Saturday, February 13, 2021

Post 7600 - NYT Doxxing Scott Alexander

Steve Sailer over at breaks down the NYT hit piece on the shutting down of Star Slate Codex months ago (because they were threatening to doxx him). I wrote about it at the time, and we now have an answer to Donna B's first comment there, don't we? Yes, the Times will publish it anyway.

Sailer does a good job pointing out that many of the accusations against Alexander don't have much to do with him, but with people also in a group he's in, people who have said good things about him, people who might be commenting on his site, and just People Like Him in general.  Some of these people are second-cousins to racists, too. Or at least, what a lot of people reading the NYT think are racists. There is also the odd bit about referring to the psychiatrist as "Mr" Alexander, which seems odd after the kerfuffle over whether Jill Biden's EdD entitled her to always be addressed as "Dr" if she declares for it. He points out the double-standard on doxxing and giving credit, too.

These are quite simply horrible people, and the danger is not the free speech on Slate Star Codex, but that they have powerful microphones to condemn even though they do not display his rigor. It is bad enough when there are bullies, and bad enough when there are teacher's pets.  It is catastrophic when they are the same folks (as in The Silver Chair).

Apparently brilliant and influential Silicon Valley people were regular readers.  I wondered why the level of commenting was so high and how there were always already 200+ (sometimes into the thousands of) comments in place by the time I got over there. These are the people who live online. Small fish like me can say unwoke things and no one much cares. The racial statistics for violent crime are what they are, and there is one large obstacle to the assertion that this somehow must, simply must be the result of cops arresting them for lesser stuff, or the legal system being against them, or whatever. For homicide charges, you need a body.  You can't make one up and you can't make one go away. ("Cause of Death" can be bent a little at the edges to make some homicides look like something else on paper, but that's pretty limited.)

But influential people are especially not allowed to think bad things.

While I was over at Unz I also saw a very interesting essay by the psychologist James Thompson reporting on the long-term followup of those abused as children and what the key factors were in whether they had difficulties as adults. There has been long and contentious debate whether the severity of the events or the personality of the individual were more important.  One can see how this would affect treatment, approach, and certainly culture and politics. Newer studies are showing that people's subjective impression of whether abuse occurred is the strongest factor. That will put the cat among the pigeons in trauma studies, if it is allowed to spread widely. The site is either not letting me comment or comments are under moderation.


james said...

I remember after 9/11 that people were brought in to "help with the trauma." Someone complained (I think in the NYT) that the best results for overcoming trauma came from putting the matter behind you and not thinking about it, doing day by day work, rather than rehearsing it in counseling sessions.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

That is generally true but it is complicated. There are techniques for putting it behind you if you aren't a person who just naturally does that, like my third son. But if that didn't happen, and you are haunted now, it can get more difficult. The new techniques for moving the memories to another part of the brain, by re-remembering in a guided way that reduces or even eliminates all the associated emotions are intriguing, even though they sound like voodoo. Perhaps I should post on this again soon. I have fantasised recently how I would get people through a traumatic event if I were sharing that time or the immediate aftermath with them.

Texan99 said...

What an awful NYT piece it was: whimpering about how he and his right-thinking friends haven't figured out a way to prevent wrong-thing people from talking to each other. Oh, the danger that their bad ideas will not be de-platformed!

It's nice to see the blog resurrected on substack.