Noah Smith πŸ‡ Profile picture
Bloomberg Opinion writer. Writes about economics, tweets about rabbits. Newsletter: https://t.co/N0VDjJLG17 Opinions my own, not Bloomberg's.
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29 Jul
Now the MAGAbots are stealing my lines πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
My favorite use of that line was this motivational poster: Image
And here was one that added "vote with your lifestyle" at the end, whatever the hell that means. Image
Read 6 tweets
28 Jul
The best historical analogy for the 1/6 coup attempt, in my opinion, is neither the Reichstag Fire (obviously) nor the Beer Hall Putsch (less obviously), but rather Japan's March Incident coup attempt of 1931.

noahpinion.substack.com/p/japanese-les…
The plan was:

1. Start a riot at the national legislature

2. Cause enough chaos that the military would be forced to step in and install a right-wing leader instead of the duly elected leader

This plan was covertly supported by a rightist legislator.
The plan failed when:

1) Not enough people showed up to the riot

2) The rightist leader they wanted to install got cold feet.

The rioters were arrested and lightly punished.
Read 5 tweets
18 Jul
Did the director of Human Rights Watch just excuse antisemitism by characterizing it as a natural response to Israeli government actions?

I think he did.
Read 4 tweets
17 Jul
In this post, I try to explain what's so appealing about the famous Imperial Boy "solarpunk" picture. It's not sci-fi, it's just good urban design.

And I offer some thoughts on how to leverage art and design to make urban density more popular.

noahpinion.substack.com/p/drawing-pict…
With shout-outs to the great @HawthorneCDOLA and the great @alfred_twu.
Here are some real-life places that remind me of certain elements of Imperial Boy's drawing.
Read 11 tweets
17 Jul
1/OK, let's talk about the Climate Left, and what their real impact on society is.

This is going to be a "swerve" thread, where the first half just makes fun of the Climate Left, and the second half says "BUT ACKSHUALLY they might be really helpful"...

noahpinion.substack.com/p/the-climate-…
2/By "the Climate Left", I mean groups like Sunrise and Extinction Rebellion that explicitly mix climate with other leftist causes, as well as leftists like Andreas Malm who have decided to focus on climate as their new reason to hate capitalism.
3/Andreas Malm has a book in which he urges people to blow up fossil fuel pipelines.

That's an insanely stupid idea, but fortunately neither he nor the rest of the Climate Left has any intention of actually doing that.

nytimes.com/2021/07/15/opi…
Read 24 tweets
16 Jul
One thing non-Texans don't often consider about Texas is that we broke off from Mexico, not from Britain (and seceded rather than being seized). This gives Texans concepts of race and nationhood that are a little different from other American,s in ways that are hard to describe.
The clearest way I can describe this is that white Texans generally don't see ourselves as the "sons of the soil" in the way that white people in much of the country do. We see Mexican people as the "sons of the soil". It's more subtle than that, of course.
When I first became aware of the virulent xenophobia that existed against Mexicans in California in the 90s (and a bit of which remains today), I was just utterly baffled. How could Californians think of Mexicans as foreign? It made no sense.
Read 4 tweets
15 Jul
General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, thought Trump might attempt a coup after the election. He and other military brass were prepared to stop it.

He explicitly and repeatedly compared Trump to Hitler, and MAGA activists to brownshirts.

cnn.com/2021/07/14/pol…
This should tell you at least two things:

1. The liberals making these comparisons since 2015 were not as hysterical as they were accused of being.

2. The U.S. Military is not going to stand for a fascist coup, much less aid and abet one.
Milley explicitly called the Proud Boys "Nazis", and said "These are the same people we fought in World War 2".
Read 6 tweets
14 Jul
Chinese party officials calling explicitly for a nuclear World War 3.

Worried yet?
More credible source:

newsweek.com/china-official…
For anyone wondering, this is not an official CCP position or communique. This is local CCP people in one city sharing a video made by right-wingers.

I'm not sure how worried about this we should be, but that uncertainty itself is worrisome when we're talking about WW3.
Read 4 tweets
13 Jul
1/A brief thought about the Critical Race Theory wars.

When my dad was in high school, a girl he knew got pregnant. Abortion was illegal, so she had an illegal underground abortion, which was botched and rendered her permanently infertile...
2/She was also a devout Catholic, so this caused a huge rift with her family. She developed severe mental issues because of this, and was basically incapacitated for life.

The ban on abortion utterly ruined her life.
3/When I was young, Culture Wars in America were all about abortion. Right-wingers would picket abortion clinics and pass laws to make abortion harder to get. Occasionally someone would even murder a doctor for doing abortions.
Read 7 tweets
13 Jul
Note: People are reporting this as month-on-month or year-on-year, but a 0.9% monthly rise is an annualized rate of 11.3%.

Even if some weird stuff in the car market is half of that, this is quite a bit of inflation.
My guess is still that this inflation is transitory, but my belief in that assessment is weakening somewhat.
Read 5 tweets
12 Jul
1/Today's Substack post is about foreign policy. It's about the looming threat of Cold War 2.

I don't want Cold War 2, and you shouldn't either. Cold wars are bad. But we don't always have good options.

noahpinion.substack.com/p/the-us-didnt…
2/The post was prompted by allegations coming from the Left that the U.S. is trying to start a new cold war with China.

For example, here's the open letter from the Sunrise Movement:
foe.org/wp-content/upl…
3/Sunrise and the other groups never specify whether the "anti-China rhetoric" is criticism of China's human rights abuses.

Anyway, here is Bernie Sanders in Foreign Affairs:
foreignaffairs.com/articles/china…
Read 25 tweets
11 Jul
We've reached some sort of inflection point in our politics where things have stopped meaning anything, and have become in-group signals without any external significance.
Practically no one outside each little clique understands who's getting attacked or supported, or what the dunks even mean.

All the shouters have found product-market fit now. They have their messages down, their followings are primed to mash the retweet button. Everyone stays in their lane. There's little real discussion, just an infinite recursion of hipsterisms.
Read 6 tweets
9 Jul
I need to do a whole running series of stories about the weird encounters I have when I wear my "Free Hong Kong" shirt around San Francisco. Everyone stops me and wants to talk politics.
Today a Greek immigrant real estate developer stopped me to give me a very dadcon lecture about how socialist kids are just lazy, and if you work hard and believe in God, anyone can succeed.
In the middle of his spiel he stopped to say hi to his friend, a Black construction worker who was walking down the street with a boombox blasting Kpop.
Read 4 tweets
8 Jul
I always thought the story "Cat Person" was not very good, since it doesn't dive into the emotional life of its protagonist/narrator.

But also, it turns out it was a dark distortion of a reality that was much more benign:

slate.com/human-interest…
This, by the way, is why I think "realist" fiction is actually a more fantastical kind of fantasy than the kind with dragons.

In "realist" fiction, the fantasy is how the characters feel and behave. But unlike dragons, people believe this fantasy represents reality.
People will read "Cat Person" and think they now know the dark truth about human relationships. But the real relationship "Cat Person" was based on, while not ideal, was much sweeter and healthier than the dark fantasy depicted in the story.
Read 4 tweets
5 Jul
Interesting! Was just talking about this question with @JvNixon. I think the key is to first redesign the system of scientific credit, and then after that to build an education/funding system around that base.
My view of universities is that while education is an important function, it's also not that hard to get right. But research is also an important function, and is hard to get right. So we need to think more about how to optimize the research component of universities.
Some people are asking "Why combine teaching and research?".

For grad students the answer is very clear:
1) Only profs have the ability to teach and train grad students
2) Profs need grad students to do much of the actual research
Read 10 tweets
3 Jul
Me: Oil drilling is catching the ocean on fire. Perhaps we should switch to electric cars, so we don't use much oil anymore.

My followers: No, because brake pads will still release pollution. What we need to do is rebuild our entire urban landscape so that
"The real reason we can't switch to electric cars and save the ocean from burning is because then Elon Musk would make even more money", admitted no one ever
If you want a more serious version of this argument, btw, see here:

Read 4 tweets
1 Jul
New Pew survey of opinions about China just came out.

Opinions are positive in Singapore and Greece, negative in all other developed countries.

Especially negative are Japan, Sweden, Australia, South Korea, and the U.S.

pewresearch.org/global/2021/06…
Even in countries where people approve of China, most say it doesn't respect the freedoms of its people.
Here are the changes in opinion over time.
Read 4 tweets
1 Jul
1/OK, time to tweet the results of a Harvard/Harris poll about the state of the country.

Let's learn what Americans are thinking!

(ht @AlecStapp)

drive.google.com/file/d/1OgPzcB…
2/Optimism is returning to America for the first time since before Trump. Though of course there is a partisan split.
3/Economic optimism is less pronounced, but is almost back to pre-COVID levels.
Read 4 tweets
1 Jul
Political spectrum of 1990s sci-fi space opera TV:

Star Trek TNG: Left-wing

Babylon 5: Centrist

DS9: Right-wing
TNG: Differences solved via empathy and understanding, nooney or capitalism, Prime Directive actually followed, anti-racist messaging
Babylon 5: Humanity rejects both social-darwinist Shadows and commie Vorlons in favor of middle path, political stability prized above all
Read 6 tweets
1 Jul
Wow. Trump's gains with Hispanics were legitimately impressive. This is something that Democrats can't dismiss or sweep under the rug. It's time to stop taking HIspanic/Latino voters for granted!!
How big and sustained does this shift have to be for Republicans to chill out about Hispanic immigration, I wonder?
This is a quote that haunts me to this day...
Read 4 tweets
29 Jun
Question for the feed: Do you agree with the principle? Should high-follower accounts avoid doing anything that brings negative attention to low-follower accounts? Or should they treat low-follower accounts as equals?
This is interesting to me because it's part of what I see as the unique and toxic social status dynamics of Twitter.

noahpinion.substack.com/p/status-anxie…
Additional question: What if the person in question is an aggressive reply-guy who gives you a hard time? Does that change the ethical calculus?
Read 4 tweets