2020 Status Check

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JasonL
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2020 Status Check

Post by JasonL »

Has the totality of 2020 or its parts to include COVID, BLM, Law Enforcement, Trump, the end of Trump - changed your views on larger topics in any particular way?

- I find myself very ok with contact tracing as a privacy tradeoff against global lockdown strategies in pandemics. That wasn't obvious until 2020 for me.
- I find myself more persuaded by cultural erosion narratives than I ever have been in the past. My assumption historically has been that there's plenty of opportunity for new cultural glue to form replacing family and church and so forth. I'm much more skeptical about that as we sit at the end of 2020
- I have hope that the end of Trump means a return to sanity but I don't actually think it's the most probable outcome. I think we are in bad shape for years to come in the culture war.
- I think the economy will rebound, I'm actually optimistic about that
- I think the republicans are a complete wasteland of talent and ideas, and that the neoliberal wing of the donkey party represents the best hope for solutions to healthcare and climate. I don't think they are anything close to what I'd like to see, but they are not in full wasteland mode. The post trump republicans have nothing to offer anyone.
- My most optimistic thoughts are around the rate of innovation we saw in response to the pandemic even beyond the vaccine itself. We can still do stuff.
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Number 6
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Number 6 »

In general, I'm much more pessimistic about people and society in general, and America in particular.
-My view of American style rugged individualism is more jaundiced; while I once embraced it whole-heartedly, I now tend to view it as often leading people to actions and views that simply can't work in places where people live together.
-I'm troubled by the depth of division in America. While I'm not expecting a full-on civil war, I do think we're approaching some sort of breaking point, and I have no idea what happens when we reach it.
-It's not news to me that institutional racism is real, and pernicious in ways that aren't always visible to those of us who aren't on the receiving end of it. But the death of George Floyd, and the tone and character of the MAGA-led pushback against the protests that followed, have left me much less tolerant of claims that systemic racism isn't real, or is consistently overblown.
-The Covid flat-earthers, as well as Q-anon and the trumpkins who still insist that their man won, have destroyed any belief I once held that reason will eventually prevail.
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thoreau
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by thoreau »

I'm kind of where Number 6 is. I still believe in individualism, but American anti-masker individualism is all rights and zero responsibilities.

On systemic racism, I believe that it is real but I also believe that everyone is wrong about it. The people who confess it most are the least contaminated and vice versa. No, a liberal arts college's poetry program is almost certainly NOT systematically racist. Yes, the MAGA with the Thin Blue Line flag almost certainly IS racist. And the academic department that will waive any expectation or standard for a bit of melanin is indeed racist, but not in the way that they think.

And I think that the Team Red epistemic closure is a deep, scary problem that has no solution. Neal Stephenson's Ameristan is a real possibility. (And, no, it doesn't involve a formal civil war, just a complete cultural collapse.)
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Warren
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Warren »

JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 10:34 - I find myself very ok with contact tracing as a privacy tradeoff against global lockdown strategies in pandemics. That wasn't obvious until 2020 for me.
Provided it's a COVID level pandemic.
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 10:34 - I find myself more persuaded by cultural erosion narratives than I ever have been in the past. My assumption historically has been that there's plenty of opportunity for new cultural glue to form replacing family and church and so forth. I'm much more skeptical about that as we sit at the end of 2020
Huh? I agree with the fundies about the nuclear family. I worry that about a population of people growing up with single or divorced parents. Church as cultural glue is a positive thing, but religion as a whole is net negative. 2020 has done nothing to alter my views in this area.
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 10:34 - I have hope that the end of Trump means a return to sanity but I don't actually think it's the most probable outcome. I think we are in bad shape for years to come in the culture war.
Yeah this. So much this. Libertarianism has always been a fringe movement in my lifetime. I thought I saw it succeeding in the niches and the edges (ending the WOD e.g.) but all the self described libertarians jumping into either MAGA or TDS has really depressed me. Team Blue and Team Red are both in tatters, but so is Team Freedom.
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 10:34 - I think the economy will rebound, I'm actually optimistic about that
Of course it will, and that will bring the inflation. And with the money printers grinding their gears to dust, it's going to hit hard. Possibly harder than ever in history.
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 10:34 - I think the republicans are a complete wasteland of talent and ideas, and that the neoliberal wing of the donkey party represents the best hope for solutions to healthcare and climate. I don't think they are anything close to what I'd like to see, but they are not in full wasteland mode. The post trump republicans have nothing to offer anyone.
I am not as sanguine about the consequences of the neoliberal agenda as you are.
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 10:34 - My most optimistic thoughts are around the rate of innovation we saw in response to the pandemic even beyond the vaccine itself. We can still do stuff.
That sounds like a MMT prayer. My most optimistic thoughts are that inflation brings about a shift to hard currency and we rebuild an economy on the ashes of the FED and current banking system.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Jennifer »

I am rather glum about any notion that lowercase-d democracy can survive in a two-party system where one party doesn't even pay lip service to any notion "we respect democracy and the will of the people."
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JasonL
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by JasonL »

Six reminds me about how concerned I am at the persistence and normalization of conspiracy thinking. That Nashville bomb appears to be a 5g truther.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by thoreau »

BTW, I also agree with Jason that:
*The neolib branch of Team Blue is the closest thing we have to a reasonable center-right party.
*The innovations during pandemic are the one bright spot of 2020.
*Contact tracing is an acceptable substitute for blunt lockdowns. But it only works if people avoid dangerous situations and then isolate if they turn out to have been exposed. If people are all "Screw you, I'm going to sing Christmas carols indoors with a few dozen unmasked people in close proximity, even if you say that I was exposed! FREEDOM!!!" then it won't help. In the end, the only way to contain a pandemic is reasonable people.
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Warren
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Warren »

JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 12:25 Six reminds me about how concerned I am at the persistence and normalization of conspiracy thinking. That Nashville bomb appears to be a 5g truther.
Was he? Got a link?
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Aresen »

Warren wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 13:17
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 12:25 Six reminds me about how concerned I am at the persistence and normalization of conspiracy thinking. That Nashville bomb appears to be a 5g truther.
Was he? Got a link?
That's what THEY want you to think,
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Pham Nuwen
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Pham Nuwen »

I think my main learning experience this year was dispelling the myth of competence.

I think we're all dumb. Everyone. If we talk to someone long enough they will spout dumb easily disproved shit. We're smart around the edges. Things we do every day. Things we study up on.

I've lost a lot of trust for anyone talking about something that isn't their specialty.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

Admittedly, part of the reason I've noticed a decrease in the right-wing crazy on social media is that many have headed for new echo-chambers, but I think we're already seeing signs that Trump and Trumpism will run out of steam sooner rather than later. That's not to say Trump won't be a force to reckon with in what's left of the Republican Party, but if you don't keep the rabble roused constantly they begin to lose interest and go back to watching NASCAR.

Unless the Dems win both seats in Georgia -- and I'm currently predicting they'll win only one seat, if that -- we're not going to see anything resembling a radically left-wing agenda from Biden or Congress. Even if they do take the Senate, rumors of the impending communist takeover of America are highly exaggerated. They'll end up passing some incremental social welfare reforms, raise taxes on the rich if only for symbolism's sake (it isn't as though they have any intention of balancing the budget), maybe get marijuana off the Controlled Substances list... stuff like that. Needless to say, anything they get passed will be decried as the end of American civilization, the Constitution and market capitalism by the usual right-wing subjects, which is one reason I doubt we'll see even any attempt at a significantly progressive agenda for the next two years. Then we'll see where the country's mood is at in the off-year elections.

That said, I still predict socialized medicine in the U.S. before the end of the 2020s. It's a bad deal but, on average, probably a better deal than the dog's breakfast of a 'health care system' we have now, and it's not like that's going to move in the free market direction for the foreseeable future.

Police and criminal justice reform had a glimmer of hope for a few weeks, but the PR disaster that was "Defund the Police" pretty much killed any realistic hope of significant reform. Americans love cops. Even black Americans love cops; they just have a more realistic assessment of how quickly any interaction with the cops can end disasterously.

Many small businesses are already permanently fucked. I don't care so much about restaurants because they're constantly going out of business with new restaurants taking their place even pre-pandemic. But people will want to eat in restaurants again and go shopping again, etc. and so brick & mortar business will rebound to some extent. Hollywood will be okay. Motion picture theaters, otoh, might not make it.

America rebounded from a Civil War, from the Great Depression, from the chaos and divisions of the 1960s, etc. 2020 was an annus horribilis, but with light at the end of the pandemic tunnel I'm far more confident it was more of a blip than a turning point.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Warren »

Pham Nuwen wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 13:47 I think my main learning experience this year was dispelling the myth of competence.

I think we're all dumb. Everyone. If we talk to someone long enough they will spout dumb easily disproved shit. We're smart around the edges. Things we do every day. Things we study up on.

I've lost a lot of trust for anyone talking about something that isn't their specialty.
Interesting. 2020 is where I lost faith in experts talking about their specialty.
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JasonL
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by JasonL »

Warren wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 13:17
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 12:25 Six reminds me about how concerned I am at the persistence and normalization of conspiracy thinking. That Nashville bomb appears to be a 5g truther.
Was he? Got a link?
Variations of this are all over now: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... heory.html
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Warren »

JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 16:15
Warren wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 13:17
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 12:25 Six reminds me about how concerned I am at the persistence and normalization of conspiracy thinking. That Nashville bomb appears to be a 5g truther.
Was he? Got a link?
Variations of this are all over now: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... heory.html
Ah okay thanks. But,
...according to a source close to the investigation.
means "This is a baseless rumor" as far as I'm concerned. I'll see what turns up in the way of actual evidence, but too often "sources close to..." turn out to be people pushing a narrative.
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Shem
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Shem »

JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 10:34 - My most optimistic thoughts are around the rate of innovation we saw in response to the pandemic even beyond the vaccine itself. We can still do stuff.
I'm simultaneously hopeful about the success, and concerned about the reaction it has garnered in society. I think it ties into my larger thoughts about how corrosive cynicism of the South Park style "caring about stuff sucks and is deeply suspicious" variety has been over the past few decades. There's a whole crop of people who have internalized the idea that the worst possible thing you can do is unselfconsciously care about changing anything, because caring is uncool at best and a gateway to fascist zealotry at worst.** You wind up with a giant mass of people at the center who are more or less occupied only with their lives, to the detriment of any sort of connection to their community. Meanwhile, increasing factions of people drift off into fringe lunacy like "natural" diet health crazes and 5G conspiracies, because there's just a subset of people who really want something to order their life, and if it's not the larger society, they'll find it where they can. People need meaning, and if the larger society tells them meaning it's for chumps, they'll find it somewhere else, and what they find will probably be varying degrees of hostile to civil society. And when they're the only people who actually care strongly enough to show up, you wind up with a lot of damage done on local levels where a few dozen crazies can really tip the balance towards "broken" before anyone else fully realizes what happened.

**I also think, looking at the past couple years of shows, that Parker and Stone are trying to retreat somewhat from this philosophy. Stuff like the global warming episode is a bit of a climbdown from where they used to be, even if it does often feel like a kid who realized they screwed up and feel bad, but are trying to fix it with as little repentance as possible.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Shem »

Warren wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 18:11
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 16:15
Warren wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 13:17
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 12:25 Six reminds me about how concerned I am at the persistence and normalization of conspiracy thinking. That Nashville bomb appears to be a 5g truther.
Was he? Got a link?
Variations of this are all over now: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... heory.html
Ah okay thanks. But,
...according to a source close to the investigation.
means "This is a baseless rumor" as far as I'm concerned. I'll see what turns up in the way of actual evidence, but too often "sources close to..." turn out to be people pushing a narrative.
I mean, can you think of another reason why a guy would hit telephony infrastructure on a holiday when few people would be there, and use a warning system to attempt to avoid killing anyone? He was clearly out to strike telecommunications infrastructure. Why does one do that if they're not preoccupied with the "danger" it presents?
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Eric the .5b »

I've lost any fucking hope that Team Red can be a useful part of our political system.

Beyond that, no real surprises beyond just how toxic (and pathetic) their fandom has gotten to be.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by thoreau »

Eric the .5b wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 18:52 I've lost any fucking hope that Team Red can be a useful part of our political system.

Beyond that, no real surprises beyond just how toxic (and pathetic) their fandom has gotten to be.
I would love it if Team Blue fissioned into a neoliberal party and a progressive party that at least has a calculator (i.e. they know how much their proposals cost). I would love it if Team Red all got sent to the place where you wear those special jackets that let you give yourself a hug.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Warren »

Shem wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 18:42
Warren wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 18:11
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 16:15
Warren wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 13:17
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 12:25 Six reminds me about how concerned I am at the persistence and normalization of conspiracy thinking. That Nashville bomb appears to be a 5g truther.
Was he? Got a link?
Variations of this are all over now: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... heory.html
Ah okay thanks. But,
...according to a source close to the investigation.
means "This is a baseless rumor" as far as I'm concerned. I'll see what turns up in the way of actual evidence, but too often "sources close to..." turn out to be people pushing a narrative.
I mean, can you think of another reason why a guy would hit telephony infrastructure on a holiday when few people would be there, and use a warning system to attempt to avoid killing anyone? He was clearly out to strike telecommunications infrastructure. Why does one do that if they're not preoccupied with the "danger" it presents?
I don't know but I want something better than "It's so obvious what this crazy person was thinking".
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Shem
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Shem »

Warren wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 19:21
Shem wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 18:42
Warren wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 18:11
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 16:15
Warren wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 13:17
JasonL wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 12:25 Six reminds me about how concerned I am at the persistence and normalization of conspiracy thinking. That Nashville bomb appears to be a 5g truther.
Was he? Got a link?
Variations of this are all over now: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... heory.html
Ah okay thanks. But,
...according to a source close to the investigation.
means "This is a baseless rumor" as far as I'm concerned. I'll see what turns up in the way of actual evidence, but too often "sources close to..." turn out to be people pushing a narrative.
I mean, can you think of another reason why a guy would hit telephony infrastructure on a holiday when few people would be there, and use a warning system to attempt to avoid killing anyone? He was clearly out to strike telecommunications infrastructure. Why does one do that if they're not preoccupied with the "danger" it presents?
I don't know but I want something better than "It's so obvious what this crazy person was thinking".
How about he "hit telephony infrastructure on a holiday when few people would be there, and used a warning system to attempt to avoid killing anyone?" I mean, I suppose it's possible a telegram boy stole his lunch money when he was a kid and now he hates all telecommunications equipment, but "vendetta against 5G" is a pretty reasonable conjecture.
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Jennifer
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Jennifer »

Shem wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 18:39 **I also think, looking at the past couple years of shows, that Parker and Stone are trying to retreat somewhat from this philosophy. Stuff like the global warming episode is a bit of a climbdown from where they used to be, even if it does often feel like a kid who realized they screwed up and feel bad, but are trying to fix it with as little repentance as possible.
.... on that note, did you happen to catch their "Pandemic Special" that aired a few months back? Given that episode's treatment of President Garrison Trump, I'd say Parker and Stone have finally internalized the lesson "Sometimes, caring about stuff is important, and not-caring can lead to bad consequences."
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Warren »

Shem wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 19:33 "vendetta against 5G" is a pretty reasonable conjecture.
You can drive an aircraft carrier in the space between reasonable conjecture and substantiating evidence.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Pham Nuwen »

Warren wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 14:10
Pham Nuwen wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 13:47 I think my main learning experience this year was dispelling the myth of competence.

I think we're all dumb. Everyone. If we talk to someone long enough they will spout dumb easily disproved shit. We're smart around the edges. Things we do every day. Things we study up on.

I've lost a lot of trust for anyone talking about something that isn't their specialty.
Interesting. 2020 is where I lost faith in experts talking about their specialty.
You mean that you are more open about what you already thought.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Warren »

Pham Nuwen wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 23:29 You mean that you are more open about what you already thought.
I'm trying not to think anything till I'm presented with something more than conjecture.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Pham Nuwen »

Warren wrote: 29 Dec 2020, 00:27
Pham Nuwen wrote: 28 Dec 2020, 23:29 You mean that you are more open about what you already thought.
I'm trying not to think anything till I'm presented with something more than conjecture.
Very scientific of you. You should incorporate that into your daily life.
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