In our discussion, we talked about Purity Culture and its disadvantages, and its thought leaders including Josh Harris, who wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and Bill Gothard who advocates total gender separation before marriage.
I mentioned The Loophole by Garfunkel and Oates, which is very NSFW.
I’ve been looking at the news coming out of the white house and thinking of something that the alt-right blogger, Vox Day predicted about the way that the news media would report goings on in the Trump administration. Recently we’ve had the firing of F.B.I. Director James Comey, before that we’ve had the reported rivalry between Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon, the firing of Michael Flynn, and if I was Seán Spicer, I wouldn’t be making any long term career plans just yet.
I actually sort of agree with Vox Day there, that turbulence is not a sign of failure, and that trying things and dropping them quickly if they don’t work is a good management strategy. People can laugh at Trump Steaks and Trump Vodka, but Trump is rich. Sure, he’s tried a lot of businesses that didn’t work out, but on the whole he has ended up way ahead. One of the reasons that he’s still rich was that he didn’t cleave on to failing businesses. And that’s a good strategy.
Nobody can expect to never make a mistake. But if you are the sort of person to recognise when you are doing something wrong and stop, then you are more likely to be successful.
But hang on. Sure, giving up on lost causes is a good idea. It reduces losses. But just reducing losses isn’t enough. If you want to successful, you have to also have some wins.
Trump made big promises during the election campaign. That was one of the reasons that he won, other politicians were nervous to make big promises because their political experience told them to be cautious in what they promised.
Trump promised big, not just his specific promises like the wall, but other more implied ones like bringing work back to the rust belt from China or Mexico or wherever. There are going to be a lot of very annoyed people if those promises don’t follow through; the message from the White House that all the personnel stories are side shows. Maybe they are, but if Trump doesn’t put a performance on the main stage, that might not be enough of a line to tell for too much longer.
In our discussion, we referred to the Backfire Effect which was documented in a study by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, which found that people with invested political opinions tend to believe them even more strongly when confronted with refuting evidence.
We also talked about a Fairleigh Dickinson University study which showed that Fox News and MSNBC viewers not only scored much lower on their knowledge of current affairs than viewers of other news sources, but also scored lower than people who did not watch any news at all.
This is a story about Spocko in the New York Times, and a clip about the TPP. This is a story about Spoco says Rush Limbaugh’s distributors hate him, and his take on Rupert Murdoch (in front of his shareholders) for why he kept Glenn Beck on TV while he was losing money for Fox News.
Claire Berlinski is a journalist, academic and author. She has lived and worked in Thailand, Laos, Turkey and France, an an academic for the American Foreign Policy Council and the Manhattan Institute.
In our discussion I mentioned that, among Trump supporters, a huge proportion think that he is performing well in his first weeks in the job, and that he has strong backing from voters in areas such as Macomb County, who previously twice backed Obama but swung Michigan for the GOP last November.
This is Pascal’s Wager that Julie mentioned, and this is a trailer for Philomenia, the story of an Irish woman who had her child kidnapped and sold into adoption while she was incarcerated in a church-run institution. These are articles about Mary Merritt, whose story I mentioned. This is the trailer for Spotlight, about the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese.
I referred to this Swiss study which concluded “The restriction of firearm availability in Switzerland resulting from the Army XXI reform was followed by an enduring decrease in the general suicide rate.”
Rob and I disagreed on international crime rates. These rates are difficult to compare because of the different practices in reporting and recording crimes. Serious crimes give the most valid comparison because they are nearly always reported, and are considered crimes in all jurisdictions. The United States has a murder rate of 4.7, which is much lower than some Third World world countries, but the highest of any major developed country. Ireland has a murder rate of 1.2; source.
I got gun international ownerships rates slightly wrong, but was correct that the rate in the US is by a wide margin the highest in the world.
Rob and I differed on the ability of a ‘good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun‘. This was in the context of NRA president, Wayne LaPierre’s reaction to several mass shootings, saying that armed civilians can make society safer. Rob cited several examples from his page Saved by a Good Person with a Gun, which lists 10 examples. However, only four cases (10, 9, 4, 2) actually claim to be an incident where an American civilian with a gun stopped a shooting, and none meet the definition of a mass shooting, four or more victims shot in a single incident, although it is reasonable to think that they might have, without an intervention.
Rob doesn’t provide links, though I am happy to accept his word. However, to collect those four examples, Rob has to go back over almost 20 years, and by the stricter definition there have been many thousands of mass shootings in the US in that period, now at a rate of almost one per day. Four incidents is a vanishingly small proportion of gun crime. Rob makes the point:
We seldom see a ‘mass shooting’ when an armed civilian intervenes in an attempted public violence. The civilian stops the murderer before 4 people get killed. The average being 2.3 dead if a civilian on the scene intervenes, versus 14.3 dead if no armed civilian is present and the murders proceed until the police arrive.
It is certainly valid to count incidents where an attacker is stopped by a civilian and set them against mass shootings with more casualties because nobody intervened. I don’t know the source of the figures he quotes, and I acknowledge that it is possible to end up with a different dataset by changing the criteria, but accepting all of the incidents he cites over the past 20 years, they don’t indicate that armed civilians can provide much protection from the rate of one mass shooting per day in the US in recent years.
This is the Democracy Index, ranking countries by the quality of their democracy. It is clear that there is no correlation between liberal gun laws and the quality of the democracy.
I overstated Somalia’s level of gun prevalence, it has about one gun for every 10 people.
In the interview, we talked about this article in the UK Daily Telegraph which talked about taking ‘Best Before’ dates off some food products such as salt and pasta in the European Union because those products have very long shelf lives.
In November 2007, [Damigo] had been home for a month after his second tour of duty and was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, paranoia and flashbacks, court records show. A few days after the anniversary of a friend’s combat death, he spent a night drinking and went for a walk with a gun he’d gotten two days before as a gift. He came across a La Mesa cab driver who he thought was Iraqi, put a gun to his head and robbed the man of $43, records show.
He was convicted of armed robbery and spent a year in county jail and four years in prison for the crime.
Part two of this interview will be released next Monday, Apirl 10.