The Aliens Among Us are You

I don’t have the data to prove it, so call it a hunch: one of the most commons ways educated people trick themselves into believing false things is failure to widen their perspective. A case in point that’s making the social media rounds this weekend is Allysa Finley’s WSJ opinion piece Trump Voters: Not So…

The Right of the Party

Let me just get my bias out of the way: I’m a #NeverTrump-er. I’m also not a Republican, so at least for now it’s not my call. The Republicans can nominate whomever they like for whatever reasons they like. I’m just one of hundreds of millions who gets a (rarely exercised, in my case) right…

1972

Comparisons to past elections are fun, especially when they trip you up. A lot of people, me included, have spent some time trying to fit the current contest into 1972. It’s like a puzzle piece that you have in your hand, and you know where it fits, but you can’t quite see it yet because…

About Them Superdelegates…

So, Bernie Sanders did pretty well in Iowa. He didn’t get the clear win he and a lot of his supporters were hoping for and believed was possible, but he still did well enough that everyone has to sit up and take him seriously now. Especially given that he’s probably going to clean house in…

How Not to Advance the Gun Control Debate

So, we had another one of those incidents where some idiot goes and shoots up a public place – usually a school or theater for some reason. Needless to say, it’s stoked a lot of conversation about gun control. Also needless to say, none of this conversation has changed at all since the last time.…

The UK Election Result is Actually an Opportunity

One and a half things to say about the UK general election. First, it’s hillarious watching everyone scratch their heads about how wrong the polls got it. This is silly for a number of reasons. Polls in the UK are usually wrong, because there aren’t really enough polls taken to pull Nate Silver’s magic trick…

Welfare State Triptych

Back when Will Wilkinson still found it convenient for people to think of him as a libertarian, Todd Seavey, perhaps sensing that the Dark Side was strong in that one, noted that his "shtick" was "arguing that libertarians ought to accept elements of the welfare state". Wilkinson surprised a lot of people when he eventually…

The Minimum Wage Distraction

Via a link in a comment on one of Noah’s Facebook posts, I came across this very stupid article on the Minimum Wage by Kevin Drum. Not that it’s being stupid distinguishes it from most articles one reads about the minimum wage. As political issues go, minimum wage laws are among the most pointless to…

Gaming the Gaming System

The interesting thing about the Sad Puppies controversy is that both sides make some kind of claim to dislike factionalized voting. That’s the objection to Sad Puppies essentially verbatim: that they’re "gaming" the system in the sense that few people who weren’t on their list have a chance of winning this year. They "stacked" the…

The Liberal Paradox is Neither Liberal nor a Paradox

Academics get a lot of flak for inventing artificial problems. For the most part, I chalk this up to laymen being unfamiliar with what academics do. Imagining things as-yet-unencountered-but-potentially-encounterable is a large part of their job description. Getting at hidden parts of our understanding – for which imagining unrealistic situations is surprisingly useful – is…