Time for your periodic dose of Jay Smooth.

At a certain point, it’s acceptable shorthand to refer to Trump as a “racist” but that’s because of a consistent history that he has worked to establish. Right now there’s a lot of calling people “racist” going around – as there should be, because empowered racists are feeling encouraged to crawl out from under their rocks – but remember: keep the focus tight on what they do and say and don’t get into the meta-analysis about anyone’s inner thoughts.

B.F. Skinner, the experimental psychologist, argued that we should not try to infer anything about unmeasurable inner states in an animal; all we can do is observe actual behaviors. “Skinnerians” would argue that we can’t say “the chicken wants to peck the lever to get food.” It either pecks the lever, or it doesn’t, and we measure that behavior. It’s more accurate and we’re less likely to get side-tracked by our own beliefs.

Leave a Reply