Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A Ten Year Old Post Relevant Today

While doing some searches for something I knew I had written here, I stumbled across this post, almost 10 years old to the day.  I had a surprise while going through it, when I clicked on the link to a 12 year old, nearly 10 minute long YouTube video, linked in the second paragraph.  It's worth some time to look around in that video, even if you don't sit for the full thing. 

I repost it here because on its 10th birthday (almost), it's as true as it ever was.  Earlier in the year I thought of repeating more 10 year old posts, but finding them isn't always easy.  

The Atomic Bomb of Argument

In the world of the Internet, a law of argument has been recognized, called Godwin's law of Nazi Analogies, which says that any argument long enough leads to an invocation of Hitler or Nazis.  As usually stated, "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."  The idea is that the accusation of being a Nazi is so outrageous, and Nazis are so socially unacceptable, that when charged with being one, the accused will drop whatever they are arguing to counter that they are not a Nazi.

This idea, while not specifically the Nazi allegation, is widely used in domestic politics and is the part of the reason behind negative attack ads.  If candidate Phlegm says that candidate Halitosis has done some negative thing, Halitosis generally has to issue an ad showing how he hasn't done it.  For Phlegm, it's a win-win scenario.  He gets Halitosis to spend money and time on the made-up charge, and it gets the opponent "off-message."  Halitosis is not talking about what he really wants to talk about, but is instead talking about what Phlegm wants him to talk about.  As for the dumb voters, who don't really pay attention anyway, they become vaguely aware that Phlegm and Halitosis are both talking about this negative thing and learn the association that Halitosis is the bad guy ("where there's smoke, there's fire!"). 

If the Nazi charge is the WMD of online argument, the charge of Racism is the atomic bomb of daily discourse.  So when the NAACP raised the charge of racism against the Tea Party, this was the purpose.  It made people trying to reduce the insane government spending get off their message and address the fact that they aren't racist.  It made some people waste time and money to respond to it.  It made headlines that stupid voters will notice without reading any details to, and may influence them.  It's a blatantly transparent political move in what has become simply a "wholly-owned subsidiary" of the Democratic Party.

This may shock some people, but I don't really believe there is such a thing as race.  I believe there are nationalities, and people from different areas of the world look different, but those differences are superficial and go away as cultures blend.  As I was doing my little research to help gel my thoughts for this article, I was surprised to see PBS (of all places) basically doing a program that sums up where I am, to about the 75% level - Race - the Power of an Illusion.  I'll add a few notes in this edited summary from that web site, and I remove things that I think are just PBS being the liberal spin machine they are. 
1.  Race is a modern idea....The English language didn't even have the word 'race' until it turns up in 1508 in a poem by William Dunbar referring to a line of kings.
2.  Race has no genetic basis. Not one characteristic, trait or even gene distinguishes all the members of one so-called race from all the members of another so-called race.
3.  Human subspecies don't exist. ....Despite surface appearances, we are one of the most similar of all species.
4.  Skin color really is only skin deep.  Most traits are inherited independently from one another. The genes influencing skin color have nothing to do with the genes influencing hair form, eye shape, blood type, musical talent, athletic ability or forms of intelligence. Knowing someone's skin color doesn't necessarily tell you anything else about him or her.
5.  Most variation is within, not between, "races." Of the small amount of total human variation, 85% exists within any local population, be they Italians, Kurds, Koreans or Cherokees. About 94% can be found within any continent. That means two random Koreans may be as genetically different as a Korean and an Italian.
6.  Slavery predates race. Throughout much of human history, societies have enslaved others, often as a result of conquest or war, even debt, but not because of physical characteristics or a belief in natural inferiority. Due to a unique set of historical circumstances, ours was the first slave system where all the slaves shared similar physical characteristics.
7.  Race and freedom evolved together. The U.S. was founded on the radical new principle that "All men are created equal." But our early economy was based largely on slavery. How could this anomaly be rationalized? The new idea of race helped explain why some people could be denied the rights and freedoms that others took for granted.(SiG answer: but you do know that the whole 3/5 of a person thing was intended to end slavery, right?  To put pressure on the deep south to free their slaves, and get more representatives right?)
8.  Race justified social inequalities as natural. As the race idea evolved, white superiority became "common sense" in America. (SiG answer: not anymore, and not for my life)
9.  Race isn't biological, but racism is still real.  Race is a powerful social idea that gives people different access to opportunities and resources. (SiG: liberal bullsh*t diatribe deleted)  
item 10 deleted.  I think it's complete bullsh*t, and is there simply because PBS can't shake their liberal mentality.
Rather than the item 10 PBS used, I would much prefer to envision the world Martin Luther King did, in his famous, "I Have a Dream" speech.  I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. - Martin Luther King, August 28, 1963

Are there really racists?  Undoubtedly - as I've said before, if 5% of the people don't believe we went to the moon, some small percentage are going to believe anything.  Are there any in the Tea party?  If the Tea party is a random sample of the population, there would be some, sure.  I would bet there's at least as many racists in the NAACP itself.


  1. Your anonymous comment box does not work from tails. That means, whatever we write here we may as well copy on to our resumes.

    1. Thanks for letting me know.

      I've tried to do things about comments before, like turning off Capcha, but Google won't let me do anything. I can go search the Blogger help area and see if it says anything.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Very interesting SiG. Anonymous got you off topic immediately.

    Any difference has been used to give one group power over another. If I recall correctly, in Japan which appears "racially" homogeneous, the people who worked with leather and raw animal products were set aside as a lower class and discriminated against systemically. Look too at the "untouchable" caste in India, it is only the fate of one's birth that places one in that group; again a form of systemic discrimination. I wonder when the Black Lives Matter organization will start discriminating against "high-tone" blacks because they look too Caucasian/white?

    1. Very interesting SiG. Anonymous got you off topic immediately.


      Trying to run the blog is never off topic. In the few hours between my response and your comment, I went off to troubleshoot the issue. I had to update my TAILS installation, and then found that it wouldn't run from the thumb drive I installed it on. That meant I had to start over. Put the TAILS distro on another thumb drive, booted onto that and then ran an experiment. Add in about two hours taken up on a bike ride, then cooking lunch, doing some other work around the house, and here we are.

      For the record, anonymous is right. Google will not accept anonymous comments from the TAILS OS. What a surprise, that the first embodiment of Big Data doesn't like anonymizers. I doubt there's anything I can do about it - anyone with a Google blog will tell you about the only control we have is what the page looks like and whether we moderate comments. I only moderate comments to posts over 14 days old. If I see obvious spam (I'm looking at you Sink Washing) I delete that.

      To your point, BillB, groups always look for ways to feel superior to others. There's no biological basis for it, but that doesn't matter. Without going Godwin's Law myself, have you ever seen the way kids (or alleged adults) react to others who dress differently? Same thing.

    2. Didn't understand about the TAILS OS so I stand corrected. If the person had used that I would have caught it and not thought it was a pull off topic. I will look up TAILS OS.

      My wife has made an observation about some of the motivation behind all of this "racial" falderal. To quote her, "These people don't feel comfortable in their own skins." So they have to destroy to make themselves feel superior.

  3. Running tails from one of the PC hardware virtualization frameworks, without rebooting your underlying system, is very convenient. WRSA had comments from tails working.

  4. Exactly no one in the quantitative fields thinks race is not genetic. There’s a debate whether race is the right word as there is great diversity within races. East Africans, for example, are very different from West Africans. East Africans dominate distance running, for example, while West Africans dominate sprint races. This is just one group difference that is well known in quantitative science.

    1. I think you're missing the point. No one is saying there aren't genetic differences like the sprinter/distance runner difference you point out, but those are attributable to a genetic "neighborhood" lineage not some big thing called "race". Just about every winner of the Boston Marathon for the last (mumble - 40?) years has come from a small, related group of people on the Kenyan/Ethiopian border. That's more like family, not race.

      Saying east Africans win marathons while west Africans win sprints is exactly the same as saying (to use the example from the linked article) two Koreans tend to look more like each other than a Korean and an Italian, but there can be more genetic variation between the two Koreans than between any given Korean and any given Italian.

    2. So who used the wheel in daily use first: east Africans or west Africans?

    3. Why the civ-nat virtue-signaling?

      Race is real. Pretending otherwise doesn't change that.
      Race is genetic. The fact that race is a complicated cluster of genes, rather than a specific race gene, doesn't change that.

    4. MN Steel, my guess would be that the first Africans to use the wheel in daily life were the Africans who were taken by the slave trade to cultures which used the wheel in daily life.

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