundit,” which means a-hole in Latin*.

    Claiming the opposite of Nate Silver without anything to back it up except taints isn’t any better than Nate Silver.

    We can all pull claims out of our butts. I am clearly no better than Nate Silver.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don’t criticize
    What you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is rapidly agin’
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’
    —Bob Dylan

    Of course the kids who listen to those lyrics would go on to support Reagan and Trump. Maybe Silver would heed David Bowie:

    And these children that you spit on
    As they try to change their worlds
    Are immune to your consultations
    They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through
    Turn and face the strange
    Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
    Turn and face the strange
    Where’s your shame?
    You’ve left us up to our necks in it

  14. says

    In the 1950s, college students were swallowing goldfish and stuffing themselves in phone booths. This is pretty much the same thing.

  15. BACONSQAUDgaming says

    Excuse my ignorance, but why is it a genocide? I thought a genocide is when you are trying to wipe out a population. Hasn’t the population risen every year since 1970 from 1 million to over 5 million? That doesn’t fit the definition.
    Isn’t the stated goal of Hamas genocide? I saw a clip of Bill Mayer stating “Hamas wants to wipe out Israel, but can’t; Israel could do that to them, but doesn’t”.

  16. says

    Genocide is a process. Until recently Israel just had a concentration camp. Now, I think it’s 1.5 % of the population of Palestinians is dead, and the numbers of infants and children as well as the general unconcern for human rights are a factor in me calling this a genocide. There’s more. If they stopped now I’d still say they were trying to commit genocide. They’re doing the steps, their culture is full of dehumanizing language, constant conflation of Palestinians as terrorists…

    It’s still a marathon if no one has won yet.

  17. says

    Excuse my ignorance, but why is it a genocide?

    After all this time, your ignorance is no longer excusable. Even less excusable, in fact, than that stupid name you’ve taken for yourself.

    Seriously, what else would you call the years-long pattern of Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians under their control?

  18. raven says

    This is what genocide looks like for any idiots that can’t use the Google search engine.
    High officials in the Israeli government often call for the genocide of Palestinians in general and right now, Gaza in particular.


    Israel’s Far-right Minister Smotrich Calls for ‘No Half Measures’ in the ‘Total Annihilation’ of Gaza
    Speaking at an end of Passover event, Israel’s finance minister Bezalel Smotrich also said the current talks with Hamas are ‘with someone who long ago should have ceased to exist’

    Noa Shpigel
    Apr 30, 2024 6:07 pm IDT
    Finance Minister and member of the security cabinet Bezalel Smotrich called on Monday for annihilating Israel’s enemies, saying “There are no half measures.

    [The Gazan cities of] Rafah, Deir al-Balah, Nuseirat – total annihilation. ‘You will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven’ – there’s no place under heaven.”

    .1. It took me 1 second with Google to find this news article.

    .2. It’s current. It came out today.

    The timing is right, at the end of the major Israeli holiday of Passover.
    I don’t know, celebrating religious holidays with genocide strikes me as contradictory, but as a Pagan atheist, what do I know about religions anyway?

    .3. Bezalel Smotrich isn’t any random Jewish internet troll who hates Palestinians.
    Well, he is, but he is also a high Israeli government official, the Finance Minister.

    .4. Haaretz is an Israeli newspaper.
    Any comments about how antisemitic it is to call out Israeli genocide should be directed to…Haaretz.

    .5. The reference to Amalek is well known from the Bible.
    They were one of the groups genocided by the ancient Israelis.

    “Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword.”

  19. crimsonsage says

    Genocide is not just the simple killing of a group of people. It is a open ended set of actions with the intent to destroy or displace a people to change the human terrain of a region. Usually this means killing them but it doesn’t require it. Actions which are considered genocide, which Israel has already performed include: collective punishment of a civilian population, the cutting off of food, the cutting off of water, the destruction of infrastructure necessary for subsistence. The destruction and or contamination of environmental resources too deny their use, the targeting of women and children, I am sure i am missing many more. Additionally it would still be a genocide if Israel somehow managed to displace the entire population of Gaza without killing anyone, the mass dislocation of a population by force is also a genocide.

    At this point it isn’t a question if it’s a genocide it is literally the textbook definition of one. If you support Israel you are supporting an ongoing genocide full stop.

  20. BACONSQAUDgaming says

    @16 Thanks for replying, and addressing my question. I guess we’ll have to disagree on the process, unless of course the Israelis are replacing the population with their people to explain the increase.
    You also state “their culture is full of dehumanizing language”, but Hamas literally has Math textbooks with questions like “There are 23 Israelis, Hamid kills 9, how many are left?”. Hamas is a known terrorist organization.

  21. awomanofnoimportance says

    Crimsonsage, No. 19: “If you support Israel you are supporting an ongoing genocide full stop.”

    OK, here is the philosophical dilemma that I face. I support the right of Israel to exist while at the same time abhorring probably about 90% of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. And also believing that some (we can argue about how much) of the suffering of the Palestinian people stems from Hamas using them as human shields, either directly or by setting up their operations in such a way that they can’t be eliminated without also killing a lot of civilians. And while also recognizing that there are Palestinians for whom any Jews at all in the Middle East is too many, so Israel’s mindset has some justification.

    I mostly agree with everyone here that the US needs to stop supporting Israel militarily until the ethnic cleansing stops. Once it does, though, what policy would be implemented in its place? How does Israel have secure borders while at the same time granting full freedom to the Palestinians?

  22. says

    Hamas isn’t Palestinians. I don’t consider replacement to be a reason not to use the word.

    It’s not like they’d just leave the territory there after finishing the marathon.

    You disagree without quoting anything from me. I simply reject what you typed.

  23. says

    I think a better place to start is how to get Isreal to stop acting like what they only performatively hate. Genocidal. Because I’m still going to look at the political nation of Isreal as if they want to eliminate Palestinians. That’s their behavior.

    All that stuff you are worrying about doesn’t change any of it and it especially won’t of it involves acting like the Palestinian people are a threat. Isreal should get shame and shunning for that.

  24. says

    My deep contempt for the genocidal state of Israel is not fashionable it is something formed and firmed during a protest march against the genocide in Bosnia. I marched in that because I had met a Bosnian women struggling to support and evacuate 13 Bosnian families who were under the guns of Serbian war criminals. On that march I met a young Palestinian boy who had just lost six of his cousins when Israel deliberately shelled a UN refugee camp in Lebanon using cluster munitions no doubt supplied by US arms manufacturers. That incident was already stuck in my mind because the UN peacekeepers cleaning up the carnage were Fijian military personnel. A warm and hospitable people who were mired in this atrocity because the UN uses them and soldiers from similar countries as cheap cannon fodder in their futile mission to keep criminal regimes like Israel in check.

  25. BACONSQAUDgaming says

    @17 Ad hominem in place of an argument. “Mistreatment” is not genocide in the same way that abuse is not murder. Neither are desirable, but they are not equivalent.
    @18 Not all Palestinians are Hamas, so quotes regarding wanting to wipe out Hamas does not mean they want to wipe out the Palestinian people. I drove past a Palestinian protest this weekend in which one lady/protester had a poster that said “Hamas is the worst enemy of the Palestinian people”.
    @19 I did a quick google on genocide, and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention said: “To constitute genocide, there must be a proven intent on the part of perpetrators to physically destroy a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Cultural destruction does not suffice, nor does an intention to simply disperse a group. It is this special intent, or dolus specialis, that makes the crime of genocide so unique.” So your assertion that “mass dislocation of a population by force” is not a genocide.

  26. says

    Oh noes! Not the official definitions!

    You have to also want to overtly destroy culture, it’s not enough that Is real has disregard for human life in general or kills so many kids. It’s gotta be a more complete and official looking way to kill people away.

    The conflation between Palestinians and terrorists is bad here in the US. I’ve seen enough clips from Israel to imagine how much worse it is there.

    Whine some more Bacon.

  27. awomanofnoimportance says

    Bacon, No. 26, only the most deliberate blindness could fail to appreciate that what is happening in Gaza is at least ethnic cleansing whether or not technically genocide, and you’re doing yourself no favors by pretending not to see what is perfectly plain. We can have a conversation about, given the regional realities, what other options are actually available, but go peddle your definitional argument somewhere else.

  28. Pierce R. Butler says

    awomanofnoimportance @ # 28: … at least ethnic cleansing whether or not technically genocide…

    SFAIK, “ethnic cleansing” was invented contrived by the Clinton administration as a euphemism to sidestep inconvenient anti-genocide treaty obligations during the wars of the breakup of Yugoslavia. The functional distinctions between the two asymptotically approach zero.

  29. kome says

    Shut up with the debate-bro nonsense, bacon. You clearly have no interest in a good faith engagement with the nature of what does and does not constitute genocide. You also have no clue what ad hominem means. Being insulted is not an ad hominem. It’s just being insulted. And if you’re too stupid to know that difference, you’re too stupid to pretend that you have anything of value to contribute to the conversation. JAQ off somewhere else.

  30. wereatheist says

    Ethnic cleansing means the people cleansed can mostly go somewhere else.
    But Egypt will not like Muslim Brotherhood adherents, so it can only be genocide (at least in the eyes of western anti-imperialists).
    I guess people think it’s clever to talk about genocide in regard of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is mostly stubborn Zionists against Arab exterminatory antisemites, which happen to be seen as a national liberation movement. Which they are not.

  31. wereatheist says

    The PLO has been in favour of some ethnic cleansing for a long time. Now they just ask for the flooding of fucking Israel by the great-grandchildren of refugees.

  32. says

    @17 Ad hominem in place of an argument.

    You’re being ignorant (and admitting it), so I’m pointing out that you’re being ignorant.

    @19 I did a quick google on genocide, and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention said: “To constitute genocide, there must be a proven intent on the part of perpetrators to physically destroy a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

    And if you actually cared enough to read about what Israel have been doing to Palestinians under their control, you’d easily see that those actions add up to what the UN defines as “genocide.”

    So your assertion that “mass dislocation of a population by force” is not a genocide.

    Again, read the fucking news and use some common sense: if people are forcibly dislocated from the land they live on and subsist from, then yes, that’s genocide (is anyone else offering alternative land-grant for displaced Palestinians?). And even if some people survive such dislocation, the group, as a cultural or ethnic group, has still been destroyed. So it’s still genocide. QEDuh.

  33. says

    I guess people think it’s clever to talk about genocide in regard of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is mostly stubborn Zionists against Arab exterminatory antisemites…

    Actually, the current ruling faction of “stubborn Zionists” are working WITH the “Arab exterminatory antisemites,” not against them. Beginyahu and his Likudnik chums have been supporting, enabling and propping up Hamas for YEARS (which they’ve admitted in plain English), in order to discredit all the non-exterminatory and non-antisemite people who have been trying to make a deal with Israel.

    And yes, the INTENDED result is genocide — it doesn’t take any “cleverness” to see this.

  34. wereatheist says

    The present crop of Israeli government is infested, if you so will, of people loving the Great Transfer Solution.
    Which means, because there already is an Arab state whithin the former League of Nations mandate of “Palestine”,
    “Palestinians” could be moved (read: ethnically cleansed) to it.
    The state in question is thje Kingdom of Jordan.

  35. John Morales says

    Case is ongoing (so there’s clearly a case to be made).

    cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa%27s_genocide_case_against_Israel

    Two days of public hearings were held on 11 and 12 January 2024 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, regarding South Africa’s request for provisional measures of protection.[12] The Court issued an Order in relation to the provisional measures request on 26 January 2024, in which it ordered Israel to take all measures to prevent any acts that could be considered genocidal according to the 1948 Genocide Convention.[13][14][15] The court said that at least some of the acts alleged by South Africa appear to fall under the provisions of the Genocide Convention.[16] The Court did not order Israel to suspend its military campaign in the Gaza Strip, which South Africa had requested.[17][18] Both South African and Israeli officials welcomed the decision, with each considering it a victory.[19] The court also expressed “grave concern” about the fate of the hostages held in the Gaza Strip[13] and recognized the catastrophic situation in Gaza “at serious risk of deteriorating further” prior to a final verdict.[20]

    Human Rights Watch stated that Israel had failed to comply with the ICJ’s provisional measures.[21] On 28 March 2024, following a second request for additional measures, the ICJ ordered new emergency measures, given the deterioration in the situation since the initial ruling: ordering Israel to ensure basic food supplies, without delay, as Gazans face famine and starvation.[22][23]

  36. wereatheist says


    Actually, the current ruling faction of “stubborn Zionists” are working WITH the “Arab exterminatory antisemites,” not against them.

    Last I loked, the Israelis are trying to finish them (might well not work).

  37. raven says

    Shut up with the debate-bro nonsense, bacon. You clearly have no interest in a good faith engagement with the nature of what does and does not constitute genocide.

    To be fair to Bacon the genocide supporting troll, when he isn’t making Bad Faith Arguments, he is lying.

    Bacon’s claim to fame is hating Trans people.
    Because I guess, hating a defenseless minority of 0.5% of the population is easy.
    He’s lied about Trans people before and been called out on it.

    It’s not surprising also, that there are a lot of TERFs and fundie xians who would like to genocide the Trans people and say so often.
    It looks like Bacon just collects genocides of minorities. It’s a Nazi thing.

  38. rrhain says

    There is at least one person who joined a protest “to meet girls.”

    Whether or not Nate Silver is one of those people is something I leave for others to discuss.

    But the fact that there are people who join a crowd for reasons other than the ostensible reason for the crowd has no bearing on why most of them are there. The foundational premise of “most people don’t form political opinions through deep examination of the issues or reasoning from first principles” is unjustified.

    I might (and mind you, I said might) be amenable to saying that most people don’t form political opinions through scholarly research or through means that entail attempts to amass all available information. Nobody is an expert on everything. They don’t have to be. This is nothing more than a variation of “Debate me, Bro!” where the idea is that you have to start every single discussion from sand, allowing for no previous information to exist, and insisting that unless you are able to provide a detailed response to every single stray thought someone who disagrees with you vomits in your direction, you aren’t really “serious” about it.

    That isn’t how reality works. I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe in “objective” morality. Morality, being a product of the mind, is necessarily subjective. Morality only makes sense in the context of a goal to which your behavior either furthers or hinders. While we might objectively determine if a particular action furthers or hinders the goal, the choice of those goals is necessarily subjective. And since human behavior necessarily has multiple goals, those goals can be put into conflict such that there is no universal solution to any moral dilemma. It’s like the word “dilemma” means what it says on the tin.

    What that means is that I don’t need to examine every single possible configuration of actions in order to understand my opinion about it. I’m against the death penalty. Not because I think killing is always wrong in every scenario. I can think of reasons why it is appropriate, even “moral” in my estimation, to kill another person. I do think there are crimes for which losing your life is an appropriate punishment. But I also think that the ability to ensure that those justifications are always carried out correctly is impossible and to have the government decide it is willing to kill people who are innocent when there are alternatives available is unacceptable. I don’t have to come up with a spreadsheet showing every possible combination and calculate a result. I don’t have to have searched the entirety of philosophical discourse on the nature of killing. I don’t have to be capable of writing essays on famous instances of capital punishment and the aftermath of those deaths.

    I just have to know that killing another person requires a really good reason and recognize that the government doesn’t have a really good reason.

    And thus, I am willing to extend that courtesy to those who are protesting: They have examined the issues. They are aware of the repercussions. That’s why they’re out there protesting.

    By the way, for every person there who joined “to meet girls,” there’s another there who joined “to stir up trouble.”

    Have we forgotten about Kyle Rittenhouse?

    Have we forgotten the White people who tried to use the BLM protests as excuses to commit crime? The BLM protests were overwhelmingly peaceful and of the violence that was committed, the overwhelming majority of it was carried out by the cops and white supremacists. The Right loves to talk about arson, but they neglect to point out that the arsonists were the white supremacists. It’s the Boogaloo Bois that were arrested.

    And to make this more direct, what does Mr. Silver have to say about the pro-Israel yahoo at the Northwestern protest that tried to get the crowd to start chanting, “Kill the Jews”? And how they shut him down?

    Why is it Mr. Silver is ignoring those people?

  39. raven says

    A lot of plans to eliminate the Trans people or at least to keep the numbers small and invisible. Here are a few.

    Kathleen Stock

    She has opposed transgender self-identification in regards to proposed reforms to the 2004 UK Gender Recognition Act, and has argued that allowing self-identification would “threaten a secure understanding of the concept ‘lesbian’

    Kathleen Stock wants to prohibit people from self identifying. So she can identify them as to their gender instead.
    Her given reason is laughable. Anyone who wants to know what a lesbian is can look it up in the dictionary in a few seconds. Lesbian is not a complicated idea.

    Hillary Cass:

    Hilary Cass:
    Dr Cass repeats previous warnings there was no clear evidence on whether social transitioning had positive or negative mental health outcomes.

    She says those who have done so at an earlier age, or before being seen by a clinic, were more likely to go down a medical pathway and that for most, such a path “will not be the best way to manage their gender-related distress”.

    This is the recent Cass review.
    She is lying here about the data on social transitioning. Several studies show it has a pronounced positive effect on mental health.

    The Cass Review wants to prohibit social transitioning in children and medical treatment of Trans children. And set up converstion programs for Trans children and adults.

    The stated goal is to keep the number of Trans people as small as possible.

    Kathleen Stock and Hilary Cass aren’t random internet trolls.
    They have a lot of influence and power in the UK and a lot of support from the current UK party in power.

  40. Hemidactylus says

    wereatheist @35
    Looks like Coyne’s entourage has arrived.

    King Abdullah should have gotten all of Palestine way back when (including Cisjordan). Irgun and Herut were miffed that Transjordan was ceded to the Hashemites and had conniption fits about that. Maybe instead it should have all been given to the Hashemites and saved us the decades of annoyance that would come much later…after ‘48 but especially after ‘67.

    The post-Revisionist whiny babies who pined after Jordan instead now consider it Palestine and also want to annex the West Bank (“Judea” and “Samaria”). The rise of Hamas in Gaza, after Sharon quit it not for peace but to circumvent the demographic problem of the Palestinian womb AND to sidestep the peace initiatives extant at the time (eg the Quartet), has worked out well for the post-Revisionists as they divided and are in the process of conquering the PA and Hamas as a result.

    The current chapter in the ongoing conflict benefits Sharon’s political enemy Bibi as he was in a bit of political trouble before it started. Permanent war footing puts that issue on the backburner, no? And again, Hamas was a convenient counter to the PA.

    As annoyed as I am at Bibi’s shenanigans we should cut all aid to Israel (screw conditionality). Maybe when all settlers get the boot from the West Bank we might reconsider. Maybe…

    I do accept the existence of Israel sans the West Bank and Gaza, fait accompli and all that. I don’t believe in a one state solution going either ethnic direction. But given the mighty Zionists made the desert bloom unlike the backwards natives who by some accounts (paging Mark Twain) didn’t really exist (you use scare quotes for “Palestinian”), Israel could benefit from a crash course in self-sufficiency. Sink or swim.

    Oh and does Coyne have any idea what opinions his hero Hitchens had towards how Palestinians had been treated by Zionists? Hitchens had a long track record on that which seems to have gone conveniently into Coyne’s memory hole.

    I tend to reserve my dislike for the Revisionists though Jabotinsky himself was far milder than the Begin bunch. Amazingly he recognized the settlement of Palestine as a colonial project. Awkward! It’s not Jabotinsky so much but the ideological descendants of Lehi and Irgun who have shifted Israel too far to the right to warrant continued US involvement.

    Labor Zionism has had its warts. At least kibbutzim had represented a real world laboratory for socialism.

  41. raven says

    Helen Joyce (UK)

    In June 2022, PinkNews reported that Joyce had spoken in favour of “reducing or keeping down the number of people who transition” and that “every one of those people is a person who’s been damaged” and “every one of those people is basically, you know, a huge problem to a sane world”.[17]

    Another genocidal freak in the UK.

    Every word she wrote is wrong here.
    The free world has huge numbers of problems.
    Trans people aren’t even on the list.

    Mindless haters like Helen Joyce on the other hand, are huge problems for the world.

    The genocidal maniacs aren’t hiding anything.
    They will happily tell you what their plans are and don’t care if those plans end up on the front page of the newspapers.

  42. says

    PS: There’s a place for arguing over specific definitions of words, but in this case, what we need most is to remember that Israeli forces have been indiscriminately bombing civilian targets, such as HOSPITALS, in population centers; and that they’ve killed, what, TWENTY times as many Gazans (including women and children) as Hamas killed last October? THIRTY? Hell, the number of dead Gazan children alone far exceeds the total number of Israelis killed by Hamas. Israel says they’re targeting terrorist leaders, but everyone knows (especially Israel, who have much more experience dealing with terrorists) that indiscriminate bombing of population centers is not how you take out terrorist group leaders.

    Indiscriminate bombing of populated areas, for no purpose other than hate and revenge, where the targeted people are stuck in place and unable to flee, is genocide.

  43. wereatheist says

    I guess you were citating a lot but I cannot figure What is yours and what is not (I’m pissed that this site does not provide simple HTML).
    And then I think Bibi is a good part of the problem.
    but i am a german living in germany.

  44. says

    Philippe Lemoine: “My basic model of student protests is that in general, students don’t know shit about what they are protesting against…”

    I guess he calls it a “model” because that’s easier to spell than “prejudice.”

  45. crimsonsage says

    @22 A democratic one state solution for all people with provisions for equal rights and protections is the only viable and practicable solution under the current conditions. And yes I know that this sounds incredibly hard, but the problem is that a two state solution is even less possible. Unless the global conditions change such that A)All Israeli settlements ate removed and territory relocated to ensure rationonal contiguous states, b)ending of all international support for Israeli both militarily and economically, c) economic reparations, rebuildong, and rearming of the putative Palestinian state, d)fair international treatment accorded to both by all third party nations. And even this would still just leave us with two mutually antagonistc states who’s sectarian and ethnic makeup would drive the most rightwing and belligerent factions to. prominence. It would be creating a mini Pakistan and India in the levant. Atleast with a single democratic state it would break up power between competing interests and have some hope for a peaceful coexistence. I honestly don’t have any hope for a long term resolution all I know is I can oppose my countries imperial ambitions in the matter.

  46. John Morales says

    [meta — wereatheist, this site supports a limited set of markdown as well as HTML]

    (I’m pissed that this site does not provide simple HTML)

    ∗(I’m pissed that this site does not provide simple HTML)∗

    (I’m pissed that this site does not provide simple HTML)

  47. wereatheist says

    I do accept the existence of Israel sans the West Bank and Gaza, fait accompli and all that. I don’t believe in a one state solution going either ethnic direction.
    The problem with Hamas and their ilk is they don’t have a sense for “fait accompli”.
    (My Grandfather was from what used to be German East Prussia. fait accompli par excellence)

  48. John Morales says

    Hamas clearly lacks legitimacy, given how long ago they were elected.
    Gazans basically have no option, and nobody is helping them sort out their political quandary.

    Helping to avert the ongoing genocide is a tad more urgent, and that’s up to Israel, not Hamas.

    (Obs, for any actual member, surrender means a death sentence, probably with bonus torture to season the doom; not the best incentive to surrender)

  49. wereatheist says

    You keep on speaking of genocide.
    Ever looked up info about the 2nd chechnyan war?
    If Israeli proceedings now are fucking genocide, every more so were good, anti-imperialist Russia’s
    proceeds in, well Chechnya.
    Which happened to be an independent state before.

  50. VolcanoMan says

    @crimsonsage #47: A one-state solution is a great idea in theory (certainly better than a two-state solution), but Israel (as it is now) is fundamentally against it, and nobody seems willing to convince them to change their mind (with carrots or sticks). Right now, they have autonomy, they have a rich sugar daddy (the good ol’ US of A), AND all of his buddies giving them all of the money, resources and diplomatic cover they could want. They’re rolling in it! If they (improbably) accepted a situation where they had to share their nation with the people of Gaza and the West Bank, giving them political agency, as well as every other measure of full equality due a citizen of Israel, they would probably just keep on doing what they’re doing now, only this time with a democratic veneer (i.e. using the political process and police state as a oppressive tool, like the GOP does in the American South). And while that may be progress (of a sort – ideally, they wouldn’t be bombing anyone, but I am not naive enough to believe that nations aren’t capable of bombing their own territory/people…after all, America has done this before, usually intentionally*), it’s still terrible.

    To counteract this would require a long transition period of imposed neutral governance, which would also have to include measures of forced cultural integration (because the number one way to turn enemies into neighbours is to get each side to see the other as just like them in all of the ways that count – the authoritarian’s first move is to denounce those who disagree with him as sub- or in-human). And do you really think a state like Israel would give up their own self-governance, not to mention all of the perks they get now, and allow the international community to run their country for a generation or two (which is what, in practise, a neutral governance would look like)? They would sooner cut all ties with the sugar daddy Americans and go it on their own with help from whatever authoritarian regimes would be willing to help them out (in the interests of creating chaos and division in America’s sphere of influence).

    Honestly, I think there would have to be an actual war AGAINST Israel and their genocide, like we fought a war against Germany and THEIR genocide in the 1930s and ’40s, for this to happen. But that leads me to wonder: would the world have intervened in the Holocaust if the Nazis didn’t have global domination in mind? Hell, it took being directly attacked for America to enter the war…would Britain have done so if France, Poland and Russia (among other nations) weren’t invaded, and Germany was just genociding people within their own borders (and those of their allies)? I have my doubts…so really, I don’t think it’s likely that we see a similar kind of intervention in Israel, unfortunately. They’ve already gotten away with attacking their neighbours in Lebanon without a global international response…I very much doubt that, even if the Americans weren’t playing geopolitical chess in the region, they would allow a global armed response to the genocide Israel has been perpetrating for the last 75 years.

    *Though not always…the number of times the Americans have almost nuked themselves beggars belief.

  51. crimsonsage says


    As i said it is an irresolvable problem at the current juncture, but I was asked to project what I believe the ideal solution to work toward would be so Ii answered. The first, and currently only, step is to stop the harm which is us support. Maybe once we see how that affects things another step will open and further progress can be made. As. An editorial I do find it quite frustrating how “reasonable” people always put forward the two state solution as some resolution to the conflict as if it weren’t completely pie in the sky as well as ultimately undesirable from a human welfare perspective.

    As an aside I like how pro Israel people always seem to chirp about how this or that conflict is worse and therefore this one can’t possibly be bad or a genocide; and by implication imply the antisemitic motives of their intolocutor even if said individual did/does oppose said conflic brought up. Meanwhile the death toll ticks up and will continue to for decades as a destroyed society and lack of resources prevent basic subsitence all enforced at the barrel of an israeli/American gun.

  52. wereatheist says

    Fun extra information about Germany:
    If I see some graffito saying ‘Free Gaza’, someone else will have added ‘from Hamas’.

  53. John Morales says

    Some people are distinguishing between attempted genocide and actual genocide.
    That’s not pedantry, that’s framing so as to avoid the issue at hand.

    After all, homicide and attempted homicide are not the same thing, are they?

    (Neither is normally lawful, BTW)

    But hey, Palestinians yet remain, some of their culture remains, a tiny tad of their lands remain — within their ever-shrinking reservations subject to arbitrary harassment and the state either turning a blind eye to murderous and thuggish provocations by settlers at best or encouraging it at best.

    (After all, it’s only genocide once it’s succeeded, right?)

  54. wereatheist says

    a Volcano man sayed:
    we fought a war against Germany and THEIR genocide in the 1930s
    they are extremely under-educated, but that is to be expected.

  55. wereatheist says

    But hey, Palestinians yet remain, some of their culture remains,

    espescially some very rabid version of antisemitism.

  56. wereatheist says

    Some people are distinguishing between attempted genocide and actual genocide
    Which is nice news to actual nazi Germans, because their ancestors just attempted genocide – they didn’t obviously succeed whtih it.

  57. John Morales says

    wereatheist, you’re not grokking the vibe.

    Which is nice news to actual nazi Germans, because their ancestors just attempted genocide – they didn’t obviously succeed whtih it.

    Um, that they were actual nazi Germans were not worse than the actual current-day Israel government is not nice to either party. Both attempted genocide, only one has been stopped.

    So far.

  58. says

    I honestly don’t have any hope for a long term resolution…

    Neither do I, and quite frankly, this is one part of the world where further US intervention, however well-meaning, toward whatever nice-sounding ideal or objective, has absolutely no chance of doing more good than harm to anyone. We’ve been supporting Israel, and trying to broker peace-deal after peace-deal, since 1967, and this is where it’s got us: divided against ourselves and hopelessly distracted from our legitimate interests elsewhere, especially Europe and Taiwan. The US can’t do any more good for anyone in the Middle East, so the best option for us is to look to our own interests instead, and stop pretending we have any need or reason to keep on giving any more support to Israel (or any other party to that conflict) beyond normal diplomatic relations and maybe some economic aid here or there.

    Beginyahu is trying to become a tsar, and is using Hamas to punish his own people for resisting his corrupt self-serving actions. It is not in America’s interest to support a dime-store Ivan the Terrible, anywhere on Earth.

  59. wereatheist says

    I have to go to sleep, finally.
    But I think you are dumb as fuck.
    As is the rest of the ‘anti-imperialist’ or ‘post-colonialist’ movement.
    Vlad will be your hero.

  60. chrislawson says

    Yeah, this is spectacularly bad from Nate Silver. Even if you disagree with the protestors, it’s just a way of dismissing them without engaging with their beliefs. And why is his criticism limited to students? Judging from the data on political beliefs in the US, I would say the demographic most prone to ‘because it’s popular with their peers and makes them feel important’ politicking is the older conservative cable news viewer who will happily believe things that are outright impossible so long as they think the belief upsets ‘woke’ people.

  61. chrislawson says

    @62– Dismissing anti-imperialism and post-colonialism as Putinesque is, quite frankly, abundant evidence that you have zero interest in good faith arguments.

  62. raven says

    It is pretty sick that the best the Israeli genocide supporters can do is claim that the Israeli massacres aren’t really “genocide”.

    .1. So far, Israel has killed 34,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of which were civilians and 3/4s were women and children.
    This is at the very least mass murder on an incredible scale.
    They are now ahead on body counts by 30 to 1.

    Seemingly, the trolls don’t have a problem with the random slaughtering of tens of thousands of people. As long as no one calls it genocide.

    A lot of people, including a lot of Jews, do have a problem with mass murders though. It is a normal person thing. Or should be anyway.

    .2. Genocides don’t happen instantaneously.
    This isn’t a video game.
    Even the Germans spent something like 7 years from Krystallnacht and never managed to kill even all the Jews they had control of.

    As my friend pointed out, the Israelis are slowly boiling a frog. They can spend decades on this if they have to.
    It is harder than it looks though.
    Sometimes the frogs decide they’ve had enough and try to jump out of the pot.

  63. Chaos Engineer says

    @15 Hasn’t the population risen every year since 1970 from 1 million to over 5 million? That doesn’t fit the definition.

    Ah, that brings back memories of the 1990’s.

    People back then would say “If human beings evolved from apes, then how come there are still apes?” and “If Nazis committed genocide against the Jews, then how come there are still Jews?”

    I don’t see those arguments much, anymore. Those were simpler times, for simpler people. I have to say that sometimes I miss the old days, but I guess you can’t stop progress.

  64. says

    I have to go to sleep, finally.

    All us Woke people got you all tired out? That’s fine, just stay in bed if you can’t handle wokeness…you won’t be missed.

  65. lotharloo says

    I actually somewhat disagree with the claim that this is a slam-dunk case of genocide, it is not 100% clear. Based on the Israeli military response and widely reported facts, I can conclude the following:

    Israeli army does not give a shit about Palestinian lives. They are willing to kill 100+ civilians to target one random Hamas ranked dude. They are willing to bomb and kill ordinary soldiers in their homes together with their kids and family. They are willing to bomb apartment buildings, and kill entire families to get to one low-ish level target. Israeli army is 100% doing war crimes. They are using AI targeting systems with low or no oversight which they already know has a non-negligible chance of killing innocent people. They don’t give a shit.
    Various Israeli politicians have expressed explicit or implicit desire for genocide. There are squads composed of religious extremists who not surprisingly commit war crimes on regular basis, kill innocent people and in general they are very genocidal about their actions.
    But I am not sure these facts are enough to conclude the Israeli government is doing a genocide because the important factor is the question of intention. And honestly, the distinction does not matter that much. We are trying to distinguish between war crimes at massive scale and a genocide.

  66. StevoR says

    @ 62. wereatheist :

    I have to go to sleep, finally.
    But I think you are dumb as fuck.
    As is the rest of the ‘anti-imperialist’ or ‘post-colonialist’ movement.

    Really? How so? What is dumb abiout us and them exacvtly? What is your smarter alternative.

    Ironic (?) that dumb also means silent and unable or unwilling to speak huh?

    Vlad will be your hero.

    Oh I don’t think so. Doesn’t follow in the slightest and well, seems you missed the search function here too:


  67. raven says

    I actually somewhat disagree with the claim that this is a slam-dunk case of genocide, it is not 100% clear.

    Well, OK.

    Your question is whether this is obvious genocide or just mass murder, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. It could also be simple terrorism, with the intent to terrorize the entire populaton of Gaza into submission.

    Maybe it is all of the above in various proportions. I’ll let the UN and the International Criminal Court in the Hague figure that one out.

    How much does this matter to the 34,000 dead Palestinians, most of which are civilian women and children, anyway?”
    Not to mention the unknown but much higher number of wounded Palestinians and the 2.3 million Palestinians now homeless or displaced as Israel destroys buildings on a massive scale?

    Whether it is the beginning of a genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, mass murder, or terrorism doesn’t really change much.
    It is still a morally wrong use of violence on a massive scale with the intent to terrorize the population into submission.

    This is just a rabbit hole the trolls like to go down to ignore that main point that for 6 months, the Israelis have been massacring people and destroying whole cities.

  68. raven says

    We can have a vote here like they do on X formerly Twitter.

    The Israeli invasion of Gaza is:

    .1. Genocide
    .2. Ethnic Cleansing
    .3. Mass Murder
    .4. Crimes Against Humanity
    .5. Terrorism
    .6. Revenge
    .7. Ordered by the god yahweh
    .8. Fill in the blank

    You can check more than one answer.

    I don’t really mean to make this a vote though.
    There are elements of more than one of these processes in what the Israelis are doing.

    And it doesn’t make much difference anyway.
    Tens of thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been made refugees in what used to be their own city, for no good reasons.

  69. Prax says

    Especially for younger people, who face more peer pressure.”

    This is simply wrong. Older people face at least much peer pressure as young people, because they have more invested in their social and economic status. Wearing socially inappropriate clothing may get a teenager mocked by their peers, but it may get an older person fired or denied for a bank loan.

    Research suggests that kids get better at resisting peer influence during middle adolescence, and are about as good at it thereafter as are older adults. Adolescents are more likely to cave to peer pressure in ways older adults don’t approve of, but that goes both directions. Junior does keg stands; Grandpa votes for Trump.

    @raven #7,

    Philippe Lemoine:
    My basic model of student protests is that in general, students don’t know shit about what they are protesting against…

    Lemoine appears unfamiliar with the concept of “school,” which is a place people go to know shit about shit. University students are much better than the average adult at fact-checking and refining their opinions about unfamiliar topics, because that’s what universities are for.

    I’m sure the students know as much as Lemoine and probably far more.

    Lemoine himself is a graduate student, so if he thinks that students are generally ignorant lemmings, I’m going to assume he’s exhibit A.

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