Twitter cuts (#34)


SSC meanders thoughtfully (but sensitively) around the topic. Favorite zingers: “… social justice was supposed to be Yale’s weapon against Caltech and Podunk. But now Yale students are using it against Yale professors and administrators, and now it’s a problem.” … “Hillary Clinton’s official list of campaign priorities include ‘ending sexual assault on campus’ … Why not just ‘ending sexual assault’? … Isn’t ‘ending sexual assault on campus’ the same kind of priority as ‘ending murder in gated communities?'”

November 11, 2015admin 27 Comments »


27 Responses to this entry

  • Reactionary Expat Says:



    Posted on November 11th, 2015 at 9:20 am Reply | Quote
  • Twitter cuts (#34) | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on November 11th, 2015 at 2:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Izak Says:

    I think that essay sort of epitomizes why I think his sensitivity and one-dimensional view of human suffering leads to a crippled understanding of human nature and policy. All of the articles that Scott attacks and intentionally disfigures that accuse students of being babies are completely correct, and that focus is the best approach to the problem. They all argue that universities should not aid and abet childish and petulant behavior. It’s very telling to me that when, say, Judith Shulevitz talks about how the university system has allowed the “Safe Space” to encourage students to over-apply the concept to incongruous situations and that it reinforces “self-infantilizing” behavior, Scott Alexander sees this as a mean and vicious personal attack against the students for being babies. This says a lot more about Scott Alexander’s mentality than anything else.

    Scott Alexander will never have a great appreciation for the absurdities of political correctness, because PC comes more from the therapy movement than from party politics. Everything about it is to make sure that people’s feelings aren’t hurt, so that they’re as psychologically safe as they can possibly be, even if that state of affairs comes at the expense of fluid and productive discussion. This is why he’ll sometimes say, “Hey, I caught these people in a logical contradiction!” when he’s attacking Social Justice, but then say, “But wait a minute! We really ought to stop being so microaggressive! It hurts people’s feelings!” It doesn’t really occur to him that learning to suppress your feelings and emotions is a part of growing up, and an extremely helpful one at that. To take a totally apolitical approach: when a grown woman stubs her toe, she should not have a temper tantrum, no matter how bad it feels. If your criticism is that her environment incentivizes her to do so, I’d say that’s a pretty important thing to address. That she stubbed her toe is of no importance. No one cares, and if they do care, they’re missing the point. It’s like someone who sees a guy pointing at the moon, and he just stares at the guy’s finger.

    That people are freaking out about Yale and ignoring the stupid fan-art girl is completely just, and it actually strikes me as a sign that people still are sane, in spite of everything. The point isn’t that people are suffering and we (as a nation or civilization or whatever) should eliminate suffering as our primary goal, and the fan-art girl suffered more than the Yale professor, so therefore she’s more important. The point is that you want society and the state run efficiently and effectively, and people who can’t deal with the difficulties of life (read: screaming, crying black women) should not be in any position of prestige. The suffering of the victims is of secondary importance. Yale is prestigious, even for undergraduates, and the zany world of online fan-art isn’t.


    Grotesque Body Reply:

    Scott is intelligent enough in principle to grasp the point you’re making, but given that he is a therapist he’s constitutionally incapable of questioning therapy culture. His ‘sensitivity and one-dimensional view of human suffering’ follow from his economic niche.

    I remain baffled as to why SSC is treated as relevant or significant at all.


    Thales Reply:

    An apophenic obsession with staring into the abyss is my most charitable explanation.


    Contaminated NEET Reply:

    Charitable is right. It’s all about hunger for validation from an out-group. And why would anyone give a damn about validation from an out-group? Because that out-group is higher status than your in-group. NRx talks a good game, but this Scott Alexander fixation proves we’re still getting our clocks cleaned where it matters.

    admin Reply:

    Nonsense. SA is extraordinarily smart, fluent, and stimulating. This kind of “better to spend our time among our own spittle-flecked half-wits than their most brilliant minds” thinking should stick to the chans.

    EvolutionistX Reply:

    He’s said a few not-totally-attacking things about NRx and a lot of anti-feminist and anti-SJW things, leading people to think he saw things (or was going to see them) from an NRx POV. He doesn’t; if anything, I suspect he realized people were starting to associate his blog with NRx and has been purposefully trying to drag it back to its liberal (as Scott sees it) roots.

    I think Scott understands a lot of the implications of NRx/Dark Enlightenment thought pretty well, but simply does not have the personality to follow those train of thought to its logical conclusions. He is like a man who walks up to the edge of an abyss, very carefully does not step in, and then moves away without ever acknowledging that the abyss exists.

    Still SSC remains one of the less awful things out there, and Scott one of the few liberals willing to deal honestly (or at least somewhat honestly) with ideas he disagrees with.


    Posted on November 11th, 2015 at 7:30 pm Reply | Quote
  • Son of Olorus Says:

    @Reactionary Expat


    Posted on November 11th, 2015 at 7:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • Unknown128 Says:

    It realy depends on what your ideal for humans is.

    If its “maximum pleasure with minimal pain” then SA is correct.
    If its “reaching a higher level of the human condition” (which may mean different things for different people but which was an aim that all human civilisations wanted to achieve (even if they put “high and low” differently) then suffering and pain are necesary and even beneficial in certain forms.

    But concidering that progressivism is basicly universalistic pleasure worship (maximum pleasure for the greatest amount of people with all other human aims being proclaimed “irrational” and everything that stands in the way of pleasure maximisation is automaticly evil) he is completly right in the boundries of his prog worldview.


    unknown128 Reply:

    Not that I think of it I would say that Libertarianism wants to give people the freedom to make decisions that lead to bouth pleasure and pain while progressivism limits the freedom of choice to the persuit of pleasure and “shields” people from non pleasurable outcomes of choices through government power.


    Erebus Reply:

    That’s a good thought, but I think that you might want to define the word “pleasure” more clearly. You might even want to consider replacing it with something more akin to “distraction.”

    Certain people derive pleasure from great deeds, from ambition, from invention, from risk. These people are the best of us, and yet progressivism would seek to lay them low & deny them their pursuit of pleasure… Or, at the very least, would use the formidable bureaucracies it controls to hinder them with as many barriers as it possibly could. It would call this “regulation,” “equality,” “safety,” “rule of law,” and other such things.

    The weak always resent and fear the strong. And progressivism exists to protect the fragile feelings of the weak. We suffer from the cowardice of others, from cravens or the fear of cravens.


    Scharlach Reply:

    Replace “weak” with “unintelligent” and “strong” with “intelligent” and you have it right.

    Exfernal Reply:

    I don’t think that rule of law fits here, necessarily. It depends on the scope and spirit of those laws.

    Posted on November 12th, 2015 at 12:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Handle Says:

    Isn’t it disappointing that, at this particular moment, Alexander would pen an anit-anti-SJW post? That’s not the way to deter future Jerelyn Luthers.

    “A liberal is someone who won’t take his own side in a fight.” – Robert Frost


    admin Reply:

    He’s being awkward. If he lined up neatly he’d be far less entertaining.


    spandrell Reply:

    He has a vested interest in the madness going on. I imagine that therapists of Ms. Luthers must charge quite a lot.


    Posted on November 12th, 2015 at 1:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • Contaminated NEET Says:

    >SA is extraordinarily smart, fluent, and stimulating.

    Maybe so, but he wouldn’t be getting this kind of attention and respect from you and the rest of the gang if he hadn’t played footsie with you a few years ago before pulling his toes back inside the Overton window. There are plenty of brilliant leftists out there, but there’s only one who has granted you those scraps of attention and respectability, and he’s the one you follow around, making eyes at.

    Embrace the horror.


    admin Reply:

    I’ve no idea what the “making eyes at” accusation is saying at all. You think there’s something being sought from SA that he’s not already doing? (There isn’t.)


    Contaminated NEET Reply:

    “Being sought,” might be too strong a way to put it, but you loved the way he treated NRx as an intellectually serious movement worthy of debate instead of contempt, and you’d be ecstatic if he went back to treating you that way. Like I said, the fact that this recognition came from a member of a group that’s higher status than yours (Yudkowski’s Bayesian cult is fringe, but it’s the good kind of fringe: the ruling orthodoxy’s experimental, avant-garde wing) made it irresistible. Maybe you’re not consciously trying to win him back with flattery, but the fact that he once recognized your smarts and your insight is the reason you’ve been so fascinated by him.


    admin Reply:

    Way too much (off-beam) mind-reading going on here. Unpredictable stimulus is worth far more than recruits.

    OLF Reply:

    Admin sucks up to all leftist intellectuals. It’s his way of expressing nationalism. Yes, nationalism, considering that leftist intellectuals are his thede and all.

    Posted on November 12th, 2015 at 2:30 pm Reply | Quote
  • unknown128 Says:


    “Certain people derive pleasure from great deeds, from ambition, from invention, from risk. These people are the best of us, and yet progressivism would seek to lay them low & deny them their pursuit of pleasure… Or, at the very least, would use the formidable bureaucracies it controls to hinder them with as many barriers as it possibly could. It would call this “regulation,” “equality,” “safety,” “rule of law,” and other such things.”

    Interesting ideas but in my explanation of progressive belief progressives want to hinder this pursuits of pleasure because 1.they are risky and can bring pain (you citizen must prefer safer forms of pleasure we don’t want you to get hurt)
    2. They make other members of society uncomfortable (discomfort is a form of pain I guess).

    Basically booth greatness and beauty are problematic in the long run from a prog point of view because striving for greatness brings pleasure if you get closer to the goal but it brings pain if you fail and it creates hierarchy (some people are closer to greatness then others and if there is a universally or even locally defined concept of “high and low” then some people who are lower on the hierarchy feel bad because of it (pain) so SCRAP IT ALL.

    In a prog utopia the only hierarchy in individual value will be based on the amount of harm you deal to others nothing else counts (including the amount of pleasure you deal to others) Thus a great scientist who has invented a cure for cancer and thus increased pleasure/decreased pain of millions but who is “bigoted” against pansexual otherkin will still be worst in the value hierarchy then a pansexual otherkin who unproductively consumes all its (I don’t want to misgender) life.

    This system of morality does make sense because if an occupation or achievements in occupations were considered superior to others this would make many people uncomfortably, thus in a prog ideal utopia no occupation is superior to another and you pursue any occupation purely for the pleasure of it. Everybody is equal! But doing harm must be prevented for pleasure maximization thus any form of “bigotry” is shamed into submission.

    Same for beauty, something being beautiful means something (and someone) else is ugly. This means that an artist who creates more beautiful things is higher on the value hierarchy…..Because we bigots value Mozart we forget about his rival Salieris suffering. Our ah so cherished concept of beauty is in truth a source of HUGE PAIN…How many people suffered because they weren’t beautiful enough or because their art wasn’t beautiful enough. Also there will always be some…ahm strange people who find ugly beautiful because they sick in the head. Feces are disgusting to most people BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM AND THINK THEYR BEAUTIFUL??? THEY CANT EXPRESS THEMSELVES AND ARE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST!!! Thus in Prog utopia ALL things will be equally beautiful and nothing will be ugly at all. Everyone will see beauty in everything and even if people will be allowed to have preferences, they will at least clearly see nothing as ugly but just as “different”.

    In the end they would prefer to destroy all about humanity they dont like and transform us into bonobos (or rather what bonobos represent in their eyes since newer research has cast doubt on the concept of the “hippie bonobo”). Call bonoboism “universal human values” and anyone who defends his/her actual humanity against this “inhumane retrograde”.

    Basically progressivism in its purest form (most even modern progressives only adhere to leftism in a watered down form and still bring many other values into the mix) believes in 2 gods Pleasure and Pain….The first being absolute good and the second being absolute evil. They are locked in a Manichean struggle, the followers of pleasure must do everything to destroy pain and make pleasure omnipresent (in this they actually resemble many of the more theological Orthodox Christians who believe that after the second coming God will be omnipresent in the world and everything will be god, just that they see themselves as agents of their god in the world and actually can bring about the transformation of the earth into a “realm of limitless pleasure” were pain will be banished into the dark pit of hades forever by their own works.

    They see their opponents (I don’t think you can call them conservative since the word is usually associated with a particularly western form of conservatism, I prefer to view “the right” as just “everything that’s not left (left being universalistic pleasure worship)” as willing or (more often unwilling) pawns of the evil god of pain who either want pleasure only for themselves and their in-group or EVEN WORST aim at some completely irrelevant things like “greatness” or “beauty” or “personal enlightenment” or “glory” or “virtue” or “perfection” or “knowledge” which only cause pain to themselves and most people around them (and even if they cause some pleasure the pleasure/pain ratio is far from satisfactory) This people are misguided and must be enlightened by the cult of pleasure and told that they are irrational and that they in truth only want pleasure and all their convoluted aims were just aimed at getting the very same pleasure but in wrong and irrational ways. If they still resist they MUST BE EVIL and have to be crushed for “the greater good” preferably in ways that bring maximum pleasure and minimal pain to all involved (thus shaming is preferable to war but war is not excluded)…..
    I believe that there is one left (even if pure leftism can be mixed with more or less of other beliefs in a particular leftist ideology) one driving idea that fills all of leftism which allows leftists to see such completely different movements as classical liberalism or communism as part of the same strain over history (all that made classical liberalism leftist was that it had more leftist spirit then other ideas of its time, despite the fact that its adherents were still filled with much baggage from other belief systems. Now of course there are more advanced forms in which the concentration of pure leftism (pleasure worship) is greater thus now classical liberalism is reactionary.) In my opinion “the right” doesn’t exist. There are instead tens of thousands of “rights” namely ideas of beliefs that don’t follow the leftist belief system of pleasure + universalism and in one way or another resist the imposition of the cult of pleasure on mankind.

    Leftists also tend to enter other spaces that are valuable for said culture and twist them to their aims. So if a culture values virtue, leftists will create ideas that will present aiming for pleasure maximization as virtuous thus booth fulfilling the cultural desires of converts and use their beliefs to advantage leftist goals……Now our western culture adores science and knowledge. Some people over the last 3 centuries have followed a “cult of knowledge” seeing human knowledge maximization as the main aim of humanity (or their nation it depends) and human growth as a species. Yes this people did gain pleasure from their work but they didn’t see pleasure as a goal in itself, they saw knowledge as a goal and the pleasure they gained from discovering knowledge just as a tool to make them search for knowledge better or as a nice side effect. (I myself engage in scientific research as someone writing my dissertation and I follow such an approach).
    Now progs enter the field of science and proclaim “We want knowledge for knowledges sake!” but if you look at their actual aim they want knowledge for pleasures sake. Thus if it comes to knowledge of things that might lead to death and destruction (pain) many of the very same progs say this knowledge isn’t worth having because it can lead to pain. When it comes to progressive scientists they often say that they look for specific knowledge about specific topics that they want to use to “making the world a better place” (more pleasure less pain). Look at 90% of modern social science, do they really just want to understand the world? After a while suddenly all science has to serve the progressive agenda, findings that might stand in the way of the pleasures cults aims are shoved under the rug and if published at all criticized for “giving material to right wingers”….Just look at what so many scientists say about the race and IQ debate to see how much they pursue “knowledge for knowledges sake” even the (non pariah) scientists who argue for researching race and IQ say they’ll do it to disprove “EVIL RACIST IDEAS”. Still the cult of knowledge is still alive, it lives in hundreds of atomized scientists who just fear to speak up and publicly worship at the pleasure cults altars. But in private conversations they will complain about politics getting in the way of their desire for knowledge. Basically the cult of knowledge is strongest in obscure disciplines that just can’t affect politics in any meaningful way and thus the pleasure cult inquisition just considers the people sitting there as pursuers of their own individual pleasure and leave them alone.

    Id say that the only thing the cult of pleasure values beyond pleasure is human autonomy, but they value it far less then pleasure and mostly because they think that if left to his/her/its own choices a person can get more pleasure then if its guided paternalistically (but just look what they think of women who are “brainwashed” by their culture to become housewives or of homosexuals who don’t want to live out their homosexuality because of religion or morality or people who don’t want to date blacks/fat/ugly people and you’ll see what they really think of freedom……freedom is a tool for getting pleasure in any way in which freedom leads to minimization of pleasure its bad and has to be crushed). Yes some leftists do put freedom over pleasure but this are usually classical liberals who are just to poisoned by non-leftist beliefs (I am sure most would agree that the Social justice movement is more purely leftist then classical liberalism)

    But despite this leftists still dare to say “LOOK WER FOR KNOWLOGE FOR KNOWLOGES SAKE, LOOK HOW HIGH STATUS WE ARE!!!”

    Sorry for the rant and sorry for my bad English.


    Grotesque Body Reply:

    That was a masterpiece of discombobulation.


    Posted on November 12th, 2015 at 9:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • unknown128 Says:

    In my opinion the conflict between SA and the SJW is more about means then about ends (ends might differ slightly though with SA being to strongly infected by classical liberalism and valuing freedom to much). The SJWs are culturaly authoritarians, they think if they can take the role of cultural inquisition which will have the right to aprove or ban EVERY PRODUCS OF CULTURE they will be able to change culture into a way which will minimize pain and maximize pleasure (they focus on minorities because they believe that they suffer more and that being a minority something that will cause little pain to a member of a “privileged” group will cause more to a minority thus they deserve special privileges to minimize pain and maximize pleasure (also maximizing it in the long run by forcing normal people to acsept minorities and deviants as equals or even moraly superiors creates an equal society in which everyone will have more options for pleasure maximisation, thus fighting for otherkin rights not only limits otherkin pain in the long run it also opens the socialy acseptable options for normal people to become otherkin (meaning more pleasure). The end goal is equality (for pleasures sake) to achieve it the people/groups who are higher on the hirarchy list have to be humiliated, attacked and shamed to bring them down, while the people groups who are lower have to be praised and privileged to get them up until bouth are equal.

    Now SA propably believs that the SJW methods cause to much suffering for to little gain, that history itself will bring about the very same state by people by themselves embracing the cult of pleasure and shedding their other “irrational” beliefs and values just by natural progress (which follows technological progress). Thus by exercising pressure and limiting freedoms the SJw cause undue pain and resentment which will actualy drive away people who would otherwise come to the cult by their own free will. The SJW demand too much, too quickly, too mercilessly and with too little promise of sucsess. also a liberal culture of free expression of opinion must lead to the cult of pleasure wining (since its ideas are true and all others are false) so why risk making the system more authoritarian and thus expose us to unnecesary risks coming from it…..

    Now were I a SJW I would answer that all the discomfort of privileged white men is nothing compared to the suffering minorities endure, suffering that is inflicted by evil white males being alowed to speak their mind and to use their freedom to reinforce a system that leads to pain. Yes in the natural course of history the cult of pleasure will win but if you dont do everything to make this victory as fast as possible all the suffering of otherkin, furries and genderqueers is on your hands! (as is the missed pleasure of cisgendered people who couldnt experience the pleasures of being free of the evil social construct of gender because gender binary normativity was defeated to late).

    Pleasure is above freedom, freedom is of no value if it maximizes suffering. if people are free to defend outdated traditions and exclusionary systems which lead to too much pain and too little pleasure. This causes pain! SO DOWN WITH YOUR FREEDOM! DIE CIS SCUM!!! HUMILIATE, BREAK, CRUSH! (for the greater good).

    Now were I a pleasure cultist I propably would chouse the second position. Id say that freedom of speach must mean freedom to debate ways how to maximize pleasure and minimize pain while all debating about alternative systems of value must be strictly forbiden. After all I wouldnt want to cause preventeble pain)….


    Exfernal Reply:

    I guess you would enjoy reading “The Twenty First Voyage” from “Star Diaries” by Stanisław Lem.


    D. Reply:

    The longest — and the greatest — of Lem’s Ijon Tichy stories.


    Posted on November 12th, 2015 at 10:05 pm Reply | Quote

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